October, 2004

Election Watch Day 6717

The most credible analysis of Bush’s “bulge” appears today in Salon. Up until now I’d thought that people were properly making a fuss about nothing. Now I’m with Gary Trudeau and this week’s Doonesbury on this one. He did have some kind wire down his back.
And this week, The Economist has grudgingly backed Kerry.

Don’t Kill Analogue

A good short piece by Tim Luckhurst in today’s Times pleaing for the Secretary of State not to kill off analogue radio. I must say that I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. Digital’s great, but it’s completely true that FM can carry on surviving in a digital world. As can AM to a limited extent. And taking what Tim Luckhurst says a step further, how much landfill are 150 million analogue radios going to take up when we have to dump them?

Hobbit Found

The press is full of stories today about a new small species of human that was alive in a remote part of Indonesia 18,000 years ago. Both The Guardian and The Independent had pictures of it on their front pages today. And Nature, where the findings are published, has a special section with a certain amount of free content.
So how does this all compute with creationists? I’ve just read the October Wired cover story about the ongoing fight to get Creationism kicked out of the school rooms.

Red Sox Win

Last night the Red Sox finally won the World Series for the first time since 1918 – I won’t even get into the whole Babe Ruth curse thing. I’m not sure what that’ll make Newcastle United fans feel like. They haven’t won a domestic trophy since their 1955 FA Cup win. The Red Sox hadn’t won for 86 years…
Two good media stories from this. First off, Five Live used Five Live Sports Xtra through the night to give full commentary. I don’t know how many people were listening, but I was, even though it was on channel Five at the same time.
Secondly, the Major League Baseball website has a very reasonable video policy. They stream very brief highlights of the major plays etc, and charge a reasonable $3.99 for full match downloads, suitable for portable devices.

Mythology on TV

A great article from the Boston Globe on my favourite new US TV series, Lost, and what it defines as mythology TV in general.
The author talks about the danger of these types of shows running away with themselves towards deeply plotted by untenable solutions – he mentions series like Twin Peaks and The X-Files. And that’s probably the biggest danger with something like Lost. At some point we’re going to have to be let in on what really is going on. And at that point what happens? How do they keep it going? I don’t know, but I’m along for the ride.

US Elections on the BBC

BBC Four had an excellent debate with first class speakers on Sunday night. Even Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly wasn’t as obnoxious as usual.
Then there was last night’s Newsnight featuring a Greg Palast report on dodgy goings on in Florida. Is it just me, or does the US really need consistent rules and regulations across the whole country? And should a private investigator really be allowed to park up outside a polling station and take photos of everyone going in? Palast can be kind of bombastic, but he’s opened a can of worms that you can tell nobody really wants to hear about. An African American who was wrongly denied the vote last time around seems only to have got his vote cast this time because he happened to be accompanied by a camera crew. It’s tough out in those trenches. Maybe it really is time for international observers at US Elections… (And seeing Gavin Esler attempt to interview The Fall’s Mark E Smith about John Peel’s death was fascinating viewing too!)

Office Equipment That’s Rubbish #1

Binding Machines.
Despite much looking around, at work we still use wire binding machines. Surely this must be basically the same technology that they had at the beginning of the last century? Oh, sure they’ve come on a bit with the introduction of plastic combs rather than only wire ones, and electric hole punchers. But the machines break down regularly and cost upwards of 500 pounds. And they don’t properly punch holes which means you have to reprint your full colour opus.
Sure, there are glue machines around that heat seal pages together, but a spiral solution is easier to read. So why hasn’t this technology moved on?
I hate binders!

John Peel

Many people are upset at the untimely death of John Peel yesterday, at the age of 65. I was never a massive Peel listener, but last night I did listen to Radio 1’s 2 hour tribute which comprised solely of tracks recorded for Peel Sessions over the years. Just listening to the range of songs he played brought home to you contribution he made to popular music.
A unique broadcaster who’ll be sadly missed.