Monday, December 04, 2006

Monster Mash

Popcorn at the ready

Trailer: James Cameron's Hamlet, Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Adverts: Cillit Bang

Main Feature: The Matr-erminator

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Strive as you will to elevate woman, nevertheless the disabilities and degradation of her dress, together with that large group of false views of the uses of her being and of her relations to man, symbolised and perpetuated by her dress, will make your striving vain."

Gerrit Smith, abolitionist and founder of the movement for women's dress reform, 1885.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Police in anti-terrorist raid, press not interested.

It seems that hauls of bomb making equipment are only interesting when found in a muslim home. Maybe John Reid could give a stern talking to Robert Cottage and David Bolus Jackson's mum and dad. <John Reid>Did they not see the telltale signs? The (BNP) literatuure? A carelessly abandoned nuclear and biological protection suit? </John Reid>

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mixed messages

Imagine the scenario: your job allows, nay requires that you stand, heavily armed, outside the embassy of the regime currently shelling your family. Wouldn't it be an act of the utmost professionalism to ask if you can take your large machine gun and guard someone who you didn't feel an overwhelming urge to give, y'know, maybe just a little ding 'round the earhole? The D*ily M*il (I feel dirty just typing those words!) thinks not. Apparently,

"Critics [i.e. - the D*ily M*il] accused Met chiefs of bowing to political correctness, saying the decision set a dangerous precedent."

Which precedent would that be? The one that says that moral issues should not be considered when deciding what duties our public servants carry out? That one has already been set - as long as you are fireman who's afraid of being wolf whistled at.

So the D*ily M*il reasons thus:

If you might get wolf whistled at by gayers then obviously that's very stressful and you should just disobey orders and not turn up for your duties. However, if you are placed in a stressful situation whilst armed then the professional thing to do is "suck it up, beardy-boy".

From the M*il's own article:

"Richard Barnes, a Tory member of the Metropolitan Police Authority... said: 'I think it was crass management in the first place. They should have recognised there could have been a problem and not suggested this officer be posted at this embassy.'"

Christ - the M*il has me agreeing with Tories now! The Diplomatic Protection Group are not your usual bobbies - they are highly skilled and heavily armed professionals and I for one am glad that their stresses are taken seriously. Dunno about you, but I'd rather face an offended fireman armed with a hose than a grief stricken marksman with an automatic weapon, no matter what the D*ily M*il might think.

Still - at least I'm back to my usual ground state of barely suppressed rage now. It's better than coffee I tell ya!

Friday, September 08, 2006

The new, caring tories:

Am I the only one that thinks this is a little... off?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Odd but interesting:

Jacobson and Bygdeman, 1998: Obstetric care and proneness of offspring to suicide as adults: case-control study,

(Bertil Jacobson, professor emeritus, Huddinge University Hospital and Marc Bygdeman, professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Karolinska Hospital).

Given the faact my mother is still complaining, nearly 32 years later, you should keep me away from firearms, trains, heights, blades and ropes - all methods of "unambiguous suicide by violent means". Apparently there may also be a correlation with accident proneness. I'd go on but I just spilled tea on myself.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Guadrian (sic)

Big shout out to Kathleen for spotting that one. The original is here.

Addendum: In the interests of fairness I should say that the misspelling is probably the least interesting part of that article!

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'll go blind

I know blogrolling yourself is dirtier than excessive self-citation but I'm quite proud of my last couple of No2ID posts:

The clones are coming: commentary on the demonstration of an ICAO ePassport cloning exploit.

STC reports on ID Cards: s review of the conclusions of the Science and Technology Select Committee's report on the ID Card scheme.

Or you could just play the video in the post below and go blind yourself...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Let's zuiiken English

So it looked like Robertu san was having all the fun - til I found 'this

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hoodies, dehydration, and trolling for Guardian readers...

Excellent thread on "the Haven" in Guardian Talk. The thread is entitled "There's several hooded youths gathered outside my house and it's a very hot evening - Should I offer them some water ?" and was started by "lansing". Here are the highlights (a horizontal line denotes an elipsis).

lansing - 08:19pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#4 of 109)

"two of them are talking quietly into mobile phones but I can't hear what they're saying. Maybe they're asking their friends to bring them some cold drinks or ice lollies."

lansing - 08:26pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#11 of 109)

"They've been joined by two other kids on mountain bikes but I see no lollies or cold drinks.

