Friday, February 17, 2006

What to read Next?

If anyone's bored and looking for something to do, is another of the current trend in online recommendation sites, well worth a look if you fancy something entirely new to read: searching for books based in Scotland, for instance, threw up,

The Black Chamber
By Jack Gordon

Reader comment
A gay bodice-ripper, or more correctly kilt-ripper. The period setting is an excuse for lots of descriptive male on male sex. How did Bonnie Prince Charlie become involved??

which is not something I'd generally think of reading.

You can search for recommendations based on any number of different criteria, including your mood, plot, the book's main character and even things like the country in which the story is based.

What's especially brilliant, though, is you can then check the recommended book against your nearest library and see if it's available to borrow - even, if you have a card for the library, have it put aside for picking up later (the Javascript that controls this only works in IE, not Firefox, sadly).

Altogether a very impressive little application.
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Do not look at the Little Brown Square

Maybe this is something which is blindingly obvious and I'm simply failing to see the pulped wood for the trees, but I'm at a genuine loss as to one aspect of the offense caused to Muslims by the publication in a Danish newspaper of some cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Put simply - if there are no images of the Prophet on display to the mass of Islam, how can anyone know that the cartoons do depict him, other than the fact that the cartoons say so? And at what point do you decide that 'yes - that is an attempt to portray Mohammed'?

At what point in this image to the right (from the ever reliable b3ta) does the brown square represent the Prophet sufficiently for Muslims to become offended - or is the mere intention to portray Mohammed enough?

If something more than intention is required, then just what are the requirements for actual offense? Human features? Arab features? A speech-bubble which says 'Hello. I am the Prophet Mohammed'(would a more basic 'Hello. I am Mohammed' still count)?

It does seem a very little thing to get sufficiently enraged about that threats of death are being bandied about and one Arab newspaper has launched a competition for the best Holocaust denial cartoon in retaliation (against the Jews presumably although what their link to Denmark is, I'm not sure).
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