Archive for October, 2006

Notes from Farnham

October 25, 2006

Just some random thoughts.

  • What does it say about me that I find the Home Counties more alienating than the foreign countries I’ve visited? I’m not sure, but shops making a fuss about accepting Scots banknotes certainly doesn’t help. Hint: yes, they are legal tender, guys. They are sterling.
  • I can feel a whole post coming on about the Scottish-English asymettry but I don’t have time just now.
  • My god, you people drive fast. And never more than one person to a car either, or so it seems.
  • While I’m being curmudgeonly, Windows is bloody awful and I don’t know why anyone chooses to use it. I’ve had to use it for the last two days and it’s been driving me crazy.
  • On the other hand, I can see why people switching the other way have trouble.

And the view from the top of the hill above Upper Hale is quite something. I bet it would be even more impressive during an air show…


October 20, 2006

Bulgaria: Bulgarias Agriculture Minister Halts Forest-Sales Deal
This is the second in a wave of protests staged in Sofia and all over Bulgaria, calling for the preservation of Bulgarias nature and a stop to illegal constructions that are quickly covering the countrys once paradise-like beaches and mountains.

Well, this is a hopeful sign. The government seems to have responded to genuine concerns by the public! Of course, that’s not stopping the Black Sea Accelerando (it’ll be interesting to see how much things have changed since last year…) but it’s a start.

October 18, 2006

From British Airway’s website:–

Cigarette lighters cannot be taken through central security search. They may be purchased airside and carried onto the aircraft on the person unless the passenger is travelling to the USA.

So if you quietly set fire to the plane with a lighter bought in duty free, that’s OK then?

A Marked Contrast With The Present Outfit

October 16, 2006

Solving the Korean Stalemate, One Step at a Time – New York Times

But beginning in 2002, the United States branded North Korea as part of an axis of evil, threatened military action, ended the shipments of fuel oil and the construction of nuclear power plants and refused to consider further bilateral talks. In their discussions with me at this time, North Korean spokesmen seemed convinced that the American positions posed a serious danger to their country and to its political regime.

Jimmy Carter on the North Koreans. Looks like it was well on its way to being sorted out… until Mr Bush  and his wranglers arrived.

An Astonishing Programme

October 12, 2006

BBC NEWS | Programmes | This World | Will Israel bomb Iran?

Following on from the mild horror of an episode of Horizon presented by a comedian–actually it was a pretty good film, just not right for the Horizon slot, bring back QED!–we have this gem.

An analysis of the nuclear “threat” from Iran towards Israel, it consisted largely of thunderous incidental music and alarming stock film of exploding things. While the music wasn’t playing however, senior military and political Israelis were given free reign to complain about how dangerous and unilateral Iran’s behaviour was… and never once being challenged about how dangerous and unilateral Israel‘s behaviour has been over the same period!

It’s the height of  hypocrisy for one country with a clandestine nuclear weapons programme to criticise another country… for attempting to have a clandestine nuclear weapons programme. While programmes presenting a single (biased) point of view can often be amongst the best television to watch, an international current affairs thread is not the place to have a programme like that. Why, you might as well have a comedian presenting Horizon. The whole point of BBC news and current affairs is to be impartial, though I suspect BBC News and Current Affairs have forgotten that.

Well, you can watch it on the BBC website and see what you think. Maybe I’m just spouting mad anti-Israeli crap. Who knows.

How to achieve world peace

October 8, 2006

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Iran rejects six nations’ demands
The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany held talks in the UK on Friday to discuss Iran’s repeated refusal to halt nuclear activities.

You are a developed, democratic country. You can achieve world peace really easily by inconsistently obeying international law, and inconsistently applying it to other, possibly less developed, less democratic countries.

It probably helps to interfere in the international law creation process too. After all, the less self-consistent and coherent international law is, the easier world peace is to achieve! A variation on this process is to participate fully in the development of the international law, often insisting on bizarre amendments that only suit your own national interests, and then at the end of the process refuse to sign up anyway. That method really helps world peace along!

If, on the other hand, you are a less developed, less democratic country, you should really do everything the more developed, democratic countries tell you to do, right away! After all, they are much more developed and democratic than you, so they must be right! And even if the things you are told to do are completely against your national interests, and could compromise your national security, well, you should do them anyway.

Even if the international treaties you’ve signed say you can do the things the developed, democratic countries are telling you not to do. They don’t count. I’ll let you into a secret. The international laws and treaties are really just for show!

We don’t need them. The developed, democratic countries are so kind, fair and wise and would never act in a self-interested way. They’re working so hard for world peace! So you should help them by doing exactly what they say, and then you can be working for world peace too!

zoom bug

October 7, 2006

zoom bug

Originally uploaded by ztephen.

Mac OS X 10.4.8 (maybe 10.4.7?) has a new scroll wheel zoom feature. Which is great, except that it’s broken the previous keyboard based zoom feature. So you can’t zoom in on something, then dramatically pull back to 1:1 with a keyboard shortcut any more. Which is a shame.


October 6, 2006

technorati-rank.png31, 497th out of several million ain’t bad…

there is a word for people like this, and that word is “idiot”

October 6, 2006

Houston Community Newspapers Online – Parent criticizes book ‘Fahrenheit 451’
Alton Verm, of Conroe, objects to the language and content in the book. His 15-year-old daughter Diana, a CCHS sophomore, came to him Sept. 21 with her reservations about reading the book because of its language.
“The book had a bunch of very bad language in it,” Diana Verm said. “It shouldn’t be in there because it’s offending people. … If they can’t find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn’t have a book at all.”
Alton Verm filed a “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials” Thursday with the district regarding “Fahrenheit 451,” written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.
“It’s just all kinds of filth,” said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read “Fahrenheit 451.” “The words don’t need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class.”

Seen via anarchia tumbelog.


October 5, 2006

BBC NEWS | Business | Per-mile cover ‘to cut accidents’
Charges for drivers aged 24 to 65 go as low as 1p a mile for off-peak motorway driving while under-23s will be charged up to £1 a mile when driving at night.

I hope that’s a typo—a pound a mile is absurd. Arbitrarily charging young men higher premiums because of the general statistical behaviour of that group is plain wrong. If certain individuals present a danger to other road users, they should be removed from the road.