Welcome to the 2008 dispatches-from-the-front flow.

Imagine There’s No Heaven · The resurgence of outspoken mainstream atheism the last couple of years is a genuinely New Thing in my lifetime, and just possibly in history. It seems like there’s something going across my radar every week. This week, The OUT Campaign and the admirably level-toned A Blunt Atheist FAQ.

My eight-year-old boy says he’s a Christian and is going to heaven when he dies; which I have nothing against.

The Olympics · They made a big splash about this up here in Canada last week: Sun Gets the 2010 Olympic Games, which means we have some sort deal, terms doubtless never to be disclosed, to supply the server infrastructure.

Not all is sweetness and light around the Olympics. The 2008 version in Beijing will be made available online; but only via Silverlight. Which means that if you use a Linux or Solaris box, or one of the few million pre-Intel Macs that are still out there, the Olympic Community doesn’t want peons like you on board. This seems scandalous to me, but nobody else seems to care.

Music · I’ve written before of Ambient Internet Brain Goo, downtempo background groove via the Net. The last couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying EpiphanyRadio; very superior goo indeed.

While at the intersection of music and geekery, I have to say that Firestone Audio’s “Fubar” DA Converters look seriously cool; I want one.

Sake · The other day, when wandering around Granville Island, we stumbled across Osake, where they do small-batch sake craft brewing. I bought a bottle and it was good; what a nice surprise, and very Vancouver.

And then just last week we were going to get take-out sushi so at random I grabbed a bottle of “Yoshi” Junmai sake from Yoshi-No-Gawa, which isn’t on the Net (in English at least) but poking around reveals the family has been in the sake business since 1200 and the current brewery operating since 1548. It was absolutely superb, I recommend it whole-heartedly.

Middle East · Dubya can sweep in and out all he wants and if he actually manages to move Israelis and Palestinians to ignore their respective War Parties good on him. In the interim, Daniel Barenboim has taken out Palestinian citizenship. He’s impressed me before. The factions of madmen may block the path of the sane majority, but they can’t drown out the noble voices.

Jeremy! · Zawodny, that is, who got married in Zanzibar; what a great picture. Congratulations and best wishes, and I hope to meet Kathleen some day.

Phil Agee · He died Jan. 7th, without much in the way of flashy obituaries. Mr. Agee certainly shifted my world-view, and that of many others, with his 1975 book Inside The Company, which described, in calm-voiced irrefutable detail, how the United States, as a matter of policy, for many decades encouraged evil dictators (as long as they were anti-Communist), helpfully funding the suppression and murder of any democratic opposition. There’s not much news value left here, but reading it will sure help you understand why there are two or three generations of Latin-American leaders with a major grudge against the USA.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Robin (Jan 13 2008, at 23:52)

Re Silverlight: isn’t that only NBC’s deal, not the entire Olympic broadcasting?

Re sake: my limited hiragana skills show that http://www.yosinogawa.co.jp/ seems to be their online presence. Be careful though, their site hosts the first non-ironic live blink tag I’ve seen in a long time.


From: Tomasz (Jan 14 2008, at 01:57)

What's about Silverlight? Moonlight implementation works on Linux.


From: Anthony B. Coates (Jan 14 2008, at 02:43)

With regard to Silverlight, at XML 2007 they showed Mono's "Moonlight" implementation of Silverlight, which is planned to be available for Linux and Mac. If they get that out and working properly, then Silverlight/Moonlight won't necessarily be a worse choice than, say, Flash. By the way, MS are paying for the codec licences needed for the Mono implementation, apparently.

Cheers, Tony.


From: David Smith (Jan 14 2008, at 06:16)

Militant atheism a New Thing?

Revolutionary France? Soviet Russia? Maoist China?

BTW, Syreeni's suggestion that "the vast majority of self-proclaimed Western atheists are completely... nonsuperstitious" is really cute! I do dig unintentional irony...


From: Jeremy Zawodny (Jan 14 2008, at 07:33)

Thanks, Tim!


From: Mark (Jan 14 2008, at 12:50)

Re Silverlight: Doesn't this sound familiar? http://www.google.com.au/search?q=Maguire+vs.+SOCOG


From: Zeev (Jan 14 2008, at 14:37)

re: "The factions of madmen may block the path of the sane majority" - Hamas won a Democratic election in Gaza, and they're not a peace party in any way you look at it. I do not believe it is true to say the majority of the population in Gaza are liberal-minded (or whatever you call a world view similar to your own). I also do not think a majority of the population of Israel would accept a peace with a Palestinian country that considers it its right to fire rockets on Israeli towns.


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January 13, 2008
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