Politics and News
See also: Alternative News
The No War Collective
Like the War On (Some) Drugs before it, the War On (Some) Terrorism claims to be against a noun in general but ignores most of the targets that that noun seems to suggest - the many legal drugs, the many state and other terrorists supported by the US, the terrorism of our own policies - while victimising masses of people who have done nothing wrong. The world is crying out for peace and justice while our leaders pretend that the cause of peace is served by war and bombing, and the cause of justice is served by imposing free-market capitalism on poor countries while the rich West continues subsidise with impunity. If democracy counts for anything, we must do what we can to fight against the hypocrisies of our leaders and the crimes committed in our names.
9-11 Peace delivered an online petition to world leaders with 700,000 electronic signatures, soon after the start of the conflict. They now provide a page with links to help people continue to apply pressure on our leaders.
A huge collection of (mainly) political articles and resources. I strongly urge everyone to read what Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Naomi Klein and others have been saying following the terrorist attacks against and by America.
See also the sections on global economics, animal rights and the Middle East, among other things. Each features large numbers of links as well as excellent featured articles, many of which are really essential reading for anyone who is concerned about anything outside of their own neighbourhood. Also housed here is the invaluable Noam Chomsky archive; if you have never read any of Chomsky's political writings it is probably time you did, especially if you are under the impression that American and UK foreign policies are or have ever been geared towards the promotion of things like democracy and human rights. There is an interesting article about Noam Chomsky here. He might not be right about everything himself, but he has a great talent for pointing out just how wrong other people are.
A good UK alternative news source; reports with great integrity on the things the mainstream media carefully ignores or consistently misrepresents.
Similar sort of thing (perhaps a little more militant), published as a weekly newsletter.
Guerrilla News Network
International 'Guerrilla News' organisation.
UK Independent Media Centre
Another valuable source of independent reporting. See also the international version.
No news is good news? Ha! If you think that then you haven't read Positive News. Go and educate yourself.
Monthly ecology journal.
Whole Earth Magazine
On-line magazine of environmentalism and anti-capitalism.
The web pages of The Guardian and The Independent newspapers respectively. Some good stuff here. Also much dross. Both papers, although undoubtedly much better than most of the UK's mainstream media in many ways, nevertheless toe the official line with disappointing regularity.
Valuable human rights watchdog. Successive British governments have shown brazen disregard for civil liberties; 'Law And Order' is apparently more of a vote-winner than respect for human rights.
Corporate Watch and Corporate Watch UK
Keeping an eye on the multinational corporations. Somebody needs to.
The encroachments of the European Union into whatever democracy we have are a favourite subject for tabloid carping, but more significant on a global scale are the workings of far less accountable international institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. Yet so far our politicians are getting away with leading us and the rest of the world - with next to no discussion - into ever more agreements like the MAI, signing away even more of the power held by somewhat democratically accountable national governments into the hands of organisations with astonishingly little public accountability and unremittingly, negligently corporatist agendas.
Here are some pages about just a few of the companies whose practices you need to be aware of if you prefer to avoid sponsoring human rights abuses and environmental degradation:
Stop Esso vs Esso's own site
Esso - or ExxonMobil as it is known in America - is the largest oil company in the world and the second largest company overall. They stubbornly refuse to accept the weight of evidence for global warming and spend vast amounts promoting the view - almost unanimously rejected by climate scientists - that there is still serious doubt about the reality and danger of global warming. They also donated huge quantities to both sides in the American presidential election (but especially the Republicans); it is widely felt, and with good reason, that President Bush's rejection of the Kyoto treaty had more to do with the money he gets from oil companies than it had to do with any reasoned scientific argument. Meanwhile, Esso doesn't spend any money at all on renewable energy and continues to be one of the biggest contributors to the coming environmental catastrophe.
McSpotlight vs McDonalds Corporation
Spotlight on the global burger giant. Originally started during the McLibel trial, in which the McDonalds corporation spent millions on suing a couple of unemployed activists for libel over a leaflet - 'What's Wrong With McDonalds' which made a wide range of criticisms of the multinational's practices, the vast majority of them well-founded. If you don't get what's wrong with McDonalds yet, you must have a look at this site.
