April 2003

Prettig Koninginnedag

Every year on April 30th, the Dutch celebrate Queen Beatrixs with a surreal mix of flea markets, block parties, canal parties and continuous beer drinking.

I shall be joining the million or so people who descend on Amsterdam tomorrow. Normal service will be resumed on Thursday.


Iraq News: And Now for Something Completely Different

Archaeologists in Iraq believe they may have found the lost tomb of King Gilgamesh - the subject of the oldest book in history.

Will Chirac be Saddams last victim?

Labour MP, Ann Clwyd has called on the French parliament to investigate the claims in documents found in Iraqs foreign ministry that French and Iraqi secret services co-operated to disrupt a Paris meeting of human rights group Indict.

These are serious allegations and, if it is proven that the French security services were working with Iraq as recently as 2000 to prevent the appalling crimes of the Baathist regime from coming to light what little credibility Chirac still has will be gone for good.

An end to productivity

According to iSeries News, corporate instant messaging (IM) is set to mushroom.

Personally, I find instant messaging intrusive, distracting and annoying and I genuinely dont see where it can provide any business advantage.

Email is an ideal method for communicating large amounts of factual information, but if you want an immediate response its much better to pick up the phone. (Im assuming, not necessarily correctly, that no-one would even casually consider using IM to communicate with people in the same office.)

Adding yet another communications tool to the corporate environment without a clear vision of its intended benefits and a clear understanding of its costs will simply add to the noise and make useful information even harder to identify.

The Children of Reality

Taken at a roadside market in Cambodia, this girl was not more than 10 years of age with this small baby in arm.

Poverty is one of the most oppressive realities most of the world lives with throughout thier lives

From deviantART

But would it win an Oscar?

From THE BIBLE: Post-Modern Edition

In the beginning, the signal had yet to be broadcast. A darkness covered the scene.

Then God said, Lights!

God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from darkness and created three work shifts: Day, night and graveyard.

Then God said, Camera!

So God started G3 Studios, and hired all manner of creative-types. Writers and computer animators alike.

Through creative script writing and cutting-edge computer animation, his peeps formed water under the sky to be gathered into a single basin, so that dry land might be added digitally around that basin. God saw how good it was.

They then added vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth.

Soon, God suggested, Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.

I know Im only the producer/director, God said, but you might want to take my suggestion under advisement.

Usually, the creative-types working under God merely tolerated his suggestions - after all, THEY were the artists - but, they thought this time, that aint half-bad!

And so it was done.

But something seemed to be missing. So a staff meeting was held, and much brainstorming ensued. Out of that conference came MAN.

Being a bit of a narcissist, God wanted man created in his image.

Two sexes were created. Man and woman.

For the purposes of dramatic tension, as one writer put it.

And, thusly, God said, Action!

God looked at everything that had been created, and he found it award-winning.

Or, to quote God directly, Hey Its all good!

(Via When Worlds Collide)

Powers of Ten

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.

Start Here

Clarke insists councils held back schools cash

UK Education Minister accuses local authorities of withholding vital money for school improvements

Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education accused council leaders yesterday of withholding �500m from schools and warned they could be stripped of their funding powers.

He told the NASUWT that he would publish a detailed analysis of how each local authority had allocated money to its schools on 2 May. He said it would not be right to name and shame until after the local government elections on 1 May.

Call me an old cynic if you like, but Id be willing to bet that if most of the councils accused of withholding funds were Conservative run, Charles Clarke would have no qualms about naming and shaming them in the run up to the local elections.

And tolerance for some

According to BBCi

The Dixie Chicks have said they fear for their lives following the backlash against singer Natalie Maines comments about US President George Bush.

The band say they have received death threats after Maines told a London audience she was ashamed that Mr Bush came from her home state, Texas.

Whether you agree with Natalie Maines or not, she has every right to express her opinion.

Freedom To Speak project extends to Tribeca and Cannes

According to Screen Daily,

The Freedom To Speak (f2s) forum, which gave filmmakers an opportunity to express their views on the threat of war in Iraq during February�s Berlinale, is also to be created at the forthcoming Tribeca (May 3-11) and Cannes (May 14-25) film festivals.

Our goal is to bridge the gap of communication between France, Germany and the US through an international community of filmmakers, say the f2s organisers.

Anything that helps to bridge cultural gaps and promote understanding is, in my view, a good thing and I wish them the best of luck.