Friday, June 30, 2006

Power stations

Mark Holland links to this amusing Festival of Britain advertisement for new power stations. As he notes the paintings seem to lack any smoke or coal. Furthermore they are by "well-known artists".

This seems an idea the present government could follow in its quest to make us all love nuclear power.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bloggers!

This is to welcome my friend Bhargavi to the blogging world, and what's more it is a blog that promises something more than my obsession with the Decent Left. Promises are there to be broken of course, and I hope she'll just be repeating that Nick Cohen quote in a few weeks.

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last few days. I have been in Switzerland, congratulating them on their boring football team and eating cheese.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The British Moment

Yes, it's the ever optimistic Henry 'Scoop' Jacksonites, who are launching a new book, "The British Moment". The book is to argue 'argues that the time is ripe for Britain to play a leading and progressive role in promoting democracy and human rights across the globe'.

Ok, it's not that exciting. But what is exciting is that Chapter 2 is entitled 'Britain and the world'.

This is very similar to the Henry 'Scoop' Jackson Society's website entry, 'Britain in the world', which of course contained our second favourite piece of online lunacy ever (after Nick Cohen's anti-America and anti-Blair idiocies):
Not only is it a world power...Britain ‘is unquestionably the world’s second strongest power’


The excitement then is will the book expand on the claim, apparently based on the scholarly effort of reading one article in the New Republic? Or will that great academic, Matthew Jamieson (if he is writing that chapter), go further, and claim that we are now the world's leading power? Will someone buy the book to find out? Will anyone?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Immigration sites lack decency"

Declares the BBC. Surely this is a perfect cause for Nick, Mel, Alan[1], etc to get their teeth into?

[1] The lecturer, not the Minister and Trade Unionist.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"The Meeting Point of the anti-fascist Left"

Is apparently unpopular with its Mini-me site. I can't really understand what is going on, but apparently it is something to do with a racist commenting under a pseudynom.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Things I discovered on Saturday morning

1:00am: I discovered that it's very hard to sleep when you're really hot and have hayfever
2:00am: I discovered that it's even harder when you have overdosed on hayfever nasal spray
4:00am: I discovered that time really drags when you are up this early
4:15am: I discovered that it gets sunny really early in June
4:16am: I discovered that the latest sunset is on June 23rd to June 27th, not June 21st, and the earliest sunrise is probably a few days before June 21st.
4:30am: I discovered that doing the washing up at 4:30am is a really bad idea
6:00am: I discovered that according to Wikipedia Coke Light in Europe is a diet version of original Coke, whereas Diet Coke in the UK (and Coke lite in the US) is of "new coke"
6:15am: I discovered that very strong coffee is not able to make you feel less tired but is able to stop you sleeping.
7:30am: I discovered sleep!
8:00am: I discovered that I had set the alarm for 8:00am on Saturday as I needed to get up early to drive to beach before going to BBQ in Folkestone
9:00am: I discovered that the car battery had gone totally flat
9:15am: I discovered that my Breakdown Cover did not include 'Home Start'
9:30am: I discovered that my sister was not available to help
9:35am: I discovered I had won £50 on premium bonds
9:45am: I discovered that it costs £70 to get someone to drive over from a garage in Latimer Road (750m away) and jump start car...

...and then you read about other people's problems and you realise how trivial yours are. Get well soon Jamie.

Dr Who

An artice in the LRB for all you Dr Who fans.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mad Mel

I think Jackie Ashley is far too sympathetic in this interview with Melanie Phillips, but it's good nevertheless.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chomsky and Front Page

Oliver criticises the New Statesman's journalist, Andrew Stephen, for alleging that Noam Chomsky's critics call him, among other things, "an anti-Semite".

Oliver continues:

It makes you wonder whom Stephen has spoken to. We critics charge Chomsky with a few, broad and serious charges. He is not an antisemite...


I was wondering too, so I searched google for [Chomsky "Anti semite"]. And hey presto! The second link is for Front Page magazine, the ultra-right wing US journal. It is titled,, "Noam Chomsky and the New anti-semitism". It is a review of a book, apparently alleging the same, by Front Page's editor, David Horowitz.

Oliver must know this as he used to be (edit- I am informed by OK that the links were severed at some point late last year) a columnist on Front Page magazine. The Wikipedia entry has a section 'allegations of anti-semitism' which quotes Frontpage journalist, Steven Plaut as calling Chomsky "a vicious anti-Semite".

