Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Election Impressions 2
Blair's 'New' Labour has been a party of constant meddling. There doesn't appear to be a single aspect of life that hasn't been given the 'league tables' treatment. This is particularly true in education and health, where hardly a week goes by when some statistic isn't trumpted or lambasted in the media.

Election Impressions
The first of a series of postings I'll make regarding the forthcoming elections here in the UK.

We were lied to - yes, lied to - in the PM's justification for war. There never were any WMDs and I'm certain the vast majority of the intelligence community knew this. But Blair couldn't just say "we're going to war for a regime change in Iraq" because he knew that would be illegal. So instead he gets his chief spin doctor to collude with some intelligence flunky (or not) to come up with the famous '45 minute' speech which all along he must have known was complete BS. Consequently I can't trust the man - he put his relationship with Bush (which in my view isn't worth a damn) before the beliefs of his country.

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Brian Sedgemore, MP (c) BBC"Veteran former Labour MP defects
Long-time Labour backbencher Brian Sedgemore has defected to the Lib Dems. Mr Sedgemore, who is standing down at the election after 22 years as Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, was known as a maverick backbencher.

He has accused Tony Blair of 'stomach turning lies' and said he wanted to give him a 'bloody nose' at the polls.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly warned that people moving from Labour to the Lib Dems were allowing the Tories to 'walk in through the back door'.

More power to the man, I say. If more MPs had spoken their mind, instead of toeing the party line as spouted by Campbell and his spin cronies, perhaps the UK wouldn't have taken part in the Second Great Bush Crusade (gulf war)? Perhaps the policies and laws in force now would more accurately reflect what the electorate had expect of Blair's Labour when they first elected him?

"She said Mr Sedgemore had been 'completely ill at ease with New Labour for a very long time'."

Ditto a big chunk of the electorate.

BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Election 2005 | Veteran former Labour MP defects

Monday, 25 April 2005

The threat to UK motocross (in fact all field-based motorsports) continues as DEFRA proves that they come come out with annoying legislation just as good at that spouted by Brussels:

"Our rulers out-Brussels the EU
Out of the blue, the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) has told farmers they will not qualify for an EU farm payment if they allow their land to be used for motor sports.

As a result, hundreds of events are being cancelled because farmers, unsurprisingly, are withdrawing permission for their fields to be used.

Telegraph | Opinion | Home front | Our rulers out-Brussels the EU

Sunday, 24 April 2005

Northampton MCC held a race today at a very dusty Farm House Farm, Crick. Looks like we're in for a drought this year.

Ah, nothing like nostalgia, is there? On Channel'4 100 Greatest Kids TV Shows, they've just shown a clip of 'White Horses', which came to British screens from Yugoslavia. As poor as my memory is, I can still remember the theme tune (have recently downloaded an MP3 of it), but what surprised me was it was shown in 1968 - when I was only four!

Saturday, 23 April 2005

Northampton Town managed to scrape back into the playoffs with a 1-0 win over Lincoln today at Sixfields. Another not very impressive performance, I must say, and to be honest, I can't see us winning any playoff games even if we do stay in contention.

Friday, 22 April 2005

"Muslims sue US over border stop
Five American Muslims detained for more than six hours at the Canadian border have filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Homeland Security.

The plaintiffs want an injunction that would bar the government from such detentions in the future...

Like that's ever going to happen while Bush is in the White House. Welcome to the Land Of The Free.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Muslims sue US over border stop

Looking at getting a replacement for my aging, but still working, Philips mobile phone and specifically wanting one that has a GPS (Global Positioning System) facility and be able to send a GPS fix via an SMS message. Pretty specialized, I admit, but accurate positioning is becoming more common in hand-held devices so service providers can provide directions to shops and stuff. One possible candidate is the Motorola E1000, but trying to get a definitive answer from yer average shop assistant as to whether my needs are possible is akin to getting blood from a stone. Visited at least five shops in MK Shopping Centre today - most didn't have the phone at all, one or two could offer it but had no idea about GPS facility, and one said "not possible", which I'm not sure I believe.

Monday, 18 April 2005

"Making a science out of applied idiocy
The research paper was clearly the work of experts. It had a long, baffling title and its authors were familiar with key topics such as 'simulated annealing' and 'flexible modalities'

This really cracks me up because its such an accurate reflection of what a modern academic paper looks like, ie: complete and total BS!

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Making a science out of applied idiocy

Sunday, 17 April 2005

Little Britain photo © BBC"Hit sketch show Little Britain has cemented its status as one of the UK's favourite programmes with two prizes at the Bafta TV Awards in London."

