listening to:

Sunday, April 29

Extenuating Circumstances

I am doing very important things. These things consist of the following, ranked in a vague order of importance. Bear in mind that said scale of importance is probably a log scale, with the most important appearing at the top:

This, I hope, should explain not so much the paucity of updates and entries recently, but the complete and utter lack of said updates without any explanation whatsoever. What I can reveal, though, is that I am currently hideously interested in the ethics of embryonic stem cell research.

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Thursday, April 19

It's not you...

... it's me.

I need some space.

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Wednesday, April 18

Still here, just lurking

Davo's worked where I've been: brainsluice :: channelling loose thoughts.

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Saturday, April 14

Interesting

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Friday, April 13

Curious and curiouser...

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Monday, April 9

Ohmygosh

In eighty days I become a graduate.

Mental note. This is not as scary as it seems. Repeat to self.

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Sunday, April 8

Geeky, but cool

Fine. Everyone's blogging the Expedition One logs.

But how about this: users' guides and technical documents for the Space Station Alpha LAN.

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Saturday, April 7

Random stuff

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New Scientist Culls

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Friday, April 6

Silence

I have absolutely nothing to say.

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Sshhh!

Been doing secret stuff as a fun/interesting diversion from less-fun, less-interesting work. More later. But hush!

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Thursday, April 5

Salon Culls

I refuse to label this story touching, but will do so anyway. Because, you know what? It is. Salon.com - Faith in the baby.

I've never been so excited. Salon's Red vs. Blue covers the ultra-conservative National Review post slamming communist China. It just gets worse and worse... Excerpt:

"Indeed, the ugliest strains of the Cold War xenophobia appear to be making a comeback. Even as diplomatic negotiations continue to free the 24 Americans currently trapped in China, the National Review and their cronies appear ready for war. Goldberg offered Salon this defense of his puerile humor: "The problem with making insensitive jokes about Chinese communists is that an hour later you want to make them again."

Another Salon.com article alleges that Bush is being too lenient on China and has been giving them kid glove treatment. The reason? Money, as ever.

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Jealousy

This is gorgeous: :: targum.net ::

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Gorgeous?

infoSync : Apple and Palm's new iPhone?. Someone's been mocking stuff up again. But this looks great.

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About?

Added an about section to the sidebar.

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That Special Relationship

The Guardian sums it up quite well in Jonathan Freedland's Dear George letter, a "private letter from Tony Blair to George Bush":

"We need a little so we can give a little. You bring America back into the fold on Kyoto, listen to us on Russia or national missile defence, and then we'll happily be your partner in facing down China. But you can't have it both ways. If you insist on America First, you'll end up being America Alone."

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Playlists

What started as a small collection of depressive music quickly evolved into this: women.m3u, a collection of mass-marketed women singing about sad things. I've been told off about this many times before, but it's quite fun (in a sad way, really). Mental note: do not play music from this playlist when there are depressed girls within hearing distance. They will not like it.

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Bored

New webcam software (namely, webcam32, which compared to Creative's offering is wonderful since it doesn't by default take up 30% processor time) means the webcam will be on more often and is set to update a new image roughly every thirty seconds: danhon.com :: the webcam.

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Get Mr. Digital

Picked up two sets of pictures I got done at the Jessops round the corner yesterday. They've got a touch-screen PC set up in their shop, you stick in your digital camera memory (compact flash etc.) or, in my case, a zip disk, since you're using those pesky but groovy proprietary sony memory sticks, press the screen a few times (these pictures, this many copies, this size), collect the receipt and remember to take it over to the counter and not just walk out the door. I did the latter. You're not supposed to do that. Otherwise your pictures get lost.

Come back the next day, pick up your seven by fives (only a pound each), and go "oooh". Turns out 1024x768 is fine for a print that size. I'm now annoyed, as I am going to be spending a lot of money getting nice photos done there now... At least they'll be nice...

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Focussed?

An aside. This is rather long. Or, at least, it looks like it might be in Notepad.

I have a confession to make.

I went to my first focus group on Tuesday. In my defence, I needed the cash. They promised me twenty five quid, some sandwiches and coffee for an hour and a half of my time to sit around talking about student finances and loans.

