Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Daily Tweats

  • 08:44 Didn't give after the first day, back on the bike again today! #
  • 17:15 Well on the second day I suffered a puncture #
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Monday, 30 March 2009

Daily Tweats

  • 09:57 Cycled to work today, but will my fitness regime last? #
  • 10:05 I worked hard to get a few A B and some C grade in my school exams, now everyone gets A* - now we know why! bit.ly/tIeuZ #
  • 14:43 Catch22: Need to exercise and lose weight but too fat to ride bike without almost having a heart attack! How much for liposuction? #
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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Daily Tweats

  • 08:59 Feeling happy after getting nearly £20 a month slashed off my broadband and phone package #
  • 20:20 Some great home truths, same the grinning idiot didn't listen bit.ly/UaHt #
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Monday, 23 March 2009

Daily Tweats

  • 22:41 looks like I have got some form of wierd blogpost tweat recursion going on... will fix when not drunk #
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Gaza and the West Bank

b3ta.com come up with the goods once again

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:36 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/7b3wq #
  • 07:29 BlogPost: Links for 2009-03-20 [del.icio.us]: disambiguity � Ambient Intimacy bit.ly/OwJoz #
  • 21:12 I haven't had hiccups in years #
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Friday, 20 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:36 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 07:18 Beavers for England? Bet the .. bit.ly/5rwiP #
  • 07:12 @corrosive6809 @bobbi10100 hey don't knock Jilly! Should I admit to once having a weird crush on her? #
  • 07:16 @markhw42 Who is that a review of? ;-) #
  • 10:04 @corrosive6809 does that mean you now have gainful employment? #
  • 12:13 RT @Glinner: Please RT: Update and gameplan on Dunblane/Express campaign... bit.ly/18eaWN #
  • 12:17 RT @dizzy_thinks: Twitter worm vulnerability: bit.ly/Bdagp #
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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:36 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 07:18 Beavers for England? Bet the comics have fun with this story bit.l.. bit.ly/KW4EB #
  • 10:57 The global financial crisis (and unplayable DVDs) came from America bit.ly/pwZOY #
  • 12:32 BlogPost: Battlestar Galactica is brilliant TV "So Say We All": Today on the Guardian website is a shor.. bit.ly/huLyI #
  • 15:04 @derekdraper "like many busy families, we are lucky enough to have a cleaner" not many 'non-toff' families I know can afford this luxury #
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Battlestar Galactica is brilliant TV "So Say We All"

Today on the Guardian website is a short and good summation of the TV phenomena known as Battlestar Galactica.

I've watched all of the re-imagined BSG episodes since it first appeared on Sky TV back in 2004. After five years this weekend sees everything draw to a close with the broadcast of the final episode.

I won't go into the brilliance of the series or it's political and social commentary, you can read that in the review and on wikipedia.

I will comment on how refreshing it is that this science fiction series will actually finish and hopefully complete all the plot arcs and answer all the questions raised. Too often promising series have been cancelled mid season leaving views cheated, or they have been dragged out far too long losing sight of their original vision (X-Files anyone?)

Perhaps we will find out what happened to Boxey? (maybe not)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 07:18 Beavers for England? Bet the comics have fun with this story bit.ly/nBchd #
  • 07:30 BlogPost: Links for 2009-03-17 [del.icio.us]: For the first time in 35 years I'm out of work. I didn'.. bit.ly/2IFQ #
  • 10:11 will Radio4 please stop changing the data rate on DAB! It confuses my ancient ModularTech PCI Card #
  • 16:36 RT @Glinner: bit.ly/3hukrY Please retweet this if you agree with the sentiments. My take on the Express/Dunblane story #
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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:33 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/25cUdv #
  • 06:24 RT @markhw42: Hypocritical tabloid hack gets taken down: tinyurl.com/d72kyv live by the sword die by the pen #
  • 11:33 BlogPost: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Isn't The Answer: The Daily Mail has an interesting article tod.. bit.ly/ZU0X8 #
  • 14:13 jobseeker told to cut back on interviews because it was costing too much bit.ly/MNTXs #
  • 15:23 Just read the weirdest story of the day - "woman attacks wife with turkey baster full of her brothers joy juice" bit.ly/QDE6 #
  • 15:28 RT @SocietyGuardian: Society news: Health secretary apologises over damning report on Mid Staffordshire NHS trust bit.ly/tnFeR #
  • 17:33 BlogPost: Formula 1 Rule Changes - WTF?: So two weeks before the race season starts and the World Motor.. bit.ly/XNo7D #
  • 20:03 @derekdraper While CBT might help some it is a cheap 'cop out' treatment in my view - "cheer up things aren't that bad" bit.ly/zSKJ #
  • 20:04 @iaindale Rosk taking? Isn't that what they do to naughty babies? ;-) #
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Formula 1 Rule Changes - WTF?

So two weeks before the race season starts and the World Motor Sport Council decides to change the rules yet again, the driver with the most wins now gets the F1 title!

Teams have been working to develop cars for the numerous technical rule changes brought in for the new season, strategies for the season have been worked out and that work and investment has probably been dealt a blow.

