Friday, October 31, 2003

Who is this guy?
Random London bloke (assuming it is actually a bloke) - nothing too unusual there, but scanning through his blog and came across a link to meanwhile back in communist russia - who aren't exactly popular mainstream music. Although maybe they've got bigger since the guy I knew left. Sorry, it just was a bit odd to see the usual bands and have them in the middle.
And it was the link to Christopher Brookmyre as well - who I've only heard of via my brother, although as he's had a few books published, so presumably other people must know about him.
Anyway, Radio 1's got annoying now, so I'm going.

Opps. Helps if I remember to take off the [Draft] tag. Not that I really need to class it as draft in the first place, as the stuff here is pretty much unedited (apart for sticking it through a spell check - well sometimes).

How to turn slightly worried and a bit annoyed to cross - the last paragraph in this article. Sprinkle some magic fairy dust and all the nasty demons will go away.
But what if you kill innocent people? Minor collateral damage, anyway it's not like they're real people.
What right have you to put people to death? What, other than being anointed by God?
What happened to the victim's right to a fair trial/due process? It's ok because it's a non-domestic military action (in a non-war scenario).

Or have I misunderstood? Maybe the intention only ever was to find ways of killing all the Afghan rabbits.
Maybe they just wanted to find out what terrorist might do. Of course they could have done that theoretically, but that'd be no fun (and be a damn sight harder to get government funding for).

Was going to lay into Wetware's suggested applications for mainly computer, remainder human[1] systems, but really don't feel like it now.
[1] Obviously he's better at coming up with less cack-handed names. See Monday for link [meaning I really ought to stick him in the ones on the left, but haven't].

Anyhoo, I'm off to skulk round b3ta in an effort to cheer myself up.

How come G2 always makes one laugh? [Must stop only linking to G2].
And finally someone speaks sense - an Israeli general in this case (never thought I'd say that).
Though in the same section - an introduction to the word bobo. Who on earth came up with that? (and please don't interrupt my righteousness to say it says at the end of the article). Bohemian bourgeois.
And another odd word story (oh no!) - mojo. I'm guessing they don't have enough news to go around today.
Intriguing stuff - the origins of the somewhat bizarre [read scary] US oath of allegiance that they have to do in school.

Yes I did just snort - on the NYT site one of the pop-ups is by Barclays - which uses besuited men in bowler hats waiting for a Tube train, missing it, and then up comes "Opening a bank account in the UK can be difficult. Barclays - we make it easier". Bollocks. Other than using an image Bradford and Bingley [a building society] used for decades, for some as yet unknown reason (unless they think Americans think that UK business men actually dress like this, in which case that implies they imagine their potential customers to be completely clueless...), the statement is not true. They are banks - they're only too pleased to take your money (all even if it's only £5, or possibly £10 of it). So opening a bank account - not too hard. Barclays make it easier? This is Barclays we're talking about - the ones who are even more miserly and argumentative than Lloyds TSB. No amount of enigmatic Samuel L Jackson speech is going to change that.
Oh and BTW - Mr Jackson, and Mr Affleck (and the rest), I know it's a long standing tradition of Hollywood people to do crappy cash-cow commercials in some backwater, because it'll never get found out, but try not picking a English speaking one in Western Europe [especially one that resents the implication that it is a backwater]. Stick with Italy or possibly Laos on a bad day.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

G2 does it again. You know the big sun thing in Tate Modern...guess what they did - but there's only one pic on the website (see the print version for a bit more).
But who gets to clean the Turbine hall after the installation is removed - as I think they said they were using sugar solution to make the mist (apparently pure water doesn't look misty enough). That's going to be one very sticky building.

Also read the other stuff in G2 - but that goes without saying.

Though what is it with all the pop-ups advertising Christmas shopping in Chicago? I thought that's what New York was for (if you bother to do that sort of thing). And it is nearer. And it has more than one dodgy musical, ER and probably Bugsy Malone going for it.

And it must be the Grauniad - due the interesting variants on "Dar es Salaam" it uses within the same article.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A probably more objective view on the IDS thing. Though the comment above it is...somewhat different (don't ya just love it when people are obvious to things?).
It's an interesting blog by two fairly sane South Africans at Oxford - one of who did the usual PM maker, Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

A couple of things from the Indie - why is it that IDS seems to forever lead into fantasy scenarios (this, yesterday's Doomsday Day Diary), and just a bit of news.
And another thing (why do I always get distracted?).
Hooray (though boo-hiss Mr Bush for trying in the first place).
Anyway I'm lunchwards Ho!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Quel suprise. 25 MPs say they don't support IDS. Are there 25 who actively do? Or has he remained thus far because there's no obvious replacement? Unfortunately I think this is true - IDS is not PM material, he cannot communicate, he cannot sound convincing, he'd announce winning the lottery in the same tone of voice as he would use for telling someone he just ran over their dog. The words may be beautifully crafted, engineered to capture the audience, but no-one listens, the quiet man is shouting into vacuum. When you have former editors of the Torygraph calling the leader of the conservative party a turnip, you know something has gone wrong.
Yes, it's wrong to vote for the charismatic over the able, but a complete lack of charisma negates any ability. The message is not heard. Even when standing on the steps of Conservative Central Office addressing the nation live, surrounded by lackeys and the media, with Dearest Betsy at his side (practising her Pittman), the automaton clicks on - the lips are moving, there are Marr-esque hand gestures, and one is thinking of something completely different.
But who to replace him? During the Newton's cradle of politics Labour nicked the middling ground, bouncing the Tories off to somewhere near rabid. Those that can win the nation, and become PM, cannot win the party, and vice versa. There seems to be part of the party that assumes the populace of the country's change towards more moderate and egalitarian views is fluctuation, not progression. Standing visibly a long distance from the prey, and waiting for them to come closer is not viable strategy.
The Tories are in a near barren hinterland, and are arguing over who gets which chair. It's not really the issue.
How long does this have to continue before they notice? And how long will it be before the Lib Dems suddenly gain power? Or will New Labour keep winning by default?
But then there's the cliched "they're all politicians, they're all the same". But why should they be?
Is apathy the same as indecision through lack of choice?

Sorry, it just annoys me that ideals not only are not allowed, but they're not to be suggested.

And now a little light relief to make the world seem a happier place.

After milling about the Guardian for a bit, I came across this. Good pic of him, n'est pas? Sieg heil? Or more "Please Miss, I need the loo"? Even people supporting him can't make him look good.
I love the "If you have one, email your Conservative MP...". For those who haven't upgraded yet...
Also curious that on the list of 4 supporters, there's one who is strongly suggested as the most likely replacement. And I don't mean Miss Kitten Heels (or the Fop).
Taken from the site (under 10 excellent IDS policies [is that all he could come up with?]) 3. Conservatives will scrap all university tuition fees and top-up fees. That's a Tory policy? Are they trying skirt round to the back of Labour? Now I'm confused.
Also what are BAC kids?
Doomsday Diary is quite fun though (and what's Doomsday about it?).

