Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pat Condell: The Gathering Storm

Some reports have the Euro collapsing by Christmas and the Foreign Office seems to be of a similar opinion.  If it goes, then the whole rotten Empire comes down shortly afterwards.  Five years ago, I gave the EU 15 years to go.  Looks like I was off by 10.

A history lesson

A UKPA headline:
UK ponders response to embassy raid
Ponders?  Here's an idea for anyone down the Foreign office, if they care to listen:  Take a page out of the old Soviet play book and tell the Iranians what Brezhnev told the Iranian ambassador after he was invited (i.e. frogmarched in his jammies between two large KGB agents) to a meeting at the Kremlin in 1979 after the American embassy fell (I paraphrase, but he wasn't kidding).  "Students? *&$%!  I know it was you and if our embassy is touched, I will vapourise Tehran."

Nobody touched it.

Britain defenceless until 2030

What we could be again, if we choose.
According to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Britain's two aircraft carriers (actually, only one because the other will never see service) won't be fully operational until 2030–and even then won't be up to the job.

This is intolerable and there is no reason for it.  For a small fraction of what we waste on the European Empire, "climate change" and Socialist nonsense, we could be fielding a half dozen carrier groups built around Nimitz-class equivalent nuclear supercarriers commissioned inside of ten years and not even feel the pinch.

Britain isn't in decline, she's being murdered.

Mouse in My House

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Moving Platforms

The idea of feeder trains handing off passengers to expresses that never stop is interesting, but I can't help feeling that it requires too much technology that has to to work exactly as planned in exactly on schedule every single time.  Frankly, I see a lot of stalled feeder/express pairs clogging up the lines because they couldn't uncouple safely before the turn off.  Also, this would only work if the entire infrastructure of the railway system was not just replaced, but redesigned on a basic level and then rebuilt from scratch.  Given the already staggering coast of rail travel and its unpopularity, only the Chicoms would be crazy enough to buy this.

The ironic thing is that Priestman invokes the Internet as his inspiration.  What he seems to forget is that the digital networks, like motor cars and aeroplanes, aren't as dependant on massive infrastructure as railways and telephone systems.  We live in an age where a Third World country can have an entire telecommunications system installed without stringing a single wire.  Odds are, the transportation system of the future will be based on cars and planes: Intelligent, flexible systems where the components and software  they run on are more important than the roadways and airways.

Marmite spill

A lorry overturns on the M1; spilling 20 tons of Marmite.

Authorities reported  airlifting enormous quantities of buttered toast for the clean up.

Up in arms

Speaker John Bercow blows £15,000 of taxpayers' money on the ghastliest coat of arms ever seen.  The College of Arms must have wept en mass when they learned that they'd been commissioned to create a parody gay rights poster more suited to the set of a sketch comedy.  I particularly like Cranmer's take on the fatuous motto:
Is not inequality natural? Are we not born unequal? Are not some gifted with genetic advantage? Since complete equality is impossible for all people, the only meaning of the motto can be the aspiration for a reduction in inequality. This being so, His Grace would urge all MPs to treat the Speaker as their equal: not to accord him reverence or respect; not to get out of his way as he walks down the corridors of the Palace of Westminster; not to obey his commands in the chamber; and not to believe he is in any sense superior to them, for all are equal.

Unless, of course, John Bercow is more equal than others.

The Master Mystery: Part 4

Monday, 28 November 2011

Pee play

Captive Media markets urinals with built-inn video games to combat l'ennui pissoirs.

Two questions:
  1. How much beer are these lads drinking that they have time to play the viddies while having a slash? 
  2. Why doesn't the landlord save money and adopt what they do down my local of tacking up the sports pages over the conveniences?

And we're back

Sort of.  I'm well enough to get back to the computer–though it's the netbook and I'm confined to bed most of the day.  It'll be posting as I come across interesting things during the day until I'm properly up and about.

Either that, or a stream of conciousness account of some of the more vivid hallucinations if I get my meds wrong.

