Saturday, 29 April 2006

A big "well done" to Northampton for securing promotion to League 1 for next season after a 1-0 win over Chester. To be fair, Chester did actually dominate the game for about 20 minutes and I quite though the Cobblers were going to have a mare and throw it away. Scott McGleish scored (again) and that turned the game around. Town had at least three more chances denied them in the second half by Chester keeper Chris MacKenzie.

Meanwhile, Torquay did us a favour by beating Carlisle who are now equal in points to the Cobblers. Providing we win away to Grimsby (who only managed a draw against Macclesfield) next Saturday, and Carlisle don't win either of their two remaining games, Northampton could still win the League trophy.

Friday, 28 April 2006

Not posted a joke before - here goes...

"A blind man enters a lesbian bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders a drink. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the bartender, 'Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?'

The bar immediately falls absolutely quiet. In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, 'Before you tell that joke, sir, I think it is just fair - given that you are blind that you should know five things:

1 - The bartender is a blonde girl.
2 - The bouncer is a blonde girl.
3 - I'm a 6 foot tall, 220 lb blonde woman with a black belt in karate.
4 - The woman sitting next to me is blonde and is a professional weight lifter.
5 - The lady to your right is a blonde and is a professional wrestler.

Now think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?'

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and declares 'Nah. Not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times'.

Purloined from The SimplyDV Bulletin Board

"Warnings over USB memory sticks
Smart phones, iPods and USB memory sticks are posing a real risk for businesses, warn security experts. Just over half of companies take no steps to secure data held on these devices, found a UK government-backed security survey. Recently, US military secrets were found in USB sticks on sale outside Agram airbase in Afghanistan.

Matt Fisher, spokesman for Centennial Software, said USB sticks could also become an attack vector for viruses and other malicious programs largely because they are swapped between many different computers. 'Everyone expects a virus to come through the [e-mail] gateway,' he said, 'No one expects them to come in on a USB stick.'

BBC NEWS | Technology | Warnings over USB memory sticks
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Monday, 24 April 2006

"Clarke attacks 'distorting' media
Charles Clarke has accused the UK media of perpetuating 'myths' that his law and order agenda is an attack on human rights and civil liberties. The home secretary says a 'pernicious and even dangerous poison' exists in the British press.

Mr Clarke used his speech to the LSE to attack the press for using expressions once reserved for tyrants to describe the legitimate policies of democratic governments. He said using terms such as 'police state' or 'hijacking democracy' or 'destroying the rule of law' to describe modern democratic politicians is causing the truth to be thrown out the window.

Well, is it coincidence that one of the first things a repressive regime or police state does is to silence the media?

BBC NEWS | Politics | Clarke attacks 'distorting' media

St.Michael's church yard

Photo from flickrSt.Michael's church yard
Photo uploaded to flickr 24 Apr '06, 2.45pm BST PST by hockeyshooter

The church yard looks great at the moment with a number of trees in full blossom, with birds twittering like crazy in their highest branches.

Saturday, 22 April 2006

You have received a new message

A massive turnout from the Cobblers fans (at least 3000) today at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford. Promotion chasers Northampton received another three points with their 3-1 win over a somewhat outclassed Oxford United.

"England 'addicted to sex and TV'
England is a nation of 'overweight, alcopop-swilling, sex-and-celebrity obsessed television addicts', according to a travel guide. The latest edition of the Rough Guide to England also warns potential visitors that the hearts of many towns 'consist of identikit retail zones'. But it praises the nation of 'animal loving, tea-drinking charity donors who thrive on irony and Radio 4'. Tourist body Enjoy England has criticised the book as 'unhelpful'.

But exactly right, I'd say.

BBC NEWS | UK | England 'addicted to sex and TV'

Friday, 21 April 2006

Photo probably © Shell"Fossil-Fuel Platform Runs on Renewable Energy
Royal Dutch Shell has begun pumping natural gas from its wind- and solar-powered Cutter micro-platform, sited on a marginal-production gas field underneath the southern North Sea.

The unmanned platform is supported by a monopost, which is based on offshore wind-turbine designs. Powered by a pair of small wind turbines and a pair of solar panels, the platform measures eight meters square. The use of renewable energy generation equipment not only provides green power, but reduces the cost of providing a subsea cable to power the platforms. The platform’s US$143 million fabrication cost alone is around 40% of that of traditional platforms.

A little ironic, don't you think?

Green Car Congress | Fossil-Fuel Platform Runs on Renewable Energy

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Big new Merc"Car makers 'failing' on climate
European car makers are defaulting on a vital target to tackle climate change, according to an environmental group. Their efforts to boost fuel efficiency are falling "far short" of a commitment made to the European Union in 1998, Transport & Environment says.

Every week Radio Times carries a number of car adverts and fuel economy is never a factor. Quite often the vehicles actually shown can't manage any more than 20mpg whilst driving in town and some, little more than 30mpg on motorways. Car adverts should be forced to carry a big warning of how polluting they are, perhaps using a banding system as adopted on light bulbs. And the most polluting cars - often with massive engines and far more power than anyone realistically needs on Britain's roads - simply should be banned from sale.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Car makers 'failing' on climate

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Tuesday, 18 April 2006

A cruical three points for Northampton yesterday as they beat Stockport County at Sixfields to keep them second in the League 2 table. Credit to County, though, as they kept going until the final whistle. Good sized away crowd, too.

Monday, 17 April 2006

"'Woods and homes' green belt call
More agricultural and green belt land should be reforested or turned into housing, a new report suggests. A change in land use is proposed in the study Land Economy by the free market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute. Mischa Balen, the author, said modern farming techniques turned land into monocultural wastelands that did not provide proper habitats for animals.

We hear only two days ago that the UK is relying more and more in imports such that by 16 April, we go into "ecologial debt" and now we get these idiots suggesting we plough up some of what little agricultural land to build yet more houses.

BBC NEWS | UK | 'Woods and homes' green belt call

Sunday, 16 April 2006

"Britain 'needs more gas power'
The UK will need more gas-fired power stations soon to avert widespread power shortages, a group of MPs has warned. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee said the UK could not rely solely on plans for a new batch of nuclear power stations. Its chairman, Conservative MP Tim Yeo, says 'more gas fired power stations will be needed by 2016 to keep the lights on'.

Unless you hadn't noticed, Tim, we're running out of gas and are now having to import loads of it from the former Soviet republics. Making us even more reliant on these imports, the continuity of supply of which is less than certain, is just plain stupid.

Why the Government needs to take so long to think about our enegery shortage ,I don't know. We knew we'd start running out of gas around now at least 10 years ago - if they'd have gotten their act together, new nuclear stations would already be on line.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Britain 'needs more gas power'

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Wednesday, 12 April 2006

"White House admits Iraq WMD report false
President Bush's claim three years ago that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq was based on U.S. intelligence that was later proved false, the White House acknowledged today.

Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan vigorously denied suggestions that Bush was making claims that had been debunked when he said two small trailers seized in Iraq were mobile biological laboratories. Bush declared in a May 2003 television interview, 'We have found the weapons of mass destruction.' The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was cited at the time as supporting evidence for the decision to go to war.

The Washington Post reported today that experts on a Pentagon-sponsored mission who examined the trailers concluded that they had nothing to do with biological weapons and sent their findings to Washington in a classified report on May 27, 2003. One day later, the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency publicly issued an assessment saying the opposite — that U.S. officials were confident that the trailers were used to produce biological weapons. The assessment said the mobile facilities represented 'the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program.' On May 29, 2003, the president repeated the claims from the public intelligence report.

In other words, the heads of the two US intelligence agencies ignored the findings of their own military's mission.

mparent7777: White House admits Iraq WMD report false

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Indymedia photographer arrested by armed officers
On Saturday 18th March photographer and serial Indymedia contributor Alan Lodge (aka 'Tash') was arrested after taking photos of armed police in public. Tash denied the charge of wilfully obstructing a police officer at Nottingham Magistrates Court on Monday March 27. Defending solicitor Paul Dhami told the court: "The officers took exception to his presence, and one took it upon himself to physically impede Tash and then arrested him." The arrest came only weeks after Nottingham police issued guidelines to their officers reminding them to respect journalists' rights.

The NUJ has taken up the guy's case. Apparent these guidelines have susequently been accepted by other UK forces, including the MET.

