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Everything posted by DamnSaxon

  1. 11 of 'em, BM? Well ... (a) Train them up as a football team and find a Russian billionaire; ( Teach them to play music and tour as ... (i) two string quartets and a trio or perhaps ... (ii) the BigMouth BigBand; © Rent them out to other benefit claimants (don't declare the income from this, obviously); (d) Become a banker yourself - great money, no useful skills required; (e) Or of course, there's always Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" ... which one looks tastiest? As for sensible suggestions ... errr ... join the revolution? (PS - Sorry if (e) means you never see your children in quite the same way again. )
  2. Given the deafening silence of the mainstream media on the subject, you may not have heard of the recent resignation of Professor Hal Lewis from the American Physical Society. The Society's stance on AGW is his reason - you can read his whole resignation letter on the Watts Up With That page about it. He describes AGW as "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist" (he was a member of the society for 67 years), and says of the "Climategate" leaked documents "I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist". A serious read, and sobering to think that the integrity of the scientific establishment has declined to the point where one of its top brains feels he has to step down like this.
  3. Well, I decided not to spend my declining years learning "THE most complex thing ever invented" (­© enkelt skapninger 2010). Instead, I cheated. I've got an *oldish copy of Take Command, which for a MS user is a command line on steroids (or, for *x users, just another script interpreter, except it's for MS systems). As it has plenty power, I just wrote myself a TC batch file to filter the huge unfiltered output text files which were my original problem. I blush ( ) to admit that I just wrote my filtering requirements straight into the batch file, rather than designing an INI file solution - inelegant, but what the heck, it works perfectly, 3 - 4 thousand lines down to about 150. * - Mine's v2. I see they're up to v11 now.
  4. Tsk, tsk, Gib. You were doing so well without mentioning "The Jews" and you go and spoil it. There was I, thinking this thread was about the EU. We need something like Godwin's Law. OK. Given that "people like me" believe in the truth of the Douglas Adams quote I mentioned above, there's really not much chance of finding "people like me" running "countries like yours" (which happens also to be mine, btw), is there? "People like me" would prefer to see a system under which the governments of the countries of the world (not just the EU) actually represent the wishes and interests of the people who, in theory, they represent, rather than the wishes and interests of the military-industrial complex which owns them at present. It may be far-fetched to think that any one person can control the EU - or, indeed, the world. However, it is very easy to see that a corrupt crust of "global government" clones - those running the EU, all the "International" bodies like the UN, World Bank, IMF, etc., and most if not all governments - controls a terrifying amount of power and influence, and it's naïve to imagine that such power will ever be used in the interests of ordinary people, rather than in the interests of those who own the clones. Leaders of individual countries may be able to whip up wars on a relatively local scale; leaders on an international scale can destroy on a continental, or even global, scale, and there is currently no system in place to allow us to restrain them. That should scare the hell out of anybody. Gibber, you say that "it makes sense to have rulers in charge of something that regulates and limits their power ..." NO. Absolutely not. It is we, the ordinary people of the world, who must be in charge of regulating and limiting them. One of the best ideas to come out of our chequered British history is the concept of a king - or other ruler - ruling with the consent of the governed. The current option of voting for this or that "party", when all are bought and paid for by those with no interests outside their own greed is not a means of giving such consent. It is a farce. Too many countries don't even get the farce. To make government work, all governmental institutions (global and local) need to be transparently run, so that what they are doing can be seen by all, and unbiased information must be freely available to us all in order that we can exercise meaningful regulation and limiting over the way the world (our world) develops. None of the organisations I mentioned above incorporates any degree of transparency, nor any means of effective regulation by the governed. They are all, in the strictest sense, completely unfit for purpose because of that, and in urgent need of replacement. Of course we need some form of global oversight if humanity is to move forwards without succumbing over and over again to our good ol' reptile-brain tendency to kill off anyone on the other side of some (meaningless) line. We need to learn, as a species, how to work out our differences peaceably, no matter how profitable war may be for the few. We categorically do not need some sort of "global overlord" caste in the pockets of the greediest and most amoral members of humanity, and the EU, as it stands, is merely the European outpost of exactly that, busily working towards just the sort of "Brave New World" which scares hell out of me. We should get out of it now for our own good, and work vigorously against it for the good of Europe. As I commented elsewhere, though, in a country run by the rich for the rich, it's not likely to happen.
  5. Para, there must be better ways of passing the time. But you could submit the idea to TV, now Big Brother's finishing.
  6. Touché, mon vieux parptifoo! Makes you wonder, though ... what on earth can their next campaign be, after infinity? Some sort of Cantorian hierarchy of infinities, perhaps?
