In this, they are wrong on at least two counts> First, popularity is not a good measure of artistic merit - consider how well "RnB" "music" sells, or how inexplicably expensive some of Damien Hirst's awful work is - and art does not need such jusitification, at least not if it's any good. And second, they're wrong about the number of people who will bother to go along to this ridiculous "observatory".
What's more, it won't bring "millions of pounds into the local economy". That would imply each of the 100,000 people they reckon will visit would spend at least 20 quid to do so. They won't. The only people who will bother looking at the silly thing are a handful of people who were going to visit the area anyway.
In practice, this is nothing but a make-work project cleverly put together by the artist, who will no doubt be hoping for lots of extinctions so he can be paid to add more and more pointless chunks of stone.
Posted at 19:29
by David Cantrell keywords: art | silly
In a deservedly-hagiographical article about the Blessèd Joanna of Lumley, BBC News Online's related-links-ometer made just a teensy boo-boo, linking to this obviously silly site. Here's the proof, in case they fix it.
It's not a very good spoof site though.
Posted at 21:45
by David Cantrell keywords: bbc | silly | web
I bet you didn't know that baby ducks are not only incredibly cute and destined for Extreme Tastiness, but they also bounce!
They don't bounce much, it's true, but they bounce far better than, eg, baby horses would. And if we were to genetically engineer ducks to be made of steel, then while they might bounce much better (especially if dropped onto a nice hard surface like concrete) they wouldn't taste as nice. I think the current Bouncy Duck design is a good compromise.
The impatient might like to fast-forward to about 40 seconds into this video.
And lo, in the time of February, Dave did break his bootlaces, and did look on the interwebnets for a shop that would sell them unto him without having to speak to nasty flesh creatures in an shop. And after searching high and low in the land of Shub-Internet, Dave did find some bootlaces, and did pay for them, and cause for them to be delivered unto him. And the LORD did speak unto surplusandadventure.com and spake with a mighty voice "use thou bubble wrap, for when Dave tangles his bootlaces then may he pop the bubbles and not go on an Rampage". And they did use the bubble wrap, and deliver the boot laces, and Dave was both pleased and amused and did make sacrifice of the goats and the [that's enough - ed]
I'm watching Richard Dawkins's pleasingly iconoclastic "The Root Of All Evil?" documentary. In it, he spends some time with Ted Haggard - bigot, hypocrite, far-right-winger, christian, self-hating homosexual and habitual drug user - who looks like this. No, really. I've paused it three times now when there's a close-up on his face, and every time it looks like this.
I can only assume that his mouth has got stuck in this shape from sucking off rent boys so often. But damn, that means he uses his teeth!
Today I am 35, and, having attained half of my allotted three score and ten in this vale of tears, am officially Over The Hill.
While I have noticed that suddenly all the Yoof are "having it large" with their ghetto blasters and hard core pornography (it's amazing how much I just didn't notice yesterday when I was a 34 year old youngster), I am pleased to report that I have not yet shit myself.
Posted at 08:52
by David Cantrell keywords: meta | silly
The company to whom the canteen at work is subcontracted like to put promotional material on the tables, in an attempt to encourage people to spend more money there - eg, they push "healthy options" where, to get a good sized meal, you'd have to spend more money.
Anyway, this month they're pushing "Healthy Booster Cakes" which are "freshly prepared healthy afternoon cakes, packed with healthy ingredients to help give you energy, and boost your immune system." The energy bit is obvious - they contain sugar and fat. I do wonder how they "boost" the immune system though, what the active ingredient is, and whether they have any actual evidence that the ingredient works when dispensed in cake form.
And if their cakey drug delivery mechanism does work, I suggest that they patent it, get the hell out of the cut-throat sub-contracted catering industry, and make a huge great big pile of money in the pharmaceutical industry.
We all know that one of the pre-requisites for joining the police is that you are indescribably stupid (the others being that you are a violent thug, have right-wing politics, and are over 5'10" tall). However, this is even more stupid than normal. The dribbling idiots even showed the board game to the press as part of a "weapons stash".
