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2003 (old posts, page 6)

Cliches are bad enough

Maybe I'm being pedantic, but it really amuses me when people try to use a cliche and get it wrong. Two gems today: My debt is over, it's a relief off my shoulders and Very satisfied customers are my top priority.. and the displeased ones?

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Dude where's my ride?

It's a sure sign you've been in the bar too long when you stand in the cold for thirty minutes absolutely convinced they've simply torn down the shelter and the bus will come around the corner any second. A quick trip to Dicks helped me realize I was waiting on the wrong street and the rest of the journey passed without event. It's that attitude of 'it must be here because here's where I remember it last time I was in the bar' over 'maybe I don't remember perfectly' is precisely why there's a problem with drinking and driving - the definition of 'drink responsibly' changes somewhat during the process of drinking responsibly.

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A trip down memory lane

Dave and I have just spent a thoroughly enjoyable four hours on IM trying to better each other with web sites that revive memories from years gone by. Even when the memories of a place may be vague, it's amazing how quickly they come flooding back so vividly from just a single photo or recollection.When young, a two storey building looks and feels like a skyscraper, playing fields seem to go on forever into the horizon, and walking distances always seemed further. Why does that size change so much as you get older?

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The neutral media

Today is the first day I've abstained from any news in almost six weeks; as a conscious decision, I knew it was bound to bring some mixed feelings. At 5.30 this morning, I sat down with my usual cup of coffee and wondered what to do, surely there was 'knowledge' to be gained from CNN, but I resisted the urge. I followed up on some mail, wrote part of a spec and headed off to work. The day passed, happy hour came and went and the night wound to a close.The world could have ended today and I don't know it yet. Of all the things I feel like right now, from the special fry up, Dicks burger or sweet dreamy sleep, nothing is quite going to hit the mark until I know.My intense interest in current affairs is somewhat of a recent habit. For several years I've kept a fairly close eye on world affairs, but it's become far more than that. I watch several cable news channels concurrently, flipping between them almost desperately trying to figure out the 'real' story. In truth, I'm realizing it simply doesn't exist - for every opinion you see in one direction, how do you know there aren't ten times as many in another. Sensationalist stories see, no doubt about it; what's worse is that I'm still running on the belief that if I see enough of them I'll get a balanced picture. And I even know about the Emperor's Nose.Live videophone footage may be compelling viewing, but it is to the detriment of the larger picture. Realistic extrapolation is not a strong point of most human beings, one tends to belief what they see, rather than what they're told or know. The ability to take all that information and see the forming trend is a highly valuable skill. Maybe top politicians and commanders have it, maybe they don't. Good judgment only counts when luck is on your side.All said and done, I still know that everything I see on CNN is true. I guess I've not learnt anything today.

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Where am I

It's been far too long without any posts, things have been somewhat hectic of late. The war came and went, overall it'll probably go down as a fantastic success, but there's still a way to go before Iraq has been fixed. I'm not quite sure where the sudden urge to move on and 'liberate' Syria has come from, but I seem to recall the same sudden urgency around Iraq many months ago. So many interesting things came out of the media coverage, maybe I'll bring a few of them up over the next several weeks.Just came across a report about sleep deprivation, which I completely believe. It concludes that six hours or less per night has serious effects on performance and cognitive ability, no surprise there. My discovery that I genuinely feel better after four hours than six is probably not helping my state of mind, but it's definitely keeping sleep up there as my number one hobby. I'd be intrigued to know the effects of binge sleeping (ah, the joy of weekends) but I don't imagine it's a worthy replacement. Starbucks has just bought Seattle's Best Coffee, so at least there's not going to be any shortage of the bean in this city.

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SARS moveable type busy at

SARSmoveable typebusy at workbrowsing with edboat racehttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2921807.stm

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\"We're going to leave this

"We're going to leave this live broadcast from Geoff Hoon, British Defense Secretary, and focus on the crash of two British Sea King helicopters because there was an American on board"

It's certainly interesting to see how news is priortized during this campaign.

Meanwhile, depending how much you believe the propaganda, it looks as though things are going well. I've seen the Iraqi's dancing in the streets as promised, only it's just three people, and the cable channels are running the same tape over and over again.

Live feeds from say Al Jazeera and Iraqi state TV the would certainly help to create a more balanced believable set of reports of what is going on.

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War starts, life goes on

The full-scale war in Iraq has commenced. Despite my somewhat anti-war stance, I was somewhat impressed with the 'decapitation attempt', sending cruise missiles into a specific target in Baghdad before declaring war. Although it seems the ultimate goal wasn't reached, it would have been interesting to see how things panned out had events been different.

CNN is certainly changing the face of war. Before going out this evening, I have the TV on for about forty minutes, and two things struck me. Firstly, the webcam quality images from fast vehicles moving through the Iraqi dessert in real time conveys both how real this situation is, as well as how uneventful periods of combat can be. Secondly, I was absolutely amazed how all news channels seemed to fill 24 hours of constant coverage with about 8 minutes of real content, while constantly claiming 'we're not quite sure what's going on'. So, technology isn't quite there yet; when news agencies have their own imaging satellites, this will be a totally different story.

Seattle traffic downtown has been completely disrupted during rush hour for the last two nights, with protests and marches happening on busy city streets. While these protests are undoubtedly frustrating other drivers, it'll be interesting to see whether anyone takes notice.

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And so it begins

Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours.
Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.

So it's going to happen and I'm still not a believer. As expected, the markets rallied today, which makes no sense to me: war - happy investors, no war - happy investors, uncertainty - cautious investors, bad for the stock market. Since both outcomes seem to make them happy, how should uncertainty matter?

Meanwhile, regular TV programming was mostly scrapped this evening, giving way to shows like 'When democracy fails'. The news people all seem very excited to finally be using their prepared maps, animations and mini-reports that have clearly been sitting in waiting for a while.

It will be very interesting to see how journalism comes across live and uncensored from the front lines (as the US armed forces policy now supports). Technology now opens up a very new experience, being placed in the middle of the action while in the comfort of home. It's bound to have an effect on public opinion, but I'm not sure which way just yet.

In other news, Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks fame makes a supreme misjudgment over peoples sensitivity to remarks about their president. Who's being silly here? The jury's still out. And as if that wasn't enough the puzzling illness currently vexing scientists would normally be huge news, but has been made insignificant by other happenings. Let's hope it stays that way.

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Time for war

Tomorrow is the day that we will determine whether or not diplomacy can work

It looks like this is it. The threat of war has been on the sidelines for some time now, but as citizens are advised to leave Israel, Syria and Kuwait, along with Iraq, St Patricks Day may take on a different meaning tomorrow.