Archive for the 'culture/misc' Category

cutting out the heart instead of the fat

28/12/2011


the summer riots, cameron couldn’t have planned it. the lazy, violent gang culture causes mess, + the charitable, tax paying middle class clean it up. ‘broken society’ the diagnosis, ‘big society’ the cure. the idea was that ‘big government’ had destroyed our sense of community, causing people to become selfish + ignorant of others, but what about the ‘big economy’ + its role?

when children are being raised in workless households on workless estates, coming of age in a dole queue, with those fortunate enough to have a job faring little better, struggling in insecure, unsociable + monotonous jobs that barely pay for the rent let alone a lifestyle, should we really be saying that reducing government intervention is the solution? or should we instead say that the companies who overwork + underpay whilst polluting our culture, environment + even our bodies without any accountability, should maybe be forced to take some accountability?

i would prefer it if the government actually got involved a bit more instead of sitting back + letting big businesses exploit us at every turn. our co-operative government pledged to make society more fair + safe, yet continues to let big businesses run amok with no responsibility.


our government has got involved in organisation cuts however. here are a handful:

– ‘natural england’, the official body responsible for advising + defending environmental interests at the highest levels of government (essentially a wildlife watchdog), had its budget cut to the bone, reducing it to nothing more than a customer focus group. the potential for rolling back over sixty years of environmental protection is now very real, with 159 regulations on biodiversity, wildlife management, landscape, countryside and recreation now able to be lifted to allow ‘business to perform better’.

– ‘scottish natural heritage’ (scotlands major conservation agency), are also facing cuts deep enough to threaten not only the endangered animals they protect, but their ability to meet their legal obligations on the environment, leading to court proceedings + large fines from the european commission for breaching habitat + wildlife directives.

– the nhs are cutting services under the financial pressure of a £20bn savings drive, with four out of five doctors having reported bed closures, pressure to prescribe cheaper, slower acting drugs, cuts to occupational support + reductions in community health services.

– hinchingbrook hospital this year became the first to offer a full range of privatised services, with private company ‘circle healthcare’ signing a decade long deal worth £1bn. unfortunately this is not a tory only policy, as labour leader ed miliband last year met with the same company to ‘discuss the future role of co-operatives + mutuals in delivering public services’. other recent policies include encouraging foundation trusts to raise up to half their funds through taking out private work as well.

– recent school polls have shown headteachers cutting music, arts + sports teachers, as well as the hours pupils spend on these topics. at some schools the budgets for these subjects have been cut by up to 80%, + 43% of schools had cut out one or more of them entirely.

the super rich evade tax estimated at a total of £70bn a year in the uk alone. the government are making cuts of £20bn a year, including cutting 12,000 staff from hm revenue + customs over the next few years, the very organisation whose purpose is to collect tax + tackle tax evasion.

is there not something seriously wrong with this?

Advertisements

thinking green (greed, not eco)

13/12/2011


i’m bored of hearing about ‘the national interest’ + how david cameron has ‘fought for britain’. he’s fought for the banks. let’s compare some of his reasons alongside some hard facts.

defence claim: banking makes a large contribution to employment.
facts: the finance sector employs only around 1m people in britain, + 80% of those are running the retail side, nothing to do with the investment bankers whom cameron has protected. for comparison, our almost non-existant manufacturing sector alone employs more than 2m.

defence claim: banking pays a substantial amount towards our countries tax revenue.
facts: over the six years during londons banking boom (between 2002 + 2008), banks paid a collective total of £193bn in taxes. since 2008 british taxpayers have paid £289bn in ‘direct upfront financing’ to bail out the banks. when including the government loans the banks have received (paid for by taxpayers), the total increases to a staggering £1.19tn.

defence claim: our banks lend to developing business + industry, supporting our economy.
facts: at the height of bank loaning in 2007, 40% of loans went on purchasing residential or commercial property, + 25% went to financial intermediaries.

defence claim: our government is protecting an important source of national income.
facts: our government is protecting a small + expensive sector of london which coincidently provides more than half of the conservative parties funding. david cameron has effectively declared that the national interest of britain can be defined by what suits one square mile of it.

i know there were issues with the lisbon treaty, + jumping in without some renegotiations would have been a mistake also, but let’s be clear about the basics. the financial regulations being considered are a direct response to the financial crisis. measures such as a ‘financial transactions tax’ + the reform of short-selling + hedge-funds are all designed to force banks into acting more responsibly.
the banks have seen this as a threat; it’s supposed to be.

also, the veto wasn’t really a veto, in that it hasn’t stopped anything. the remaining majority (23 of 26), if not all the other eu members will go ahead with the treaty regardless, without britain there to oppose any further alterations + without any support were it able to.

it has however provided an excellent media distraction from environmental issues.

Image

lo, we have become

15/11/2011

in october of this year (2011), the vietnamese javan rhino was declared extinct. in november of this year, the west african black rhino was declared extinct. the northern white rhino in africa is listed as extinct in the wild with less than ten listed in captivity.

putting this into perspective, these were some of the rarest animals in existence. nobody even knew there were any rhinos in vietnam or mainland china until poachers shot one just over 20 years ago, this in a country which was at war in the jungle for nearly 40 years. even after the shooting, it was only known there were others from the skins that hunters kept, until it was finally photographed in 1999.

using genetic analysis of droppings, zoologists worked out that its population was very small, + where you may expect some protection for this species, a safeguard for south-east asia’s rarest animal, only a decade later they are gone.

all of them.

for the booming market in rhino horn as a component of traditional asian medicine (proven not to be effective), poachers have hunted down the entire species. genetic analysis of dung has shown that the rhino remains found shot + de-horned in april last year was the last of the population.

an animal that has survived for millions of years, found by humans 20 years ago, now extinct.

i’ve been watching many documentaries recently about how wonderful humanity is, possessing consciousness, altruism, language, art, science etc; + yet evidence shows that instead, we are the species that destroys. is it time we looked at ourselves + realised that people might not be fundamentally good? to look at the baleful impact we have had on our planet, + instead consider that there might be something fundamentally wrong with us as a species?

to add insult to injury, in a survey of 600 scientists this year, nearly 60% stated that it was time to reconsider conservation, focusing resources on animals that can realistically be saved + giving up on the rest.
‘the rest’ includes species such as pandas + tigers.

you are part of the 99%

24/10/2011

spoken to a lot of people recently who are deriding the ‘occupy’ movements happening across the world. there was a video clip from the BBC’s ‘have i got news for you’ mocking the protesters because they ate fast food, which apparently makes all their anti-corporate protests a hypocrisy, + i also found this picture of someone who states that they are in the same situation as the protesters except not demanding handouts, + that a work ethic is what is needed, not change.

in my mind, they’ve missed the point.

the person in the above picture may have an admirable work ethic, + they may believe that if everyone was as sensible as them that the problems we’re facing wouldn’t exist. i think this person has yet to experience any of the following:
– having their pay or even job cut so that their managing director can get a pay rise.
– losing their job because of a badly-played gamble by one or more of their bosses.
– having their savings/stock wiped out by gambling bankers who earn a bonus for their work.
– living downstream from a factory whose waste + emissions are known to cause cancer or other illnesses.
– losing a court case trying to sue said factory + then getting stuck with the illnesses + the legal fees.
– having their contracted pay + benefits re-negotiated without their consent by companies making cut backs whilst their managers claim bonuses.
– being unable to purchase organic produce as regulations allow companies to market non-organic food under the organic label.
– the same with other artificial ingredients linked to various illnesses.

if the person in the above picture doesn’t think this is happening, then they’re not paying attention, + if they think they’ll rise above it if they just work hard, then they’re fooling themselves.

the movement isn’t against capitalism, it’s against corporate greed.

