Daily archives: December 16, 2002

The Drugs might work

1. A date for your diaries. August 16-17 2003 sees the next Seattle Hempfest, where 175,000 plus (based upon this year’s figures) people campaign for liberalisation of dope laws.

2. Tomorrow I’m going to start taking St. John’s Wort, supposedly good for seasonal depression and with the knock on effect of clearing up thought processes and helping memory. I’d have started taking it today, but I forgot

Ghost Towns (2)

British villages are dying from the inside out, as are many smaller towns and the satellite districts of larger urbs.

It’s all part of the same thing, this decay, transport, the environment, the disillusionment. If you can improve one, then the gains will feed into the others, but if you ignore one, or neglect it, it will drag the others down with it. This seems to be an obvious point the politicians and pundits are all missing, possibly because it’s too much like the ‘Joined up Government’ we were promised, but more likely because it doesn’t make for such good headlines.

What sort of schemes could work in such a holistic way? Centralised planning certainly isn’t going to solve the problem, what looks good in Westminster usually proves pretty ugly in the wild. You can’t entrust the task to private industry because the need for long term plans doesn’t sit well with the need for instant share price gratification. And the public sector tends to underfunding and inertia. The answer is to give the people you want to help the power to help themselves. The answer is co-operatives.

My local bike shop is a co-operative, and you couldn’t hope for a more professional and courteous bunch. None of them is marking the time until the end of the day simply for the wage, as they each have a stake in the success of the shop. The desire to keep customers in the long term, and the understanding of how vital this is, shows in the after sales care and shop based cycle club. In a rural or small town setting the ideal co-operative would be a bit more fuzzy in its aims. A shop with Post Office and internet cafe that could serve as a drop off point for the larger parcels ordered from amazon and distribution centre for the cheaper food the elderly and carless can’t get from the supermarket. If the loop could be closed and produce sourced locally then the community benefits even more.

So give co-operatives a chance. The initial investment can be quite high, so give tax breaks to companies that redistribute income, and delegate control, amongst the employees. Existing butchers, take a look at your neighbours the grocer and bakery and work out how to take your produce to the doors of the people who would normally waste their time driving to Tesco. Find local farmers and offer them an outlet that won’t take such a huge cut from the price of their products. Individually, we’re all a bit apathetic, but together we could make such simple schemes work.

Uplift and all that

Second time to try and write this since the machine’s just crashed.

I see that Ian’s started reading Brightness Reef. I wonder if he’s found out that it’s the first book in the second trilogy of the Uplift saga. With Ian’s way of doing it, you start on book 4, with some aliens including talking apes, big space battles, nimble craft and massive behemoths of space cruiser. All you need is the “Dark Side” and some overgrown torches and you’d have the makings of a decent film.

Question for the day: Just how long is “too long” when shaking at the end of a visit to the urinal. With the sensitivity to motion in the peripheral vision and all that, you can’t help but notice when the guy next to you is putting a little too much effort into it. Must have got windchill with the speed he achieved.

Thought for the day: Fake orgasms in pubs do not attract as much attention as you think they should do.

Just how intelligent are squirrels?

Saw a good video yesterday of what sounded to be a modern Kraut-rock band. Think they were called “Electric-G” but therein lies my problem. I can’t find that name anywhere. Found some other stuff as you do. The question is, has anybody made one of these to sell? I just wonder how many people have the same thoughts and what’s the market like for those gadgets? Back to the video, it had glowing codpiece, glowing breast coverings (sort of Barbarella like, but if that’s the only reason you’re going and found the video, you’ll understand when I recommend you not to!) and a glowing Moose’s udders and thereabouts.

Just got some new books to read yesterday. Couldn’t find the one I was looking for, but Amazon have it. Instead ended up with a couple of David Drake’s books. Probably the best military sci-fi author I can think of. An extremely fluid writing style which works suprisingly well in that genre. I notice that he’s got a few fantasy books out, so I’ll have to see if those work just as well. It you want to start on his works, check out Hammers Slammers about a tank commander. There are a few in the series, but be careful since some are just reissues of stories in different collections, in much the same way has happened with Heinlein’s catalogue and Dilbert collections. Also picked up the third book in the series of the Mote in God’s Eye.

Kyoto who?

The Bush administration is not a puppet of the oil and logging industries, oh no, and they’re only stamping down on California’s environmental legislation for the state’s own good.

From drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to snowmobiles in Yellowstone, the Bush administration argues that they’re only supporting what locals want. But not in California. “Basically their position is, ‘we respect state authority, but only when the state agrees with the oil industry,'”

Star Trek

Yes. I am a fool. It is 7am in the morning and i am at work. Ok so at least i am barely working! Watched the season finale of Star Trek Enterprise last night, and I have to say the show did improve considerably over the first episodes. Time magazine has put together an interesting article about Star Trek – The Business, which highlights exactly how much you can make off sci-fi. We all know that you can make money off of anything these days, but what I really want for Christmas is the talking George Bush doll! Not only does he look as intelligent as the real guy, but speaks 11 phrases littered with those “maloproprisms”, which is supposed to be a sign of intelligence. I wonder.

Back to suburban white kids like myself. Although I am eminently influenced by hip hop culture, for shizzle ‘o the nizzle and be it all gravy and that, there is a web-site some fly tips for all the kids from New Jersey. Very informative and funny indeed. Now another fantastic part of being from the suburbs is that there is always something productive to do. Like steal real estate signs and place them on other people’s houses or the old mailbox baseball gag. But for us more technically inclined gents, working on a wire cube in four dimensions and then projecting it in 2D is much more fun.

Ahhh Ebay. What a fantastic site. Still has a few problems, but the story from this gentleman regarding getting ripped off is an eye opener. Very good story. Finally one of the good guys gets back at the chapeu d’aine.