We need to talk about Donald Friday, Dec 2 2016 


I first posted the following on a Right of Centre forum.

This isn’t a political post.

It’s not about his politics.

It’s not going to critique the GOP.

It’s about the failure that has been elected.  Ignore the electoral college/popular vote.  Well read Europeans (ie like me) understand how that works.  Its not even about how DJT doesn’t understand that.  Like he didn’t understand the way Primaries work.

Hillary knew the EC.  Bush, Rubio et al understood Primaries.

It’s not that.

Its about how a man-child is going to be in charge of the public face of the USA.

He is incompetent.

He can not handle the post.

His dad maybe.  I know little of his dad, but he was a driver of the Trump empire.  Donald inherited.  He never drove.

He’s skipping intelligence briefings, and is now doing victory parades.

Is it only non’Republicans’* who see the problem?

The bloke is an idiot.

As a businessman he is a failure. (As a man who makes money he may be a success – maybe)

All countries have a ‘creation myth’.  “This is who we are.”  It tends to be misinterpreted bullshit.  So for the French it is all ‘Storming the Bastille’, and ignores ‘The Terror’.  For the US it is all ‘Standing up to King George, and plucky farmers beating Red Coats’.

The problem with the US is people get elected on that bullshit.

“I’m an outsider.”  I think we may have Jimmy Stewart to blame for that.

Outsiders don’t know how things work.  They don’t see ‘pressure at point ‘a’ produces result at point ‘v’.  Yes Civil Services are slow.  There are hurdles that make them slow.  Those hurdles are there for a reason.  They make sure that what is being done isn’t being done to profit those at the top.

As a business man, Trump is free to appoint who he likes. As a Public Servant he must act in the interest of all.

As a businessman, if Trump screws up a chain of casinos goes down.  If Trump fails to understand that having two businesses competing when he owns both may not be a good idea then a business, maybe two, goes down.

THIS IS NOT TRUE OF A PRESIDENT.  It doesn’t matter what the country is.  It could be some African dictatorship.  If it goes down the tubes an entire population suffers.  You don’t shift citizenships like you shift jobs.

And this is the USA.  This is the Big Beast.  I won’t go into why and hows.  It isn’t exceptionalism though. But still, it is the biggest (by GDP) economy.

It is the military that spends more than the next 15 combined.

It is the largest, or 2nd largest (depending on metric) nuclear force.

And the man in charge doesn’t understand how it works.

The man with the ability to end life on Earth can not be trusted by his own staff with Twitter…

Think about that.

So… This is a man who is carrying out a victory parade across the US.  This is also the man who is turning down Intelligence Briefings from the daily digest the President gets.  He is REFUSING to be the most informed person on the planet.

Everything Mike Pence stands for I disagree with. Women’s rights, gay rights.  You name it.  He is pretty much opposed to me.  Trump is a New Yorker.  He has been pretty liberal (lower case ‘l’) in the past.  But Pence knows how The Hill works.  He doesn’t say the first thing that pops into his head.  He would be a more competent president.

Trump made promises he has no way of fulfilling.  He rolled them back as soon as the vote was in.  He didn’t even pretend.

You can’t defend him.  Trump is a failed President before he starts.

 

*ie non ‘GOP’ as opposed to anti-monarchists.

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Christmas Rituals, and who are they for? Saturday, Dec 19 2015 


Sorry another long and serious one.  If that’s not for you kitty pics are here:
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=kitty+pics&safe=off&rlz=1C1GGGE_en-gbGB487GB488&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi9hqvo5ujJAhULHxoKHasLDMwQ_AUIBygB&biw=1299&bih=683#safe=off&tbm=isch&q=kitten+pics+cute

A number of people are posting a poster on Faceboom “That time of year where Christians and Atheists suspend their belief systems to celebrate paganism.’  And it is annoying me in its inaccuracy.  I ignored the first few, but I really need to respond, especially as they are also the people who post ‘Co-exist’ posts.  And yes, I know 600 word replies on Facebook are the height of idiocy.

While many of the traditions established around Christmas, and to a lesser extent Easter, are co-opted from pre-Christian Germanic culture and religious rites, they have been re-purposed to represent Christian ideas and ideals, and so no longer have their original meanings.

