Monday, February 28, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Arts Friday Review | Wired for sound: "Robert Moog, pioneer of the modern synthesiser, sounds a little bemused by the film that has been made about him. 'I wouldn't make a documentary about myself at all. I don't think it's that interesting. I do feel a bit embarrassed at times.' He does admit that the director, Hans Fjellestad, has done a nice job. 'He could have fried my ass if he wanted.'"

Curious synchronicity. Dave just wrote this on Moog for his Uni thesis or summat.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Fantastic Metropolis ? Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read

"This is not a list of the “best” fantasy or SF. There are huge numbers of superb works not on the list. Those below are chosen not just because of their quality—which though mostly good, is variable—but because the politics they embed (deliberately or not) are of particular interest to socialists. Of course, other works—by the same or other writers—could have been chosen: disagreement and alternative suggestions are welcomed. I change my own mind hour to hour on this anyway."

Taken from Chris Brooke's excellent Blog, the Virtual Stoa.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

While it might be tempting to tease giants, don't do it kids - the BFG only exists in Doom. Posted by Hello

Hank and Grill relax after a hard day grinding. You can spot my pet crocodile Bar in the corner there, and Phibes lookig away in horror. Posted by Hello

Friday, February 18, 2005

A parent's primer to computer slang: "It's important to remember that the leetspeek community encourages new forms and awards individual creativity, resulting in a dynamic written language that eludes conformity or consistency."

Go on Bill, patronise me some more.
The New York Times > Health > Mental Health & Behavior > For the Worst of Us, the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil': "'When you start talking about evil, psychiatrists don't know anything more about it than anyone else,' Dr. Simon said. 'Our opinions might carry more weight, under the patina or authority of the profession, but the point is, you can call someone evil and so can I. So what? What does it add?'


Thursday, February 17, 2005

About My Vote

"Tony may not be admitting it, but the Electoral Commission's timetable seems pretty convinced that Britain will go to the polls on May 5. If you haven't yet registered to vote, that means you have until March 11 to do so." The Backbencher.

I hope you're all registered; let's see if we can get the proportion of spoilt ballots over 1% this year - only a disappointing 0.38% in 2001! (though still higher than it's ever been before - check out Pg18 of this document for more info.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Cor, it's weird here. Kieron finally moved out, to live with the delightful Jane (who will break his soul into crumbs in but instants) and I have this enormous open flat ot myself for three whole weeks.

I can walk around naked and stuff!

However: Kieron has taken all the white goods (fridge, washing machine, cooker, microwave) meaning that I'm living on cold food from a beer-cooler I borrowed from the traitorous DannyG (how dare he leave PCF before me? And look at the eyes in that link, scary, scary desperate eyes), and contemplating the beauties of going commando in about a week's time which the conservative-with-a-small-c Holly surely will not appreciate...

Also the sod took his computer table back, meaning I'm writing this on the floor. Surrounded by the piles of crap I'd stashed therein. Balls, this place has to be tidy in three weeks. - City of Heroes Diary #4: "We knew we needed some vague climax to our four-week mission into the heart of Paragon City. We thought we'll save the universe. Or something."

Last time I'll play City of Heroes for a long time. Deeply embedded in World of Warcraft now. If anyone needs an embossed leather shirt making, pls snd tll.
Wired News: Altered HIV Attacks Mice Tumors

Woah, Paul Taylor (Toller to the boys and girls) just sent me the actual paper for this; I'll have a read of it tomorrow, but it appears two wrongs do make a right. I'm so glad, it vindicates my entire style of living.

BTW, I've got Mark down tomorrow, which should be fun. He's down in Bath for an interview for a job he doesn't really want, which is always the way to get offered it (see Murphy's Law here). Here's hoping he gives up after the first day so we can get hammered and talk filth. (Ah, the basic conundrum of the male British psyche, that it demands conversation as a cessation of thought, a mere putting off of the morbid day which, if we allowed ourselves the luxury of a moment's thought, we'd realise merely hastens that day by occupying those precious brain cycle. Tut.)