Isn't it great though that young people are cycling again.

I'll go out and ask them if they'd like some iced water. "

redder - 08:32pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#16 of 109)

"If you've put your garbage out, make sure you cut up your plastic six-pack holders or they may choke the little darlings' blowholes."

lansing - 08:35pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#20 of 104)

I brought them some water and now they're mostly standing in my front garden. I've asked them to watch my flowerbeds though.

Three of them have asked to use the toilet and they're now upstairs.

lansing - 08:44pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#29 of 104)

u lot r a bunsh of kunts

lansing - 08:49pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#35 of 104)

sorry for that post one of the kids asked me what I was doing and when I told him he typed it. They've left now but have told me they're coming back in 1/2 an hour for a party I'm not sure what to do now. To be frank I'm now a bit worried.

jean1 - 08:50pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#36 of 104)

Have the party, you'll enjoy it.

Leftie26 - 08:50pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#37 of 104)

You're making this up!

lansing - 08:55pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#39 of 104)

I have a table tennis table in the shed. I'd better get it out. I'll be gone for a while. I just hope I'm doing the right thing but I can't believe these kids aren't good. There's a right-wing guy at work always preaching hate and intolerance. When I tell him tomorrow just how good these kids are he'll realise just how wrong he is.

lansing - 09:03pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#52 of 109)

u lot r gay

BellaFiga - 09:03pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#53 of 109)

no we aren't. You are way too hot in that hoody.

lansing - 09:05pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#58 of 109)

we own dis huse

lapsedcat - 09:06pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#61 of 109)

Oh Lord - listen you punk! Put lansing on - I just want to know he/she is safe

BellaFiga - 09:06pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#62 of 109)

strictly speaking I don't think you do own dat huse. But nice Lansing is letting you have drinks and weewees.

lapsedcat - 09:13pm Jul 4, 2006 GMT (#66 of 109)

They're probably chasing him/her around the house, merrily happy-slapping

lansing - 08:49am Jul 5, 2006 GMT (#81 of 109)

I was released from hospital at 5am. unfortunately the kids were a bit too exuberant and gave me something to smoke. I'm not sure what it was but when I woke up I was in a park and they'd taken my shirt away.

MsToke - 10:41am Jul 5, 2006 GMT (#85 of 109)

we own dis huse

u lot r gay

Joo1s - 10:48am Jul 5, 2006 GMT (#86 of 109)

Quite. Anyone down wiv da yoof should know that it's "We pwn ths huse u luserz! LOL!".

Or something. Possibly with a "1337" in there somewhere. And wacky hand-gestures.

SinnerBoy - 12:13am Jul 6, 2006 GMT (#93 of 109)

It's all right, Lansing. I've been round with my shotgun - the survivors ran and I'm sure they won't be back. I'll probably do 35 years, but will you be grateful?

I doubt it.


lansing - 08:57am Jul 6, 2006 GMT (#94 of 109)

The kids came around again last night and one of them going by the name of 'd-man' (at least that's what I saw him 'tagging' my wall asked me if I had told the police. I said I had to for insurance purposes. he threatened to 'do me' if I spoke to them again. my neighbour called the police which was totally unwarranted in my opinion and I made my feelings clear to her after the kids were dispersed.

I think they'll come back tonight so I'm going to float a long-standing idea with them. It's for a local 'youth parliament' where the local authortity can fund a local platform for the kids to express their grievances and give them a much-needed voice to turn back the tide of social exclusion and alientation.

Initially I'll allow them in maybe two at a time. If I can invigorate one or two with this idea it can be a seed for change and flourish amongst the others.

I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Weekend Fun

Jeev and Neil came to stay - we had fun:

Friday, June 09, 2006

Big shout out to my man...

David at the anthology launch ... who had his first fiction publication launched the other day. It's not on line unfortunately, but it was in an anthology of writing chosen from the classes and groups that have been studying at the city lit. It is an honour to be chosen, given the stiff competition, so forgive a little wifely pride! If we ask nicely, maybe some of his stuff will end up on line somewhere...

Friday, June 02, 2006


Found by David - isn't this stunning?

