The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Buy shares in Reynolds Wrap!

Posted by That Other Mike on 18/01/2009

Trusted since 1947, heavy-duty Reynolds Wrap is perfect for the construction of hats to keep out mind control waves!

Trusted since 1947, heavy-duty Reynolds Wrap is perfect for roasting, grilling and the construction of hats to keep out evil CIA mind control waves!


Le sigh, as they say in France. Or not.

I’m a person who’s interested in politics generally. I try to keep up with the news via a number of source as much as possible, and I frequently read assorted blogs of various political stripes and persuasions, just to keep my ear on the ground. One of the ways I find them is via links on other people’s pages, which is how I first saw Rumproast; another is by looking through RSS feeds and the tag listings on WordPress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Fuck that!

Posted by That Other Mike on 27/12/2008

Age-ratings plan for websites

Websites could be given cinema-style age-ratings under plans by the Government to limit access to “unacceptable” material, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham warned.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Burnham said “clearer standards” were needed as to what could be displayed online.

He said it was his “absolutely categorical” view that there was material on the web – including beheadings – which should not be available to anyone.

He confirmed one of the proposals being considered by ministers to protect children from harmful material was the introduction of age-ratings for websites.

“That would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus,” he said.

Another option said to be under consideration was a requirement on internet service providers to offer a service which would give access only to websites which are suitable for children.

Mr Burnham insisted his proposals were not intended as an attack on freedom of speech, but that some material on the web had gone too far.

“If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn’t reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now,” he said.

“I think there is definitely a case for clearer standards online. You can still view content on the internet which I would say is unacceptable. You can view a beheading.

“There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical. This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people.” Via Yahoo! News

More news available here.

Oh, fuck that shit!

I’ve become more and more disgusted by the Labour Party in recent years; the real deep-seated revulsion towards it began, for me, with the refusal to allow a general election following the leadership contest which resulted in Brown becoming Prime Minister – while not constitutionally required, this would, at least, have provided the party with a symbolic new beginning and at least a patina of the legitimacy which Blair so deftly destroyed.

Further events which have caused me to doubt not only the ability of the Labour Party to govern but also its commitment to civil liberties include the ID cards fiasco, as well as the recent proposals by Jacqui Smith to enshrine radical feminist doctrine into law by adopting a partial version of the Swedish model of regulation of prostitution (a la the boiling frog scenario) something I’ve previously blogged about and which is opposed by more or less every group with a legitimate interest in the matter.

Enough is enough! Under the guise of attempting to protect children, the Labour Party is attempting to usher in a new era of Internet censorship and yet further attack our civil liberties.

Mr Burnham said:

“It’s not about banning or stopping people having that freedom of expression,” he said. “It’s simply about clearer signposting, more information, so people know where they’re working.”

It fucking is about banning! You mentioned beheadings online – if I want to watch a fucking beheading, I’ll watch a fucking beheading. I’m an adult. Don’t try to protect me from my own choices; stop trying to be my parent, because I don’t need one.

As for the child protection angle, don’t make me laugh! You know who should be protecting children from accessing unsuitable material on the internet? Their parents. Until you can demonstrate the influx into the lives of children of beheadings or bestial porn or whatever else you feel like gathering some phony moral outrage over this week in your quest to regulate every aspect of our lives, you can fuck off, Andy Burnham, and take your illegitimate Prime Minster with you. This is just the first step towards actual censorship of the internet, and we will not stand by and let it happen.

If you want to protect children, help their parents; don’t try to be mine.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I am still alive…

Posted by That Other Mike on 22/12/2008

… contrary to any rumours.

I’ve moved house. It’s a much better place. Still shared accommodation, but in this one, the landlord lives in, and so has a vested interest in keeping the place nice. I don’t remember if I blogged about it, but in the the last house, a small drip in the bathroom resulted in the ceiling in the living room falling down. This was November, 2007; as of two weeks ago, new plasterboard was put in. Yeah, exactly.

Anyway, the room I have now is nicer and the house generally is in better shape – less cold, less run down, and the people seem much nicer and more together. Less likely to go bugshit nuts, in other words, which was a problem in the last place.