A bit of background: we--that is, my neighbour and I--turned up at the meeting place at half past six, where five other third year students were already waiting (we weren't late. They were early), had our names taken down, signed a bit of paper, were given an plain white envelope rather surreptitiously and then trooped off into some room in the deeper recesses of what I can only really describe as "a church gift shop".

We thought that we were going to be asked about student loans. Didn't turn out that way. The moderator introduced himself, said that he was going to record the session, then told us to help ourselves to sandwiches and coffee--about half of us did (yes, I know half of seven is three and a half. Just assume that someone had half a sandwich or something).

The discussion kicked off with a quick "Hi, my name's [insert name. duh], and I'm a [insert subject here], in the third year". Apart from the second year who, obviously, was a second year. Four out of the seven were finalists, myself included. The remaining three were a second year natural scientist, one third year engineer and a third year geologist (the latter two are on four year courses). We were also invited to say a few words on what, if any, jobs we'd had in the last two or three years.

This required some explaining: you're not allowed to have a termtime job at Cambridge. Blanket rule. Well, you're not officially allowed. With eight week terms and a workload that, to most people here, is something like eternal punishment and torment in hell (maybe I'm exaggerating), you really don't have the time to earn serious money. Most (six out of the seven) had taken jobs to supplement their income.

This led on, quite quickly, to debt and student loans. Heads up: everyone, and I mean everyone takes out a student loan. If you need it, you take it all out. If you don't, you still take it out. It's free money. It's the lowest interest loan you're ever going to have, short of someone giving you cash and saying "pay me back the same amount whenever you want". If you don't need the cash, take it out and stick it in a high interest savings account. You'll still make money. So that was that.

Somehow--and this is where we were cunningly guided by our moderator--we got onto the subject of the inland revenue and tax. Most people in the group were owed tax, and had had to claim it back at some point. I write letters to the local tax office, along the lines of the following:

"Dear Mr. Tax Man,

"Last year, I made [this much money, let's call it 'a']. You took ['b' which, to me, was an astonishing large proportion of 'a'] from that. Apparently, I'm allowed up to ['c', which is substantially more than 'a'] before you can start taking [anything at all approaching 'b'] from me. It appears to me that you must give me some [preferably 'd', whic is any multiple of 'a' larger than 1, but I'll settle for the value we agreed upon as being 'b'] money back.

"Love, me."

But no! Apparently there's a form! And the other times--when I'm doing temp work, there's a wonderful form called the P38S that your employer gives you which says "Hey, I'm a student! We don't need this! Give us our money back!" Wonderful stuff.

Quite quickly, though, we refused to play ball, and this is how: We were asked--after a break for more coffee--to "play a game". We're standing outside a tax office. What does it look like?

Everyone goes silent. We all shoot furtive glances at one another. We can tell just by the furtive glances, that the following thoughts are going through our heads:

Someone pipes up.

"It looks like an office?" - hesitantly.

We sigh, collectively. Good save. We're not going to be trapped by stereotyping. Oh no. We're better than that.

Clearly, "It looks like an office" isn't good enough. The moderator eggs us on, urging us towards saying something we really don't want to. "Well, what kind of building is it? Is it new? Is it old? What colour is it? (GREY! he's screaming. SAY GREY!)"

"Weeeellll", we say, collectively, "we suppose it could be grey." Sighing in resignation at this point. "Look, do you just want us to say 1970s distressed concrete with streaks running down it, a dark swing door and stuffed full of civil servants?"

If he were allowed, the moderator would have nodded at this point.

"Fine. Have it your way. But we must point out that we hate stereotyping like this."

There's more. "Okay. So we go through the swing door. What's there?"

"A receptionist?"

"And what does this receptionist look like?"

More furtive glances. What does this guy want? Blood? We don't want to say "Oooh, the stereotypical receptionist. A bubbly blonde sat behind a desk, doing her nails." Could be a man, could be a woman. Could be young, could be old. Could be any ethnicity you want. WE DON'T KNOW!

Our silence disturbs the moderator. He is not getting his money's worth.

"The girls in before you did a better job", he says. We shrug. We're blokes. Five out of the seven here are science students, we explain. Not that good at colourful language.

