Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gimme Shelter - Gaza's just a shot away

Israeli's like to bang on about how small and fragile Israel is - one factoid oft mentioned is that it is a rifle shot across (from the occupied west bank to the meditterranean).

Well, how do they think people in Gaza feel? its narrower still, and blockaded and bombed.

The continuing hypocrisy of Israel's use of the history of the holocaust as a blanket excuse for perpetrating current war crimes (300 people so far in response to 1) is really astounding.

I don't like petitions, but this one
http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/?cl=161516404&v=2605>from Avaaz seemed as worth signing as others.

Why are western "leaders" so muted in their condemnation?

Monday, December 22, 2008

science versus faith

there is more meaning in entropy than religion
there is more entropy in religion than meaning.

go figure

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Campaign for Real Money.

I expect everyone is getting thoroughly sick of yet more financial service downturn news
whether its Madeoff-with-it, sub-prime, short-selling, etc etc

While I don't have a concrete theory to offer to underpin the idea, I would claim that economists are intellectually now as bankrupt as their concrete bemodiements of their ideas and the time has come to get rid of all this stuff they have produced - we (as medics, scientists, engineers) have MADE stuff that works (better longer lives, more cheaper travel, safer food and water, more sources of entertainment, even self-generated entertainment, communications, safer cheaper nicer buildings you name it) - a century of stock markets are NOT why this all worked - we exponentially improved medicine and technology - the market returns go up and down, up and down, and lurch into criminally in competent (or just plain criminal) collapse at the drop of a hat - Ben Goldcre's wrath at nutritionists and liberal arts journalists and so on could easily be redirected (by me:) at economists - they have been proven WRONG - their models dont work - why do governments seek to bail out the market ?

SHUT IT DOWN. NOW. FOREVER. do something new based on new thinking. Hey, we have the compute power - maybe a combination of Sharia Law Venture Capital, and central planning and barter would work

Vote for a new system - down with the old....out with a 100 years of rubbish!!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MMR-- => measles++ and autism??

So one thing occurred to me reading the chapter in Bad Science on the MMR fiasco.

We can thank Wakefield for causing the UK to do one experiment no
ethics committee would have let us do - which is to massively decrease
the level of vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella, and see
how long it takes for the diseases to pick up abgain in the
population. This must be a source of invaluble data for

But (I didn't see this in the book, maybe its there and I was
laughing at the funny bits too much to spot it) we also ought to be
able to detect any other changes - crucially for example, if the
MMR-gang were a tiny tiny tiny bit right, then the drop in MMR levels
(proved by the current measles outbreak) would lead to a drop (or
slowdown in increase) in Autistic spectrum kids....has anyone done
this study? [I know I know it shouldn't be necessary) - hey though, what if autism went up even more and it appeard MMR protected people slightly from autism or else the people that worry about things like MMR are more likely to have autistic kids and some element of the way the kids are treated or the spectrum is diagnosed or whatever other effect) could be fascinating to find nothing or something!

how to stop people wearing hoodies

start a rumour that they are all people on the sex offenders lists (i.e.
"All Hoodies are Paedos" maybe write a letter to the Sun and Mail about it
that ought to see if go out of fashion faster than Guy Ritchie britgangsta movies... :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

today's random 3 thoughts before jetlagged breakfast

1. there should be celebrity celebrity charts

2. we need to have counterfeit economists

3. sex is basically a programme for recursive replicating meat machines

4. Heroes is Lost (I mean that televisually, literally , and metaphorically)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Bicameral Nativity

with apologies to xkcd and Julian Jaynes

Mary had a real friend (Joseph) and an imaginary friend (the Holy Spirit)
and she oscillated between them until one day, she underwent a singular transformation
on the plane of Gallilee
and finally wound up in a stable relationship.

No-one, not even the shepherd, could figure out the problem of the three wise bodies.

I got the "no blues" blues...

in wisconsin
all gods children
cannot play the blues


Monday, December 08, 2008

intelligent design proved

the bbc reports that religious people are shunning nanotechnology. Aside from the idea of shunning technology being rather surreal ("LCD TV, I refuse to talk to you - I am sending you to Coventry with the iPhone"), stranger still is the idea that people who need all the help they can get would avoid any evidence that intelligent design is actually feasible...

I suppose the same thing might be true of GM too...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

i think the indicator lights on mercedes are fake

i think people thqt buy mercs and beamers have spent so much of their hard won dosh that they can't afford fitting s like indicator lights

otherwise why else is it that these cars never signal on turning?

i mean we can excuse poor cyclists as they can't even afford 4 wheels...

Monday, November 17, 2008

cell phone as ID card...

I quite like the idea of my cell phone being an ID card for 2 reasons

1. if I lose it, the government can help me find it - i think we should demand mandatory tracking of id cards for this reason.

2. there's a really strong incentive for people not to nick it as it is a way worse crime than just nicking a phone.

all sorts of benefits accrue from this, including really accurate driver (rather than car) based congestion charges, and all sorts of useful tricks in emergencies (instead of broadcasts on trains saying "is there a doctor on board" one would just ask the doctor to go the the right carriage).

why on earth would any honest people object to these advantages just because of some sentimental attachment to some fictional notion of privacy?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

living in a newspaperbound world

so i've noticed commuters, even on heavily overcrowded trains, will open up a broadsheet newspaper as a means of establishing their space, and as a barrier to intrusion on their patch - this supports what I suppose we all know that people that read those papers (times, guardian, telegraph, FT, indy) are smarter than people that read tabloids:)

Monday, November 10, 2008

its a sad day when they ban happy hours...but there's light...

so i pubs are not allowed to have happy hours by this puritanical scots led government, can I propose a solution:

haev 23 sad hours, and one not so sad hour.

game over.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

democracy and advertising

the US democrat mantra reminded me of a brilliant advert/logo
for the Metal Box Company - it just says "we can"

meanwhile, change sure gonna come - but maybe small change, and maybe it'll get rained on with its on 38 if their aint some fast moves in the middle east and on the economy

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

igpay atinlay and council bans on use of

English is the Lingua Franca of the World

which is Latin for french language, but is meant to mean
"the language used everywhere between people that otherwise might
speak other, different languages"

on the other hand, English is a union of pretty much every language,
hence when someone invades or immigrates into England, rather than make them learn
English, we just glom their language onto the base, and everyone else has to learn to grok it.

If it was "vice versa", then the amount of work,
"pro rata", would be the same, but would be
"via" the immigrants, rather than the indigenous peoples.

Although it is an "ad hoc" arrangement, and leads to
"ad lib" creativity, the "quid pro quo" is that English
is a richer language than any other in the world, although
it is fair to say that in some sense or other, it isn't a
"bona fide" language, more a meta-language.
with many e.g.s of weird juxtapositions
such that geeky literati anoraks
will frequently incur schadenfreude amongst
naive readers of their utterances.

hence councils should not ban the use of any weird bits
viz bbc article on same
is silly:-)


Monday, November 03, 2008

Gruelty, thy name is Woe, Man

Too Gruel to be kind, he was washed up
on the shore of the Gruel Sea, where
he pitched up at the Salvation Navy
only to be served a thin soup
by a Gruel Sister.

"We Grew L-shaped bannanas back in
the Generous Isles" he moaned.
"Grr. You'll just have to put up
with this thin soup" she retorted,
measuring it out with a retort.

"grate", he described

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the customer is always wrong

as a frequent railway traveller, i am bombarded with signs by networkrail
about how "we take very seriously assaults on our staff"

why? i mean why the "on our staff" bit? I dont see why the employment role of the victim affects the seriousness of the assault - it is always serious, and don't the railway companies and operators have an equal duty towards their customers, who are paying after all, to give them a safe and pleasant journey in all regards?

I have frequently been dealt with by abusive staff, and I dont see why the companies, by implication, think I am in a "second class" role in the relationship. This is a dodgy culture - see how it influences staff behaviour in airlines, where the customer is basically treated worse than cattle, under constant threat, stress and even danger.

no, the customer is always right was always a good motto; but when someone assaults someone else, whatever the relationship, that is wrong. the two situations are orthogonal.

Friday, October 31, 2008

i want 5% of my license fee back

at least 2 shows I wanted to see have been pulled due to the BBC "suspension" of My J.Ross. Given they are not going to pay him 1M pounds, that means they've saved money - however, tonight they are showing Speed (an old movie I've seen many times) and this is an unacceptable replacement for the J Ross show (which was to have had David Attenborough and Frank Skinner). Last night they showed an episode of Buzzcocks without Russell Brand, who had been billed as going to appear - it was the most boring episode of that usually very funny programme I have every seen.

This is not good enough, and I want my money back

y'know some people that should know better have written about this - today(saturday nov 1) guardian said that what went wrong is that ross/brand picked on the weak, "breaking the first rule of comedy" - well, doh, y'know I could have sworn that the first rule of comedy was "be funny".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

have a go nazi "have your say" commentators - spinless, clueless bbc

to the 27000 people who in the last 24 hours complained on the bbc "have your say" feedback site about a more than 1-week-old bbc radio 2 broadcast which only had 2 complaints on the day:


thats not "your say" - that is following the lead of sky and the mail and other media fascists who tell you what to think

shame on you

you know of bbc radio 1 listeners interviewed (and prepared to say to someone's face, rather than anonymously on a wen site) 6:1 were in favour of ross and brand staying on the beeb and don't understand what the sense-of-humour failure is all about

well i understand - its about ownership of channels and if you are a follower of the complaint lobby, you deserve to be locked in a room with american cable tv and fast food for a year to understand what you are really "voting" for

idiots. there are over 4000 articles on the net about this - this is more than google finds about Barack Obama's TV ad 5 days before the final voting day for the US presidential election.....so what does this tell you about the media's priorities ? or ability to do a professional job in interpreting what is important for the public? frankly, I think the media at large are hipcritical, incompetent and corrupt, and their overreaction is many many many times more dubious than the original actual event.

the bbc doesn't help with its on bland blandishments...

not only that, but the bbc believes other people's interpretation -for example, newsnight reported "27000 complaints" on have your say -actually at that point in time, there were 27000 comments - many were not complaints.

and treating people it pays to be outrageous like naughty public schoolboys , "suspending" them while it "investigates - what is that suposed to mean - we all have the audio of the radio programme - we've seen sach and his gradndaughter interviewed and we've seen apologies - what is "suspend" anyhow? what does their employment contract say? surely it says they were doing their job; they ddnt break the law; they didnt bring the bbc into any more disrepute than they had already or were likely to again...

today Brand is suposed to be headin up a team on never mind the buzzcocks, a fairly "in your face" (but very funny) programme, as well as a ppearing on channel 4 later on another show. ross is supposed to be doin his friday nite thing, which had attenborough and also frank sinner (another risky but much funnier comedian)

here's my view - if the bbc pulls those programmes, I want my money back. these aren't obscure late nite or mid day soaps - these are 3-4M viewer programmes. what the hell is the beeb doing responding like it is running some sort of 1950s boarding school, instead of a 21st century broadcasting empire with a duty to all its paying customers, not to freeloading morons who type rubbish at have your say, which is full of vitriol - some lovely "recommended" comments there like
1. "sack them coz they cos the license fee payers millions of pounds - actually, popular programmes like they are both in get sold to the US and subsidise a lot of other stuff
2. claims that they make racist/homophobic comments! frankly, have people actually looked at their shows? what fantasy world are these commentators and people who "recommend" their comments living in - russel brand is bi- - ross has a gay piano singing group -

this bboard is supposed to be "moderated" - i don't see any evidence it is even checked for factual accuracy, let alone moderation of opinions. it frequrntly contains homophobic, mysoginisitic and racist comments (e.g. about US presidential candidates)
and this is supposed to be a source of "evidence" that the viewers disapprove of popular (tasteless, admittedly, lowbrow, for sure) entertainers.......

if there were actually statements like that in any of the radio or tv shows, then there would be a case for legal action, but it wouldnt be a subject for a nanny-state reaction like the beeb has......

stop being so defensive bbc - attack back.


why should we listen to complaints when they are press led?

the "press" is full of complaints about a certain Ruseel Brand and Jonathan Rss
tasteless item recently - see this news item for some of the back story (althoguh it is lamentably bad reportage in terms of actually tracking down precisely who is in control of pushing this item, understandably given it is from the bbc, and therefore by definition, on the defensive:(

But what you need to look at closely is who is leading the attack - as usual, someone on the far right is desperate to find big sticks to hit the BBC with - why? because their paymasters are the same people that want to dumb down tv (yes, Sky) and the easiest way to do that is to remove the subsidised competition (namely the BBC) that still sets a minimum standard that some broadcasters (e.g. channel 4) attempt to meet, but some cannot be bothered.

while the quality of material is variable, the best is very good - the constant whingeing by the incredibly rich people that own private vertical near-monopolies like sky is purely self-serving and nothing to do with public interest at all. while the "humour" ross and brand perpetrate is hit and miss, it is popular, and, partly because it is risky, offensive to some people - that is the nature of humour - deal with it. if someone has a legitimate legal complaint, they can take it up in court - they don't need the right wing press on their side- they can have have the right wing judges and barristers who have a whole lot more sense and less prejudice, if there is a case. if there isn't, GO AWAY.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

life and politics

so how come US pro-life anti-abortion are often
pro- capital punishment, eh? and I am talking
self-proclaimed christians here....

bizarre (frankly, string 'em up, is what I say - but I never claimed
to be against abortion - in their case, we should extend it to post-birth,
a la Philip K Dick satire:(

Friday, October 24, 2008

religious hypocrisy, rights, obligations etc

so an interview in one of the papers about the
Atheist Bus camapaign, contained thinly veiled threats from a religious "christian") spokesperson - things like "if yo uput signs like that up, you've gotta expect retaliation" - well, excuse me, but I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition. I thought there was an moral imperative, an ethical framework, and indeed, a simple rule of thumb, that Christians "turn the other cheek" - what is more, the campaign doesn't even actually explicitly attack religious groups specifically.

THe fact is that we (the campaigners) have not only a right to free speech, but we have a right to expect other groups who disagree with our speech to follow their obligations not to threaten other people who are not threatening them.

