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Some news stories

July 15th, 2003: America Online on Tuesday said it has laid off 50 employees involved in Web browser development at its Netscape Communications subsidiary amid a reorganization of its Mozilla open-source browser team … The layoffs come as the loose group, which had overseen the open-source development efforts of the Mozilla browser, transforms itself […]

Water from the wells of salvation

I wasn’t going to blog about the US election, but this was just too interesting to pass by. First of all, correlating county-by-county election returns with geographical data from the Tiger database is just so superbly geeky. Secondly, it struck me that there’s a very strong correlation between voting Democrat and living near large bodies […]

Making myself useful

It’s good that the remnants of a classical education that I carry around with me sometimes come in useful for me and other people. My ever loving wife is winding up her M.A. thesis on Eve and Mary in Irenæus of Lyons, and it’s my privilege to help her as computer and language dogsbody, looking […]

Stopgap Post

I haven’t been getting to the blog lately. I’m gainfully employed again (contracting for the Hebrew Competence Group at IBM until the end of the year, with hopes for renewal of the contract for a longer period) and when I get home and finish checking email, reading other people’s blogs, and hacking here and there […]

I can’t believe I did this

Well, it should at least increase my geek credibility

Two Rebbetzins

Welcome Renegade Rebbetzin, a rising star in the blogosphere, and talking of rebbetzins, check out an article in Ha’aretz about an old friend of mine, Amichai Lau-Lavi.

RSS Changes II

I emailed Blogger support and they changed the RSS feed URI manually back to The problem is that my <link> element, which uses a <$BlogSiteFeedURL$> tag (following their instructions) still points to, and I strongly suspect, without daring to make the experiment, that if I make any other changes to the feed settings […]

Quid “ille” significat

Thanks to Talmida for the pointer to Speculative Grammarian, which I think is the best online linguistics magazine ever. My favourite article so far: “The Original Language of Winnie-the-Pooh“.

Hebrew Haikus

I couldn’t resist this challenge on a mailing list I subscribe to. As someone pointed out there, a haiku should be about nature or seasons, otherwise it’s a senryu. אֲסַפֵּר לִבְנִיעַל יְצִיאַת מִצְרָיִםבְּחוֹדֶשׁ אָבִיב פָּך שֶׁמֶן אֶחָדנָתַן אוֹרוֹ בְּחוֹרֶףלִשְׁמוֹנָה יָמִים שֶׁבַע הֲקָפוֹתעֲרָבוֹת בְּעוֹז חוֹבְטִיםגֶּשֶׁם לִבְרָכָה

Nearly Yom Kippur

If I was capable, I would translate this into English. I’ve tried many times to translate Agnon, but I just can’t capture it. השמים היו טהורים והארץ היתה שקטה וכל הרחובות היו נקיים, ורוח חדשה היתה מפרפרת בחללו של עולם. ואני תינוק כבן ארבע הייתי ומלובש הייתי בגדי מועד, ואיש אחד מקרובי הוליכני אצל אבי […]

Ideas for teaching liturgy

I realized during Rosh Hashana services last week that Aviad doesn’t know half as much as I had assumed that he did about the structure of the Mahzor. The middle of the silent Amida wasn’t a very helpful time to realize this, but I gave him a whispered overview of Malchuyot Zichronot and Shofarot before […]

RSS changes

For those using the RSS feed, I have been fiddling with the settings, and the most notable result seems to be that the URI has changed from to Apologies if this has inconvenienced anybody.

For calendar geeks

Hat-tip to Avraham Bronstein for the link to “How is this year different from all other years?” Sample quotation: This year 5765 is the only year in all of history whose “keviut” (year-type determination) involves dechiyyat BeTU-TaKPaT at the end of the year, and whose Pesach falls on April 24. The “exercise for the reader” […]


In the Torah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashana, Hagar and Ishmael have been sent off into the desert and have run out of water. Hagar sits crying, out of sight of her son so as not to see him die. She has given up hope. At this point, just as in the […]

Google takes a stand on gender politics

How many deaths will it take?

Every terrorist attack brings its own horrid variations on the same old tragedy. On the news tonight we heard someone describe how he had been sitting next to the suicide bomber for part of the bus journey until he had given up his seat to a woman and moved to the back of the bus. […]

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine

As far as I know (and I would love to be corrected) Ellul is the only Hebrew month which has Midrash on its name. The one that everybody remembers is the notarikon אני לדודי ודודי לי from Song of Songs 6, 3, but there are several more. That one itself is part of a set […]

Firefox 1.0

Reading some of the controversy surrounding recent feature-set decisions by the Firefox team, I can’t help wondering whether they are falling into the 80/20 fallacy.

Aramaic Watch

Welcome Naomi Chana to my sidebar. Baraita is the first blog I’ve come across apart from this one with an Aramaic title, and it’s totally compulsive reading.

Some like it hot

Update: some more details of the preparation added. We aren’t an all-the-year-round Hamin eating family, but the period during the summer when we don’t eat Hamin (otherwise known as cholent) gets shorter every year, and this year it seems to be over already. Like everybody else, I, and I alone, know the One True Way […]