Britain's in a bit of a problem. On the one hand, we like being all snug and cosy with the States: our intelligence agencies both share a lot of data, and Britain participates in Echelon, the purported clandestine communications interception network. At the same time, Britain wants to be more of a player in Europe (hard when the Sun reading public are so committed against taking part). Britain wants Europe to be able to beef up its military might, but doesn't want to anger America too much, since doing so may be at the expense of NATO. So what's a country to do, then? The Guardian's Ian Black tries to explain the issues involved.
Christ I worked hard today (self-congratulatory, so don't have a go at me, okay?) And what do I get? My back hurts. Like hell. My fingers hurt. Cambridge city centre loses power for a whole goddamn hour, but my computer flickers for just two seconds and I lose a whole damn load of stuff.
The badminton I played today was crap as well...
Now I'm high on caffeine thanks to the million-odd cups of tea and coffee that I've been forcing down my throat all day, and I desperately want to go to bed, but for some reason, damages are staring me in the face because I have contract law on Tuesday...
It's exam season. Fraught SMS messages are being exchanged between Cambridge and Durham as stress kicks in, with the suggestion that since "Woof" in a scrabble game can get you forty two points, you might as well try to stick the damn word in an essay somewhere (you never know, an examiner might be impressed that you managed to shoehorn an animal noise into an essay on the convoluted land registration system and its inherent problems in England and Wales).
The medics had their first exam today. It's open season on students. If you listen to Simon Mayo's show on Radio One, you're getting tired of listening to year ten, GCSE, A-Level and university students complaining about revising and their exams. I start Tuesday and finish on the ninth. Woo hoo.
I'm having great trouble reading Meg's blog, for some reason my isp (ntlworld) seems to have the most fraught path to her server. So far, I've devised two ways of getting to not so soft... the first involve telnetting into my college's student webserver, running lynx and then reading it through JANET, the academic network--which seems to have a more reliable connection. In a fit of inspiration, I thought I could use Avantgo to get my Palm to read the blog, but then that failed because my dinky IIIe "doesn't have enough memory" to render the page.
I tried to get Lynx to work under Win2k, but it just fell over, so I resorted to reading the install notes. No, I don't want to compile the damn thing. Give me a nice executable, please...
Things that are more interesting than Land Law revision: Watching the Real Time Cambridge Weather java applet on one-second polling interval as the "Rain since midnight" counter rapidly increases... it's pissing it down here.
Wow. I'm really starting to like the Independent (now that I'm fed up with the Times and just end up laughing at the Telegraph and have been reading the Guardian for years), they've got a great People | Profiles section where they ask Amy Jenkins, writer for the TV series This Life, whether she has any tips on how to pull... Perhaps funnier is the interview with Ian Hislop, where Emma Cookson asks "Since you look like a small, bald gnome, why is it that people find you so sexy?"
I've been having the same recurring dream for the last few years, the one when you suddenly notice that all of your teeth are hanging on by slim sliver of gum and they're all just ready to fall out. Well, I finally get to find out what it means.
And yes, I was stressed at the time and did feel boxed in.
I've got the whole set! I've got Luke, Meg and Johanna, so that's one flat down... Right. Who's next?
Luke: "Daily. Doozer. Taking over... the world! Well, beginning with my flat, anyway. Now he's got all three blogs in my household under his spell...where else will he go? Watch out, cities of Europe!"
New hobby: collecting blogs who live in the same house.
I have no problem with Meg using random quotes (and why should I?), but even if I did mind, this makes up for it:
"I find men driving massively erotic. No, I don't know why. And no, not all men. And yes, I am aware that Freud would probably have a field-day with the concept of me enjoying being driven around by a bloke. But we're not playing spot the symbolism, here."
"But the suspicion at Westminster is that this row is more to do with politics than education, with the government keen to strike a popular note in response to recent Tory initiatives on law and order and asylum seekers."
I'm fed up, absolutely fucking fed up of politicians messing around with our education system. It started with Grammar schools and now it's gone on to higher education. Leave. The. Kids. Alone. Stop bringing politics into the mix, introducing convoluted testing systems, and trying to win votes.
The way I see it, the crux of the matter is that Labour wants to get rid of selection and grammar schools because every child is supposedly equal and you don't really need to stream pupils to give them the best chance to succeed. Not to put it too coarsely, but, bollocks.
My ex school, a selective single sex grammar, was selective. It was hideously, hugely oversubscribed. Our sister girls' school, down the road had the same problem, only much more worse. They were--are--good schools, my council happened to have four single sex grammar schools, and they were all popular. Selection needed to go on, because otherwise it'd have been catchment areas all over again. And it's bad enough that parents are moving house to get their kids into a good school...
