ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for August 2005

Panorama of Views

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Panorama’s recent programme on the MCB and their lack of leadership skills brought to my attention the existence of MCB watch, which makes some reasonable points.

A transcript of the programme is here.

John Ware’s response to attacks on the BBC.

The later reaction to the programme is telling

Time to make your own mind up.

Written by modernityblog

30/08/2005 at 10:23

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Salman Knows

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Salman Rushdie has intimate knowledge of extremism and its consequence, and has called for a Muslim reformation.

Rushdie was today on Radio 4 he comments on MCB and their alleged moderation.

Written by modernityblog

29/08/2005 at 10:03

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SuSE again

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SUSE Linux 10.0 OSS Beta 3 has been released!

They are very busy at www.opensuse.org

Written by modernityblog

26/08/2005 at 02:59

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Able Danger

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A strange story has come out of the US concerning Able Danger:

“A US army intelligence officer went public yesterday with claims that a secret military unit had identified Mohammed Atta and three other al-Qaida members as a potential threat a year before they carried out the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer said the secret intelligence unit, codenamed Able Danger, had been prevented from passing on its information to the FBI by Pentagon lawyers concerned that the military should not be involved in surveillance of suspects inside the US.”

Written by modernityblog

24/08/2005 at 23:39

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A Humane Future

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Thanks to Harry’s Place and a recent petition the work of Fareena Alam, the editor of Q-News has come to my attention and her essay on “A humane Muslim future”, which makes some interesting points:

“As Fuad Nahdi points out, contemporary political Islam offers a religion to die for; classical Islam offers a religion to live for. Without the latter the great achievements of Muslim civilisation (so celebrated and extolled by Islamists) would not have been possible.”

“Wahhabi Islam that takes as its starting-point a literal, static interpretation of the sacred texts. It is a movement that tore down the four mihrabs in Mecca. During the last four decades, funded by petrodollars and mass-produced literature, it has hijacked much of the popular theological debates within Islam, particularly in the west and the Arab world.”

“The whole problem with Bin Ladenism and its related perversions is that while they use the language of Islam and appeal to community, they neglect its moral and ethical tenets. Emotion and outrage is no basis for a solution to the current malaise.

“We need to revive those musical and artistic traditions that have begun to vanish. A people without a cultural agenda, that particularises and localises religious expression, present no hope for their young people.

Written by modernityblog

23/08/2005 at 15:10

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Real Audio, Firefox and Codecs

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So you’ve got Firefox ready and even K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.36 installed but you get the message “Additional plugins are required to play all the media on this page”

Yuck!

A solution:

Firefox->Tools->Options->Download->RAM Real Media File->Change Action ->[browse to K-Lite Codec Pack directory and find the Real directory which leads to the program:mpclauncher]

Open and it should show something like “D:\Program Files\K-Lite Codec Pack\Real\mpclauncher.exe” in the ‘Open them in this application:’ field

Now you should be able to watch those Real Audio files with Media Player Classic!

Written by modernityblog

22/08/2005 at 23:42

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Beware Internet Greeks?

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Trojans are an increasing problem on the Internet and dealing with them can be difficult.

I am evaluating two packages: TrojanHunter and ewido, which work on 2000 and XP only, but they look promising.

Written by modernityblog

21/08/2005 at 14:15

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Site of the Week 10

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Forgetting the techie sites for the moment, or even political or historical ones.

This week’s site of the week goes to Gendergeek

I would recommend the article on Terrorism, pride, and gender

Written by modernityblog

19/08/2005 at 23:40

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Trade Unionist and the New Iraqi Constitution

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The IFTU has produced a very sensible list of concerns with new Iraqi Constitution:

“The IFTU drew the UN Support Team’s attention to four discrete areas within the draft Constitution, which has changed frequently in recent weeks and which according to the IFTU in its current draft fails to adequately address the justified concerns of its members. These are;

1. Rights of Children: IFTU wishes to insist on the rights of Children aged younger than 16 years of age, not to be allowed to work and to have a full education. IFTU expressed its concern that the draft Constitution made general references to the rights of children without defining at what age these rights apply. In IFTU’s estimation this is a serious weakness, which would have the effect of undermining future attempts to improve the terrible situation for Iraqi children.

2. Right to Strike: IFTU expressed its strong dismay that an explicit Constitutional right of workers to take strike action has been removed from the draft version of the Constitution, although such a right exists in the current Transitional Administrative Law. The draft Constitution refers only to the right of workers to representation, without defining the right of workers to join or form the trade union representation of their choice, or as mentioned the right to withdraw their labour.

3. Rights of Women: IFTU made clear the complete opposition of the trade union to any attempt to revive the notorious Decree 137, which sought to remove the fundamental human rights of women in the name of imposing sharia law. Womens’ rights to marriage, divorce, to own property, inherit and pass on property to their children and others, to access education at all levels, to work and to play a full part in all aspects of civil society and political life must be guaranteed in the Constitution of a modern democratic, federal Iraq.