For instance the Christmas tree was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert, and is an old Germanic custom. In its translation to Victorian Britain, it lost what ever remnants of the old meanings it had in Dark Age Germany. It was then exported around the world via the British Empire, already stripped of any pre-Christian meaning

To state that Christians are becoming involved in worship on non-Christian entities is misleading at best, and more likely disingenuous- the Christmas rituals that copy non-Christian have acquired a meaning of their own, so the original ideas have been forgotten.  Take for instance eating horse meat.  Why do they eat horse in France, yet to find it in mince in Britain is considered disgusting?  Because British tribes sacrificed horses to their gods, and thus the practice was suppressed by the Church to stop people keeping the association with the ‘Old Gods’.  In France and Belgium this did not need to happen, so horse meat continued to be an acceptable food: in fact a French chef will tell you the real crime of Findus was to ruin it by putting it into lasagne. (In a reverse example very few people know the actual reason the Bride wears white to her wedding- instead it has acquired a mythos that was not present.)

Incidentally ‘pagan’ means ‘person who does not follow an Abrahamic religion’, and thus includes Hindus and Sikhs – the word has been co-opted by those who think it is all about druids and stuff like that, or whatever.  It only means pentagrams etc because THEY have changed the meaning (sound familiar).   Following rituals that Christianity co-opted from other religions does not mean the person is not practicing their Christian beliefs, it means they attach their belief system to those actions, and the actual roots have become unimportant.  They are not following paganism, in the same way the ritual of ‘warming the pot’ is no longer needed, but still carried out by some, unaware of its root.

Likewise I am asked how an atheist can celebrate Christmas.  To start I find the word ‘atheist’ misleading – people don’t use the word ‘afairyist’.  Atheism is not a belief in no gods, it is no belief in any gods.  We don’t describe children as becoming “asantaists” – they don’t go round actively not believing in Father Christmas.  You can call me a Humanist – Humans definitely exist, I just wish they would do better.  Why celebrate? Why not?  As I wrote a week ago it is a European tradition, because nights are long and days are cold (maybe not this year!)  You gather with friends and family to share time, and reaffirm our basic humanity.  Self harm in prisons increases this time of year.  They have access to religion, they don’t spend much time with loved ones.  If it was about the religion than the family it wouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve been to church weddings – nobody assumes I am a Christian because of that.

Celebrating whatever you celebrate this time of year using symbols that may (or may not) have originated with a different culture 3000 years ago doesn’t stop you being whatever you think you are.  So please stop trying to claim other people’s actions unrelated to your beliefs as some sort of victory.

All I want for Christmas… Saturday, Dec 12 2015 


This is a time of stress for me. People will ask me what I want for Christmas, and get upset if I say “nothing”. So, here is what I want:
A couple of Saville Row suits, some handmade shirts from Jermyn Street, and hand crafted shoes from a traditional shoemaker. Oh and silk ties. One red, one dark grey. If you can throw in a Jackpot lottery ticket, a big house and an Aston Martin while you’re at it…

What? Too much? I suppose Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all People and a rebalancing of the World Economy is out the question then?

See, here’s the thing. I like Christmas. I like the shared experience that we have, that Northern European tradition of going “It’s cold and dark, and we’re on dried food for the next three months. Sod it, let’s have a big party.” Sure, it’s been hijacked over the millennia by various mystics, nutters and men in dresses, insisting it is all about their particular gods/goddesses/bunch of rocks/life force, but that is just the excuse: nights are long and days are cold, and people want to be together.

And that is the point. Take me for example. Yes I wargame, pushing toy soldiers that cost [mumble, mumble] across a table. But for me that isn’t the point; no matter how much I might say “I really need some dragoons/panzers/better dice” what I really want from my little lead men is the shared experience- the sitting across a table from a mate, having a beer and a laugh, telling each other stories, and laughing even though it’s the tenth time we’ve told it in the last two years.

It’s not about the possessions. It’s about the shared experiences they allow.

