Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Music: Where's your tool?
what fuckin' tool?
Thought for the Day:
Vote Liberal Democrat.
-End of partisan broadcast.
I want a better voting system. There would be more point in voting if I could vote for candidates in my order of choice and if my vote helped to create a more representative parliament.
I want a referendum, so that the people can decide how MPs are elected.
MPs talk non-stop about modernising and improving … the health
service, education, the immigration system … strange then that most
of them never mention the voting system.
This is because Britain’s outdated voting system can be relied on to
keep most MPs safe in their cosy Westminster club until they decide to
Did you know that at the last general election:
• only 3% of seats (21 out of 659) changed hands from one party to
• no MP won the support of the majority of their constituents.
• only one in four of electors voted Labour, yet they won another
It's little wonder that millions of people believe that voting doesn't
make a difference.
Politicians shed crocodile tears over voter apathy, and conduct
expensive pilot schemes to make voting easier – while avoiding voting
reform. Massive public interest is needed to persuade the majority of
MPs to reform the system they benefit from.
sign up to the campaign on
Saturday, April 16, 2005
"conceived in prejudice, written in ignorance and ... enacted with incompetence." -Paul Flynn, MP and drugs policy reformer
Friday, April 15, 2005
Mood: Angry and hallucinating
Psychedelic mushrooms are now a class A drug:
The new law will be enforced by the summer. No debate, no discussion, no consideration of the culture which surrounds it, merely the invocation of the blanket principle 'X is a drug therefore X should be banned'. No-one has ever explained to me precisely how that argument functions.
< style="font-family: courier new;">I just popped over to my local headshop
They've swept this in alongside the terrorism legislation, under cover of the election campaign. No-one in the commons would oppose it as no-one can be seen to be soft on drugs at election time.
What is perhaps most enraging is that this is a piece of token legislation which only outlaws mushrooms containing psylocibin. Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric) won't come under the legislation, and neither will Salvia Divinorum, the world's most potent -and naturally occuring- hallucinogen.
Either they haven't done their research, or they merely want to appear to be doing the right thing, without having to actually pore over the minutiae of available entheogens and outlaw every single chemical separately.
'Open Government' my arse.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Robots taking over
Hans Moravec is a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh:
"Robot controllers double in complexity (processing power) every year or two. They are now barely at the lower range of vertebrate complexity, but should catch up with us within a half-century. By 2050 I predict that there will be robots with humanlike mental power, with the ability to abstract and generalise.
"These intelligent machines will grow from us, learn our skills, share our goals and values, and can be viewed as children of our minds. Not only will these robots look after us in the home, but they will also carry out complex tasks that currently require human input, such as diagnosing illness and recommending a therapy or cure. They will be our heirs and will offer us the best chance we'll ever get for immortality by uploading ourselves into advanced robots."
Chance of super-intelligent robots in the next 70 years: High
Danger score: 8
Professor Bill McGuire is director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London and a member of Tony Blair's Natural Hazards working group:
"Approximately every 50,000 years the Earth experiences a super-volcano. More than 1,000 sq km of land can be obliterated by pyroclastic ash flows, the surrounding continent is coated in ash and sulphur gases are injected into the atmosphere, making a thin veil of sulphuric acid all around the globe and reflecting back sunlight for years to come. Daytime becomes no brighter than a moonlit night.
"The global damage from a super-volcano depends on where it is and how long the gas stays in the atmosphere. Taupo in New Zealand was the most recent super-volcano, around 26,500 years ago. However, the most damaging super-volcano in human history was Toba, on Sumatra, Indonesia, 74,000 years ago. Because it was fairly close to the equator it injected gas quickly into both hemispheres. Ice core data shows that temperatures were dramatically reduced for five to six years afterwards, with freezing conditions right down to the tropics.
"A super-volcano is 12 times more likely than a large meteorite impact. There is a 0.15% probability that one will happen in your lifetime. Places to watch now are those that have erupted in the past, such as Yellowstone in the US and Toba. But, even more worryingly, a super-volcano could also burst out from somewhere that has never erupted before, such as under the Amazon rainforest."
Chance of a super-volcano in the next 70 years: Very high
Danger score: 7
Hopefully the Robots will take over first, become benign dictators and politely adjust our respiratory, digestive and immune systems and save us from the volcano.
Or the volcano happens first and wipes out us and the robots, in which case at least the smug robots get a pasting too.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Article in Vogue on youth fashion sub-cultures:
*Style instructions for feckless scenesters*
How to look New Wave: skinny ties, tight trousers, pout
(Picture: Sons and Daughters)
How to look Acid Folk(I shit you not): Maxi-dresses, floral prints, cardigans
(Picture: Joanna Newsom)
I have recently become aware that some of my favourite films of all time have in common the themes of debased male pride and moral degeneracy:
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
I have just read or are currently reading
A Scanner Darkly - Phillip K. Dick
Cain's Book - Alexander Trocchi
Maus - Art Spiegelman
How to be Idle - Tom Hodgkinson
'Prospekt' - Circle
'Feathers' - Dead Meadow
'More Deep Cuts' - Thee More Shallows