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

BBC stories

The BBC has some whizzy stats and figures on what stories are popular, how popular they are, and how that is changing over time. Remarkably a story about Windows Updates seems to be most read at the moment. Now if it could only tell us which stories Biased-BBB obsessives and cranks are constantly pressing 'refresh' on looking for 'stealth edits'. What? That's all of them?

Bloggers

Will Says:

June 12th, 2006 at 23:44
He’s a wanker (doublestupid). I don’t even no why you waste time on the cunt.

Will Says:

June 13th, 2006 at 07:42
k before no and w after


[This is in a post which criticises the quality of Euston Manifesto satire by making the joke - steady yourself - "That’s like being mauled by a dead lamb".]

Monday, June 12, 2006

World Cup - 3

Motty and Lawrenson keep saying that Italian defenders must be brilliant because they are Italian, but also because they all (apparently every single player in the Italian squad) play in the Serie A in Italy, and eat pasta or something like that.

I'm not sure it holds though. In the last season the 20 teams in the Premiership let in 944 goals, the 20 teams in the Serie A 991 goals. The season before it was the other way around, but only by 975 to 960.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nick Cohen

Although dwindling by day Euston Maniefesto co-author and Observer journalist Nick Cohen still has some fans outside of what is known, both with pride by its members and as a criticism by others, the "Decent Left"*. Today's column might see those disappear however**.

His first piece is on the capitulation of the authorities to the Super-Rich, who Nick believes should be taxed more, instead of the middle-classes (this bit might be personal) who are paying more. Boom! There goes the right-wing supporters. However as if he realises he has offended most of his online readers, he then sticks in the usual attack on the Lib Dems for abandoning their policy of higher taxes on the rich, and being 'on the right' of the Tories. Here is the story in Nick's own newspaper about the Lib Dem policies, titled 'Lib-Dems target super-rich in tax review'.

The second piece shows us how far Nick has moved on civil-liberties. He argues against notions such as 'Suspects can't be deported to countries where they may face torture' and 'Nor can they be interned in Belmarsh-style prisons'. This remember is in a week where two Police suspects apparently were innocent. He also adds that 'in our case, the only way the split in what we used to call 'the establishment' will be resolved is if there is a terrible massacre', which shows you a little of what's going on in his head. This paragraph also contains a mild version of Nick's amnesia over who was taking Al-Qaeda seriously after 9/11 and who wasn't.

Finally he talks about the killing of al-Zarqawi, and his upset at the lack of overt cheering by the "liberal-left" (I don't know how he measured this - did he open his window in Islington and hear just the normal sirens and traffic?) and finally comes out and says what we have concluded for some time,

"Frankly, I prefer [to the liberal-left] Galloway; at least he makes a commitment".


* For a great example, see this piece by Alan Johnson, another Euston co-author - "Fundamentally I believe that we need what I call a decent left."

** This paragraph has been written like this as I was told by a reader the site was getting incomprehensible with its continual references to groups no-one outside of my mind has heard of.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

World Cup - 2

The Independent seems in two minds over 1966:

They never change, do they?

p.24 of a badly printed Economist Technology Guide (in this week's magazine), in an article on the prospects for highly accurate machine-based language translation, says:

Provided there is some common frame reference in the subject matter, there is no reason why translating an alien language should not eventually be possible, says Dr Waibel...."As a joke, one of the students built a Klingon translator", he says, referring to the fictional alien language in "Star Trek".


Try to control yourself laughing at the back. Who would have thought it? What twisted genius mind could come up with something like that. Klingon. That's so funny. How wacky.

I'm off to play 3-d chess.

World Cup - 1

How much more of John Motson and Mark Lawrenson do we have to take? Lawrenson merely tends to repeat what Motson has said but in a higher pitched voice, any attempt at analysis is inane - 'You know what John, they need to KEEP THE BALL' is as good as it gets. Both of them make no effor whatsoever to think of reasons why people might be doing thing - whether the players, the managers, or the refeerees. Their completely unjustified attacks on the latter (except perhaps for one missed body-check on Joe Cole) - apparently for applying the Laws of the Game - are simply built on top of one another, until they're both under the misguided impression (as always) he is supporting the other team.

On Sky (box) you can at least change it, but the other option is Radio Five Live, which is not really any better, "Kids", which was OK, or just the match sound, which does mean you miss a few things.