And part of me also thinks this is part of one big hoax - like the I [Heart] TONY thing.

And it was made by Politico's Designs - and on their page there's a selection of their work - with Christine Hamilton hovering over a site about the menopause. Weird. And the Lib-dem's history is slung between Oliver Letwin and Margaret Thatcher.
They've also done the official shops from Labour, Tories, and Lib-dems. Spot which are the ardently capitalist group, and which are the theorists. Also interesting the way the Tories happily mix fact, opinion and fiction. And why is the first book the same on all of them (Blair's Wars). The West Wing? 24? I'm fairly sure these aren't conservative works. Actually further investigation shows that they're all the same.
And I'm giving up, before I go mad.
Speaking of which - one last thing. Oh dear.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Well it's different.
Bound to be cloudy though - and looking up the weather also says sunset is at 16:45 GMT/UTC. How depressing is that? Why does winter have to happen?

Anyway, other stuff:
Wetware does languages - quite interesting - though the suggestion in the comments section for a intermediate universal non-loss language (so all the properties of a sentence are retained) would be hellish to both design, build and interpret. Take a nice, simple word like "home". It can mean; a building, a house, a flat/apartment, a caravan, a boat, a retirement institution, a mental health institution, any other structure people live in, an area where someone or something lives (so that includes the property, the part of town, a village/town/city, a parish, a borough, a county, a country, a football pitch, a cricket ground, a position on or in furniture/a building/an area), a perception of a remembered or imagined place, an area of safety, it can be used as a qualifier (as in the Home Counties, the home side), it can mean to focus in on, to return to, and umpteen other things [and that's without searching out archaic versions in a dictionary]. It can act as a noun, verb and adjective. Now add in the American variations in usage, now the Australian, now the rest of the world's variations on the English word. Now add in the differing senses many European languages use (such as le/la and beyond in French). And whatever the rest of the world feels like having. Suddenly an apparently simple thing is can have many meanings, inferences and nuances, and need many qualifiers to make it make sense.
"Go home" doesn't seem quite so clear now.
Even the apparently simple, supposedly universal "scissors, paper, stone" is not. To (some of) those on the other side of the Atlantic, it's "rock, paper, scissors".

Speaking of...I'm not sure what "which" there is, but that's never stopped me before - dreams can be very weird. Last night/this morning dreamt I was lying awake in bed at night when a mouse ran across the quilt, over my face, and jumped off the bed. But then I wasn't sure if I dreamt it, so lay awake in the dark and dozed off again - only to wake up feeling it on my hip, and when I tried to brush it off it clung on and started biting me. So I was pulling it by its tail (because then it couldn't bite my hand), and then thought if I go and sit over the bath and point the shower at it, the mouse would let go (mice obviously not liking jets of cold water) and I'd have it trapped in the bath, and then as I went to get up I woke up, and found I was in the same position I dreamt I was in apart from my mouse-grabbing arm was trapped by the quilt. And that it was daylight, and must have been for a while, which meant I dreamt it all, including waking up. Strange.

And not quite the sort of dreams one would expect after watching the second part of Channel 4's 100 Greatest Scary Moments (aka cheap TV). During which I learnt that people get scared by some very funny things (in both senses). The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (not the re-make) - tired watching it earnestly, but gradually the entire cinema started giggling, and then having hysterics at the sheer slap-stick (apart from one guy shushing us). Also things that claim to be children’s films petrify children (well I've always hated The Wizard of Oz and Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang) - maybe it's just the strangely balletic gait of the childcatcher - actually thinking of other scary films, it's always the people and things that move in a very controlled or self-aware way that I didn't like. The lumberings of Frankenstein as just comic, but it's those that slink, sway, skip or skitter that make me tense up. The Gollum's of this world (that's the film version).

Which reminds me: TV ads that blatantly rip-off films - where do we stand? The English Amelie of Standard Life - good, bad, annoying or dull? Other than implying that this illustrious financial group will take your fiver and pin it to a noticeboard...and that their customers will happily pay £5 for a's obviously going for those who consider themselves quirky, and find banking rather uninteresting.
Also the St Ivel Gold Ad - yes, you too can advertise your creamy butter (or low fat substitute), by images of people gliding effortlessly across sand. Think cool and smooth, think deserts and sand dunes. Feel it gliding across your tongue like one of the most abrasive substances known to man.
And anyway we go with the one with the little man and a trombone (cos it's cheaper and tastes nicer).
Actually who would win in an all out battle between Lurpack Trombone Man, the Homepride Man and those mischievous Jelly Babies? I'm sure you could easily turn the brass instrument into a bazooka - just load it with Bertie Bassett's nose.
And sorry to those who haven't seen the ads, but I don't know where to find them on the web.
Anyhoo, rantage over for the time being.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Oooh synchronicity - the guy I dubbed as "ridiculous" in the last post posted just as I logged in.
Well that's interesting huh?

Anyhoo - I never did get round to posting this before did I? (from the BBC). Quite interesting in a bizarre quirky way. And it even comes with pretty pics. Admittedly it appears to have sunk beneath bandwidth onslaught at the moment.

And how can gaining an hour make one so tired? Ok so this has more to do with giving people lifts last night and taking the wrong turning and so spending ages driving round single track lanes going in the wrong direction. But we saw some deer and an owl, so it's not like that 45 mins was wasted. Though I knew our navigation had gone badly wrong [Warning: don't trust adamant drunken people] when I recognised where we were from school cross-country runs.

Though at least it seemed warmer yesterday than on Friday. Whilst Concorde may be a stunning piece of engineering, and incredibly elegant, standing on a hill watching the last 3 come into Heathrow can also be bloody cold - regardless of the multiple layers making me about 6 ft wide. And do people who reply "Look where I'm looking" when asked where they've seen something, know how annoying they are? Whilst the rest of world uses things like "Two fingers up from halfway between the gas tank and the furthest block on X industrial estate, just above the mill over the railway", some people will still reply "By the pylon" even when looking over half the national grid.

And I discovered that philanthropic people who set up museums and things tend to have quite good taste in houses (even if my initial response to being told "It's Getty's House" is "Getty? Oh that Getty").

Vaguely interesting. And they claim the BBC is a vital national institution?

The Marmite thing - well I like it, so that's all that matters (and how can you not?). It is always funny though when innocent fools (usually American) assume it's like chocolate spread - so dip their finger in, and stick a large amount in their mouths. Strangely they seem to be amongst the "loathe it" camp.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Some people live very different lives. Isn't it impressive where curiosity will take you? Provided you're not a cat, of course. Now that is going to go over the heads of so many people, and those that do get it will probably think "why bother?". Ay well.
And did you know that quote was Napoleon as he left Russia? Well neither did I until I read War and Peace (doing this whole "worthy" reading thang). Good book, except the last 20 pages take about as long as the rest of book to read. But people imposing themselves ostentatiously into novels has always annoyed me. Du sublime au ridicule il n'ya qu'un pas. And why is pas both 'not' and 'step'? Was it designed specifically to confuse people trying to translate that quote? And why does the " but one step" bit never get used?