I don’t have any responsibility for the bills, beyond handing money to the landlord for them.

Altogether, it’s a much better place to be living.

I have also come late to the game and started using Skype for calling the missus; I have the Unlimited World package, meaning that I can make up to 10,000 minutes of calls monthly for £7.99, which is significantly less than what I was previously paying…

It’s a much better situation all round for me right now, and I’m happy to be here 🙂

I’m working Monday to Wednesday in the coming week; not because I couldn’t get time off, but because I didn’t want it. I’ll have Christmas Day and Boxing, because they’re Bank Holidays, but there’s not really much I can do about that. I dislike Christmas generally, and not only for the whole religious side of it; there’s the atmosphere of forced jollity and the requirement that you be seen to be enjoying yourself. I got called “Scrooge” by a couple of people in (partial) jest, and I responded by challenging them to call me when they start celebrating Ramadan or Rosh Hashanah or Diwali, which seems to have done the trick…

In other news, I’ve also moved back to Opera-based browsing, and boy, is it an improvement! I was using Firefox for a while, because anything beats Internet Exploder, but that was really only because I wanted to use StumbleUpon. It was just cranky and kept crashing on me, so I decided to come back to Opera, and what a blissful browsing experience it is. I can recommend 9.6 to everyone.

That’s about it for now, really.

Posted in Odds and Sods, Personal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

McDonald’s Sued Over Woman’s Naked Buns – TMZ.com

Posted by That Other Mike on 24/11/2008

McDonald’s is known for its cheap meat — but after a bad trip to the burger joint, one guy’s wife allegedly became cheap meat.

McD’s just got served by a guy who allegedly left his cell phone — which contained nude photos of his wife — at the Arkansas restaurant, only to find the nude pics posted online.

Phillip Sherman was assured by employees they’d keep the phone safe, yet the photos — along with Sherman’s phone number and address — somehow found their way onto the Internet.

The couple claims they had to move to a new house to get away from his wife’s new stalkers. Sherman wants 3 mil for their troubles.

via McDonald’s Sued Over Woman’s Naked Buns – TMZ.com

Hehehehe… I know I should be sympathetic towards the woman, and I am, but I can’t help laughing just a little bit at her husband’s stupidity.

You can bet your arse that if I were to have nudie pics of my wife, they wouldn’t be accompanying me on a visit to a fast food joint, and they certainly wouldn’t be on something that I could accidentally leave lying around.

Posted in funny, news, Odds and Sods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Big Love, Small Love

Posted by That Other Mike on 12/10/2008

I’ve just recently been thinking about polygamy and gay marriage.

Big LoveThis has come from a number of different directions — I’ve been watching HBO’s Big Love via the On Demand service that comes with our cable TV.

The series is about a polygamist family of fundamentalist Mormons living secretly in a suburb of Salt Lake City, and the various troubles and difficulties it brings to them, both personally, professionally and in terms of their religion.

The series takes an even-handed look at the issues raised, not judging in favour of or against the practice. Of course, it also makes for good television; conflict is the root of all storytelling, and the conflicts between the public personas and private lives of the family create a lot of conflict.

Another source of inspiration has been the interwebs, as usual: in a recent comment to a post on my wife’s blog, for example, Truthwalker posited the following in regards to governmental influence and involvement in the subject of marriage:

I personally think that civil union should be the law. For everybody. Any two people, male, female, straight, gay, or sexually inactive, should be able to enter a legal relationship with the consenting person of their choosing where one person is the primary bread winner and the other does more non-monetary work.

Leaving aside the problematic assertion regarding one partner being the breadwinner and the other the housekeeper1, this also brings up another question: why should it only be two people involved?

The final source of inspiration, of course, has been the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Connecticut regarding the civil rights of gay couples. In a divided opinion given on the 10th October, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the State’s Constitution required that the government extend marriage rights to gay couples, by virtue of the State Constitution’s equal protection clause in Article 1, Section 20.