Aberystwyth No2ID

I have another blog: Aberystwyth No2ID - visit & see how the fight against ID cards is going in mid Wales!

Friday, May 26, 2006

"I have pressure, you have pressure"

"Is my penis attached to your mother?"

Possibly the strangest thing I've ever heard.

For more elevated debate - don't watch that, watch this.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Guardian has a "Daily Mail" moment?

From the "Technically true but nonetheless slightly misleading" file:

"Jeanne Wilding dumped oil, animal corpses and broken glass on neighbours' drives while blasting out choral works depicting rape and murder in the middle of the night."

I heard these choral works on radio 4 this morning. The controversial opus? Carmina Burana. So yes - very distessing played throughout the night, as any loud music would be. But the "rape and murder" - surely only offensive if you happen to know 13th century monastic vernacular!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Son's of Owain Glen-Bap

One of the things I love about living part time in Wales is learning about their long and proud cultural heritage. See Lyewellyn's post. So that's why my sandwiches are served bent!

Scared of stalkers? Skip Shoreditch.

The transparent society is on its way it seems - cctv feed live into people's homes in Shoreditch, and set to go national soon. Come bundled with - I kid you not - the ASBO channel. Isn't it unlawful to name criminals under 16 anyway?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Grey Matters Ltd

I keep seeing this van in Aber:

It's possibly he funniest vehicle I've ever seen (but then again I am terrified of clown cars).

The text reads

Grey Matters Ltd

24 Hour Emergency Philosopher

Don't even think about it, call us instead!

  • Same day service within the M25

  • All thought considered from an inkling to a eureka!

  • 10% discount when you mention Tarski's argument that the model theoretic characterization of logical consequence os more basic than its characterization in terms of a deductive system

I think that's funny - maybe I've been a logician too long...

Good morning Aberystwyth: a photo essay

Okay - there's this van, see. With a very funny decal. And I wanted to take a photo of it (as you do), but couldn't justify taking the camera for that reason alone (what if the van wasn't there? How silly would I feel then eh!) So today I inflict uppon you: "Scenes from a walk to work". If you're sitting comfortably, let's begin...

The walk to work is steep - but the trees are in bloom and the weather's nice...

In fact - it just gets steeper, the higher you go. There are times I'm convinced that Aber is just a cosmic joke at the expense of my cardio-vascular system.

Still climbing - I was going to snap the field full of rather charming shep (they look rather sleek and modern now they've been shorn) but I guess it was their day off or something.

At last - the money shot. This isn't the highest part of my walk, but the steepest parts are behind me now. This is where I usally pause, on the pretext of admiring the view - and a pretty good pretext it is too. I live at sea-level, just fyi!

Campus itself is very pleasant, though definitely has that mid 20th century vibe about it. There is an interesting mix of cutesy little woodland paths and seriously brutal buildings - I keep thinking I've wandered into Center Parcs by mistake...

So that's where I am now - typing away when I should be working. Damn these blog thingies: how's a girl supposed to get anthing done?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

(Un)scientific poll

A Channel 4 Poll seems to be angling for a payrise for me and my ilk. It doesn't even begin to look at some of the problems of HE/Research funding (the sumarily abolished RAE for example). At the present time 96% of respondents think we deserve more recognition and 91% would like to see us paid more - I'll be watching to see where this goes...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Xenu is my homeboy...

At the risk of being declared a Supressive Person by the CoS[1], I want to share the love for the new man in my life: the all powerful, all thetan torching Xenu. Wrongfully imprisioned for attempting to deal with overpopulation in his home galaxy, he is now considered hateful by at least one quasi-religion (or at least by the members that shelled out at least 300,000 clams [2] to find out who Xenu and the Thetans are). The First Chirch of Xenu lets you know for free.

And if you aren't entirely sure why this whole Xenu thing is funny, have a listen to the man who invented, sorry discovered, the truth about Xenu here. To be fair - I think the original is slightly funnier than the parody - provided one hasn't paid £200,000 quid to find it out!

[1]Capitalist Organisation of Scammers - why who else would I mean..?
[2]If your jaw hurts right now - this may be why.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

GGMotD [1]

OMG! Kittens!!

[1] Gratuitous girly moment of the day

It's only evolution but I like it...

