Nearly The End of July

More unease about war plans – Iraq attack plans alarm top military [Guardian]. It’s all made me think how little I really understand a) the politics of the middle east and b) the culture of the middle east. Then again, everyday I realize how little I know about the culture and politics of my own country.

In random wanderings, these caught my eye on Metafilter today: America’s CEOs aren’t greedy enough [Philly.com] and Vanguard Airlines intends to file for protection under Chapter 11. Imagine having your termination notice posted on a web site!

Continue reading “Nearly The End of July”

Ministry of Truth

The anti-Iraqi messages coming from The West (and most importantly, from The White House) reminds The San Francisco Chronicle of Orwell’s 1984. While everybody with a weblog on this planet may be linking to this article at the moment, it’s not going to stop me from pointing you in that direction too.

I keep hearing that tension is mounting and we’re heading for some kind of war with Iraq. The West, apparently, wants rid of Saddam. The thing that concerns me most is that I have not heard or seen any evidence so show that it is right for The West to start throwing their weight around in that part of the world again. It is always suggested that we should fear this man (and maybe we should) but can somebody please tell me why we are doing this? Reason would tell me there is some terrorist threat. President Bush is going after the terrorists in every country. I would like to believe we have some sound arguments (and, of course, some evidence) for any attack. In a democracy, aren’t we supposed to know why our leaders may send fellow citizens to war?

Apparently, the church even think it’s immoral. However, as they don’t appear to have any more of a clue than I do what all this is about, how can they say that?

The anti-Iraqi messages coming from The West (and most importantly, from The White House) reminds The San Francisco Chronicle of Orwell’s 1984. While everybody with a weblog on this planet may be linking to this article at the moment, it’s not going to stop me from pointing you in that direction too.

How do you say Happy Birthday in Russian?

And it’s my Dad’s birthday today. My mother is with him somewhere the former Soviet Union for five weeks while he tries to do some work. Unfortunately, his mobile ‘phone doesn’t seem to work and he isn’t replying to emails, so Happy Birthday Dad!

UPDATE: You may also want to check out next year’s entry for more information.

City Hall

I may not agree with everything our delightful new Mayor does but I have to say that I think the London Assembly building, which was opened by The Queen yesterday, is a stunning building.

I may not agree with everything our delightful new Mayor does but I have to say that I think the London Assembly building, which was opened by The Queen yesterday, is a stunning building. I am pleased to see that, in this age of taller, squarer buildings, we (occasionally) still strive to build something that is visually stunning. Now all I have to do is get down there and see it with my own eyes.

A Cool Forty Million

Apparently we need £40 million to cope with our rising fridge problem. I don’t have a problem with my fridge but if I was recycling it then I would be contributing. To be honest, that’s all there is in this post so you don’t need to read anymore.

Apparently we need £40 million to cope with our rising fridge problem. £40 million! It amazes me how much we need to spend to recycle. Wow. And I can’t get the council to deliver my recycling bags. [recycling link]

A Non-Existent Dream

If we’re not careful, the UK will topple over as the South East of Britain sinks into The Channel under the weight of all the people migrating from other parts of the country.

After last night’s little rant on the state of the London Underground system, I heard about this morning’s nonsense from the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) to start charging commuters more to sit on over-crowded, dirty, late-running trains. I guess the plan reasons that charging higher fares means fewer people will travel by train. Surely, this proves that an integrated transport policy for London’s workers remains a non-existent dream. Ken Livingston wants to charge people for driving into central London. The SRA wants to charge more for travelling on trains. How are people expected to get into work? The answer is they will still drive and take the train and it will cost them more – status quo remains. It seems to me that nobody is prepared to do what it takes to sort transport in the South East out. And that still stinks.

So then, I got to thinking about John Prescott’s [John Prescott as Boss of Bosses?] little plan to build more affordable housing in the South East of England (to ease the cronic housing shortage, apparently). Affordable housing implies that this is aimed at people on a lower wage (am I taking a big leap here?). How, exactly, are these people going to get to work in London if train prices rise and roads get tolls? Again, it appears inconsitnet and badly thought out. Why not take some of these £4 billion and encourage businesses to move out of the South East to areas where there are too many houses or where there is less congestion. If we’re not careful, the UK will topple over as the South East of Britain sinks into The Channel under the weight of all the people migrating from other parts of the country.

London Life Underground

It’s a rant about the tube. Summer brings its own special brand of problems for London’s sub-terrain commuters: hot, sweaty and stuck in tunnels on the way to the office does not make for a contented work force.