I think un-transubstantiated threats by self-appointed religious spokesmen under a wafer-thin veil of obscurity should be investigated by the church as a matter for excommunication, frankly. Where are their principles (or principals)?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

who's to blame for this financial mess we're all in?

So i've seen a zillion posts on the web and newspaper articles and tv discussions
in Europe and the US (particularly, in UK and US) and it is really sad to say that
people are really really o na hiding to nowhere blaming "the other side" politically, whatever side they are on, simply because no-one saw it coming, at least no significant warnings were given (since we have the web going back to 1992, we can trawl old articles without having to go to newspaper print archives etc, and this is just clear).

Lets just take the classic Cameron argument that Brown let it happen in the UK because of de-regualtion. Well, firstly this de-regulation started with Thatcher's de-mutualization of the mortgage lenders, and then went on to deregulation of markets, but secondly, the tories applauded Brown's hading over of power over interest rates to the bank of england. No. Sorry. Doesn't wash - they are all equally to blame. I've read a similar line of argument (republicans blaming Clinton policy), but exactly the same thing applies - the entire lot of them are as much or more to blame as the greedy idiots on Wall Street and in the City, who are really just trained monkeys when it comes down to it.

so after Cameron, the Scottish parliament leader jumped on the "let's bash brown" bandwagon - what is especially grotesque about this all is that the financial crisis was obviously global - US, plus most of Europe, Russia, and Japan, and even, slightly, China and India - to blame this global turmoil on one local (albeit G7) country's behavior is pretty surreal - i'd assert that people who do this (and didn't say anything about it for the last 11 years) are both hypocrits, and incompetents.

in the meantime, I noticed an old guardian article from 1 week ago listed banks in trouble in each country in Europe, with a comment from the Swiss government that there was "no problem there" - hah - tell that to UBS:(

denial, denial, everywhere is denial

Friday, October 17, 2008

titus andronicus redux

goths versus romans
chaos v law:

chaos is represented by the Goths;
law is the romans

chaos is crows;
law is the lark

chaos is headless - loss of heads is chaos;
law is hands&writing - loss of hands is loss of law

all the images above
(lark v. crow, heads v. hands,
goths v. romans, law v. chaos)
occur explicitly many times

some images also related - caterwauling versus singing ;
(also relates obviously to the raven/crow versus the larksong)

everyone dies.

Amy, Madge and Men

Amy has her Blake
Madge has her Man

Ma Blake, and Ma Donna?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

end of the line for open system macro economics?

so here is my theory
most the macro-economics worked ok in a system that was to all intents
and purposes
infinite (in the sense of unbounded).

what has finally happened is that the expanding economics of US, Asia,
south america and europe finally coupled in a complete, bounded system

the bounds put completely different conditions (in the sense of
boudnary conditions) on the behaviour than in a system that expands -
basically ,you can get all sorts of oscillations from "reflections"
and so on...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

bail me out here

so bank B won't lend to bank A
because it things bank A is lending
to people C who constitute
too great a risk,
so bank A starts to lose business
(lending people money) to somewhere (not sure where if this is a global problem, but
somewhere - oh, ok, so they are not "expanding" so shareholders start to panic)

so the US and UK governments propose to
i) borrow money from somewhere (bank B) and
then ii) themselves lend it to bank A

now let me get this right: the government has a better credit ranking than bank A
so I can see why it might lend it more money. But, surely, once the government
starts doing risky things like lending to bank A, then bank B will downrate its credit
rating, and around we go again, except this time, there's nowhere left to run


oh, and say this is not purely about perception rather than reality, and bank A was always ok, but B was poor at judgement and believes correctly
that the government is magically better than bank A.

this might make sense if the government is going to pay bank B
a) a higher rate of interest
b) will successfully cause bank A to collect debts from people C
more successfully (or aggresively)


bail me out here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

really really obsolete newspapers

so the current financial turmoil shows how pathetically obsolete printed newspapers are - the rate of change of circumstance is so far adrift from the 24 hour cyclic report/print latency, that it really looks daft to spend so many resources on so much
out of date rubbish - of course, we already new most the news is just a re-hash of wht is sent out by industry and government marketing departments (see the Flat Earth News
book for details of statistical studies of the percentage of actual "fresh" journalism present in a typical daily)....but the situation in the last few days makes even the editorial aspect of the "posher" papers ludicrously outdated.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


at a party yesterday, someone I hadn't seen for 20 years said they'd heard me on the radio and that I seemed to be a pundit:-) at the same party, someone pointed me at the fact that their band from 1983 was now on youtube
(see yip yip coyote)
which i think is 11 gazillion times more cool.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Going for broke...

I think the US is right to not do the bail out

1. the moral hazard is too high to reward bad banks
2. some banks go bust - so?

in this scenario, my understanding is that
someone will realize their assets
by acquiring them cheap -

that organisation will not foreclose on all their
customers mortgages because
a) if anyone does that to a significant size of hosuing stock, the
price will fall so fast they wont realize much money
b) the people they foreclose mortgages on will then buy the property
for cash cheap

instead, they will foreclose on hopeless caes, extend the loan on
others and quite a lot of people will find themselves renting
accommodation they were formerly trying to buy, but without a debt.

the price for buy/rent, and the confidence level in remaining loans
will stabilize....

making the organisation that acquires the bust banks,
the government makes no sense to me at all. bailing out broken lenders
makes even less sense.

alternative: make usury a crime as well as a sin:)

Monday, September 29, 2008

scientific ad hoc disease

as gregory bateson commented in one essay in the seminal work "Towards an Ecology of Mind" a lot of science is deployed in a very ad hoc way - so one example of this is the treatment of scizophrenics by use of electric shock therapy - it was noticed that
monkeys that were schizoid and epileptic had a reduction in symptoms of psychosis after a fit. it was noticed that shocks induced fits - so some bright spark (pun intended) had the idea of shocking human psychotics in the vain attempt to cure them. the rest is a sad sad history

there are other examples where the arbitrary relationship between symptoms is used, metaphorically, to establish a bogus cause/effect, which, at first, has the appearance of effectiveness...

they should all be fired.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

all sexed up and nowhere to go

i just finished cherie blairs memoir/autobiography, and quite an interesting read it is

I wonder if all the folks involved in or connected to government at the time of the
gilligan/kelly "sexed up" weapons of massed destruction dossier (which the hutton report and others found to be "unsexed up" but was nevertheless simply wrong:(
have conspired to make sure their story of events is consistent? Certainly Alistair Campbell's diaries and Cherie Blair's bio are what a lawyer on a tv copshow might call
"remarkably" consistent - so if one does evntually find something wrong about their memories of events, and their reports are consistent in the error, would that be reasoanble evidence to doubt the veracity of their entire version of events?
[wouldn't that be ironic:- to catch out a bunch of legal types:-) of course it won't happen - it is much more likely that the dossier was rubbish because the secret service (and US) were rubbish at their job, than it is that they faxed it - frankly, if they faked it, then theyd have known that they'd get into all saddam's secret places and fail to find any WMD and they'd have pulled the whole mission to avoid that later embarrasment - so its more likely that they just believed bad info....especially since the US couldn't actually get a competent level of covert info out of the middle east since allegedly, the CIA wasn't able to persuade people to work there due to the food/climate etc:)

I found BLair's early life much more interesting than the later stuff - the tories about liverpool and her parents and other older relatives were fascinating, whereas most the later stuff is well documented in too many other places - and I dont care for the politically correct reportage on the royal family, the bushes, the pope, etc etc....
but the Booth and other earlier characters in this fable are definitely worth readin all about...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

how long ago the world was created

so here's a question (apologies to isaac asimov who wrote that amusing story about the last trump and the problems of figuring out when Ragnarok should really be).

why do creationsts say the world was created in 4000 BC? why not in 1900? why not in
2001? that would get rid of all sorts of problems surely (like the millenium bugs).