This goes on for quite a while. Eventually, we go "upstairs", after we've been told by the receptionist that someone can see us about our tax inquiry. We're asked what upstairs looks like.

Cubicles. Grey cubicles. Lots of forms. By now, we've realised the futility of the situation. We need to reinforce some stereotypes. We may, intentionally, have gone over the top. We do not mind this. We have been betrayed. We thought that he wanted our true views, but he did not. He wanted us to say what he thought we were going to say. This has upset us. We will have our fun.

I'll skip over some of the more uninteresting bits. It becomes apparent rather quickly that what we're here to do is to give some insight into what students know about the Inland Revenue and tax. Particularly, getting our tax back, seeing as we're entitled to it. It also becomes clear, quite quickly, that although we're rather neutral about the IR (e.g. "Well, they're just doing their job. They're not personally taking our money, someone else makes up the rules" and "Sure, they're a bureacracy. But they haven't fucked up my money completely... yet."), we really, really don't like their obsession with forms.

When the moderator introduces a new topic "What could the Inland Revenue do to make it easier for students? To be more accessible?" I hijack the discussion because, well, I feel like it. They need to be more services led. They need to be as accessible as everything else us kids are used to: phone and web banking. Doing everything when you want to and where you want to. We're annoyed that we can't just give an employer our NI number and have the system sort it out, that the system doesn't know whether we're a student or not so we actually have to tell them. We realise that the pesky Data Protection Act is stopping a lot of this, especially when one of our number reveals that on his gap year at IBM, he helped computerise an entire South American government (Social security, fingerprinting, everything, the works) in about nine months. Of course, they didn't have any privacy laws, but there you go. Just goes to show how easy it would be... kind of.

The simplest thing, we thought, was to do this: add a freephone telephone number to the back of the National Insurance card (My idea! Mine!). Everyone's got one. You get it when you're sixteen because you need it to have a job. At least, a job where you're going to be taxed. Hah. Hope that one got written down.

In the end, the conversation degenerated somewhat. We lost interest in being shown forms, and were all sated after our NI card revelation. Probably the most telling thing, though, was that we hadn't noticed the ninety minutes had gone past until we were forced to leave. As earning twenty five quid goes, it was quite fun...

- posted at 12:30:56 PM :: feedback

Essential

A UKBloggers / GBloggers Updated Side Panel Do-dah. See which UK Blogs have been updated! Frenzy of excitement! Actually really useful!

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Hmmm...

Is it me, or is there a neonate meme slowly making its way round making bloggers (and a few UK ones), redesign using compliant HTML, no tables and oodles of CSS?

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Wednesday, April 4

Feh

Has anyone else noticed that weblogs.com has disappeared off the face of the planet?

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Four Oh Four!

SGI has got a great 404 error page. Hit refresh to see the different pictures. Cute.

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Ethernet Amusement Parks

The ITworld.com article on Disney deciding to backbone its Tokyo park using gigabit ethernet for everything is kinda cool. Especially when you remmeber back to reading Jurassic Park and the descriptions of the computer systems running, well, everything there. Oh, and the girl who sees some groovy VRML interface to the park systems running on an SGI and says: "Oooh, it's Unix! I can work this!"

If you've got a spare SGI workstation lying around and you're running IRIX, you can always download the FSN 3D Navigator for that authentic Jurassic Park effect. Whenever a young girl wanders in front of the screen she can save you from raptors...

Actually, there's more. Here's a rather cool post at the risks digest on the security procedures at Jurassic Park (I know, yadda yadda ya, it's all fictional, but hey). Great quote:

"Bad housekeeping is another sign of trouble. The console where the disgruntled programmer works looks like a garbage dump; it's covered in coffee-cup fungus gardens, historically significant chocolate bar wrappers, and a treasure trove of recyclable soft drink cans. You'd think that a reasonable manager would be alarmed simply by the number of empty calories per hour being consumed by this critically important programmer. The poor fellow is so overweight that his life expectancy would be short even if he didn't become dinosaur fodder."