in short, the 99% does not refer to people expecting handouts, it refers to the people who pay the larger share of taxes, work the longer amount of hours, do the harder degree of work, + yet continually have their pay, jobs, health, environment + economy endangered or destroyed by the other 1%.

also let’s get this straight, the 99% slogan refers to everyone earning less than £10 million a year, + that kind of wage is not something you earn by working hard + living below your means. it’s the kind of money enjoyed by people who either do some of the things listed above, or who inherit it from other people who already did.

how to solve nearly all global issues

24/10/2011

overpopulation, the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

unfortunately it’s a simple fact that if we don’t reduce the human population humanely (e.g. family planning), nature will do it for us through water shortage, starvation, violence or disease. it’s something we really do need to address.

the world population stands at around 7 billion, estimated at current rates to hit 9 billion by 2045. let’s try to put that into perspective.
7,000,000,000 = current human population, 14% living in starvation.
148,940,000 km2 = total land surface area of earth, 40% of which has been cleared for agriculture alone.

many experts claim we have already passed the point where the earth can sustain our population, supported by our causing of the earths sixth great extinction (around 30,000 species per year) + near complete death of the oceans. food + water shortages are real threats, + threats that we’re quickly becoming unable to cope with not because of the hinderance of economics or politics, but from the earths output capacity.

we can’t kill off or sterilise parts of the population, + unfortunately it’s inconceivable that western countries would bring in laws similar to chinas ‘one child per family’ policy. the more unfortunate issue is that it might become the only solution.

there isn’t an easy solution to this real problem, + there isn’t any discussion about it either. we can’t have one without the other.

the story of bottled water

19/10/2011

with all the BORDERWALK stuff going on lately, i’ve completely forgot to keep this blog up to date! here’s one for today.


a while ago i discovered this website, thestoryofstuff, which has a great video on bottled water (see below). i’ve always found it difficult to talk people out of buying bottled water, mainly because they’re not interested. this video does a really good job of informing people about what buying bottled water means, albeit from american figures but it’s the same problem worldwide.

rant worth listening to

16/10/2011

fracking UK

25/09/2011

fracking: in short, drilling into rock layers + then injecting pressurised fluid (usually water) until the rock layer cracks open, then mixing materials such as sand or ceramics into the injected water to keep the cracks open after the injection stops. this is done to release petroleum + natural gas contained within the rock layers, which is then extracted + used for industry.
the practise has come under international scrutiny due to concerns about environmental + health safety, + has been suspended or banned in some countries.


this is what the UK government is allowing to happen in the ecologically diverse + well admired area of lancashire, + before the shouts of ‘NIMBY’ drown out this discussion, allow me a few points.

– this isn’t a wind farm, this is an oil well farm, with cuadrilla (the company with the contract) announcing the possibility of drilling thousands of gas wells in the area. these wells will leak methane + other chemicals used in the process into the ground water, contaminating the the ecosystem.

– government agencies in the UK have revealed that these operations will face minimal regulation, with no government body having overall responsibility for monitoring the industry. a similar lack of regulation in the USA has been blamed for the explosions + pollution to water supplies caused by the process, leading to mass protests across the country.

– France, Switzerland, South Africa, + several states in the USA, Canada + Australia have banned fracking, but British ministers + officials in the DECC insist no additional regulation or delay is needed.

– since exploratory work began 18 months ago, there have been only two random government inspector visits to cuadrilla’s operations.
not one environment impact survey has been conducted, nor an investigation into the possible links between the small earthquakes that took place in lancashire + the fracking operation being carried out by cuadrilla at the time.

– companies are not expected to monitor, measure, analyse or provide data on the polluted liquids that come back up the boreholes or aquifers that the areas ecosystems rely on.

– robert howarth, professor of ecology + environmental biology at cornell university, called for a moratorium on drilling:
“the best evidence indicates widespread contamination of drinking water wells within 1km of gas wells. a moratorium is necessary to step back + better study the risks to water quality, air quality, + global warming. only once such studies are completed can society begin to analyse what sort of regulation might be sufficient.”

any more shouts of ‘NIMBY’? now for the trolls.

i am not saying that fracking is responsible for causing flammable tap water + killing entire coastlines of fish. i am not telling everyone to go out + watch ‘gasland’, a hugely flawed film that is more of a fear propagator than a documentary. do not believe all the hype about fracking being the worst environmental disaster since chernobyl, it isn’t.

what i am saying is that it still isn’t environmentally safe, + is another step backward in developing real environmental + green energy production. solar technology is accelerating at an astonishing rate, so fast that experts in the field claim it will provide cheaper energy production than coal within 4 years, revised down from 10 years.

so why the frack?
go here to sign the epetition against it happening in the UK.

anons plan

12/07/2011

for the actual anonops blog post see HERE, or check out the youtube video below.

interesting as it is, i remain too skeptical to even consider getting excited. that said, i do agree that we should all start at the basics. things like growing our own foods, not buying from corporate superpowers such as coca-cola or nike, spreading information, writing to our governments + companies, as well as encouraging others to do the same.

corporations rely on our money, so every purchase is a vote.
for example, if everyone stopped buying bottled water, then the companies who drain our rivers + natural springs would have no money, + they would stop destroying the delicate ecosystems that rely on rivers from source to sea. read up on it, + if possible abstain from voting whenever you can if there’s no one you agree with.

because nurses don’t make money.

27/03/2011

there’s a LOT of subject matter on this, so i’ll try + be brief.

watching the news on the anti-cuts protests this morning (couldn’t be there as i have broken both heel bones) + was interested in the targets chosen. with some further research it ends up that rich corporations + individuals get away with over £95billion worth of tax evasion every year, much more than i realised + enough to prevent the vast majority of the planned government cuts. here are a few culprits:

sir philip green runs topshop, dorothy perkins, burton, miss selfridge and bhs, but doesn’t own them. his wife does. his wife lives in monaco where there is no income tax, + she is awarded yearly bonuses of up to £1.2billion for doing not a single days work. each £1.2billion bonus alone avoids £285million of tax.

vodafone resisted £6billion of tax. government exchequer george osborne let them off + they didn’t pay a penny, a court case against them was forcefully dropped. in india where they resisted £1.6billion of tax, the authorities forced them to pay up.

tesco have avoided land tax of £100million + stamp duty of £23million. their headquarters in hertfordshire uk has somehow avoided £16million in tax through overseas business rules.

kraft now channel cadbury profits through switzerland costing the british taxpayer over £60million a year.

walkers crisps do the same thing + cost around £20million a year.

whittington investments, owners of fortnum & mason + primark, + majority shareholders of associated british foods which produce products such as ryvita kingsmill, dodged over £40million of tax last year.

as for the banks, what more can be said. over £1trillion of public money to bail them out + the bonuses paid to bankers this year will exceed £7billion, a sum larger than the first wave of public spending cuts combined.


what is this ‘big society’ where the poor become the jobless + the rich become richer? where the forests + NHS get sold off + the millionaire tax evaders get protection? where the government saddles future doctors, teachers + scientists with student debts in excess of £25,000, then spends around £100million a month on a war in libya?

tories out.

solar scale

14/03/2011

the new wonders of the universe series on the bbc is pretty good. reading up on some astronomy articles after watching an episode i found out something amazingly humbling.

if you were to take everything in our entire solar system, from the sun, to the planets, the outer planets, moons, asteroids, comets, gasses etc, everything.
+ then put it into one big pile…

99.8632% of that pile would be the sun alone.


also, these rather weird anomalies:

our sun is in the midst of an unusual sunspot minimum, lasting far longer + with a higher percentage of spotless days than normal; it is also measurably dimming.

over the last two decades, the solar wind speed has dropped by 3%, its temperature by 13%, + its density by 20%.

its magnetic field is at less than half strength compared to the minimum of 22 years ago. the entire heliosphere which fills the solar system has shrunk as a result, resulting in an increase in the level of cosmic radiation hitting the Earth and its atmosphere.