Other news. Well scarcely news, but it's stuff that's happened. I over took Little Miss Ramming Speed, aka Scowly Woman, aka The Tai-chi Swimmer, whilst doing breaststroke. A. I really need to decide which of those I will call her. B. Competing with stupid women is bad. C. She didn't hit me this week (and didn't have her ring on). D. It's really rather pathetic I remembered and care.
I think I may actually be getting better at swimming. Note the may.

A wee bit "ah bless". Sorry for the format - but it's the only place I've found it (ok so I haven't looked hard). Somehow the concept of a bewigged QC doing the same doesn't quite work. we think this will run and run? Or will some nice diversionary tactic happen? Another invasion? Might cause a bit too much controversy. How about big tax cuts? Nope, done those. A big show trial for Saddam Hussein? If we could find him. Osama bin Laden could be easier to get - call his agent, will you - of course it'll mean lower ratings. Unless we jazz it up a bit. How about mixing a Big Brother/Pop Idol style eviction with that Darren Brown Russia Roulette thing? We could get the viewers to vote for which chamber he has to fire each week. Or maybe which gun - and when we get bored of that, we'll make sure the one he's using is an automatic. Make it really Russian - use an AK-47.
Unless we decide we want to go on holiday to Syria in 30 years time, in which case, kaboom-a-go-go. And when's Disney-Nam opening?
[/poor taste]
Anyway foodwards I go.

Actually thinking about the PLoS charging for submissions - what about non-US papers? Because in some countries $1.5k is worth relatively more as a proportion of the research budget than it would be to US institutions. And what about the poorer institutions in the States? Not that I can figure out any way of making it fairer. Hmm, guess I just don't like the rhetoric about open-access promoting fairness and equality, and then using such a clumsy capitalist mechanism to do it. But that's the system that exists, so one has to work with it.
Though I like their coupling of New Scientist-y explanatory blurb with the actual paper it is summarising, so the detail is there if you want it, but it's not solely dry statistical detail.

Moving not so swiftly on...
REM - when did they start just doing REM by numbers? Bad Day - just sing along and see how times you find yourself singing the wrong song - and how many different songs you sing [It's the end of the world as we know it seems to be the lead contender].
Ok so looking at their website - they have done a lot of stuff, so it's only natural some of it sounds the same.
Crowded - not quite what I expected. Do they know what crowded means?
Admittedly both those bands are better than repetitive stuff that seems to be lingering at the moment - such as the "you need to give up smoking" tones of Nickelback.
...why weren't we able?
I want to make love on the kitchen table.
When are you going to repaint the gable?
My life has become an Aesop's fable.

And sodding radio 1 chooses "fiddy" cent next. Woo-bloody-hoo. And that's tmesis apparently.
I'm about to start using "back in the day" aren't I? Except I'm not old enough.

And why am I so impressed by simple things? I think it's a boy. But what happened to the lost continent?

See this. No, no, no, no. Legalese works because it is specific language. Each word has a legal definition. To use currently prevalent words risks confusing the content and intention of laws - many words have varied definitions, and to use only one nuance from many contemporary variants allows greater scope for misunderstanding. Legalese might be hard to understand, but it can (with patience) be understood. Modernised language would create a great occurrence of unwitting misunderstanding. Ignorance of the law may be undesirable, but it is better than being ignorant of one's ignorance, which the misinterpretation of laws will produce.
As for resetting the legal landscape - law, like most knowledge, works on precedent. This allows flexibility to adapt to the current climate. So where once A might have won over B, now C suggests otherwise. And if that doesn't work there's D-J still available. Simplifying the quirks of the past would mean A beats B whatever. Or until the courts decide to create an exception - and then you have the beginnings of a cascade of precedence, whereby the entire system will reoccur. Creating a universal statement would be cumbersome, and allow little chance of case specific interpretation. Governments cannot write to that level of detail. That's why most legislation aims to be incremental - because situations always occur in which complete resolution is not useful.

Having just got back from driving into town - driving towards on set of traffic lights, and slowing down because of the queuing traffic. Big flash. Me - but there aren't any speed cameras here, are there? And then the car shudders and there's a very loud noise. And then I notice the traffic lights have just gone out. Oh right, the strike must have been close though. So people are carrying on as usual (ie they haven't noticed the lights are out yet), or slowly edging across. Fortunately as I get to them, they come back on (and on green for me). Cross, and carry on down the road. Can see from a long way off that the next set are on red for the straight over lane, green for turn right (turn across the oncoming traffic). This is pretty unusual, as it only happens when a pedestrian wants to cross (and bothers pushing the button). I approach, they're still in the same phase. I turn right under the green light. As I drive off and get to the next junction I can see in the mirror the lights are still in this unusual phase. They should have changed by now. There's going to be some happy people if they stay like that. But hey, they were fine for me.
It's a bit odd getting thunderstorms now though. I am slightly concerned as to why I thought it had to be a speed camera though.
Anyhoo, better go and do the lunch thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

It's early days yet, but I think this one has potential. For a start he uses words I have to look up: exegesis or bloviate, anyone? But then he is a foeto-lawyer at Carnegie Mellon [1]. And he's got me making up words now. Speaking of which - obviate - any guesses? It's in the blurb for the company my brother works for, and I know what it means, but have never found it in any dictionary.
And he doesn't like SUVs, so he can't be all bad.

[1] Not that I have any idea where that is (well ok so it says Washington DC on the page), it's just one of those places one hears about. Probably because it sounds so distinctive. Actually looking at other people's blogs there does seem to be a bit of a hub there, but then they are quite specific blogs.

A really rather good blog. Again sci-techy, so be warned. But it is the interesting bits of science.

Why is it so hard to swim in cold water? I went swimming yesterday, and the air temperature has dropped quite bit since last week [first noticeable frost this morning], so the air inside the pool building is cool and the pool itself is cool. So dive in, try doing a gentle start followed by batting up and down a bit, but just not having the energy. Whatever I did I didn't reach the stage where one feels the heat surging down one's limbs. I know I must have been using quite a lot of energy because of needing to breathe hard (well ok so I'm unfit as well, but you know what I mean), but I didn't have any power in my arms or legs, so I could never push hard. It's just a very odd feeling knowing you must be doing something, but not being aware of it.
Presumably the heat was being drawn out of my limbs more rapidly than usual by the cooler water, so that they didn't feel as warm, and that the muscle was cooler, and thus requiring greater energy input to maintain the same level of activity.
Bloody annoying though.

Anyway, need to go and feed myself.

