January 2005 Archives



From the Apple movie trailers site: Appleseed.

Liberation of Death Camps


Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps.

On Making Light, We Never Knew takes apart the myth that the world was ignorant of Hitler's plan.

Europe vs America


Europe vs America, by Tony Judt.

As a consequence, Americans live shorter lives than West Europeans. Their children are more likely to die in infancy: the US ranks twenty-sixth among industrial nations in infant mortality, with a rate double that of Sweden, higher than Slovenia's, and only just ahead of Lithuania's—and this despite spending 15 percent of US gross domestic product on "health care"

via the Sideshow.


| | Comments (1)

Today, Apple released a bunch of new things including the Mac mini.

One area where the mini-macs could make a killing is as video conferencing machines.

I've been experimenting with iChat to AIM and the results are very patchy - the PC end of the connection gets very poor audio and video quality unless the interconnecting bandwidth is very high — like a T1 on each end.

The Mac end is reportedly very good. Even with a good connection, the PC user gets a small little window, while the Mac user gets to resize the window and has more control over what's going on.

Mac to Mac is much better, or so I'm told, even when the bandwidth is poor.

With the next OS X release, four-way chat will be possible, something beyond AIM at the moment.

OSX Tiger with four-way iChat and an iSight on a mini-mac sounds like a good, inexpensive solution for multi-way video conferencing. And ten-way audio conferencing.

Second hand Smoke


From today's Unlinkable SCMP:

Your leader "Time for sparks to fly in the war on smoking" (January 6) clearly demonstrates the Post's activist agenda. It also explains why you so readily accommodate letters merely expressing personal dislike of tobacco - unlike, say, stinking tofu (smell), chicken feet (appearance) or rain.

When someone uses the phrase 'Activist Agenda' like this, I always picture them as some rampant conspiracy theorist, convinced that the world is in cahoots against them.

The issue is not your opinion but you sacrifice basic standards of due diligence to support your agenda.

1. You must know very well that Thailand does not prohibit smoking in bars and yet you are grouping it with New York City and California (not quite the US) and Ireland to imply critical mass significance.

2. There are no findings that remotely support your claim that "restaurants and bars have continued to thrive in other parts of the world" after smoking bans were introduced. This claim is contradicted by your own reporting and goes against common sense: any restaurant or bar wishing to ban smoking is free to do so and reap the so-called financial rewards. Can't we settle on voluntary action based on self-interest, then?

Some reports backing up the SCMP claim, found by a few minutes web-searching:

3. Elementary due diligence would reveal that a 10-year study by WHO showed no "statistically significant" health impact of secondary smoke. This was a major letdown for anti-tobacco activists. Not for long. If facts stand in the way, bury or twist them.

This is odd. A search on the WHO website gives a lot of results, among which is this FAQ: requently asked questions about second hand smoke.

This contains the illuminating paragraph:

There is clear scientific evidence of an increased risk of lung cancer in non-smokers exposed to SHS. This increased risk is estimated at 20% in women and 30% in men who live with a smoker (2). Similarly, it has been shown that non-smokers exposed to SHS in the workplace have a 16 to 19% increased risk of developing lung cancer (3). The risk of presenting lung cancer increases with the degree of exposure. The Californian Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) estimates that SHS causes 3000 deaths each year due to lung cancer in non-smokers.

This hardly sounds like an organisation that has researched something and found that it had no ill effects.

In 15 years in Hong Kong, I have not experienced a single complaint from non-smokers in restaurants or bars. What happened to tolerance? We all have likes and dislikes, but do not embark on "wars" to have others conform to them.


It's a sad fact of life that, if you go out to a pub in Hong Kong, you're going to come home smelling of smoke. Most of us non-smokers don't complain about it to smokers in the bar, because it's our choice to go to the bar.

Tsunami Fundraiser @ Carnegies


Just received a communication on the musician's grapevine:

This Saturday there will be live music in Carnegies (Lockhart Road, Wanchai) in aid of the Tsunami Disaster appeal. Carnegies will be giving 50% of takings to Oxfam and there will be donation boxes around the bar so that you can chip in with much needed extra dosh. See you there.

Carnegie's Presents:


Two of Hong Kong's Best Live Bands,

One Night Only

9th State

Tunnel Vision

w/ Special Guests

Your Donations and Half of Every Purchase to OXFAM

This Saturday Night (8th Jan.), 9PM

Carnegies Presents.pdf

Happy New Year


A happy and prosperous new year to all.

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