Archive for the ‘People’ Category


Mark Zuckerberg might be a creep

In Mark Zuckerberg,People on Saturday 3rd May, 2014 by Guy Tagged: , , , ,

You might have heard of Mark Zuckerberg. He founded a website called Facebook (originally Thefacebook, originallyer Facemash).

Before that, Zuckerberg developed an MP3 player, Synapse Media Player (website defunct). Some people didn’t like it, going so far as to claim it ripped off the venerable Winamp. However, Zuckerberg claimed he and his co-developer were offered almost a million US dollars for it. Maybe. But then he also claimed he might make release the player’s source code, and ten years later he still hasn’t, so maybe we shouldn’t necessarily believe everything he says.

The big deal about the player was that it was supposed to automatically pick the next song you would want to listen to. And why did Zuckerberg think you would want to do that? According to the original website (now defunct, remember?):

At some point in every man’s life, he’s bound to find himself in bed with a Chinese girl. It may happen suddenly, and you may not remember how it happened, but it will happen — I guarantee that. When the time comes he needs to be ready. He needs his full arsenal at hand. And by this I mean music. Too many times has the playlist run short on soft acoustic guitar songs, quieting the room to an awkward silence and giving the Chinese girl a chance to reconsider what she’s about to do. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty.

As a matter of fact, it’s happened to me. And so we have spent the better part of the last six months of our lives making sure it doesn’t happen to you. Because if it ever does, you won’t be able to say “Why the hell doesn’t my MP3 player just know what songs I want it to play?”

We’ve got you covered. Use the Brain.

Thanks, but no thanks. And to try to cover this up, a copy of his website has been excluded from the Internet Archive.


A class act all round. Perhaps eventually a Chinese girl married him for a reason other than his personality?



Not news: Cambridge still full of Tabs

In People,Politics on Monday 8th February, 2010 by Guy Tagged: ,

From the Jewish Chronicle:

Benny Morris talk cut by Cambridge Israel society

Cambridge University’s Israel Society has been slammed for bowing to pressure from Muslim students to cancel a speech by a top Israeli historian.

Benny Morris used to be an enfant terrible of the Israeli history establishment, and was considered a “revisionist” for questioning the mainstream historiography of that country, especially with regards to its war of independence in 1948 and the exact nature of what happened to the Arabs living in Israel at that time. At some point in the mid-1990s he even considered moving away from Israel because of the hostility he was facing for carrying out his research.
Which is why this story is so incredibly stupid. Why would Muslims want his talk to be cancelled, and not the right-wing Israelis who disagree with his view of history?
The article continues:

Prof Benny Morris had been due to speak on Thursday, but the event was cancelled after complaints from, among others, the university’s Islamic and Pakistan societies who claimed he was an “Islamophobic hate speaker”.

He must hate absolutely everybody then. No examples were given in the article of any Islamophobic comments he made.

[…] the JC understands the cancellation may have been part of a pre-emptive strategy ahead of a planned visit by Daud Abdullah, Muslim Council of Britain deputy secretary.

He is due to speak on February 18 as part of Islam Week. Last year he signed the Istanbul Declaration which threatened violence against supporters of Israel and British troops. Cambridge’s Jewish students now plan to ask for his invitation to also be withdrawn.

The level of Stupid here is now too high. In order to get a talk by someone advocating violence cancelled, the Israeli society needs to “balance” it with its own cancellation? What exactly is Morris accused of, which is equal to threatening violence against those exercising their right to free speech?

Mr Witzenfeld said: “While Prof Morris’ contribution to history is highly respectable, his personal views are, regrettably, offensive to many.

Ultimately, we place respect for those who have been offended above the importance of hosting this speaker.” [emphasis added]

So Morris is simply accused of offending someone, somewhere. By that standard, no-one will ever give a talk at the Israel Society. How about intellectual curiosity and integrity being a priority instead, Mr Witzenfeld, and letting those who are offended by intelligent debate simmer in their self-righteousness while the adults get on with their lives?
Some questions that need to be answered, urgently: how did the society come to make this decision? Was it made purely by Mr Witzenfeld, by the committee, or by the membership? If Morris is an unacceptable speaker, why was he invited in the first place?
The final irony is that Morris is going to speak at Cambridge (his alma mater, for goodness sake!) anyway:

Prof Morris said: “Basically, it is foolishness. But the cancellation has generated an invitation for me to speak at Cambridge’s Department of Political and International Studies, which will have a bigger audience.”

