katsmeat: (Nauseated)
On account of Crewe_and_Nantwich last year, I had the notion that by-elections were noisly ructious affairs, fun to watch in a gladitorial sense. Even if party workers no longer get drunk and throw bricks at each other, it'd still be interesting to be involved in one, at least to the extent of being co-located.

But no.

There's been barely a mention of Norwich North on the news - all that's happened is the accumulation of a small pile of manky, half-witted leaflets in the doormat. I imagine this is because I'm located in one of the leafy suburbs that the Torys take for granted and the others view as a lost cause, so unikely to recieve more than a token effort from anybody. Another reason seems to be that Labour gave up on the fight weeks ago and have juct being going through the motions. The big contest seems to be for silver and bronze, between the Lib Dems and Greens.

I voted for the Greens just now, my profound reservations on some of their policies (their science policy sounds bonkers) is tempered by the fact they'll never be put into practice. But somebody I know and trust is on first-name terms with the candidate, and she assures me he's a smart, decent sort who'd make an excellent constituency MP. Both main party candidates look like ghastly, wannabe, careerist political hacks. Well-groomed types who come across like they've been grown in tanks somewhere and who, despite differing parties, have vastly more in common with each other than either has with me.
katsmeat: (Default)
Oh... what a nice idea from a Saudi inventor.

The inventor said it could be applied to "terrorists, criminals, fugitives, illegal immigrants, political dissidents, domestic servants and foreigners overstaying their visas." The last four, in particular, probably reveal quite a lot about how Saudi society works. The only category of person he forgot to mention was "wives".
katsmeat: (Anxious)
Simon Johnson (economist) says that:

  • Banks have a disproptionate degree of influence in the US government.

  • Government policy is now principally directed towards benefiting banks.

  • The remainder of the economy will go to hell in an handbasket as long as this continues.



The Quiet Coup - http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice
katsmeat: (Thankful)
A small but illustrative incident....

A journalist (possibly more than one) was CS gassed and arrested after a scuffle in the House of Commons, he was a guest at an event attended by crowd of other journalists.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/police-use-cs-spray-to-halt-commons-fight-1658161.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/mar/31/house-of-commons-fight
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6007526.ece

Yet oddly, every single hack present seems to have quite forgotten to pass the name on to their respective publications. Not that it matters, of course, as he(they) must be about 5 minutes away from being named in the political blogs.
katsmeat: (Default)
I've not been fanatically following the Olympics. But the medal table, as of today, is interesting.

Medal Table

Notice that most countries' medals have a distribution amongst the three grades that is about equal, although possibly with a slight tendancy to have slightly more silvers and bronzes. The samples aren't big but I think that's obvious.

The two huge exceptions to this are Britain and China - 56% of Chinese medals are gold; 48% of British medals. There is a tendancy for British and Chinese athletes to come in either first or fourth or below.

I wonder if this means that both countries have adopted a "gold at any cost" policy - ie cherry picking the likely winners early in their training, dumping hugely disproportionate amounts of resources on them and then telling the other members of the team to sod-off.

I couldn't say, but it does make sense.
katsmeat: (Thoughtful)
I guess the MDC pulling out of the Zimbabwe elections means fewer pointless deaths as the result won't change. That's one and one only piece of good news.

A lot of comentators reckon there's alredy been a silent military coup and Mugabe's been reduced to the less exhalted status of The General's Puppet. If so, this is bad news as it means if nature takes its course and relieves a suffering country of his presence (not long, he's 88) they'll simply find some Zanu-PF, mini-me replacement somewhere and carry on as before.

Now the interesting thing to speculate on is, will they wait? Things won't look rosy for them if Zimbabwe attains full-blown pariah status - being a kleptocrat doesn't work out well if you're running a country with nothing left to steal. Ousting Bob from within might gain them enough international brownie points (at least from African countries) to enable them to cling on. Perhaps also try and engineer a split in the MDC and get one of them with nuturable kleptocratic tendancies on board so they can claim it's a 'government of national unity.

They can't hang about though. If the grim reaper gets Mugabe first, the generals will have blown it - there'll be no benefit to reap from his removal. They'll have to move sharpish and oust (or rather, discard) him pretty soon. At least within a year.

You heard it here first!
katsmeat: (Food)
The Guardian 22 April...
Cameron's lead cut in latest ICM poll

- Con - 39, Lab - 34, LD - 19, Oth - 9

Daily Telegraph 25 April...
Tory lead over Labour hits 21-year high

Con - 44, Lab - 26, LD - 17, Oth - 13

I think there're three possible explanations...

(a) Those polls have about 3% error. So it's just credable that statistical error has made the Conservatives low in the Guardian one and high in the Telegraph one.

(b) The British public is politically bi-polar.

(c) Newspapers make money by telling their respective readerships comforting things they want to hear. Therefore any polls they commission that they can't spin their way are filed away in the cylindrical filing cabinet.
katsmeat: (Bored)
Earthquake... what earthquake?

I think I must be really really unobservant.
katsmeat: (Embarrassed)
George MacDonald Fraser < sigh >.

So we never will find out exactly how Flashman got given the San Sefarino Order of Purity and Truth.

A depressing day for those who prefer their heroes to be distinctly anti.
katsmeat: (Bored)


Jeez, get a clue dude!

It's just that 'young lads', aka 'morons', are conditioned to be hyper-intolerant of any deviation by any person from their oh-so-narrow social norm. Actually, the jeering's got little to do with him. The simple creatures are simply displaying to each other their personal conformity to the pack identity.

Now whether _that_ is solely down to testosterone, is another manner. Though I doubt it - my observation is that going on "T" does not turn transmen into drooling idiots.