  7. I know the theory of it, Gibber. It's the practice that scares the hell out of me.
  8. Good grief. A real life Darwin Award winner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge9VfALthLI&feature=player_embedded
  9. The Race to Infinity? Mathematically speaking, that's going to take a very long time ... [/pedantry]
  10. Having done a fair bit of school bus driving in my time (and believe me, that knocks all the "boy racer" out of you!), I've seen plenty of illustrations of why 20mph limits seem to make little difference. Far too many people seem to think that because they're "experienced drivers" they know better than anyone else what's safe. "20mph? Nah, perfectly okay to do 35 along here." The attitude appears to be that just being behind that wheel gives them automatic total understanding of everything that goes on outside. Even when they're parents themselves, they forget that children, no matter how well drilled, can still forget and run into the road unexpectedly - and yes, the difference between being hit at 20 and 30 mph is very marked. Possession of a driving licence is a privilege, not a right. If you can't keep to the rules of the road, that privilege should be withdrawn, a lot more often than it is. 20mph limit? Change down ahead of it. Get used to the engine pitch at 20, and then keep your consciousness right out there in front of you, where it should always be. Be very prepared to show folk that you can still do an "emergency stop" if necessary. It really isn't difficult. As for insane overtakers, well, at least the ones on two wheels are a darn sight more likely to come off worse if they've misjudged, and IME most of them are very aware of that. I always found that company reps were the worst, their next sale apparently more important than anything, or anyone, else. Life isn't a race. Far better to arrive a few minutes late than never to arrive at all.
  11. I agree with you there, though it didn't make me laugh so much as weep for the civilised country we used to live in. There's a similar sort of "Stasi for kids" scheme starting up in the US. Neighbours looking out for neighbours - ok, good. Anonymous snooping on everyone everywhere - seriously not ok.
  12. Note that it was Ghostrider not Ghostdriver who posted the video. Didn't see any motorbikes getting caught!
  13. There seems very little to choose between having people like those you mention running individual countries and having them running the whole of Europe. In fact, handing them power over even larger areas of the world is probably the worst possible option. "To summarize: it is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it." - Douglas Adams, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" One of the truest political statements ever made.
  14. I hadn't spotted this thread - well done khitajrah for reviving it. I'm another one who suffers from depression, and who knows very well that it really isn't just "feeling low" - you really can't just "keep a stiff upper lip" and "pull yourself together". On a good day, and they do occasionally happen, you can seem quite normal to those around you, but on a bad day you can just sit without moving for an hour or more because just moving to get up is out of reach. When you do finally manage to get up, you realise that your mind has only an hour of blankness there. It's horrible. It feels as if half your intelligence, or even more, has evaporated. I have to agree that medication is at best a holding tactic, not a cure. My own experience of modern SSRI's was very short-lived, as my body rejected them all in short order by sending them straight back the way they went in - the record holder being Seroxat (12 minutes). About the only thing which helps me at all is an old tricyclic, nortriptyline, of which I'm on almost the max dose. I think from my own experience that Twerto's point about "issues" comes in, for sure, some of which you may be aware of at some level, but very possibly some which you wouldn't have suspected. That's where it can be helpful to talk with someone with a bit of expertise in spotting likely culprits, and who isn't going to be as judgmental as friends or family can be. Twerto's other point, though, about an imbalance in brain chemistry, is what I'm looking at at present, and I'll try to outline why. A large contributor to my own "black dog" - and one I cannot escape from - is tinnitus, which set in after an attack twelve years ago. For someone used to lifting his spirits whenever they needed it by listening to music, the effect is shattering. Not only do I have a sound like a dentist's drill piercing my head every waking hour, it's partially deafened me as well as making pain appear at quite normal levels of sound. Listening to music now is an ordeal, and only makes things worse because I know what it should sound like. Over the last decade, my long-suffering GP has sent me to every ear doctor in the area, to no effect, as well as testing all those antidepressants on me. About the only thing these days which keeps me sane is mucking about with my radio equipment, although again, through the noise inside my head, I'm really only able to experiment with types of transmission which no longer require good hearing - pictures, keyboard modes and the like. Now, a friend of mine, after his own physical and psychological crash some years ago, found himself in a similar, very low, state with no apparent help in sight from the experts. He decided to try and work out for himself what was causing it - it was "kill or cure", and as any true depressive will know, you really don't care which. The route which worked for him - which took him a year and a half to get to - was diet. Whether the problem was the increasing number of additives in modern food or what, we'll probably never know, but he discovered that his body seemed to have built up a "food intolerance" response to everything. Fortunately, the intolerance effects only last for a few days, which means that he can't eat any food on two successive days, but can return to it - again, only for one day - after five or six days. He now lives on an astonishingly strict diet cycle - and if he hasn't cooked it, he won't eat it - but is very recognisably a lot closer to his old, chipper self. The reason why I've started wondering whether internal chemistry mightt be driving my own cycle of tinnitus and depression is this. Looking for stuff about tinnitus on the net, after all those experts have failed, I came across a book on it, mentioned on a "comparison" page, which scored 5 stars out of 5, where none of the other treatments mentioned there came close. It's written ... by a nutritionist. And, the killer for me, about halfway down his own page, is that he specifically mentions nortriptyline by name - and that stuff, remember, is in me 24/7. The little cogs in my brain are beginning to turn (even if very slowly on some days), levers falling into place, and, if this book rates 5/5, it sounds very much like he has actually worked something out - in his case, as in mine, via the toxic combination of the cause of one problem appearing to be the effect of the other. He's getting some of my money when I next put some on my prepay card, and if he helps me to work out how to cut through my own "vicious circle" and I note any improvement I'll post some results here as encouragement to others. We all "know" that body chemistry both affects moods and can cause physical symptoms, but how much do most of us really know about how the chemistry actually works out inside ourselves? I know full well there is other stuff contributing at a conscious level - I find the environment of the city very hostile and unwelcoming these days, with security gates and guards everywhere, hardly a square inch where you can scratch your backside without some goon in a concrete bunker recording it on CCTV, and, and ... I get weakness and quite bad pain down one side, where the same attack seems to have brought back some effects of the polio I had as a child: the painkiller for that is another pretty effective way of turning your brain into Blutack, which really doesn't help on a day when the depression's doing the same. But, as I said, I'm going to start looking into my own biochemistry and trying to work out what's going on in there. In me, dammit. I've seen it work in one case, so I can certainly recommend it to my fellow sufferers as worth a try. Kill or cure. I'll let you know.