Inventions that Changed the World: The Computer

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The first lab-grown hamburger will cost $345,000

How much would you pay for a hamburger? How about US$345,000? No, it's not wrapped in edible gold leaf and held together with a skewer made out of a diamond stick pin that you get to keep. It's an ordinary burger that doesn't include the bun, lettuce, pickles or onions. It isn't even super-sized. This may seem like price gouging on a monumental scale, but it's actually the cost price for this particular burger. That's because even though it is a real hamburger made from real meat, it doesn't come from a cow at all. So where is all this heading? David Szondy investigates the past, present and future of lab-grown meat... Continue Reading The first lab-grown hamburger will cost $345,000

The Day of the Triffids: Part 1

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Blakes 7; The Mark of Kane

Our Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy offering is no longer available, so we're moving on.

Sorry about the inconvenience.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The fat lady sings

Jon Stewart turns on the Occupiers.  How sad that it took him two months to notice what the rest of saw on the first day.

The Next Frontier?

Isaac Asimov visits the first L5 space colony in 2026.

I remember when the idea for these had a vogue in the 1970s.  Then and now it struck me that the whole project was a classic example of brilliant engineering combined with wild optimism and no understanding of economics.  It's like living on an aircraft carrier and never being allowed to go on deck.

Or worse, a small university campus that you can never escape from.  My personal vision of Hell.


Thna't s lot of tobasco
Listening to Schubert (or Mahler or Sinatra) and can't decide what to drink with the music?  Let Drinkify help.

Or just open a bottle of plonk.

Civilisation: Part 1 By the Skin of Our Teeth

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Luminous Airplanes seeks a new format for the novel

Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge is a book that tries to answer the question of how to adapt the traditional paper and pasteboard book to the digital age. How do you take what is essentially a static collection of words and turn it into something open ended and interactive? How do you give it a new digital dimension? Mr. La Farge's answer is to turn his novel about a content manager returning to his boyhood home in the Catskills into an experiment in hypertexting or, as he prefers to call it, "immersive" text. Read More

Luigi Colani: Curves and more curves

Over at Dark Roasted Blend, you can look at a retrospective of the work of designer Luigi Colani; a man who  has a pathological hatred of straight lines.

15 cool spy gadgets

The Art of Manliness looks at 15 real-life spy gadgets from the Second World War and the Cold War.  Small wonder that the man who was the inspiration for Q was unimpressed by his fictional successor's work.

As a side note, one bit of trivia they missed was that some of the maps printed on silk were made with invisible ink and passed off as handkerchiefs.  The downed pilot could make the map visible using a chemical that he was guaranteed to have with him in unlimited supply.  Though it did make the map smelly.


Yanko Design (The DREADCO of the design world) now gives us Autonomo; a plastic motor car that packs so many high tech features that you almost, but not quite, forget that it's a maze car out of Logan's Run.

Three interesting features:  First, it incorporates photovoltaic cells for no logical reason given the tiny area they cover.  Second, the outer shell is biodegradable, which is greenspeak for "prone to rot".  And third, to use this, you have to sit on the floor, which means that it's about as undignified and uncomfortable to get in and out of as an Italian sports car.

Star Cops: Little Green Men and Other Martians

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Future Shock

Inventions Wanted

We actually had one of these for Carl the Cattle Dog and Little Ann, but after a few months of hitting the lexan flap at the speed of an express train they'd pretty much reduced the mechanism to scrap.

So it ends

Not a moment too soon.

The NYPD give the final Downtwinkles to the Occupation.

The Phrase 'Rape and Pillage'

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Time to wrap up the show, lads

The Occupation isn't doing too well now.  They've been pushed out of Oakland by riot police, not to mention Portland where 50 of them were arrested (three for possession of explosives) and the Seattle branch scored a beautiful own-goal by attacking their own supporters.  Though, I think that the prize must go to Occupy Harvard where no one actually showed up except two policemen and a pair of photographers.

To cap it all, comic book artist Frank Miller has a message for the Occupiers:
Occupy’ is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America. 
Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy. Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism. And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.
That would be a Down Twinkles.

Update:  Not just explosives, but explosives made into weapons banned by the Hague and Geneva conventions, which makes the Portland Three terrorists.

San Francisco to Oakland in five minutes

Why you'd want to go there at all is another matter.

