Monthly archives: June 2012

Daily Blog 06/30/2012 1

  • Geohacking may well be the science of the 21st century — with ambitious schemes like turning the Sahara Desert into a forest being bandied about. But we’ve actually been terraforming our own planet for thousands of years — and some of the most low-tech geohacking methods have had the most profound effects on the planet.

    tags: geohacking farming

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The video THEY don’t want you to see

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all conspiracy theory loony on you. The video in question will only really be of interest to a small number of people, but the information in it will be very important to them and reassuring at a time when they’ll need to know that not all of the system is against them.

The Ministry of Justice put the video online in March. Then took it down a week later. According to Liberal Conspiracy

Independent benefits expert Neil Bateman discovered that the video was taken down after employment minister Chris Grayling emailed the ministry complaining about, amongst other things, the fact that it told claimants:

-that they are twice as likely to win their appeal if they appear in person rather than having a paper hearing;
-that the DWP doesn’t normally send a representative to the hearing;
-to send additional evidence to the tribunal, when Grayling wants it sent to the DWP.

The video went up again earlier this week, and started receiving hits out of proportion to other MoJ productions. So it was taken down again.

It’s such a shame that people can copy videos and upload them themselves, isn’t it.

If you find this information useful don’t forget to send a little thank you note to the Ministry of Justice for producing it.

Daily Blog 06/28/2012

  • Green Train

    Location: Manchester – Fairfield Railway Station, Audenshaw
    Type: Haunting Manifestation
    Date / Time: Autumn and winter (reoccurring)
    Further Comments: Said to appear around sunset and visible from Booth Road, an old-looking green train several carriages long disappears if anyone moves too close. A tunnel that has been filled in is said to be home to a disembodied voice that calls out the name Mary.

    tags: manchester ghosts

  • There’s nothing wrong with being opposed to Obamacare — except for the part where you’re against 30 million Americans having access to affordable healthcare — but trust us, moving to Canada isn’t going to make you any happier. We don’t actually have to explain this to you, right? That Canada has an even more socialized system of — eh, forget it. You’ll figure it out when you get there.

    tags: obamacare canada idiots

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Your foreskin belongs to God! 1

The Cologne district court has ruled that non-medical circumcision is a “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body”. Thus religious circumcision is illegal and German Jews and Muslims are up in arms about it.

Well done to Germany, and the Cologne court in particular, for making a decision based upon child welfare despite the inevitable chorus of claims that it’s anti-semitic. Commenters were straight in with the other obvious non-argument- bringing abortion into the mix despite the two issues being unrelated. British blogger Cranmer waffled around the subject but basically said that laws made up in the desert thousands of years ago should be more important than the ones passed in a modern courtroom, and suggested some sort of circumcision tourism.

Let’s leave decisions about the integrity of the prepuce to its owner and let them choose at the age of eighteen plus whether it stays or goes.

A new use for an old fireplace

A new use for an old fireplace, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Both the fireplaces in the house’s downstairs rooms have been blocked off. I resisted the temptation to open them and decided to use paint instead.
The living room fire is now a blackboard for the girls to art on. The middle room one, once I clear away the blockade of Mills and Boon, will be decorated with hot rod style pinstriped flames.

Daily Blog 06/22/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The bike will always get through

The Manchester Evening News had one of their commuter races and, as usual, the bike won.

The car wasn’t far behind, but even if it had won it wouldn’t be as good a commuting vehicle as the bike. Add up the costs of commuting by car for a year and you’d have to be buying a carbon fibre or titanium framed cycle brand new every January before two wheels were more expensive than four.

(The cyclist’s name is Wayne Ankers. Must….. Resist…….)