The old system meant that a team and driver who found themselves consistent but not quite up there with the fastest cars could at keep themselves in contention with lower places, but not now. One strong team and driver and the whole championship could be decided at the half way point.

The BBC have listed past F1 championships that would have had different outcomes with these new rules and apart from last year where Ferrari and Massa lost the championship on the last bend of the last race (with the added embarrassment of the world watching them celebrate prematurely only to then realise they had in fact lost it) you have to go back to 1989 to find one!

So Bernie Eccleston wants more overtaking? Change the rules to allow it! Last year Hamilton and Massa were two drivers who actually tried to overtake and both of them were heavily penalised by over-zealous stewards for racing incidents. Lets not forget many independent observers believe Hamilton was stripped of a vital win in the latter part of last year's competition.

The FIA and WMSC are are often accused of being pro-Ferrari and the cynic in me can't help but wonder if the rule change was proposed and adopted for their benefit (at least they didn't opt for the idiotic Eccleston medals option)

However it might not be quite as clear cut now with the reassurance of the ex-Honda team now re badged Brawn GP who have shocked everyone with their pace during pre-season testing. This coupled with the ban on mid-season testing might give them an edge in the early races.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Isn't The Answer

The Daily Mail has an interesting article today about the pro and cons of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a short-term psychological treatment based on the idea that negative thinking and behaviour can trigger problems such as depression or panic attacks.

During treatment, the therapist helps you identify these negative thoughts - and encourages you to work out a way of looking at things more positively. CBT is used to help with a wide range of mental health and physical conditions, including phobias, anger, relationship problems, sleep problems and eating disorders.

The process was developed by the American psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the Sixties. He believed that our emotions and moods were influenced by our patterns of thinking.

But rather than focusing on past events in your life such as your childhood - as most of the older psychotherapies do - CBT focuses on the here and now.
Fearing the growing recession will cause a depression epidemic, the Government recently announced funding for hundreds more therapists trained in CBT. This is on top of the 10,000 new therapists promised two years ago.

The Mail article features psychologist Oliver James who argues that this is a waste of money as CBT doesn’t work, while psychotherapist Derek Draper argues that it really does transform lives.

James argues that CBT is nothing but personal spin, so it is slightly ironic that the case for the defence is the ex-labour spin doctor Draper.

In the past I have had treatment for depression brought on my death of my father due to cancer and intolerable pressure at work. As well as being prescribed anti-depressants I also had sessions with a therapist, these sessions were in my opinion a waste of our time as she insisted on dwelling on my negative thoughts, poor self esteem and personal relationships rather than the real reason I was depressed which was crippling grief and an unsympathetic employer. The pills and being signed off work were what helped me recover and not the ridiculous hand-wringing navel gazing weeping sessions.

I now know the therapist was using CBT, It was a short course of sessions and involved filling in before and after questionnaires and I agree with James assertions.
If given no treatment, most people with depression drift in and out of it. After 18 months, those given CBT have no better mental health than ones who have been untreated.

Yet the claims that the Government has made for this method have been dishonest. CBT’s inefficacy becomes explicable once you understand just how shallow a form of psychiatric spin-doctoring it is.

The patient is taught a story to tell themselves, a relentlessly positive one. If the therapist is skilled, the patient persuades themselves and others that they are feeling good.

When tested, they often regurgitate the positive story, literally placing ticks in the right boxes of the questionnaires used by researchers to evaluate their mental state.

CBT does have some short-term effect: while undergoing it, people admit to fewer and less intense symptoms. But a few months after the therapy, their negativity forces itself to the surface and they cease telling the positive story.

Re-tested, they no longer tick the right boxes. The initial gains measured in CBT patients are often a simple parroting of what they have been taught, rather than expressing their real state.
Interestingly James backs up his arguments with scientific studies and reports, while Draper who is a proponent of CBT just argues that it works for some people. James acknowledges that fact but his argument is that it doesn't work for sufficient numbers to warrant the investment and the money should be made on different treatments with a higher success rate even suggesting Cognitive Analytic Therapy, or the Hoffman Process.

Whilst driving home last week I caught the back end of an discussion about CBT on the BBC Radio4 PM program, where Oliver James was being interviewed. He made a coherent and strong argument and I found myself agreeing completely with everything he said.

Unfortunately it is now unavailable online but there are plenty of comment on the PM and iPM Blogs.

Just a note, Don't do a Google image search for CBT without a the safe filter on, will make your eyes water!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/B6NAD #
  • 08:10 Hard hitting political debate? Yeah right! More like puerile playground games from the man with 2 MAs don't you know! bit.ly/7Wzmi #
  • 10:12 RT @markhw42: Chris Tarrant arrested... But did his use his one phone call to phone a friend? *gets coat* #
  • 14:38 Catching up with some Radiolab podcasts, just listened to Jerry Coyne's experience of a botfly larva eating his scalp! bit.ly/133lnb #
  • 16:38 BlogPost: I am not a binge drinker - why should I be punished?: Well this weekend we had the ridiculous.. bit.ly/fhhVW #
  • 17:40 jobless to receive £300 for an interview suit! bit.ly/k6F1 #
  • 21:18 I can't help but wonder if the answer is staring her in the face (when looking in a mirror!) bit.ly/LXXO #
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I am not a binge drinker - why should I be punished?

