Thursday, December 31, 2009

So disappointed...

So, Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars is song of the decade.

Yes it's a great song, but where's the Gilmour-esque or Rothery-esque searing guitar solo it so NEEDS?????

Security Theatre

An excellent blog post has been made here: http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2009/12/whats_next_we_fly_nude.php

However I think an important point is missing. This attempted bomber was KNOWN to the authorities. But not enough that anything was done about:
* A subject known to the authorities as a risk
* His father warning said authorities
* His 2 week flight to the USA without any hold luggage
* The timing of his moves from Yemen (home to quite a number of threats) to Nigeria to The Netherlands to the USA

It seems to me that we do not need any new security measures - it would be better if we actually used the information we already have and make sure that potential threats are properly acted upon. If all the warning signs had been acted upon, the bomber could have been put through special, targeted security measures. Like El Al use.

Theatre may make people FEEL safer, but proper intelligent use of information MAKES us safer.

Peter

PS Why are we only worried about the bomb going off in the last hour of flight? Surely the terrorists would rather take out a plane mid Atlantic than not at all?

#WinMo what I'd like in the next Pocket Outlook

Outlook on the road is essential for me, and the search server and OOF setting in Exchange 2007 and WinMo6 were great improvements, but... ...with the advent of 100's of MB's or even GB's in the latest phones mean you can realistically keep all your email on the phone. So there are now a number of things missing that really start to hurt:

1. An 'unread messages' view on any folder i am viewing. I use rules and subfolders extensively and unread items are 'not yet dealt with'. But some can be quite old so to scroll down through many emails to find the unread one from last month can take a while. This can be tiresome...

2. An 'all unread emails across all folders' that i can sort by date/subject/... as per any other folders - i use this view on Outlook most of the time to keep an eye on incoming mail that will have been moved by rules to subfolders. Without this on the phone i have to keep a mental count of unread emails in key folders when i browse through them.

Please Microsoft!

Monday, December 28, 2009

@EddieIzzard - just a few reasons why I think you're wrong on Labour

Eddie, I adore your comedy and have immense respect and regard for your charity campaigning this year. But i think you are wrong to mix these with political campaigning on the same platform as your comedy/charity platform. That's why I reacted so immediately and (frankly) angrily to your tweet today about the fox hunting ban.

I spent just 10 minutes on the list below. They are my opinions, no one else's, I'm not acting as anyone's proxy. I am not a member of any political party.

So:

1. More time spent on debating the hunting ban than a great deal of much more important and impacting legislation



2. Blair's repeated lies and innuendo about Lords 'voting down' hunting ban - they did not. Oh and Blair never got to vote for it did he?


3. An illegal war


4. Lies about intelligence before an illegal war


5. The Bernie Ecclestone money back guaranteed policy change


6. Higher unemployment than when they came to power


7. Northern Rock happened in Winter 2007-8, and collapsed in Feb 2008. Fannie and Freddie went in summer 2008, Lehman Brothers Autumn 2008. So chronologically the bank failures started here not the USA (unless you are called The Doctor or have a spare TARDIS).


8. Higher debt than when they came to power


9. Failure to get even close to child poverty targets, and accept responsibility for so doing.


10. Failure to understand that income poverty targets as a % of average income can NEVER be achieved. Do the maths.


11. A government habit of redefining targets to appear to have succeeded.


12. The selling of billions of gold reserves at a near all time low


13. An all-time record national debt that will exceed £1.4 trillion, and still spending months talking about investment and not the now accepted cuts and tax increases.


14. Failure to govern and accept responsibility, just setting targets that do NOT mean anything will definitely improve and just allow a civil servant to get the sack instead of a minister.


15. Accepting responsibility now meaning someone else gets sacked (the video will be on youtube somewhere)


16. A Home Office unfit for purpose


17. Inadequate prison capacity so that crooks are on the streets and not locked up


18. Failing to manage our borders so that illegal immigration is rife


19. Failure to deport foreign crooks


20. Failure to manage terrorists by (amongst other actions):


21. A Human Rights implementation (good idea) that ignores the general Human Rights of the entire population (Asimov's zeroth Robot Law)


22. 24hr drinking that leaves city centres a wasteland not fit or safe or comfortable for the average citizen


23. Crooked nationalisation of Network Rail


24. Using govt spin doctors to act against individual, powerless citizens


25. The massive growth in spin and its costs


26. A complete failure to understand that Government bodies and civil servants do not create economic wealth. Yet they now have better terms of employment, pensions, and rewards than the wealth generating private sector.


27. Failure to resolve the West Lothian question


28. Stealth taxes by the bucketload


29. The surreptitious and undemocratic regionalisation of England to a hidden EU agenda and with unelected regional authorities and bodies


30. The broken promise on the Lisbon Treaty


31. The cowardly 'will he/won't he sign in public, with the others' Lisbon Treaty episode


32. The failure to properly arm our forces in Afghanistan


33. The failure to keep the Military Covenant


34. The devaluation of political debate


35. The cowardly assumption of a moral high ground to which Labour have no right, and have not earned


36. The failure to honour the Gurkhas until shamed by the wonderful Joanna Lumley into respectable action


37. The wholesale destruction of one of the world's best pension cultures and value to the point where basic rate tax payers have no proper financial incentive or security. Ten years ago our pension system was a model to the outside world


38. The expansion of the guilt by assumption and Big Brother culture world leading to councils misusing stealthy and subversive anti-terror legislation against innocent citizens


Peter
 
NB Updated 29th December to enumerate them so that comments can argue the toss more easily :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Contented Christmas Cat!