And that’s what I want. You can’t buy it. You can’t wrap it. You can only give it. It’s that shared experience, my sister in law saying something silly, and my brother ragging her on it, the Old Man acting like a silly old fool, the arguments over who had the best card in Apples to Apples. I want my wife not to stress about achieving the unbelievably perfect Christmas, just sit down and enjoy it, because people won’t care that you failed to hit 100%, only that you cared enough to do it

I want to know that in the coming year that my friends will be there for me, and for them to know I will be there for them. I want you all to find the man or woman of your dreams, no matter what your gender, sexuality, or even if you’re an ex! All I ask is that they are someone who deserves you, and loves you like you love them. (Side note to some of my female friends- No seriously, please stop hooking up with dickheads. What do I have to do, interview them myself?)

So stop buying me books I won’t read, clothes I won’t wear, and … ‘stuff’ (Just what the hell am I supposed to do with a lightsabre the size of my thumb?) Just give me the only presents I’ve really ever wanted for Christmas.
Your time, your company and your friendship.

Thank you

PS. My Birthday, however, is in February 😉

Strong Action, Daesh, Cameron and Corbyn Friday, Nov 27 2015 


So here we are again, clamouring for bombing.  Exactly who are we bombing?  This isn’t Gulf 1, with formations of tanks to be destroyed.  This is a terrorist militia, intermingled with women and children.  But not bombing them is weakness.

Really?  The Paris attackers came from Paris and Brussels.  Maybe we should bomb Belgium.  Because when the civilians die, and they will – the bombs may be smart, but the shrapnel isn’t – you might as well print a big poster of Cameron in pointing Kitchener pose with the caption “Wants You – to join the fight against the Kufir”

Corbyn has made it clear we should be looking to cut off the support that Daesh receive, stop them selling oil, stop them receiving money, stop them receiving weapons. And that has hardly been reported on. Of course, this would mean upsetting their biggest supporters – Saudi Arabia, the country that executes people for wanting free speech, even as Cameron sucks up to them.

Meanwhile the Tory press present him as a sympathiser, and allow Cameron to claim he is defending Britain. And, oh what a surprise, the Tory press completely fail to mention the Tories have made Britain more vulnerable. Hidden away is the fact that in 2018 they will cut fleet flagship, HMS Ocean, our only helicopter carrier. Not did they mention that due to the Cuts earlier this month that we had to ask the French to lend us Sub hunting aircraft to help find a Russian sub off Scotland because the Tories had cut all ours, and we no longer have that capability.

General Election 2015 – The worst possible result. Friday, May 8 2015 


The UK 2015 General Election has produced the worst possible result for anyone who isn’t Sir Bufton Tufton, MP for Much Frothing in the Marsh.

Don’t be poor.
Don’t be sick.
Don’t be vulnerable.

The Tories have a majority.  This will be taken as a sign they can do what they like, much like Thatcher at the peak of her powers in the ’80s or even Blair. There are no brakes.  The fact that a majority of people don’t want the NHS to be privatised, believe that the Big Businesses who call the shots to be reigned in and pay their tax, fora rebalancing of Britain towards fairness, won’t matter.

We can now expect ‘Cutting Red Tape’ (code for removing workers protections), ‘Freeing business’ (code for reducing regulation on the very companies that crashed the economy in 2008) and ‘Rewarding hard work’ (Tory code for tax cuts to the rich, with attacks on the bottom of society to pay for it). All with the Right Wing press cheering them on. (I’m going to miss the BBC when they gut it).

Don’t be poor.
Don’t be sick.
Don’t be vulnerable.

This is the Party who brought in a £1,200 fee for workers to go to employment tribunals.  That’s about 3 weeks of the AVERAGE take home wake, let alone what it is for those in the low paid jobs who are more likely to need protection.  Then they crowed how businesses had been helped by the fall in the number being sued.  That’s like closing Police Stations then saying how reported crime has gone down.

This is the party who are stopping green energy and subsidising fracking and oil.  We could make a push, we could have a vibrant tech sector selling renewables to the rest of the world. But no. Throw money at the Oilmen.  No matter what your thoughts on Global Warming, even if you put your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, the idea of subsidising a hugely profitable yet polluting industry is madness.

Expect more money and public services thrown at ‘Service Industry’ giants, with a proven track record. Of screwing up. Who rake in huge profits while their employees qualify for Government Benefits.

And yet Cameron is facing his own nightmare. He already knows this, and so do all those around him.  They realised it even as they popped the corks in their constituencies last night.  The majority is wafer thin.  It is smaller than John Major’s in 92, and look at the trouble he had.  The loonies will crawl off the back benches.  They are no longer lobby fodder, they have power.  All the kind of people who thought about joining UKIP because no one at Tory HQ would listen to them.