Daily Blog 06/18/2012

  • The Godfather is a “three bears” story about the three sons – Sonny, Michael and Fredo. Sonny is too macho and too violent, and Fredo is too wimpy. Michael is just right – he’s the calculating family man. The book makes uncomfortable reading because it uses sex and sexuality as a metaphor for all of this. Fredo is dissipated and a bit of an aesthete, while Michael only ever has sex in the missionary position. Sonny is basically a walking male member – the novel talks an awful lot about the dimensions of his virilia. So The Godfather has that kind of comic aspect to it. It’s a really strange novel and it seems extraordinary that it has managed to sell 21 million copies, given how clunky and weird it is.

    tags: mafia

  • the Swiss military has, in effect, wired the entire country to blow in the event of foreign invasion. To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited, and, when possible, deliberately collapsed onto any roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more.

    tags: military Switzerland

  • In his time, the Doctor has brought down oppressive regimes (often within 24 hours, without even breaking into a sweat) yet he’s also supported absolute monarchies against revolution. He’s thwarted the machinations of despots, military leaders, free-market businessmen and self-described freedom fighters with equal vigour. Although religious belief is usually dismissed as primitive superstition, he has equally opposed the most perverse extrapolations of science. The Doctor is no one-trick pony, imposing the same solution on every situation.

    tags: DoctorWho television sci-fi

  • If you can overcome the sacrilege of carving up big, heavy reference books, Guy Laramee’s paper and binding sculptures are nothing short of stunning. He transforms heavy tomes into mountains, waves, and rock-face monuments.

    tags: books art

  • Land is not only expensive in Tokyo, but also scarce, so invariably every single plot is used as much as is humanly possible. And that also means used no matter how solid said land is, or even what architectural problems it may present.

    tags: tokyo architecture

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 06/17/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 06/16/2012

  • Heroic bloodshed is a genre of Hong Kong action cinema revolving around stylized action sequences and dramatic themes such as brotherhood, duty, honour, redemption and violence.[1][2] The term heroic bloodshed was coined by editor Rick Baker in the magazine Eastern Heroes[3] in the late 1980s, specifically referring to the styles of directors John Woo and Ringo Lam. Baker defined the genre as “a Hong Kong action film that features a lot of gun play and gangsters rather than kung fu. Lots of blood. Lots of action.”[4] Woo’s film A Better Tomorrow is said to have popularized the genre. Woo has also been a major influence in its continued popularity and evolution in his later works, namely Hard Boiled, A Better Tomorrow 2, and The Killer.[

    tags: film

  • Rare and valuable treasures have been uncovered by bosses as part of a major operation to catalogue more than 500,000 books from Manchester Central Library.

    The finds include a British classic and an illustrated guide to birds believed to be worth more than £5,500. Both were lost in the bowels of the library over time.

    tags: manchester library books

  • Last year, the British Royal Navy retired its oldest warship still in service, the 4,700 ton HMS Caroline. This light cruiser entered service in 1914 and fought in the epic Battle of Jutland in 1916. After World War II, Caroline served as a training ship, mostly tied up at dockside. When decommissioned last year, the ship could no longer move under her own power.

    tags: warship

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 06/14/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 06/13/2012

  • We often tend to think that the best era for trash culture was sometime in the middle of the Twentieth Century. An era where there were a lot of 25 cent paperbacks with gun-toting lesbians on their covers, plus drive-in movies, stag films, cheap comics and weird burlesque shows. And so on. But actually, the pinnacle of trash culture is right now. We’re living in the best era for pulpy disposable culture right at this moment. Future generations will look back on the early 2010s with a caustic, adoring envy.

    tags: culture trash

  • Invented in 1912, the small-scale, obsessive sport of slot car racing has seen its ups and downs over the last hundred years. The hobby, in which motorized model cars speed around a slotted track, enjoyed its height of popularity after World War II, then sputtered in the ’70s with the introduction of Pong and other videogames. The public arcades where hobbyists could race have largely been wiped off the map, but an estimated three million slot car enthusiasts still rev their tiny engines in basements and garages.

    tags: slotcarracing

  • Henry Hill, who has died of heart failure aged 69, was the mob informer whose story was told in a bestselling book, Wiseguy (1986), and Martin Scorsese’s film Goodfellas (1990). From the early days of organised crime, before the advent of witness-protection programmes, informers could expect to meet the same fate as Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, who “fell” from a Coney Island hotel window in 1941. Even Joe Valachi – who in 1963 made public the inner workings of what he called “our thing”, the Cosa Nostra – ended his days in prison. In contrast, Hill not only survived being kicked out of witness protection, but also avoided a return to jail himself and in the wake of Scorsese’s film went on to thrive, appearing on TV shows, lending himself to many documentaries and even selling his own brand of spaghetti sauce.

    tags: RIP mafia

  • Risk assessment is a huge industry and, on the whole, parents are terrible at separating risk from emotion (we fear snakes not cars) or values (all sports are good for you but all drugs will cause harm).