economic environmentalism

04/03/2011

there’s been a lot of trouble in the middle east over recent decades which i don’t need to explain, the warfare has been all over our news channels for years. also, the UK/US invading iraq without hesitation whilst bypassing a genocide in darfur goes to prove what all these wars are about. oil.

for decades the UK/US have funded + catered for arab oppression because they rely on the arab dictators oil, in hock with bad regimes for an ever increasing share of their own energy needs, even supporting terrorism to secure it. iraq was invaded promptly as they had large amounts of oil, libya has become a delicate topic because they have less.

it seems going to war to ‘save the people’ only works if the leaderships they’re being saved from have oil.

which made me think…
when does switching from oil to green technology become more economically viable?

after including the expenses of war, we must be getting close, + the benefits of having a secure + self-reliant energy market must be attractive [don’t forget rising oil prices involvement in the economic crisis we’re in today].

i can’t find much on the subject, but did find a study showing that when oil was £80 a barrel, implementing the UK governments ‘green switch’ plans [no idea what they were, guessing minimal at best] would add 1.5% cost to each persons energy bills.
since then oil prices have risen to over £100 a barrel, so what happened to this ‘green switch’? surely a 25% rise in oil prices has added more than 1.5% cost to each persons energy bills?

another study found that if just 1% of the worlds surface was covered in solar panels, it would provide 300% of the entire worlds current energy usage. three times what we need, cleanly, securely + renewably from just 1% of the worlds total surface area.

i want to see real research done into comparing the cost of continuing to use oil [+ all it’s expenses, including war], with the cost of switching to green technology + developing a self-reliant energy market. i honestly believe going green will be the cheaper option, + if not, certainly worth the cost of its security over relying on oil from the war-torn misery being created in the middle east.

anon to UK gov

30/01/2011

anonymous sure got organised! not sure how representative this is, but respect to those people. click the link to read their letter to the UK government.

ANONYMOUS PRESS RELEASE 27-01-2011

just had a couple of messages asking what this all is.

in brief, a website called wikileaks privately acquired + released a lot of sensitive notes passed around between high profile politicians + army personal etc from around the globe, mainly american.

this understandably upset a lot of international relations + powerful figures. many companies used by wikileaks then withdrew their services, suspected to be bowing to pressure from the american government who are looking to shut down + tarnish the site.

in reaction, internet activists referred to as anonymous created + freely distributed software allowing other users to participate in DDoS* attacks on these companies, in protest against their participation in shutting down wikileaks.

in the UK, DDoS attacks are illegal, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. with five UK citizens now standing trial for these crimes, anonymous has decided to include the UK government among its list of targets, declaring the arrests as an attack against anonymous itself +  an action against freedom of speech on the internet.

the rest is in the press release.

*DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service. basically where a site is accessed by so many users that it slows to unusable speeds or shuts down altogether. think of it like a real life traffic jam.

cameron whores out mother

25/01/2011

it’s been available in the news for a while, our coalition government is planning on selling the UKs publicly owned forests to corporate business. i don’t know all the details but i know it’s creating a huge fuss, + rightly so, they want to privatise our woodland!

you can petition to stop this from happening at quite a few sites, a google search for “save our forests uk” brings up entire pages of news reports, petitions + even celebrity calls against the plans.
here are two petitions i believe have some credibility (unlike ‘the mirror’ or ‘the telegraph’ newspapers), the first one is ‘the woodland trust’ + the second is ’38degrees’, both established + respectable organisations who can help prevent the privatisation of our woodland.

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-forests

tron:legacy

17/01/2011


some sweet artwork of rinzler, clu + sam by superkusokao at deviant art.

the most visually incredible film i’ve seen in a long time, coupled with a beasting soundtrack. seriously, some of the scenes i just cannot get out of my head. it’s definitely a good idea to watch the original first, as legacy ties in closely with the original + features some important characters who are only fully understood if seen in the first film.

the plot itself i actually liked, minus the dialogue on the cargo ship. it worked very well as a sequel, though the differences between users + programs wasn’t quite right.

from the original you get the impression that the programs are better at everything (they know the world), but are bound by their programming and the rules they’re programmed to follow; whereas the users are a bit stupid (they don’t know the world), but can improvise and work outside the rules in order to best the programs.

though now that i’ve said it + thought back on the film, that is kind of how it all works… maybe i was just too engrossed in the beauty of it all!

also, buy daft punks soundtrack. after seeing the film it has now become one of my most listened to albums.

cameron steals from the poor. again.

09/01/2011

david cameron has strongly suggested that the rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% will be permanent – the tax that hits all the poorest people the hardest.

he then went on to say he hoped the 50p tax rate for top earners would be scrapped – so the richest 300,000 people in the country will pay less tax.

as a final insult, he then claimed the coalition was “strong” and would not listen to demands from strikes or protests.

seriously, why did anyone vote tory? you should be ashamed.
i’m embarrassed that i voted lib-dem because they betrayed their voters, but everyone knew the tories would do this.

money for the rich out of the pockets of the poor.

more info about bottled water

07/01/2011

click to see it.

when you google…

04/01/2011

not that this will bother many people, but it should. google really isn’t being well behaved…

all right, what happens?
when you search google + then click on a link, your search term is sent to that site along with your browser + computer information, which can uniquely identify you.

so what if a random site could work out who you are?
no one really, but these sites usually have third party add-ons, + these build up profiles on users which they then sell to advertisers, which is how your google searches affect the adverts on your bank sites.

but so what if i get tailored adverts? i don’t pay attention to them anyway.
advertisers aren’t the only companies they sell to.
your profile can be bought by anyone, including insurance companies, banks + credit experts, which will affect you.

so that’s a problem how?
it is. if you don’t know why then do the research.
but that’s not all, google also saves every search you make alongside your computer information. this information can then be accessed on request, which again for most people is not a bad thing, but for anyone who has ever searched something a little dodgy (ie for a torrent site or conspiracy theory) this is a massive thing.
remember that anyone else who searches using google on your computer is tallying up their searches against your name, so letting your friend around to check out the wikileaks documents means that technically you are breaking international privacy laws.

there are ways to avoid this, proxies are a good start + there are plenty of free internet ones out there. you could download software such as ‘peerguardian‘ or ‘tor‘ which hide you whilst online. or you can use alternative websites, one good one i use is duckduckgo, who specifically do not give out your information.

happy webbing!

wikileaks comic

20/12/2010

click to see it full size

article 31. the right to water.

06/12/2010

been watching documentaries + reading about the current world water situation. it really is upsetting.

for life on earth outside the oceans, saltwater is akin to a poison. less than 3% of the worlds water is freshwater + two thirds of that 3% is frozen in the ice caps. that means that all living things on the surface of the planet survive off 1% of the earths water, much of which is polluted.

if this doesn’t show how much of a finite resource water is, then look at the multinationals trying to privatise it. the UN estimated it would cost $30billion a year to provide clean water to the ENTIRE planet. the western world alone spends over $100billion a year on bottled water, all of it profit to corporations.

these corporations aren’t even providing a suitable product. most bottled water tested in the US was found to contain harmful levels of pesticides + industrial waste chemicals, in some cases even arsenic. in the UK it’s not much better; no harmful levels of toxins, but even the BBC has investigated + shown tap water to be healthier than bottled.

