Gotta love Hitch: “Still, to have left rape and child abuse and genocide and slavery out of the account is to have been negligent to some degree, even by the lax standards of the time. I wonder what would happen if secularists were now to insist that the verses of the Bible that actually recommend enslavement, mutilation, stoning, and mass murder of civilians be incised on the walls of, say, public libraries?”

No Hair Day

No Hair Day, the online version of the book, is live on Elsa Dorfman’s site. The tag line for the video version summarizes it well: “Laughing (and crying) our way through cancer”. It’s scary and beautiful and, above all, human. Read it now.

Instapundit, Radio and Permalinks

I’ve noticed for some time that Instapundit’s feed and Radio don’t quite get along. You can read Instapundit just fine in Radio, but there are no permalinks to individual posts.

A few minutes of experimentation reveals the problem. Here is an excerpt from Instapundit’s feed:

<item>
<title></title>
<link>http://www.instapundit.com/archives/011222.php</link>
<description>TODAY'S MY BIRTHDAY, [snip snip snip] … </description>
<guid isPermaLink=”false”>11222@http://www.instapundit.com/ </guid>
<dc:subject></dc:subject>
<dc:date>2003-08-27T08:28:07-05:00</dc:date>
</item>

(note to regexp hackers: this will display slightly differently in Internet Explorer and Mozilla, which mangle the XML string representation of the XML as they see fit).

Now, the problem comes from the mix of empty title and a guid with isPermaLink set to false. Empirically it looks like Radio will display the permalink icon (#) at the right if the feed is RSS 2.0 and the guid is a permalink. Alternatively, it will hyperlink the item’s title with the link‘s url if both are present. But since Instapundit doesn’t set the title, there is nothing to hyperlink and we have to go to http://www.instapundit.com/ to read individual stories.

I’ll point the various parties to this post to see if we can get things fixed. In the meantime, here is a short Unix incantation that makes the feed more Radio-friendly:

wget -O – http://www.instapundit.com/index.xml | sed -e ‘s/<title></title&gt/<title>#</title>/g’ > radio-friendly-instapundit.xml

ps Happy Birthday Instapundit!

<rant>
Has anyone else noticed that cut and paste doesn’t work anymore? It fails at least 50% of the time in my fine Microsoft operating system. All of the extra bells and whistles—attempts to preserve formatting, multiple clipboards and God knows what else—are crumbling under the weight of their ambition. It’s intolerable. And while we’re at it, why won’t Eudora let me compose messages in monospaced text? Please please please give me back my cherished plaintext.
</rant>

It’s a beautiful, Fall-like day in New England. Watching my daughter Talia play at the park this morning, I found myself caught up in waves of nostalgia for Falls past. The mix of bright sunshine and chill wind, particularly in contrast to the heat and rain of recent days, must have had something to do with it. Apple picking, a Fall tradition I grew up with, is just around the corner. Talia is growing up with that tradition too. Her first apple picking trip was at 4 weeks, her second at 13 months. She’ll be turning 2 in September, with her third trip to the orchard not far behind.
Apple picking at 4 weeks Apple picking at 13 months

I see that two popular techie bloggers, Aaron and Mark, are letting us see the edits they’ve made to their posts.

Reading a few edit trails, it’s fascinating to see what they capture. Accountability and archivalness aside, I think edit trails could serve as a great tool for writing instruction. Most of us don’t get it right the first time. The magic is in the editing. Capturing and studying the edits of a great writer could teach us a lot.