Something good for once: PLoS Biology. A free journal - I hope it suceeds. And is it worrying if a person actually misses MIMAS?

Also quite handy BioMed Central's list of their journals and availability.

Interesting approach from the PLoS - instead of charging to read and cite, charge the author to publish (only $1.5k per paper). At least it stops publishers from charging insane amounts for access to archives, which for research are nearly complusory (one can't do the job without it, so one pays whatever they ask). Unfortunately this means the early authors using the PLoS scheme will get hit twice, but I hope it can survive this stage. But it is a good idea, provided it can over come the momentum of the current system.

And for something completely different:
Any guesses for where the following came from? ...underlines the need to integrate our energy concerns into our foreign policy. Now if I said that that was written by Tony Blair (well it has his signature at the end), what would you think? A certain conflict anyone? You know - the one that was only about potential WMDs. Except it came from The Energy Review Februrary 2002, published by the PIU (now SU, hence the dodgy website).

Scavenged from elsewhere in the report: (iii) there is a strong likelihood that the UK will need to make very large carbon emission reductions over the next century. However, it would make no sense for the UK to incur large abatement costs, harming its international competitiveness, if other countries were not doing the same; - Don't all volunteer at once then. Yeah it's not our fault we're doing bad stuff - blame America. It's like someone driving 99mph, instead of 100mph - we're not speeding cos they're going faster [admittedly the police will go for the faster one]. Next the government will be saying "they started it".
It continues suggesting we should have strategies for reducing carbon emissions, but not implement then till every agrees on what to do. Manyara, manyara.

WTF! "clean coal". Go figure. Apparently if you plant trees (or claim large sections of the ocean as your own private sink) burning coal doesn't count (the joys of sequestering). Does that mean that Russia would get fined for letting tundra melt and thus release the immense amounts of carbon trapped in the scarcely decomposed soil?
Sorry my mistake - apparently in this context, seuqestration involves pumping carbon dioxide down old oil wells in the North Sea. Handily it can also be used to flush out oil from such cavities.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

How slow am I?

Finally remember what the music is in the bell ringing Weetabix ad [Not on their site]. I know it's a bit tragic I could remember, that I took so long to do it, and that I actually bothered trying to remember. Didn't help I thought it was the Dallas theme [aka the soundtrack to bedtime, which dates me] for awhile. Except the Dallas theme was the Bertolli ad wasn't it (something about oil barons)?
So Dallas and The A team are out, which will be the next 80's theme to get used? Anyone done Dukes of Hazzard[1]? Miami Vice?[2] Hawaii 5 O? Dynasty? [As you can tell only the finest American TV gets imported here].

[1]. Who of course spurred a craze for climbing into cars through the windows (I have a hunch it was supposed to be deftly leap, but we were only little). Shame that you'd have to go and unlock the car, then open the door, then wind down the window, then shut the door and climb in by putting your foot on the wheel (with a little help from one's brother). And that knob that locks the door really hurts when you land on it.

[2]. Does anyone actually remember the theme to this? Because I don't - I know it always had music, but other than not being allowed to watch it that's all I remember. That and the flying boats [was that even this show?].

Hmm, television has changed a lot, hasn't it?

And what does one do with chestnuts when it's not cold enough to feel you want them roasted?
Anyhoo, I'm off to ponder this and other great mysteries.

Friday, October 17, 2003

To think I worried about my Norwegian ex-flatmate putting entire saucepans in the microwave...see here.
Though saying CDs incandesce - um, well for the beginning perhaps, and then they start vibrating and small fires break out. But maybe that's only the AOL ones. And then you discover you've got scorched plastic bonded onto the rotating plate, with flecks of blackened metal. Which not even Fairy Liquid can shift. And which catches fire or partly melts every time the microwave gets used. Hmm, nice appetising smell (nearly as good as other flatmates who perennially set fire to the handles on saucepans).
The grape thing - how and why?

Looking at other stuff connected to him - well he's definitely enterprising. Like using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream (where've I heard this before?). And apparently one can stick your hand into liquid nitrogen and not have it shatter - because the heat from one's hand is enough to convert the liquid into a gas, and thus create an insulating layer round the hand - according to one of my brother's ex-lecturers. Have to admit I don't know of anyone who's tried (BTW this is possibly not recommended).

Reverting back to the Pop Sci Guy - He's won an Ig Noble. And dumps large chunks of sodium in water to see what happens. Half eek, half wow.
And I thought the Thermit reaction was cool.
Possibly best to leave this stuff to the insaner parts of humanity.
Anyhoo, need to eat.

Rubbishy thing from SMH - go to the end of the third paragraph. Er... Have Australians not noticed that Ferrero Rocher isn't exactly a luxury brand? Little balls of sickly gunk in stale cardboard, a bit like over-excited Maltesers that have wet themselves. They're nearly on a par with Liebfraumilch, and either given as an insult or in jest. Did they not get that infamous advert? The "Excellente" one. Which the company pulled when they realised it was widely mocked. It took them a decade to notice, but hey I'm sure that's not important. Only now they've realised how popular it was. So they brought it back? Nope they remade it, and modernised it. So it's still cringingly bad, but without any obviously quotable bits. No more "rilly spooling oos" with "the host's exquisite good taste". Society will just have to note something else.
BTW that was all "an opinion" type stuff, so please don't sue (and also I have no money, so if you're lucky you might get the chance to owe the student loan company money).

Which reminds me: what would you do in the following situation?
Party 1 wants to give stuff to Group A. To do this they need Party 2 or 3 to help. Party 2 wants to give stuff to Group B as well. Party 1 does not want to do this, and will abandon their plans if Party 2 insists on it. Party 3 refuse to help Party 1.
So does Party 2:
i - Abandon Group B, and agree with Party 1 to give Group A stuff.
ii - Demand Group B receives stuff, although this would stop both Groups A and B getting any.
iii - Let the members of their party decide to do whatever they want, which might result in Group A, but not B, receiving stuff, but could also block Group A from getting anything.
So which is it?
Now factor in that: Party 2 has a reputation for equality, and not being biased against Group B. Party 2 has voters in Group B. Party 2 also has voters from Group A. Party 2 has fairly low levels of support.
So does Party 2 lose voters and damage their reputation by blocking Group A receiving stuff [although possibly gaining support from Group B], or do they lose voters and damage their reputation by letting Group A receive stuff but not Group B, or do they try and opt out, and thus lose voters and damage their reputation through their weak leadership?
Seems like Party 2 are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Party 1 = Australian Liberal Party.
Party 2 = Australian Democrats
Party 3 = Australian Labor Party.
Group A = Married heterosexual couples.
Group B = Long-term homosexual couples.
Stuff = superannuation [pension] rights for the partner.

Tricky huh?

Other stuff:
I've forgotten how to do it. And you can't even cheat and dismantle the thing in this version (use the handle on a spoon, or a steel rule, but don't do it in mid-air). Although this version has weird B3ta-ish tinges.