Indeed, if, as Sarah Palin says, god created the world with dinosaur fossils intact already hundreds of millions of years after the alleged Jurassic, who is to say that he didn't create the world last tuesday, and that Sarah Palin is a figment of our imagination (or God's or both).

Solipsists unite. We need to be revisionist about creationism every nanosecond.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Richard Dawkins is disingenuous because....

because his timing for the attack on religion is atrocious in terms of clear targets

he is disingenuous because he thinks that the "madness" (delusion) that possesses people is separable from politics and yet religion is likely to be about to be the biggest political
cause of problems for a long time - the problem is not the fundamentalist Muslims - the problem is the continuing ascendancy of the American fundamentalist christian, but the problem is not their religion, but the politics that it aspires to - contrariwise, the politics many muslim's aspire to might actually evolve to be harmonious (i don't count jihad as politics - perhaps thats a bit naive of me since it is often used as a method to enlist the poor by failing leaders in failing economies) - the difference, I suppose, is that jihad is so far a flea, whereas the worlds markets tumble and fall and trash entire economies - and yet these people that think that dinosaur fossils were created 4000 years ago as the devil's lizards, are in the driving seat.

well doh - i suppose they think a hedge fund is for the plants by the white picket fence outside their house, and that a derivative is a poor copy of a Tammy Wynnette song.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

why the US thinks everyone else hates them, when really , we love them, but tough!

here's a theory about why the US may perceive everyone as critical

I've noticed that in outher countries i've been in recently (e.g. France, Italy,
Spain, Greece) it is rare to make a big deal out of doing something positive -
perople don't really celebrate success in the way I have noticed in the USA (e.g.
my brother-in-law's family) do - when someone "does good" everyone
ring sbells claps hands and CELEBRATES it - which is good. but when this happens
in the UK, everyone mutters "pretty good" and gets on with things

I've noticed this in professional life too - people are always getting awards in
the US for best teacher or best researcher or best paper - this is almost frowned
on in much of Europe in my experience

so it is entitrly possible that people like myself are guilty of only every
emitting critical remarks and never saying congratulatory remarks on the plus
things that the USA has done for itself and everyone else, and so, very much like
newspapers (and TV news) we are seen as only commenting on (reporting) negative

this reminds me of the scene in Life of Brian when the people's republic of judea
(or whatever) are moaning - "so what did the romans do for us"...and one says
"well, good roads" , "oh ok, roads. but apart from roads what did the romans do
for us", "well,, law" - "oh, ok apart from roads and law, what did the romans ever
do for us..." etc etc...


meanwhile, given we all have to pay for oil in dollars, and the exchange of other
currency for dollars is subject to charges, I think this is a tax - so since I am
a US taxpayer, how come i don't get a vote? eh? eh? this weas a founding
principle and principal cause of the indepenence of the USA from England :-) :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

sarah palin seperated at birth from...

sharon osbourne - uncanny similarity - see
sarah and

do we really want the apparent sister-in-law of a bat eater as possible commander in chief of nuclear family USA?

my mum says Palin is "common" - explaining this to americans, i said, by contrast, McCain has class - class=katherine hepburn, common=shirley temple - bizarrely, it turns out they were in one film together - viz
American Creed, which it is hard to tell if is a horror movie, a religious tract, or a documetary about a Native North American Tribe (are there any differences in these three subjects,either?).

meanwhile, BBC had a nice article on
which is quite helpful:)

Monday, September 08, 2008

last word on arthur c. clark - The Last Theorem

i just read the not very goood last book (called the last theoren) by arthur c. clark (with frederick pohl) - i'd love to know how much ACC actually put in to this - it has some typical arthurian moments, but is in general not great - i was also dismayed at the (airport edition) number of typos - two things struck me
1. the use of the term "oxcam" to describe a 4th generation indian-uk immigrant's accent - oxbridge, surely? and the phrase "arab republic of egypt" - i wasn't aware egpytions called themselves arabs...oh well (wikipedia claims similar)

but worse was to come - despite Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem, one of the author's claims that there will perhaps never be a "short" proof (in the sense that Fermat probably thought he had found, as the problem might be allegedly "undecidable".
That's plain wrong, since we have a proof, we can terminate any checker on another proof. Does the author mean that the existence of a shorter proof is undecidable, perhaps? that might well be true...or do they mean something more subtle?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

metrics for balance in journalism - disproportionate warfare and reportage

so whenever someone is killed on one side of a war where each side claims the other is terrorist, or another there's a demand by the other side for balanced reporting.

However, what really constitutes balance? is it number of events, or body count?

certain lobbies exist to make sure every event is balanced by a report of all the events of the other side. However,. recently, sides have complained about "disproportianate responses" in war. However looking at recent press on Georgia and Russia (and Ossetia etc), and older events in Ireland, South Africa, Israel, and many others, one can surely say that asymmetric warfare is carried out just as much in the information domain as in the real world, and not necessarily (ever) in a correlated way between the two domains/worlds. Indeed, one expects since many clashes happen in the edges between the tectonic plates of 1st, 2nd and 3rd world, and that asymmetry in weaponry and information/media power are not simply connected, one might expect to see big seismic shifts between the two ways of shooting your neighbour and shooting your mouth off.

good site for this is cardiff journalism:http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/research/researchgroups/mediatizedconflict/fundedprojects/index.html> which has great stuff about iraq for example

Sunday, August 24, 2008

towards a theory of bums

on the nudist beach in Paleochora, I cannot help noticing the remarkable similarity between men's bums and their faces - i wonder if one can read the character of a man by his bum - loosely caricaturing, a bum is basically an inverted 'T' _ ffeel that the width of the T is corrolated with the man's compassion, and the depth/height with his intelligence - I think this could be a new form of phrenology...

also, one cannot but help notice that nudists stand around a lot doing nothing but pont their schlongs at the sun. people wearing bathing costumes dont do this - they play batball or build sandcastles or whatever - perhaps a nudist's intelligence is left in their trunks?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

personal and collective revisionism

modern historians are (apparently) taught to interpret - so
every decoding is an encoding - i.e. each time we re-visit the sources of
"true" information and we write our interpretation, we translate (with errors and biases and so on) - as with post structralism, the reader also introduces distortions

so this is also the current view of how humans remember scenes from their lives - typically, each recall is more than just a "read-only memory" access, but entails re-interpresting and even writing back to memory a new strucure, context, and so on

thius we all live in an imagined universe, of our own, and each others' making

and it is dynamic, continually changing and refreshing and moving forward

applying this sort of view to the web, then, or to news stories, why should we be surprised that wikipedia is no worse (and no better) than Nature or Science, or that a blogger in bagdad or a georgian government agency is no better (or worse) than the BBC or the Voice of America?
is there no absolute reality (echos of the argument about absolute morality)?

