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 2009

Technical Bits Late August 2009.

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More bits from around the web.

Literacy and computers, nice combo.

Moon sized broadband.

64 bits too much? Bigger Chrome.

Opera 10.00 is getting closer and even runs on Linux!

Wanna be James Bond?

Wine is ever increasing and some tips on Firefox, which seemingly “…takes a snapshot of all of your open tabs every ten seconds, so that if you close your browser, you can open it to where you left off.”

Roll on Chrome.

10 habits of superstitious users.

Need speed? How about 12 cores?

Finally, Sony’s new e-books. If only they get text to speech.

Written by modernityblog

26/08/2009 at 17:22

Guesting at CifWatch.

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I have a guest post up at CifWatch.

Written by modernityblog

25/08/2009 at 22:10

Maziar Bahari.

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Maziar Bahari is another victim of excessive repression in Iran, he’s been locked up without charge for 64+ days.

I urge people to publicise his plight.

Written by modernityblog

25/08/2009 at 00:41

Have Their Work Cut Out For Them.

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If you were, say 20 or 30 years ago, to argue that one of the mainstream liberal newspapers in Britain, the Guardian, often allows its facilities to be used for the propagandarising of anti-Jewish racism then no one would have believed you.

Yet it is perfectly possible to scan articles on Comment is Free and find numerous instances of anti-Jewish racism, which is all the more surprising given the Guardian’s alleged opposition to racism and its use of moderators.

Nevertheless, CiF has become a hotbed of anti-Jewish racism and depressingly so, but pinning down exactly which bits are vulgar criticisms or crude generalisations from the entrenched anti-Jewish racism is hard, as comments are often deleted retrospectively and the volume of articles on CiF makes it hard to keep up with the worst offenders.

Therefore, I was gratified to see CiF Watch start up.

I feel they will have a very difficult task ahead of them, tackling anti-Jewish racism on CiF is a mammoth endeavour, I wish them luck and fortitude. They’ll need it.

Written by modernityblog

24/08/2009 at 22:56

Scoop: Swedes Harvest Norwegian Fishermen’s Feet.

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Scoop. An investigation by Israeli journalists has revealed that Sweden is harvesting the feet of Norwegian fishermen in an effort to compete with Norwegian salmon products.

The original Hebrew version is here from Ynet. This is a JPost summary of that startling news story:

“In an article in the opinion section of the paper’s Website Sunday afternoon, a journalist under a pseudonym penned a story, complete with dateline, research and witness accounts in quotation marks, alleging that Sweden, in an effort to compete with salmon products from neighboring Norway, harvested the feet of Norwegian fishermen to extract the secret ingredient that – according to the article – makes the Swedish salmon dish more palatable: the fungi growing on Norwegian fishermen’s feet.

The Yediot story even names the Swedish army’s secret unit whose job it is to harvest the organs: Stinkande strumpor [Swedish for ‘smelly socks’]. “

Below is an imperfect Google translation into English which gives you the meat of these terrible allegations against the Swedes.

Obviously, there has been no comment from the Swedish government yet. Carl Bildt is notably silent on the matter.

An English version has been released:

“Arnolf Lillehammer, a resident of the Norwegian village of Idiben, located near the Swedish border, will never forget the last time he saw his father alive. “It happened just before the last summer,” Arnolf recounted. “The lake was about to freeze, and dad went out to fish in the afternoon. He asked me to help him clean the fish when he returns. After three hours we started to worry. The next day, after we found his boat, we realized something terrible had happened.”

Three weeks later, Arnolf’s fears were replaced by pure horror, after finding his father’s corpse buried in the snow, with both his feet cut off.

This was not the only disappearance in the area. In fact, dozens of cases of fishermen failing to return home at the end of the day were recorded in eastern Norway in recent years. The locals attributed the many disappearances to the harsh winter conditions; fierce snowstorms did not leave any hope for finding the bodies. However, the horrible fate of Arnolf Lillehammer’s father, Videkon, made it clear this was a much more sinister affair than previously thought.

The bizarre death was extensively covered by local media and police officials devoted great efforts to solving the mystery, but answers were not forthcoming. However, the Lillehammer family finally received some unexpected help: One clear summer day, a man by the name of Bjorn B. (the full name is being withheld) appeared at the family’s door and presented himself as a Swedish army defector.”

[Hat tip: Petra MB]

Dictatorship Learn From Each Other.

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The ruling elite in Tehran have been quick to follow China’s example of locking up human right’s lawyers, the LA Times reports:

“According to his colleagues, Dadkhah has been under heavy pressure to publicly confess to being involved in a nefarious plot against the Islamic Republic

Specifically, his interrogators wanted him to betray the the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, the small nonprofit organization he runs with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, and to state that Ebadi was a traitor.

According to fellow lawyers who got a chance to meet with him, he was severely abused during the first days of his imprisonment in solitary confinement in early July.

For two days, he was deprived of food. Then he was blindfolded and thrown down a spiral stairwell. For a few days, he was barred from using the bathroom.

He was told that his teenage daughter was also under arrest, only to find out later it was a lie.

Still, he refused to budge.

After a while, the interrogators gave up. They allowed him to leave solitary and stay in a ward with other prisoners. “

Written by modernityblog

22/08/2009 at 17:24

Taliban Chop Off Fingers.

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The Taliban have shown their barbaric side, again, as CNN reports:

“KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Making good on a threat of election day violence, the Taliban sliced off the index fingers of at least two people in Kandahar province, according to a vote monitoring group.

After they cast their ballots, the fingers of Afghan voters are stained with ink to prevent them from voting multiple times. The fingers of the two women in Kandahar, a stronghold of the Taliban, were cut off because they voted, said Nader Naderi of the Free and Fair Election Foundation.”

Written by modernityblog

22/08/2009 at 13:31