Idiot numerologists

As part of the idle speculation around the Madrid bomb attacks on Thursday, someone picked up the fact that the date of the bombings, March 11th 2004, is 911 days after 9/11. SPOOKY, EH?

Cue the usual conspiracy theory nutjobs going on about the symbology. Only problem is, it isn’t 911 days, as they forgot to remember the fact that this year is a leap year and so it’s actually 912. Never mind…


My long accounts of my BBC experience, and the recent random amusing links may make it look like I’ve been ignoring the Madrid bombings, actually I spent most of the day listening to the news online and reading articles online when I could.

The thing is I really can’t say much about it. It is a despicable act, the bloodthirsty murder of innocents and I am disgusted by it. But beyond that, I can’t find very much to say – no-one has much idea of who did it or for what ’cause’, and anything I say about the bombings themselves is going to be little more than idle speculation.

One thing – the mass demonstrations in Spanish cities this evening. It was heartening to see so many European leaders (Raffarin, Ahern, Prodi and even Berlusconi) in the streets as well expressing their solidarity, as well as the fraternal support across European cities for Spain. I was less impressed by John Prescott and his flustered tribute on BBC News (I’m sure he meant well but a message of condolence on behalf of the nation really does need to be conducted by someone with gravitas). But even more overwhelming was the sheer scale of the millions in Madrid marching, something quite different to how we do things over here. Would we ever put millions on the streets in unity, even after a terrorist attack? In Britain we have a much more muted history of activism and protests. Last year’s Stop The War demo in London was an overwhelming exception and even then, the one million figure here paled with the three million in Rome that same day (my Italian housemate was scathing about the lack of enthusiasm for going out marching here).

We don’t ‘do’ protests here so much, maybe as part of the national character, maybe because of our more fragmented society, maybe because we’ve had a more stable recent history than the Spaniards have. I saw tonight’s demos and deeply admired the Spanish people, seeing a nation united against the thugs who threaten their democracy and peace. I hope that just because we are less likely to take to the streets doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate our hard-earned rights and values as much as they do.

Swearing is big and it is clever

Although some Firefox users don’t think so: Bug 233525: Background of Download Manager looks like one-finger-salute.

Also, you know those annoying Channel 4 adverts where celebs say their favourite sandwich filling or whatever – even more annoying than the BBC’s version of “Perfect Day” – there’s fianlly a decent one, for their favourite swearword. Good unclean fun, though I was disappointed with Sarah Beeny’s relatively tame ‘bugger’ – was expecting/hoping she’d be a bit dirtier.

What we need now is someone to do a Flash game a la Buffy’s Swearing Keyboard where you have celebs and you could click on their faces and they’d swear at you or something. I am *tempted* to do it, if I have the time…