Monthly archives: March 2013

Daily Blog 03/29/2013

  • The rich have to pay for the poor’s avarice, with many currency speculators at Price Waterhouse having to take on extra work to make ends meet. They’ve barely finished destabilising the yen when they take two buses to a cleaning job, polishing a bedsit in Tower Hamlets. Many CEOs find their salary runs out and live on cat food until their bonus arrives, and 40 per cent of the board at the Royal Bank of Scotland are now on the game.

    tags: politics

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

Hear This Now- The People’s Songs 1

The People’s Songs is one of those quintessentially BBC projects. Using 50 songs as springboards, it’s a musical and cultural history of Britain since the Second World War. As the name suggests, it’s all about how they affected ordinary people, rather than academics or celebrities. It’s fascinating stuff, narrated with his usual wordplay by Stuart Maconie.

You can listen to The People’s Songs on iPlayer.

Daily Blog 03/26/2013

  • Ohio really is a middle America bellwether, which is to say, as goes Ohio, so goes the country. Ohio is neither on the cutting edge of social thought, nor is it a heel dragging reactionary state. It’s big and purple and right down the middle (see: the last several presidential elections). If Ohioans have come around on the subject of same-sex marriage, everything its opponents are doing from this point forward is a rear guard action, i.e., slowly backing themselves into Mississippi and hoping the Supreme Court never gets around to saying that not allowing same-sex couples to marry anywhere in the US is unconstitutional.

    tags: usa GayMarriage

  • We have lots of customers in the USA, but sometimes the shoes we send them take longer than they should to arrive, or even go missing. And, when some of our customers asked us not to use ATHEIST-branded packing tape on their shipments, we started to wonder if the delays were caused by the US Postal Service taking offence at our overt godlessness…

    tags: atheism US

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

Daily Blog 03/24/2013

  • Though the Subaru WRX STi Pastrana competed with at the X Games is heavily modified, don’t assume you need a specially customized vehicle to achieve liftoff. Pastrana insists that any four-wheeler can fly, adding “We’ve pretty much jumped everything from Shifter Karts to buses.”

    tags: stunt

  • Most people take it for granted that we have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Trouble is, the numbers don’t add up. Our Galaxy is so old that every corner of it should have been visited many, many times over by now. No theory to date has satisfactorily explained away this Great Silence, so it’s time to think outside the box. Here are eleven of the weirdest solutions to the Fermi Paradox.

    tags: space aliens

  • Within your lifetime, we could have a permanent Mars colony, says Eric C. Anderson, chairman and co-founder of Space Adventures in a new interview with The Atlantic. But that’s not all — Anderson also believes we’ll have tons of relatively cheap-to-produce robots mining asteroids, sooner than you probably expect.

    tags: robots space

  • Amazon is now allowing publishers to add “Send to Kindle” buttons to their websites and WordPress blogs, the company announced on the Kindle blog Tuesday. It can be integrated into WordPress blogs as well. The Washington Post, Time magazine and the blog Boing Boing are already using the button.

    Amazon presents “Send to Kindle” as an alternative to read-it-later services like Pocket and Instapaper:

    tags: amazon kindle

  • The Williams X-Jet, created by Williams International, was a small, light-weight Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) system powered by a modified Williams WR-19-A7D turbofan aircraft engine designated WR-19-7 after minor modifications. This vehicle was nicknamed “The Flying Pulpit”. It was designed to be operated by and carry one person and controlled by leaning in the direction of desired travel and adjusting the power. It could move in any direction, accelerate rapidly, hover, and rotate on its axis, staying aloft for up to 45 minutes and traveling at speeds up to 60 miles per hour (100 km/h). It was evaluated by the U.S. Army in the 1980s, and was deemed inferior to the capabilities of helicopters and small unmanned aircraft.

    tags: plane

  • Peter Scott, who has died aged 82, was a highly accomplished cat burglar, and as Britain’s most prolific plunderer of the great and good took particular pains to select his victims from the ranks of aristocrats, film stars and even royalty.

    tags: crime

  • Ninjutsu, the art of the ninja, is an ancient, closely guarded tradition of stealth, martial arts and assassination that is only taught to the most skilled of Japanese warriors… and pretty much any white dude who happens to be in the neighborhood. Seriously, it’s like ninjas have their own version of Affirmative Action just for white guys, and thus several Euro-Americans have managed to snag honorary ninja degrees when they had no business doing so. Here are 10 of ‘em.

    tags: ninja

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

Daily Blog 03/23/2013

  • Mini Paceman

    This is the car for someone who wants the style of a Mini (excuse me, *MINI*), but can’t make any sacrifice for the lack of space, which I would like to point out is the ENTIRE POINT OF THE MINI. In any case, here are these people who want a small car, but don’t actually want a small car, so Mini makes them the Clubman so they can have a Mini that isn’t mini. So then what the hell is this thing? Are there people who feel guilty that the Clubman is too a big car to say ‘Mini’ on it, so they get the smaller version of the big version of the Mini?