4. Separation of Politics and Religion: IFTU insists on the complete separation of the powers and authority of ‘the mosque’ from the constitutional state law. Freedom to practice religion must be guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution should not take Islam as its sole source of legitimacy. “

Written by modernityblog

18/08/2005 at 23:40

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An Education?

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The Daily Times relays an article on education in Pakistan:

“LAT quoted the education minister of a nation with Asia’s highest illiteracy rates as saying that he was determined to have specialists rewrite course guidelines and textbooks, from the first grade to the college level, so that the curriculum would be in line with that of any other advanced country.

He told LAT, “We don’t want to condemn any religion, which we will not.”

“A study of the public school curriculum and textbooks by 29 Pakistani academics in 2002 concluded that public school ‘textbooks tell lies, create hatred, inculcate militancy and much more’,” the paper said.

“The study by the independent Sustainable Development Policy Institute angered religious conservatives, and even a few liberals, who saw it as an attack on the country’s Islamic values, or even a plot by Western governments and rival India to subvert the Islamic state,” it added.”

The report by the SDPI is here

Written by modernityblog

18/08/2005 at 23:35

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A Panorama of Leadership

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I am not much of a TV person but will be interested to see Panorama on Sunday, 21 August 2005 22:15 on the topic of ‘A question of leadership’:

“For a sixty minute Panorama special, John Ware has spent the weeks since the London bombs traveling to Britain’s Muslim communities, to discover whether their leaders can tackle the growth of extremism in their midst.

The programme contains strong, frank interviews with British Muslims on attitudes to integration, sectarianism, supremacy and suicide bombings in Britain and abroad. “

Written by modernityblog

18/08/2005 at 14:15

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Of Roots and Pretexts

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I don’t have too much time to write at the moment, but found this article made many points that coincided with my preliminary thoughts on the ‘root causes’ of 7/7 in London:

“Al Qaeda is a revanchist organisation, which holds the West in general and the US in particular responsible for all the evils afflicting the Islamic world and for the decline of the political power of Islam since the end of the Ottoman Empire. It wants to avenge the wrongs allegedly committed against the Muslims since the end of the Ottoman Empire, re-write history and restore an Islamic Caliphate from which Western influence would be totally excluded.

It is comparable to the Nazis of Germany in its revanchist ideas and actions. The Nazis blamed the rest of the Western world for the decline of Germany since the First World War and for all the evils afflicting Germany. They wanted to restore the pre-eminent position of Germany in the world.If the world leaders of that time had said “Let us address the root causes of Nazism first, before we fight the Nazis and Adolf Hitler”, where will the world be today?

The call to address the root causes of the Al Qaeda today is as short-sighted as a call to first address the root causes of Nazism would have been in the early 1940s”

Written by modernityblog

17/08/2005 at 22:42

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This Day in 1945

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VJ day was celebrated on 15th August 1945, 60 years ago.

It has been called the forgotten war:

“To the many veterans who fought in it and for those who survived the brutal conditions in the prisoner of war and labour camps, the war against the Japanese in the Far East will always be the forgotten war.”

Written by modernityblog

14/08/2005 at 23:55

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Nuts

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I was interested to read Africa’s miracle food: plumpy’nut:

Plumpy’nut — a fortified peanut butter stuffed with milk and vitamins — is just the sort of food that overweight Western children are advised to avoid. But for malnourished children it has an amazing effect, making it the undisputed hero of the current crisis in Niger, where 3.6 million people — 800,000 of them children — face severe food shortages.

Within two days, Hilinki’s weight has climbed from 4.6kg to 5kg (10lb to 11lb). She will stay at the clinic for a further three days and receive six meals a day. Nearly all of it will be plumpy’nut — a merging of the words peanut and plump — which can add as much as 1kg (2.2lb) a week to a hungry child’s weight.

Plumpy’nut was created by André Briend, who spent years working in humanitarian crises. He realised that a ready-to-eat supplement that needs no cooking or added water, and is cheap to produce, could help to save millions of lives in remote and under-developed areas. Plumpy’nut is now produced in Normandy by a company that specialises in food relief, in partnership with Unicef, the United Nation’s children’s organisation.


The success of plumpy’nut, which is normally given for four weeks at a cost of £12, in treating that problem is raising some awkward questions, particularly for the governments whose children stand to benefit.

“It is cheap to produce and deliver, so why is it not being manufactured locally and given to children all over Africa?” asks Adrian Hartley, a white Kenyan author and commentator on Africa. “These governments always have money to buy their Mercedes cars and guns — so why not some plumpy’nut?”

Written by modernityblog

14/08/2005 at 00:27

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Site of the Week 9

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Ever been stuck with a ‘new’ non-legacy laptop and need to re-install from scratch, but can not connect ANYTHING under DOS?

If so, try The Universal TCP/IP Network Bootdisk from www.netbootdisk.com and it is described here

Just download the Zip, extract, create a boot floppy and go.

One damn fine piece of software and not a M$ in sight: recommended!

Written by modernityblog

13/08/2005 at 15:30

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