    Thus I worried about my child going to a festival where drink and drugs were freely available but not about the “healthy” cycling holiday that nearly killed her. Bad things may happen but control freakery disguised as “good parenting” or “good teaching” does not stop them happening. We have to let our children take risks.

    tags: parenting children risk

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Girl on the Bridge- Work in progress sample 1

Note- The Girl on the Bridge is the other Garth Owen story I’m working on at the moment, first in a series called Adam and the Ghost. I wrote some time ago about how it was inspired by a manga called Itoshi No Kana. Other sources of inspiration include Buffy, of course, and I’m going to be investigating British beasties for some of the tales. Here’s the opening of the first tale-

The sky was still and blue and a heat haze distorted the tarmac of the bike path, but Adam had just walked through Arctic cold air. He had come to a stunned halt then taken a swift step back before the chill froze his joints. Now the hot, heavy air of a record heatwave raised a quick sweat and made it hard to breathe.

Adam reached out to touch the shaft of frigid air. His fingers tingled with freezer burn, but it only went print deep. He pushed, and imagined he felt a little give, like material, or even skin. The ends of his fingers were going numb from the cold, or whatever he was pressing was warming to his touch. He shoved the resisting air until he felt it give and move. He imagined he heard the scuffling of something moving along the ground.

The tips of Adam’s fingers stung now. He stared at them, as if that would give him an answer, then something stroked his forearm.

It wasn’t as cold as the invisible obstruction had been, but it still felt wrong. It was like being caressed by an insistent and very localised wind. The wind asked, very quietly, “Can you see me?” Then it grasped his right wrist. It was a light hold, and not as cold as previously. As what felt like the fingers and thumbs of two small hands held him they warmed up to almost skin temperature. Adam reached down with his left hand and drew his phone from his jeans pocket. With barely a glance at it and practised moves he opened the camera, held the phone in front of him and took a picture.

As soon as the phone made its fake shutter closing noise the grip on Adam’s wrist was released. He almost staggered back at this new shock, then reached out with his now free right hand to feel for the cold air. Which was no longer there.

Adam was on an old cast iron footbridge over a long abandoned, and recently re-purposed, railway cutting. He had set off on a wander to get a little lost on the South-east edge of Manchester. It hadn’t happened yet, he still knew this bit of Levenshulme, and now he was suffering from hallucinations because of heat stroke. He leant against the parapet, a tetanus nightmare of green paint held in place by rust, and looked around.

Below the bridge the cutting was overgrown, with one meandering hard packed path weaving between the would-be copses of willow. For this section of the path the tarmacked cycle path had risen to meet the end of the bridge and allow access to a mini wilderness beyond it.

Adam looked back at the street, running along the end of numerous terraces, he’d come from then at the trees and scrub on the far side of the bridge. He reached out and swung his hand back and forth. Nothing. He took a step forward and tried again. Still nothing. If anyone was watching he must look like the world’s worst mime. He gave up and headed back the way he had come.

It was only when he was off the bridge that Adam remembered his phone. He hadn’t known why taking a photo had suddenly become so important, and he didn’t expect it to reveal anything. He held the phone up and looked at it. And felt a chill deeper and more horrifying than any he had just experienced.

David Says Chillax

Dedicated to our glorious Prime Minister, who has an uncanny ability to turn off and remain blissfully ignorant of the troubles and woes of the rest of us. Play some more tennis Dave, try out another iPad game, take your daughter down the pub. Your policies aren’t hurting anyone, there’s no need to worry about the state you’ll leave the nation in.

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