Ireland: Where free men are now livestock

From the BBC:
Health Minister Edwin Poots has said he will consider banning smoking in all cars and not just those with children as passengers.
Dear God, Why don't they just drop the pretence, herd us into pens and start selective breeding?

The Master Mystery: Part 2

Monday, 14 November 2011

The enemy within

Mr David Cameron, the traitor and leader of the illegal junta that is occupying Britain, is going to destroy the British Army:
As many as 10 of the existing 36 infantry battalions and five of the 11 Royal Armoured Corps regiments could be lost as the Army cuts up to 16,500 posts in the next three years.
I was going to say "decimate", but that only means getting rid of one in ten.  This is wholesale disarmament. We have got to get shot of this villainous political class or there won't be a Britain left to save.

Go on, taste it

Nice box, though
The world's most expensive tea, at $69,000 a pound is made from the finest, hand-picked...

Panda poo.

That's a lot of money to shell out for a practical joke.

And they're ungrateful clingers, too.

Maybe they're just following His example.
Mr Barack Hussein Obama says that Americans are "lazy".

Instapundit says that Mr Soetoro turning out to be the next Jimmy Carter is the best case scenario.  Frankly, I think we're in James Buchanan territory now.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Plasma-filled bags could replace the Petri dish

The humble Petri dish may soon be a thing of the past. A team of researchers in Germany have developed a new technique for treating plastic bags with plasmas to turn them sealed, sterile containers suitable for microbiology work with much less chance of contamination than traditional containers. This holds the promise of not only decreasing the possibility of contamination in stem cell and live-cell therapy techniques, but also the potential for cultivating whole human organs for transplant surgery... Continue Reading Plasma-filled bags could replace the Petri dish

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Episode 1

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Russian Mars probe trapped in orbit

Hope is fading for the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars, as the probe has been trapped in low Earth orbit since Wednesday. The 13-ton (11.8-tonne) unmanned spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 9, atop a Ukrainian Zenit-2 booster. Baikonur ground control lost track of the probe when it failed to appear in its predicted orbit. According to the Russian Space Agency, the Phobos-Grunt's engines failed to fire twice, leaving the probe in a low, rapidly decaying orbit. Despite continuing efforts, ground control has been unable to get the probe to respond to commands and can only receive telemetry data from it. If the Russians are unable to regain control, the Phobos-Grunt is expected to make an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, along with its 8.3 tons (7.5 tonnes) of highly toxic propellant and radioactive cobalt-57... Continue Reading Russian Mars probe trapped in orbit

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Thursday, 10 November 2011

SpaceX Dragon to Mars

NASA is looking into using the SpaceX Dragon for a Mars mission that could be cheaper and more efficient.

As I've said before, the real Space Age will begin the same way the Age of Exploration did; not with quirky and expensive experimental vehicles built for specific mission, but with general commercial craft that can do the job in their stride.

Occupy update

Steve Crowder goes under deep cover

The "Occupy" movement is looking more and more like a bowel movement every day.  Here's what they've accomplished:
And on, and on.

Alcohol-free whisky

One question:


Star Cops: Other People's Secrets

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

LA Design Challenge 2011 competitors imagine "Hollywood's hottest new movie car"

Hollywood is not only famous for movies, but for showing us motor cars as they should be. James Bond's gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5, the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bullitt's indestructible Ford Mustang, Marty McFly's time-traveling Delorean and all of the incarnations of the Batmobile - these are the cars we walk into the dealer's showroom hoping to see, but never do. They exist nowhere except on the screen or as movie props. So what will become "Hollywood's hottest new movie car"? That's the question posed to automotive designers in the 2011 L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge. Drawing on the latest technology, decades of design experience and a healthy dose of imagination, here's how designers from major car companies have met this cinematic challenge... Continue Reading LA Design Challenge 2011 competitors imagine "Hollywood's hottest new movie car"

Maybe it's time again

The Bill of Rights
Over at EU Referendum, guest poster Sandy Rham gives a potted account of the Bill of Rights that holds this interesting observation (emphasis added):
Lawyers will try and persuade you that since GB has no written Constitution it has no Constitution. This is not so, we have 'Constitutional Documents' of which by far the most important are the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights 1688, the result of James II demise. The reason these carry more weight is that in both cases the Rule of Law had broken down and the documents represented the conditions under which the rebels would give their Consent to the Rule of Law.
With the illegal Junta in power and her majesty unwilling to dismiss them, the rule of law has certainly been tossed out the window, so maybe it's time that those conditions be announced again.