The great struggle to and from work in London is over as another strike by London Underground staff finishes and the tube returns to its normal, over-crowded, hot, sticky self. I don’t think there can be a person in this City who does not believe that the Underground is under funded and appears, at times, not too far from breaking point. Summer brings its own special brand of problems for London’s sub-terrain commuters: hot, sweaty and stuck in tunnels on the way to the office does not make for a contented work force. When will Tony Blair, Ken Livingston and Bob Crow stop using the Underground as a great big political football and start doing something to ease the plight of those who try and use London’s public transport on a regular basis? I, along with most people who have chosen to live, work or visit London, am fed up with the self-serving posturing of the politicians and union leaders. I can’t say if I think the strike was wrong or not but I do know that the very fact that none of the parties involved are currently at a negotiating table resolving all issues and developing long-term strategies for coping with increasing commuter volumes stinks worse than the armpits of that harassed member of the public I will be squashed against tomorrow morning. Please somebody, for the sake of those of us who voted for you and pay for you, sort out the mess. [current tube status]

50 Things

The list of 50 things that have most affected our lives in the last 50 years is one of those fascinating lists that I will read and re-read for a long time to come. I can’t decide which affected me most.

Overyourhead is London-based blogger bloke. He has this list [official site] from Birmingham’s Thinktank. Thinktank is the city’s new museum of science and technology and looks fantastic. I will certainly pay it a visit on my next voyage to Birmingham.

The list of 50 things that have most affected our lives in the last 50 years is one of those fascinating lists that I will read and re-read for a long time to come.

1980 Ghetto blaster and Sony Walkman
1981 Compact discs on sale
1982 Video keyhole surgery
1983 Synthetic human insulin cleared for sale
1984 DNA fingerprint
1985 First registered dotcom

I can’t decide which affected me most but there was a woman on the radio last night citing 1955 – the invention of the non-stick saucepan – as being fairly important to modern life. As I have never found a non-stick pan that is exactly that, then I would have to disagree.

All For A New Pair of Shoes

While there, I was made to run up and down with my trousers rolled up.

Tonight was the Official Opening of The Commonwealth Games. Does anybody still care about The Commonwealth except when they have these games? And I missed the opening ceremony – which, to be honest, is likely to be the only bit I would have watched. I was running in my new running shoes which I suspect is one of the best excuses I have ever had for not sitting on my backside) I bought them this afternoon. I went to Run and Become which has a branch not too far from where I work. While there, I was made to run up and down with my trousers rolled up. Apparently, this was so that the sales assistant could see how I actually run. Personally, I think she was doing it for the amusement of the diners in the cafe opposite. Anyway, I came away £60 lighter with a nice new pair of running shoes.

Less Substantial Thinking

I know one thing for sure, Google is a lot easier than the old Encyclopaedia Index volume.

Why do I always seem to post the links the rest of the blogging world sees? Anyway, this caught my attention today. I use the internet for research purposes but I was not fortunate enough to have access when I was studying. This article essentially implies that researching on the ‘Net is not as good as reading a good old-fashioned book. “The quality of information [on the Internet] is below what you find in print,” according to the story. Perhaps it is but then most of the information still remains free on the web. I wonder if we’ll ever get an appropriate charging model that allows people to use the ‘Net for the research they need but pay in the same way as those who buy the books. Is it down to the libraries to pay to put the information online? On the upside, “‘Net thinkers are said to generate work quickly and make connections easily”. I know one thing for sure, Google is a lot easier than the old Encyclopaedia Index volume.

Number One

Well for no reason at all, I decided to look up what was the number one UK single on this day in 1982 (I don’t even know why I chose that year). Well, it’s a bit of a minefield as it somewhat depends on which chart you count as being the “official” chart.

Well for no reason at all, I decided to look up what was the number one UK single on this day in 1982 (I don’t even know why I chose that year). Well, it’s a bit of a minefield as it somewhat depends on which chart you count as being the “official” chart. Still, it would appear that it was Irene Cara and the theme from Fame which is, of course, one of the greatest records from my childhood.

I Like Yahoo!

A nice clean interface for the new look Yahoo homepage which is very nice indeed.

The new look Yahoo homepage (http://www.yahoo.com/) carries on Yahoo’s tradition of a clean interface but brings a fresher look. I have always liked that clean feel about most of Yahoo’s interface. I hope they bring it to the UK site soon and make similar changes to My Yahoo! It’s so sad that this makes me happy!

UPDATE: Of course the problem with a post like this is that it dates very quickly. Still, back then Yahoo was a very clean interface!

Did They Make It Up?

I swear some news is made up: A pair of Canadian otters brought to Britain a year ago are under 24-hour guard at the National Sea-life Sanctuary, near Oban in Scotland, because of fears they will be attacked by indigenous cousins unable to understand their “foreign accents”.

I swear some news is made up: A pair of Canadian otters brought to Britain a year ago are under 24-hour guard at the National Sea-life Sanctuary, near Oban in Scotland, because of fears they will be attacked by indigenous cousins unable to understand their “foreign accents”. [Independent]

Amazon A Go-Go

I love Amazon. They’re they way the world should do the online shopping experience. Then again, I hate Amazon. They keep recommending stuff I want so I buy it. But just now, I love them. I got my first two reviews published!

I love Amazon. They’re they way the world should do the online shopping experience.

Then again, I hate Amazon. They keep recommending stuff I want so I buy it.

But just now, I love them. I got my first two reviews published:

Start Up – Jerry Kaplan
Piloting Palm – Andrea Butter and David Pogue

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