Links for 21 November 2008 through 22 November 2008

Stilgherrian’s links for 21 November 2008 through 22 November 2008, after being tickled with a feather duster:

  • Danger Room Debrief: How to do Defense, When the Money’s Gone | Danger Room from “The current global economic and financial meltdown may yet become something worse: a protracted global depression. As with the last century’s Depression, which spawned fascism and WWII, it could recast the world at a fundamental level. As such, it may soon represent our biggest security challenge in over 50 years.”
  • The Power of Nightmares | YouTube: The 2.5-minute introduction to The Power of Nightmares, to give you a flavour of the full 3-hour documentary series.
  • The Power Of Nightmares (DVD) | Internet Archive: This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today: “Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today’s nightmare vision of a secret organized evil that threatens the world, a fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.” The full DVD image is free to download.
  • Irrelevant Al Qaeda | Jon Taplin’s Blog: Is it time to declare Al Qaeda irrelevant and downgrade the War on Terror a police action that’s just mopping up the stragglers?
  • Mother Earth Mother Board | Wired 4.12: A massive 1993 feature article in which Neal Stephenson toured six countries following the roll-out of fibre optic cables. It introduced me to his writing and it remains an excellent read today.
  • The End | Flickr: A collection of classic “The End” title cards from a wide variety of films.
  • Fiscal Conservative vs. Tax & Spend Liberal | Be the signal: Another variation of an infographic pointing out that the Republicans don’t have the best track record for the US economy.
  • Opinion graph | Junk Charts: On average, the US stock market does much better under Democrat Presidents than Republicans, as this graph shows.
  • How Twittering Critics Brought Down Motrin Mom Campaign | Advertising Age: A groundswell of opinion on Twitter caused Johnson & Johnson to pull an adverting campaign.
  • Thesis Theme for WordPress | DIY Themes: A high-quality but not-free theme framework for WordPress. While I currently use the free Tarski theme for my website maybe this is worth a look at some point.
  • NSW Parliamentary Research: Mandatory ISP filtering is not what it seems | Internet Industry Association: Research by the NSW Parliamentary Library shows that Senator Conroy’s claims about other nations’ compulsory Internet censorship regimes are wrong.
  • Kerr's curse | ABC Unleashed: If nothing else, I love this essay for the phrase “cardboard cutout think tanks”. But there are many other reasons to like it.
  • Internet Censorship and the Irukandji Jellyfish | First Dog on the Moon: Only First Dog on the Moon could successfully combine Senator Conroy’s Internet censorship plan and jellyfish in one cartoon.
  • PG Nation | ABC Unleashed: An interesting essay about the neo-wowserism of the Rudd government.
  • Europa Film Treasures: An archive of European cinematographic treasures. It looks like there’s a lot of material here.
  • The Trojan Horse | Business Spectator: “The current government policy of forcing ISPs to offer their customers a so-called ‘clean feed’ has the overt intention of helping parents to protect their kids while surfing the Internet. It is, we are told, all about child protection. However, the use of content filtering to make the Internet ‘safer’ for kids is already available, to the extent that any statistically significant real demand exists to solve it.”
  • Failing hard drive sounds | Datacent: A collection of the sounds made by dying hard disc drives. Yes, they can be used in music provided you contact these guys first.
  • 19-year-old Commits Suicide on | NewTeeVee: Abraham K Biggs committed suicide on Wednesday while broadcasting himself on video site Apparently the 19yo Floridian was egged on by commenters on and forum users on The article canvasses some of the legal and ethical issues.

Links for 28 October 2008 through 31 October 2008

Stilgherrian’s links for 28 October 2008 through 31 October 2008, gathered using an automatic government-controlled thought-filter:

Links for 18 October 2008 through 21 October 2008

Stilgherrian’s links for 18 October 2008 through 21 October 2008, slightly burnt at the edges:

Episode 28 on time, but chaotic

Screenshot from Stilgherrian Live episode 28

Stilgherrian Live episode 28, the Totally Natural Edition, is now online for your viewing pleasure.

The audio problems which had plagued us recently were gone, and we started on time. The talk flowed smoothly through the first part of the program, and it was maybe 15 minutes before we hit our first technical glitch. I must find a way to present images in Cam Twist that allows me to preview the picture that’s about to go to air!

For the second week running, the US Federal Reserve (pictured) was the clear winner of “Cnut of the Week”, beating nominees John McCain, Sydney Anglican archibishop Dr Peter Jensen and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

I failed to make contact with Nathanael Boehm to talk about the big day of geekery in Sydney, including the Web Directions South conference — I wasn’t watching my Twitter messages during the program — but First Dog on the Moon phoned in again and that filled an awkward gap when I completely forgot about “Stilgherrian’s Street View”. That’s a shame, because that would have triggered more of a rant. About clueless taxi drivers.

The after-show chat included some interesting thoughts about the nature of the program, and they’ll be reflected next week. Stay tuned.

Episode 26 online!

Last night’s episode 26 of Stilgherrian Live is now online for your viewing pleasure.

In a disorganised episode which started late thanks to Art — I’ll write more about that later — former Treasurer Peter Costello was voted “Cnut of the Week”, narrowly beating controversial Thai prime minister Samak Sundaravej (สมัคร สุนทรเวช) and journalist Mark Day for his backward-looking story Blogs can’t match probing reports.

There was also an impromptu interview with Crikey cartoonist First Dog on the Moon wherein we discuss, inter alia, deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop and rabbits.

Book cover marketing FAIL?

I saw these books sitting in a shop window the other day and the first thing I did was laugh. Why? Well, seeing the four lined up like this seemed like a list of clichés.

Photo of book covers

Germaine Greer On Rage? Well, yes, she does get more than a little grumpy, wink wink, eh? (Although as someone asked me, “Greer on Rage? What would she guest program?”) David Malouf On Experience? Yeah, he’s getting a bit long in the tooth, sure… and need I mention the probable subject of Blanche d’Alpuget’s longing in On Longing?

Yeah, time for another nudge-nudge wink-wink there too.

Now Mark Pesce tells me that Greer’s book is written in the context of the NT Intervention — something worth getting angry about. “A cogent book about rage,” he says. “Perhaps an important one. Time will tell.”

Sure, he’s a fan. Greer is an important public intellectual, though, and today’s First Dog on the Moon cartoon explains very well why everyone hates Germaine Greer. But for me the line-up of little pastel covers and the gift-set option tells me this is for people who want to look like they’re intellectuals.

If Greer’s book is indeed important, then it needs to be more than a fetish for someone’s mantlepiece, along with that unread (and unreadable) hardback of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. And maybe that means more descriptive covers?