Well this weekend we had the ridiculous proposal for a the introduction of a 'minimum price' for a unit of alcohol to cure binge drinking.

However realising the political damage that such a proposal would have the Government are currently back peddling to distance themselves from it.

The problem with the proposal is many people are asking "Why should the majority of the public who are responsible drinkers be punished for the actions of a minority?" It is also obvious that the prosperous in society wouldn't be inconvenienced in the slightest by this "minimum price" so it would be another tax on the law abiding poor.

The price and availability of alcohol are often cited as the main reasons for binge drinking and the anti-social effects it has. Ironically it was this Labour government that relaxed the licensing laws in 2005 to bring 24 hour alcohol availability. It was claimed at the time it would reduce binge drinking, people were seduced by the promised 'cafe-culture' seen in continental Europe.

Well clearly that utopia never arrived and back in 2007 Gordon Brown said binge-drinking was "unacceptable" and that he would "not hesitate to change policies" if he thought this was necessary.

Well despite these promises they seemed to have done nothing, even Cabinet Ministers now admit that they are bereft of ideas on how to tackle the problem, but they seem hell bent on attacking the supply of alcohol rather than demand for it.

The most frequent reason cited for binge-drinking is escapism. Amongst bar staff, patrons, police and alcohol referral workers binge-drinking was viewed as a method by which people could temporarily break loose from their personal and professional responsibilities.

On bar manager was quoted

"People drink to escape their own lives — the problem has been developing over thirty years, it's a release for the working class to forget their hard monotonous jobs"
Perhaps the Government should address this factor? Other societies such as on continental Europe seem able to cope with a drinking culture without the accompanying mayhem we experience in the UK.

Is alcohol now the solution and a scapegoat for the anger, tensions, resentments and inequalities in today's society? Is 2009 society so dystopian that a large number of it's populace think their only means of escape is to drink themselves to death?

God I need a drink!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 23:40 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/i0F8T #
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Saturday, 14 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 23:40 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:33 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/GGyq #
  • 07:30 BlogPost: Links for 2009-03-13 [del.icio.us]: Compromising Electromagnetic Emanations of Wired and Wi.. bit.ly/UP3b8 #
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Friday, 13 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 23:40 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:33 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:37 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/GZWUg #
  • 10:01 What next? Will it turn out he only played Little Big Planet & SuperMario Galaxy? bit.ly/uo32a #
  • 11:04 not a good idea have 3 browser tabs open on Google Reader it was getting a bit confused as to what I'd read or not read bit.ly/CLgo8 #
  • 13:36 BlogPost: What am I doing on Red Nose Day?: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!So it's that time again... is it really .. bit.ly/2VgB15 #
  • 14:56 funniest thing I've seen in ages, a Y-reg Rover 25 being driven by a flat-cap old man with a 'for sale' sign on the back.. £2,100 o.n.o #
  • 17:35 BlogPost: Stephen Fry Eating A Pie: A bit of comic relief from Tart Monkey on B3ta.com bit.ly/nIoS #
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Stephen Fry Eating A Pie

A bit of comic relief from Tart Monkey on B3ta.com

What am I doing on Red Nose Day?



So it's that time again... is it really only on every two years? ...yes it is the nation wide guilt-fest known as 'Red Nose Day' The bi-annual semi-holiday when normal people become all faux-zany for the sake of charity! Schools have non-uniform days, workplaces are full of idiots with dyed red hair - the general public go around wearing ridiculous plastic red noses which they obtained after making a small donation at supermarkets and petrol stations "oh I just fancy a few bars of chocolate, beer and a tank of diesel while I am here"

This year the patronising slogan is "do something funny for money" - while some will decide this involves spending the day sitting in baths of baked beans, I am sure many this year will be thinking "I would rather be doing a job for money!"

As usual the entire evening's output of the BBC will be turned over to the cause in the form of a telethon where celebrities like Jonathan Ross (who reportedly earns £6m/year from the BBC) will bully the watching public to hand over their hard-earned wages to charity!

The 'funny sketches', 'specials' and 'free adverts for rubbish TV programs you would normally never watch' will be interspersed with special reports where celebrities, that have been sent to these deprived countries, can look into the HD-camera with tear-filled eyes and say something along the lines of “your money helped pay for this, please give us some more”

How much money is spent on this sentimental crap? What is the cost of flying a camera crew out to Africa? How much did these celebrities claim on expenses?

This year a bunch of nonentities including Gary Barlow, Ronan Keating, Chris Moyles, Ben Shephard, Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Fearne Cotton, Alesha Dixon and Denise Van Outen climbed Africa's highest mountain to raise money. Even Gordon Brown took time out of saving the world to get in on the publicity bandwagon.

They did raise £1.3m which is laudable but how much did the whole venture cost and who paid for it? I am sure the financial cost of that group climbing Kilamanjaro was huge.

The cynic within me is convinced that many of the celebrities are just involved for the publicity rather than the cause. If they were then I am sure a sizeable donation from their own bulging wage packets would go some way to solving world hunger?