Education does not need politics thrown into the mix. We don't want populist vote-winning education manifestos messing with our schools and universities, because inevitably, the politicians end up wrecking it for the kids because they just keep squabbling all the time. Labour gets in and changes everything. Then the Tories get in and change everything five years down the line. I don't want this to be repeated ad infinitum.
I also need to practise my writing. This tiny Blogger window's absolutely awful for writing in. This bookmarklet script is really spoiling me.
As a musician and someone who loves gadgets and computers, I've always wanted a digital music stand. You know, high-resolution LCD flat panels, automatic page turning, annotations, built-in tuners... back when I used to be in youth orchestras, we'd have loved someone to have invented one. Well, they have: Designing the muse: A Digital Music Stand. Working pictures (the one on the previous link don't seem to work) are available here.
You might just want to skip down to the specs, quickly outlined here: two 9"x12" high res flat panel touch displays, built in microphone and speakers, integrated hard drive and wireless networking, with built in batteries, automatic page turning, annotation... there's so much!
Ha! Simon Mayo's interviewing Matthew McConaughey about the film U-571 that is opening here next week. They haven't yet got onto the controversial aspect of the plot, though... Sounds like a good sub movie though.
If you're into digital video, then you'll know what a firewire port is (ieee1394, a 200/400megabit/second data transfer specification). You might be slightly annoyed that you haven't spotted a DVD player with a firewire point on, for the main reason that you can't use a perfect digital connection. Well, fret no more - because someone's come up with SDI, which you can use to connect your DVD player up to your digital projector - digitally.
Fallout over the Oxford story, where a "perfectly good applicant" was turned down by Oxford and was subsequently offered a scholarship at Harvard. Yesterday, the warden of New College, Oxford defended the university in a full page article in the Guardian's G2 section, pointing out the difference between entitlement and qualification:
"critics of Oxbridge chronically confuse qualification and entitlement. Just about everyone who applies to Oxford is "qualified". That is, all but about 15% could cope with the courses they want to take, and they'd get out at the other end with an upper or lower second. But teachers and journalists talk as if being qualified was the same thing as being entitled to a place, and it simply can't be. In most subjects, three perfectly good applicants are turned away for every one that can be taken"
Predictably, there was more fallout the next day in the form of the letters page.
One letter writer wrote "Why do so few candidates from northern comprehensives achieve Oxbridge places?" Um... because there's still a north/south divide? Because fewer candidates apply from the north? Do you want proof?
Are you a French teacher? (as in teaching in France, not teaching British kids who don't really want to learn French) Do you hate where you work? Then fake gay love to move jobs. From the typically conservative approach of The Times, you can practically hear the disdain dripping from their lips.
So the Times covers the new Super-broccoli that containts ten times as much sulphoraphane than normal broccoli. The John Innes Centre apparently made the new strain by crossing an ordinary variety with a wild Sicilian relative. The same story is covered by New Scientist, but neither story makes it clear whether the new strain was simply "crossed", and created by selective breeding or whether someone just snipped and inserted a few genes here and there. Given the current public attitude to genetic engineering technologies in the UK(currently about as enthusiastic as gnawing their own foot off), the fact that a cancer-beating broccoli is around the corner will have some people in a bit of a quandry.
BBC News is reporting that a British research team has managed to put together a camera inside a package the size of a pill, with a remote transmitter. Granted, the power of the transmitter isn't very much at the moment, the patient has to wear a receiver and recorder in a package strapped to their belt, but...
Think what you could do with these! Hundreds of them. Tiny. All over the place. You very own remote compound eye, just get them to transmit to a tiny matchbox sized receiver with a huge amount of disk space for all those jpegs, and then you've got the ultimate in surveilance.
In fact, I'm not excited. I'm just a little bit scared.
Ha. This time last year, my exams had already started.
Darren's sent in the one and only suggestion for the random stuff thrown up on the left, being "My God.. It's full of stars". More suggestions, please!
Some things are just weird. And the other things, when they happen, you kind of just sit back and say "Well, of course, it all makes sense now." About two years ago, I discovered an excellent--and I really mean excellent--Eddie Izzard fan site. I love Eddie. Comic genius, that man, absolutely amazing. So, while looking through prol's site today, I go look and see what else she's done. The Eddie Izzard site. Typical. Bloody small world, this planet...
In lieu of interesting stuff today, here's a weird dream that I had on the 25th May last year:
"Okay, I woke up this morning with the weirdest dream running round my head. It involved being trapped on a coach with a load of my friends, and everyone going slightly mad, with me being the only person who wasn't affected. I went over to the coach driver, who was smoking the world's largest spliff and he was way out of it and not much help. I had to get out of there. I managed to get Kate to lend me her mobile since everyone was freaking out, and told one of the sane-ish people that I was going to get help. So I jumped off the coach, found myself on a ferry in the middle of the sea, and then there was a big fire door that was slowly inching its way to the ground (with accompanying klaxon and flashing lights) which I had to dive through - to find myself bobbing about in the water.
"Anyway. I managed to get out of the sea, and then turned up at the gas station. There was a McDonalds type place there, and they were refusing to serve any food. But there was a weird guy in a cubicle, so I decided I had to kill him. Once I had, I found a really, really small razor blade that I coated in wood so that I could swallow it. This made sense at the time
"I wasn't really getting anywhere. Transport would be a problem - and exactly where was I planning on going? God knows. I eventually managed to find a police car and broke my way into it, driving away at high speed. The thing was, the police car had a special "police seat" beside the driver's seat that had to have a policeman in at all times, otherwise they'd know I'd stolen the car. By now, though, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was snowing. There was about two inches of snow on my windscreen, and it was at that point that some police cars started pulling up.
"Then - the view cuts to outside and I've escaped. I don't know how, but there's policemen looking round the car, scratching their heads in a dopey way. I was just about to find out how I escaped when I woke up. Doesn't that suck?
Bloody hell. Go read through my archives. Particularly the 1999 ones. They're damn good, if I do say so myself. This blogging thing's been terrible, I've gone from nice wordy, well constructed, nicely sarcastic posts to pithy one-line comments. Terrible. I'm going to have to do something about this.
While my trusty blue Ericsson is being repaired, I've been loaned a Mitsubishi Trium Astral. I don't like it. It's massive, it's heavy, it's clunky, and, most irritatingly of all, its key mappings for SMS messages are completely different. What was nice - and completely unexpected, was that my old phone had stored my address book on my SIM card, so everything was there when I used the Trium for the first time.
In fact, the most irritating thing is that the phone doesn't have a silent vibrate mode, and I'm stuck with a phone that makes a sound to attract my attention. I'd gotten used to vibrate mode, since it never disturbed anyone (and for the first week or so always used to scare the shit out of me).
I discovered from Jason Kottke, and he's got a great quote:
"I'm no communist, mind you. Not by a long shot. I just think America as a society has a lot to figure out, especially as a world leader. We need to educate our citizens, stop watching Sally Jesse What-the-hell, and start thinking, for crissakes. Sometimes I think the human race is sliding right back into the primordial ooze. It doesn't have to be that way. We should expect more from ourselves."
Doesn't just apply to America. Applies everywhere. And as the only pratical superpower, you Americans have a duty to do something about it. Unless, of course, all you're really interested is in the redistribution of my money from my pocket to your pocket.
Bah. I hate the greed culture. This is obviously the disaffected student within me speaking again (note the ill-disguised irony and hypocrisy, since I'm gunning to be a corporate lawyer...)
Now that I've managed to set aside my shock as to the Salon redesign, a pick of their stories: Camera on a chip is about CMOS technologies for ultra small imaging devices (shoehorn the buzzwords in), warning: exiting womb - are you sure you want to proceed? is a story about 21st century real-life dialog boxes (very funny), including "Are you sure you want to buy stock in a company with no earnings?". A nice article about Symbian bod Colly Myers, just to make sure that all you American people "get" wireless like we are over in Europe.
My college buttery card is a replacement to what was a buttery book -- something that you could use to buy lunch from the canteen and things from the bar with; it worked on credit so you'd sign for a ten pounds worth and then you'd get a buttery book with tear-out monopoly type money. You then used that fake credit money to pay for lunch and stuff at the bar (though you could still use cash). All this got lumped on your college bill at the end of term.
Cunning, right? You'd be in the bar, not have any real money, and be desperate for a drink. So you'd just sign for a tenner on credit. And if you ran out, then you could sign for another... and another... and another.
Of course, all this has changed now - we have a buttery swipe card, that does the same job, but "doesn't work in the bar yet". I think college is going to find that we're drinking slightly less now...
Our house is being inspected tomorrow by housekeepers. That may explain the short man who's roving about the house wet-cleaning the carpets and making a hell of a lot of noise. He also ends every sentence with the phrase "Easy life, easy life..."
Quote: "Sue Finch, author of the booklet, told The Times: "A little bit of competition is fine but with musical chairs the competition is not fair because it is always the biggest and strongest children who win."" (BBC News)
Ooooh. Summer job, being shown round the offices today:
"We would very much like to show you around our office and let you know the details of what we are doing. If you're wanting to work in Cambridge this summer, being paid and getting stock options then get in touch - We'd be very interested in putting you forward to apply for the posts on offer. It will be demanding but a lot of fun and you'll certainly get a lot of job satisfaction out of it."
Meeting's at 3.15pm, I'll let you know how it goes...
I'd like to welcome #now sections to the Doozer. They're on the right hand side of the page in the navigation section, and are for thoughts, music, books and films. Go have a look. Special concession for those of you who miss the goldfish (that'll be Prol, then).
Bedtime. The #now sections were my reward for doing revision tonight...
Meg's hit it right on the head. How did I have time for the Doozer redesign?
Quote: "I don't need more time I need more looming exams. I was never so productive and organised as when I had exams to revise for - although not at doing anything relating to the exams, of course. Example: when I was at uni, throughout the year, my plants would wither from lack of watering. At exam time, they'd nearly drown. The moment of grim realisation that I was procrastinating in an obsessive fashion came standing at the sink one day, when I caught myself polishing the cutlery. Oops."
Why else would I be playing a croquet game at 4:30 in the afternoon? Hah. It's started raining now, anyway!
Maybe I'm just too easily pleased, but thank you Carphone Warehouse! I bought my Ericsson T18 from their Cambridge Branch last November, an absolutely great phone. Until Saturday, when the aerial fell out. Not just the bit that unscrews, but the entire thing. The bit that it screws into as well. Not pleased. Especially considering the fact that I was probably going to have to pay for the repair since the phone wasn't under its 30 day warranty and I didn't have any insurance on it.
But no - the nice bloke in the shop had a look at it, said it obviously wasn't my fault and then offered to get it fixed free under manufacturer's warranty. Great. Only thing is that it'll take about two to four weeks, and they don't have any loan phones in at the moment. Note to anyone who's reading this and text messages me: I won't be able to get them. Not unless I can jury-rig something up between my SIM card, the battery pack, a handsfree set and my recharger, which is all I have left of my phone at the moment.
Interesting: they managed to sell a WAP phone to a guy in the shop while I was there. I don't really see the point of WAP at the moment, but the other guy in the shop was really giving the hard sell. Even managed to talk about DVD at some point (yeah, beyond me, but there you go).
So... I'm mobile phone-less. But happy. Because I don't have to pay a thing...
"Great value, isn't it?" smiles a young girl, downing a £2.49 "TVR" - tequila, vodka and Red Bull - who swears she's just turned 18. "No one can match these prices. We'll have a few here and move on to the bright spots, won't we girls?"
Oh no, not again. Oxford gets in trouble for "rejecting" a undergraduate applicant who went on to secure a £65,000 scholarship to Harvard.
Problem: You're a prestigious university. You receive an enormous amount of applications. There really isn't much to distinguish the candidates, since they're all pretty much straight A students. You have a limited number of places, and possibly less because your funding is being squeezed. How are you supposed to select? Are you supposed to let everyone in? Bear in mind that you're not allowed to be idealistic. This is the real world.
The Times ponders NHSDirect, the future of Britain's National Health Service. One GP's view of the NHS:
"The rationale for NHS Direct and the walk-in centres is that they get the taxpayers engaged. The bits that the NHS does well is accident victims, vaccinations, etc. But some bits it does quite badly and these have an impact on the people who pay the taxes."
Quote: "The patch stops unauthorised programs using the address book but this has caused problems for users of Palm, Psion and Windows CE handheld computers that synchronise their lists of contacts with the one in Outlook." (BBC News)
Colours for the links on the left have changed, hope this is more readable than the previous red, though it doesn't look like it, does it? Suggestions for colours greatly appreciated, since it was Prol who suggested the last design's switch from orange to yellow. Thanks to Giles and Jen for pointing out the readability problems.
Tired. Got cramp in leg at six in the morning and had to painfully resist the temptation to scream out loud. Have a two-hour supervision at eleven o'clock and a collegiate croquet game at half past four. Croquet? What am I doing?! I've got work to do, I don't have time to be knocking round little balls through hoops...
I know, I'm evil. I'm using leftmargin="0" and topmargin="0" tags, and they're the only thing that's breaking the page under Netscape 6.0PR1. My possibly slightly skewed site stats show that about 20% of the readers here are using Netscape, and I'm not willing to show a broken page to 20% of the people who visit.
Are there any equivalent leftmargin and topmargin tags in Netscape? Or am I just going to have to shift my background gif by a few pixels? Answers by email...
Remember being told how strong spider silk is? Remember thinking it'd be really cool if we could make lots of it in a useful form? Well the Guardian covers the story of BioSteel, on sale soon. Quote:
"Large scale production of the super-strong material [10 times stronger than steel], to be known as BioSteel, will begin later this year. The new product has been created by implanting spider genes into a specially bred herd of tiny brown goats."
How dare they! The college housekeepers came round to visit today to do "health and safety" checks. And - shock horror - they stole our traffic cone.
Granted, we stole the traffic cone first, but we had reasons. Chief among them was that we were quite drunk at the time, but as we all know every student house needs a traffic cone. They're incredibly useful, as well as a source of kudos for other visiting students. You can use them to prop front doors open and as half on an impromptu goal. You can even put them outside people's doors so that when they wake up in the morning they fall over them.
You don't remove a traffic cone from a student house. No. Big mistake.
Our twirly rug was removed as well, but Adam justified the housekeepers' behaviour on the grounds that the style of our house has now leapt thousand-fold.
See that? I've hit "the wall", as Darren points out.
"Any weblogger who provides lots of links must hit THE WALL at some point... and I've been certainly struggling with my own personal weblogging wall the last couple of days... So, it's time to dig thru the old bookmarks and come up with some gems..."
Oh, and I'm revising as well. No time. Not enough time.
Get up at about half past seven. Shower. Breakfast, maybe some toast, ceral, cup of tea, read the morning paper. And then - "I'm off to jail, dear." - 'Day prison' plan for delinquents. Bizarre (BBC News).
"Office 10 is expected to be the first version of Microsoft's desktop suite to include speech technologies, a top priority of none other than Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates.
"In addition to incorporating voice recognition of common Office application commands, Office 10 also is expected to include text-to-speech and speech-to-text functions, like dictation and email reading capabilities."
thinkdink not only looks great, but has a great name. I love the word dink. Dink. Dinky. Dink-dink. Dinky-dinky. Think-dink. Love it.
Oooh. Crushes. I have a crush. Don't know if it's safe or not. Probably not safe to talk about crushes when you're in close proximity to fifteen thousand people at the same university as you. Or when your friends read your site.
Ha. But maybe the gossip will get lost in the noise, right?
Sometimes you get a crush and then you're absolutely dying to tell someone, but you can't because it's too hard. But you want to, because you want to do something about it...
Another long, hot day. It's always too hot or too cold or too windy or not windy enough. Sunday just gone was pretty bad - Adam and I were doing our usual two hour badminton session and the sports hall had absolutely no air conditioning to speak of. It was terrible.
Exams start in exactly two weeks, and as a few of you may have noticed, posts have slowed down somewhat. Sorry about this, but I've kind of got other things to be doing now. I'll still try and write one or two things a day, though.
1.There must be a dominant and servient tenement 2.The easement must accommodate the dominant tenement (be connected with its enjoyment and for its benefit) 3.Dominant and servient owners must be different persons 4.Right claimed must be capable of forming the subject matter of the grant
"'It was clear the main aim of the proposed detonation was a PR exercise and a show of one-upmanship. The Air Force wanted a mushroom cloud so large it would be visible on earth,' he said yesterday. 'The US was lagging behind in the space race.'"
Channel 5, lambasted in the UK by the Independent Television Committee not for showing porn, but for showing bad quality cheesy porn, is to start showing a new naked game show, reports the-bullet. That'd be high quality, high-budget programming again, then.
Ever since a valedictorian got stripped because, basically she stripped and showered with five boys, the Christian viewpoint has come under fire for imposing its views upon others... Interesting article and discussion.
"The nearest most British males get to flirtation is the one-man vulnerability cabaret that cries "needy, feed me, give me a good bath" and has all the erotic potential of nappy-changing, its near relative."
Yesterday's news on mobile phone safety hit the front page of The Times, while today's news that the precautions were being taken 'just in case' is relegated to the latter depths of the paper. Because, you see, that's not sensationalist reporting at all. Oh no.
We played ultimate frisbee last night. A few houses on our road have gotten together to play frisbee in the evenings. It started a week or so ago when I went out with Dave B, Dave C and Julie and played until one in the morning in the middle of the street, then we moved over to the park (Parker's Piece) and played with our friends up the road so there were about ten of us altogether. The aerobie arrived on Wednesday, and yesterday Will bought an Aerobie Pro. We now have a proliferation of throwing objects, and a burning desire to lob them into the air.
So we played ultimate frisbee. And now we have to have a rematch. Score last night? Will, Rich, Akiko, Dave B, Adam: 6. Me, Chris, Dave C, Dominic, Harry and Caroline: 5.