well yes there is - the closes thing to objectivity we migh thave would be to base information on our own 2 eyes (modulo above) - at least we could all agree that this is somethign we can agree about (except that what we see is different:) - next, we can extend this via our social network, using a model of trust (those closer to us in family or friendship are closer in trust to those more distant acquaintences and friends of friends, and so our viewpoint could be then that a collective, socio-centric view of the world is at least a wider (and possibly more trustworthy) objective reality than just what we see with our own two eyes.

of course, once upon a time, primative societies and these social groups, and news and information were all the same thing - now, we extend our information gathering to many places far and wide, and our trust diminisheth, exponentially quickly - and the revisionism (the rapid shifting sand of what constitutes collective understanding of reality in different places) changes ever faster.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

olympic doping competition

i think just liek they have the parolympics for people with missing limbs, they should have the metolympics for people that take drugs

that way one could get what one is paying for and have ones cake (!) and eat it
if you see what i mean

[1]: cake: fictitious drug introduced in Brasseye in a notorious spoof tv mocumentary format that fooled some unwitting famouss celebs who were interviewed about it:)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

new neocon con

so the rampant anti-russian propaganda sduring the current georgia/ossetia/abkhazia
crisis is interesting -

Here's my 2 cents:

the neocon agenda has failed. this plan (abandon the Munrow doctrine and create the american empire)
didn't include problems of the rest of the planet just not liking americans as much as they like themselves.

plan b was to distract people's attention from that by declaring war on Islam (oops, sorry, terror) This failed as Islam controls the west's oil supplies.

plan c: revert to the cold war. This too wil fail. Reasons economic: there are not only 2 superpowers - there's the EU, India and China - these are each nearly as big as the US or wil lbe within 10 yeare- the US depends on EU already and wil ldepend on the others more and more - this is not a 2 legged stool anymore. reasons military: there are other nuclear powers and the US has demonstrated repeatedly that it cannot win (outright) remote wars. reasons political: people are not stupid

assuming the russians are stupid (like bush seems to) is stupid - they did what they said they'd do - the georgians tried to take compelte control of the two semi-independant areas of southern ossetia and azkhabia by force - these guys (at least a sizeable fraction of them) didn't want this - the russians called ht georgians bluff and sent the military in - basically the georgians
can't play poker. note the russians understand the EU depends on them, and aren't going to risk their current growth (9%) for the sake of empire building - they know that - what the russians want is a stable border and contro lover oil/gas delivery.

realpolitik is alive and well in the 21st century

A very good article about this says much the same but with lots of juicy nato details

USA :- can you not say "Cuba" ???

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

gregory bateson - ecology of mind FAQ

what is mind? - no matter
what is matter? - never mind

writing about music is like
dancing about architecture


Monday, August 04, 2008

final destination part 13

the earth is about to be hit by a giant asteroid, and the human race builds a huge spaceship to escape.

a teenage girl is about to board with all her friends, but she has a vision in which the spaceship is subject to a massive inter-space hyperspace pileup and everyone dies horribly. she pusuades her friends not to board

the last 10 humans are on earth, and death is stalking them, one by one...

(with apologies to douglas adams and Final Destiantion 1-3, and john carpenter's
assault on precint 13)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

darwin award

eponymously, surely the most deserving case for a darwin award ever?

I'd love to be the polis man arresting them " you have the right to remain stupid, and anything you say will be taken down and used in evidence against you, year unto the ultimately low IQ ever for a mighty international fraudster - not even woodyt allen in "take the money and run" was this dumb. not even dumb and dumber or dumbest. not even raising arizona llustrates the heights of daftness to which your miserable failure of an excercise raised itself"

just awsome

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

dance, dance, dance in NY city

I'm currently in Manhattan for a couple of meetings (the ITA project "bootcamp" and a Cisco shindig on how to do all things Mobile properly for IP in the future:)
and staying in the comfort inn - this is a stones throw from the currently being re-de-un-meta-furbished entire (oops, sorry, empire) State Building and a mere hop and a skip and a jump from CUNY's Graduate center (at the amazing address of 365 5th Avenue! way cool!)

anyhow aforementioned hotel is undergoing entirestatement, no sorry, refurbishment - my room is on 11th floor, but i chose to go down the stairs today to avoid the ultra slow elevators (lifts would be a misuse of english - more like "tugs") - all the floows from 10-5 seemed to be empty - I say seemed - in fact it was occupied by a number of refugees from the novels of Haruki Marakami

Needless to say, I ran - I ran pursued by the wind-up black sheep of the family, through a forest of Ikea furniture to the tunes of strawberry fields, down below three glitterballs turned sinisterly, while all the time my phone kept randomly playing snatches of different thelonius monk tunes as if trying to find the most fitting ring tone with which to knell the parting day.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Pitch is Back - with apologies to Elton John

Once again, going forward with nothing on her mind but
the idea of showers, our product evangelist has decided to
incentivise the workforce to meet the
challenges of picking the low hanging fruit with an
holistic, cradle-to-grave approach,
looking under the bonnet in this space,
sprinkling our magic from the get-go,
thinking outside the box about
pre-preparing ourselves for
360-degree thinking,

She'd like you to step up to the plate and
capture your colleagues, cascading daily paradigm shifts
four our already really cool train set.

A the close of play, let's touch base about this offline,
to ensure that the door is open on the issue,
where we can feed through the sales and delivery pipeline
and loop back, auspiced by gettting all our ducks in a row,
not letting the grass grow too long on this one.

We realize that 110% is not enough bandwidth to
wrongside the demographic with
the requisite granularity and unyielding integrity
for the key stakeholders, the service users climbing the
strategic staircase from negative territory
before drilling down impactfully.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

eric clapton-by-name-and-nature

i saw this picture of eric ("god")guitar hero claptop nthe other day on
youtube and he looked like a constipated meerkat. - i wonder what thought he had while straining on the loo or with that whole-tone-bend in the blues...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

unsearch engine

so i'd like a search engine that ooks for the web pages
least relevant to my query
for a change

for fun...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Memorial to Suicide Bombers - victims of the God Delusion

I think it is time we had a memorial to Suicide Bombers- probably without listing their names- just their victims, but they are victims too.

As the UN unveils a memorial to reporters killed in the line of work (I won't say duty, but at least they were trying to inform the world, not destroy it), it is time we had a way to record the numbers of people that die because of a sickness in the head. It is clear when you look at many (not all, but many) suicide bombers that they are targeted by people more ruthless and selfish, and less courageous (and dim) than themselves, and then programmed to blow themselves up in some greater cause. How many times have suicide bombers done other than prolong the misery of their own side, let alone have a significant impact on the outcome of a war or action? I can't find one in history. From Kamikaze pilots, to Iraq, it seems like it is now part of the wallpaper of modern life. The impact on the victims is not a lot different if the perpetrator dies in the doing, than if it was a bomb from 10000 meters.

No-one is impressed any more. especially since the bombers usually come from a society where life is "cheap". It isn't as if there aren't peopel that blow things up and walk away to fight again.