Reading this incredulous report on the BBC News website today about The Saturdays (responsible for this year's atrocious cover version charity single) was the last straw for me
"We're working the hardest we've ever worked to promote a single because it's so important to us that people go out there and buy it because it's for such an important cause."
Bollocks! Not only does the article manage to advertise Red Bull (as a rock and roll drink!) but it also contains this little gem.

First, it is only their fourth single and secondly, the track is for Comic Relief.

"We were honoured to be asked so early on in our career," says Molly.

"We're so happy to do it, and do everything we can to help it. It's amazing we can."

I hadn't even heard of The Saturdays, so getting involved is obviously helping to publicise them and listening to their record they will need all the help they can get with their career, especially as they no longer have the Woolworth's bargain bin to shift their dire albums.

I am sure many of the redundant shop workers would happily trade places and work as hard as them for the money they are undoubtedly going to make on the back of this 'charity work'

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:33 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:37 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/18JPeD #
  • 11:38 Phorm CEO clashes with Berners-Lee at Parliament bit.ly/Pbp91 Why hasn't the Government investigated them? bit.ly/c0oOF #
  • 16:21 @tomharrismp Obviously his expulsion was missed by Sky, The Guardian, C4 and the Press Association as well. #
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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:37 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:34 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/etLZc #
  • 07:31 BlogPost: Links for 2009-03-10 [del.icio.us]: Pipes: Rewire the web The Guardian Open Platform | guar.. bit.ly/1XQrG #
  • 08:25 @r4today Giles Brandreth sounding a bit 'gravelly' on this morning's Today programme. #
  • 08:33 BlogPost: Brown In The USA: Jon Stewart of The Daily Show pokes fun at Gordon Hope Foot and the Yes We .. bit.ly/11quBV #
  • 10:04 @derekdraper doth protest too much, methinks. Why exactly was your account suspended last night? #
  • 12:40 @corrosive6809 Hope it all goes well #
  • 17:00 @derekdraper but your account WAS suspended (we all saw the page) perhaps you could explain why? #
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Brown In The USA

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show pokes fun at Gordon Hope Foot and the Yes We Can Five on their recent US tour.

Describing the Brown-Obama love-in as the classic nerdy white guy and the cool black guy and then showing a clip of Gene Wilder in Silver Streak was inspired

There is a classic line in that scene "We'll make it past the cops. I just hope we don't see no Muslims." Sort of sums up the UK's foreign policy for the last 6 years.

hat tip to Guido Fawkes

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:35 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:34 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:30 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/KVOA #
  • 07:31 BlogPost: Links for 2009-03-09 [del.icio.us]: Discuss and Discover Apps, Books, Games, Movies, and Mu.. bit.ly/B64Nw #
  • 08:07 why does firefox keep refusing to close tabs #
  • 08:33 BlogPost: Games are killing your children!: Change4Life, the government's flag-ship £75m pound nanny-st.. bit.ly/74oL #
  • 13:36 BlogPost: BBC Radio Science Fiction Season: It has been an interesting couple of weeks for fans of sci-.. bit.ly/RgV9d #
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BBC Radio Science Fiction Season

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for fans of sci-fi on the BBC Radio network. The digital only station BBC 7 regularly broadcasts science fiction drama, but has been joined by the mainstream stations Radio 3 and Radio 4 for a season of science fiction. The season consists of new dramas, dramatisations and readings of ground breaking books inspired and written by some of the greats including H.G. Wells, J.G. Ballard, Iain M. Banks and Arthur C. Clarke.

I particularly liked the productions of Clarke's masterpiece Rendezvous with Rama, and Iain M. Banks's State Of The Art. I do agree with Kate Chisholm's review in The Spectator where she laments the loss of the Radiophonic Workshop's unearthly sound effects and audio treatment that were once a staple of radio drama, they would have added a lot to the State Of The Art, but it was enjoyable none the less.

Wasn't quite so sure of the apocalyptic The Death Of Grass drama bizarrely broadcast during Woman's Hour While the story and production had merit I thought the casting of David Mitchell as the narrator wasn't quite right, but then I recently spent several sessions catching up with his comedy Peep Show.

I read somewhere (but have lost the link) that the BBC received a number of complaints about the trailer (above) that they used on TV, seems it frightened a number of children! Not sure it would have got the same reaction as the original Exorcist Maze Game did...

I have embedded a 'copy' as the original youtube video has embedding disabled!

Games are killing your children!

Change4Life, the government's flag-ship £75m pound nanny-state 'health' campaign to tackle obesity may have just made a costly mistake.

Their latest print advert (above) has angered the UK games industry. The advert created by the Department of Health in conjunction with Cancer Research, The British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK, shows a small boy slumped on a sofa holding what appears to be a PlayStation controller - above him is the headline, "Risk an early death, just do nothing".

Condemnation has been universal throughout the industry. Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, the trade association representing the business and commercial interests of games software developers in the UK and Europe, is quoted saying

"This advert is absurd and insulting in equal measure. To imply that playing a video game leads to a premature rendezvous with the Grim Reaper is a non-sequitur of colossal proportions. Alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, obesity and involvement in violent crime are forms of behaviour that risk an early death.

"In contrast, many video games are mentally stimulating, potentially educational and social and some involve physical exercise. 'Brain Training', 'Wii Fit' games or 'Civilisation', 'Singstar' and 'Buzz' are cases in point.

