Opinion

A Thunderstorm Against the Wind

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Byron struck an image that still enthrals many. Mike Gonzalez traces the sources of his popularity.

Lady Caroline Lamb's spiteful description of her ex-lover Lord Byron--'mad, bad and dangerous to know'--has remained with us in a cascade of society scandals. Now it is the title of a new travelling exhibition, linked to a new biography by Fiona McCarthy. Suddenly Lord George Gordon Byron is everywhere. In an age of tabloid fascination with 'celebrity', it is the flagrant, challenging homosexual, the athletic lover, the dandy with the club foot, the merciless satirist, the man who courted scandal by parading his love for his sister, who is rediscovered.

Spam, Spam, Spam

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Anyone who has ever used Hotmail--one of the most popular online e-mail systems--will have noticed that junkmail, or spam as it is called, is much worse on its service than any other.

Hotmail (and its parent, Microsoft) claims over 110 million users of its system worldwide - a massive potential market for anyone who has access to its e-mail address book and a computer system capable of sending mail en masse.

A recent report in the 'Guardian' at media.guardian.co.uk estimated that 11 million spam e-mails are sent daily worldwide - even if only a tiny fraction of these prove profitable, there's obviously lots of money to be made from unsolicited e-mails.

Up the Barbara

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Add up housing costs and average wages and £30k looks modest.

It seems to have come as quite a shock to lots of different people that train drivers on the London Underground already get paid £30,000 a year. Strike a light, guv, they must all be 'anging aht in penthouse suites up the old Barbara*, an' no mistake! Up to a few years ago, anybody getting this kind of money--even in London--would be doing pretty well. But it's by no means a spectacular whack in 2002.

Unfree and Unfair

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The aims of fair trade face a hostile system.

There are still people who see lack of clarity in the anti-capitalist movement as a positive thing. Even someone who has played such an important role as Vittorio Agnoletto of the Genoa Social Forum praises the lack of 'ideology'. But sometimes lack of clarity leads straight into traps set by the movement's bitterest opponents.

Hold on a Minute

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Silence isn't always golden.

I have decided that when I die I want all friends and acquaintances (if not the nation as a whole) to observe a minute's raucous noise. Klaxons, bells, whistles, Ramones CDs and the like must be blasted from every corner by anyone who vaguely liked me.

The reason for this is that I have taken a definite dislike to minute's silences. Firstly because they have become damn commonplace, and secondly because frankly some of the minute's silences I have had to sit through have been for people whose deaths leave me at best untouched and at worst positively cheerful.

A Tale of Two Logos

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With the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development happening at the beginning of September, there are a number of websites giving alternative views to an event which will see large amounts of hot air coming from politicians as they clamour to show their green credentials.

There are many sites dedicated to exposing the real issues behind the summit and climate change in general. Greenpeace have been having fun with their Stop Esso campaign. The website was originally hosted in France. Esso mannaged to get an injunction to stop Greenpeace using their spoof E$$O logo on the Stop Esso website www.stopesso.org. But things are not always that simple in cyberspace--Greenpeace moved the website to a host based in the oil rich state of Texas--where the injunction isn't valid.

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