Archive for December 17th, 2004

Bluescreen express

[link] Friday, December 17th, 2004

Bluescreen express

Windows XP doing its usual thing in Cambridge station.

Dickensian Christmas

[link] Friday, December 17th, 2004

Dickensian Christmas

Charles Dickens’s front door — 48 Doughty Street, yesterday.

An open letter to the President

[link] Friday, December 17th, 2004

An open letter to the President

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from you and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Leviticus 15: 19-24). The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Leviticus 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Leviticus 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Leviticus 24:10-16). Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Leviticus 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

Thanks to Kris, who found it in her email box.

The Firefox ad…

[link] Friday, December 17th, 2004

The Firefox ad…

… ran as a two-page spread in today’s New York Times.

It was paid for by voluntary donations from users. This is an interesting precedent. Up to now, Open Source software has never had the advertising support of its proprietary counterparts. This ad — and the fundraising model behind it — suggests that things may change.

Private virtues, public vices

[link] Friday, December 17th, 2004

Private virtues, public vices

I feel sorry for David Blunkett because of the tragedy in his personal life. But I’m delighted he’s no longer in government because he was the most authoritarian Home Secretary in living memory. Writing in the Guardian, Roy Hattersley got it about right:

“Mr Blunkett despised the ‘liberal intelligentsia’. That is a reasonable enough position if it amounts to contempt for people who support social democracy as long as they are not required to pay for it in their taxes. But Mr Blunkett went further. When I joined the Labour party, I believed that it represented the best instincts of the working class. Too often Mr Blunkett reflected and articulated its worst emotions.

That made him careless about liberty and cavalier about the rule of law, suspicious of foreigners and willing to use the authority of the state to create the sort of society – rigid and regimented – he wanted to see. His resignation will reduce Labour’s appeal to the men and women who, like him, rejoiced at the news that Harold Shipman had committed suicide. Let us hope that his successor attracts a different constituency.

David Blunkett was – and gloried in being – a hard man. That is what his personal circumstances made him. But today he deserves, whether or not he welcomes it, our sympathy. His resignation is a personal, if not a political, tragedy.”