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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen


I've been gnomified (is that a word? um... I supposed it could be, what with the pleasant experience that I recently... experienced), and feel terribly good about it. All of you humble (and not-so-humble and furry gnomish types) web-surfers should find your way to the remarkable treasure trove of web-knowledge known as A Random Gnome's Random Lair and feast your eyes on the decidedly gnomish write-up of my game, S3QUENC3R!

And please give a lonely bull a hand by telling the world how much you "digg" my game!

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I think I have worked out some of the kinks with S3QUENC3R, so here it goes a third time. I think people were having trouble running the game the first time, so if you would be so kind as to click here, you can load up the game and see if you still have a problem. I've had a hard time diagnosing the problem on my side, so please leave comments if you do encounter problems.

I've noticed that sometimes the game just hangs and doesn't start. If that happens, just refresh the browser. That should fix it. In the meantime, I will see what I can do about it.

But I'm excited for people to try out the game. Let me know if it's too hard, and post your high scores!

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There Once was an Island Called Malta

The Times of Malta has a great piece on the threat of global warming to that country. Apparently the Maltese are think they're too small a country to make a difference, and the author is calling for this attitude to change:

Only last week there was an article in this paper saying that southern Europe is going to become a desert. That includes us too I suppose... or doesn't it? I have not come across any study as to how precisely Malta will be affected by global warming. Nor have I heard of a plan to become more eco-friendly. The chimneys of both the power station and St Luke's Hospital, among others, belch forth their noxious fumes periodically. We are still totally dependent on the burning of fossil fuels to obtain the energy we need to provide electricity and water at the lowest level and to the propelling of the thousands upon thousands of cars to ply us back and forth across the couple of miles from one destination to the next. Nobody has opened their mouth about using an alternative source of energy, notably harnessing the wind and capturing the sun, both of which we are abundantly blessed with. Not a squeak from any official quarter.

Are we under the impression that we are exempt? We seem to imagine that we live a charmed life and that the woes that affect other nations will never affect us. We will probably let other nations take appropriate action to stem the devastating tide that is the consequences of global warming while pretending that we in Malta are too small to do anything significant and will in time-honoured fashion carry on regardless, till... till that fateful day when it will all go pear-shaped... when we will shriek and lament as another town or village is engulfed by the sea while we choke with thirst.

This is not a Jeremiad lament but a warning. God helps those who help themselves and the battle to stem climate change and minimise the effects of global warming must become our national top priority before it is too late. Malta, in its smallness, with a little help from our large and powerful EU neighbours, can become a prototype, a shining example of which way the world should go in future to save the planet.

Times of Malta, There once was an island called Malta
Alarmist? Maybe. But I think it's only human nature to put off that which does not immediately impact us. And sure, even in Malta, it may be a hundred years before there's any real impact of the sort he's describing, but the point is that we need to start making changes now, lest our children inherit an even greater calamity.

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A Few Words about Action on Global Warming

There's some sense to saying people should be doing something to change what's wrong in the world instead of just talking about it. Blogging isn't action in that sense, but it is something.

I'm a vehement centrist in politics, and that extends to just about everything, from social programs (or lack thereof) to economics.

I think it's common sense that the government is an essential function of our overall society, but its role needs to be balanced by and overseen by the governed. I believe that government is simply an extension of the individual: they represent our common needs, enforce the laws, and basically take on projects too big for us to do ourselves.

An issue like global warming is one of those projects; I believe someone called it the most important issue facing humankind. While we should be cautious not to overreact – after all, society needs to keep running – we have a responsibility to do something about it soon.

Compare global warming to Katrina. You think these clowns in the White House are going to act responsibly?

I think Lee's right: I'm just complaining. But American fascism has hit home for me. I have always voted against big-ears in every election since 2000. I wish there was something more I could do about it.

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Climate Change Hits Malta

According to a recent BBC report, parts of Malta are in danger of being submerged, thanks to the melting of the polar ice caps and rising sea levels caused by global warming. And while it isn't happening yet, there are other complications arising from climate change that are affecting the island nation in more immediate ways. For example, the change in sea level is affecting Malta's fresh water supply.

About 97m (320ft) beneath the surface of the island lie the Ta' Kandja galleries. Reached by a lift, the tunnels stretch out for several kilometres like the spokes of a wheel, all half filled with water that is pumped up to the surface and then to homes and farms around the island.

The water in the tunnels is fresh. But just 10m below it is salty. And thanks to climate change the brackish water is rising.

The Ta' Kandja galleries supply fresh water to the inhabitants And the Malta water services engineer Paul Micallef says the rising sea will make the galleries very difficult to operate in the future.


The effects of the increasing salinity are already being felt in some parts of the island. In the beautiful Im'selliet valley; David and Mary Mallia run an organic farm that produces grapes, citrus fruits and vegetables.

Like many people on Malta, the Mallias use a bore hole to extract water for their crops. David says that he's noticed changes in the water in recent months.

"Since the rainfall has become less, the salinity is becoming higher and higher. Normally in winter it would be about 2,000 microsiemens, which is a measure of salinity.

"This year, with the lack of rain, it went up to 4,000. It's not good for irrigation. If you water your trees with this water it will kill them"

—BBC, "Briny future for vulnerable Malta"
The EU is recommending that immediate action be taken to counteract the effect that mankind is having on his environment. And the US is still debating whether to do anything at all.

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Keith Richards Snorted his Dad

This was just too great not to share:

LONDON, England (AP) -- Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all -- assuming it's not a joke.

In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated, and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84.

—CNN, Report: Richards says he snorted dad's ashes
Though now they're saying that this isn't true. According to MTV:

Maybe you saw that Keith Richards item that started popping up all over the place on Tuesday (April 3) — the one about how he'd admitted to snorting the ashes of his late father after his body had been cremated? Great story, right? And yet, like so much in the world of celebrity journalism, totally untrue.


In a buzz-killing mood, though, we decided to check with Richards' longtime manager, Jane Rose. We asked her about the dad-snorting quotes in the NME interview. She responded with an e-mail:

"Said in jest," she explained. "Can't believe anyone took [it] seriously."

—, Did Keith Richards Really Snort His Dad's Ashes? No – It Was A Joke!
Right. I often make jokes about sniffing the cremated remains of my parents. All the time.


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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.