May 21

I have received a death threat

Well, this is novel. I’ve just received a terroristic death threat. From
an idiot who failed to obscure his return path. Here it is, precisely as
I received it mere minutes ago:

From salehizadeh_atc@yahoo.com  Sun May 21 22:44:42 2006
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Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 19:43:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: hhh hyftyf 
Subject: Islam
To: esr@thyrsus.com
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-UID: 24454
X-Keywords:                                                                                                    
Status: RO
Content-Length: 343
Lines: 12

We have your address.

               YOU WILLBE KILLED
               YOU WILLBE KILLED
               YOU WILLBE KILLED
               YOU WILLBE KILLED
               YOU WILLBE KILLED

__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

http://mail.yahoo.com

I will report this threat to the appropriate authorities. I guess
all my writings about terrorism and Islam struck a nerve somewhere.

Here’s a message to whoever is behind this threat: Maybe you think
you can intimidate me, or that threats like this will stop other
bloggers from speaking the truth about your barbaric mass-murdering
death-cult. Well, screw you and the camel you rode in. I will not
be silenced, and we will not be silenced. All you do
with terroristic threats is to demonstrate your evil nature,
confirm our resolve to resist you, and speed the day when your
diseased ideology will be wiped from the face of the Earth.

May 04

The Eurogame Phenomenon

I enjoy strategy games. I’ve been playing them since the heyday of the elaborate hundreds-of-tiny-counters hex-map historical-simulation wargames in the 1970s and early 1980s. But those games don’t get played much any more, largely because they took so long to set up and
learn; after 1985 or so younger gamers moved to computer simulations instead, and as the hex-wargame genre stagnated many old-school gamers eventually abandoned it in favor of military-miniatures gaming.

Continue reading

Apr 30

Memetic Success

Bwahahaha! My sinister master plan for world domination is
working. Straight from the pages of the highest-quality general-news
magazine in English, check
this
out! The money ‘graf is the last one:

Moreover, the ease with which the internet spreads
wrong-headedness–to say nothing of lies and slander–is offset by the
ease with which it spreads insights and ideas. To regret the glorious
fecundity of new media is to choose the hushed reverence of the
cathedral over the din of the bazaar.

There’s an old saw to the effect that there’s no limit to what you
can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. More precisely,
when your signature memes start showing up as generative metaphors in
elite and popular usage with your name stripped off them, you
know you’re winning.

Winning, that is, at the only game that is really interesting –
changing the world.

(Hat tip to my blogson Walter Hunt over at Stone of Remembrance,
though I’d have seen it anyway in my weekly Economist and
later did.)

Apr 17

In the Belly of the Beast

In the beautiful-irony department, I have just learned that my name
and copyright now appears in the EULA (End-User License Agreement) of
a Microsoft product. A vector-graphics editor called “Microsoft
Expressions”, apparently — thanks to Martin Dawson for the
tip.

The history behind this is that GIFLIB is open-source software for
hacking GIF images — the direct ancestor of libungif, which is
the name under which the codebase is more widely known these days.
The original software was by Gershon Elber for DOS; around 1987 I
ported it to Unix, cleaned up the architecture, added numerous new
features, and wrote documentation. When Unisys started to jump salty
about the GIF patents in the mid-1990s, I handed the project off to a
maintainer outside U.S. jurisdiction, Toshio Kuratomi.

I have no idea why the copyright on this EULA is dated 1997, I
think that is a couple of years after I passed the baton to Toshio
Kuratomi.

Subsequently I did a lot of work on libpng, implementing 6 of the
14 chunk types in the PNG standard and designing a new more
object-oriented interface for that library. So if you use open-source
software that handles either of the two most popular raster-image
formats, it is rather likely that you rely on my code every day. Yes,
that includes all you Firefox and Netscape and Konq and Safari users
out there.

And now, my code is in a Microsoft product. This may not be the
first time; in fact, thinking about all the other places it would
have been silly for Microsoft to pass up using libpng and giflib,
it probably isn’t even the dozenth time.

I’m OK with this, actually. I write my code for anyone to use, and
‘anyone’ includes evil megacorporate monopolists pretty much by
definition. I wouldn’t change those terms retroactively if I could,
because I think empowering everyone is a far more powerful
statement than empowering only those I agree with. By doing so, I
express my confidence that my ideas will win even when my opponents
get the benefit of my code.

Besides…now, when Microsoft claims open source is inferior or not
innovative enough or dangerous to incorporate in your products or
whatever the FUD is this week, I get to laugh and point. Hypocrites.
Losers. You have refuted yourselves.

Apr 14

Apologists for Islam

Since I posted Dan Simmons’s
Message From The Future
, I’ve had a couple of Muslims show up on this
blog protesting that I’ve got it all wrong, that Islam is a peaceful
and tolerant religion and Islamic terror is an aberration not sanctioned
by the Koran.