Oh, yes, drunk BTW.
Rotundus AB / News / Nation / Washington / US denies patent for part-human hybrid

"Newman's application, filed in 1997, described a technique for combining human embryo cells with cells from the embryo of a monkey, ape, or other animal to create a blend of the two -- what scientists call a chimera."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Untitled Document

Penny's New site. You should all pop along - she's put a lot of work in!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The blind painter and the Cartesian Theater: "Kennedy put Armagan [the blind painter] through a battery of tests. For instance, he presented him with solid objects that he could feel - a cube, a cone and a ball all in a row (dubbed the 'three mountains task') - and asked him to draw them. He then asked him to draw them as though he was perched elsewhere at the table, across from himself, then to his right and left and hovering overhead. Kennedy asked him to draw two rows of glasses, stretching off into the distance. Representing this kind of perspective is tough even for a sighted person. And when he asked him to draw a cube, and then to rotate it to the left, and then further to the left, Armagan drew a scene with all three cubes. Astonishingly, he drew it in three-point perspective - showing a perfect grasp of how horizontal and vertical lines converge at imaginary points in the distance. 'My breath was taken away,' Kennedy says."
"In German legends Eckhardt appears on the evening of Maundy Thursday to warn all persons to go home in order to avoid being injured by the headless bodies and two-legged horses which traverse the streets on that night. He also sometimes appears in the company of his companion Tannhauser."

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is an essential asset for any half-pretentious writer (yes, and me); I love the fact that it can reduce a frightening German myth down to its essence of an ARP/ traffic warden for the undead.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - City of Heroes Diary #3: "Y'gor would be about as much use on a mission as The Incredible Captain Got-no-Powers"

Kieron reveals to an astounded world that I've been playing entirely too many Superhero games, specifically City of Heroes and Freedom Force versus the Third Reich. (My character in the massively CoH is Y'gor, a dimunitive clawed monk with a dirty mouth. Freedom Force is singleplayer superhero roleplaying game where you bash dinosaurs, aliens, villains and nazis.) Taste the spandex you mother!
...the straw that broke the camel's back
that went through the eye of the needle
that couldn't be found in the haystack
because the camel was clutching at it...

Monday, February 07, 2005

Zero Tolerance, by The Plaid Adder - Democratic Underground: " A 'homosexuality detection expert' at the similarly conservative Family Research Council told the NY Times that words like 'tolerance' and 'diversity' are part of a 'coded language that is regularly used by the homosexual community.'

In other words, the very concept of tolerance - the idea that we should all try to live together in peace and harmony instead of being constantly at war with each other - is now obnoxious to the religious right. Tolerance is a bad thing. Tolerance, in fact, will make your children gay. And since being gay is absolutely the worst thing in the world that could possibly happen to them, we must all fight tolerance anywhere it lurks - on the beaches, in the hills, in the streets, and of course in big yellow pineapples under the sea. We must never be misled into tolerating tolerance where it encroaches on our families, our schools, or the public airwaves. We must work ceaselessly and with constant vigilance toward that glorious day when we can say, finally, that we have achieved zero tolerance."

Like I said with the immigration argument, the only thing not worth tolerating is intolerance. The U.S. religious right have recognised the locus of tolerance is kid's TV, and now seem to be be intolerant of tolerance itself, for fear that it might lead to their children too being tolerant. I bet they're also intolerant of tolerating others' tolerance. How bloody recursive can this get?
Shlomo shoots him a dirty look. “Well the whole movie is a religious allegory. Willy Wonka is God and Slugworth is the tempting Devil. The chocolate prize is eternal life with God.”

I *love* Waiter Rant. It feels a little contrived at times but, hey, I'm credulous as hell and it's a very. very good read.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Just seen Team America: World Police, a Thunderbirds-style movie from the South Park creators. Already in a bad humour when I went in, but surprisingly the film did very little to either exacerbate or mollify it. Bloody hungry when I entered so I got a bag of over-priced Toffee popcorn which served as both a temporary stimulant to keep me going through the movie, and an analogy for what I was watching; simple, deliberately clichéed, but fundamentally unsatisfying. The puppet joke elicited giggles the first few times, but it feels like making a movie pretending to be a thuggiflick . Parody too near to the subject merely repeats it; Scream replicated Nightmare on Elm Street, but Scary Movie most certainly didn't replicate Scream. Perhaps the difference was in the number and quality of jokes (TA: WP has a middling number of fairly poor ones), but whatever, the puppets didn't help. Perhaps puppetry would have worked better with film noir than an action film, where the grotesques would have been welcome; here they just served as an extraneous joke that didn't tie in with the satire proper; I preferred South Park TBH. The movie at least felt short, which was a good thing; nobody stayed to see if there was a funny vignette at the end...
Fantastic summary of Platos republic here:

- You will agree that the whole is greater than the part.
- Yes, O Socrates.
- But earlier we showed that the part was greater than the whole.
- Indeed you did, O Socrates.
- Therefore the Philosophers should rule in the City.
- How could anything else be the case, O Socrates?

The Wooden Mirror

A work of mechnical genius.