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Date:2010-03-03 15:56
Subject:Why pagan gods rule

Wole Soyinka on the Nigerian underwear bomber:

"The Muslim Abdulmutallab believed in his own, alien deity, and yet, another deity - Ogun - protected his fellow travelers. In this case, the indigenous deity that Abdulmutallab carried inside him - Ogun, the god of wayfarers - thwarted his plan. The young man's suppressed deity came out."

Here, he chuckled wisely and added: "It's a poetic conceit, but I love it."

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Date:2010-02-28 13:18
Subject:For Purim

Not quite Purim Torah, but definitely in that spirit. Which 20th century Orthodox Jewish sect did Moses belong to? The Torah, as this video demonstrates, makes the answer indisputably clear.

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Date:2009-09-04 23:30
Subject:Oh dear

You know you've been cursing the dog a little too freely when you say "idiot of a lummox", and he comes bounding up with his tail wagging hopefully.

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Date:2008-11-09 18:59
Subject:I never realised...

It just struck me that the Old Testament is principally an economic document. It's almost entirely about prophets and laws.

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Date:2008-09-22 10:42

Here's a summary of belief in God in the US, produced by the Pew Research Center:

The fact that belief in God in general is a lot higher in the US, I can understand. But that 21% of atheists believe in God? 21 % of atheists???

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Date:2007-06-27 14:49
Subject:One knows one is tired when...

...one reads a reference to "Indus valley seals", and thinks "Wow, they travel that far south?"

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Date:2007-06-10 22:29
Subject:To soothe tired eyes...

...a few minutes of beauty

I must say the author's managed to compile an excellent selection, and do a wonderful job of morphing. It's interesting to see how ideas of what features are "beautiful" have changed over the years, and yet how much they've stayed the same. Dare I hope for a brief lecture from Professor Kalogjera...?

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Date:2007-03-20 14:13
Subject:A petition

This is an uncharacteristically serious post from me, but the academic in me is rather irritated by all this.

There've been reports in academic newspapers that Her Majesty's Government is planning to cut the British Library's annual budget by 7%. This will be an utter disaster for the Library, who are likely to have to start charging readers for admission, cut their opening hours, and severely curtail or possibly even close the Colindale Newspaper Library.

If you are a resident or citizen of the UK, and would like to register your opposition to these cuts, there is now a petition on the PM's website:


The present Government actually pays attention to popular petitions, so do circulate this as widely as you can.

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Date:2007-02-27 01:22
Subject:Those filthy rich Norwegians

From the BBC:

"A Norwegian artwork featuring thousands of pounds worth of banknotes glued to a canvas has been stolen from the Oslo gallery where it was on show. The artwork, entitled Relative Value, was made up of 100,000 notes of 1,000 kroner (£83; 124 euros) each, belonging to the artist, Jan Christensen... He said he found it puzzling that someone might wish to risk jail for relatively small amount of money, and is unsure as to what type of person would have stolen his art."

Right... so 100,000 notes of 1,000 NOK is a total of 100 million NOK. That's £ 8,300,000 or €12,400,000. A "relatively small amount of money."

"Relative Value", indeed!

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Date:2007-02-24 18:34
Subject:Yet another quiz thingie

Ultimate Bible Quiz
You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Should I be nervous?

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Date:2007-02-11 22:47
Subject:I love Wikipedia

While searching for something completely different today, I stumbled across this gem on a talk page:

The top picture with Jinnah and Ghandi must be removed instantly, it is offensive, insensitive, and ill timed to have such images with hegemonic and deep seated politcally motivated contations to be placed on Paksitan or wiki altogether.
There is no need whatsoever to include the Ghandi terrorist in a picture with Jinnah, Ghandi is not the founding father of Pakistan and is a man responsible for riots and influencing them by emotional blackmail (ie starvation), The terrorist was always locked into prison by the British and this should give you an indication of Ghandis intolarable charachter. Jinnah on the otherhand was a seperate individual with different rational and morals, he was never once in prisoned, and he led a DEMOCRATIC move that was peaceful. There is no need to have Jinnah in a picture with Ghandi as there is with Churchill and Hitler on the Churchill webpage, churchill stood for peace and democracy likek jinnah, Ghandi like Hitler stood for Facism and violence.
With utter disgust, A Pakistani.

However, there does not seem to have been an edit war about adding Gandhi to Category:Terrorists.

How disappointing.

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Date:2007-01-27 15:04
Subject:O tempora! O mores!

Browsing through the British Library's Index of Theses is a fairly interesting experience. One of the more fascinating things is how much ideas of what is a researchable topic seems to have changed in the past century. Back in the 1930s, you find doctoral theses on amazingly broad topics:

*Damages for breach of contract
*The law of civil causation
and even (my favourite)
*Criminal law

Now compare that with the sort of topics one sees nowadays:
*The selection of the governing law in petroleum arbitration with the Middle East
*The protection of the expectation interest in loss of volume situations under the Vienna Convention
*The competitive effect of English meet-or-release clauses in dynamic producer goods markets

And indeed, a research proposal which presented a broad topic, like the ones from the 1930s, would be rejected with enough vigour to put it into a geostationary orbit. Perhaps this explains the grumbling about today's academics not being able to see the broader picture?

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Date:2006-12-14 19:57

When working on a Ph.D., one teeters on the brink of insanity.
Submitting is a bold step forward.

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Date:2006-11-08 11:52
Subject:Keeping traditions alive

One of India's many painting traditions is scroll painting. The style is quite closely related to the minatures which were used to illustrate mediaeval and early modern manuscripts. We don't do manuscripts any longer, but it's interesting to see just how much of a living tradition scroll painting continues to be.

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Date:2006-10-28 23:32
Subject:An interesting disclaimer

I've seen plenty of disclaimers in my time (obviously, as a lawyer...), but this one sort of took the cake.

Hmmm... I almost tyoped "href" as "hrav" ("HaRav" means "the (great) rabbi"). Are mighty forces at work here?

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Date:2006-10-08 16:25
Subject:Who ate the vwlls?

While typing about nothing in particular in Norwegian today, I found I'd typed this string of consonants in the middle of a word:


The word was "medlydsklyngjer", which, appropriately enough, means... "consonant clusters."

Of course, "y" is a vowel in Norwegian so it's cheating slightly, but it *looks* like a consonant to English-speakers and the point of it all is, of course, to drive them insane. Beat that if you can, you east Europeans!

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Date:2006-10-06 10:35

I don't write very often, but when I do, this, it would seem, is what I've been writing aboutCollapse )

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Date:2006-06-08 23:23
Subject:Haiku spam. Adapted from today's mail

good luck comes your way
a big prize draw you have won
Your account number?


a tube of white cream
used with your undersized thing
her joy multiplies


my ill-gotten gains
I would like to send to you
from Nigeria


teen girls frolic nude
with friendly farm animals
watch for a small fee


Do you want software?
Buy it pirated from us
for three times the price


wealth is a burden
let us ease your misery
click on the link now

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Date:2006-05-24 18:55
Subject:Baruch Hashem!

You know the difference between a Borsalino and a Stetson
and your gedolim cards selection is almost complete.
You never ever wear jeans, period.
The gedolim are probably so proud of you.

NerdTests.com User Test: The Orthodoxy  Test.

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Date:2006-02-25 20:58
Subject:Toast me! Or should that be Roast me!

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Eigth Level of Hell - the Malebolge!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

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