Here’s a challenge to all you apologists for Islam: stand up in
your mosque and declaim, loudly, that religious violence is an
abomination against Allah — that those who use terror in a
program to restore the Caliphate, those who would execute ex-Muslims
who convert to any other religion, those who would condone ‘honor
killing’, and those who incite hatred against Jews and other Peoples
of the Book have fallen from the Narrow Way and will burn in hell with
the sons of Iblis.

If you are unwilling to do this for religious reasons, or fear to
do it because of the reaction of your fellow Muslims, then shut the
fuck up
about your so-called ‘religion of peace’, because you
are a liar and a hypocrite.

That is all.

Apr 10

My Comment Policy

I deleted a coment this morning.

This is not something I normally do, except for comments that are both anonymous and content-free — abuse and invective do not count as ‘content’ for this purpose. The comment I deleted this morning was not anonymous, and it could be argued that there was some content in it.

However, the content (if any) was drowned in a sewer-main’s worth of crude insults hurled by one respondent at another. I will not tolerate this, even when the insult-hurler is nominally on ‘my’ side of an issue.

Armed And Dangerous is not a public square and “free speech” standards do not apply here. If you have nothing to contribute to debate over the things I write about, I can and will cut you off at the knees. This applies to those who broadly agree with me as well as those who disagree. (If anything, I give my opponents a little more leeway than my allies.)

In my own small way, I’m trying to defend civilization here. So keep it civil. Or else.

Mar 27

Islam Is At War With Us

I’ve been warning since 2002 that the West really is in a war to
defend civilization against Islamic barbarians, and had better face up
to that fact before the consequences of whitewashing Islam as
a “religion of peace” get worse.

Comes now Fjordman, a blogger from Norway who tells us that Moslem
immigrants to Sweden report themselves to be
at war with Swedes
. See also his earlier post about how Swedish
society is disintegrating
— not despite its commitment to
‘multiculturalism’, ‘tolerance’, and the welfare state, but because
that commitment is being ruthlessly gamed by Islamofascists who see
themselves as the conquering vanguard of the Dar al-Islam.

Continue reading

Mar 17

The End of Faith

Sam Harris’s The End of Faith is a well-executed polemic of a kind that, in retrospect, has been curiously absent in the West over the last fifty years. Not since I read Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian in the early 1970s have I seen an attack on organized religion as clear, uncompromising, and compelling as this one — and Russell’s book was expanded from a lecture he gave in 1927.

Why, in a supposedly secular and modernist society that is heir to the anti-religious Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th century, do we not see more outright attacks on particular religions, or religion as an institution in general? Mr. Harris supplies a surprising answer: he thinks ‘tolerance’ is a problem, that the modern West has agreed to accept almost any form of unsanity or fanaticism as long as it is labeled ‘religion’.

Continue reading

Mar 14

The Rape Exception

Logicians know that when you deduce a contradiction, your premises are broken. When human beings express a contradiction, it usually means their true beliefs are not their stated or conscious ones; they’re rationalizing a position which they may not be fully aware of.

Continue reading

Mar 13

Hotness in Hollywood

I had planned my string of meditations on the movies to stop with
three. But, having succumbed to the mischievous blandishments of my
beloved wife Cathy, here’s a fourth. Today I shall consider hotness in
Hollywood — some movies that at least partly sold me with
sex, and how they did it.

Continue reading

Mar 10

Out of the Frame

Movie ticket receipts in North America dipped by six percent in
2005 to nine billion dollars,
comes today’s report on the status of
the film industry.

The most hyped movie of 2005 was a depressing, pokey flick about
gay sheepherders. The Oscar nominations were otherwise dominated by
one movie that flogged us all for our supposed racism in a wearisomely
familiar way, another that rehashed left-wing grievances against a
minor and ineffective demagogue who’s been dead for pushing fifty
years, and a thriller that made an Islamic suicide bomber out to be
a saint and Americans parasitic villains.

Call me crazy, but I can’t help but think there might be some tenuous
shred of a hint of a connection here…

Continue reading

Mar 06

If Hollywood Were Really Brave

The Oscar night of 2006 brought us the unedifying spectacle of
George Clooney (whom I must say I truly admire when he shuts his yap
and acts) celebrating Hollywood’s bravery for being willing
to make movies like Brokeback Mountain and Good Night
and Good Luck
.

Conservative commentators have already pointed out
how hollow and laughable it is to suppose that left-wing political
correctness is in any way ‘brave’ in today’s Hollywood, so I won’t
re-plow that ground. Instead, I’ll propose eight movies I think
Hollywood would make if it were really brave.

Continue reading

Mar 03

Rethinking Imperialism

One of the effects of the Soviet meme war I’ve been writing about
recently is that to most educated Westerners it is absolutely taboo to
think that Western imperialism might have been a good thing. Since
the end of World War II, even conservatives have generally conceded
this point, as a way not to look reactionary with respect to a class
of controversies that seemed safely dead. Why defend imperialism when
your country no longer has either the desire or the capability to
engage in it?

Continue reading