One of the commonest tropes used against gay marriage is the assertion that it will lead to all kinds of horribleness, like polygamy, bestiality and even child marriage.

Leaving aside the fact that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, let’s take a look at some of the countries which have created gay marriage rights in the past decade or so. The Netherlands enacted same-sex marriage rights into law in 2001, Belgium in 2003, followed by Canada and Spain in 2005, South Africa in 2006. Norway is due to follow in 2009, after 16 years of civil partnerships. The following countries have created civil partnerships: Andorra, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay. The status of civil partnerships in these countries varies somewhat, with some having only partial rights while others are identical in all but legal name to marriage, with entirely identical rights, such as the UK, where people routinely refer to civil partnerships as gay marriage, legal titles notwithstanding.

Opponents of gay marriage have, as we’ve said, predicted all kinds of social doom and gloom as a result of various court rulings and laws creating the appropriate rights in law; various groups are trying busily to reverse them, as in California Proposition 8, all of which efforts are happily meeting with fierce opposition.

No such terrible consequences have occurred in any of the countries which have enacted gay marriage or civil partnership laws. You still cannot marry your dog, three of your friends, or children; . It’s almost insulting, really, to think that opponents of gay marriage think that people will fall for this kind of stuff, and none of these mooted dire consequences are likely to occur; child marriage and bestiality both fall under the heading of cruelty and meaningful consent, to a degree that most people find the very idea respulsive.

Likelihood of its occurrence aside, how do we object to new concepts of marriage like polygamy while freely assenting to the concept of gay marriage? Isn’t that contradictory and even hypocritical?

I would argue that it is not. While the institution of marriage is by no means perfect and acts in some ways as discriminatory towards single people, it does perform a useful social function: it provides for at least minimally stable homes for children; allows for people to express a solemn commitment to one another socially with a formal commitment; allows for the pooling of financial resources and shared prosperity; allows for partners to make legally binding decisions on behalf of children and loved-ones in the event of need; allows for partners to provide for each other in the event that they die intestate, and so on.

The extension of marriage rights to gay people simply broadens the categories of people who may marry each other, in much the same way that extension of interracial and interreligious marriage did. It provides for more stable families and couples, and as such, carries benefits to both the individuals involved and the society in which they live.

Polygamy, however, does not do this. While gay marriage simplifies, polygamy complicates. All the benefits of marriage, such as stability, combined financial responsibility, power of attorney in difficult situations, simplified inheritance and so on, all of these are unneccesarily complicated by the addition of extra members. What if the wives2 disagree over who should have power of attorney when their husband is in hospital? Who decides who inherits what in the event of a death? While these are not insoluble problems, they represent a big enough sphere of difficulties to argue against enshrining officially recognised polygamy into law; they would create monstrous legal headaches, and the alleged benefits of polygamy would be far, far outweighed by the problems caused. That’s even leaving aside the issue, frequent enough in the past to remain a possible future concern, of young people entering polygamous marriages before the age of consent or even too soon afterwards.

While I’m concerned for the right of people to live as they wish, I can also see a valid point of distinction between leaving others alone to conduct their private affairs as they see fit and making them into legal entities. I cannot in all honesty see that the enshrinement of polygamy into law serves individuals or the society they reside in, practically or otherwise.


1This is troubling to me, I must admit; not only because it buys into the idea that there should be strictly defined roles within marriage, but also because it’s profoundly unrealistic. The “traditional” ideal of marriage which social conservatives most fervently posit as orthodox marriage fails to admit that this model was only true for a tiny minority of people across a short period of time, and it is even more irrelevant today, when two-income families are the norm.
2I say wives here because it seems that most advocates of polygamy seem really to be advocating polygyny rather than true polygamy per se.

Posted in Odds and Sods, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Day 11: Stuffed Peppers

Posted by That Other Mike on 11/09/2008

Sorry about yesterday’s rather lacklustre post, folks. I was dog tired and couldn’t do much more than list tofu types. I know my wife is liable to worry that it’s related to the diet, but the fact is that I worked like a mofo yesterday and was just honestly tired. I actually feel more energetic on this diet than I have for a long time, although that may be down to the huge carbohydrate intake.