"This advert is offensive to the 30,000 people who work in the UK's video games industry, particularly the 10,000 who work in games development. Game developers are typically intelligent, very qualified and creative individuals who work to produce high quality games for people's entertainment. They are not in the business of driving people to an early grave.

"With nearly a quarter of men and women and almost a fifth of 2 to 5 year olds in England obese we clearly need to encourage a more active lifestyle and healthy diet. It should be possible to achieve this objective without misrepresenting a creative industry of 30,000 people."

Sony are considering whether to sue for the unauthorised use of their controller, James Binns, publishing director at Future, makes an interesting point:

"There is no arguing that the campaign's underlying message about premature death is incredibly important – but the government would never risk the wrath of showing a child sitting still reading a book to illustrate their point."

Picture by Nick Brickett

It could easily be argued that books and TV are much more sedentary, but demonising books was never going to go down well with the ad's target audience of concerned parents. It would also have not gone down well with a famous Labour donor who amazed a fortune out of immobilising children for hours on end, year after year, with her stories of wizards!

The UK games development industry is a world leader, often cited as an example of Britain at it's best, but like many industries is now suffering from foreign competition during the current economic downturn. It has asked for state help and has received little support and for the government to now demonise it as the bogeyman intent on harming children might just be enough to convince companies that their future lies elsewhere.

The Guardian blog article sums it up nicely.

But to many it feels like, once again, games are the soft target, the acceptable scapegoat for hand-wringing middle-aged policy makers unwilling and unable to engage with game culture in any productive way. It's such a lazy cliche and such a convenient get-out clause for a society that's been happy to slowly erode the freedoms of children, turning the education process into a joyless conveyor belt of examination and testing, while outside the playing fields are sold off to property developers.

Childhood obesity is a complex and devastating problem. It needs to be addressed, but it needs to be addressed properly. Giving parents a bogeyman to point at and blame is not the answer, is it?

Monday, 9 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:34 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:30 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/d6u5 #
  • 12:31 Dailymash: Back to basics at Crufts as best in show goes to deformed rat bit.ly/qVpRH #
  • 15:36 Oh noes I haz noe Internets! #
  • 17:45 Ali Bongo died at the weekend bit.ly/1302Hl #
  • 21:24 C4 Dispatches, an easy target tonight - The government wasting billions of taxpayer's money - but still shocking. bit.ly/1UDy76 #
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Sunday, 8 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:30 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:40 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/rff9G #
  • 08:47 @giruff collies who'd have them! Good luck btw! #
  • 09:37 buying a replacement Dyson from Amazon as Eddie the Corgi has choked the old one to death #
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Saturday, 7 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:40 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 23:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/qdu5h #
  • 21:12 settling down to watch some Red Dwarf on Dave #
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Friday, 6 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:40 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 23:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:34 BlogPost: Expensive Car Parts.. bit.ly/q0ko #
  • 08:30 BlogPost: Quote of the Day: John Redwood: Conservative MP John Redwood maintains a very knowledgeable o.. bit.ly/gwyJ0 #
  • 08:30 BlogPost: Crufts Online: Crufts, the world's most prestigious dog show, begins yesterday. This year how.. bit.ly/asHv #
  • 09:21 @markhw42 didn't get chance to listen to it yesterday then? #
  • 09:41 Mandleson getting a good old fashioned 'gunging' Was waiting for Mr Blobby to appear but probably busy with his blog. bit.ly/KcgeF #
  • 09:45 Quote from Skynews "The only thing green about Peter Mandelson is the slime coursing through his veins." bit.ly/KcgeF #
  • 14:21 RT @edwarddavies: How does peter mandleson guacamole incident make second lead on the news? Made 1st item on ITV lunchtime news #
  • 15:33 would someone please shoot Peter Purves, he is completely ruining the #Crufts online coverage with his useless commentary #
  • 20:48 The Now Show a bit obsessed with Miss Trimble? #
  • 21:32 BlogPost: Man held as terrorist for allegedly taking pictures of a man hole cover!: BoingBoing has feat.. bit.ly/PBK4 #
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Man held as terrorist for allegedly taking pictures of a man hole cover!

BoingBoing has featured a worrying report about a Manchester man arrested using anti-terrorist powers for supposedly taking pictures of a man-hole cover!

The police didn't find any photos, but was held for two days on suspicion of planning an act of terror! He was released but his DNA is still held on file, as the biometric of someone who had been accused of plotting a terrorist act.

So much for having nothing to fear from surveillance and control laws?

The following is a television report from the local Channel-M station in Manchester

Crufts Online

Crufts, the world’s most prestigious dog show, begins yesterday. This year however it won’t be on television.

The BBC and The Kennel Club fell out following the controversial documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, broadcast on BBC One last August. It featured shocking footage, such as film of a King Charles Spaniel which was in intense pain because its brain was too big for its skull. The main thrust of the documentary was that The Kennel Club promote physical distortions that are unacceptably cruel to the dogs involved.

Following the broadcast the 40 year relationship between the BBC and with the Kennel Club fell apart. The Kennel Club lodged a complaint with the regulators and following the subsequent public outcry the BBC decided not to screen this year's event claiming that the Kennel Club breed-standard requirements for 14 breeds are so unacceptable they shouldn’t be in the competition at all.