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Really Super Computers

An article from the December 2000 Wired runs a quick description of supercomputing applications, from Ford's Engineering Computing Center to Visa's Visanet:

"The 50 million lines of code that run VisaNet's transaction engine are based on a recycled and continually modified 1970s-era airline-reservation operating system still used by many air carriers and hotels. Rick Knight, senior vice president at Inovant, Visa's IT subsidiary, says, "The trick is keeping the system running smoothly when you're constantly changing the engine while in flight" - an average of 20,000 routine software changes each year. Racks of batteries and multiple diesel generators stand by, ready to provide backup power, and each center's workload can be instantly shifted to another. During the holiday shopping season, extra mainframes are sometimes added to the network. Unlike research scientists, retailers and customers refuse to accept a moment's downtime."

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Sanctions!

Amusing Guardian article on sanctions that should be imposed on the US for pulling out of the Kyoto Accord. I'm not going to quote. It's all funny. Read it, now.

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Red vs Blue

A nice grounder on the US spy plane "international incident" at Slate: Spy Plane FAQ by Emily Yoffe. Explains some of the international law quite well.

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Majestic

Big premise for a game. Here's convergence for you: Majestic, one of EA's work-in-progress games promises to span interactivity across faxes, voicemail, instant messaging and streamed video. You'll be expected to use the ingame search engine that uses content from real sites as well as fictitious ones. There's a few more tidbits in an interview over at Stomped.

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Muzak

Nextdoor neighbour Dave bought the Avalanches single Since I met you, we've been watching the rather fun video on Q4music. Added that one to my ripped collection, then.

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Microsoft Research

Some nice rules-based(ish) email sorting going on down at Microsoft. A CNET story on a Microsoft e-mail rater and intelligent agent.

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Window, Window, on the wall

There's a Windows XP User Interface Gallery up at Paul Thurrot's WinSuperSite if you're interested in seeing what this/next year's OS is going to look like. I still think it's a bit too clunky and Fisher-Price. And probably rather slow...Time to upgrade again, then.

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Spying and such

Fun BBC News article on spying (nothing that new, but a nice overview).

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The Far Side

Salon profiles Garry Larson in 1999:

"The scientific community adored "The Far Side," all but wallpapering laboratories with photocopies of their favorites. Inaccuracies didn't alienate them: They'd write to remind Larson that polar bears and penguins are not found in the same hemisphere; that humans and dinosaurs didn't coexist; or that it should be the female mosquito coming home tired after a hard day spreading malaria, not the male -- but they didn't really mind. "He illustrates principles in a twisted way," one scientist/admirer wrote to nature columnist Gerry Rising. The California Academy of Sciences created an exhibit that traveled to natural history museums around the country, showcasing 400 Larson cartoons. Entomologists have named a louse and a butterfly after Larson."

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New Economy yadda yadda ya

PSINet in cash crisis (Guardian). This can't be a good thing...

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The Great Divide

A Guardian story on differing points of view between Europe and the USA. A good look at the (admittedly generalised) culture clashes involved. Excerpt:

"Americans see Europe as ungrateful but also congenitally inclined to political chaos. This suspicion of Europe stretches back to the hot summer of 1787 when, among others, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington sat down to write the constitution for the 13 states of America. In every sentence, they strove to distinguish the new republic from the oppression and abuse in the old world. That self-conscious creation of a political antithesis was strengthened over the 19th century and into the 20th by the fact that great numbers of people fled Europe's famines, pestilence and persecution for America. Thus the ancestral memory of Europe, albeit hazy, is as a place to escape from. American jokes about Europe dwell on its dodgy, screwed-up, murderous past."

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Salon Culls

Salon has an interesting article on the pay-for-play situation in American commercial radio:

"As a recent report in Salon detailed, record companies pay the independent promoters, or "indies," hundreds of millions of dollars each year to ensure that the records the companies release get played on the radio; the indies, in turn, slip the radio stations a large chunk of this income in the form of on-the-books "promotional expenses." With a partnership formed, the rivers of money start flowing between labels, indies and stations."

- posted at 3:43:21 PM :: feedback

Culled from The Guardian

Bridget and me is the story of Renée Zellweger's three weeks' work in London researching for the part of Bridget Jones. Excerpt:

"So she settled down to the daily round of answering the phones (and the way she says "Hello - publicity" in the film has an eerily familiar ring to it), ringing round the unsuspecting literary editors of national newspapers about various forthcoming publications, a smattering of photocopying and going through the newspapers for any book-related stories. This meant she had, more than once, to cut out incendiary tabloid stories fuming that "our Bridget" was to be played by an American. She kept her cool, but did scribble "Rubbish" in the margins of one particularly fanciful piece."

