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

Archive for February 2006

Sharp Profs ?

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The failed academic blacklist from last year still exercises people’s mind and two articles came to my attention:

1) Engage have highlighted Sue Blackwell’s rather shoddy methods before and associations. We tend to demand slightly higher standards from academics and with just cause in this case.

2) Prof. Geoffrey Alderman’s “The gesture politics of an Israel boycott” brought up an issue from 2001, the treatment of Egyptian scholars:

“For example, last year, the Egyptian government put 28 scholars on trial for “impugning Egypt’s international reputation.” Many were imprisoned, some with hard labour. Why didn’t the AUT or NATFHE demand a boycott of Egyptian universities? Why did Professors Hilary and Steven Rose, who have taken a leading part in the Israel boycott movement, not demand a cessation of all academic links with Egypt?”

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2006 at 14:49

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Books II

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After ten minutes of data entry I can give my ill informed views of both librarything and

Librarything has been reviewed before here and here and here. It seems that many issues from the early reviews have been ironed out

I had high hopes for, as I am a fan of cooperative software but some of the basic design seems lacking and it seems way too American-centric.

Pros: Free

Cons: Difficult to enter non-US based ISBNs, not possible to manually enter books. Design of indexing needs reworking.


Pros: Ease of data entry, possible to manually enter non-ISBN books. Community of books lovers and browsing of other people’s book catalogues. Free up to 200 books

Con: Costs over 200 books, export should allow for non-CSVs formats. Search of ISBN catalogue should be automated according to user profile.

I shall be looking at Online Library 1.0 from

Written by modernityblog

27/02/2006 at 11:43

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Book Lovers of the World Unite!

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I tend to allocate too much space to books and reading material, one of my pet hates is losing track of books or key passages from a particular book that I have just read.

The idea of catalogue all of my books appealed to me, in a strange way

Two sites seem to offer that ability:

Google directory lists a wide range of alternatives

Still to decide which is better tho.

Written by modernityblog

25/02/2006 at 00:53

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Modern day France

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Adloyada highlights kidnappings in France with potentially anti-semitic overtones, and very worrying is the lack of coverage in the main stream media.

Written by modernityblog

20/02/2006 at 12:11

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Blunders from On High

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It is easy to blame US Presidents and deservely so, but what to blame them for? That’s harder, so a group of American scholars have made it easier!

The list, from most egregious to least egregious:

1. James Buchanan (1857-1861), for failing to keep the Union together before the Civil War.

2. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), for failed post-Civil War reconstruction policies.

3. Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969), for letting the Vietnam War escalate.

4. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), for refusing to compromise on the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.

5. Richard Nixon (1969-1974), for his involvement in a Watergate cover-up.

6. James Madison (1809-1817), for getting the United States into the War of 1812 with Britain.

7. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), for the Embargo Act of 1807, a self-imposed prohibition on trade with Europe during the Napoleonic Wars.

8. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), for the Bay of Pigs Invasion that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

9. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), for the Iran-Contra Affair, an effort to sell arms to Iran and use the money to finance an armed anti-communist group in Nicaragua.

10. Bill Clinton (1993-2001), for his involvement with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.”

Written by modernityblog

19/02/2006 at 11:26

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Oh Those Placards?

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The controversy over placards which were offensive and incited violence some weeks ago in London are now followed up by demonstrations in Pakistan, reported in the German media.

Written by modernityblog

18/02/2006 at 18:02

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Zen, and the Art of Trade Unions

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After generations of earnest middle-class trendies sought enlightenment in Buddhism, so now Buddhist monks are seeking solace in trade union, according to a report in the Times:

“AN AGGRIEVED monk and his band of truculent acolytes have brought Bolshevism to Buddhism and formed the first Japanese trade union for temple workers.

Toshio Sugata, the chairman of the Nagano Zenroren, said: “This is the first time that monks have been unionised. We learnt that they were employed by Daikanjin, the main temple of the Tendai sect, under labour regulations in which their payment and working hours were formally laid out. In that sense, monks have the same employment status as salarymen.”

The monk’s flying pickets must be a spectacle to behold!

Written by modernityblog

18/02/2006 at 00:12

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