Sun-Earther

irregular burbling

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November 26, 2003

Teach it so!

It seems that Huddersfield University has a new Chancellor; the actor Patrick Stewart!

Of course, Patrick's played a veritable shedload of roles on stage and screen over the years and is an accomplished classical actor, but only a complete numpty would deny that he's most famous as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well, maybe more recently as Professor Xavier in the X-Men movies.

Apparently he's going to be around the place a lot and plans to turn up to the awards ceremony every year. <fastshow>Which is nice</fastshow>.

I wonder if he gets a ready room on campus ...

Posted by Jonah at 11:34 AM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2003

Headline of the week

Again, props to the sub-editor who came up with this headline:

http://www.itv.com/news/745957.html

Could have been better if they'd included the name of the album with which he'd done it.

Posted by Jonah at 3:43 PM

Stones of significance

Interesting short story on David Brin's site dealing with close integration between human beings and AIs, as well as the ethics of simulated realites:

http://www.davidbrin.com/stonesofsignificance1.html

The AI/human cyborg parts remind me a little bit of the Aspects in the Galactic Centre series of books by Gregory Benford, with whom Brin has collaborated in the past. Bit of a predictable end, although at least Brin has the good grace to acknowledge it.

Posted by Jonah at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

November 19, 2003

Homebase hell

I've just been through my second weekend in a row spent in DIY stores like B&Q and Homebase, trying to get some semblance of a basic infrastructure for my new house. You know, like a front door and crap like that. Her inside of the doors loves it, having decorated vicariously through drivel like Home Front and Changing Rooms for years now, but I cannot stand doing this shit.

It's not just the hollow tinny muzak or the coin-eyed aspirationals (who actually go there for "fun" to browse) that fill these places, it's also the whole sheer pain in the arse that DIY and DIY shopping entails. It's like playing consumerist-porn-hentai-game The Sims without any of the instant gratification but with knackered clothing, splinters under your fingernails, grouting and a skip.

Of course, I don't get to do any of the easy stuff like painting. Oh no, I have to lug fucking great chunks of rubble and detritus from the back garden to the skip. I knew I shouldn't have joined that gym. Goddammit.

There's shedloads more to do. Heh - to think we were planning to be in by the 24th - how laughably naive.

On a slightly macabre note, some of the rubble I'm moving comes from a massive stone fire surround that we had broken up and dumped out back. On inspection of some of the chunks we saw some unidentified carving. We checked out some other chunks and it was then that we spotted the dates. Yes, our fire surround was made out of gravestones. Jonah's House: powered by the Souls of the Damned(tm)!

Still, one good thing is that when ripping up some rotten floorboards we found a massive void under the ground floor that means we'll be able to extend the cellar to the size of the other floors. An underground lair from which to plot world domination! Or at least somewhere to keep me bike, anyway. Let's just hope we don't find any corpses.

Posted by Jonah at 11:58 AM

November 18, 2003

Snow joke

My old friend and "cow-orker" Dave Viner has posted a short story on his site about how Britain (more specifically Norwich) would look if the Gulf Stream suddenly stop working:

http://www.davidviner.com/fiction.php

It's rather depressing, of course, but pertinent since it could possibly happen quite soon, with the UK turned into an icebox, ironically thanks to global warming!

Posted by Jonah at 4:33 PM | Comments (3)

November 17, 2003

Bog standard

Lads, do you know where to stand in a crowded gents? Ladies, do you have a clue about urinal tactics? How well will you score? Find out here (needs flash):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/teens/lads/joypad/games/toilet_tactics.shtml

UPDATE:
I am reminded that SFX/phone/gaming hacker and all-round general reprobate muttley wrote something eerily similar for his university halls magazine ... seen here sans images via the wayback machine.

Posted by Jonah at 12:59 PM

Hot pursuit!

Awoo-chee-chee! This site is trying to co-ordinate protests against Dubya during his upcoming state visit by tracking his changing itenary and any decoys he may employ:

http://www.interwebnet.org/

In related news, I'm glad to see that our government has turned down the Bush adminstration's request that US Secret Service agents be given diplomatic immunity if they accidentally shoot a protestor. However, is it just me that sees the reassurance from the Home Office that secret service agents "will be subject to the British legal system if they shoot anybody" as an implicit reminder to would-be protestors that if they do turn out against Bush, they run the risk of being shot?

Posted by Jonah at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2003

Two Who animations

Harl on (void) reminded me about this Flash episode of Doctor Who, with Richard E. Grant playing the title role (grrrr). It put me in mind of this excellent old effort from Viz.

Posted by Jonah at 10:39 AM

November 11, 2003

Torture by proxy

Read this.

Is it becoming US policy to deport terror suspects against whom they have zero concrete evidence to countries which use torture in order to extract confessions? Note also the recent decision of a special immigration appeals committee to allow evidence extracted "under duress" as admissable in UK courts and the admission by MI5 that they would use such evidence.

If you take the brutal and soulless logics of the "war on terror" and globalisation to their conclusion, this is what you get: the outsourcing of terror investigation to regimes which use torture to extract confessions and information whether they are true or not. I expect Tony Blair would say that these countries have "more flexible interrogation markets".

This acceptance of evidence obtained via torture does not sit well with this plea from Tony Blair:

"protest if you will. That is your democratic right. Attack the decision to go to war, though have the integrity to realise that without it, those Iraqis now tasting freedom would still be under the lash of Saddam, his sons and their henchmen."

If you're going to justify your wars on humanitarian grounds then you must fight them with exclusively humanitarian means.

Posted by Jonah at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)

November 7, 2003

Not Cat

ARP on the portrayal of cats on cat food labelling:

http://www.ashleypomeroy.com/notcat.html

Posted by Jonah at 1:22 PM

Blacksmoke

Jimmy Cauty of KLF fame has released an EP for free download along with cover and CD artwork.

http://www.crapola.com/blacksmoke/diymp3ep.htm

The website makes some noise about the download being a kick against the likes of the RIAA and and edgy, innovative, radical move on the part of the Blacksmoke Organisation:

Certain individuals in the corporate music industry subscribe to the belief that downloading and burning audio material from mp3 digital files should be a punishable offence... and that it may even destroy the music business we love and cherish... heaven's above! Unfortunately, until they provide the music you really want, you're in charge. The future of this industry is now in your capable (and slightly sticky) hands. It's your responsibility to change it. Sorry about that.

However, upon listening to it, it's clear that the real reason it's available for free download is that it's too crap to charge for.

Posted by Jonah at 9:55 AM | Comments (2)

November 4, 2003

Have at you!

I've been engaged in a play-by-email game of Diplomacy. Muttley, the chap running the game is currently changing jobs, so it's going pretty slowly by necessity at the moment but I'm really enjoying it rather a lot at the moment.

As you can see here, I'm playing Austria, which is the most exposed and vulnerable power on the board. As a result, I'm having to make all kinds of deals just to stop myself being squeezed out as Russia and Turkey drive into central Europe. The diplomatic aspect makes it even more fun than "Axis and Allies".

It's the first time I've played. They're going to whoop me, aren't they?

Posted by Jonah at 1:21 PM | Comments (2)

Keyed up

As of yesterday I own a house, or as Jan Jarventaus says, I have earned "enslavement under some Megabankcorp, tempered by now being free to smear your own poo over the living room walls any time you want". Don't worry, I'm not about to start banging on about mortgages or colour schemes any time soon. If I do then just shoot me.

Blimey - I nearly wrote "color" back there. That means I spend too much time writing CSS.

There was some excellent 70s wallpaper under the plastic boards tacked to the-BANG!

(thud)

Posted by Jonah at 11:33 AM