No. we need a memorial to remind everyone of how many victims there are of the bastards who pull the strings and push the buttons on naive, usually young, almost always male, deluded,sad and confused weapons of mass destruction, for no useful end whatsoever.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I wish someone would silence that T

so reading the story about the mad 16yr old who wants to sail around the world, I cannot help but notice the use of the phrase "treacherous cape" when talking about the famous two southern tips of continents he has to negotiate.

Why "treacherous"? since everyone knows they are bloody dangerous, what is wrong with just saying "dangerous"? It's not like he wasn't forwarned...

Same goes for "tragic" - tragedy (whether ancient greek or shakespearean or modern) refers to a subtle concept irony - irony refers to the dissonance (actually, lets not be poncy- it refers to superiority of knowledge by one group over another - e.g. audience (and author:) over character, or in ancient classical Greece, Gods over mortals). When a family burn to death, this is NOT tragic. It is bloody awful, but it isn't tragic - actually, this topic was covered superbly by ed byrne (see Ed Byrne's hysterical routineon how Alannis Morissette misunderstands the word Ironic (probably proxying for a lot of americans, oh ok, she's canadian - well THATs ironic:)

Terrorism:- um, don't get me started on the abuse of the word.
"We won't negotiate with terrorism" is basically a substitute
for "We won't negotiate with you, coz you're winning and we need to stop
making it clear in the news" so then the only difference between a tterorist and an enemy combatant is negotiation. Now, lets speak plainly here.
Saying "We wont negotiate with them" on TV is a negotiating position for god's sakes.
Like putting your hands over your ears and saying to someone "I'm not talking to you", it is a communication of a kind. obviously.

and another STUPID phrase that drips from journalists pens like it was nectar, but is basically pooh: "now we are at the crossroads" - so after the Irish voted against the euro-constitution a BBC wit used this gem. we were at the crossroads BEFORE ireland voted - now they've made a decision noone else had the gumption to make, we have gone down a particular road (to use another cliche) - we aren't at crossroads any more



Friday, June 13, 2008

A sharp wit that is wafer thin

paper cuts - painful, but harmless

like political humour - requires sharp wits, but no depth.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

fire women and dangerous things

men: when they are born, women chase after them to save them from dangerous things

as they reach adolescence and buy fast cars, they chase after women in dangerous things

when they get older, they just want to sit by the fire and have women bring them a cup of tea and talk about when they were young and dangerous

george lakoff clearly didn't understand what this was all about. :-)

Friday, June 06, 2008

accelerando europe

i've been living and traveling in contintal europe the last 8 months and fascinating it is (earlier this week, I was on a train between two london airports and there thinkly disguised was Cate Blanchett -my ability to recognize faces is (for some weird reason) completely useless, but when she got off, a couple of people sitting next to me said "wow, what's she doing on the gatwick train getting off at East Croydon?")

Anyhow, what is interesting is, coming from the UK where post thatcher, we have now been the subject of around 25 years of free market everything, and anyone active (i.e from just voting first time, to near retirement age) has spent alnmost the bulk of their existence in a world where the varieity of models for markets (whether utilities, retail/wholesale shops, online goods and services, financial services) is second nature, I see countries like france and spain only slowly stsarting to understand the rhetoric, let alone the realities. fasciniating

Accelerando is an "extreme" sci fi book where the far future is predicated on humans being better and creating new market models faster than alients - if those humans are from the UK, this is probably assured. if the future is franco-hispanic, don't bet on us beating the borg at all:)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quirkology #101 - 2 more e.g.s

so airport abbreviated names are good - I just went between two
spanish cities, known as Bar y Mad :-)

I wonder if this affects pilots' judgement?

meanwhile, the exchange rate between pound, dollar and euro continues to amaze - but, and here's a question worthy of Dr Wiseman,
does it affect people's judgement of other metrics - specifically, do distances in
europe in Kilometers seem longer to people from the UK and US now that their pound and dollar don't get them as much mileage with the Euro?

I think we should know:)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Al Qaeda on the run, CIA say

according to the BBC today the CIA think they are winning the war on Al Qaeda

well, how would they know?

remember, this is the organization that didn't detect the threat in the first place.

Frankly, I think they'd do better to worry about the fact that all the candidates for the next president of the US of A are more concerned with what the US's mad mullahs (oops, sorry, Christian Fundamentalist preachers) are saying about them behind their backs (when allegedly supporting them) than about economic stability, prosperity, health, education and other things. Time to overthrow the future government from within before they even get in, that's what I recommend. It never stopped the CIA in the past (or MI5 in the UK for that matter - viz spying on Harold Wilson).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Peer of the Realm - escaping the Internet Balkanisation via technology

so imagine instead of an Internet, we had a network of networks.

oh, yes, so that was what the Internet was.

but now we have broken it into little fiefdoms and we need to reconnect it.

so the classic thing to do is to build an overlay. IPv6, with tunnels to get you around - think of the tunnels like phone lines which glued together the original IPv5 intenret -stafeful, but soft stateful (soft, as in democracy, as opposed to hard state which is like royalty:)

another way to do this is to provide address translation rather than encapsulation - realm specific IP - getting between realms needs either a small number of nodes which are intra-realm reachable, but also have globally reachable addresses, or else a mapping service and a ream naming system (think IPNL _ use Fully Qualified Domain Names and map them to places -) - this COULD use a hash function for each realm - indeed the set of nodes that get you between realm A and realm B could just be a DHT.

You could put the info in border routers, and combine this with a scheme to get better scaling of addressing and routing and still retain multi-homing, but providing mapping, encapsulation and a service to find the nodes that will get you between the above. If the map is from an end system identifier (IPNL used FQDN but you could just use, say, realm specific or legacy IPv4 addresses) and a location identifier (also known as a route hint), then maybe LISP is your friend:

Perhaps, although for me, the protocol overhead in LISP looks a bit messy - you could use my mad idea of sending multiple packets with different addresses to punch your way through the address translation points (TNA - see
for a daft take on this:)

but this is mostly so i can use the phrase
Peer of the realm:)

(this should really be on my internet blog, or compsci blog, but i liked the balanisation political aspect too much:)

Monday, May 26, 2008

aposite street names in spain

well, only two
Diagon Alle
in Barcelona (cf. harry potter)
Calle Luna, in Leganes/Madrid (street with a Mental Hospital on it!)
will serve as a start

Friday, May 23, 2008

cult's and initials

apparently it is offensive in the UK (in terms of the legal definition of insulting a religion) to refer to Scientology as a cult.

this is very odd. cult, when referring to a religion, is (in all the dictionaries I referred to) explicitly not insulting - indeed it simply refers to the set of practices that aren't part of the formal church for example.

It is potentially insulting to call something a cult that
is not a religion, since in that context, it has the implication of being outside the mainstream - of course, for some adherents of non-religious cults (e.g. cult followers of rock bands like the grateful dead) this is not an insult at all. Indeed, being recognized as outside the mainstream (e.g. goths, punks, skins, etc) is the entire point.

So if someone is insulted by being called a cult, then they are either confused or not religious. If they are confused, this is not a fault of the person using the term. If they are not religious, then the UK law about insulting does not apply.