I think is a fitting end to the language debate - the UK government is being urged to combat a deplorable monolingualism, with a great quote from Sir Trevor McDonald, the News that Used to be at Ten newscaster:
"Sir Trevor said that Britons were as capable as others of mastering languages, but global domination of English made them arrogant and insensitive to different cultures. 'To use a West Indian expression, it doesn't show respect.'"
The Register, your best source for rumour-mill news covered the BT Network crash story, where it was revealed that educational ISPs were affected. In a neat move incorporating extrapolation worthy of the finest spin-doctoring and induction verging on the hilarious, the Register commented:
"So, BT is responsible for denying our children - and let's be honest, they're the future of this great nation - their God-given right to a decent education."
"It is unfortunate for those in the North that this meet is turning out to be in London, but after all, it was Caroline's idea and I apologise if I may have appeared to have been hijacking it. Next one in the north. I promise."
Via gorjuss, those of you who have a WAP phone can access the BBC's WAP site.
Giles on WAP pretty much sums everything up, in my opinion:
"Although I'm the first to agree that most WAP services are crap, I can see one advantage of everyone jumping on the WAP bandwagon. Which is that when faster, better services come along in the next few years, there will be high consumer demand for mobile content on them. That means there should be a healthy growth in content provision for mobile devices in general, which I think is a good thing."
Whisky goes up in smoke - "A spokesman for the Wild Turkey whiskey company said thousands of bourbon casks had been exploding like gunfire at the peak of the blaze in a seven-storey warehouse near the town of Lawrenceburg." (BBC News).
Eight drug users have died in eleven days in Scotland recently, prompting officials to label the illness "a major public health disaster". They don't currently knoow what's causing the disease... (BBC News)
Someone from Jesus College regularly visits the doozer, and it's faintly unnerving to have frequent readers so close to where I am... Do you mind if I ask who you are, along with the person reading from the Engineering department? Go on, just say hello...
Whoops. prol got a bit annoyed with the back-and-forth of the ukbloggers list when it was just meant to be a small meet in London because she was coming over. I probably had something to do with it, but it's all sorted out now. I think. Meg, can you email me about the details for the Soho club?
People stare in my window. It's unnerving. It's irritating. It pisses me off. I live in a basement room because I was low on the room ballot during the first year (the ballot got reversed this year, so in October I move into a sitting room / bedroom combo sharing a kitchen with Dave C), so whenever people walk past they just have a habit of staring. I've taken to staring back, which I thought would unnerve them, but it seems to have no effect.
One bloke even waved.
I had to resist the temptation to wave back. I'm seriously considering putting a "Stop fucking staring into my room" poster on my window, but then that'd just increase the amount of staring. And probably pointing, too.
It's a no-win situation.
Interestingly, a few days ago I found out I can shoot people who are standing on the pavement from the relative safety of my desk with a super-soaker.
Someone just did it again. Some old woman just stared and started nodding at me. This is not good for my exam stress...
DailyDoozer cruises in at number nine on the list of Power Bloggers. Is this a good thing? It's probably a bad thing at the moment. Oh look--there's a land law textbook. I think I'll just read a chapter of that right now...
There seem to be problems with the ukbloggers list at the moment in that a few people aren't receiving the messages they should be... I'm trying to figure out what's going on, but in the meantime, the messages are still accessible from the site.
UKBloggers June meet update: fourteen list members so far, with Meg suggesting either New Mills in north Derbyshire with a cyber cafe and no doubt gorgeous idyllic rolling countryside, or a Soho club with fab roof terrace and web access. Popular opinion seems to be slightly slanting towards holding this meet in London at the Soho club, with sincere apologies to northerners and especially Lindsay, who will in all probablity be choosing the next meet, provided we're all still talking to each other by the end of June...
What's all this? A UK Blogger meeting? And you don't know anything about it? Then email me for more details, and to sign up to the mailing list.
Full day. Looks like the UK blog meet will be held on the 23rd or 25th June, if there aren't any objections. The list is numbering about ten at the moment, but feel free to check out the ukbloggers page on egroups to find out what we're doing... (only if you're nice. If you're nasty, on the other hand, go away. We don't like you.)
A very full, very interesting day. I got the post of Cambridge University Rag Publicity Officer for 1999/2000 the other day, which brightened up, well, a really nice day. Hmmm. Feel much better. Bedtime, now.
In a rare attempt to achieve some semblance of organisation, I've created the egroups mailing list UKBloggers so interested parties can thrash out the details for the possible June UK Blog meet. Any problems, either join the egroup, or if you can't be bothered signing up, I suppose you could email me and I can sign you up to the list.