As for the game, well it wasn't as bad as everyone's making out. In fact it's Sven's best tournament opener. And it almost guarantees England's qualifation, as they'll beat Trinidad and Tobago easily enough.

Update: The ITV commentator (is it Clive Tyldesley?) has just suggested the T&T half-time team advice from their Dutch manager will be "Hey, just chill". He also added that there would be 'strange scents' from the T&T fan's parties later one. And that - this was Southgate's - they shouldn't be booked for time-wasting as that was the 'natural speed they move at off the pitch'.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pollard predictions

Via Oliver Kamm again, this amusing post from Stephen Pollard in which he says of the Derby:

If you were told of an investment which would give you a 200% return in a matter of days, you'd invest as much as you could, wouldn't you?...But take it from me, Visindar is as near a certainty as exists in racing...2/1 against him is not too short - it is giving money away.


In the comments a man (presumably) called 'J' says:

I now have £100 riding on Visindar despite knowing absolutely bugger-all about horse-racing. You better be as right about this as you are about political things. - J


A bizarre position to hold, admittedly. Why would "J" want Pollard to be as right on this as he is on political things? That would mean he was utterly and abjectly wrong on it and J would lose all of his money.

Anyway, here's the result. Visindar came 5th. The left is apparently not the enemy, in all its guises. "J" must be over-the-moon.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Flags

The BBC reports on flag-mania. Maybe it's not quite as large, but I think this pub near my work might have a place in the top 10. If I can work out how to do it I'll St.George's flagify this blog in time for Friday.

Extremes of political thought

In a funny post Oliver takes note of a woman called Michelle Malkin, who apparently is so off-the-scale mad that she can write straight-face of Rupert Murdoch's Times newspaper that it is:

America-bashers and troop-smearers


and publish Gerard Baker's - not known for his anti-American views - email address, which followed a hate campaign involving one reader declaring the Times was a 'fifth column'.

I thought I'd heard of Malkin before, but I could not remember where. Then it hit me, she was a (recent) Norman Geras profile, no. 137. As of course was Andrew Ian Dodge, no.69.

Or was that the reason? Perhaps it was that she was a declared supporter of the Euston Manifesto, written by Norman Geras? As of course was official Euston Manifesto Group blogger Andrew Ian Dodge (see below).

Well it was one of those things. Oliver ends by comparing Malkin and her lot to the MediaLens people:

The know-nothing wings of politics have a mutual loathing but a remarkable affinity, and they deserve each other.

Monday, June 05, 2006

More Euston

"Euston Manifesto Group Blogger" Andrew Ian Dodge:

May 19, 2006

Supporting illegals…

On Newsnight we get to see the Yale Students supporting illegal aliens from Haiti decades ago; now as Law Professors they are supporting Islamist terrorists in Gitmo. Nice to see they haven’t changed much…lets hope their families get killed when the next Islamists strike…since they are so keen on supporting them.
Posted by Andrew Ian Dodge

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hampstead

I went to a wedding in Hampstead yesterday and I won't bore you with the details, but I will show you a picture to note just how beautiful (Note: People from the Highlands of Scotland, I mean in the context of inner London) the setting of the garden of the house of bride's parents was.



Update: In an effort to prevent stalkers I have made subtle change to the picture so its location can't be identified.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Peace and harmony in the England team

Well done boys, try and finish that way too. There's no place for jealously or petty grievances in a world cup squad.

While I'm on the subject of football, I must recomment James Hamilton's (a man whose various websites are very difficult to find using google) excellent series of posts on that subject over here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Copyright etc

I can't agree with this .

You might believe that copying a software programme is on a par with stealing a car (I don't for the simple and obvious reason that when you steal a car the person who uses it can no longer, but when you copy a programme they can; if I could clone your car you might be a bit miffed but you probably wouldn't think it quite as bad as if I stole it) but you can't come out with stuff like this:

Downloading an unlicensed song doesn't feel like theft in the way that taking a CD from a shop does and very few young people are convinced by the music industry's increasingly desperate rhetoric. But we may be able to persuade the next generation of net users that installing a stolen program is different.


It doesn't, but neither does copying a piece of software feel like breaking into Adobe's headquarters and spiriting off their code. It's the same thing. Some people spend years on albums. Some people don't spend years programming (others do, of course).