Red Arrows death

Unfortunate accident or the result of defence cuts?
The second Red Arrows death within three months occurs at RAF Scampton when the Hawk T1 trainer's ejector seat fired on the runway.

Normally, I'm of the watch and wait mind on this sort of thing, but given the criminal (and I do mean that literally) cuts the RAF has suffered, I want the Red Arrows' maintenance budget gone over with a fine tooth comb and if there's been any skimping, then I want to see prison sentences handed out–and as high up as possible.

Burn, heretic!

Like the 10:10 video that preceded it, this one shows where the heart of Environmentalism lies–in a place that Comrade Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky would feel right at home.

Allegiance to the Welsh

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Junta robs Britain to pay Brussels

From the BBC:
The UK could potentially give up to £40bn to the IMF to help the global economy, Treasury Chief Secretary Daniel "Danny" Alexander has said.
Marvellous.  It's bad enough that the illegal junta lead by the traitor David Cameron acts like it's keeping New Labour's seat warm for them, guts the constitution on a bizarre whim, and cuts back the defence budget to the point where the seas around Britain are literally undefended; now they want to take enough money to build an entire nuclear-powered carrier group and hand the lot over the European Empire via an IMF money laundering scheme.

Now we know where their loyalties lie and it isn't with Britain.

God help us.

Decline is a choice

Proof from the Telegraph that the EU is a dead tyranny walking:
Beekeepers face being driven out of business by a European court ruling that pollen must be listed as an ingredient of honey.
No wonder the Empire has to go cap in hand to the Chicoms!

It speaks to the heart

For the grown up eight-year old; a pocket case with a cigarette compartment, writing tablet, telescoping pencil, stamp container, five-inch rule, lighter, pocket knife and watch.

It's utterly ludicrous and impractical and I want one so bad that it hurts.

The Master Mystery: Part 1

Monday, 7 November 2011

Meanwhile, back at the lab

Swiss scientists create "cyborg" yeast.

When asked why they did it, they got a bit sulky and started mumbling that they were just "cocking about".

Eleven minutes late

Escaped lion at Shepley.

But it's the conservatives who are the mob

I love it when the camera swings and we see how tiny a collection the 99 percent are.

Let's have the run down:
Bear in mind that this lot is endorsed by Mr Barack Hussein Obama and the leaders of his party and that the MSM have given them glowing coverage.  My favourite is the hoary old line that the "demonstration was peaceful until the rioting started".  That's like saying "The Luftwaffe were on a peaceful flight until they started dropping bombs on London".

The more I look at this nasty little echo of 1968, the more I believe that this is the true face of the Left* laid naked.  Hopefully, we'll be paying attention this time.

*At least, the foot soldiers that the Political Class have abandoned.

Update: Felony arrests, "Shut down Burger King"...

Update:  The MSM's double standard and the "urban Burning Man festival".

Update: Unemployed puppeeters who can't find jobs in their field.

How to Build a Nuclear Submarine

Friday, 4 November 2011

How to publish a fanzine

Add caption

For those of you who prefer to remain way behind the curve.

Soviet Future Past or there's a tractor in your future

Interesting, but a bit too Five Year Planny for my tastes

Faking it

How they shipped all this to Mars dominates the first third of the film.
I see that the European Space Agency's fake Mars mission is about to end.  That means it's time to dust off that screenplay I've been working on.

The premise is that just before the fake mission to Mars was about to begin, the Mars simulation gear develops a glitch that would have meant scrubbing the mission.  Fearing embarrassment and  a loss of credibility, ESA tries to cover up for the failure of the fake mission by actually sending the team to Mars to send back videos from the "fake" red planet.  Unfortunately, now that the "mission" is over, the crew knows too much and has to be shut up.  Permanently.

I think it's got box office potential.

The Body in Question: Part 7

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Blackberries... of the FUTURE!