+ these corporations aren’t providing an option to the buyer, they are actually forcing people into buying water by suing those who don’t. there have been cases in america + india where water companies sue + bankrupt farmers who collect rainwater for irrigation. they can do this because the government has permitted water companies to own water, + therefore the rain. the farmers are supposed to buy water from the companies, to collect it from the skies is seen as an act of theft + treated as such.

in africa there are certain countries where coca cola have moved in + polluted the natural water supplies beyond human use, only then to sell their bottled water to the population at 3x the cost of a coke.

the most effective way to stop this + to bring water back under common ownership is to make it a basic human right, something which when said aloud just makes unbelievable common sense. luckily there is a movement trying to make this happen.

article 31, the right to water is a petition to add the right to free + clean water to the universal declaration of human rights. go here to sign it: http://article31.org/


students protests: the reason (+ it’s not fees)

25/11/2010

it is abysmal that the student fees are being raised, + that our MPs are suggesting we understand + back this decision. this proposal is wrong + there’s no way to portray it otherwise. the protests aren’t just about how the government is proposing the removal 80% of teaching funding for universities + asking the next generation to shoulder the bill through a tripling of fees, + then argue that it is fair.

this is about our education.

by increasing student fees + withdrawing university funding, this proposal increases university reliance on student payments. this will bottleneck university funding into the popular courses at the popular universities, whom will inevitably cap placements + close less popular courses, something which other universities are already having to do due to current education cuts. it doesn’t take a genius to realise that this will dramatically reduce the availability of courses and the overall quality of education across the country.

make your voice heard, email those responsible:
https://email.number10.gov.uk/Contact.aspx
https://www.libdems.org.uk/contact.aspx

everybody loves…

25/11/2010

…hypnotoad.

digital natives/digital immigrants

12/11/2010

written by marc prensky, these papers discuss the very different brains that people have who are brought up in the digital age in comparison to those who have lived through it + had to learn it post-childhood.

the first paper is highly interesting + very to the point, helping you to understand the second.
it’s only short + can be downloaded as a pdf HERE.

the second paper i’m only halfway through + am finding so interesting that rather ironically i have to put it up on here. it all rings so true + makes such good points, it is a bit longer, about six pages in total, but well worth the read . it can be downloaded as a pdf HERE.

justifying student riot

12/11/2010

i feel i have to explain why i support what happened seeing as there are many people calling the situation counterproductive.

shadow home secretary ed balls described the vandalism as “completely unacceptable”, saying “it was perpetrated by a small minority of thugs who hijacked what was planned to be a legitimate and peaceful demonstration, + in so doing denied tens of thousands of students + lecturers the right to have their voices properly heard.”
this sounds like a mature + sensible view, but let’s compare the situation with a recent series of protests that weren’t about money, but lives. the iraq war.

the pre-iraq war protests formed the largest peace movement in the world, even bigger than the peace movement for the vietnam war. here is a greatly shortened list including only a few major protests. the actual list is almost endless.

september.
nearly 400,000 protesters at tony blairs release of the document regarding the UKs case for the war.
october.
over 150 protests across the UK in a single day.
january.
worldwide protests including non-eu countries.
february 15th.
the largest world protest in recorded history, with millions of people in approx 800 cities around the world all protesting together. the largest of the protests (also the largest single protest in recorded history) took place in londons hyde park, where over 2,000,000 people gathered, or 1 in 30 of the UKs total population.
march.
10,000 in UKs manchester. 400,000 in milan. 300,000 in barcelona. 120,000 in madrid. 200,000 in montreal. 15,000 in quebec. 55,000 in paris. 10,000 in marseilles. 100,000 in berlin. 20,000 in athens. 10,000 in tokyo + many thousands more in over 40 other cities where figures cannot be cited.
on march the 19th across the UK, tens of thousands of students walked out in protest. over 4,000 in birmingham, + 300 secondary school children in central london who blocked traffic for over an hour + were joined by over 1,000 other protesters.
march post-war.
protesters begin to attempt to shut down major cities, in london a massive demonstration was held outside the houses of parliament.
up to 1,000,000 in barcelona. up to 500,000 in london. up to 250,000 in new york.
in one day across the UK hundreds of students marched upon the US embassy, hundreds of people brought cardiff traffic to a standstill, + a dozen stormed the raytheon defense technologies company building + staged a sit-in until removed by police. thousands protested in manchester.
the next day in the UK up to 10,000 people protested in oxford + edinburgh leading to multiple arrests.

i’m not even halfway through the list yet + have only included a fragment of figures, but i think that this is enough evidence to make my point.

now i can’t say i like seeing violent protesting, or our police force getting injured. i can’t say i condone rioting + looting of businesses, or the harassment of any individuals, bankers or not. but of all the protests in recent years, which ones do you remember seeing in the news the most? the bank crisis riot where the bank of england was raided? the environmental summit break ins in brussels? the student riots at tory hq? or any of those iraq-war protests?

governments won’t listen unless they’re given a good reason to.

student fee protests in london

10/11/2010

justified.

student speaks out (BBC report with footage)

save the nhs

28/08/2010

the bbc have recently reported that the government is scrapping the nhs direct phone service, the first in a line of plans despite their pledge to protect the nhs.

f**king tories, knew this was coming.

net neutrality no more

11/08/2010

a new ‘net neutrality’. no more choice, no more pirates, no more new sites. let me explain [*pirates can just skip down past the crossbones pic]. the ramifications of this are a bit complex, so forgive my patronising.

the internet in lamest terms can be seen as a motorway. at times it gets very crowded, causing lots of cars to get caught in traffic. think of these cars as the data of the internet.
currently all data queues, regardless of its content. this is fair.

new plans are suggesting a partitioning. this plan in the motorway terms means putting a row of bollards down one lane + forming an empty or ‘fast lane’ which only certain cars can use, allowing them to skip the traffic. verizon [with backing from google] are saying that this would enable them to provide slow loading content quicker by sending it through their ‘fast lane’, + that by taking this traffic out of the other lanes, general traffic will flow faster.

but this is not how it will work.

by allowing service providers to create + control their own ‘fast lanes’, you put internet traffic speeds into the hands of corporations, who will inevitably turn their ‘fast lanes’ into ‘toll booth lanes’, a situation already happening with wireless network providers which is why mobile broadband is so shite.

what does this mean? firstly, companies could introduce a higher speed ‘second internet’ service at a higher price, driving up your internet costs. but such money worries are irrelevant in view of the bigger issue, this is where it gets complex.

let’s consider that yahoo provide your internet. yahoo sites such as ymail will load quickly + run well, but other sites such as hotmail will be slower to load than they are currently, + even prone to stalling or not loading at all.
this is because yahoo will slow general traffic speed, + thus hotmail, to enlarge their own private fast lane. this fast lane will be for traffic from their own sites, such as ymail, encouraging [aka forcing] users to switch, increasing yahoos internet market share + thus their own profits.
the same will happen to data from sites who do + do not pay for this ‘toll booth lane’. so google, who can afford the tolls, will be given priority over sites who can’t.
to make it worse the FFC will be powerless to stop them.

to further demonstrate how priority traffic lanes will be devastating for the internet, let’s consider a new site springs up. let’s call this new site ‘facebook’.
it may have to potential to become one of the biggest + best loved social sites on the web, but starting out it would not be able to afford the ‘toll booth lane’ costs.
from here two things could happen. it could be bought out, flooded with adverts + ruined [like myspace + youtube]; or it could fail, as inevitably users ignore it for quicker + more stable alternatives provided by their service provider, such as friends reunited or windows live.

a devastating third alternative is that it never even gets recognised, as no one bothers with it in the first place. this situation would become commonplace + would devastate the internet as a source of innovation + a place for new ideas to find success. future facebooks would never happen, let alone sites that are truly innovative such as spotify or ebay.


not that i condone or promote it, but let’s look at what these new plans potentially mean for the immense society of pirates online.

internet providers controlling traffic speeds. this is only possible if they are able to monitor traffic, otherwise how will they know what to allow onto their fast lanes + what not to? how much information they would be able to get from traffic monitoring is a topic in itself, but you can guess that it’s still too much for comfort. + when they know that traffic contains data from sites known for piracy, how quickly do you expect that traffic to be allowed to flow?