Anyhoo, I'd better be gone.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Stupid people who hoot. Especially as it's made me cross, and I wasn't, and was actaully quite happy (and don't start pointing put that I choose to be cross not happy, not least because then what would I write?). Me in car, having just stopped by a junction to turn right (across the approaching traffic [i.e. a US left turn] for the silly parts of the world). Why did I stop? Because there is traffic coming the other way, which given that the junction is at the end of a long straight road (coming the other way), and that people rarely drive under the 30mph speed limit (but the council can't use traffic calming, as the ambulance station is on this road), and that it was 5 o'clock, which means that all the people will start surging out of the new offices [well they once were new to me] down the road, in an erratic stream of BMWs, Mercs and Jags, and that there's still a hole in the hedge where someone didn't make the bend (and carried the road sign across the next junction), and there was a nice zebra-y effect of a low sun so the oncoming traffic usually doesn't see you, and I've known this junction all my life and it's always been dodgy, which all combined does rather imply it's not a good idea to try and nip across in front of people [and yes I will remember to breathe soon]. But not according to the person behind me. No, I should go now - at least I think that's what his blast meant, though perhaps it would be more efficient if he used his horn to do morse.
Admittedly I did go in front of the next vehicle, but that's only because he stopped accelerating and actually started braking a bit.
Still, Mr Impatient Fool - Expletive-ing expletive.

And now I'm thinking of Tintin (well blistering barnacles, to be more precise). And whatever happen to "drat"? (or even double drat, although I know this more Mutley than Snowy. And why do the dogs upstage their masters?).

And when will it rain? Because my fingers hurt from the prickles. Confused? The pre-cursing idiots bit, which made me happy was going and nicking chestnuts from a local arboretum (and wandering round taking pics of and looking at the pretty trees, and views, and sun, and nearly being decapitated by a pheasant [they so can]), where of course the biggest ones are actually in the car park thudding onto the roof of the car. And there's still a husk on the back windscreen wiper (maybe that's why he hooted?), which matches the beech masts stuck the bottom of the rear-most windows and the birch seeds in the heaters (although the pre-MOT wash did take out most of the moss, algae and lichen, with assorted fauna). And whatever happened to the first 't' in chestnuts? Perhaps it's one of those forrid-like things ['forrid' being the pronunciation of forehead in certain parts of the country]. And now I'm thinking of all the other quirks of English speech. And names are always fun. St John, Grosvenor (except you always read that as the pronunciation, not the letters), and of course the gloriously insane Featherstone-Haugh. Any guesses? Give yer a clue - it's got two syllables.

I do get distracted don't I? And yes you can have a tangent of a tangent, although it requires the first one to be a curve in the plane perpendicular to the original circle [although some people may argue about the maths of this]. So from looking at the original circle the first tangent goes off in a straight line (well duh), and the second appear to be a continuation or point on that line.

Anyway. Rain, chestnuts, pricked fingers connected how? Usual technique for getting the nuts out from their husks/cases/whatever, consists of rolling them under foot. This doesn't work when it's been so dry for ages that the ground is very fine dust and therefore offers little resistance. Although on the plus side it does mean that all the trees are really droughted, and so acting as though death is imminent, start putting most of their energy into seed production, rather than growth or producing reserves. Hence lots of nuts (and thinner rings in their trunks, although this varies with species and usual climate).

Oh and remind me: A. do not be in a really awkward position taking a photograph of a toadstool when people are going to approach unheard. B. Swimming 1km is not really a good idea when you hurt a muscle on about the fifth length. C. Repeating B 2 days later is also not a good idea. D. Saying you swam 1 km really isn't very impressive when it emerges that you've used a variety of styles (including one I made up, but hey it works), and didn't push that hard, and had breaks at each end to breathe properly. E. Forgetting how to do that moving arms and legs whilst breathing thing is also not a good idea. F. Do not do the same stroke as the children being taught in the other part of the pool, being overtaken is embarrassing, and competing against (and beating) a nine year old is also embarrassing. G. Remembering how to dive properly, only to get to the bottom and then think "and now what?", is not a good idea. H. Diving in and turning over to do backstroke can be quite fun, but not when you meet the slope up towards the shallow end and can't rise quicker than it without losing way, so you bounce along feeling foolish and beginning to worry about breathing. I. Trying to figure out how to duck dive properly, instead of doing one's own weird spiralling thing, whilst approaching the bottom of the pool, is quite frankly daft. J. Must destroy scowly woman in black cap. Well if she's stupid enough be doing a very slow meandering backstroke whilst veering towards someone [me] stuck between her and the rope, clouting said person and cutting their ankle with her diamond ring, and when they apologise (it's a habit) she swims off and then shouts "oh thank you very much" from half the pool away. Stupid bitch troll. Though at least the other people in the pool seemed to think her a bit odd. But howcome people at school have take off jewellery to do PE, but once you're a grown up lumps of metal and stone can't hurt people any more? A wedding ring - well as long as it's smooth I guess that's ok, but sodding great stones cut to have many impeccably sharp edges, that are only there to show how much someone would spend on you? No wonder she was listing to port, and couldn't keep straight if she's got that much ballast off to the side.
Grrr. Cross again.

So trying to make myself happier - Michael Portillo as a single mum (last night BBC 2). Are you supposed to have hysterics at the sight of a Tory ex-minister dancing (on his own, in a kitchen) to Aqua? Giggle. And please don't point out that I managed to identify the song. And then him doing American Pie (he wasn't awful). Snigger. Actually I think he did quite well (well given the likelihood of Wipe Swap-esque chaos), even if the Guardian wishes to harrumph about it (look up the review yourself). Ok so there's some single-rich-man-with-cleaner obvious things, but he really wasn't bad.

Anyway, so as I’m happier now, I'll be off to cook.

PS type thing. Can't have me writing without linking - so someone who is quite interesting (or at least in parts). But I did a science degree, so it's probably not for everyone.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Thank God I'm not Catholic.

And even Panorama is copying me now. They've just shown a programme on contraception and the catholic church. The church was not cast in a favourable light. Other than claiming that contraception is an apartheid-like folly, the catholic church claims condoms are unsafe and dangerous, and their presence would encourage promiscuous behaviour, and due to them being a sieve would increase infection rates of HIV. Sheesh, how damaging and delusional do these guys want to be? And what is their response when challenged on statements like this? To contradict the WHO, to threaten to oust politicians asking for freedom of information and choice. What ever happened to the separation of church and state? The Vatican, being a country even gets an equal right to act at the UN. This church is selfish and self-indulgent, arrogant and condescending. It is a threat to democracy, to communication, to knowledge, to tolerance. It is dishonest.