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Digital Imaging

The EXIF Image Viewer lets you access lots of cool information about digital photographs you've taken, like shutter speed, aperture and so on.

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Tuesday, April 3

Older than anyone you know

Oxford university releases 3D renderings of data from Acaenoplax hayae fossils.

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Everywhere there's beauty

My brother's still at home for another week or so, so he gets to take some nice pictures of sunsets from the hill we live on.

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Intelligent Machines Evolve

RedHerring interviews Danny Hillis. Fun quote about Disney:

"One reason Disney ran into problems with the religious right was that it was doing a better job of providing the stories that gave kids moral structure than religious institutions were. As product differentiation disappears, brand -- which is essentially an information device -- will become much more important."

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Exam papers we wish for

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On this day...

Fifty three years ago, President Truman signed the Marshall Plan, allocating $5 billion in aid for 16 European countries...

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Generation Europe

Peter Preston's column on Generation Europe alleges that integration is happening by osmosis anyway, that 21% of young Britons say that they are "European":

"what's happening is happening by osmosis, not decree, in the way young Europeans behave and think and act. They recognise their roots, their homes, their ties - but they are also citizens of a wider world. Have skills and languages: can travel. From the Ramblas to the Fulham Road and back."

One last amusing quote:

"So to that Belfast hotel owner. Dr Diljit Rana MBE JP. I met him a few weeks ago on a plane from New Delhi. He had come to Britain from India in the 60s and found his way to Northern Ireland, and stayed. Was there a large Indian community in the province? No, very small. Did he like the people? Yes, very much. And religion? "Sometimes at checkpoints they say "Protestant or Catholic?" and I say "Hindu" - and they ask "Is that a Protestant Hindu or a Catholic Hindu?""

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Big, long sticks

Extremely amusing article on American sue-now-think-later culture and offensive tackling in yesterday's Guardian, read through to at least the end of the second paragraph for a laugh out loud, grin inanely joke. At least, I thought it was funny.

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Monks?

Amusing diary entry from Simon Hoggart in the Guardian last week:

"A friend of mine has a friend who's a monk, somewhere in the north of England. She recently wrote to him and asked, among other things, whether monks had a vote. He set the record straight in a letter..."

- posted at 10:36:58 AM :: feedback

Train Crashes

Extremely well written extract by Ian Jack on the Hatfield train crash. Excerpt:

"One day in November I took the train from London to Peterborough - a very slow train that moved gingerly over the crash site - to meet a young engineer, Philip Haigh. "Give us a pen," he said at one point, and then: "Do you have a 5p piece?" He drew round the circumference of the coin to produce a circle with a diameter of about in or 2cm. That was the size of the contact area between a wheel and a rail when train and track were in perfect equilibrium. Perfection requires the straightest rail and the truest wheel; but if these ideal conditions were met, Haigh said, then only a in strip would wear along the rail top (which is 2in wide). In an electric locomotive, 100 tons of vehicle and machinery could be shared among eight wheels and eight of these 5p contact spots. Each 5p would support a weight of 12.5 tons. Given a powerful engine, the friction caused by turning all eight wheels against two rails would easily haul a train of 1,000 tons at 115 miles an hour."

Part One | Part Two

- posted at 10:33:27 AM :: feedback

Monday, April 2

An experiment in writing styles

Guess which one was written last year and which one was written four years ago...