A Blackberry future without Blackberries.

I agree with a lot of Mim Bits's points.  I'd even go farther about this is another example of people stuck in offices using a supped up version of Powerpoint to distract them from the depressing fact that they're working in offices.  But I do have a few questions:
  1. Why the deuce don't they think more about what people actually need?  I'd be content if windows opened up and videos played as fast and reliably as they do here.
  2. Does that little, badly designed smart phone project the graphics on any surface or do I need to install "smart" furniture all over the place just to set up an interface?
  3. Instead of locking out the stolen phone and wiping the memory, why doesn't it do something useful?  I'd suggest a coil of primer cord installed in the phone.  One keystroke and I'd hear a satisfying WHUMP off in the distance.

History of the Eagle Transporter

Gavin Rothery looks at the lineage of one of television's stalwart science fiction spacecraft.

Via Dark Roasted Blend.

Zaphod Beeblebrox, call your service

Extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake
Popular Science posts a map of the Universe that confirms what I've always suspected:  It revolves around me.

And I didn't have to go to the Frogstar to confirm it.

Star Cops: A Double Life

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Shenzhou docking is good news for China's manned space station plans

Two unmanned Chinese spacecraft, the Shenzou 8 and the Tiangong 1, have rendezvoused and docked in low Earth orbit. With this, the People’s Republic of China took a step closer toward fulfilling its ambitions of becoming a major space-faring nation. If this mission continues to prove successful, China will be on the road toward its goal of building a manned space station by 2020. Read More

Luxury at 40,000 feet

Born Rich looks at the world's most luxurious airlines.

Nice if you've got the dosh (and you'd better have a heck of a lot of it to throw around), but I remember a time when I could get a third class seat and still be treated as something other than two-legged cattle.  True, I understand the economics at play, but I can't help feeling that something else has been lost by both the providers and the purchasers of today.  Airlines do everything short of putting up wooden benches and scattering straw on the deck while passengers show up dressed like sloppy children and acting like them as well.  I often wonder which is encouraging which.

oh, for a more civilised age.

Beats walkies

Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!

Britain defenceless

Thanks to the insane budget cuts inflicted on the Royal Navy by Mr David Cameron's illegal junta, there is no longer a warship available to defend Britain's coasts.

We are right in it.

Declining respect for the elderly

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Belgium surrenders to the darkness

About as useful for light as the other "alternatives"
Belgium's government announces plan to shut down the country's nuclear reactors in favour of "alternatives".  And I'm betting that they don't mean coal or gas.

The lights are going out all over Europe–metaphorically and literally.

Productivity Future Vision

"Productivity Future Vision";  winner of the creepy title of the year award

You can tell that Microsoft produced this; a collection of not very well thought out designs overloaded with features that are confusing, buggy and aim at solving non-existent problems.  The last thing I want is a kitchen counter that has to download the latest software updates before I can chop an onion.

Don't get me wrong.  I love digital gadgetry.  It's what allows me to make a living as a writer and if netbooks and wifi had been around 30 years ago, I'd have said, "Screw the PhD".   However, this is farcical overload.

Moral of the story:  iPads have their place, but I'm still tucking my Moleskine and pen in my jacket when I leave the house.

Breaking chains

Over at the Spectator, Ian Milne looks at what steps would be required for Britain to declare independence and leave the European Empire in two years' time.

Actually, two years is 729 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes too long.  All we need to do is vote to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and we're out.  The rest is just house cleaning.

Some critics have pointed out that leaving the Empire would mean a nightmare of negotiating an avalanche of bilateral agreements to replace those with the Empire, but I prefer a simple solution to this that is also a neat little twist of the knife.  Instead of negotiating new treaties with France or Germany or Poland, Britain should take the euro-tyrants at their word about "ever closer union" and refuse to recognise the existence of any of the member states.  We could simply close our embassies in Paris, Berlin, Madrid or wherever, expand the one in Brussels and appoint a new ambassador to the Empire.

You want a meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Sarkosy?  Sorry, he doesn't have time to chat with lowly provincial governors.

Next week: The Master Mystery

Also available as a DVD box set if you're the impatient type.

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe: Chapter 12