Don’t be poor.
Don’t be sick.
Don’t be vulnerable.

Good luck, because we may all be on our own.

Google and Microsoft ARRRRRGGGHHHHH Sunday, Apr 26 2015 


I have Excel and Word 2013. MS think you want to save everything to OneDrive or your computer. Just OneDrive, nobody elses cloud drive, just theirs. It is inconceivable that you would have anything stored anywhere else.

On the Laptop this isn’t a problem, because Google Drive acts like another drive/folder. Fine, can just go to My Computer and save in that handy little subfolder which also happens to be a cloud drive. Google Drive easy to use on MS Windows.
Now I can open that file on my tablet using Excel for tablets (but see next para). BUT I can’t save it to Google Drive. Why? Because Google have hidden Google Drive, buried deep withing Chrome WHICH IS PUBLISHED BY GOOGLE. When you do find it, after a tortuous path, each document has its own folder, with a name like 2he7whdhw8d28hh2hhsnm – I kid you not. You can’t save to these so it appears in Google Drive.

Oh, the same with opening on a tablet- I can’t see Google Drive in Excel, but I can open by opening the Drive, and opening the file that way. But because I can’t save it is read only – so no editing on the go.

Of course Google can’t believe I’d want to receive emailed documents in anything other than the manure-like ‘Google Docs’.

“Its a Word Document. I have Word. Open it in Word”
“I can open it in Google Docs”
“I don’t WANT IT open in Google Docs – you won’t let me edit it.”
“Howabout we download it to Google Drive”
“Howabout you Bleeped texting open it in a programme of my choice”

Devrions-nous être Charlie? Tuesday, Jan 20 2015 


George Galloway has described Charlie Hebdo as “a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag.  Typical of Gorgeous George he ignores everything that he can’t get angry about, that doesn’t prove or argue with what he believes.  He ignores the magazine’s continued and long standing criticism of the Catholic Church, for instance.  Like the Pope he blames the victim.

To stand with Charlie Hebdo isn’t flowers on a celebrity’s grave, an act of condolence of a stranger.  It is to make a stand against those who say “You may not say anything about my religion, because I will be offended.”  That attitude would be unacceptable with any other notion: caricatures of politicians aren’t stopped because those who believe in their policies profoundly are upset.    Criticising someone’s home town may be downright rude, but isn’t something that can never be said.  Yet religeon demands this pass – despite not only the followers of Abraham splinting into three sects that not only disagree vehemently with each other, they can’t even agree among themselves what they believe, yet attack anyone who questions their world view as intolerant.  Einstein may not have liked Niels Bohr’s sub-atomic theories, but he did admit their correctness when proof was shown.  He didn’t feel the need to set off a bomb.

This is the response I put on HuffPo UK

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The Daily Mail and Hitler. Tuesday, Oct 1 2013 


If the Daily Mail wants to talk about 1930’s political affiliations can we all make a point in posting the following reminder.

The Daily Mail – The paper that supported Hitler.

Pass it on.

Pre…? Sunday, Jul 22 2012 


For some years I’ve had a nagging sense of wrongness about a sign on a office supplies seller. Finally put my finger on it today.

“Pre-used furniture”

PRE used?

Surely that is is ‘used’ then? Pre used would be new.

My wife compounded this by refering to her payment card she had been sent for her travel costs as ‘pre-loaded’ with cash.

No that would be loaded (note I am not getting upset with the evolution of the word loaded, that is just using physical imagery for an electronic idea – makes sense in context).

My correction of her was met with a sour face, despite her laughing agreement earlier.

I have a new mission in life – ridicule the misuse of ‘Pre’

Man Rules Thursday, Apr 5 2012 


A collegue emailed me this.  I said to her “Did this really need to be written down? Really, like it isn’t obvious?”

 “At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down   

The rules

These are our rules!

Please note… these are all numbered “1 “ON PURPOSE!

1          Men are NOT mind readers.

1          Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl.  

If it’s up, put it down.

We need it up; you need it down.

You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.  

1.         Sports on TV:  

It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides.

Let it be.  

