Day: July 2, 2002

American mujahid describes terror fight: ” Aqil Collins, an American Muslim freedom fighter who fought in Chechnya, Bosnia and Kosovo, says he volunteered to infiltrate bin Laden’s camp.” CNN

Wouldn’t the sentence ‘I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign’ have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?

Judge Says Executions Violate Constitution. The assault on the death penalty continues:

‘A U.S. district judge in New York ruled yesterday that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional because it creates “undue risk” of executing innocent defendants, the latest sign that DNA exonerations of death row inmates have begun to affect the way courts and legislatures think about capital punishment.’

This ruling is based not on the usual ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ foundation but due process concerns. Washington Post

Staggering AIDS Report From U.N.:

‘The global AIDS epidemic has only just begun, reaching proportions once considered impossible in the world’s most affected countries, the United Nations says in a devastating report released Tuesday.

HIV is spreading at alarming rates in Eastern Europe and Asia and “now outstrips even the worst-case scenarios” projected by epidemiologists tracking the deadliest disease in human history, the report says.’ Wired

Why Toshiba won’t sell you the coolest laptop around: “I’ll go out on a limb and claim that without advances in speech or handwriting recognition, a laptop’s footprint can’t get substantially smaller than this and still remain usable. You can’t get any smaller without shrinking the keyboard to the point where you can’t touch-type.” Slate

Rootless…

…but at Home in a Britannia All His Own: “The mutability of identity, the way people can slip in and out of personas to fit the occasion and confound and mollify others, is exactly what engages (british novelist Hari) Kunzru in his recently published first novel, The Impressionist. The book tells the story of Pran Nath Razdan, born in early 20th-century India to an English father and an Indian mother, and his cunning efforts to obliterate his past and make a life for himself in a world in which he has no natural place.” NY Times

My place in the Political Compass: Economic Left/Right: -6.75; Authoritarian/Libertarian: -7.54. But, to echo Rebecca, you already knew that about me…

As an inveterate Gaiman fan and a father who enjoys reading odd tales to my children [note to those of you who recommended it — we gave up on Lemony Snicket in disgust…] , I’m thrilled that Neil Gaiman‘s children’s book Coraline is out today. Here is a mini-review from the weblog of Jonathan Strahan, editor of Locus:

This is just nifty. It’s a 30,000 word short novel that tells of a young girl, Coraline, who moves into an odd old apartment with her distracted and much-too-busy parents. There are eccentric neighbours upstairs and downstairs, and a door in the living room that leads to nowhere (it was bricked up when the house was subdivided into apartments). Of course, the door does open, and into a place of threatening strangenesses where Coraline will encounter her “other mother”. Gaiman clearly knows what he’s doing here. His story telling voice is perfect (Gaiman often relates in his online diary how he regularly reads stories to his youngest daughter), and the story of a brave young girl overcoming incredible obstacles is the stuff of classics. I doubt I could be more impressed.

BTW, esteemed sci-fi writer John Shirley reviews Minority Report in Locus:

It must be both heaven and hell to master something this big, and it must happen all too rarely — yet Spielberg has done it. Oh there are flaws in the film, but not fatal ones…

And the enticing part:

The metaphysical hints and suggestions in Minority Report — rather like certain episodes of the The X-Files — are tantalizing, hinting of a spiritual, or at least a more psychically inclusive reality. Rightly, they are not deeply explored; they are a kind of background luminosity, only slightly more sharply seen here than in the real world.