Thursday, April 01, 2004

Stumblin' Zen

Having been put on to Stumble Upon by a correspondent, I've been finding it a fun surfing tool. I suppose it's a glorified links directory with a spot of randomisation, which is right up my street. I like to be surprised, unless it's by the local police on coke night at Tooting Girls' Preparatory.

This is the kind of thing it's thrown up for me:

New technology. I haven't had time to explore it but it does seem to have plenty to chew on for the tech-minded.

If you are one of those saps who thinks it's cool to buy people souvenir birthday newspapers, you'll probably like this time capsule thinger. It's a bit too American for me but quite sweet in its way.

Now, this just r0xx04z. Design types who aren't too sure what goes with what need this colour-matching app. It has a really fantastic range of palettes to choose from. I don't know what it's actually meant for, but I'm going to be redecorating soon, so I have a use for it.

I never tire of Hubble pix. I am ever willing to be humbled and wowed by the immensity and beauty of the universe we live in. I love the horsehead photos in particular. They look like thunderheads over the southside on a summer afternoon, and yet...

I'm so good at doing nothing, I'm not convinced I need software to do it for me, but NaDa does exactly what it says on the tin and does it well. Probably the only software that can be guaranteed to be bugfree.

Dr Zen loves to cook and Mrs Zen loves to try new things, so recipe sites with something different make appeal. The articles are quite good too, but I could have done with a few more.

Reason Online seems to be the web presence of a rightwingish mag. Plenty of thought-provoking reads though, by the look of it. Political bias is okay in a magazine, so long as it's just the background that comment is sung over, rather than the song itself. This is as true of the left as the right. Each is as prone to foolish exaggeration to make its point. Each has hold of truths, and a few lies, and each feels its truths, and its lies, are incontrovertible. Each is wrong. Having said that, I do like Z. I never tire of Chomsky and I am a fierce admirer of Robert Fisk, who is committed to telling the truth -- yes, as he sees it, but even so -- when all around him are printing the propaganda.

Talking of which, I watched Newsnight the other night. This is pretty rare for me. I have less than little time for news analysis, and less even than that for the smug orthodoxy that the BBC thinks -- mostly rightly -- its audience shares. I was astonished, though, at how frank the bias of the interviewer -- Kirsty Wark, who is much touted as an intelligent commentator -- was when "interviewing" Beverley Hughes, the beleaguered Home Office Minister. Now, for sure Hughes is an idiot of the highest order. Who could forget her attack on a TV programme she had not even watched? But she is not to blame for the immigration "crisis" that is causing the calls for her resignation from the rightwing tabs. Since when did a minister have to know what shenanigans every last middle manager in her team is up to? If no one ever tells her, how can she know? The ugly Tory toad at the centre of the fingerpointers, David Davis, has sat on this that the other accusatory email, dribbling them out into the press to beat up the story. It's just more insidious stirring up of the xenophobia that lurks in the dimmer corners of our nation. The Tories know immigration is a winner for them. They can lie through their teeth and if Labour call them on it, they are "soft" on immigration.

But Wark's interrogation of Hughes was oddly onesided. She didn't let Hughes speak, hardly. She bellowed about this that and the other scam, why didn't Hughes do this, shouldn't she do that? It was very belligerent. She actually made me feel sorry for a Labour minister. It was all quite personal. I suppose it had to be -- there just isn't a real story in it.

Most of the BBC's output these days doesn't match watching paint peel. Nice segue!


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