Baby Milk Action vs Nestlé
Mainly focused on Nestlé's deeply dubious promotion of formula baby milk to mothers who would almost certainly be much better off and healthier if they stuck to breast feeding.
Delta (Shell in Nigeria) vs Shell Corporation
The Shell Corporation is strongly implicated in a range of human rights abuses in Nigeria.
Boycott Bacardi vs Bacardi
Bacardi are among the major promoters of the USA's illegal and destructive blockade against Cuba.
Cannabis Prohibition: See separate page.
UK Political Parties:
- The Green Party - Britain is long overdue for some Green MPs. Their eminently sensible environmental policies are matched by a range of similarly wise policies in other areas. For isntance they espouse a Citizen's Income scheme and the replacement of VAT with a tax on environmental and social costs, policies I've been arguing for for years. They are also in favour of the legalisation of cannabis, which is obviously a good thing. If you get the chance, vote for these people! There's a lot of stuff that needs changing, and the big parties won't even talk about most of it.
- The Labour Party - The ruling tory party.
- The Conservative Party - The opposition tory party.
- The Liberal Democrats - The Lib Dems are now well to the left of the 'Labour' Party, and much less shifty.
- The Socialist Alliance - Not a bad thing. Now that the Labour party has abandoned socialism, it is vital that someone continues to stand up for it.
- The Socialist Workers Party - I am ambivalent about the SWP. On the one hand, they organise and demonstrate on a wide range of issues which really need demonstrating about; on the other hand they have a somewhat offensive habit of hijacking movements, and their remorselessly confrontational attitude is dangerously counterproductive. In a country that likes to think it is a democracy, revolutionary communism is all wrong.
- The Socialist Labour Party - Justifiably nostalgic for the days when the Labour Party was still basically socialist.
- The Natural Law Party - Well-known for their espousal of Yogic Flying; always entertaining.
- The UK Independence Party - Their priorities are very wrong, but their habit of stealing Tory votes means they are probably a good thing on balance.
Electoral Reform Society UK
Campaigning for the long-overdue reform of Britain's antiquated and undemocratic electoral systems.
Make Votes Count
Channel 4's Alternative Election
Politics isn't working. Channel 4 is very right about this. Among other things, their links page is excellent.
Graphics and Geometry
A huge and wondrous collection of geometrical links from David Eppstein.
World of Escher
A page devoted to the original geometer-artist, the genius M.C. Escher. Features plenty of pictures, stories, essays and an on-line shop.
Dave's Short Trig Course
An excellent short course on trigonometry, using Java to illustrate the central ideas.
The basic ideas of trigonometry are simple, beautiful and absolutely fundamental to just about everything.
See also my own tutorial...
Golan Levin's homemade tidbits/Home page
Golan Levin has produced more interactive geometrical animations than me, and they are stunning. I can't recommend this site highly enough.
Tarek Fouda's done some great stuff in Java too.
And so has Eyvind Almqvist.
...not to mention Glen Murphy.
Has a range of interesting geometry-related art.
A largely puzzling page, especially the choice of bright purple and yellow on the front page, but there's some excellent stuff in there.
Some great geometric applets here.
Home page of the mother of all fractal programs - Fractint includes a vast range of different fractals and assorted beautiful computational geometry.
The freeware ray-tracer/modelling language I used to create many of my animations.
A big site with lots of 3D resources - tutorials, models, and so on.
Another pretty big 3D site with resources, links to interesting 3D artists, and so on.
ACM SIGGRAPH Web Resources
A large and useful collection of computer graphics links.
Marijke van Gans
A collection of lovely little free programs, mostly mathematical and largely graphical, including the beautiful Dragomatic which is based on a piece of mathematics I discovered when I was much younger (not that I was the first to happen upon it). See also the Maxwellian Demon site.
Clifford Pickover's Homepage
Pickover has done much interesting and beautiful work on the intersection between art and mathematics, as well as writing many popular science books on a diverse range of topics. He has an excellent web page to show for it.
Symbolic Sculptures and Mathematics
A fascinating collection of mathematically thought-provoking sculptures and associated ideas.
Andrew Crompton's funky tessellations.