If the church of scientology is not a religion, then it has some interesting questions to answer about charitable status and other matters.

I personally have no opinion about this one way or the other. I just found L. Ron Hubbard's pre-Dianetics writings to be marginally worse than EE "Doc" Smith's.

If you want to start a religion, or a cult, get a poet (Arthur C Clark would be great as he has initials, and is poetic, and is also dead, but of course he would never have signed up to anything like a religion, so I guess I will just have to start a cult in his name:)

Update: Apparently, the Crown Prosecution Service realized they were on to a lose-lose scenario with this and have dropped the case against the student - but what a stress on poor person who was only using their right to comment on things in a fair and reasonable way.

Friday, May 16, 2008

obama sin laden?

what's in a name? heavy with the burden of something
the possible, chrstian, future democrat president of the
united states of amerika sometime will have to stand
half naked....

i really think there should be an opera - i can see the production already -
Andrew Lord Webber with lyics by Mohammed Bin Elton...

an instant hit in bradford

Sunday, May 11, 2008

yech or perhaps not yech

This increibly sentimental exhibition of britishness might just, just possibly be a Cure for Cynics

Saturday, May 10, 2008

burma tweak

sitting on my garden bench I notice that it is made of teak from burma (which is nice)
but then i have to think of all the people sick and tired and dying
to get rid of their insane government - how can one use that word "govern"
for an organisation whose sole goal appears to be self enrichment at any cost
to the ostensibly "governed" population?

I guess it is bordering on autogenocide what these guys are up to right now - you know
they are charging import duty on aid workers food deliveries?

there's sometimes got to be an excuse for ignoring sovereign rights and just wading in their and taking these guys out of office....maybe John McCain could propose this as part of his presidential new sweep:(

Monday, April 21, 2008

retro-viral psychology

was reading new book by Melvyn Bragg why only yesterday which features psychoanalysis splitting up a couple fatally - one aspect seems to be that there's a generational aspect to the efficacy of therapies - they work for a while, then the neuroses and psychoses evolve to be immune to such and such a treatment, then a new treatment comes along - maybe the meme for behavioural problems is really a prion, but perhaps it is also really a collection of virtual retro-virus and is just mutating under pressure


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Post Ironic Democracy

What is it with Democracy?

First we have Bush (whacked twice)

Then the Russians elect Putin

Then the Zimbabwans can't elect anyone unless he's called Mugabe

Now the Italians vote Berlusconi back again.

and we have the nerve to tell the Afgans, Syrians, Cubans that they can't run a free society.

run that by me again...
on second thoughts, don't - don't even blink - the Angles stole the Ballot Box.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

can blue women sing the whites?

so the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band once asked the gender-prejudice version of this
question "Can blue men sing the whites?" as a spoof on the terrible self-chastisement
that used to go on in the Brit blues scene when people like Eric Clapton and
John Mayall used to play all that poor Afro-American slave music...

but what is interesting (for me) is that there were (still are) a lot of great women
singers of blues (r'n'b in the old sense, and bordering on jazz) in the UK scene
some were absolutely stellar - much better than (say) Jagger or whoever - for example
before they became glam, or just died, or got waylaid by their lesser male partners
in the band, I would claim that
Elkie Brookes (in Vinegar Joe), Carol Grimes,

Jo-Ann Kelly, Charlene Spiteri, Pauline Black, Alf,
Julie Driscoll (note I am not straying across the pond to
Janis and gang)
were all frabjous - indeed, Sarah Jane Morris, and
lets not even talk about Adele, Amy Winehouse
(dare I add Joss Stone, who I think aint half bad)
or Big Beth (Watsername from the Gossip)
and Bats-for-lashes, or Siouxie Sioux etc etc, although now
I am a darker shade of goth-off-topic... ... ...

notice how many of these were "with" someone (Brian Auger and the dreadful Trinity
or the Selector), often someone not too bad (e.g. a spot of OK slide guitar, or the Banshee's bass player (nay, nay, not the drummer or the various guitarists with suicidal tendencies long before the fashion caught on with the Manics)
but not in the same really stellar league as the singer in question

there's some sort of eternal tragic truth in here trying to get out...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

alive and kicking

I was taught by this absolutely brilliant teacher at school called Jim Cogan, who, sadly, just passed away (see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article2680308.ece
for a good obit).

I had no idea that one of his slidelines was this really great idea for a charity called Alive and Kicking, where local materials and labour are used to make sports kit, especially footballs, which then have (virally) ingenous health advice slogans on them....now THATs cunning, useful, and awesomely fair

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

while cycling in paris...

...i noticed that the streets have rivets going thru them - it occurs to me that perhaps paris is floating on a sea of Dadaist flotsam and jetsam and is permantnely in danger of being washed down the Seine into the Atlantic, so has to be held down strongly by bolts and rivets...

this also explains the driving...

I have some pictures to prove it....but they are too big to fit in this
water margin

meanwhile, I've decided that while English has the biggest vocabulary in the world, this means that meaning is diluted compared, say to french, where every word is dripping with implications and significance....the weight of a single utterance in french can compete with the entire logos of the ancients of Athenian Greece in its overwhelming resonance. n'est ce pas?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

from acton to padington by bike

so thios morning i dropped a car at one of the extremely far-and-few-between subaru approved garages and then cycled to kings cross - the garage was in acton, so i cycled thru harlesden and neasden and harrow and down on thru to padington....aweome - now i know why I hate west london - what is weird is that some of these places are quite nice, but only if you arrive at them from somewhere else (like from camden town) ratehr tan seeunbg them in successon coming on down the old ewst london dosser route..

it ought to be called...

padington looks really rank when you see it arriving from under the A40 flyover ("westway") - truly the road to hell is paved with tarmac and suburbs

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

postcards to the edge

I'm sort of jaded about people living out there in extremis (out here in the periphery, here where the creatures live, out here where there are no grassy knolls, no death nolls, we are oliver soned, un-imacculate; out there, out of luck, out to lunch, out of limits, out of my mind, out of pure spite, out of change, same difference, plus ca change), not in the palace (jade or limestone, or limey tone, or lame), then when they get lost little girl, they try to come back ,and they write those sad sad stories

good therapy for them.

but if we were decent, we'd have sent them stories of RL, to lure them back sooner -
we would have written to them about breakfast and warm rain, and hugs, and sunlight on the pool by the beach, and dancing straight, and a beer with friends...we'd have written

postcards to the edge

Sunday, March 09, 2008

cherie blair is a CIA agent...

made you look, made you look, made you look:)

anyhow, read Ghost, By Robert Harris - very good if you like a sort of
"revenge by fiction" that the novelist seems to be achieving - I think he is a very good thriller writer - the NY TImes review seems to regret that it wasn't a John le Carre book, but that is missing the point - it is meant to be more populist and the intellectually clever framing - the story is told by an anonymous narrator who is ghosting the thinly fictionalized brit ex prime minister's memoirs, and tries to get "under the skin" of a main who appears really just to be a cypher (pun intended). This is a neat way to pretend neutrality in the face of horrendous tales of rendition and waterboarding and daily suicide bombings on the streets of london and N, apparently a direct result of the "war" on "terror".