1          Crying is blackmail

1.         Ask for what you want.

Let us be clear on this one:

Subtle hints do not work!

Strong hints do not work!

Obvious hints do not work!

Just say it!  

1.         Yes or No is a perfectly acceptable answer to almost every question.  

1.         Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do.

Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.  

1.         Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.

In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.  

1.         If you think you’re fat, you probably are.

Don’t ask us.  

1.         If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one  

1.         You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done.

Not both.

If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.  

1.         Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say “during commercials”…  

1.         Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.  

1.         ALL men see in only 16 colours, like a Windows default settings.

Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a colour.  

Pumpkin is also a fruit.

We have no idea what mauve is.  

1.         If it itches, it will be scratched.

We do that…  

1.         If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” We will act like nothing’s wrong.

We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.  

1.         If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.  

1.         When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine…Really.  

1.         Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as football or motor sports.

1                    If when you ask us what we are thinking we say nothing, it means we are thinking of nothing.  This is perfectly possible.

1.         You have enough clothes.  

1.         You have too many shoes.  

1.         I am in shape. Round IS a shape!  

Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

But did you know men really don’t mind that?  

It’s like camping.

Gay Marriage, Atheist Marriage and the Church. Sunday, Mar 4 2012 


Once again a celebate man in a dress tries to tell the world we have to believe his mythology

From the BBC today

The government’s plans for gay marriage have been criticised by the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the plans were a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

He said the idea of redefining marriage, which David Cameron has said he supports, would “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.

Full article here

Dr John Sentamu, Arch-Bishop of York said similar on the 1st Feb.  They are, of course, both wrong.

Oddly they both say they agree with Civil Partnerships for the gay community.  Do they know the legal difference between a Civil Marriage and a Civil Partnership? It is Absolutely Nothing (apart from the second word).  Both partners have EXACTLY the same rights as people in a marriage. Legally they can’t be called ‘marriages’, but everyone does – ‘civil partnershipped’ is such an awkward phrase.

At this point I’d like to give a belated ‘Congratulations’ to Suzie, a friend of mine, who proposed to her girlfriend on Christmas day- two years to go and I’m already looking for a new suit!  Here’s the thing.  They haven’t been going to civil partnership fairs, they haven’t been looking at civil partnership dresses, nor trying to find an affordable civil partnership photographer.  Guess which word is used instead?  It turns out they are the same events as straight people go to.

I asked the LGBT rep at work how the gay community felt about the legality of the word ‘Marriage’.  She said while they would prefer the word ‘Marriage’, it is the only difference, and the Gay community have better things to try spend their time on.

So what the clergy are arguing about is a word.  They want it to keep it associated with religeon.  Orwell pointed out in ‘1984’ if you control language you control the way people think.  They seem to want to redefine the history of marriage.

Modern marriage in the UK is a reletively recent phenomenon – the law was tightened up in 1753, mainly to stop disputes about who was actually married to who. Before then it wasn’t uncommon for a couple to just live as married, often after a short informal ceremony along the lines of ‘Oh well, if you really must’, though with no legal rights, and every one in the village knew they were ‘married’. (Today’s fact, many of these informal marriages were ‘solemnised ‘ by the couple jumping over a broom, hence the phrase ‘living over the broom’ for an unmarried couple living together.)  Sometimes a ‘wandering priest’ would give a blessing, though this still had no legal validity. Basically the law of 1753 said “You have to tell everyone in advance what you are going to do, where you intend to do it (in case of objection) and sign a legal document to say you have done it.”  It was less about religion, and more about record keeping.  Every village had a church, so the bureaucracy was already in place.

Which brings me on to Civil Marriage.  In the UK a civil marriage ceremony may make NO reference to religeon (one couple were told they couldn’t have ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams playing at the ceremony).  If two atheists who can’t have children get married it is still ‘a marriage’, not a ‘civil partnership’.  The Church knows that the boat sailed long ago on that one, and don’t object.

So exactly what ‘values’ is calling it Civil Marriage, rather than a Civil Partnership undermining?  It can’t be religeon – there is no religeous test for marriage.  It can’t be parenthood, there is no requirement married couples have children.

So, Cardinal, how is gay marriage a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.  Exactly how are you being subverted?  If it is a “universally accepted human right”, then how is denying it to gays making it a “universally accepted human right”?