this new ‘net neutrality’ is one step toward increased company profits, the killing of new companies + the sinking of piracy in its only remaining open sea.

code 46

09/08/2010

i was going to put a trailer here, but literally every trailer i found was awful, making it out to be some cheap sci-fi action flick thriller type of film. do not watch any.

code 46 is an admittedly slow, but really good + thought provoking film.
set in the near future, it does the typical British movie thing where it doesn’t explain the world, but drops enough hints so that you get what’s going on [think children of men, or equilibrium], the focus is on the story, + it is a love story.

it is slow, + though the idea is great, the film could have had a little more pace. but it is really good. emotive, well written + well worth watching.

two hundred times bigger than our own sun

07/08/2010

scientists have recently seen the largest explosion ever recorded: a supergiant star, two hundred times bigger than our sun, utterly obliterated by runaway thermonuclear reactions triggered by gamma ray-driven antimatter production. the resulting blast was visible for months, unleashing a cloud of radioactive material over fifty times the size of our own star, giving off a nuclear fission glow visible from other galaxies.

this super-supernova is an example of what’s called a ‘pair-instability’ breakdown. at sizes of around four megayottagrams [thirty-two zeros], giant stars are supported against gravitational collapse by gamma ray pressure. the hotter the core, the higher the energy of these gamma rays. if they get too energetic, these gamma rays can begin pair production, creating an electron-positron matter-antimatter pair out of pure energy as they pass an atom, turning the entire core of the star into a gigantic particle accelerator.

the antimatter + matter annihilate each other explosively, but the problem is that the speed of antimatter explosion is still a critical delay in the gamma-pressure holding up the star. the outer layers sag in, compressing the core more, raising the temperature, making more energetic gamma rays even more likely to make antimatter, + suddenly the whole star is a runaway nuclear reactor beyond the scale of imagination.  the entire thermonuclear core detonates at once, an atomic warhead that’s not just bigger than the sun, it’s bigger than the sun plus the mass of another ten stars.

the entire star explodes. no neutron star, no black hole, nothing left behind but an expanding cloud of newly radioactive material + empty space where once was the most massive item you can actually have without ripping space. the explosion alone triggers alchemy on a suprasolar scale, converting stars’ worth of matter into new radioactive elements.

this really happened. 90% of people will never know, but will be able to tell you all about tiger woods’ sex life.

what the fuck am i doing reading this at 230am on a saturday? back to learning the blues scale on my cheap shit midi keyboard.

BP + the USA

31/07/2010

so after the most hated man on Earth [British owner of BP] has stood down [despite his commendable job on the clean-up operation of the gulf + the welfare of its residents], they’ve hired an American in his place, who rather than continue BPs impressive work, has decided to ‘scale back’ the clean up. nice.

this is so typical hypocrite America, world renowned for being the least environmentally minded country in the world. the real culprits of this whole mess are officials in various US government organisations, who for years have encouraged + allowed oil companies to negotiate exceptions on environmental + safety procedures in return for low priced oil, basically permitting BP + other oil companies to drill in ecologically vulnerable places with little or no regulation. let’s not forget that America, with 5% of the planets population, consumes over 25% of worlds oil.

if you want to get into deeper details, let’s mention the blowout preventer itself which catastrophically failed. provided by American company Transocean, it’s peculiar that the schematics ordered by + provided to BP didn’t match what Transocean actually placed on the rig. strange.
also the cement casing of the rig itself which collapsed. done by American company Halliburton though they are pointing the finger entirely at BP + avoiding mention of their involvement.

+ what about American companies abroad? has the US forgotten about the Bhopal disaster which left over 5,000 dead + over 500,000 suffering from ill health in India? it’s taken over 25 years of the US running circles around Indias courts [with no clean-up + no compensation, not even an apology] before the first sign of action against those responsible is being seen. don’t hear the Americans calling for Bhopals blood though.

BP isn’t the devil, it’s one of a party of devils enjoying a good time at the Earths expense, + America are the grinning hosts who invited them in with open arms.

you’re all fucking hipsters

22/06/2010

i‘m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. in front of me stand a gang of hippiesh grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other + collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking puffs of “fuck-you,” reveling in their perceived rebellion as the haggard, staggering staff look on without the slightest concern.

the “dj” is keystroking a selection of mp3s off his macbook, making a mix that sounds like he took a hatchet to a collection of yesteryear billboard hits, from dmx to dolly parton, but mashed up with a jittery techno backbeat.

“so… this is a hipster party?” i ask the girl sitting next to me. she’s wearing big dangling earrings, an american apparel v-neck tee, non-prescription eyeglasses + an inappropriately warm wool coat.
“yeah, just look around you, 99 percent of the people here are total hipsters!”
“are you a hipster?”
“fuck no,” she says, laughing back the last of her glass before she hops off to the dance floor.

ever since the allies bombed the axis into submission, western civilization has had a succession of counter-culture movements that have energetically challenged the status quo. each successive decade of the post-war era has seen it smash social standards, riot + fight to revolutionize every aspect of music, art, government + civil society.

but after punk was plasticized + hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of “counter-culture” have merged together. now, one mutating, trans-atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes + behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the “hipster.”

an artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past + unable to create any new meaning. not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. while previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction + decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society.

take a stroll down the street in any major north american or european city + you’ll be sure to see a speckle of fashion-conscious twentysomethings hanging about + sporting a number of predictable stylistic trademarks: skinny jeans, cotton spandex leggings, fixed-gear bikes, vintage flannel, fake eyeglasses + a keffiyeh – initially sported by jewish students + western protesters to express solidarity with palestinians, the keffiyeh has become a completely meaningless hipster cliché fashion accessory.

the american apparel v-neck shirt, pabst blue ribbon beer and parliament cigarettes are symbols + icons of working or revolutionary classes that have been appropriated by hipsterdom + drained of meaning. ten years ago, a man wearing a plain V-neck tee + drinking a pabst would never be accused of being a trend-follower. but in 2008, such things have become shameless clichés of a class of individuals that seek to escape their own wealth + privilege by immersing themselves in the aesthetic of the working class.

this obsession with “street-cred” reaches its apex of absurdity as hipsters have recently + wholeheartedly adopted the fixed-gear bike as the only acceptable form of transportation – only to have brakes installed on a piece of machinery that is defined by its lack thereof.

lovers of apathy + irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs + shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs + sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties. the hipster tends to religiously blog about their daily exploits, usually while leafing through generation-defining magazines like ViceAnother MagazineWallpaper. this cursory + stylized lifestyle has made the hipster almost universally loathed.

“these hipster zombies… are the idols of the style pages, the darlings of viral marketers + the marks of predatory real-estate agents,” wrote christian lorentzen in a Time Out New York article entitled ‘Why the Hipster Must Die.’ “and they must be buried for cool to be reborn.”

with nothing to defend, uphold or even embrace, the idea of “hipsterdom” is left wide open for attack, + yet, it is this ironic lack of authenticity that has allowed hipsterdom to grow into a global phenomenon that is set to consume the very core of Western counterculture. most critics make a point of attacking the hipster’s lack of individuality, but it is this stubborn obfuscation that distinguishes them from their predecessors, while allowing hipsterdom to easily blend in + mutate other social movements, sub-cultures and lifestyles.

standing outside an art-party next to a neat row of locked-up fixed-gear bikes, i come across a couple girls who exemplify hipster homogeneity. i ask one of the girls if her being at an art party + wearing fake eyeglasses, leggings + a flannel shirt makes her a hipster.