KnotPlot is a knot-plotting computer program; the site features lots of knot-related mathematics and art.
Computer-Drawn Celtic Knotwork
Very interesting, if you like that sort of thing.
A page about fractal tilings, as the name suggests.
Acme Klein Bottles
Need a zero-volume bottle? Searching for a one-sided surface? Want the ultimate in non-orientability? Get an Acme Klein Bottle!
Animation and ArtAnimation Magazine
A magazine about animation (you could probably have guessed that, right?).
Erm, a journal about animation.
And another one.
British Animation Studios
A pretty extensive directory of UK animation companies, useful for anyone looking for work in this area.
A great big collection of animation links.
As well as sections on their brilliant creations Chicken Run, Creature Comforts and Wallace & Gromit, this site has useful resources for animators in general and several discussion forums.
Semi-official website of the creators of Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, the Clangers, and about half of the rest of the best children's TV shows ever made.
A highly ingenious alphabetical menagery, with animations of twenty-six animals made entirely out of letters.
A vast collection of art contributed by random internet users, much of it really very good. My page on the site is here.
A huge directory of UK artists.
An internet art network.
Artists' collective and vegetarian cafe/gallery in Edinburgh. I love this place.
I have no idea idea what is going on here. Whatever it is is strangely compelling, if slightly disturbing. Uses Flash. Sounds Japanese, but it's hard to be sure.
An arts portal.
Ralph is an interesting artist and a Canadian autistic guy. See also Artisms & Autistry, a collection he maintains of art by and about autistic people.
Photography, design and digital arts from the talented Haje Jan Kamps.
Paul makes mesmerising, chaotic light sculptures using spinning ropes lit up by chromastrobic lights, and has also made some fun computer-based mathematical art.
Features an excellent claymation of an awards-ceremony showdown between Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
Art in Edinburgh:
I look after the Edinburgh Artists and Galleries section of the Open Directory Project, so the following list is probably reduntant, but I'm keeping it for now just in case.
Entertainment and Comedy
Dave's Web of Lies
Probably the world's largest dedicated repository of misinformation.
'America's premier news source.'
Hooray for the dancing hamsters! I also quite like Cowdance.
Martin Millar's Homepage
Martin Millar is a fine and funny author, and his web page includes nine of his short stories.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
'May we live long and die out.' The misunderstandings section is particularly entertaining. May not actually be a joke as such though.
My brother Leo's unfinished cartoon strip. 'Here at a secret subterranean location, top horticultural scientists are at work on high-tech, high-security research projects which could change the face of marijuana growing...'
Science and Observation
A fantastic collection of mathematical resources, finally back online after a year in legalistic hell!
Eric Weisstein's Treasure Troves of Science
A fine collection of scientific nuggets.
An impressive collection of mathematical links.
Everything2 Science Archive
A collection of writing about all aspects of science, selected by myself and the rest of the science writing group I lead on Everything2.
Web pages of the excellent science and technology weekly. The web page has been much reduced in scope of late. Although it's no longer quite the vast searchable wonder it once was, it is still an excellent source of up-to-date science news a good resource.
The journal of strange phenomena. People often forget it, but the world is truly a bizarre place and humans are, on the whole, kind of crazy.
A collection of digestible and very informative essays on information theory and physics and how they are related, as well as a forum for the discussion of scientific topics.
Web page of the redoubtable John 'Cloudman' Day, a seasoned sky-watcher and photographer. Most people don't pay nearly enough attention to the sky, in my book.
BBC Online Weather
BBC Online has some great resources, among them these pages on all aspects of weather.
Best of the Hubble Space Telescope
One of many sites showing beautiful pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope.
A wonderful guide to our solar system with pictures and plenty of information.
John Gribbin's Web Site
Seldom-updated web site of the physicist and popular science writer.
John Cramer's Web Site
Web site of another physicist and popular science writer, creator of the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
Stephen Wolfram's Web Site
Stephen Wolfram, creator of the well-known mathematical visualisation program Mathematica, has done some good stuff, but his book A New Kind of Science buries anything really interesting under a mountain of bombast.
Tesla Coil Photos
Tesla coils are amazing artificial lightning generators, invented by the eccentric genius Nikola Tesla.