Speaking of which, I started the day rather badly on that account, eating a white bagel. Eeep. Except it was a tomato and Mediterranean herb bagel, which I consider reason enough to break my vow of carbstinence.

Lunch was no better. I don’t even want to tell you. It wasn’t anything spectacularly good for me, I will say.

And so for dinner I decided to do something a little better. I’ll be having a vegetarian classic: peppers stuffed with couscous, with salad on the side.

Read the rest…

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A metallic aftertaste

Posted by That Other Mike on 08/09/2008

Well, I’ve downloaded Google’s new browser, Chrome. As part of its quest for world domination an ever larger share of internet viewers, Google has announced the beta release of Chrome.

The reason given for the development of Chrome was the changing nature of the internet – which is fair enough. The web has gone from text heavy to crude picture heavy through to dynamic content, such as Flash, YouTube and so on. Chrome was envisaged as a modern platform for this new internet.

It works, to a point. The features and look are taken piecemeal from various sources – the browser incorporates various stylistic pieces from Vista, Opera and so on. There are some useful things – if you don’t choose a home page, the browser loads your most often visited sites, a concept borrowed from Opera’s Speed Dial feature. It also shows your recent bookmarks, with a button on the page to show all of them in a drop down.

There is tabbed browsing, of course.

The interface is quite minimalist and stylish, in a kind of Apple through a blue filter way. There are no menus cluttering up the top, only two icons for drop down menus: one holds preferences for the particular page you’re on, the other for the browser itself.

There are only five buttons – back and forward, refresh, home and bookmark. One minor niggle is that there isn’t anything approaching the fast forward/rewind buttons of Opera, or the ability to choose which page to reverse or forward to, as in Mozilla. Hopefully something like this will be rectified or worked around in future releases.

Another small thing which irritated me a little was that there isn’t really anything to accommodate things like StumbleUpon, Digg and so on. You can create them as bookmarks, which will show in the optional bookmark toolbar, but there’s nothing like the StumbleUpon toolbar and there doesn’t appear to be even the option to add toolbars at this stage. This is puzzling in a browser which is aimed at users of Web 2.0, although hopefully this is simply down to its being beta.

Overall, it doesn’t seem to be a bad program so far. It has a number of features going for it which will make it popular among the webbish community: it is stripped down and clean in style, and will appeal on that front, as it looks pretty cool. It is also pretty fast to load pages, and apparently has built in security features, such as an option called Incognito, which autodeletes cookies and history every time the user closes the browser. It is also open source, which I think has practically every code geek in the world salivating; a Linux version is planned for the near future.

It won’t threaten IE any time soon amongst the general public, I think. It’s still a little too webby, a little too stripped down and missing some features which would make it more popular to the internet users who use the web primarily to shop or book holidays.

Myself, I’m not convinced by it just yet, not totally. It’s a little too beta for me right now, but I’d be happy to try it again in the near future when it’s been a little more developed. For now, though, I’ll stick with Firefox, if only for the functionality it has that Chrome currently lacks.

Posted in news, Odds and Sods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

My interview with the Pakistani Spectator is up…

Posted by That Other Mike on 28/08/2008

… over here.

Posted in news | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I shot a man in Reno for purposes unidentified

Posted by That Other Mike on 23/08/2008

Nothing much going on lately. My old boss is back from maternity leave after a year.

Anyway. We’ve just done a large mailshot from the office of over 1000 letters. A mailshot of 1000 may not seem a lot to some of you who’ve worked in mailing houses or large corporations, but it is a fuckload when two or three of you have to fold and stuff the envelopes by hand…

It’s a bit of a primitive method, but there you go.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Odds and Sods, Personal, Work | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

My wife is a smartie…

Posted by That Other Mike on 19/08/2008

I knew my wife was smart. Quite apart from the marrying me thing, she also comes up with some damned good ideas.

Following some recent issues with sploggers and scrapers, she’s decided to make a copyright notice.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Odds and Sods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »