Monthly archives: March 2015

My books are also available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more

I keep linking to Amazon and Smashwords when I tell you about my books, because they’re the two sites I use to publish them. But Smashwords is an aggregator, and it makes my work available on other platforms. For instance, you can find books by Ian Pattinson on Barnes & Noble’s site if you have a Nook. (Garth Owen’s there as well.)

They’re available from Kobo as well. Thanks to Smashwords, you can find my books through Apple, Sony, Scribd and more, though membership and hardware restrictions make it hard for me to find direct links to them for you. If you get your ebooks from people other than Amazon or Smashwords, have a look for Ian Pattinson and Garth Owen. Their books could easily be on there.

France requires all new commercial buildings have green roofs | Digital Trends

This sounds like a good plan. My windows look out on the box of a Tesco superstore, which would be much more pleasant with some greenery on its roof.

Rooftops in France are about to get a whole lot greener, thanks to a new law requiring rooftops on new buildings constructed in commercial zones to be partially covered in plants or solar panels.

via France requires all new commercial buildings have green roofs | Digital Trends.

San Francisco Sheriff’s Deputy ring accused of pit-fighting inmates – Boing Boing

If you ever thought Jean-Claude Van Damme movies were far fetched, you were wrong. Reality is much, much worse.

San Francisco sheriff’s deputy Scott Neu is accused of leading a ring of corrupt jail guards who coerced prisoners into gladiatorial combat with threats of rape and violence.

via San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy ring accused of pit-fighting inmates – Boing Boing.

More from the moron party

Some of UKIP’s brightest stars are so stupid that they’re beyond parody. Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, thinks he has the answer to climate change.

I guess Roger locks himself in an insulated room with a massive heater as soon as sunset comes around, because otherwise he’d turn into some sort of grotesque purple ice sculpture. How do he and his colleague who thinks burning fossil fuels is the only thing keeping plants alive muster the intelligence to even get on the train to Brussels?

Solstice is now available from Smashwords

Solstice-cvr-150Solstice is no longer exclusive to Amazon and can now be found at Smashwords, who will also be distributing it to other ebook stores. To mark the release, the previous Rain and Bullets stories- So Much To Answer For and Tiger– are free at Smashwords. (They may become free at Amazon, once they notice the new prices.)

Think Small

Amongst my many tried and tested work avoidance techniques is trawling eBay for things I can’t afford or don’t need. This morning I hit a cool seam of small cars in the classic car section.

$_57It started with this a “Mini EL” electric trike, which has a sort of ’80s vision of the future’ vibe to it. A more practical (but still single seater) Sinclair C5. Needs work to get running, and then lots of forms filling out to register to drive on the road.

lambrettavanThe Mini EL led me to this Lambretta micro van, which looks just like a yellow version of Postman Pat’s van. Ugly but endearing, and sort of practical.

vespamicroThe micro car theme continued with this Vespa, which has the cutest little face and rear opening ‘suicide’ doors. It needs a lot of work, with the floor all but gone and engine seized, but it’s just begging to be lowered a little, painted a deep glossy red or blue and powered by a new bike engine.

goggoThis Goggomobile isn’t as cute as the Vespa, but it’s in better condition. Again, it needs a new engine, but if you’re already on eBay, that shouldn’t be a problem.

So, that’s how I waste time on a Sunday morning. These are just the cars I looked at that I could string together a theme about. I expect one of you with more money, space and mechanical ability to take one of these and produce an awesome miniature kustom car. Or wait until I’m selling enough books to afford to do the project myself.

(All images taken from the relevant eBay listings, therefore belong to the sellers. I’m sure there’s some version of fair use I could cite if I knew more about that sort of thing.)

Booze, Blood and Noise: The Violent Roots of Manchester Punk

“It was a peculiarity of late license laws in Manchester at the time that food had to be available until the premises closed,” says Taylor. “When the police raided, one of the first things they would check was that there was food available, because if you didn’t have it they would shut down the club and kick everyone into the street immediately.”

via Booze, Blood and Noise: The Violent Roots of Manchester Punk — Cuepoint — Medium.

Kickstarting the ’80s geek revival

I am currently flying through the Milky Way- trading, bounty hunting, asteroid mining and exploring- in Elite: Dangerous, the new version of one of the first truly great computer games. It was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the first, and so far only, one I supported.

There may be a second Kickstarter that I’ll put money into, because Steve Jackson Games are planning one around Car Wars.

Elite and Car Wars were two of the things that took way too much of my time in my mid to late teens. I’m in danger of regressing.

UKIP is the party for moron based life forms

According to UKIP, or, at least, the UKIP member who should know, there were no plants before the Industrial Revolution happened. This is not a joke, this really is a statement in the European parliament by UKIP’s agriculture spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP.

Yes, in UKIP land, if we cut human carbon emissions to zero (we can hope), then all the plants will die. Because, obviously, the only carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the excess we’re pumping into it to screw it up.

The ‘but plants need CO2!’ argument is a very old, very dumb climate change denialist meme. Maybe Stuart Agnew really is dumb enough to have fallen for it, or maybe he’s craven enough to take the carbon industry money for repeating it and thinks UKIP voters are too stupid to see through it. Either way, he’s too stupid to keep his job. Sadly, we can’t vote him out in May’s elections, but we can try to keep UKIP out of the House of Commons.

Don’t vote moron.

(via Vox Political/Pride’s Purge)

Signs of the times

Thorn court, which is on my walk to work, is getting a major refurbishment. The hoardings have gone up and the scaffolding is rising. To make it a bit less imposing, there’s some decoration been added to the hoardings, in the shape of faux posters for the theatre that used to stand on the spot, stencil cut graffiti of famous Salfordians (I can only recognise three of them, any hints who they all are) and some wonderfully silly warning signs. I’m not sure about the signs, but the posters and mug shots look like they were commissioned by the developers. Better than the sexist billboard outside the Malmaison, for certain. The full gallery is below.

Lagoon Power!

I like the sound of this plan- creating tidal lagoons to generate electricity. Previous tidal power proposals included stringing a barrier all the way across the Severn, which was just too big and destructive a plan to be taken seriously (which is probably why it appealed to politicians desperate to pretend they were serious about renewable power).

There are six lagoons planned, including one in West Cumbria, but I don’t remember the coastline of my youth well enough to guess where they’d put it.