Mind you, the resulting publicity has made so many people interested in buying a copy of the game that the makers' website has melted into a puddle of goo, so it's not all bad.
I will, of course, update this post listing any police officers who are not indescribably stupid if they can show me that they objected to the confiscation of a harmless board game and attempted to prevent their less intelligent colleagues from doing so. Until then, however, you may assume that all the Kent filth are thick as pigshit - and less useful as you can't make fuel from them.
As an "intellectual property" lawyer, Mr. Geeklawyer knows all about stealing other peoples' ideas. So it comes as no surprise to me that shortly after I wrote about the lovely Lisain my journal, he would do the same in his. However, as a rather unlikeable sort of chap with no friends (which to be fair isn't his fault, the concept of being nice was beaten out of him in law school) he has to stoop to offering bribes to people so that they will pay attention.
I would urge you not to read this sad little man's scribblings, and especially to not comment on them, for two reasons. First, if you don't feed his delusions of grandeur then those of us who care about him may eventually be able to wean him off his self-destructive personality-destroying addiction to the law and into a decent profession such as pimping small children, or selling hard drugs to kittens.
However, the second, and most important, reason is that I want the whisky he is offering.
I'm not sure which side to laugh at in this story. Are the hippies Sticking It To The Man, or did the hippies just forget to put their brains in gear that morning?
Actually, I bet there's a more prosaic answer - some third party decided to profit from the rush of hippies wanting to buy Tibetan flags, and just added that design to their usual large order of cheap flags that they buy from their Chinese supplier, without thinking.
A recent comment in Bruce Schneier's excellent blog prompted me to realise that - yes, the current mushrooming of surveillance in the UK isn't a plot to make people used to a police state so that one can be easily introduced later. It's a plot to smoke out those subversive elements who would dare to talk about any march towards a police state by pointing out how the populace are being acculturated to a police state.
Such people are not only paranoid and delusional, they're quite clearly WRONG.
I have mice in my flat. So I looked on the interwebnets for mouse traps. It appears that someone has indeed invented a better mouse trap. Obviously I don't care about avoiding "distress to mice". I just care about the little fuckers not being able to escape, and having their heads smashed to a bloody pulp should achieve that.
While I was searching for this splendid device, google showed me this ad
which I think is fabulous. Now, where can I get guaranteed instant-kill no-whining-about-how-they're-misunderstood Emo traps?
This story irritates me. It appears that this bunch of religious idiots think that, when given a choice between providing medical care and not providing medical care - which, after all, is the raison d'être ofa hospital - they should, umm, squander their money on priests and not spend it on medical care. This is stupid. I'm not denying that for superstitious patients, having a priest come round and whisper inanities at you might do some good - I'm sure it does. But medical care will do more good, and it'll do it to normal people as well, not just the superstitious.
You know what would do people more good than priests? Not being bored out of their skulls while in hospital. But you don't see Christians telling hospitals to spend their money on Playstations, DVD players, a decent library, and "interesting" tattoos for the nurses. You're expected to take your own entertainment with you, as that provided is only suitable for geriatrics.
So how about, if the deluded think that having their professional god-botherers traipsing infections around hospitals is so important, they bloody well pay for it themselves. It's not as if the church is short of a quid or two. And if some random sect can't afford it, then maybe they should pray harder and get their god to pay.
According to a Windows programmer of my acquaintance who, to spare his blushes, will remain anonymous here:
" The recognised way of communicating with a POP3 server to retrieve mail is to create an FTP connection and use that connection to send text commands to the POP3 server to download responses and messages. "
The gentleman in question runs a company which "Develops stand alone or networked database applications, inventory databases, CRM systems, and help desk dall (sic) logging."
With developers like that, it's no wonder that the Windows platform has software of such low quality.