The quotes from a ghostwriter's manual that start each chapter are tartly ironic. The
events unroll slightly Tom Clancyesque towards the end, although, for me, that was more a result of Harris' very professional writing skill simply picking up the pace (as you do) when the plot gets more physical...

good stuff..if only it were true...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

madman dreams of turing machines

Just finishing this fine book
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines
by Janna Levin - lovely description of
Vienna coffee houses and mad math circle with Goedel
and also nicely captures early turing existence in Sherborne
school and in Cambridge pre-war, lying in Shepp's Green
thinking of unravelling a chess board into a tape,
and thence into a store and fsms and all the rest


Sunday, February 10, 2008

camden town is burning down, burning down

so we made the LA times! which, like everyone else, reported that my fave pub, the Hawley is frequented by Amy Winehouse...well I dunno, but I prefer to remember Ian Dury there.

Anyhow watching the smoke and orange glare from our terrace was kind of amusing, but the complete chaos caused by closing chalk farm road last nite is and will continue to be a Big Pain in the Backwater.

One thing I don't get is the actual progress of the fire - it appears it started in the crappy garages behind the Hawley - so I don't see that it made it across to the stables (main lock/original markey/dingwalls area) since most the decent photos on news sites are _from_ there and I guess the fire peeps would have shut that down if it was in trouble....also they taled about threat to residential bits, but there aren't any on the left (west) side of chalk farm road - I suppose all will be clear in the cold light of day - time for a stroll along the canal, maybe to see!

My guess is that it aint as bad as it looks, at least not as extensive...and reports were that noone was hurt which tends to imply things didn't get too out of control.

I would take a modest bet that this was caused by a smoker going outside a pub and droppng a still lit cigarette (given it happened at peak pub arrival time...)

So the BBC managed to completely xcrew up their reporting - claimed the Hawley was a night club - this AFTER half a dozen websites had correctly shown pictures of the
pub and correctly classified it - doh - another example of Flat Earth News - indeed, people as far afield as Hong Kong and Vancouver emailed me asking if I was ok - proving that it is a Very Small World....

Friday, February 01, 2008


yesterday on the usually reliable and pleasant eurostar, from paris to london, the train, about 1 hour out of paris, suddenly stopped. then the lights all went out. then
eventually they came on again and the "train manager" announced that there had been a tremedous electrical failure, and that the train would have to go back to paris.

several people said "huhn? if the lectrics have gone, how can we go at all", and "if we can go back, why can we not go on?"

some amusing explanations were forthcoming from various passengers- one elegantly dressed frenchman said " hon hon hon - eet eez because it eez a french train and it prefers to go to paris that to england". some english person said "I bet its just the driver left his phone charger at home and wants to go back and get it". My theory is that we had set off on the wrong line, and they realized that the passengers would notice that when th train arrived, it was brussels, not london...

strangley, the train only took 20 mins to get back to paris from where it had stopped after 1 hour....then, even more strangley, they told us all to get on to the next train using old seats- this slightly disrupted the passengers who had originally been destined to take this second train....thus causing twice as many annoyyed people pointlessly - the offer of a free return ticket was met by incredulous folks with remarks like "you want me to do all this again, again? what is this, groundhog day"

most unusual....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

carbon fingerprints

accordin to the bbc news site Very Important Peeps Meeting in Hawaii (so easy to get to without incurring a major hit on the jetstream)
"will be looking to forge common ground between "old" emitters like the US and Europe and the "new" polluters, such as China and India.."

forge, as in fabricate, fake, counterfeit...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


aside from the Edwin Starr song
("war: what is it good for? absolutely nothing")
and the Bob Markey song (based on the speech
by Haile Sallasie - "until the philosphy that holds one man
different from another, inferior, is finally, and utterly
discredited, everywhere there will be war
"...etc etc)
I didnt realize that einstein and freud had ever collaborated
until i read this:


Monday, January 21, 2008

english, as she is spoke

he sipped his aperitif, as the soiree wore on,
because it was the soigne thing to do
"my pensee du jour" he started
with faux naivitee,
"is that my metier manque
was definitely not les objets trouvees"

"dumpkopf" his hostess exclaimed
without a little schednfreude,
"dont blitz us with your sub-freudian
traumatic zeitgeist"

"nein, nein, mein libher herr"
he retorted, "lets have some chai, and improve our karma"

"you complete anorak", commented his older brother, mycroft.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

smuggling up to the thought police authorities

so i've been traveling between england and france fairly frequently in the last 4 months and waiting for the point when some random customs person asks me why...in line with the old joke about the chap riding donkeys between mexico and the US for decades and cycling back each day, I will explain that my work involves
smuggling french words into england, and in exchange, english jokes into france

i hope there is no vat to pay (I can't see any value that I am adding:)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A true history of Pain and Chocolate, by Umberto Econot

this is true

I met a man from eurostar today who told me about the gentleman who travelled from
Quebec to Brussels to clinch a deal for the sale of surreal bicycles (one of the rare
quebcois products for which there exists a large belgian demand).

However, he flow into london, and then took the train, which is where things went
horribly wrong (or was it). Ce monsieur, this gentleman didnt notice that he took the
wrong platform (9 instead of 10) and the train was for paris, not bruxelles.
On arriving in said city, without putting on his glasses, he ran for a taxui,
and called out a hotel (Hotel de la Paix), and of course there was one in Paris too,
so the driver took him there. As luck would have it, when he arrived, and checkedin
there was a reservation in his name (his name, oh, Louus vuiton or something common enough)
so he still did't notice anythign amiss - of course, being quebecois, he didn't notice the difference in the french accent between France and Belgium either.

In the morning, he ordered another taxi, and went off to the customer, one
Lady O'France; of course, the taxi driver misheard him and took him to Radio france,
where there was a panel of surrealists and cyclists discussing the perfect breakfast.
Cyclists shouted "Chocalate", surrealists called out "Pain", the Quebecois, quietly
spread the chocolate into a croissant - a silence fell over the studio. THen applause
burst out.

He went home, not realising that he had created Pain au cholcat, but moaning ove the
weird way that belgians do business. It wasnt like this with Eddie Mercxx and
Magritte, in may father's day, he complained to his friends.

Friday, January 11, 2008

post jungian review of da vinci code

so the recursive matrioshka like nature of eve and jesus cannot be under contemplated, with birth after birth seen compressed over time as if, as if, a sequence of nested beings being unwrapped, or indeed, played out, like a turing machine, revisiting the same place on a coiled tape, with only slightly modified state - but the male nature of da vinci code must also be commented on what with fast cars and bald albino monks, there is something of the rat, something of the michael jackson, post willard, post billie jean, revealing in the end that god does play dice, but only with alannis morrisette

why did the mountaineer go to heaven?

everest climber has passed on presumably, to higher things :-)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

patent blasphemy

so here's a mad idea: for most (abrahamic/of the book) religions in their purist (purest?) forms, it is a sin to try to compete with god - indeed, representations of humans are forbidden because "who are we to try to make something in our image so imperfectly, which god made in hers so perfectly"?

knowledge is similar - our knowledge is a pale shadow of the true, deeper knowledge.

so intellectual property (copyright, patent) is a form of idolatary, and therefore immoral and blasphemous under fundamental christian, judaic and islamic law


just as is usary...