And one has a suspicion that the Roman Catholic church has one overriding reason for this approach. Why is all life sacred? Because Catholics beget Catholics, the children of Catholics are yet more Catholics. Why bother converting others when you can grow your own? Even if they are malnourished products of violent incest, and infected with a terminal disease.

And how can this foolishness be abated? Wait for him to die. He is the pontiff, the bridge between man and God, the highest individual in the organisation. He is old, he, like Prime Ministers, is not for turning, he is ailing, which given it's been a few hundred years since the last papal abdication does not bode well. Popes are popes till they die. The only escape from this scenario is by the age old tradition of all hierarchical institutions. Sometimes "over my dead body" is the only way [but over how many other people's as well?]. And even then progress is not guaranteed, pupils repeat the words of their master. Most of the church is not liberal, and the selection demands consensus. Though hopefully it won't be the same as it ever was.

Roman Catholicism - the world's greatest producer of Protestants.

Anyhoo, 'tis gone midnight, and I ought to be in bed.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

He copied me! Ok so he did more work on it and had more info, and did a better job of it...but that's beside the point. As for condoms being unable to prevent the passage of HIV - [can't find the research now, so please forgive the ill-described science] I think the individual virus in it's dormant carrier form (ie the traditional image of a virus), is quite a bit smaller than the latex molecules, and smaller than the gaps between the molecules. However in normal use the virus is contained within a water based fluid and so is pretty hydrophilic. Latex is hydrophobic, so water and most structures suspended within it will not easily leave to interact with the latex. So either the virus would have to leave a hydrophilic environment and pass over the surface of a series of hydrophobic molecules, or it would have to leave the fluid for air, which would take quite a bit of energy (and I'm not aware of HIV acting as an airborne disease). So if the virus escapes the ejaculate and reaches the outside surface of the condom then it would have to pass into another hydrophilic environment (the recipient’s body). But this would mean the virus would have to go from hydrophilic, to hydrophobic, and back to hydrophilic, which would require energy expenditure to either do this chemically or by more mechanical means. Which given that the viruses borrow the host cell's equipment normally, and that the infective virus in the ejaculate is in the dormant state [i.e. it is pretty much only data, and it's not connected to a cell], rather limits this occurrence. So the virus lacks the means of changing that would allow it to pass. But could it by benign forces alone? Not really, as the innate hydrophilia or hydrophobia of a structure means that on meeting an interface between the two phases (eg water and latex), the structure will bond best with the environment that best reflects it's characteristics. But there is a second interface, the reverse of the first, so either the structure (e.g. virus) will not have passed in the middle region, and thus be stuck in the original substrate (the ejaculate), or it will have passed into the middle (the latex). But if the structure reacted better with the middle substrate than the first, it will also react better with that than the last (bodily fluids being fairly similar), and so will not pass beyond the middle substrate. This is the same mechanism that our cells use to keep the contents separate from the outside.

So while it is technically possible for HIV to pass through a condom, it is pretty improbable. Although latex does allow things like very small molecules to pass through, such as acetone, but that's because it's really small (well relatively), and has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends.

Sorry for the really bad presentation (see now this is why pictures/diagrams are useful), but I blame it on (well apart for never being able to write coherently - there's always too many exceptions and provisos, and not enough paragraphs) waking up sometime before 4am, knowing I've got to ferry my parents to Waterloo by 6:30ish, and then coming back during dawn. So I've forgotten where I put reality.

And isn't it handy that a train service that usually takes 45mins, takes 1hr 20 on Saturday mornings and the earliest doesn't get in to London till 7am. And Eurostar insist on people being there 45mins before the train, which is at 7:20. So somehow it got arranged that we'd go up at 5:30, and then having dropped them off I'd come back again. Except this being this family, we didn't leave till about five to six, so we got there about the same time as the first train would have done. And my father managed to get flashed by a speed camera (but only once?), doing 50 in a 50 limit. Go figure.

And Skodas don't do acceleration. It didn't help that the rev counter is where my speedo is and vice versa. And it only has 20 and 40 visibly marked. And as it's fairly new nothing reacts when you touch it, as all the pedals just flop about, instead of needing your whole body weight to move them (makes parking easier though). But it doesn't have any notches where it just settles at one speed, so it always seems like it's in too high a gear (even in 1st). But doesn't have a leak and accompanying mould, has a radio and power steering (it's no fun when it doesn't feel like you're hoisting the car into the space).

And does anyone drive in bus lanes even when they're not in force? Other than the black BMWs and silver Mercs who always do far more at least 30mph more than you.

Hmm, tiredness is not good. And I better go and find some lunch.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Yay! Fun silly thing that's quite good actually. It takes the beginning of a sentence and sticks it in Google, and builds the rest of the sentence from the results.
So I was aiming for: It was a dark and stormy night and the Indians were sitting round the camp fire, when the little one said, "Big Chief, please tell us a story". So the Big Chief said, "It was dark and stormy night....
Google's interpretation: It was a dark and Stormy night The rain fell in sheets and the wind was blowing at a speed of m/ s B
Obviously it doesn't work well when it meets physics.
And Once upon a time doesn't work right when there's a film out with that in the title. You get a looping cast list followed by and IT ad, and then some bizarre series that sounds like it ought to be Radiohead lyrics, then another ad for self help books.
First lines of nursery rhymes are quite amusing - this being the internet and all. Except Little Miss Muffet, which just recurs endlessly.
Twinkle twinkle little star How I wonder what you are! Up to date on the latest information on the Andromedans. or on anything else you need to know about Hepatitis A. What is Hepatitis A? Hepatitis A Hepatitis B and hepatitis C. in the United States. and The United Kingdom a Critical review by George Rekers Mark . Quite.
How now brown cow? I don't even want to know how this gets into porn sites.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

How weird is that - happening to catch a programme about Enid Blyton (bear with me here), that was filmed all round bits of Purbeck, and even includes someone who has always been the slightly annoying busybody round there - so happening to catch a shot of Durlston and thinking I know where that is, and then they have someone I know on it (being very him). Strange though as I thought he was dead, but I may have got confused, as this is Swanage we're talking about, and there's quite a lot of old people who keep dying (they do, it's like it's become a habit). Quite bizarre, shots of places from many holidays in a programme about books of what other people did in their holidays. But I never really liked her stuff though (well George was the best character), always more of an Arthur Ransom person.

And now for something completely different: Isn't nice when you get half remembered songs stuck in your head? Especially when doing backstroke, and when's it's a song you can't really burst out singing (not that I would do that with any song, but you know what I mean). And here are the lyrics as I think of them:

Look at me, with my fucked up Doctor Martens,
Look at me, with something in my eye,
Look at me, with my PhD in bullshit,
You know I never wanted to say it....
rest of chorus I can't remember.