Plasma Propulsion Patents
Plasma propulsion - gotta love it.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS)
Although their style is sometimes irritating, it's good that someone not directly funded by drug enforcement agencies is doing research on the psychedelics, MDMA and cannabis.
Autism & Computing
The web page of the non-profit organisation Autism and Computing, which seeks to explore and enable the use of computers by autistic people. Features a number of very interesting pieces.
Ooops! Wrong Planet Syndrome
Excellent, staggeringly comprehensive autism resource base.
Music and Lyrics
Lyrics and things.
Lyrics, notes, pictures, et cetera.
Belle & Sebastian
Pages of the Scottish 7-piece band.
The Kinks are great.
Excellent Canadian band.
The man's a genius. As is his sometime associate:
Official site; see also St Alphonso's Pancake Homepage.
Extensive database of words to folk songs, and a message board where you can ask for any lyrics that aren't listed already.
ZNet Lyrics Page
A surprisingly large collection of lyrics hosted on the ZMag site.
It's surprisingly difficult to find lyrics to roots reggae on the internet. Here are some.
'V' Lyrics Page
An assortment of lyrics from a wide variety of sources. Good stuff.
With lyrics to lots of old jazz and blues classics.
Programming and Gaming
Stupid name, but a good source of mainly graphics and game-related tutorials and articles.
On-line magazine on games and programming.
Game Developer Magazine
And another one.
Sun's extensive on-line documentation for Java. Dry but extremely useful if you're trying to program in Java.
A good source of games & graphics source code, with several nice demos.
A similar sort of thing.
And another one.
And another one, smaller.
Digital Game Developer
And - yes - another one. The web turns out to be full of these things.
Along similar lines, but dedicated to Java games. Includes several discussion forums.
Reference and Miscellaneous
For those who haven't yet discovered it, Google is by far the best search engine on the web: Fast, comprehensive and intuitive.
A lot of the time I find that rather than searching the web as a whole it is better to look things up in Everything2 - a sprawling, highly informative and entertaining interactive encyclopaedia project and general database of writing. I have written a couple of hundred pieces there myself, under the name of Oolong, and I am one of the site's editors.
Here are indexes of some of the subjects it has good coverage of:
- World History
- Classical Mythology
- Video Games
The BBC site is a great source of information on a wide range of topics. I'm not just saying that because I'm working for them.
Home of the Oxford Word and Language Service. Got a question about the English language? Ask Oxford! Great.
UK Slang Dictionary
Entertaining and potentially useful.
Home of the excellent Korean Online, as well as the Weekly Satirist and a program called SiteJacker.
A great resource for learning about Chinese, particularly the writing. Be warned though: It's image-heavy, so it's not much fun if you're on a slow connection.
Weed's Home Page
The man Weed has a foot in every category on this page, with sections on road protests, art and fractals among other things, and a fine (sprawling) collection of links.
David Eisenberg's Home Page
With great tutorials on Korean, Russian, modern Greek and trigonometry.
Philosophy and Religion
Some interesting articles here.
Lots and lots of links to sites having to do with atheism and its ilk.
Do Wong Chu's Curmudgeon Page
Michael Haggerty's site, which features many of links of interest to people with atheist leanings.
Church of the Sub-Genius
If you feel the need to join a church, you could do worse than these...
The Dalai Lama's Homepage
Beautiful pages of the exiled Tibetan leader, who has much wisdom to offer. See also:
A page on Tibet in general, including an interesting section on His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
A great site with a huge collection of full translations, including all the Taoist (Daoist) classics. Their facility for viewing two translations on the same page is a great idea, because any Chinese work loses (at best) shades of meaning when it's translated into English, which can only be recovered by comparing several translations or learning Chinese. The translations of the Tao Te Ching by Gia-Fu Feng, Stephen Mitchell and Jesse Garon all have a lot going for them.
Taoist Writings at Digiserve
A collection featuring extracts from most of the major Taoist works, including Thomas Merton's translation of the Chuang Tzu and Gia-Fu Feng's Tao Te Ching.
Tao Te Ching
Stephen Mitchell's fine translation of the Taoist classic as presented by some Marxist web site. Verse for the moment:
Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success of failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
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