One
A more serious consequence hindering Louis in 1661 was that dealing with the Frondes and the war with the Spanish had dealt the French government an extremely hard financial blow. The whole of the seventeenth century was not a good time for European economies, and during this period France was most certainly bearing through a recession. Economic factors, therefore, were certainly not favouring Louis and were at the same time extremely numerous. France’s system of taxation was based upon taxing the poor since both classes of the nobility were exempt from direct taxation. Rebellions due to perceived unfair taxes were plenty, with rebellions in Angers in 1656, in which the French army was sent in to occupy the town. Again, a rebellion occurred in Aix en Provence in 1659 and was suppressed by the governor. Another revolt in Marseille was quelled by the French army who were sent in to occupy the town. Tough these events would hinder Louis in the short term, they became favourable factors to him in 1661 - while Mazarin was ruling in his name as chief minister Louis had seen plenty of examples of rebellions and became one of the first rulers to exercise rudimentary public relations skills - the use of armies to quell rebellions would send a short and sharp message to the rest of France. With thanks to these methods, in 1661 Louis had already set the tone for his rule to the rest of France and shown that he was going to be a hard ruler, thus letting the French know what was in store if another revolt ensued. Needless to say that this would be in his favour and actions by his chief minister pre-dating 1661 would help in reducing the threat of opposition to Louis.

Two
It is obvious then that in claims to territory utilising the modes of prescription and / or occupation the sovereign state’s effective control over that territory will be an important aspect of assessing title. Particularly, with the case of prescription, the possession of the title in question is required to have been an effort of the state and through its own authority and that the possession be peaceful and uninterrupted. Shaw cites the case of the Chamizal arbitration which deals with the issue of peaceful and uninterrupted possession in relation to the protest of a dispossessed sovereign state. Associated lesser elements of prescription and occupation include the reasonable period requirement, which introduces a temporal element into proceedings. An example where the International Court of Justice examined such a requirement is that of the Minquiers and Ecrehos case in which the history of a group of islets in the English Channel was examined from 1066 onwards. Shaw is at pains to point out, however, that “its decision was based primarily on relatively recent acts relation to the exercise of jurisdiction and local administration as well as the nature f legislative enactments referable to the territory in question.”

 

 

The first was written first. It was a lower-sixth essay on Louis XIV written in October 1996. The second was an essay on international law written in late 2000.

- posted at 9:19:40 PM :: feedback

Look, there's more...

One Day Soon added to the sidebar because... it used to have peas in its design. I think. It was a rather long time ago...

- posted at 5:44:59 PM :: feedback

Alien

Salon reviews the Alien DVD, best line on Ridley Scott:

"For a sequence when he needed a cat to hiss on cue, he put a German shepherd behind a board and the cat on a leash; when he raised the board, he got the perfect reaction."

- posted at 5:33:10 PM :: feedback

Oh dear

New Independent site looks rather pants. Colour scheme could do with some work, and it doesn't look as polished as the (albeit still pants) Times site.

- posted at 5:31:11 PM :: feedback

Theory of mind

Functional magnetic resonance imaging research shows that "activity increased in three regions of the brains of healthy people: the paracingulate cortex towards the front of the brain, parts of the temporal poles, and a region called the tempoparietal junction. But the scans of patients with Asperger's revealed a very different picture."... when subjects were asked to work out what someone was thinking or feeling. New Scientist: Mind theory

- posted at 3:46:26 PM :: feedback

Digital Nervous Systems

"In their first stab at emulating immunity in 1998, Forrest and graduate student Steven Hofmeyr designed a system to detect hacker attacks. Their experimental "body" was a local area network (LAN) of 50 computers in the university's computer science department. Since what they were looking for was unusual Internet connections from outside the LAN, they defined "self" as normal connections between machines. They expressed these connections as fragments of code 49 bits long, each one representing the Internet Protocol addresses of the two computers and the data port by which they communicated."

- New Scientist: E-mmune from attack

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Aurora Borealalalalalais

Well, I can't remember how to spell it. Aurora Borealis, probably. But anyway, they're damn purty: Light show set to continue (BBC News).

- posted at 3:34:33 PM :: feedback

Vodafone Suck

I went to the bank. I went to Sainsbury's. I paid my landline bill. I tried to cancel my Vodafone bill, but oh no. Apparently, I have to write to them. On paper. I can't even do it over the phone. Bastards.

- posted at 1:21:35 PM :: feedback

Sidebar updates

Apart from the thrilling news that for a while the collapsing sidebar should have been, well, collapsing, on more platforms than just IE5.5 on Win2k, the listening section gets an overhaul and grayblog joins the visited sites section.

- posted at 12:41:06 PM :: feedback

No, really

Looks like Coca Cola knows about ideas.com: see their FAQ for submitting an idea.