“i’m not comfortable with that term,” she replies.
her friend adds, with just a flicker of menace in her eyes, “yeah, i don’t know, you shouldn’t use that word, it’s just…”
“offensive?”
“no… it’s just, well… if you don’t know why then you just shouldn’t even use it.”
“ok, so what are you girls doing tonight after this party?”
“ummm… we’re going to the after-party.”

gavin mcinnes, one of the founders of Vice, who recently left the magazine, is considered to be one of hipsterdom’s primary architects. but, in contrast to the majority of concerned media-types, mcinnes, whose “dos and don’ts” commentary defined the rules of hipster fashion for over a decade, is more critical of those doing the criticizing.

“i’ve always found that word “hipster” is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore + are bored, + they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out + getting wasted + having fun + being fashionable,” he says. “i’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda.”

punks wear their tattered threads + studded leather jackets with honor, priding themselves on their innovative + cheap methods of self-expression + rebellion. b-boys and b-girls announce themselves to anyone within earshot with baggy gear + boomboxes. but it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. it’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.

“he’s seventeen + he lives for the scene!” a girl whispers in my ear as i sneak a photo of a young kid dancing up against a wall in a dimly lit corner of the after-party. he’s got a flipped-out, do-it-yourself haircut, skin-tight jeans, leather jacket, a vintage punk tee + some popping high tops.

“shoot me,” he demands, walking up, cigarette in mouth, striking a pose and exhaling. he hits a few different angles with a firmly unimpressed expression + then gets a bit giddy when i show him the results.

“rad, thanks,” he says, re-focusing on the music + submerging himself back into the sweaty funk of the crowd where he resumes a jittery head bobble with a little bit of a twitch.

the dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks. while punk, disco + hip hop all had immersive, intimate + energetic dance styles that liberated the dancer from his/her mental states – be it the head-spinning b-boy or violent thrashings of a live punk show – the hipster has more of a joke dance. a faux shrug shuffle that mocks the very idea of dancing or, at its best, illustrates a non-committal fear of expression typified in a weird twitch/ironic twist. the dancers are too self-aware to let themselves feel any form of liberation; they shuffle along, shrugging themselves into oblivion.

perhaps the true motivation behind this deliberate nonchalance is an attempt to attract the attention of the ever-present party photographers, who swim through the crowd like neon sharks, flashing little blasts of phosphorescent ecstasy whenever they spot someone worth momentarily immortalizing.

noticing a few flickers of light splash out from the club bathroom, i peep in only to find one such photographer taking part in an impromptu soft-core porno shoot. two girls + a guy are taking off their clothes + striking poses for a set of grimy glamour shots. it’s all grins + smirks until another girl pokes her head inside + screeches, “you’re not some club kid in new york in the nineties. this shit is so hipster!” – which sparks a bit of a catfight, causing me to beat a hasty retreat.

in many ways, the lifestyle promoted by hipsterdom is highly ritualised. many of the party-goers who are subject to the photoblogger’s snapshots no doubt crawl out of bed the next afternoon and immediately re-experience the previous night’s debauchery. red-eyed + bleary, they sit hunched over their laptops, wading through a sea of similarity to find their own (momentarily) thrilling instant of perfected hipster-ness.

what they may or may not know is that “cool-hunters” will also be skulking the same sites, taking note of how they dress and what they consume. these marketers + party-promoters get paid to co-opt youth culture + then re-sell it back at a profit. in the end, hipsters are sold what they think they invent + are spoon-fed their pre-packaged cultural livelihood.

hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests + affiliations. less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. but the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

an amalgamation of its own history, the youth of the west are left with consuming cool rather that creating it. the cultural zeitgeists of the past have always been sparked by furious indignation + are reactionary movements. but the hipster’s self-involved + isolated maintenance does nothing to feed cultural evolution. western civilization’s well has run dry. the only way to avoid hitting the colossus of societal failure that looms over the horizon is for the kids to abandon this vain existence + start over.

“if you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!” chants an emcee before his incitements are abruptly cut short when the power plug is pulled + the lights snapped on.

dawn breaks + the last of the after-after-parties begin to spill into the streets. the hipsters are falling out, rubbing their eyes + scanning the surrounding landscape for the way back from which they came. some hop on their fixed-gear bikes, some call for cabs, while a few of us hop a fence + cut through the industrial wasteland of a nearby condo development.

the half-built condos tower above us like foreboding monoliths of our yuppie futures. i take a look at one of the girls wearing a bright pink keffiyah + carrying a polaroid camera + think, “if only we carried rocks instead of cameras, we’d look like revolutionaries.” but instead we ignore the weapons that lie at our feet – oblivious to our own impending demise.

we are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. we are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion + now sell them back to us. we are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. the hipster represents the end of western civilization – a culture so detached + disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

douglas haddow

download ’10

14/06/2010

was amazing, except for sundays rain. was at the barrier for deftones + rage!

bp oilspill

03/06/2010

how come no one has been held accountable for this? this is one of the worst environmental disasters ever, + they’re worried about money loss?

check out THIS LINK + it may put into perspective how bad this is

the end of the line

29/05/2010

was reminded yesterday of this documentary about the fishing industry + world stocks. it may not be a film masterpiece, but it is a must see. think of what ‘an inconvenient truth’ was for global warming, or ‘zeitgeist’ for politics, this is the ocean equivalent. you can buy it from the homepage linked below, or watch it on youtube

THE END OF THE LINE

it tries to put into perspective the amount of damage we have caused to the oceans, + further reinforces my belief that nobody should be eating seafood. i am not a vegetarian, but i do not eat anything from the sea, haven’t done for as long as i can remember. farm animals may not live the most privileged lives in the world, but as a food source they are properly looked after + have been made sustainable. the ocean has been seen as an nonexpendable food supply for too long, + now many of the species humans rely on are on the ‘severely endangered’ list, yet are still being fished to extinction

i think it was last year, the blue fin tuna [a critically endangered species] had more than a third of its world population fished, + that’s just the legal fishing industry records. the illegal blue fin tuna trade catches an exponential amount on top of that + suffers no criminal repercussions. mitsubishi are actually buying massive amounts of blue fin tuna catches + freezing them, in preparation for high price selling once they no longer exist

you are eating our oceans to extinction, + pescatarians need to take a severe look at their moral compasses

why marijuana should be legal [not for smoking]

18/05/2010

as a drug, the verdicts still out. the addicts who waste their lives on it are a massive problem compared to the people who smoke it for health benefits

but it should be legal, not for smoking, but for farming

as far as foods go, hemp seed + its oils are some of natures wonders. it is one of the most nutritious + easily digested foods on the planet, containing large amounts of protein + a perfect balance of essential fatty acids. it also contains more of the beneficial amino acids than proteins such as milk, eggs or meat, containing almost seven times more omega-3 fatty acids than fish. it also provides an option for those unable to eat gluten, meat, sugar + milk, + is a good addition to a diet for those concerned about avoiding carbohydrates

for paper it is far superior to wood, in fact until 1883 more than three quarters of the worlds paper was produced from hemp. a hemp crop produces more than four times as much raw fibre as an equivalent tree sized plantation, + can be replenished in four months as opposed to a trees twenty years. to further strengthen the case, hemp paper is actually stronger, finer + longer lasting than wood based papers we use today. it doesn’t need bleaching, which is a major pollutant of the tree paper industry, + can be grown anywhere, stopping the need for the importing of trees cut down from endangered environments

from a farming perspective, this crop is a dream. it can grow in virtually any climate and soil condition (excellent for reclaiming otherwise-unusable land), it needs no pesticides as it is unpalatable to insects, it needs no herbicides as it grows too quickly + too densely for weeds to compete, + it needs less growth product as it uses the sun more efficiently than virtually any other plant on the planet

for the future + the battle against CO2, hemp was one of the leading research areas until its prohibition. hemp has an output equivalent to around one thousand gallons of methanol per acre year, methanol is still being studied as a possible primary fuel for cars. before the prohibition, the ford motor company produced a car with a plastic body using a mixture of 70% cellulose fibres from hemp. the plastic withstood blows ten times as great as steel + without denting or suffering stress fractures. its weight was also two thirds that of a regular car, producing better economy

other various uses include its effectiveness as insulation, its production into plaster board + even concrete, hempcrete

in short, it is my opinion that we should make hemp legal. keep it illegal as a drug, but legal as a farmed crop for these benefits. don’t shoot the hippy calling for legalisation of hemp, because it makes good sense

cute fear

09/05/2010

was checking out this site HERE, which was great for a while. you search where you are or for your nearest major city, pick a weapon from the drop-down menu (largest being the 50mt tsar bomb), + click ‘nuke it’ to see the radius of damage

i was feeling quietly confident being in llangollen, as this bomb dropped on liverpool (which is the closest major city) would leave me untouched :)
however upon further research, the 50mt tsar bomb ends up being a bit small… in fact the same bomb was scaled down from a working 100mt bomb due to pollution worries. 100mt. go to the site, see how big the 50mt one is, then double it…
that was 1960’s technology, + just two bombs could take out the entire of wales + more…

i feel bad for sharing this, but this kitten made me forget all about it + feel better, i hope it does the same for you :)