It was a public relations nightmare, the RSPCA and other dog welfare organisations withdrew their support, dog food makers Pedigree withdrew their sponsorship. However The Kennel Club refused to roll-over, although it did tighten up some of their rules on welfare.

The Kennel Club have responded to the lack of coverage by embracing the internet, and via the Crufts Live website people from all around the world can watch free live streaming video of the events taking place throughout the four days of competition this year, as well as a video on demand pay-for-view service.

It appears that the Kennel Club have fairly modest targets expecting around 100,000 people to use the service compared to 4.3 million viewers who tuned in to last year’s televised final. This year David Stranks, head of new media at Sunset + Vine, the company responsible for the online coverage has been quoted as saying: “If the site gets anything like those numbers, The Kennel Club will be over the moon.”

After watching some of the coverage yesterday I actually think the withdrawal of the BBC might actually be good for Crufts, the BBC coverage was often criticised for being banal and concentrated on the presenters rather than the competition. It focused mainly on the 'breed' competitions and there was almost no coverage of the other competitions such as Flyball and Agility which have a massive following draw huge crowds.

The online service allows coverage throughout every day, from 8.30am, and they are showing all the Flyball, Agility, Obedience and Heal Work competitions and demonstrations throughout the day from the main arena. I compete at Dog Agility and can say the response on certain forums and chatboards has been very positive about the expanded coverage of the sport.

Caroline Kisko, a spokesman for the Kennel Club has said “For the future we will be looking at all the different options; we haven’t decided which way to go yet. Broadcast TV undoubtedly reaches more homes, but I think the web will be a big part of whatever we do in the future.”

Quote of the Day: John Redwood

Conservative MP John Redwood maintains a very knowledgeable on-line blog. Commentating today on the governments latest desperate attempt to save the world economy

The government has not merely divorced Prudence but is holding a drink and drugs party on her grave."

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 23:32 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:34 BlogPost: Expensive Car Parts (Part 3): Well my Nissan X-Trail wen.. bit.ly/xyW4 #
  • 10:33 watching CruftsTV on the web www.cruftslive.tv/ #
  • 11:44 watching the V for Vendetta TV speech once again #
  • 12:01 "Heal Work To Music" makes me cringe, the dogs are brilliant but some of the handlers and costumes.... really! #
  • 12:33 BlogPost: Quantitative Easing: So the Bank of England is about to slash interest rates to almost zero a.. bit.ly/r6xmm #
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Quantitative Easing

So the Bank of England is about to slash interest rates to almost zero and "print money" in a desperate attempt to save the UK economy. However the politically correct term is "quantitative easing" a fairly good explanation can be found on the BBC News website.

I fail to be convinced that "creating money out of thin air" and risking inflation can be good for country.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:34 BlogPost: Expensive Car Parts (Part 3): Well my Nissan X-Trail went in for some work today, I've blogge.. bit.ly/51x2p #
  • 22:34 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:33 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/ciBYe #
  • 09:47 Rupert Isaacson on BBC R4 this morning "My wife had to wash her vagina out with vodka" - not something I would expect to here at 9:20am! #
  • 09:49 RT @ANALPILES: Gordon Brown Lost Fake Eyeball at Start of Washington Visit tinyurl.com/c4xwzw #
  • 09:57 RT @thedailymash: Obama obviously has a new watch, says Brown snipr.com/d2fzu #
  • 14:05 RT @TeleRecession: ITV cuts: Could X Factor and Coronation Street be affected? tinyurl.com/dnyboq We can but hope so! #
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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:33 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts.. bit.ly/Fr1hJ #
  • 08:31 BlogPost: Brown out in the cold?: Seems old Gordon Brown isn't going to get the photo-opportunity he so.. bit.ly/yPpPt #
  • 11:32 BlogPost: Some of today's political cartoons: Brown has got his work cut out convincing people as to hi.. bit.ly/YGD6F #
  • 14:41 had to walk home & back lunchtime due to car being repaired, now feeling oddly better for the exercise (4 mile round trip) #
  • 17:14 RT @Cibereconomia: Gordon Brown: Not My Fault - In an extraordinary interview on NPR's morning edition bit.ly/I86xX #
  • 21:08 'Pathetic' Adam responses to John Prescott is.gd/lDVH #
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Expensive Car Parts (Part 3)


Well my Nissan X-Trail went in for some work today, I've blogged about previous repair work before. This time I was sure the rear brakes were playing up again and the car insisted on wobbling around instead of going in a straight line.

Turned out the wobble was due to a broken track-rod and anti-roll bar joint (suspect the dire state of the local roads and a pot-hole were responsible) a couple of new parts and it is all back on the straight and narrow for a reasonable £120 at a local independent repairer. The brakes have been checked and I have been assured are okay.

The car is now over 5 years old and has done a respectable 109,000 miles (approx 175,500 km) and 'she who must be obeyed' is hinting that we really should think about replacing it. I am not so sure, true there are lots of very good deals around at the moment but I still don't want to shell out lots of money and take on any sort of debt.