If the leadership of the Israel Society of Cambridge is the cream of the crop of British Jews, I’m very worried for the future.


RSS feed of Christopher Hitchens’ self-attributed work

In Christopher Hitchens,Media,People on Wednesday 23rd January, 2008 by Guy

UPDATE: You just want the damn link, don’t you? Here it is, philistine:


Christopher Hitchens is a writer of both hefty repute and substantial disrepute. I came across his ornamental, offensive, and thoughtful prose on, where he has a column. He seems to be a little more famous now, thanks to the publication of his latest book, “God is not Great”, an anti-theist tract. With a propitiously controversial topic, and published at around the same time as Richard Dawkins’ soothingly-titled “The God Delusion”, it sold quite a lot of copies, and thence gave Mr. Hitchens a good few opportunities to speak his mind on these matters at various debates and gatherings: a delight for the likes of you and I, as Mr. Hitchens is also rather good at venting his sharp, polite insults orally (for an example of his supreme wordsmanship, you could do worse than click on this link to a video of him giving his less-than-complimentary opinion of the very late, and hopefully speedily rotting, Jerry Falwell).

Given these attractions, would it not be nice in the extreme, nice to the bleeding edge of niceness, to have a way to read his latest über-guff? Instead of maintaining a blog or some even more newfangled device, Mr. Hitchens maintains a webpage of his oeuvre, intermittently updated. Yippee doo da!, and other exclamations of joy!

But what if you don’t want to, or can’t, or simply shouldn’t visit this webpage every time you want to find out if the great man has done some more great work, especially when you run the risk of disappointment that nothing has changed there in the 30 minutes since you last checked? Why, my poor, deluded, pathetic friend, you can subscribe to an RSS feed of his page, preferably through my non-sponsor, Wait, there’s no RSS feed of his page, that sort of thing being one of those overly newfangled doodahs he can’t cope with? Don’t worry, I made one for him, with a little help from

That feed is linked… here. (If you’re using bloglines, as I recommended, you could try clicking here instead.) This is what you came for. Come and have it. Don’t read any of the preceding paragraphs: I certainly didn’t, and I’m supposed to have written them.

Go away now and read something by someone who knows what they’re talking about.

(If someone can get Christopher Hitchens to thank me personally, you don’t need to do that. It’s an honour to have done this for him. If he still wants to get in touch, I won’t stop him.)


On the virtues of frugality

In People on Thursday 11th January, 2007 by Guy

From an interview with the inestimable Bill Bryson, a truly great man:

[Bill] Bryson doesn’t consider [frugality] a shortcoming. “Cheapness,” he says, “is a great virtue.” Part of his appeal, the reason why reading him confers such pleasure, is his sensitivity to small gain. His pecuniary cheapness allows for a sort of extravagance of experience, an appreciation of the value that can be wrung from insignificant things. He still, for example, gets a jolt of pleasure every time he enters a hotel room. “I don’t know why, but I go in and I look around and say, this is my new home and look at all the lotions and shampoos… ooh, this is Molton Brown, and really have a happy minute or two.” The day before the interview he was walking through South Kensington, past the Victoria and Albert Museum: “And I had a moment where I thought, God, I’m really lucky that this is my life, and I’m not just a tourist here and I get to live here and see this stuff all the time.”

A legend of our time. Despite the nonsense that is the honours system, I’m glad he got an OBE, which is technically honorary due to his not being a British citizen. [The linked-to article claims that his Short History of Nearly Everything is partly about the English language, when it is not at all. Oh dear.] Why don’t you get ye olde British passporte, Bill? Is it because it now costs £66? Good on you. Thanks for the plug, by the way: it fits the sinkhole perfectly.