Or is the clue in the word “grotesque”?  Could it be that O’Brien (who was against civil partnerships) and Sentamu find the whole ‘gay thing’ just a bit icky?

“LIFE- The MMRPG” A letter of Complaint. Friday, Nov 4 2011 


Sir,

I have been playing your ‘First Life’ game for some years now and I wish to register dissatisfaction with some of the so-called features.

1) Lack of manual/in-game help/tool tips.
I realise that you boast an ‘extensive training mission’. What you fail to mention is that this will take approximately 1/3 of the promised 75 year content. Additionally there is little guidance even during this so-called “Schooling period”, and the training is mostly trying stuff out then having other characters telling you are doing it wrong. Even experienced players would welcome tool tips during actions – for instance when reaching for your third alcoholic drink a warning bubble saying “May impare your judgement of interaction with opposite sex” would be helpful.

2) Lack of Save/Load function. 
Given the lack of in-game hints the lack of a Save Game function would appear to be a major omission.  When attempting an action, the failure of which would have negative consequence, it would handy if we could return to a point just before so we can avoid the effects of making a poor choice with no guidance too many times.  This would particularly useful during the ‘Teenage Romance’ sub game, for which there is no documentation.  Frankly all the Romance sub-games are difficult and confusing, and prone to leaving you frustrated.  The Rom-Com training package glosses over much of the difficulties.

3) Effects of other players. 
I note the IPCC Yahoo group has found a bug within the global interaction algorithms.  Apparently this could cause the game world to end prematurely based purely on the actions of other players on different servers.  Even if this is fixable, it is apparent that servers in Africa and Asia are suffering DDOS attacks by resource usage elsewhere.

4) Random Character generation.
Not only does this make it near impossible to achieve some tasks against some players who ‘got lucky’ during the generation process, but that In-Game Credits are not accessible to all, leaving some downloads unavailable to most people- for instance “Sports Car” and “Big House” are two that spring to mind.

5) Non Linear Game play.
“Do boring/repetitive task or starve” doesn’t really count as open-ended.

6) Experience Points
Referenced frequently by the ‘Job’ sub-games, but there is no onscreen count to let you know how you are doing.  Though they appear to be influenced by various tasks/games, there is no indication at the rate of accrual, so you can’t tell whether the amount of XP is worth it.  Additionally some of these sub-games appear to over- or under- award XP: For instance “Art History” and “Engineering” in the ‘University Zone’ often cost the same number of credits, but rumour on the Fan forums is they award different XP.  Is this true?

6a)  Rumour on the ‘Buddah’ Yahoo group is that there is a kind of XP called Karma.  Is this true as it is not referenced in any of the training/instructions?  They claim this allows a second character to be started.

7) End Game routines
I am approximately half way through.  According to more experienced players game experience dramatically reduces during the later stages, with your character becoming slower and less responsive.  It has also been found that the graphics and sound settings deteriorate making it hard to follow the action.  Did you know the ‘Hair’ colour setting can change spontaneously to ‘Grey’ and in male characters even ‘Flesh’?  Additionally there are a number of bugs which can cause parts of the programme to just stop working altogether.

8.) Power-ups/Health Packs
While it is clear that some servers receive too many ‘Weapon packs’, there is a distinct lack of power-ups.  I have repeatedly smashed any number of boxes, crates and other containers, and have yet to receive even one extra power.  Additionally there are no health packs being generated.  Did you mean these only to be available from players who have taken the “Doctor” quest?

I understand that in any product this ambitious there will always be a number of problems.  Do you have any plans to produce a patch we could download?

Yours Sincerely

Red or Black – What a load of crap Sunday, Sep 4 2011 


Ant and Dec’s latest vehicle is “Red or Black” – a ‘game’ (in the loosest sense of the word) show that has just started on ITV in Britain.  It definately suffers from “LOOK AT THIS – THIS IS AWESOME!”  Hint- No it isn’t.

Take 256 audience members, and have them guess red or black in a series of contests that are 50/50 between the ‘red’ option and the ‘black’ (although the need to lose exactly half every time means those at the back of the queue get no choice).  The last contestent then guesses Red or Black on a giant proto roulette wheel to win “ONE MILLION POUNDS”!  There is no skill – each challenge is as close to 50/50 as the producers can get (One show included jousting on top of cars, tightrope walker race, top golfers Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood trying to hit a gong in a lake, and picking a place at a table set for 32. Each had a hidden jelly/jello, and on the word they all lifted the cloches to reveal if it was red or black). 