Posted at 18:20
by David Cantrell keywords: geeky | silly
There is a humourous website called Conservapedia, which, much like Uncyclopedia is a parody of Wikipedia. Or at least, Conservapedia appears to be a parody, but it isn't. Plenty of far-right nut-jobs, mostly Americans (well duh, that's where most of the far-right nut-jobs live), seem to take it terribly seriously. At the time of writing, Conservapedia's front page includes this. I've highlighted Conservapedia's editor's comment in bold text:
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has a message for Muslim extremists: "It's not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn't justified." But who said terrorists are grieving?
Note the confusion of grief and grievance. So, my advice for conservatives is to learn to speak English.
And incidentally, while I approve of the tone of the Dear Ex-Leader's supposed comments, he is wrong. Lots of Moslems are oppressed. They're oppressed by governments throughout the middle east and north Africa.
Here is yet another example of why no-one pays much attention to the church these days. This bishop says that a bunch of people got flooded out of their homes because of "moral degradation ... because every lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate" and that we're "liable for god's judgment" because of the sexual orientation regulations which give gay people civil rights.
Way to tell people that your god, if it exists, is a contemptible bigot unworthy of the time of day, let alone respect or worship! Christians would do well to replace him and his fellow idiots with decent, thinking people.
[Update: Genesis 9:8-11 would seem to be relevant - "And God spake unto Noah ... neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth"]
Take a bottle of gin. Drink half of it. Then fill the bottle with biltong. Let it sit for a coupla weeks, pour through a coffee filter into another bottle, and you have meat-flavoured booze! And alcoholic meat! Huzzah!
In the digital age, accuracy and speedy calculations come from using powers of two. You also want to stick with integers to avoid rounding error. Therefore I propose that we measure speed in nano-furlongs per mega-fortnight. The conversion from metres per second is fairly simple - 1 m/s is approximately 264 nFurlong/Mfortnight.
This means that we can measure incredibly slow speeds with great precision - down to of the order of 10-19 m/s without having to enter the dangerous world of floating point. And of course we can easily measure all the way up to the fastest possible speed, that of light, which is only about 292 nF/MF. This provides ample room for further expansion of the measuring stick if Mr. Einstein turns out to have been wrong. A 128-bit value would let us measure speeds up to 1010 times that of light, in extremely small increments.
Posted at 21:10
by David Cantrell keywords: geeky | silly
In the middle of a discussion about the wondrous device that is London Transport, I mentioned that most people on it should be skinned and used to make fine leather goods. After all, Commuter Skin would be nice and soft and could be used to make leather goods for babies.
I was shocked and appalled to discover that the phrase "Baby's First Biker Jacket" does not (yet) appear anywhere on the interwebnets.
There were quite a few interesting talks in the morning, especially Ivor's one on packaging perl applications. Oh, and mine about rsnapshot, of course, in which people laughed at the right places and I judged the length of it just right, finishing with a couple of minutes left for questions.
At the traditional end-of-YAPC auction, I avoided spending my usual stupid amounts of money on stupid things, which was nice. Obviously the hundred quid I put in to buying the hair style of next year's organisers wasn't stupid. Oh no. Definitely not.
I have a new plan for taking over the world. I will find a cute Czech girl, and a handsome Welsh man (OK, that could be a bit of a problem), pay them to marry, and then - bwahahahahahahahahha - I will hold the global consonant supply hostage! Governments will uie i ae ea! Corporations will ue and nations a a y ee!
Well, that's what I'm blaming for my most recent brain-fart. When I got in from work this evening, after having stopped at the corner-shop to buy essentials, I put my ipod in the fridge and tried to recharge a pint of milk.
I've been keeping an eye on things, and most of the time, Google puts pretty good well-targeted ads on these pages. The only real exception was on my page about spam, which kept getting ads for dodgy anti-spam products, which was clearly silly, so I've removed 'em from that page.
However, on occasion it goes amusingly wrong. Not Google's fault, but some idiot has obviously bought an ad for thousands of keywords without thinking about it, and so this 'ere journal is currently advertising ...
So how exactly does one order a burning cross online?