Monthly archives: November 2005

harry potter and the hypocritical bloodsport

I haven’t read the books, so this might be addressed in them. We saw the latest potter film last wednesday. It was good, an enjoyable adventure. But one thing struck me as either dumb or hypocritical.
It’s accepted that the tri-wizard cup is potentially fatal, and practically everyone cheers this fact. Yet, when someone is killed they’re all shocked. Why would it be okay for young diggery, or any of the other contestants or bystanders, to be killed or injured so long as it’s the ministry of wizards doing it? (bear in mind that when the body turns up at the grandstand noone knows that lord vol au vent is to blame. As far as they know it’s a sporting injury.)


Coming out of the spectacular success of the G8 Bikeride 2005 (“pedalling from London to Scotland”) is a bigger, shinier, more ambitious project. We loved working, cycling and demonstrating together so much that we have decided to try to reach more people in a similar way. This time the format is a bike roadshow involving workshops, outreach, climate change awareness, bike maintenance, bike-art, sustainable living, cinema, cafe and street performance. We will cycle to towns around the country linking up with local projects and campaigns to spread the word about all things bike-related.

We are looking for people to join us who feel they have these skills and more. These could be mechanical, artistic, musical, theatrical, educational, environmental, or even bike tricks. Help us push the boundaries of what can be done with using pedal power!

We are also keen to hook up with relevant local projects, so if you have something to offer then get in touch. We are still open to ideas of places to visit, its going to be happening for about month around august…it could be your town!

To get involved contact or come to the next meeting in Sheffield in late January/early February.


via Indymedia

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Flying high in my beautiful balloon

An Indian textile millionnaire may have broken the height record for a hot air balloon flight.

The record by Vijaypat Singhania is subject to verification, but his son Gautam Singhania said the 44-ton balloon climbed nearly 70,000 feet, beating the old mark of just under 65,000 feet.

“This goes to show to the world that we are not bullock cart drivers, but we can compete against the best of the world,” the balloonist said.

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All your PC are belong to us!

A particle physicist at the US Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory believes that SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence project) is putting the Earth at risk by distributing the signals received to computers all over the world. The risk is that aliens might use these signals to plant viruses in our computers.

In his report, entitled Do potential Seti signals need to be decontaminated?, he suggests the Seti scientists may be too blase about finding a signal. “In science fiction, all the aliens are bad, but in the world of science, they are all good and simply want to get in touch.” His main concern is that, intentionally or otherwise, an extra-terrestrial signal picked up by the Seti team could cause widespread damage to computers if released on to the internet without being checked.

via BoingBoing

I wrote that story about a decade ago. I even won some money for it and had it published. As it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a copy of Raconteur number 5 knocking around, I’ve posted it in Cycling on the Pavement for your enjoyment.

To make this a special double value alien invasion special post-

Yesterday I discovered UFO: Aftermath and UFO: Aftershock, sort of sequels to the old XCom games, my addiction to which inspired Alien Galactic Domination. Want them now!

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On the Plus Side

A website which does exactly what it says on the tin. Found while trying to answer the question “What is a Trillion?”

Personally, I’ve always believed that to an American, it is one thousand (American) billion, which is one British billion (or one million million) or 1 followed by 9 zeros, whereas in the UK, it is one (UK) billion x one (UK) billion (1 followed by 24 zeros).

However, most of the internet would have it that one UK billion is in fact 1 followed by 18 zeros.

And Oxford University blame both systems on the French and say that the British / American parts are just labels!

We were confused before and this hasn’t helped.

Does anyone else want to add anything?

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the picture of david gray

Is there a portrait in his attic which shows him being interesting? Currently it’s in a jacuzzi, snorting down elephant tranquiliser whilst being serviced by an army of brazilian trans-sexuals.
Meanwhile the real david gray is locked in a studio somewhere with his weak lemon drink, carefully crafting songs so dull they sell by the million as reusable sedatives.