Cat Stevens: suicide bomber

The latest piece from the department of "we don’t just assume people are terrorists because they’re Muslims, honest": celebrity Muslim Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) has had his plane diverted and been refused entry to the US on ‘national security’ grounds.

Now, Mr Islam holds some fairly silly views, and the Americans are entitled to refuse to let him in their country. However, he’s very clearly not a terrorist (for example, he’s being put on a plane home, rather than a plane to Guantanamo Bay).

Throwing a full-scale terror alert, diverting a planeload of passengers to an airport 500 miles from their destination – and making them think they were in serious danger – is not a sensible way of dealing with a non-dangerous undesirable alien. Perhaps the Department of Transportation’s security systems need a little work…

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Sacre bleu

As an anti-freedom, anti-Western useful idiot, I feel obliged to point out that I don’t have a cabal of secret French advisors directing my posts.

On an unrelated matter, that Johnny Halliday is really something.

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How journalism works

Job applicants at the Sun are given a compulsory written test, during which they must turn a set of innocuous facts into a rabid conservative polemic(*).

The best candidates construct a narrative of treachery and vileness around the facts, so that readers come away from the sample article thinking ‘damn those Greens/Mothers Against Drink Driving/nuns/National Youth Orchestra’. Lower-caliber applicants merely present the innocuous facts using as many perjorative words as possible, so that readers instead think ‘what a miserable bastard this writer is for hating those nice Greens/Mothers Against Drink Driving/nuns/National Youth Orchestra for no reason’.

Today, the Sun appears to have mistakenly published a rejected applicant’s article on the Lib Dems.

(*) This description may not be authentic, but the facts behind it are very real.

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Interesting Google happenings

Search behemoth Google has used its IPO money to poach various developers with interesting CVs from Sun and Microsoft. Some hacks are speculating that Google plans to build its own web browser…

Certainly, the MS guys have IE experience – but one of them also led Access, and another was working on the new Windows release. Either Google’s also planning to launch its own midrange SQL database and its own desktop OS, or past performance may not be the best guide to the future.

Skills in building desktop software (and network applications, come to that) are relatively transferable, so it’s quite possible that Google just wanted some talented people to work on its current projects. My preferred theory, though, is that it hired them to scare the hell out of its competitors.

Prediction for next week: Google will recruit Sony’s head of PS3 software developmen. The rumours will fly about a free, handheld GConsole, which contains a gigabyte of flash RAM, but scans all your gameplay to show you adverts based on your performance.

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Annoyed grunt

Lib Dem Orange Booker Mark Oaten is absolutely right that training teenage joyriders to do useful things to the cars they enjoy playing with would be more sensible than either doing effectively nothing (as at present) or sending them to jail.

However, he should be horsewhipped by a collection of party worthies for mentioning "a creative scheme where they take youngsters that are joyriding and sent on certain tracks and go out racing cars". This isn’t a bad idea in the context of a ‘learning to do things with cars’ programme – but it won’t go down well with the bloodthirsty maniacs who make up the Great British Public, and it gives the Labour spin machine an excellent Lib-bashing stick.

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Furry bacteria

The little bastard in the picture kept me off work on Friday (actually, cheers for that), ruined my weekend, and has left me still feeling like shit today.

If he wasn’t so cute, I’d kill him with antibiotics… on the plus side, at least it’s not his meaner big brother:

(from the rather excellent GIANTmicrobes site, which sells various horrible diseases in soft toy format).

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Liberal conspiracy

The Hitler diaries are fake – therefore WWII must never have happened. It’s all a conspiracy by the liberal media/historian establishment, made up to discredit the Nazis for being anti-communist.

Also, any discussion of the relative merits of Axis and Allied powers is now automatically trumped by mention of the fake diaries.

(concept via Tbogg, among others)

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Support the Temple

Butterflies & Wheels today features the funniest and most effective article on animal suffering you’ll ever read. Nor is it callous – the article’s light humour creates a terrible contrast with the bleakest-paragraph-ever on brutal pig slaughter.

It also has an interesting digression on animal science professor Temple Grandin, who has designed many non-cruel slaughterhouses (well, non-cruel given the fact that animals die in them); as Backword Dave says, the fact that humane designs like hers aren’t mandatory is disgraceful.

Interestingly, Dr Grandin also believes that kosher and halal slaughter are humane methods of slaughter when done properly – suggesting that the UK’s Farm Animal Welfare Council are mad, stupid, bigoted or all three for allowing the vicious methods outlined on B&W while suggesting religious animal slaughter should be banned.

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