    That’s the Paceman, and it is completely pointless.

    tags: cars

  • Lots of abandoned scrapped trucks that used to be the army supplies, now stays there nobody cares.

    tags: russia truck reference

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

B-Movie Night: The Undertaker and his Pals

Somebody must have thought that a screwball comedy exploitation movie would be a great idea. They were wrong.

Someone is running around town killing women and stealing their body parts. It’s no secret who the perpetrators are- a camp and creepy undertaker profiting from the grieving relatives and his neighbours in the “Greasy Spoon Cafe” who are cooking up the stolen limbs as daily specials. Instead, the story concentrates on a rather well off down-at-heel private eye who’s in the habit of losing secretaries to the mutilators. After a bunch of meaningless scenes, the undertaker and his pals are dead and that’s that.

There’s no coherence to the comedy and not enough gore or nudity for an exploitation film, so there’s really no reason to watch it. But, if you still want to, you can buy The Undertaker and his Pals from Amazon.

B-Movie Night: The Three Musketeers

This is not the rather wonderful Richard Lester two part adaptation, or even the enjoyably cheesy Brat Pack version, but last year’s attempt to launch it as a brand with 3D and fan service.

The Musketeers are introduced as the King of France’s elite secret stealers- ninjas with flintlocks, or James Bond and Ethan Hunt with repeating crossbows. Tasked with stealing one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs from a Venetian vault, they commit cultural vandalism by destroying everything else in the crypt. Then they’re double crossed and disgraced by milady DeWinter and Orlando Bloom.

Fast forward a year and cocky pretty boy D’Artagnan is in Paris looking to join the King’s guards. Cue the three-way duel and the fight with Rochefort’s guards, one of the few scenes recognisable from the Lester version*. The rest of the movie is full of made up silliness and plot holes you could drive a flying galleon through.

Yes, a flying galleon- the one design saved from Da Vinci’s vault. Because those are historically accurate and absolutely believable. They’re just one of the many effects or action sequences shoehorned in to cater for the presumed short attention spans of the fifteen year old boys all films are supposedly made for these days.

It’s not all bad, I admit- there are moments of humour and it looks really, really good- but it’s just nowhere near as good as Lester’s version. I recommend you watch that one instead, but, if you must, you can buy the 2012 version of The Three Musketeers from Amazon.

*I haven’t read the book yet, but for the purposes of this review I’ll presume the Lester film is close to it.

Daily Blog 03/20/2013

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

Daily Blog 03/19/2013

  • The Landie was the brainchild of Rover’s chief designer Maurice Wilks, who was inspired by the Willys Jeep in 1947 to make an even tougher agricultural vehicle. Sixty six years on, you can still get your Defender with nine body styles and two wheelbases. Mr. Wilks would be proud of us.

    tags: landrover

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

Spinneyhead Books on Google+

There is now a Spinneyhead Books page on Google+. Please do head over there and add it to your circles.

The page will feature all the books published under the Spinneyhead banner- those by Ian Pattinson and Garth Owen (and possibly some other, yet to be announced/discovered authors)- and the plan is to create some Google+ specific material or premieres.

Daily Blog 03/17/2013

  • Throughout capitalism’s history, major decisions were justified by claims and promises that capitalism failed to realize. When new machinery automated production – saved on labor costs – the gains went chiefly to profits, while the workers, their families, and their communities suffered “technological” unemployment. When capitalists settled into communities “bringing jobs”, there followed years of threatening those communities that they would leave if not given tax breaks, subsidies, loans, etc – no matter their costs to the local population. When capitalists dumped toxic wastes into the air, water, and soil – often for generations – massive clean-up costs later were socialized, made everyone’s responsibility, while the profits from dumping stayed largely in private hands.

    tags: capitalism

  • Astronomers in the 17th Century understood the value of sharing information in order to plot the path of comets. Now modern science is using the internet to follow their example, says historian Lisa Jardine.

    tags: science astronomy

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

Calums List | This Welfare Reform Death Toll Has To Stop

Adding to my post from last week, Calum’s List

Hate to call it Calum’s List, but a lady intent on committing suicide due to the Welfare Reforms called it that, and the name has stuck in the internet Search Engines. “Calums List” is a Memorial Page to those who have departed this life, or been strained to near that limit. It is hoped that this Memorial Page will help narrate the problems, and in that way, persuade the Government and Parliament to improve Welfare Reform and make it FAIR and FIT FOR PURPOSE.

via Calums List | This Welfare Reform Death Toll Has To Stop.