Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Hang of Music: I Review Because I Must

OK, this is going to be an early one, as today is a day full of busy busy BUSY!

However, there’s always time for a good introduction. Sadly, though, I still haven’t got the hang of how to write these intro things, so I’ll get right to it – this week, I ‘ave been mostly listening to Laura Marling’s second album “I Speak Because I Can”. Give her a listen on the way down.

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Another reason not to live in the Red States.

Or, god forbid the worst should happen and the Republicans get back in, any other part of America. Especially if you have ovaries.

I know it’s news to all of you that politicians can talk out of their asses, but Mitt Romney, one of the frontrunners for the leader of the Republican party leadership*, apparently doesn’t have even basic sex education. And you wonder why they keep trying to take it out of the curriculum over there…

He seems to think that life “begins at conception” is a reasonable stance for a political leader to take. I mean, people can still HAVE sex, so long as they use protection, i.e. a condom – who uses anything other than a condom? – and is lucky enough for it not to break.

The thing is though, this has the worrying effect of banning most other forms of contraception, namely the pill. Rachel Maddow puts it best:**

Now that you’ve got your head around the problem, and why he’s being an idiot, try to understand what this woman is saying without laughing/crying/both, plus throwing up a little in your mouth.

(Wait for it – the idiocy/speaking part starts at 0:44)

I knew you couldn’t do it.

Yeah. Just yeah.

My main problems?

“Science confirms that a person is a human being at the moment of fertilisation.”

  1. No. Science says no such thing. At best, we’re still a little hazy on what constitutes life, and at what point a foetus is alive. At worst, science will declare that that bunch of cells over there shares none of the common features with people.  Hell I’ve heard philosophical arguments for life that rule out children up to 9 years old as people. I mean, they weren’t good arguments, but they made their point.
  2. That’s a conflationof terms. “An orange is an orange the moment it grows in a tree.” Person and human mean the same thing, more so than baby and adult, which is what you’re really saying.
  3. But worst of all, by granting instant and equal rights to that foetus… Just think about it. Adults have lots of rights. Babies very few. By calling babies, foetuses, children, whatever “persons”, you are diminishing the meaning of the words “human”, “person” and “rights”. These have set meanings, and if you start claiming that anyone and everyone, regardless of age has equal rights, then you’re going to cause a lot of fucking trouble for everyone. Apparently kids can vote and need to be held responsible for their actions as adults now, because they are persons, and persons have agency.

Well, maybe that last one is a bit farfetched, but believe me, there’s more than enough mess there. What with the whole “wrestling the rights of half the population to opt out of carrying our spawn to the ground and stomping on them.”

Wait, I said “our” I don’t have to put up with this. I can just (continue to) live in another, more sensible country! Where the politicians are too feeble and too spineless rather than too powerful and too mad.

* What is the title for the leader of the party in America. No, I can’t be bothered to google it.

** When I watched this, I had to run through a load of her other videos. Yeah, she’s awesome. Yeah, I’ll add her to the neverending list of news sources/interesting people on the internet. Sigh.

Passing the time… with ROCK!

I’m in the process of finding out, the hard way, that putting on a radio program to go on in the background whilst you are writing essays is not a good way to be productive. At all. Especially when it’s playing Iron Maiden (“2 Minutes to Midnight”, interestingly), Rammstein and The Beatles.

And all combined with musical anagrams! I swear they’re compulsive. At least it’s not sudokus – my only weakness. Or Rubik’s cubes – my other, only weakness… Amongst my weaknesses…

The radio program is Whole Lotta Rock, a show maintained by my friend and colleague in awesome musical taste, Jess Petty, a regular commenter on here. It runs on Forge Radio on Fridays at 7, as she points out, but is now online! So go listen to her cloudcasts.

[beat]

…  I’m avoiding work by going onto the internet and writing blog posts about the things I can’t work while listening to… My life just hit a new low.

[beat]

OH NOOOOOOOOO!

Well, we’ve got an interesting few hours ahead of us…

It’s now 8 o clock, and the world still hasn’t ended, despite what Harold Camping says. But there are still 4 hours to go – there’s still everything to play for.

I predict that before I’m capable of hitting the “publish” button, Sheffield will be drowned in a wave of meteor shows hot enough to glass this whole sinful city. I mean, it’s Climax down at the student’s union later on tonight – surely “the best LGBT night in Yorkshire” is enough to draw the Lord’s ire.

 

"FUCK YOU, SOUTH YORKSHIRE! THIS TIME I'M COMING FOR BLOOD!"

… Nope?

You’re reading this?

Clearly Harold is a deluded idiot with no idea how long a legacy of Doomsday Cults have come before him and have uniquely FAILED to destroy the planet. I just hope no-one kills all their family and tries to sell me their worldly possessions in the meantime.