I can't hold myself back. Tom jumped into the fray started by Tracy, and I'm afraid that I'm going to have to stick up rather viciously on Tom's side.
Like Tom, I don't have a problem with the increasing homogenization of languages. I don't particularly mind, one of the strengths of English as a language is that it's constantly changing and doesn't have an academie francaise restraining the development of the language. Want to steal a word from another language that you think sounds good and does the job? Go for it! Feel like you need about fifty synonyms for a verb? Take your pick!
Unlike Tom, I find the ideas...
" 1) that those of us who speak British English should not teach our own language [because] 2) all foreign people learning English are interested in only in America, 3) that British English speaking people should adapt their language to make it more comprehensible to those trained in American English while 4) Americans remain culturally unwilling to make any attempt to understand anything that happens outside their borders."
... not merely ridiculous but verging on the offensive, and arrogant in the extreme.
What I also have to take issue with is Tracy's statement that "...Isn't it true that most foreigners (and these were businesspeople I was teaching) are going to be doing more business with Americans than with British?"
Um... well, let's put it this way. There's one country that has a population of about 1.3 billion, and it's slowly waking up to the joys of capitalism as extolled by America. And I'd bet that they'd be impressed if you spoke their language.
I don't want to get into a nasty argument about cultural imperialism and the proliferation of American media. I don't want, particularly, to talk about any perceived or real damaging societal effects. Personally, I think that at the moment I'm a typical student and I've completely lost faith in capitalism (and it's probably a phase I'll go through before I become a corporate lawyer, so the irony and hypocrisy there isn't so much as evident as obvious).
I won't say anymore, on the most part because this is a horribly edited post, and is incredibly off the cuff. I'll write something better structured later...
I'm crap. I can't spell. I spent ages searching for an aerobee frisbee, and came up with nothing apart from about two websites with other like-minded non-aerobie spellers. Note to self: spell aerobie with an ie, and it's easier to find. Now I can buy one. Yay!
Cambridge is in an ntl-serviced area, so pretty much all the students here have got the student ntl package including free local ntl-ntl calls and voicemail. Funny things to do with voicemail, number one: my housemate Natalie has changed her voicemail "username" so that when she dials in to collect her mail, instead of saying:
"Hello... Natalie... You have [x] messages"; it now says:
Funny! Well, at least it had me laughing long and hard last night.
beeb.com is absolute crap. It used to be quite crap, now it's completely hideous. And ICL pay to do it. Since when has beeb repositioned itself as a shopping portal? The words "clutching" "loosely" and "straws" spring to mind with astonishing rapidity. Makes me annoyed that the beeb wastes an opportunity with such a mind-bendingly awful site.
I went on a shopping trip yesterday with Dave and Lydia to pick up a few things to decorate my room. I've found out that I may be fined by my college for the cardinal sin of using blu-tack on my walls to stick my posters up during the past two terms, which strikes me as a bit off since ) you can hardly see the blu-tack in the first place and more importantly, there is a huge damp patch on my wall where where the wall seems to be slowly dissolving itself. I should be fining them.
So: idea of the week was to go down to a few of the student shops and pick up a throw or two, and then hang it to decorate my wall from the two pictures hooks. Not bad. Couldn't find any nice throws, though, so ended up buying a set of red, green and blue curtains and a bamboo stick. Looks excellent. Which leads me on to...
...Obvious differences between blokes and girls. Walking into college witih a two metre bamboo stick got a few bemused glances off my friends, to the extent that I'd end up pre-empting them and saying "Yes, it's a stick", before they even got to asking why I was carrying the stick in the first place. The girls were asking what it was for, what I was going to do with it in my room. The blokes were more concerned with "cool! only forty pence! let's go out and buy about fifty and then build stuff! bamboo! strong yet light!"
It was only a matter of time until we were talking about the Sound of Bamboo. Sorry. Not-so-obscure British pop reference.
Regardless, we are going to be going and buying more bamboo. At forty pence, it's the kind of thing that you can just buy lots of and then have fun with.
Example: when Sainsbury's was having the Bread War last year with the other British supermarkets, the price of economy bread dropped to about seven pence. Seven pence for a loaf of sliced bread. At seven pence, we reasoned, you could buy enough bread to block up someone's doorway and thus bread them into their room, their only solution being to make toast to escape...
The Telegraph has an interesting article about how the internet could have developed as a public funded service in the UK akin to the BBC. Link might not work, as the Telegraph don't seem to have realised that registration is a pain in the arse, and that if I can't remember my password, I should damn well have it emailed to me. And even then, I shouldn't need to fill in about fifteen fields of information just to be able to click-through... Now I'm really annoyed.
The Times has a feature about Leslie Weslock's estranged husband. Thing is, this guy left her by going to Special Services, an agency in New York that "helps men like him to establish new identities and hide their assets. It is run by Stanton Cagney: he declined to comment on his clients' business but a source familiar with Cagney's operations recalls that Edward was helped with a new passport, driver's licence and social security number, which he used to establish offshore bank accounts".
Wow. Major surprise of the day (I can hardly conceal my sarcasm) The Times, BBC News and The Guardian cover Ken Livingstone's expected win as London Mayor. For those of you who want a different perspective, check out the New York Times's coverage (free registration required).
Today's New Scientist links (actually went out and bought the print version today as well)... in-out, shake it all about belly buttons, and a slightly bizarre article about complexity and self-organisation, titled Angels and Mortals.
I'm Dan Hon. I run DailyDoozer, and have done since January 1999. Adrian Hon is my brother. He runs Vavatch Orbital, which exploded onto the blogging scene a few months ago. Vavatch's blog file is hosted on the same server as Doozer, due to bizarre and complicated ftp problems.
To go with the burgers v. pizza story below: "Edoardo Raspelli, one of Italy's leading gastronomic experts, said hamburgers were "vulgar". "Eating is like reproduction; you can make babies in a test tube, but the old fashioned way is more pleasurable," he said."
The winner of the inaugral DailyDoozer PopCulture Quiz is... (drum roll)
Katy Lindemann, year-out-gap-type-student working at the Guardian. Katy wins a link to her brand spanking new blog kitschbitch which I would probably link to regardless of Katy winning or not. But she did. So go anyway.
Second place: Chris Dickson get a link to his PlanetChris, partly because it's exam time again and thus the update on his front page is rendered true again.
The rest of you didn't bother entering. I'm disappointed. And hurt. So, you'd better enter for Day Two of the quiz... Today's question will be posted later on in the morning when a) I'm more awake and b) I've decided upon the question...
... Wow. We have a winner already (all will be revealed tomorrow)... but there's still time to get your entries in to the DailyDoozer PopCulture Quiz (exclamation mark optional) - second and third places are still up for grabs, and though any correct entries after that won't get links (sorry guys), you will all be getting honourable mentions. So get those answers in!
Heads up, kids: It's the DailyDoozer PopCulture Quiz! (Wow. I love InterCapping) Yes, that's right, audience participation on your favourite blue, fish-decorated blog. The first three people to email me with the artist and song from which this lyric has been quoted win... um... a link to your blog! (In lieu of an actual physical prize). Ready?
"You're my last breath, you're a breath of fresh air to me"
Winners will be published tomorrow (Thursday) morning, along with a new quiz.
(Management reserves the right to alter the prize. Errors and ommissions excepted. Lots of small legal print. And no using no pesky lyrics servers...)
BBC News covers exam panic as students are faced with the prospect of unfinished courses. This kind of thing has been going on for years. It's just that students are much more cunning and media-friendly now. Oh, and they're out for blood.
The Stardust satellite finds evidence of complex carbon-based molecules in space.The diagram looks like it's trying to explain something complicated, but if I can remember enough A-Level chemistry, it's just a mass spectrometer.
Picture the scene. Land law supervision nine, on informal interests in land. We're covering question two, for which we've prepared an essay question.
"So, exactly what kind of interest are we looking at here?" - supervisor. "Um..." - me. "Well, is it a licence or a lease?" "Um, a licence." "Well, it could be a lease." "Okay..." [shit. My entire essay was based on a licence...]
Woohoo! Finished.1405 words. Two hours. Not particularly happy with it, but there you go. And now I have to do another essay for tomorrow afternoon, and finish the reading for today's supervision. Yay.
Everytime our eyes meet There's a feeling inside me It's almost more than I can take Baby when you touch me I can feel how much you love me And it just blows me away
- Amazing, Lone Star
And I'd consistently end up feeling really shit. And then force myself to listen to it again and again and again, ad nauseum, on single track repeat. Course, that was when I was naive and fifteen.
So what's the difference, five years later? Well, I can see that Lone Star are a thinly veiled Bryan Adams, that it's populist, sentimental, country-music pap, and that the song's lyrics are basically the result of a tried-and-tested formula. Doesn't stop me from feeling slightly shit. Different reasons, now though. When I was fiftreen, I used to think "Yeah, like that's ever going to happen to me" in a typical teen-angst kind of way. Now that I'm twenty and it has happened to me, I think I'm feeling far more apathetic...
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