Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 22:28 I much prefer orange squash to butternut. Quenches the thirst more. #
  • 22:29 Tickets for the Ross County v Dundee United Scottish Cup final sorted. Yes. #

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 08:29 That Labour guy Lord Mandelbrot seems to go into infinite detail about everything. #
  • 14:26 Just flicked through today's Express. Its anti-libdem editorial and general tone of election coverage is horrible. Unacceptably dismissive. #
  • 14:27 A lot of it seems, at best, dishonest as well #
  • 14:29 P14: "they are a bunch of sanctimonious pro-EU left-wingers who would destroy the last remnants of our national identity" #
  • 14:32 Clegg:"a man who despises Britain's heritage, wants to smash our national defences and has an ideological objection to locking up criminals" #

M.I.A. - Born Free

Oh my goodness. The new M.I.A. video which is very, very, not safe for work. A fascinating and hugely disturbing take on the IDF handling of the Palestinians. What you're seeing isn't pretty but it is very prettily done.

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Northern nerds do Justin Timberlake medley

That is it. Nicely Done.

Another policy checker

Following on from my earlier election post, I was directed to Votematch, which is another site where you can answer policy questions and see who you are closest to politically. Importantly, this one includes all the parties, and allows (even instructs) you to deselect those parties that you are not considering voting for. I therefore tried it out only comparing Labour, Liberal Democrat, and SNP.

The outcome was interesting. As I suspected, the results from Vote For Policies had been influenced by the lack of SNP; the Greens were, in my case, a left-wing substitute (indeed, I even selected the Conservative environmental policy!). My task for the first half of this week is to read the SNP manifesto, which was launched ridiculously late. It's becoming clear to me that my choice will be between Liberal Democrat and SNP. Labour haven't massively impressed me so far, the Conservatives have flat-out unimpressed me, the Liberal Democrats have impressed me, and I must admit that I don't know enough about the SNP yet. When I have informed myself, the question may be: policy or tactics? In my constituency the SNP are a distant third, and the Lib Dems have a decent chance of unseating Labour. If I come out in favour of the SNP, do I vote for the Liberal Democrats anyway?

We'll see. Try out Votematch here or in the little widget below. I don't think that these things should tell you how to vote, but are an excellent "hopping off" point to focus your research in the right direction. Importantly, they help cut through the political dogma that Labour and the Conservatives are the only "real" choices by removing the artifice.

Dear BBC, don't worry about taking "balance" to extremes

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive , and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal".

Karl Popper

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 10:52 Hurrah! Trending topics works again in Echofon. #

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 09:02 Holy shit. It's SNOWING. And not volcanic ash, actual cold water. #

How genetics works

A picture says a thousand words. Lovely. Via


Trololololololololololo. This is all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 23:24 I have been reading a book for a while now: Möbius Dick. It feels like I'll never get it finished, though. #
  • 12:07 Saw an amazing programme about an ethnically-diverse group of women last night: Disparate Housewives. #

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 13:23 Of all the volcanopocalypses that I can remember, this is the most disappointing. No snowing ash, no zombies, no fun. Just an eggy smell. #

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 07:35 It's the VOLCANOPOCALIPSE!!! #
  • 18:52 Rumours are that the weird eggy smell today was due to the #volcanopocalypse. Seriously. #

Ah hate eyeshland


On the debates

This is the UK, not the USA.
We do not have a President; we do not elect a Prime Minister.
We vote for someone to represent us in Parliament, hopefully on both local and national issues.
If a party has the majority of MPs, they form a government with their leader becoming Prime Minister.
The governing party, and not the leader, is given a mandate by the people.
The governing party can change their leader, and therefore the Prime Minister, if they want.

Elections are supposed to be about policies and how we would like them to affect us.
Elections are not about whether Gordon Brown looks tired or Dave looks like he has had botox.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Today on twitter

  • 12:18 Ross County v Celtic Scottish Cup SF live on Sky Sports 1 now. Am I still asleep or is this really happening? Come on Staggies! #
  • 13:28 GET IN! Ross County 1 Celtic 0. What a goal. #
  • 14:01 YES! Ross County 2 Celtic 0! 2 minutes left, the cup final is a certainty! #
  • 14:12 The greatest day of all time: when Ross County trended on Twitter #
  • 14:23 Ha ha. 1/10/2008 Robbie Keane scores in the Champions Leage for Liverpool; 10/4/2010 knocked out of the cup by Ross County. #

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

This, that, and the election

Hello. I'm not dead, but I'm not dead interesting hence nothing to really write about. A nice sustained period in Aberdeen has let me rest, relax, see the onset of spring, and be led astray by Mark & Claire. The light is back, it's getting warmer, and the whores are beginning to bloom.