Can ya tell what it is yet? Having got home and played what I thought it was, I then discovered that those words are about 50% accurate, and don't come from the same parts of the song. Opps.
For those that haven't guessed yet, it was of course: Never Knew You by Rootjoose[1], who are probably defunct by now. As are most of the other bands that my brother liked (and therefore I heard of). Such as Ruth [2], who became The 45s, then Aqualung shedding people along the way.
[1] who of course are Cornish and know I guy I knew at uni, whose friend I lived with (not through choice) also went to school with Craig David (feel the sheer wow factor). But then in this incestuous isle the 6 degrees of seperation tends to get you back to your own cousin.
[2] I annoyed my brother. I didn't go to see Ruth. On that night I went to see a local band called Muse. I thought they rocked, but in a Devon not quite charismatic way, my brother thought I was a fool to have missed Ruth. Which I think counterbalances not seeing Coldplay in a cellar because I had a headache (having been talking for that past 3 hours without stopping to breathe). Maybe not. But I'm odd, I came away from the Starsailor thing with the Lemonhead's version of Mrs Robinson stuck in my head (and it starts again now), cos the venue played afterwards [Starsailor also quite good, possibly with an extraneous quite. Even if I did stop in the middle and think "Did I hear right?" after the Daddy was an alcoholic line. Pretty passionate people].
I miss music.

Just realised I've not been doing links. Matt cartoon, rather amusing, assuming you know the IDS background (Tory leader, not Israeli Defense Service, who are otherwise known as the Army Sans Frontieres].
Quirky thing that tells you who's linked to a blog, which is quite interesting.
Something else I just saw. Completely random - Confuse the hell out of future archaeologists though.
Anyhoo, better go stuff.

Eeek! People I know are getting engaged! And they're my age! And they're not rabid christians [1]! That's just worrying.

It's just so strange. Oh wowie congrats BTW, to the "yet another transatlantic couple" (TM).

Strewth though.

[1] Who at least have a fairly obvious reason for getting married.

Um, what else was there?
The sheer annoying badness that is job adverts that have paragraphs talking about fairness and equality, and then end in "as part of our Affirmative Action Scheme, the applicant must belong to an ethnic minority group". Distinctly unimpressed.
Other than providing fodder for the scary right's [that's the technical term] belief that "they come over here and take our jobs", it's just wrong. It's treating the symptom not the cause. It's like giving someone 2 paracetamol instead of a vaccination. Grrr.

Oh and to the guy who emailed - the embryo thing [see below] - no I'm not saying that embryo's are life, and must be protected as such. Because that would stop lots of important research (which given the usefulness of stem cells would be a bit foolish), and would agree with the catholic decree that every sperm is sacred, which quite frankly is pretty damaging[2].

[2] And given that Italy - a country renowned for it's amorousness and strict catholicism, has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe...possibly not everyone sticks to everything the pope says [telling AIDS ridden countries that contraception is bad - Gee that's a good move].

Oh and remind me not to move to California any time soon.

Moving swiftly on...Hoaxes. Did anyone actually watch that Derren Brown thing? I kept flicking over to it, but it was "wow someone shooting themselves, but we know Channel 4 won't show someone dying". And then we discover it was a blank - except can't they do quite a lot of damage at close range?
Though that UFO thing last night was quite amusing (at least after the slightly unhinged Wife Swap). Why is it only English people would do that? And how did we know it would involve large quantities of duct tape?

And hooray, Salam's back! Was a bit worried that having plugged the book that would be the end of it.

I just thought - what if the just engaged couple have kids? That would be mad (or at least the children would have to be given their parents [JOKING - in a please don't kill me way]).

Monday, October 06, 2003

Hmm - why do people bother using systems for fun in which the way to win consists of doing A, then B, B, B, wait a while C.
Blogshares [see crappy button] - where's the fun? It's just a poor mock up of a stock market where it seems nigh on impossible to lose money. It's just a mechanical stodge.
And yet I keep going back to it. Though it does provide an interesting array of blogs (aka another way of wasting time), although the amount of rubbish some people write...and don't worry this glasshouse of mine is double glazed so the stones bounce right off.

Chlorine is fun - especially when it makes you either seem like you're on drugs, have just flown back from australia, or have hay fever.
Did you know: that when swimming pools smell chloriney, that's because there isn't enough chloride in the swimming pool to kill off the bacteria - which instead break down the chemicals in the water to provide energy. That which doesn't kill us will make us stronger, or summat.
And people shouldn't be allowed to dive into swimming pools and start doing butterfly - cos A. it's really bloody depressing for all the people who've only just started again, and are fairly unfit. B. the wake sinks all the old dears doing breaststroke - but then these are people who go swimming but don't want to get their hair wet. It's a swimming pool - it is a big body of water in which one moves solely by contact with the water - I think wetness is fairly innate in the concept.

Trying to find pic...and can't now. As I commented on the Indy finding Blair's halo, I thought I better show IDS's to be fair - it's on the FP of the print version of the Telegraph. Except TB's was blue, and IDS's is whitey-yellow - so what's this say about each of them? Do halos work of the same colour scale as that aura malarkey?

Anyway, better go as being hassled (oh joy!).

Friday, October 03, 2003

And once again I go off on a tangent.
Have been trying to figure out how Blogshares works [see below], whilst it denies I exist.
Still not quite sure what the point is though.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Humph! Silly thing doesn't do non-US styles. So you'll have to put up with it being in YEAR.MONTH format, as that avoids having the days (which are unnecessary anyway as it's split into months).
And this time I will actually stop [perhaps].

Hmm, need to sort out the archives thing (so it does the dates properly, ie 30/9/03 not 9/30/03, cos there aren't 30 months).

The law is an ass: Discuss.
Well there's been quite a bit in the news recently about various court cases. Firstly the bizarre and apparently unexplained withdrawal of legal aid to the class lawsuit on behalf of the parents of post-MMR autistic children. Apart from the fact I don't think they have a case, (and if there is a link then it simply becomes part of a process of risk management), why did the awarding body drop it now? What's changed to cause this, and if nothing's changed then why did it happen?

Then onto the law getting really silly - the rulingthat the mother of artificially created embryos cannot use them to have children as the father has withdrawn his consent [the couple having split up]. If the embryo's already been created then the consent has been granted by both parties. It is a potential human. Just because the gestation period is abnormally long, does not mean that the process has not occurred. Can a father demand the pregnant mother abort a foetus because they are no longer together? You shouldn't be able to apply decisions retrospectively. [And it does sound very like a spiteful act on the father's part, but more on this on Cutting Edge tonight - which of course clashes with 2 other things I want to watch]. But then the 1990 act requires full consent, and they both should have been sticking to the rules I suppose the result was inevitable (it's just the rules may need changing).

