Rendition prisoner ‘invented Iraq-al-Qaida link’

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Rendition prisoner ‘invented Iraq-al-Qaida link’

Supposed evidence linking Iraq to al-Qaida, used by the US as a justification for going to war, was invented by a prisoner in Egyptian custody to avoid harsh interrogation, according to government sources quoted today in the New York Times.

The beatings will continue until justification for war improves.

LMMS Review

So I’ve been checking out LMMS, and it pretty much delivers as promised: “easy music production for everyone.”

Imagine something with capabilities somewhere between a classic “soundtracker” application and something like GarageBand, but super easy to use, and preinstalled with a big pile of useful samples.

It’s quite awesome.

It took me a bit to figure out how to use it because there’s basically zero documentation, but the complexity is miles less than that of comparable programs designed for high end/professional type users.

I threw together a silly little beat demo song in no time. (Warning: it’s a tuneless little electrobeat thingy.)

It can’t do everything in the world but what it can do is easy and fun and accessible.


I would like to insert here an “I hate linux sound” rant — I wanted to use a LMMS beat and record a ukulele tune with it, with Audacity, say — but I couldn’t figure out how to record anything in Audacity on Linux without adding an ugly, nasty burbling effect, presumably because Audacity on Linux isn’t yet hip to ALSA, the advanced linux sound architecture, “advanced” in this context meaning “not horribly sucky and broken.”

Guess I’ll be doing all my recording on OS X.

“Ruby sucks!”

Oh boy. People are writing about why Ruby’s almost as good as Lisp, and it’s ruffling some lispy feathers. I’m not sure I even get this bit:

One claimed advantage of (included, but not limited to) Ruby is its ability to introspect: examine dynamically the contents of a classes, data structures in general, what functions do etc. OK, but to do that you need a new bunch of structure in your language: special data types, new methods to access the internals of other objects etc.

Again, guess what ? There’s a language, invented more than 40 years ago, in which you can do just that, only in a simpler way. In Lisp, the only structure is the “list”. Everything is either an atom, or a list. So as long as you can handle lists (that’s what Lisp was invented for), you can access and manipulate everything in your programs: data, function prototypes, function bodies, everything. And you don’t need any additional syntax or feature in the language itself. You access all of Lisp from Lisp, that’s all. That’s what I call pure reflexion, by contrast to only introspection which needs a specific mechanism to do its business. I consider it abusive to call Ruby a reflexive language.

“Everything is either an atom, or a list.” Guh? All s-expressions are atoms or lists, and source code is made of s-expressions, but once it’s compiled and running it doesn’t make much sense to talk about it that way. “The only structure is the list” — huh wuh guh? Vectors? Arrays? Objects? Strings? Hashtables?


Questions About 9/11

The Village Voice gives ten unanswered questions about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

I have another.

Immediately in the wake of the attacks, it was widely reported that somebody had been trading heavily in put orders for the airlines involved in the crash — whoever that was stood to make a killing on the stock decline of the airlines. It should have been possible to track down who this was pretty easily. But we’ve never heard anything about it since then. What was the deal with that?