One thing that was cited in our 'discussion' was that the broken rear wiper motor still hadn't been replaced despite failing last year! So today I decided to do something about it and searched on the Internet for a cheap 'used' replacement (a new one had been quoted at £270!) I googled and found BreakerLink. The idea of the site is you enter the details of the part you are looking for, then the request is instantly forwarded to a network of independent vehicle dismantlers nationwide. If any of the dismantlers has the parts in stock they contact you quoting a price including VAT and delivery. Once you have a few quotes, you simply choose the best quote for you and then contact that dismantler direct to place your order.

I received four quotes within an hour ranging from £75 to £100, I opted for one from a dealer in Manchester, hopefully it will arrive tomorrow for the princely sum of £80. The motor assembly comes off a 2006 vehicle and is in very good condition, we shall see!

Some of today's political cartoons

Brown has got his work cut out convincing people as to his motives for travelling to the US. Not least today's newspaper cartoonists.

Dave Brown - The Independent

Gerald Scarfe - The Times

Peter Brooke - The Times

Steve Bell - The Guardian

Mac - Daily Mail

Frank Boyle - The Scotsman

Brown out in the cold?

Seems old Gordon Brown isn't going to get the photo-opportunity he so desperately desires. It seems the US have cancelled,[2] the classic press conference, you know the one, two world leaders standing side by side surrounded by their flags.

Perhaps the US advisers have seen through the pathetic spin.

Brown claims he is there to save the world again, when everyone knows he is trying to save his own political skin in a transparent attempt to steal some of the 'Obama Stardust'

Maybe the US are sick to death of Brown not shouldering any responsibility for the state of the UK economy instead blaming them for everything, interestingly it seems he is only going to get 30 minutes of the Messiah's time anyway.

I have taken some of today's online news reports and added the mantra that the one-eyed Scottish idiot has spouted for months....

"Gordon Brown has arrived in the US to deliver a 'clear message' to Barack Obama that urgent, worldwide action is needed to tackle the economic crisis, THAT STARTED IN AMERICA"

"Following an EU summit at the weekend, the prime minister said he would take a 'clear message' from European leaders that 'bold global action' was needed to tackle the economic crisis, THAT STARTED IN AMERICA"

"Gordon Brown will today urge Barack Obama to join forces in a concerted effort to prevent global depression as the first talks between a European leader and the new US president take place against a backdrop of deepening financial chaos, THAT STARTED IN AMERICA."

"He is the first European leader to visit the President and hopes to use the opportunity to secure a global response to the economic crisis, THAT STARTED IN AMERICA."

Monday, 2 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:06 wonders why @stephenfry has b.. bit.ly/18XFQn #
  • 07:54 I really need to get my hair cut #
  • 09:55 RT @thedailymash: University Challenge contestant may not have been worthless layabout jijr.com/tWB #
  • 10:31 why the hell do the BBC still use RealPlayer? #
  • 12:12 'complicated' Gilliam film struggles to get a release even with a dead leading man bit.ly/mXzGB #
  • 13:59 Getting angry didn't help me in my last job! bit.ly/2abim #
  • 15:35 BlogPost: A Year Ago This Week: Basil at the rescue centre last yearIt was a year ago this week that we.. bit.ly/QOxj9 #
  • 17:38 BlogPost: People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people... bit.ly/12Rtt #
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People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.

Charlie Brooker has written an article in the Guardian today that has caught the public mood, judging by the twitter storm it created and the numerous links I have seen today, it currently has 300 comments most in full support of the sentiments expressed.
Any abusive relationship tends to end with a long, slow phase of mounting disappointment followed by a sudden, irreversible snapping point. The descent to rock bottom may take years but when you get there, the force of impact still shocks, and it's precisely this shock that gives you the strength to walk away. Take smoking, for instance. You can light up for years, hating yourself and the habit a little bit more with each accumulated puff, yet remain hopelessly locked in nicotine's pointless embrace, until one day you find yourself scrabbling through the kitchen bin, picking potato peelings off a dog end because it's 11pm and the shops are closed and GOD YOU NEED A FAG . . . when you catch sight of your sorry junkie-arsed reflection in the shiny bin lid and undergo an epiphany of self-disgust, vowing to quit there and then.

I bring this up because I suspect that across the country, people are undergoing similar epiphanies every day. Not about cigarettes, but politicians. My personal snapping point was reached last week, at the precise moment Jack Straw announced the government was vetoing the Information Tribunal's order for the release of cabinet minutes relating to that whole invasion-of-Iraq thing. Come on, you remember Iraq: that little foreign policy blip millions of us protested against to absolutely zero avail, because Straw and his pals figured they knew best, even though it turned out they didn't and - oops! - hundreds of thousands of lives were lost as a result. Remember the footage of that screaming little boy with his limbs blown off? Maybe not. Maybe you felt a shiver of guilt when you saw that; guilt that you hadn't personally done enough to prevent it; should've shouted louder, marched further. Or maybe it stunned you into numbness. Because what was the point in protesting any more? These people do what they want.

They do what they want, these people, and you and I are cut out of the conversation. I'm sure they're dimly aware we still exist. They must spot us occasionally, through the window, jumping up and down in the cold with our funny placards . . . although come to think of it, they can't even see us through the window, since they banned peaceful protest within a mile of Parliament.