Either that or he’s forgot to carry the one, and will back again in 6 months with another prediction

We all know the LHC is our best bet at a secular apocalypse anyway.

Gaming as an Art

Over the past few days I have been pretty obsessively covering the back catalogue of Extra Credits. For those of you who do not know what they do, well… It’s hard to explain. As they detail in this video, they are NOT a video game review program. Nor do they do gaming news. I’m actually struggling to decide what it is they do.

The one thing I do know is that they DO games. Seriously. The amount that the Extra Credits Crew knows about gaming, within the industry and without, is astronomical.

The reason why I mention this is because I’ve just found the episode where they discuss reviewing, and it’s surprising how much of what they say travels over from gaming reviews into, say, music review.* And they articulated the reason why I don’t use a 1-10 system in reviews: because in those systems, anything less than 6 is a bad review.

Anyway, watch it here:

Frankly, I just wanted to post one of their videos, and this seems like one I can easily justify. However, I recommend you check out some of their other videos, including how (not) to make decent female characters, what games can teach us about ourselves, and why EA’s marketing strategy sucks. They really know what they’re talking about, and are insightful and level in their dissection of problems and long term goals for gaming.

I especially recommend this to you if you think games are childish, immature and violent. I dare you to watch this.

* Although they did once point out that “trying to examine the entire spectrum of gaming history [would get] overwhelming really quickly.” I have no such limits. Shit.

The Hang of Music: Riming Slang

Or, alternatively; I rime, all the time – I am a poet, don’t I know it. Oh, I am so funny…

At any rate, I have been listening to Iron Maiden, and this is their “Powerslave”, feat. Sammy T Coleridge.

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Now this is cool…

And not just because it’s using superconductors and frozen nitrogen. I am thoroughly impressed, and want to see it being used to run trains tomorrow. I’m serious.

When was the last time science lived up to our expectations? Tell me when!

Maybe tomorrow, with any luck, I’ll test out some of their other videos for similar awesome.

(Via the Cephalopod Lord)

The Seventh Seal; Asking questions is good, even if you’re asking the Grim Reaper.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a lecture where we were discussing the philosophy of Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”, when I encountered something which made me have to bite my tongue to stop from arguing up a storm with the lecturer. I thought I’d lay it out for your attention, and your opinions on the matter.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, “The Seventh Seal” is a film set in the dark ages, centring on Antonius Block (as played by Max von Sydow, one of the coolest names I’ve heard), a knight returning from the Crusades to a country plagued by the Black Death. As he lands, shipwrecked on the shore, he encounters Death himself. In an attempt to prolong his life, he challenges Death to a game of chess. And so it begins…

If you can't guess, Death is the guy on the left.

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You learn something new everyday…

Well, when I heard Charlie Brooker accusing our dear Prime Minister of being a lizard, I was naturally skeptical. However, he has thoroughly responded to my criticisms, and those of others, in the most acceptable way.

IS TOO!

So, David Cameron is officially a lizard. Wow… I never would have guessed. It sounds too strange to be true.

So it must be!

I wonder what he looks like underneath his skin? I don’t know; I mean, I’ve never met the man. (You can tell because he still has his face and left arm.) But I think that this seems like a suitable approximation.

Somewhere in that speech bubble is a subtext about gutting the NHS.

 

All of this makes perfect sense! Now I know what was going on all this time. And if anyone makes any alternative claims, I have now been informed how to ask “How do we know?” and fact check sufficiently. Thanks, potholer54!

(And also Lousy Canuck.)

False Alarm… Maybe.

Well, sort of. A few weeks ago, there was that whole buzz about neutrinos travelling faster than light, otherwise though impossible. Do you remember?

Well, finally, after hundreds of papers suggesting mechanisms for why this has happened, or what was going wrong in their experiment, someone has put forward an explanation that seems to make sense.

It seems to make sense because, amongst other reasons, it uses phenomena we already know. Such as the speed of light.

Ronald van Elburg, of the University of Groningen, is he who has put forward a very helpful and sensible seeming solution, described here and here. His original statement is here.

Long story short, though? Their clocks were off, due to tem both relying on the same, radio-wave based satellites. Lovely and simple, and the fantastic thing is that the calculations imply that if that were the case, the readings would be out by 64 nanoseconds; the readings themselves beat the light barrier by 60 nanoseconds. 1-UP’d!

I get the feeling that regardless of how many people refute this, it’s going to go down in bad sci-fi legend for any B-movie that wants to break the light barrier. Please prove me wrong, Hollywood.*

Regardless, this could all be too neat, and we haven’t found a definitive answer yet. It just looks like we have.

My thanks to Lousy Canuck for pointing this out to me.

* That said, at least it would show that Hollywood listens to ACTUAL science.