Notes on the talk: "Why evolution is right and creationism is wrong".

On Creationists: "I don't mind if [they] burn my books... as long as they buy them first". - Prof. Steve Jones at the Royal Society, 11/04/06.

They said it would be popular, and boy they weren't kidding. Arriving outside the Royal Society at 5.30, the queue already stretched round the block [1]. By the time we got to the head of the line, the main auditorium was full, the overspill room was rapidly approaching full, and the queue still stretched around the south side if Waterloo Place and back out onto Carlton Square. A queue of rock 'n roll proportions. Not bad for a science talk on a rainy Tuesday evening - it restored my faith in man as rational being, to some extent at least.

The talk itself was fantastic - I've been to open lectures by Steve Jones before, and he is one of the most consistently engaging speakers I know of. He speaks uncompromisingly on matters of religion, sex and both the follies and the wisdom of human behaviour. Nevertheless, he is unlikely to face the same charge of arrogance that has been leveled at some critics of creationism: his talks are enjoyably peppered with humour and gentle self-deprication. Perhaps most impressively, he is able to explain complex ideas clearly to an audience of non-specialists in a way that is neither dry nor patronising.

I won't attempt to expound on the technical content - though I will retell one of his jokes at the end of my little panegyric. However, I will relate one thing that caused my jaw to drop. He showed some astounding data on the evolution of HIV, including the work of an intrepid researcher whose name I omitted to note but will try to chase. This researcher went to the DRC to hunt out "fossil viruses", samples of HIV from decades ago. The genome of the sample he found lends elegant support to theories of how HIV has mutated, where it came from and when. Seeing this data point, sitting right on the line where theory had predicted it should be was awe-inspiring and a moving testimony to the work of the scientists involved.

It struck me again, forcibly, last night that the work geneticists and evolutionary biologists do is often difficult, largely thankless, and sometimes (for example, virus hunting in the DRC), downright dangerous. They willingly sacrifice even cherished ideas for the sake of consistency with observed evidence. This is so far removed from the approach of the creationist and ID movements, both of which cherry-pick data to buttress their theories, that it appalls to hear otherwise intelligent people suggest that their ideas should be treated as somehow scientific.

Creationism certainly wasn't the main thrust of the talk, despite the wonderfully polemical title, but mention was made of the motives of "creation scientists" and "intelligent design" proponents who are demanding that their ideas be considered the intellectual equal of the study evolution. Prof. Jones mentioned the "Wedge Approach". The avowed aim of some of these groups is to have creationism (or ID) accepted as literal truth, but to use this as a "gateway drug" to encouraging the wholesale acceptance of biblical literalism. Suddenly the claim that ID is not a religious position looks even less tenable.

And now the promised joke - I'm currently on the train back to Aber so I'm looking forward to touting this one 'round the office this afternoon:

A welshman in Aberystwyth goes to a chinese restaurant. The (chinese) waiter, approaches the diner. "Nos da," he begins, and proceeds to take the order in fluent Welsh. At the end of the meal, the patron approaches the (welsh) manager and says "Well I never," (in Welsh) "However did you find a chinese man who speaks Welsh?" "Shhhhhhh", replies the manager, "We told him it was English".

It loses something for not being told in Prof. Jones' mellifluous welsh accent - for that you'll have to see the webcast.

UPDATE: As reported on the Register over 400 people were turned away last night after the rooms (plural - at least two) filled up! Rock with a side of roll please! (I know, I know, that was a 66% exclamation mark punctuation ratio for this paragraph. But see - here's some brackets, a hyphen four commas and three full stops. The punctuation is sane again, move along now please.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

She's Baaaaack

Yup - the world's most dilletante, non cat-related blogger is back, and in the coming weeks we'll be looking at the church of Xenu (It's my new religion - don't you dare thought-crime me!), freedom of speech (oh go on - you can thought-crime me), and my brand new robot army. But then I'll probably run out of steam once more... ho hum - why do recovering alcoholics have the most stamina?

If you're in town tonight can I recommend the Royal Society talk by emminent and highly charismatic (I'm married, not dead!) Prof. Steve Jones. Don't get there too early though - I'll be wanting a front row seat.

Ooohooohoooh - I just noticed there's a webcast:
Check it out.

Bad Auntie x