India and the US

Dan has a very interesting post on the latest deal between India and the US. This is a very curious development indeed.

President Bush agreed yesterday to share civilian nuclear technology with India, reversing decades of U.S. policies designed to discourage countries from developing nuclear weapons.

The agreement between Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which must win the approval of Congress, would create a major exception to the U.S. prohibition of nuclear assistance to any country that doesn’t accept international monitoring of all of its nuclear facilities. India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires such oversight, and conducted its first nuclear detonation in 1974….

Blogiversary – 3 years old today

On the 19th of July 2002 I started this weblog. In that time the look and feel of it have chopped and changed, visitors have come and gone, readers have stayed or left. Software changed and blogging as a medium has evolved hugely. Back in 2002, I remember there being alot less blogs than there are now – I think it was 500,000 when I started – now it’s upwards of 10,000,000.

I have has my fair share of controversies, linkage, traffic, comments and all that. It has been a fascinating 3 years blogging. In that time the number of entries has obviously increased. There are currently 11,304 comments in 2,221 posts all contained within 38 categories. As of this moment sitemeter stands at 997,324 page views in 685,965 visits. Firefox has taken a huge chunk from IE, now accounting for 1 in 5 visits to this weblog.

Some of you may remember Isabelle, who co-wrote her own stuff on here for a while. I set her up with her own weblog in December 2004, and she has attracted over 20,000 visits in that time. That has 306 comments in 262 posts.

I also recently started Irish Corruption, and what with the silly season upon us, and volume of entries required, it has remained a little quiet of late.

I guess I have many people to thank for where I am now – back when I started there wasn’t that many Irish bloggers, Bernie got me on the right track with Radio Userland (though I later abandoned it), and linkage was also got from Karlin and Chris in the early days. Thinks just developed from there.

So I guess in tradition I should list some of my ‘greatest hits’.

I guess the first big linkage I got was the Google thing I wrote way back in March 2003. It got linkage and exposure, including mentions in various publications, mostly from Danny Sullivan of Searchenginewatch.

That was around the time of the Iraq war – when I got some linkage to this essay. A little left for me now in a way, but I think I got it right on the WMD thing – there were none, and the motives for war were less than clear.

Last year I was the subject of some controversy in the blogosphere when I was the subject of a legal wrangle. I have not heard anything back from John Gray’s lawyers since I sent a reply that adhered to their deadline.

The story spread throughout the Internet, leading to quotes in magazines, and getting linked to by almost all of the high traffic blogs on the Internet. I reckon given the readership of the blogs involved, and the traffic it generated to the story, a very large number of people, perhaps 500,000, read about the incident. Since then I have received about a dozen emails, usually from law students wanting to use the story as part of their thesis, even that the incident will be mentioned in a book to be published later this year.

Controversially, I did link to videos that circulated the internet last year. But one of the interesting results of that was a fascinating humanist v christian v muslim debate, that led to one post generating 1424 comments (It takes a while to load) I also heard that the Sun newspaper didn’t take too kindly to me either, and a hack from the Sun contacted several people I know in London to ask about me.

And now there is a sea of blogs, not just abroad, but here in Ireland. And it is great to see it. I love the diversity. I like it when I see someone posting their first few entries, and my blog is already in their blogroll. There is a certain sense of satisfaction there I guess. Or when nice people like John are prompted to start their own blogs partly due to being inspired by me. (Why no posts lately John?) And hey, even if they don’t link to me, it’s still great to see the new blogs – from somone who loves the medium itself.

And of course this year has been when Irish media have woken up to weblogs – besides my stint on RTE televion, blogging has led to me being asked to feature on Newstalk 106, RTE Radio 1 (VB Show), Spin 103.8, East Coast FM. It has also meant several mentions in the Sunday Tribune, Magill and the Irish Times.

The most important thing is to thank the readers, every last one, whether you drop in every day, or once a year, readers are what makes a weblog – and I thank you all, whether you agree with my views or not, for dropping by.

Ronan Mullen on Islam

I really don’t know what to make of Ronan Mullen’s remarks today. Has anyone any thoughts on this?

We have grounds for humility. It took Western Christianity centuries to arrive at the insight that human dignity called for freedom of religion, equal opportunities between the sexes and so on. But Islam’s problem is that it’s not there yet. It does not have the centralisation of religious authority which can both unify people around a coherent set of values and prevent the emergence of extremes. That is a real problem which cannot be explained by American preoccupation with oil, Israeli oppression of the Palestinians or the invasion of Iraq.

I really am stumped. Where do I start?

It sounds like what he is really getting at is Islam – not to mention fundamentalist Islam – is an inferior religion to Christianity. He also seems to suggest there there are not as many extremes in Christianity. Does this strike anyone as just a little ethnocentric?

To follow logically what he is saying –

Christianity (the West) is centuries ahead of Islam (Near East, Middle East) on the human rights front. Islam needs to be more like Christianity, because Christianity is centuries ahead of it. The centralisation of power in Christianity unifies people (surely he means Catholicism, unless he means the Great Schism, Reformation, Counter-Reformation), and prevents the emergence of extremism (can you count the number of extreme Christian movements?).

What this does reek of is cultural and religious superiority. And given Mullen’s track record it is not Christianity he refers to, it is that special flavour (or extreme, depending on your view) called ‘Catholicism’.