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Archive for January, 2004

Frontpage of the Day

Posted by Ed on January 29, 2004

from the Mirror.

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Hutton verdict

Posted by Ed on January 28, 2004

Today the Hutton inquiry into the death of David Kelly, the government weapons expert who committed suicide, was published. The inquiry examined the events leading up to the scientist’s death, whether the government had acted improperly in its treatment of him, and whether the BBC, and in particular Andrew Gilligan, had acted improperly.

It was fairly obvious that the government and prime minister, TB, would come up smelling fairly sweet (you don’t order an inquiry if you’re not reasonably confident of this), but I for one did not expect them to come up smelling of an entire rose garden. In short, Hutton has completely absolved the government, and given the BBC a right drubbing. I think Channel 4 news stalwart Jon Snow summed it up best:

“Whatever, the likelihood is that the BBC and its fate will now come to dominate the debate rather than the issues surrounding the war. As regards the BBC, whatever mistakes were made, government clashes with the state broadcaster are dangerous, there are implications for every journalist. This is very dicey territory. We could find that the death of David Kelly ends up robbing Britain of the best public service broadcaster in the world. To the great joy of several newspaper magnates and their empires.

“This is one of the most worrying and difficult days of my broadcasting career. I hope we rise to the occasion. We shall be trying at seven.

So the result today was Tony Blair demanding apologies from the BBC, Her Majesty’s Opposition and everyone who questioned his integrity in the run-up to the war, and the chairman of the BBC resigning his post. but before we get carried away and slink off home thinking, “Oh well, I suppose old TB was right all along…”, let’s not forget that Hutton’s remit was very narrow, focussing really only on Kelly’s death, and not answering the far wider questions about the whereabouts of the WMDs, or the quality of the intelligence which led TB (he seems to be the only one left that still believes in them – even GWB now talks of Hussein wanting to develop programmes to develop WMD) to believe in the existence of WMD.

There will be many people who find this completely unsatisfactory, and will still demand a proper inquiry into the reasons given to us for going to war with Iraq. Its not over yet.

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Trouble with tickers

Posted by Ed on January 23, 2004

The Guardian has introduced a new ticker which causes my browser (Mozilla on Linux) to die instantly. In Konqueror its fine, and the BBC News site, which also features aforementioned evil device, poses no problems. Anybody else having trouble with this? My Java installation appears to be fine.

Posted in Web/Tech | 4 Comments »

Guardian answers chat-show host

Posted by Ed on January 15, 2004

Following Kilroy-Silk’s “What have the Arabs ever done for us?” diatribe in the Express last week, The Guardian, kindly provides him with a few answers.

Posted in Web/Tech | 1 Comment »

Banishing words

Posted by Ed on January 5, 2004

No sooner has the Oxford English Dictionary accepted a word, than LSSU decides to banish it. Ok, so I couldn’t actually find bling bling in there, but MTV says its there, so it must be true.

Yes its the 2004 List of Banished Words from LSSU featuring amongst others, ‘bling-bling’, ‘punked’ and ‘shock and awe’. Actually I’m quite disappointed, having only just learnt ‘bling-bling’ and not yet having had the chance to use it. Oh well.

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Open Access Publishing

Posted by Ed on January 4, 2004

The BMJ has an excellent editorial on the rise and rise of open access publishing since the launch of PloS Biology a few months ago, blaming at least in part the rapidly increasing prices of conventional journals:

The main driver for this switch has been unsustainable developments in the publishing industry. Over recent years, journal prices have increased far faster than the underlying rate of inflation. As their budgets have failed to keep up, cash strapped librarians have cut back on subscriptions. To compensate for lost profits, publishers have increased their prices even further—a death spiral that few traditional publishers seem ready to escape.

Thanks to OhioLink, staff and students at Case can publish free of charge in Open Access journals.

Posted in Science | Leave a Comment »