Instead they pick us up on a monitor, courtesy of one of the 15bn CCTV cameras that scrutinise our every move in the name of security. On the screen you're nothing but a tiny monochrome blob; two-dimensional and faceless. And that's just how they like it.

Straw and co blocked the release of the minutes, claiming that to actually let us know what was going on would set a dangerous precedent that would harm good government. Ministers wouldn't speak frankly at cabinet meetings if they felt their discussions would be subjected to the sort of scrutiny that, say, our every waking move is. In other words, they'd be more worried about the press coverage they'd get than the strength of their arguments.

Well, boo hoo. Surely craven pussies like that shouldn't be governing anyway?

Having pissed in the public's face, Straw went on to shake the final drips down its nose, writing a defence of the government's civil liberties record in this paper in which he claimed "talk of Britain sliding into a police state is daft scaremongering, but even were it true there is a mechanism to prevent it - democratic elections . . .

People have the power to vote out administrations which they believe are heavy-handed." Thanks, Jacksy - can I call you Jacksy? - but who the hell are we supposed to vote in? Despite a bit of grumbling, the Tories supported the veto. Because they wouldn't want cabinet minutes published either.

It's all over. The politicians have finally shut us out of their game for good and we have nowhere left to turn. We're not part of their world any more. We don't even speak the same language. We're the ants in their garden. The bacteria in their stools. They have nothing but contempt for us. They snivel and lie and duck questions on torture - on torture, for Christ's sake - while demanding we respect their authority. They monitor our every belch and fart, and insist it's all for our own good.

Straw wrote, "If people were angels there would be no need for government . . . But sadly people are not all angels." That rather makes it sound as though he believes politicians aren't mere people. Maybe they're the gods of Olympus. Maybe that's why they're in charge.

Thing is, they could get away with this bullshit while times were good, while people were comfortable enough to ignore what was happening; when people were focusing on plasma TVs and iPods and celebrity gossip instead of what the politicians were doing - not because they're stupid, but because they know a closed shop when they see one. But now it looks as if those times are at an end, and more and more of us are pulling the dreampipes from the back of our skulls, undergoing a negative epiphany; blinking into the cold light of day.

Consequently the police are preparing for a "summer of rage". To the powers that be, that probably just means more tiny monochrome blobs jumping up and down on the long-distance monitor for their amusement. Should it turn out to be more visceral than that, they'll have no one to blame but themselves.
The cock draining article written by Jack Straw that Brooker refers to has attracted over 630 comments many of them giving it to Straw with both barrels. It really is starting to look like the preparations being made by the Police and the MoD are not an over-reaction. People are really starting to get angry about everything, their rights, their liberties, their money. Scary times indeed.

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people." — Alan Moore(V for Vendetta)

A Year Ago This Week

Basil at the rescue centre last year

It was a year ago this week that we re-homed Basil, a handsome little terrier dog. Initially things went well but it became obvious he had some behavioural problems. Basil would be loving and relaxed one minute and then would flip for no apparent reason and become aggressive, unfortunately often targeting our old boy Charlie, they both ended up at the vets a number of times to be stitched up and treated.

We gave Basil second, third, fourth, fifth.... chances and went out of our way to modify his behaviour with training and activities but following yet another unprovoked episode in September where both Charlie and my wife got badly bitten, requiring treatment at A&E, we said enough was enough and sadly had Basil put to sleep.

We made the decision following consultation with the rescue centre and our vet we all came to the sad conclusion that his brain really wasn't quite wired correctly, or his wiring had been damaged by abuse in his past. We were aware that Basil had been re-homed previous to us taking him on and had been returned due to 'nervous' aggression, something I witnessed at our very first meeting, but we thought with our active 'doggy' orientated lifestyle and experience that we could cure him of it. Sadly we were wrong.

Despite these episodes Basil had some excellent times with us, visiting the Lake District, the North York Moors he'd been on the mountains, fells, moors and beach as well as attending load of agility and other dog shows. He had a big pile of toys he loved to play with, He really was a sweet, handsome little dog unfortunately with this unpredictable Jekyll and Hyde split personality, we loved him to bits and it was a hard, heart-breaking decision to make.

When I racked with grief and remorse I made this small video to remember him by.

Last year was a horrible year as we also lost our two old dogs Toby (in May) and Fred (in October) to old age and illness. Toby was over 17 years old, he had lived with us for 15 years and Fred was 14, living with us for 11 years.

Toby and Fred asleep in happier times.

Since then we have re-homed another dog who was gifted to us by an old friend. Eddie is a lovely Pembrokeshire Corgi puppy who whilst being a full five-generation pedigree has got an overshot top jaw and has developed a wavy long coat which is not in keeping with his 'breed standard.' None of this will prevent us giving him love and an active long life.

Eddie just after we re-homed at the end of October

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Daily Twitter Posts

  • 22:31 BlogPost: Daily Twitter Posts: 22:06 wonders why @stephenfry has blocked me? # 22:32 BlogPost: Daily Tw.. bit.ly/LFPxg #
  • 12:55 currently updating my stations/podcast feeds for my internet radio at www.reciva.com #
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