Will improve contrast after i get to a computer :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My favourite Christmas memory

Apologies: After my mother (who was in the choir as well) reviewed this, there are a number of corrections I need to make!

In the late 70's, and by now I'm singing a solid bass in the church choir; and it's Midnight Mass. The choirmaster's son Thomas Simon and I were the juvenile bass singers, and the other bass singers were all pensioners (or so it seemed!). To add to the mix the choirmaster was also my confirmation sponsor, and a close family friend.

So to the end of Mass and the choir gets going on O Come All Ye Faithful. We reach the penultimate verse, and Thomas Simon and I exchange looks in the knowledge that there we had forgotten that (correction) there are real sopranos in the choir, and thought the descent wasn't going to happen.

So... we hit the descent solo loud proud and in full falsetto. Choirmaster (John) looks at son and me in horror, but we hit the notes OK. Then we remember what John has already realised; that the descant climbs quite a few notes to levels theoretically impossible for us. It's all going to go horribly wrong and embarassing.

To boot this is a choir only song and several hundred people down below (the choir were in the loft) are listening to this. And we started so loud we have to finish.

But that's only through the "Glory to God" section. But then the "O Come... ...Christ The Lord" section follows which gets just a tad higher. We share a quick glance, and just go for it, and we hit every, single, note. I don't know how, but we did it, we really did. I think I remember actually squeezing my vocal cords to help at one point.

Never, ever again. But the look on John's face, and feeling straight after is still with me nearly 30 years later. A wonderful Christmas celebration moment. After all, at Midnight Mass it's got to be done properly :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

#BPark - complete a Christmas Carol

The Holly and the Ultra
When they are both full grown
Of all the codes that are in the war
The Ultra wears the crown
Oh the rising of the WRENs
And the running of the Bombes
The playing of the Herivelismus
Sweet decryption with the cillies


Alright, but can you do better - please do so via the comments!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simon Singh's Newsletter 38 - http://www.libelreform.org/

Simon has my full support on this. Please consider joining it too.
Newsletter 38
Please sign up at http://www.libelreform.org/
15 December, 2009
http://www.simonsingh.net/

I am hoping to send out a proper newsletter later this week, but in the meantime I have an urgent and important request.

It has been 18 months since I was sued for libel after publishing my article on chiropractic. I am continuing to fight my case and am prepared to defend my article for another 18 months or more if necessary. The ongoing libel case has been distracting, draining and frustrating, but it has always been heartening to receive so much support, particularly from people who realise that English libel laws need to be reformed in order to allow robust discussion of matters of public interest. Over twenty thousand people signed the statement to Keep Libel Laws out of Science, but now we need you to sign up again and add your name to the new statement at:
http://www.libelreform.org/

The new statement is necessary because the campaign for libel reform is stepping up a gear and will be working on much broader base. Sense About Science has joined forces with Index on Censorship and English PEN and their goal is to reach 100,000 or more signatories in order to help politicians appreciate the level of public support for libel reform. We have already met several leading figures from all three main parties and they have all showed signs of interest. Now, however, we need a final push in order to persuade them to commit to libel reform.

Finally, I would like to make three points.

First, I will stress again - please take the time to reinforce your support for libel reform by signing up at:
http://www.libelreform.org/.

Second, please spread the word by blogging, twittering, Facebooking and emailing in order to encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up.
Third, for those supporters who live overseas, please also add your name to the petition and encourage others to do the same; unfortunately and embarrassingly, English libel laws impact writers in the rest of the world, but now you can help change those laws by showing your support for libel reform. While I fight in my own libel battle, I hope that you will fight the bigger battle of libel reform.

Thanks for your continued support.
Simon.

More #Trafigura nonsense

RT iaindale: RT @AlbertoNardelli: BBC removes Trafigura story after threat from Carter-Ruck http://bit.ly/8CPPtk #Trafigura; Let's put it on our blogs

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Global Warming Hacks

A couple of things....

1. There is a whole world of difference between denying climate change and arguing against Anthropogenic Global Warming
2. The world has naturally changed temperature many times over the millennia
3. The use of the words "climate change denier" are fascistic in tone and intent. If I am to be equated to a Holocaust Denier because I have doubts about the anthropogenic input to the changes in climate; then that equates me to someone who denies the Nazis exists, so does that the make the Anthropogenic Theorists the Nazis? That question is rhetorical, and I am NOT saying the warmists are Nazis.
4. My view is that the planet would be warming with or without the input from human activity since the industrial revolution.

So just consider this. If the warming is largely non-anthropogenic and we are diverting massive amounts of economic effort to 'fight' all this, then what future for the economy...

My final thought. If the warmists continue to use language and pressures that stink of fascistic attitudes so that I cannot reasonable ask and question the difference between natural and unnatural global temperature changes without being shouted down, then the whole concept of peer review science is being denied and any proposal from that side of the argument is weak and feeble.

Rant over.