Ah, judges with taste...

"In other awards ... 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here won best entertainment show."

...or perhaps not?

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Little Britain wins Bafta double

This afternoon's episode of Enterprise finds Captain Archer showing a considerable lack of ethics in choosing to create a symbian (symbiotic organism) in order to grow tissue the dcotor needs to heel an important cast member (sorry - crew member), then happily consigning it to die when it comes to extracting the required tissue. Captain Kirk would be spinning in his grave - although technically he hasn't been born yet.

Saturday, 16 April 2005

Dipsticks at the BBC up to their old (stupid) tricks again. This evening's Doctor Who is the first of a two-parter and ends on a cliffhanger. So what do they do? Leave the audience in suspence until next week? No, they show trailers of part 2. Idiots.

Friday, 15 April 2005

BBC2 presenter Dan Cruickshank currently getting decidedly over-excited as he strokes a chair from the Bauhaus Museum of Design, Berlin, in his acclaimed series Around the World in 80 Treasures.

Thursday, 14 April 2005

Five Thousand DaysJust heard that BPPA book Five Thousand Days (which bears my name in a membership list, but sadly none of my work) has gone on to sell over 5000 copies and is in reprint.

"Journalists in Nepal, one of the world's poorest and most backward nations, are going hi-tech to sidestep tight censorship imposed after last month's royal coup."

More confirmation that we have a new oppressive regime in the making.

"King Gyanendra seized power on Feb. 1 ... banned media criticism of his move, which he said was aimed at ending a nine-year Maoist revolt that has killed 11,000 people and shattered the tourism and aid-dependent economy."

Whilst I might sympathise with his aims (of stopping the Maoists from ruining the country) he's certainly not going to win any international favours with his approach. | Nepali reporters take democracy fight to cyberspace

"Health experts have begun to destroy samples of a potentially lethal flu strain sent to laboratories around the world by a US testing organisation.

The samples are of Asian flu, which killed between one and four million people in 1957 but disappeared by 1968.

Just what in ghod's name was this US company thinking? "OK, we've found no weapons of mass distruction, so we'll post some around the world." Some samples were sent to Saudi Arabia - isn't that just down the road from Iraq, alleged home of terrorists?

"The virus - technically known as H2N2 - was classified as Biological Safety Level 2, meaning that it was not considered particularly dangerous."

Killed a few million - not particularly dangerous...? What are you guys on over there?

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Labs race to destroy deadly virus

Travan tape driveThanks go to Lewis, one of our department's IT support personnel, for pointing out why a recent aquisition from eBay, a Certance (Seagate to you and me) Travan tape drive, wouldn't work in my machine. I'd attached it to the same bus as the machine's hard disk - and the machine didn't like it one little bit. Of course, if I'd taken the time to download and read the manual, or even just the single-page installation sheet, I'd have known that.

Now I just need to buy a copy of that latest version of Dantz' excellent Retrospect tape backup software. At under 70 quid, this software has always been the best, IMHO, in that it offers 'proper' incremental backups.

Lorenzo and team have finally reached Everest Base Camp (north) at 5200m and we received another message from him this morning. The satellite phone messages unfortunately are getting cut off - don't know if its down to a weak signal or weak batteries. I hope it keeps working when he gets higher - its almost 1000m higher at Advance Base Camp and of course the three camps they will have to establish on the North Col will be quite a bit higher still.

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Into the quarter finals, at long last, of the OU's 6-a-side footy tournament. Games delayed by lots of rain - although I don't doubt there'll still be a water shortage later in the year...

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

"Eight US newspapers and the Associated Press agency have thrown their support behind three bloggers sued by Apple."

I certainly hope this can be turned around to bite Apple in their constitution-busting ass.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Apple bloggers get press support

Friday, 8 April 2005

"Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway is among ITV programmes being disrupted by strike action" - no loss there then.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Strike action hits ITV programmes

These guys a just hockey mad!

Beer League Hockey: "Canadian Everest Expedition Takes Hockey to New Heights"

Thursday, 7 April 2005

We received another message from my Italian mountaineer friend Lorenzo Gariano today. He and his team, who are intending to climb Everest via the north col in late May, are trapped in Katmandu, indirectly due to action by Maoist guerillas. The city's bus drivers are refusing to take them to Base Camp without armed escort.

List to his audio blog, or subscribe to his PodCast via the Everest Audio Blog website.