25 Feb 2011

Maybe al-Qaida Aren't That Bad

They give you coffee and hallucinogenic drugs (if Gaddafi is to be believed).  It does seem reminiscent of decadent western behaviour, but then, when were they ever consistent?

18 Feb 2011

Dear BBC

Whilst your top brass have decided against using the term 'electoral reform' in describing the planned AV referendum, you don't seem to mind using 'First Past The Post' to describe the current system.

Could you explain precisely what 'post' the winning candidate 'passes'? 45%? 40%? Oh hang on, they don't pass any post.  I can understand why you do not use the rather academic 'simple plurality' term, but how about something more suitable such as 'the present system' or the (somewhat inelegant) 'winner takes all'.

15 Feb 2011

Vericola Exposed

After the 'Mark Stone' affair, its interesting to see a case closer to home.

Rebecca Todd, the CEO of private security firm Vericola accidentally outed herself as a spy by errm... copying in activists by mistake when sending an email from her Blackberry.

Amongst their targets were Climate Camp, London Rising Tide, Plane Stupid and Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Sheffield Indymedia have the story here (along with embarrassing photos).

In the 80's it was MI5 that tried to infiltrate trades unions and campaign groups.  2011 is all about corporate spying.

Shop your local spook!

13 Feb 2011

7 Feb 2011

France and Germany

Have suspended arms sales to Egypt.  Bit late now, one might argue, but better than nothing.  The UK on the other hand has not, probably due to our sales to Egypt being worth millions of pounds, and sales to the region being worth far more.

If the Blair/Brown governments were bad, then a new adjective should be created for the current one.  I hand the floor to Gerald Howarth MP:

"This government has been very clear from the outset and so have I: we are proud to support the biggest defence exports drive in decades"


We've had the May Day holiday since the 4th century.  Jim Callaghan tied it in to International Workers' Day in the 1970's.  Now the Tories want to ditch it.  Well not completely: they want to move it to October and rename it UK Day.

What balls.

It more like they were itching to get rid of it for being linked with lefty causes.  The reason actually given is to help tourism and extend the holiday season. In which case, why not both?  We have among the fewest public holidays in Europe, and we tend to have them in quite bizarre places (why don't we have one in July when the weather is at its best?).

Another option would be to have regional specific public holidays like Spain do.  We could have Yorkshire Thrift Day, where we demonstrate our character by not shopping and trying to make ends meet.  Clogs are optional.

A UK Day is a stupid concept.  Considering the United Kingdom has only existed since 1921, it doesn't seem worthy of a day of patriotism.  And patriotism sucks anyway.

6 Feb 2011

Raves and Capitalism

"In the rave there is a scream of refusal, a breaking of windows, a walking in the wrong direction, a creation of social relations on a basis other than money. This is what I call a 'crack' in capitalist social relations: a conscious or not-so-conscious misfitting, a refusal-and-creation, a refusal to go with the capitalist flow and an attempt to establish life on a different basis here-and-now.

In the rave there is a contradiction between fitting and misfitting: a tension between 'let's get the kids off the streets and give them a good night out' and let's explode against a world in which the reality principle is identical to money'.  How do we relate to this tension?  Which side do we take?"

John Holloway

3 Feb 2011


Men's shower gels and body sprays always smell horrible, consequently, I use ladies ones.

But why are they designated male and female?  As far as I'm aware there's a glorious and inglorious history of perfumes being sought, manufactured and distributed by both men and women, going back around 4000 years.

My only guess would be its probably a combination of psychology (in the same way that pink is a 'female' colour) tradition and chemistry.  There is the wide use of human pheromones such as Androstadienone in the manufacture of scents, however that link there also suggests that much is marketing bluster, as one would expect. 

Conclusion: Inconclusive.

Its also interesting to note that the term Reverse Engineering also exists in the world of perfumery.