UK Indymedia - Indymedia photographer arrested by armed officers

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Heard of another example of political correctness BS this morning: a visiting football fan attending a game at the MK Dons stadium was told he wouldn't be able to bring his flag into the ground because he didn't have a certificate proving it was flame-proof.

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Tuesday, 11 April 2006

MK Scaffolding Collapse, 11 April 2006

Photo from flickrMK Scaffolding Collapse, 11 April 2006
Photo uploaded to flickr 11 Apr '06, 3.43pm BST PST by hockeyshooter

Three people were seriously injured today when fifteen stories of scaffolding collapsed at a new accommodation and hotel construction site in central Milton Keynes, England. Emergency services arrived at the scene within minutes of the collapse and at least two of the injured were lifted out by air ambulance. Up to 200 workers are currently employed on the site but by good fortune, many were on their lunch break when the incident occurred. Other than the three evacuated to hospital, a number of others were treated at the scene for minor injuries. All surrounding streets were quickly cordoned off by police in case of further collapse. Both infra red cameras and tracker dogs were employed in the search for survivors but officials have stated that all those at the scene have now been accounted for. The emergency services will now work with the Health and Safety Executive to investigate the cause.

MK Scaffolding Collapse, 11 April 2006

Photo from flickrMK Scaffolding Collapse, 11 April 2006
Photo uploaded to flickr 11 Apr '06, 3.43pm BST PST by hockeyshooter

Picked up on a call from a picture agency today regarding what was described as a "serious incident" in Central Milton Keynes, the city where I work. Grabbed camera and laptop and rushed to the scene to get photos for the media. Fired off about half a dozen to the daily papers and some to the BBC too - we'll just have to see if any get picked up.

BBC News | Workers hurt in scaffolding collapse

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Monday, 10 April 2006

Here's an enterprising chap who has written a PHP script that uses Google Maps' API to give you latitude and longitude data from UK postcode:

Eurig Llwyd Jones | Finding Latitude and Longitude of a Postcode

Might be useful for geotagging images in Flickr, as I sometimes do. I've now created a page that does just this.

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Saturday, 8 April 2006

Northampton vs Rochdale

After a pretty decent performance in the first half, leaving us with a 2-0 lead, the Cobblers threw it all away in the second with very sloppy play allowing Rochdale to equalise. If Northampton do get promoted, and stick with the team we have now, we're not going to last long in League 1.

Friday, 7 April 2006

Wallace and Grommit Curse of the Were Rabbit"Hunt for real life 'were-rabbit'
Sharp-shooters have been brought in to defend allotment patches in Northumberland suffering from a real-life 'curse of the were-rabbit'. The ravenous giant rabbit, named after the famed Wallace and Gromit character, is reported to have ripped up dozens of prize-winning leeks and turnips.

Now, if this story had come up on 1st April...

BBC NEWS | England | Tyne | Hunt for real life 'were-rabbit'

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

"Apple makes Macs run Windows XP
Apple has released software that lets users run Microsoft's operating system on its computers that use Intel chips.

So, what's the point of paying over the odds for a Mac now? Is this the second part of the beginning of the end for Apple computers (the first being the switch to Intel CPUs)? I reckon so.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Apple makes Macs run Windows XP
Apple | Macs Do Windows, Too

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Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Continuing my comments on the DVD of Batman Begins, I bought the two disc version and the second disc, containing lots of material on how the movie came about, is actually very impressive. Most extras discs are pretty disappointing, but this is really good stuff. It reveals that they rented Cardington hangars, which are only a few miles from where I live, for 10 months to build a big chunk of Gotham City.

Just received a couple of new DVDs.

Enigma DVDThe first is the movie of Robert Harris' outstand novel Enigma. It sticks mostly to the original with the exception of the ending, but the movie is let down by wooden acting and direction that almost guarentees a snoozing audience. No wonder it didn't do well at the box office. Conclusion: not worth bothering with.

Batman Begins DVDThe second movie is Batman Begins, with Christian Bale making an excellent caped crusader. I saw this at the cinema soon after it was release and was very impressed: the best Batman movie since the first one, where Jack Nicholson did such an outstanding job as Gotham's resident baddy. Conclusion: thoroughly recommended.