Although, interestingly, when cycling was new in the 1870's, cyclists frequently complained about being pelted with stones from young men. I think things like this were only nominally for aggressive dogs.

(Once tried unicycling - it's actually a tiny bit easier than it looks)
katsmeat: (Thoughtful)
Russian fishermen catch squeaking alien and eat it (say Pravda)

http://english.pravda.ru/science/mysteries/07-02-2007/87167-alien_monster-0

Perhaps that's why the Greys always landed in the US... in Russia, they'd have wound up in the Borsche.
katsmeat: (Default)
Darn it, Saddam. You really shouldn't have invaded Kuwait in 1990. Right now, you could have been living the high life. You would have been George Bush's friend and a key regional ally in the War on Terror. Now look what's happened! Instead of having Dick Cheney come to vist you in one of your palaces every couple of months, you've been ... well, we'll draw a veil over that.

I mean, they wouldn't've minded in the slightest how many people you gassed and, if you played your cards right, the Americans might even have turned a blind eye to your WMD's (just as long as you assured them your plan was to nuke Teheran, not Tel Aviv.)

But, hey. Hindsight's 20/20. Right?
katsmeat: (Default)
USGS reporting a magnitude 4.2 'earthquake'; centred at 41.294°N, 129.134°E; depth 0.0 km.

link
katsmeat: (Default)
There's a large local bike shop I've been going to for a while. They are a bit of a candy store - they do things like a titanium and carbon fibre bike frame for £1700 (budget at least another £1500 for the bits to put it on the road.)

Before, I was wandering through the door with a junkheap, fifteen year old Marin (unlike other shops, it's accepted bikeshop etiquette to bring your bike inside so it's safe from theft while you shop.) But now I have an expansive bike, they've suddenly become noticably friendlier and more inclined to chat and pass the time of day. "How's your P7?" the guy asked, when I was in yesderday on another bike (they remembered, you see.)

I'll be nice and assume it's not down to snobbery. Possibly it's because nice bikes are worth talking about and junky one's aren't.

Re the smoking ban. I'm definately torn on this one. On one hand, I resent (as somebody else said) having to boil-wash my clothes to get the nicotine smell out after an evening in the pub. On the other hand, there is something about the radiated smug self-satisfaction of a Labour politician, when they've managed to indulge their taste for petty finger-wagging puratanism and ban another vice, that makes me want to line them all up and punch them repeatedly in the face.

Ooops, I wonder if that will get me into trouble for gloryfing terrorism?

Anyway, there's always a silver lining... I shall look to see if there are shares available in companies that make chewing tobacco... perhaps the spitoon is set for a comeback.
katsmeat: (Default)
How I predict The Onion is going to cover the hurricane Katrina disaster


Manchester, New Hampshire - Local survivalist, Steve McHenry, 35, today expressed disappointment that disaster had struck New Orleans and not his local area.

"I've had everything ready for years," he complained. "I've had my basement set up as a survival shelter, stocked with every item I'd need to cope with a post-apoclyptic scenario."

He cast a longing eye over his six month supply of Meals Ready to Eat, his water purification equipment, wind-up radio and his Remington 12-gauge that would drive off the imagined hoards of rampaging looters that would emerge in his fantasy of Mad Max style, post-disaster anarchy.

"And when the worst natural disaster in US history happens, it's thousands of miles away," he continued. "The survivalists down there... they don't know how lucky they are."
katsmeat: (Default)
He has really have brightened my day... This is what The Guardian reports he has recently said:


Yesterday the religious broadcaster apologised for his remarks.

"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologise for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the US is out to kill him," he said.

In a TV broadcast on Monday, he said: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."

Yesterday Mr Robertson initially said his comments had been misinterpreted, but went on to add that kidnapping Mr Chávez might be a better idea.


Excuse me, I must get something to clean the coffee off the monitor. :-)
katsmeat: (Default)
* I HATE fixing stuff. My supposedly 'rugged' USB flash drive has died - the USB plug broke away from the circuit board. Now, I'm going to have to sacrifice a USB extension cable so I'll have a USB plug with a length of stripped wire. I can solder that onto the flash drive's circuit board and get the data out of it.

Actually, thinking about it, if the drive still works, I could put it in and old 35mm film can, fill it with epoxy potting compound and make a USB drive that could survive being driven over by a truck - hmmm... tempting. No, no! Cancel that, what I could do is mount the USB circuit in a Zippo lighter case. Apparently, people are using these to house all sorts of gadgets these days - MP3 players and suchlike. I have a friend who made an LED torch out of an old Zippo, it'd be cool to top that!

I think the key is redundancy. A big thumb drive is so important, its something I use literally every day, I should have more than one. Anyway I bought a new one on eBay just now.

* Didn't the Daily Mail enjoy itself when they found one of the 21st of July bombers was an asylum seeker? With any luck, the three bombers still at large will be found to be a traveller, a single mother on state benefits and a paedophile. This will result in the first incidence of a newspaper expiring from orgasmic pleasure.

* I went to see Kung Foo hustle - the Chinese give the genre the Airplane treatment. Though the fact it's so similar to 'serious' kung foo movies shows how silly they really are. It's excellent... go see!
katsmeat: (Default)
Oh fucking fucking hell...I've got a friend who commutes into London via Kings Cross... She should have avoided it all; she ususally goes in really realy early to use the gym before work.

< Crosses fingers >

The only consolation is that they inevitably catch the people who pull off big attacks, like Bali and Madrid. With any luck, the bastards' last ever hours of freedom are ticking away right now.
katsmeat: (Default)
Actually, at the moment, I'm hoping Paris gets it, not London. It's just that my neighbour's daughter is some bureaucrat working on the London bid and I got given a London 2012 T-shirt.

It would then be possible to wear it in public - in an ironical sense, of course.

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