Yet each round is turned into an Olympian contest – the winning colour jelly was revealed by the colour of the table top.  The cloth was removed by ATTACHING IT TO A MOTORBIKE AND PULLING! AWESOME!  Cue interviews with tearful members of the losing half, people upset at being knocked out in round two – you’d think they had just lost their life savings, and then asking the survivors what their strategy is in the next round.  And do these epic contests take place in a normal studio? NO, THIS IS AWESOME, so it starts in Wembley arena (USians – think Madison Square Gardens) before the remaining 128 are bussed to a Stately Home for games in the grounds. 

This all takes an hour, to whittle down from 256 to 8.  That is 5 rounds.  There is then a half hour break while they show another programme, then we return for THE GRAND FINALE!!1!11 (more…)

The Cause of the rioting isn’t why they are rioting. Wednesday, Aug 10 2011 


Currently in Britain there is attempted ‘Crash’ revisionism. You’ll see and hear people state ‘Its the profligate Labour government’s fault, not the banks. The Tories are just trying to fix it.”

WRONG.

We’ve had 30 years of Thatcherite politics: Blair gave up the left to get elected, continued privatisation of public services, and tried to continue a ‘thin air’ economy – who does manufacturing anymore? (Er.. Germany)

Like the US we lost large lumps of production overseas. It turns out that 50% of the population will always be below average academically (who’d have guessed eh?) There are no longer the non-academic industry jobs for people to go into, and they can’t all stack shelves. Both Tory and Labour governments for the last 30 years have allowed foreign businesses to buy up our companies, then are surprised when production is take out of the UK.

It turns out that thin air economy was stuffed full of gamblers and people trying to make as much money as quickly as possible, and hang the risks.

The claim that Brown was profligate is twisting the truth, as Richard Murphy shows here:

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/05/14/labour-repaid-much-more-debt-than-thatcher/

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/05/27/new-labour-taxed-and-spent-much-less-than-thatcher/

Note that Major spent more in 1990-97 than Labour 1997-2007. Look where the Labour spending falls off the cliff – at the point the banks needed to be propped up. £500 bn of money and guarentees has been pumped into the banks. For comparison the amount collected by HM Revenue and Customs in 2006-07 was £426bn

So now the Tories are making deep cuts against normal economic logic. Debt is 55% of GDP (it was 46% before the bail out), less than under Major. There were no howls back then. The way recessions have been beaten in the past is to spend on infrastructure – making sure businesses want to locate, and ensuring those here can compete. Why isn’t Cameron making the UK a world leader in sustainable energy production, rather than rely on the foreign companies that Thatcher sold our infrastructure too?

The Right are quick to scream about Benefit cheats. Tax evasion, avoidance and fraud costs the treasury SEVENTEEN times what benefit fraud does. Literally tens of millions of pounds go uncollected and uninvestigated every year. Why? Between 2004 and 2010 Labour cut 25,000 jobs at HM Revenue and Customs, down to 75,000. Cameron is committed to further ‘Efficiency savings’ taking it down to 60,000.

In Tottenham there are 50 unemployed for every job vacancy. We have a generation that has no investment in society. House prices are pushed out of sight of first time buyers, inflation is at 5%, while wages are flat, the government gives money to the rich, while making cuts to services for the general population. The rioters have no social contract with the wider populance.

Now I don’t believe that the kids have turned around and said “We must show our displeasure at the failure to tackle tax havens”. But when they see people looting, they do not see a reason not to join in – its ‘a bit of a laugh’, and they might get a £100 pair of trainers out of it. They don’t see a down side- why does a 17 year old care if florist loses her business when he has no future himself: teenagers are incredibly short sighted at times.

The failure to provide a future has broken the link between individual and society.

Running out of superlatives Sunday, May 22 2011 


Having listened to my son speaking to a freind this morning, I wonder what the youth of today will do when the do encounter something that is, actually, ‘awesome’.

Or come to that, how will they convey when something is ‘literally’ true (as opposed to “I literally died”. Really – you are a zombie then?)

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