- posted at 11:22:45 AM :: feedback

Mental note: things to do

Go to the bank, go to Sainsbury's, pay phone bill (landline), pay phone bill (orange), cancel phone (vodafone). Why? Why are you even reading this? Does this interest you? For crying out loud, go outside or something. There's a world out there! Talk to people. Get. A. Life.

- posted at 2:10:18 AM :: feedback

Damnit

These are quite cute: NEC PaPeRo [via Infosync].

- posted at 1:51:31 AM :: feedback

Ribena

It used to be Ribena lite, but I'm now rather partial to Ribena Toothkind (cos, well, it's not. Blatantly). On the other hand, if you buy one of those massive quadrillion litre bottles, they give you a free plush ribena berry toy. How's that for cool?

- posted at 1:22:03 AM :: feedback

Back, baby

Am back in Cambridge now. Debating whether to stop off at the Golden Arch Hotels Suisse SA when I go on holiday this summer... (Oh come on, it'd be an experience).

- posted at 1:00:39 AM :: feedback

Sunday, April 1

Sssh, it's all okay

Things to bear in mind:

I was slightly apprehensive. But it turned out that there wasn't really any need to be. I could have left at any time, but it turned out that I didn't want to, that I wanted to stay until the end. I could have, for some reason, been as bitter as I wanted to, carried as much baggage as I wanted. But I didn't.

I'm not sure if I'm even allowed to carry baggage. I'm sure that there must be a statute of limitations on that kind of thing, that after a couple years, you really should know better. That you should have put that kind of thing behind you. Some people say that you're allowed. I'm not too sure. There's still an element of guilt there. Well, let's be honest. More than an element. Enough to feel quite bad.

That aside, it was a nice evening. There were people who I hadn't seen in a few years. There were a fe people who were much shorter the last time I saw them. Granted, they were about two years old the last time I saw them, so growth spurts are entirely acceptable. Anyway, it's fun if you've got short people running around the place, playing hide and seek behind your legs and under the tables.

A few of my other friends mingled. I'm sorry, but I hate mingling. I'm never going to see these people again. That's probably a little extreme, but the next time I do see those people--if I do see them again--is likely to be in at least five years time. So, instead, I mingled with a fellow non-mingler. To be perfectly honest, mingling scares the shit out of me unless I'm in the mood, and more frequently than not, I'm not in the mood at all. It's false. It's full of "Hi, how are you? How do you know [x]? Oh, really? That's so interesting," when all you're really thinking is "Hmmm. How long can I keep doing this and nodding?" So I didn't mingle. I conspired with my non-mingling friend.

Just one final request, though. What is it with people asking me--and by "people", I mean relatives, parents and friends--whether I'm single and whether I'm going out with anyone? Any other time, I really wouldn't be bothered. But right now, yeah, it kinda sucks. Coming up to graduation (really need to get used to that word), you tend to take an outlook on the last three years that's not so much judgmental as... well... I give in. Judgmental is the best that I can come up with at twenty past one in the morning.

What did I do over the last three years? Would I want to do it again? Hell yes. Why? Because I had a great time. I want those three years back, and I want to do more. I'd like to change a few things, but I wouldn't be that bothered if I couldn't. You finally feel as if you've sorted everything out. And it's time to leave.

I hadn't decided whether ec was going to be introspective and naval-gazing. To be honest, I don't think I'd actually made a decision about the kind of content at all. It's getting harder and harder to find the "choicest" links, and to be honest, I don't really want to spend all my time surfing around to find interesting stuff for people, in the way that I used to. So fine, lambast me for being introspective. This is me, talking about me, talking about stuff to do with me, and how I'm dealing with that stuff. This is me talking about things that interest me. Sometimes it'll be naval gazing. Sometimes it'll (hopefully) be deep, meaningful, or at least provoke some semblance of discussion or thought. But I make no guarantees. There's no editor here. There's just some guy, his hands, his head a whole bunch of memes and a keyboard.

Fuck. If I had any sense, I would've got rid of that preceding paragraph. It reads like shit. But hey, what the hell.

I think it's a good time to stop, now. And with that, I leave you with the lyrics to Wise Up, by Aimee Man.

- posted at 1:32:42 AM :: feedback

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