June 2006

Gaza beach hoax…Hamas staged it?

by Limbic on June 23, 2006

In Aftermath of a Media Storm, Honest Reporting looks at the aftermath of the Gaza beach incident and questions of Palestinian credibility.

It devestates the claims that this was an Israeli attack.

Even the anti-Israeli poster boy, Marc Garlasco, the widely quoted “expert” who opined after the incident that it was definately an Israeli attack, has conceded that it was a likely to be a piece of unexploded ordinance left on the beach (which is what Israel claimed all along).

Superb debunking job by Honest Reporting.


Design Classics [Books]

by Limbic on June 20, 2006

The design of everyday things

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

Design basics

Design Basics (Paperback) by David Lauer

Universal Principles of Design

Universal Principles of Design : 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design  by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler

Finally…the new instant classic from Edward Tuft:

Beautiful Evidence

Beautiful Evidence  by Edward Tufte

(Also available directly from Edward Tufte)


The Cult of the Mean Girl

by Limbic on June 20, 2006

TheStar.com – The cult of the mean girl

Another addition to the Women’s Inhumanity to Women theme. Worth a read.

See also these previous posts:

“I told you that bitch was crazy” or woman’s inhumanity to women

Are Girls Really as Mean as Books Say They Are?


Ephemeral Cities

by Limbic on June 20, 2006

From we make money not art: Ephemeral coastal cities:

Linear cities for tourists built all along the Spanish coast have turned this section of land into the most crowded region in Europe (Benidorm, for example, has more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world except New York, the creepiest for me is the Grand Hotel Bali), but just for a short time. During the summer, hords of Belgian, Dutch or German tourists come looking for the sea and the sun. The rest of the year it becomes a ghost city. Photographic series documenting the phenomenon.

See also the amazing Hong Kong skyscraper photos from Michael Wolf.


the gaijin dilemma

by Limbic on June 15, 2006

an englishman in osaka explains “the gaijin dilemma” or whether to acknowledge other gaijin (Europeans).

I have this problem in Serbia.

There are comparatively few foreigners in Belgrade (compared with other capital cities). As a consequence coming across other foreigners puts added pressure on one to do the expatriate social dance. I actively avoid foreigners here. Most are pretty vile quango types.

It reminds me of when I lived in London in the mid -90s. Meeting a fellow South African was a huge event then. You were instant buddies. As literally thousands of South Africans flooded into the UK after that, they became an embarrassment. I kept encountering the worst sorts from back home but this time on the streets and public transport of London.

I wanted to write to the Foreign Office and ask “Why are you letting these people in? I left the place to get away from them!”

I am dreading the day Belgrade reaches its potential as one of Europe’s best party towns and “Prague-ification” begins. The day I see a stag party composed of English chavs partying in Belgrade, I am out of here.

[Link via Devan from Ban The Internet]


6 sound email tips from Tim Sanders

by Limbic on June 15, 2006

Tim Sanders lists 5 e-mail practices to avoid if you wish to remain popular at work:

  1. Don’t use email to give bad news. At Yahoo!, I always told my folks, “Email is for saying yes and for exchanging information. If you want to say no, criticize or get into an emotionally charged issue, pick up the phone or do it in person”. Email fails to communicate your intentions, so it usually looks pretty insensitive. Research says that 93% of our intentions are either seen or heard in voice tone. If you insist on letting email do your dirty work, you are likely to have a lot of unnecessary relationship issues. If you don’t have time to talk to people in these conditions, you need better time management skills.
  2. Don’t copy over someone’s head. If you are trying to get your way with a coworker, you might be tempted to copy the boss or an executive on your request to “turn up the heat”. You might think that you are being strategic by doing so. Wrong! The boss usually deletes the email without reading it (one study suggests that happens about 75% of the time). Your coworker will resent it almost every time. You position yourself as a tattletale when you copy “dad” to get your way.
  3. Don’t reply to all. For a few years, I had a line in my outgoing email to ask people to “join my SORTA campaign. SOTRA stands for Stamp Out Reply To All. It is Neanderthal”. People that reply to all irritate others without knowing it. If you are the boss that does this to broadcast over email, it is perceived as arrogant. It is the equivalent to using the overhead phone system to announce your response to a voice mail. If you need to reply to more than one person, take the time to just copy the names of the people that actually need to be copied. If you’ve ever received an email about a potential meeting tomorrow at 10:30am and then received two dozen reply to alls (“Works for me!” “How About 10:00am), then you know this irritation.
  4. Don’t address your emails until after you’ve reviewed them. Have you ever noticed that you get in a rhythm sometimes when you are writing an emotional response to someone and before you know it, you’ve hit the send button? You wish you could take it back, but it is too late. You’ve fallen prey to the rhythm of the nasty gram. The best way to protect yourself from this habit is to stop putting a person’s email address in the TO line as your first action in email writing. Leave it blank. Fill out the subject and the body. If you think there are any emotions on your part or theirs, read it a second time. Only after you are comfortable with it, then you put in the email address. If you are replying to a note, then hit reply and immediately delete their email address in the TO line. Write the note, think about it and then put their address back in. If you follow my advice, the next time you write-out-your-anger and hit the send button as a reflex, you’ll be blessed with an error message (no recipient listed). It just may save your bacon.
  5. Don’t send emails to coworkers or employees at odd hours. When someone receives a work related note from you at 1:00am, they are also receiving a subtle message that work is 24/7 to you. The more influential you are in the organization, the more your odd-hours emails create a workaholic culture. When your employee receives an email on Sunday morning about a client crisis, they can’t usually solve it on the spot � yet their weekend is now interrupted with this thought. You might say, “I couldn’t sleep” or “I wrote these on the plane on the way home”. Just wait until regular hours to send the notes and you’ll respect other’s time and personal space. This is especially true when it comes to sending someone work emails over the holidays or when they are on vacation.
  6. if you are going to include an attachment, do that BEFORE you write the email.� Frequently, we intend to put the attachment last and accidently hit the send button when we finish our note (it’s the rhythm of typing).� Then we send a second (and irritating) email that says, “oops, forgot the attachment…”

If you like these tips, you might sign up for his monthly newsletter at www.timsanders.com .


Hamas mine may have caused beach massacre

by Limbic on June 14, 2006

from Gaza Beach Libel

Following Palestinian claims and the media reports of Israeli culpability in deaths on a Gaza beach, the real story emerges…

…It is now becoming clear that, despite the claims of the Palestinians and the international media’s rush to blame Israel, the deaths of seven Palestinian civilians on a beach in Gaza on 9 June were not caused by the IDF. Investigations by the IDF and others over the past few days have revealed new evidence that a Hamas mine was in fact the cause of the beach blast

[Update via Hermit: The Israeli claims are (unsurprisingly) disputed. The Independent is challenging the Israeli version, quoting a human rights worker with military experience who has examined the scene.

My own position is simple. If it was an Israeli shell, then it is a terrible tragedy but I blame Hamas for rocketing Israel and bringing down this counter battery fire. If it is not an Israeli shell, then it is yet another deposit in Hamas’s death bank anyway. Either way, I blame Hamas entirely]

[Update 2: Looks like Israel is completely innocent]

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Dogs of Dorcol sleep off last night’s bark party



Available here.


Refugee Bag

by Limbic on June 12, 2006

refugee bag: refugee bag n. a cheaply made sack of woven nylon fibers, usually with a squarish shape, handles, and a striped, plaid, or checked appearance.