And now the law annoying the government, and possibly damaging the NHS. Patients can go abroad for NHS funded treatment if they would be faced with undue delay. Other than the judge carefully not quantifying "undue delay", this could cause a nightmare for the NHS, as it allows claims for reimbursement, rather than requiring prior agreement. So if a patient choose a very expensive hospital for treatment, the NHS would be as liable for funding as if they had chosen a cheaper alternative (though with any luck someone will add in a "within reasonable limits" clause). If the NHS groups have any sense they try and steer people to certain cheaper regions to get work done (and would it cost them less than doing it themselves? How long before hospitals become outsourcing agencies?). Either that or hope some ruling qualifies it as requiring the NHS's consent before seeking foreign healthcare.
NB. Please note the studious lack of puns on patient patients, etc.

Other stuff:
Tax discs - why do they tear easier than the perforations? And how can a little bit of paper be worth £195? (said he carefully not noticing that I to get that I gave the Post Office a little bit of paper worth £195, but at least that had added art work by me).
Direct Line - good prices or merely good advertising? As everyone in the post office queue to get their tax discs had car insurance provided by them.
Swimming - good, bad or very, very ugly. Went yesterday - haven't been in ages. You know how people say you don't forget stuff like riding bikes - well it's not true (not the bikes bit - but I don't know, cos mine was stolen ages ago, so I can't test it). Are you supposed to be able to gain absolutely no power from your legs when swimming (regardless of which stroke you're doing)? A. I don't remember my hips rolling as much as that last time, B. Doing crawl legs either causes huge amounts of turbulence, and minimal intentional movement, or they start sinking, C. Doing breaststroke legs - i think I get the power off the wrong bit (but if I try doing it right I stop and plunge underwater), D. The whole concept of synchronising moving arms and legs, and breathing at the same time seems frightfully complicated (ie I swallow lots of water, get confused and flail whilst not moving and trying to cough and breathe). E. But by that time there were kids around, so I had an excuse for not trying to charge up and down (though have their mothers never heard of Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre?), and then started getting bored and discovered that ducking diving works fine, until you clout the heel of one foot into the top of the other foot and try saying "ow" underwater. So I sat on the edge for a bit, and as it was the deep end there's only one way back in. Now this is why I remember liking swimming - it's the way diving allows you to cover half the length of the pool for very little effort. And of the half dozen or so I did I only fluffed it once, and even then it didn't hurt as much as it used to. But then it was only off the side, not the diving board - the use of which I've never got sorted (well it wobbles at the wrong time).

And I really need to start linking to more than one newspaper, but Indy wants paying for the good stuff, the Telegraph doesn't have the same agenda as the Guardian, and the rest are tabloid or Murdoch (or both), which means going to foreign stuff, which coupled with my not so greatness at languages leaves us with American or Australian/Canadian sources (other anglophonic countries are available - they just tend to not have good news sources). So USA boils down to pretty much the NY times, the Washington Post (or the IHT which is 1/2 of each), or CNN, all of which tend to adhere to CNN's meme of "bringing you world news from all round the US". Australian (and to some extent Canadian) sources tend to quite informative, it's just that they largely carry reprints of the UK and US media. And of course there's the whole ubiquity of Murdoch thing, which leaves things like the SMH (aka The Age, Melbourne), or the state broadcasters the ABC and CBC (Oz and Canada's equivalents of the BBC).

Which somehow vaguely reminds me - when did the Arnold Schwarzenegger thing stop being a publicity stunt and start being serious? It just doesn't seem very comforting that power can be so arbitrarily given. But then it is America - it's not like they haven't done it before.
Anyhoo, better go and do proper stuff.

Damn distracting recently posted blogs thing on Blogger's FP, because I invariably look at them (well the interestingly titled ones) and forget what i was going to talk about. Physics is fun. Indeed it is. Or at least quite interesting occasionally. And then start reading the links like this, and things get a bit more difficult (like using that Schroedinger's [sp?] cat thing to get electrons to be in two states and therefore not react in either state[1]). Actually (reading a bit more), I'm not sure it's as complicated as this.

[1] Only I would think of The Grand of Duke of York at this point (...they were neither up nor down).

Eek! I just remembered something that ought to have been done last month, only I couldn't do it then. So I'll have to get back to the other stuff I was going to do.
Back in mo (or possibly slightly longer, because this involves finding paperwork, which I was never very good at).

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Guess that'll be a premature mini-rant then. Turns out the I love Tony thing (see below) was actually part of a Guardian trolling thing.

It's really rather funny.

Another plug for stuff from the same paper (well G2 is the best bit).

And I better go before I start copying yet more from there [other news sources are available, although the best UK ones are the Indy, Telegraph and BBC, and I'm not doing well on this impartiality thing, am I?].

The Labour Party Conference - where to begin?
It's not fair - my claim to stunning originality has been ruined, as after Blair's "I've not got a reverse gear" speech thing, both the Guardian and the Indy ran with a play on Thatcher's "the lady's not for turning". But I thought of it first, well ok so possibly not, but it was at least independent of them. And then I discover that she said that in 1981. I'm guessing I didn't hear the original then. Admittedly I did only think of that after suddenly having a very silly song bounding round my head - sometime in the 80s there was, what I presume must be one of those quirky novelty hits, the chorus to which was "startreking across the universe, always going forwards cos we can't find reverse". Which isn't quite what you expect a political speech to inspire.

On to his actual speech: good hesitant cringing slightly at the end of some of the statements - in a "will the accept this, or are they about to start booing and throwing stuff?" way. And then the tirade doesn't happen so he carries on. And do they never build reinforced rostrums for political things? Do they think it's a good idea to try and distract people with a quivering set? Hey maybe the audience will be too busy betting on when the microphone falls off to listen to the cause of the vehemency.

Also in the newsnight stuff - they had a clip of the conference that had sticker playing upon the "I [heart] NY" image, but with TO stuck in front of the NY. So it reads "I [heart] TONY". Oh dear. If any use deserves suing by the New York tourist people, it's that. Of course it also makes one think - what is NY as a verb? What is NYing?...Well if it's I love to NY, then NY must be verb. Maybe that's just me (in pedant mode), refusing to believe that anyone would wear that in earnest.

Anyway it was nice to see Jeremy Paxman getting on well with politicians for once (and of course not taking the piss at all).

And how hard did the Indy have to try to get Blair's halo (on the front page of today's internet version).

In other news...Going too far? How the hell does David Blaine expect to wow the world when you've got people doing this to each other? Actually how is the national's favourite goldfish? As he's managed to fall completely off the radar screen (other than a brief mention in reference to IDS, as a man wasting away, and disappearing in silent insignificance).

Oh and apparently someone finally pointed out the large cannabis plant that's been growing in the middle of a roundabout on the main road through the town. The best bit is the local garden centre, who provide the plants and the maintenance for the roundabout, had no idea it was there [insert poor joke about weeding here].

Even though I try not to repost stuff straight from B3ta, this stunning waste of time has to be done - it looks so simple.
Almost as fearsomely addictive as Gridlock. Haven't played in a while but that's because I'm stuck on level 38 (or somewhere round there), at which point it just becomes impossible.

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