Hang on, I meant to say daffodils there.

Anyway, time for a patented random Swish link-dump:

One of those bizarre, out-there websites that you come across from time-to-time: Michael Buble Being Stalked by a Velociraptor. Tremendous.

The best YouTube video I've seen in a while, Irish Spiderboy. Gravity is suspended for one glorious second here, leading to delightful comedy:

And a news story from today that provides another insight into the crazy world of North Korea: Pyongyang claims Kim Jong-Il has started a global fashion craze.

So, on to the UK's general election, which is now in under 4 weeks. The phoney war is over, and the parties can begin to spout the real platitudes, semi-policies, and meaningful-sounding insubstantial soundbites. I've heard it described as the "between a rock and a hard place" election, and can't say I disagree. We are saddled (by the way our system works) with a probable toss-up between the chaotic government and an apparently wafer-thin (in terms of real substance) opposition. Since day 1 I had David Cameron down as a smug, insubstantial, desperate, condescending impostor. Basically all the bad things that people said about Blair minus the charisma and (initially at least) apparent convictions. The general public seems to have cottoned on to this now, though, and the tactic of focusing it in on Dave may in hindsight turn out to be very costly. He's no Obama, to understate slightly... I'm going to go out on a limb at this point and predict that we will not have a hung parliament, and that Labour will hang on by the skin of their teeth.

This election is a first for me, as I have not made my mind up on who to vote for. I'm a floating voter, but let's be clear that I have no plans on rowing down to the murky right side of the pool inhabited by the Conservatives, UKIP, the BNP and beyond. I'm not sure that the Greens are sufficiently well-rounded to be an option; I work in the oil industry anyway and am not self-hating enough (yet) to vote for my own demise. This therefore leaves me with only 3 realistic options: Labour, Liberal Democrat, and SNP. This is interesting, and I honestly don't know which way I will go yet. Tactically, my constituency is a straight-up battle between Labour and the Lib Dems, with everyone else well behind.

I don't buy into the media image of a failed Labour government that has ruined the country, can see that Brown has some substance, and am prepared to believe that a lot of what they have done is with honest intent and genuine integrity. Iraq is a big, big blot on their copybook, though.

The Liberal Democrats are fascinating, as the party that I have always previously voted for, and the party that seems to be perceived as the one standing for a real change. I would normally have automatically voted for them, but the cold and calculated way that they ousted the successful and popular Charles Kennedy by outing his alcoholism left a bitter taste in my mouth. Add to this the fact that many of my above criticisms of Dave can be equally applied to Nick Clegg, and I have decided to think again. Instinctively, though, I feel that this is the party closest to my heart in terms of Europe, the economy, electoral reform and general mindset.

The last option, SNP, is an interesting one. I always overlooked them purely because of their central tenet of independence. When they formed the government in Scotland I decided to give them a chance and, if they performed, take a proper look at them. And take a look I will. Their performance has not been stellar, but I have been impressed by the way that they have approached minority government, have seen several policies making active differences, and respected the (decidedly non-populist) decision that they took to free the Lockerbie bomber. I honestly don't know where I am with them, though, so am looking forward to reading their website.

The first step on my journey was the excellent Vote for Policies, a site that allows you to compare anonymous (although anyone with half a brain can work out a fair bit of it) policies to determine who you are closest to on topics like crime, the economy, Europe etc. I did all 9 sections, and my results came out as:

Interesting, and it confirmed a lot of my thoughts. The one outlier was the environment, where I came out in favour of the Conservatives, but to be honest none of the choices there really convinced me. The SNP were not included (although I reckon that in the areas that I agreed with the Greens on, the SNP are similarly left-wing), so I can't truly judge things from here, but it is an interesting start to the process. I'll blog more about it later in the election campaign.

Strange question

But if anyone I know has ordered something off Amazon to be sent to my address, give me a shout. I'm stuck in a loop of delivery hell/mess-ups for a package that I wasn't expecting and don't know what it is...

EDIT: Mystery solved, you can sleep easy at night now. Turns out that I forgot about my order of the spectacular Paul Ross Canvas.