08/05/2010


not the tories please

hung parliament for the win

07/05/2010

so britain now has a hung parliament. to be honest, though i would have liked to have seen more lib-dem seats, this was the most realistic result to hope for

despite all the scare stories rolled out by the tory press to try + (successfully) stifle the lib-dem campaign, there is no reason to fear a hung parilament. it will not weaken our nation + economy. in fact, evidence says otherwise

the british weakness for tradition, enforced by the tories, tells us that a single party government representing a minority of the popular vote is the real english way of rule (i say ‘english way of rule’ as wales, scotland, europe, + even london, all have more proportional systems). this ‘traditional’ system allowed labour to win 57% of mp seats off just 36% of the votes, whereas the lib-dems earning 23% of votes only got 10%

the tories being the majority party will fiercly defend this system, they themselves having gained a third of the seats on just a 3.9% swing of votes. but after this election the power ultimatly lies with the lib-dems. they have the opportunity to form a coalition government, or to force through a structured hung parliament. done fairly, a hung parliament does not weaken government, but actually produes a stronger government as the executive is more dependant of the goodwill of the legislatures being passed

seven of the ten largest fiscal consolidations in OECD member countries since 1970 have happened under coalition governments. germany, the strongest economy in europe, has always had coalition governments. britain won the second world war with a coalition government. in fact, britiain has had coalition or minority governements for 34 of the past 100 years

this will certainly be interesting, but for good reasons. not something to fear

the last supply of fresh drinking water on earth

02/05/2010

scary, but solidifies my stance as a hippy. with statistics + science like this, how can our world leaders bare to live without standing for + demanding dramatic and extensive climate action

check it out, WATERLIFE, beautifully made + presented website with plenty of material to navigate

homesick

02/05/2010

walked past another stump today
it’s so infuriating + upsetting seeing trees getting removed, + for no good reason. trees help bring down pollution + freshen the air, they attract birds + insects allowing more than just rats to life in the area, + they make even the most dreadful estates look nicer, which i’m sure makes the people living there feel better, if only a little

where i grew up, they are cutting down trees everywhere in the town. not surprisingly, the town is looking worse + worse, + although they may not be the primary cause, tourism has dropped since they’ve started removing them
it just makes no sense why it happens

check out this office featured on the site eightyonedesign, how much nicer would life be if buildings were designed around nature, rather than nature being seen as a disease on human design

they’re made out of meat

27/04/2010

a short story by terry bisson

“They’re made out of meat.”

“Meat?”

“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”

“Meat?”

“There’s no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”

“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars.”

“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”

“They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”

“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”

“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they’re made out of meat.”

“Maybe they’re like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage.”

“Nope. They’re born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn’t take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?”

“Spare me. Okay, maybe they’re only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside.”

“Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They’re meat all the way through.”

“No brain?”

“Oh, there is a brain all right. It’s just that the brain is made out of meat!”

“So… what does the thinking?”

“You’re not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat.”

“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat!”

“Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?”

“Omigod. You’re serious then. They’re made out of meat.”

“Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they’ve been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years.”

“So what does the meat have in mind?”

“First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual.”

“We’re supposed to talk to meat?”

“That’s the idea. That’s the message they’re sending out by radio. ‘Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?’ That sort of thing.”

“They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?”

“Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat.”

“I thought you just told me they used radio.”

“They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat.”

“Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?”

“Officially or unofficially?”

“Both.”

“Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing.”

“I was hoping you would say that.”

“It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?”

“I agree one hundred percent. What’s there to say?” `Hello, meat. How’s it going?’ But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?”

“Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can’t live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact.”

“So we just pretend there’s no one home in the universe.”

“That’s it.”

“Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You’re sure they won’t remember?”

“They’ll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we’re just a dream to them.”

“A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat’s dream.”

“And we can mark this sector unoccupied.”

“Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?”

“Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again.”

“They always come around.”

“And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone.”

the tenth dimension

27/04/2010

this video HERE is intense. extremely interesting and theoretically revolutionary, but intense. worth watching a couple of times to actually get your head properly around it

e.t. burn home…

25/04/2010

steven hawkings just suggested that rather than search for intelligent life in the universe (offering information about ourselves + how to find earth, as we have done on two probes already out in the void), that we should avoid + hide from them. this may sound a bit paranoid, but all we need to do is look at our history + the signals we’ve already broadcast into space to understand that it actually makes perfect sense

when europe discovered other continents, europe always won, despite their initial promises of peaceful understanding. it’s happening today still, even countries who have been at peace for decades are increasing weapon stocks exponentially in an uneasy cold war-ish style of politics, + no matter what the technological state of a discovered species, human nature would never change, for better or for worse

looking at our signals, the first high powered tv broadcasts were during the second world war, not the best first impression to give, + it doesn’t get any better. it’s not as if our most popular shows are displaying good human nature, + how much of our news is on anything other than our own leaders incompetence + the wars we’re currently involved in or starting? for over a hundred years this will be what aliens see of our planet, + worse still is that despite all these horrors, we have advanced startlingly fast, not a confidence inspiring trait of a dangerous war-torn species

i agree with hawkings

nick clegg smeared by tories

23/04/2010

i know i said i wouldn’t do this, but after seeing the newspaper headlines yesterday i feel some clear up is needed on the way politicians use the press
here’s a list of what’s gone on in the past few days:

speaking in a bbc interview yesterday, lord mandelson, labour mp, commented on how a series of anti-lib dem headlines in this morning’s newspapers bore the typical hallmark of tory communications director andy coulson. tory links with the papers have been exposed before in similar smears against labour, it’s no secret
the daily express branded clegg’s immigration policies “crazy”, ignoring the fact that they have been used effectively for years in various other countries, australia for one example
the sun accused him of “wobbling” + refused to publish two yougov polls showing that voters fear a lib-dem government less than a tory or a labour one + that the lib-dems policies are the most liked
the daily mail revived comments he made about anglo-german relations in 2002 under the headline “nick clegg in nazi slur on britain”, twisting nick cleggs quote that at the time there seemed to be political tension between britain + germany over a handful of eu policies. hardly a nazi slur
the daily telegraph claimed that fundings to the lib-dem party by private investors had been criminal + for personal gain. nick clegg published all his bank papers which proved otherwise, exposing the smear as exactly that
more interestingly, the bbc’s political editor jick robinson found that the daily telegraph actually called in tory mps one by one to discuss how the papers would deal with the sudden increased lib-dem popularity, trying to gather information which could be used to smear nick clegg

lord mandelson said the sort of smear tactics which the tories had used against labour in past elections were now being turned on the lib dems, as the upsurge in their support threatened the conservatives’ chances of an outright victory
“i think the coverage is frankly disgusting,” he told bbc radio 4’s ‘the world at one’. “the press stories we have seen today are straight out of the tory party dirty tricks manual. these things do not happen at the drop of a hat. this is pure andy coulson-style news of the world territory turned into political form. this is borne of tory panic, the tories pushing the smear button in the hope that this will damage clegg. well, in my opinion, the tories are wrong. i think people will see this exercise for what it is.
it is cheap and frankly rather squalid with no place in this election.”

on a brighter note, the lib-dems have called for the digital economy act to be repealed + the issues debated by a full parliament. this is the bill that was forced through government despite criticism from google, o2 + heavy petitioning from the public. this is the bill that lets the government cut you off from the internet
the lib-dems did oppose the bill however, + speaking at the ‘the student room’ nick clegg insisted that they would call for the act’s repeal should lib-dems be involved in the next government

perspective

21/04/2010

this is quite a graphic image so i’ve included a linked thumbnail. i wanted to share this image because i feel that getting an honest perspective of our actions is the best way to become motivated to change

this image is a good demonstration of how powerful perspective can be

pixels

19/04/2010

quite a cool quirky video HERE by patrick jean, got sent the link by a friend + thought i’d share seeing as i enjoyed it
sorry i can’t directly embed but it’s not a youtube site

kittens

18/04/2010

aawwwww :)

the red, yellow and the blue

16/04/2010

so i said to myself that i wouldn’t do this [politics on here], but did anyone see the ITV election debate? admit it, lib dems won hands down

the manifesto

robin hood tax

09/04/2010


click HERE to go to the site + support the policy
an amazing idea. so simple, so effective + actually so scary, to know how ridiculous the banking system has got

a global tax on non-public bank transactions of just 0.05% could raise more than £200,000,000,000,000 a year, which would then be dispersed to charities + organisations around the world involved in helping others

wake up walk out: 26th april 1pm

09/04/2010

a nationwide peaceful protest against the fraud that was the copenhagen summit, + a demand for renewed action on environmental talks + policies. more info HERE

taking place on 26th april at 1pm, the idea is that people everywhere drop what they are doing + walk out into the streets, sending a powerful message to our government to cut emissions to 42% current levels. send news of the protest to the local media, encourage others to take part, inform the press, share the walk out via pictures or video + generally help raise awareness

i love lego

02/04/2010

this is possibly my new favourite image ever

mirrors edge

26/01/2010

recently had a friend loan me some monies for a 360 elite. first games i bought were mirrors edge (because i remember reading a very promising review when it came out) + bioshock because it’s awesome. also a game called fatal inertia which i love (think a 360 version of wipeout)

after playing all three, i must admit i am stunned by mirrors edge
i was a huge fan of jet set radio future because of the way the entire level was playable, no areas were off limits + a lot of the games final tasks involved discovering routes of access that were only available through the precise timing of moves. sonic the hedgehog 2 was kind of similar if you were going for the time bonus’s rather than rings

mirrors edge however takes this method of play to an entirely new level, requiring precise timing manoeuvres in ‘access all areas’ levels that at times beat even portal for their sheer complexity
this is a game that’s not going to get boring for a long time, + to top it off, it looks as slick as oil off glass

kickass

14/01/2010

check out the trailer HERE
this looks ace, a few kids decide that there’s no reason why people don’t try to be superheros, + so one tries it + becomes an internet hit, influencing others to try as well
superheros without super powers

træna festivalen

07/01/2010

imagine a festival where the party never stops because it never gets dark, + the bands play in massive ancient caves in the mountainous parts of these islands:

imagine bathing in a natural lake with wild otters, drinking a local moonshine that evaporates if left to the air + going to boat parties that cruise around these amazing islands

i cannot wait for this! staying in oslo for a while before sailing off to this amazing festival for a week with some friends. i’ll pass on the whale burgers though…

pillow

02/01/2010

make me these + i will love you forever

zoidberg

02/01/2010

i love this

n

02/01/2010

thought i’d best post this as there are a surprising amount of people who actually don’t know about it. check out the site HERE

this is a free downloadable flash game where you control a stick figure ninja around a plethora of real challenging levels. the physics are superb, the enemies infuriating + the death scenes entertaining every time. well worth checking out

love and trolls

17/12/2009

one of the better boxxy remixes i’ve seen out there. hail queen /b/

MOON

12/12/2009

seriously, you need to see this film

first else

10/12/2009

how sick is this! i know the iphone came first, but this is a new level of cool. it’s basically the next step after the iphone, where even the phone element of the device becomes an application among many, rather than the main focus with cool extras

check out it’s launch show HERE


couple of well worth watching films

24/11/2009

lords of dogtown. TRAILER
trailers really cheesy, but it’s a real good film. shows how good it is to be there at the start, regardless of the trend, + how quickly everything falls to ruin

funny people. TRAILER
i know adam sandler turned a bit crap, but this is a proper amazing film

surrogates t.b.a.

09/11/2009

check out some of this lovely technology. a threat?


a case for the 2012 logo

26/10/2009

london 2012 logo incorporating british flagright, here goes shooting myself in the foot. i like this logo, + i like the london font specifically designed for it. i know that most if not everyone else hates it.

why?
the idea behind it is that the olympics are for everyone, not just london, so why should the logo be london based? also let’s be frank, how many people living in london are actually from london anyway? london is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, making it very difficult to define ‘british’ symbology without referring to bland london buildings.
i also like the font. it doesn’t scream for attention, it’s very legible, + dare i say modern? britain is a leading country in modern design + contemporary ideas, so why is everyone complaining? this logo allows for a lot of play, + when incorporated with imagery such as this example, i think it looks fantastic. i do agree that the colours are a poor decision, the logo looks much better in simple primaries, but that’s one of the beauties of the logo, it allows itself to be updated, to adapt to current fashions + to appeal via design to a wide audience.

saying all that though, i do find this parody quite funny, + i do quite like this alternative logo idea posted on the BBC website.

london2012shit

bbc life

19/10/2009

strawberry poison dart frogthe new LIFE series on the bbc is pretty damn good. i enjoyed the planet earth series immensely + must confess, i am a hippy at heart, + love series like this which inspire people to rediscover just how amazing our world is.
hopefully it will also inspire greater interest in environmental issues, an area of news which i follow diligently.

the viral virus

18/10/2009

watched district 9 for the second time + thought about viral advertising.
i hate advertising, + i can say that because i studied it for a while. it’s why i don’t own a tv.

viral advertising however.
for an example of how clever + artistic a well executed viral campaign can be, look at the year zero concept by trent reznor from nine inch nails, information HERE.
it’s based approximately 15 years in the future, where state control has got out of control, + anti-political groups are sending warnings back to the past, to us; warnings of id chips, media-government collaborations, corporate control + the secret drugging of the population via water supplies.
you could say it’s all an elaborate advert designed for a specific fan base, but think about the creative intelligence behind this. trent reznor has created a complete, believable fictional future, with real issues, organisations, wars, people, even the kitchen sink. maybe it’s not a real viral campaign, maybe it’s more of an art concept. however cloverfield used similar methods purely for advertising, which worked well as promotional material rather than art material.

back to district 9. rather than leave clues + interactive media around for people to discover + spread themselves like year zero + cloverfield, they plaster it on every available public surface instead. i enjoyed district 9 as a film, but the advertising was an insult. it wasn’t viral, it completely missed the definition of ‘viral’. what’s more infuriating is that i predict a lot more films/products adopting this method, taking an art form + degrading it to an everyday nuisance plastered all over the high streets.

district9 abusing viral advertising

questionable content

16/10/2009

comics HERE
one of my favourite web comics, updated daily monday-friday [you probably have to know the characters to get this punchline]

don't get jealous, they can't talk about sex...

grl

16/10/2009

some cool toys from the guys at the graffiti research lab.