  15. Barroso describes the EU as "an antidote to democracy". Okay. Where's the antidote to the EU, please?
  16. In earlier times, Any well-bred scientist could teach you in verse.
  17. ^^^ Thanks for the greeting, AT ... I'm a bit surprised to be the next post in the Living Room after it, it now being over a month later. Where is everybody? Skulked off to your bedrooms and playing with your Wiis and Nintendos? Anyway, as I want to tell you about something which is quite interesting but nothing to do with Shetland, a note on the Living Room noticeboard is as good a place as any, so here I go. ------------------------------------------------------- Spare a thouht for Shetlink's DamnSaxon over the next few days, starving in his garret about half a mile from one of the biggest funfairs in Europe. Well, alright, there's food in the cupboard and it's only really a top floor flst, but I'm not going to admit that and spoil the effect. If it's the first Wednesday in October, in Nottingham, then it's the start of Goose Fair. It's been going for seven centuries or so, starting off as a mediaeval autumn market and fair to which people from surrounding towns would drive their geese (hence the name) and other surplus animals, to sell them off before the winter. The original fair was held in the Market Square in the town centre, but it long since moved to the Forest Recreation Ground, which is a walkable distance to the north - and at the end of my road. These days, few actual geese, if any, attend. Over the last week or so, a vast flock of caravans, mobile homes and brightly painted lorries with impossibly complicated steel loads have been descending on the Forest. If you look at the size of the ground on Google Earth or whatever, the fair this year takes up a bit over half of it. The impossibly complicated metalwork on the lorries is unfolded and whacked into position and bolted together, and as if by magic turns into every fairground ride you've ever seen, from traditional Big Wheels, dodgems and waltzers to some of the modern ones which make sensible folk turn green just looking at them. When the rides are running, the turning green can become horribly literal, if that person who's upside down a hundred feet above you has had a bellyful of the local delicacy - mushy peas - from one of the many food stalls before getting on. On the upside, though, you may be able to make off with his mobile when it falls out of his inverted pocket. I have quite a few fond memories of Goose Fairs past, youthful rides with my favourite lady of the day and so on - fairs are really for the young anyway, of course. One of my odder memories is from twenty-five years or so ago, when I had not one but two Snake Girls round, to borrow the use of my bath after the fair was over - not all the fair folk can afford the big mobile homes with all mod cons. A friend of mine was acting as their driver and general factotum that year, and before you say anything no, the other three of us at any point were just sitting around in the sitting room, drinking coffee, smoking, er, fragrant cigarettes and talking cheerful nonsense. They were quite nice girls, who didn't mind at all sitting there in a bikini with huge snakes slithering around them if people were willing to pay a few bob to watch and shudder. The snakes, though distinctly scary-looking to us ordinary folk, were (a) their pets and (b, quite important, this) well fed. A friend saw an extra little entertainment this year. Yesterday, late morning, with everyone nearly ready to go, a Transit van and a small stall appeared at the far end of the Forest, attracting many of the fair folk. What they were selling were all the stuffed toys and such which you can win at the fair stalls - but, this fellow only sells them by the sackful. Yep, that's where they come from, folks - there's a special "Teddy bear trafficker" bringing them in from Teddyland, so they can come home with you. By teatime, he was gone. You'd think that, with dozens of sound systems on the rides, generators and "barkers" pulling in the punters, the noise would be awful, but surprisingly it isn't - it all just merges together into a continuous low drone in the background, and anyway there is a definite end to the evening at 11pm so that we locals can get some kip. When all is over (they've extended it to Sunday this year), there are always a few of us who, while the show folk pack up and go, scour the ground for dropped coins and valuables. I heard of a fellow last year who is supposed to have picked up a couple of hundred quid plus a few dropped mobiles and watches, but you never know how true the story is unless you know (or are!) the finder. I can believe it, though, having picked up a few pennies myself in years past. You have to be up pretty early if you seriously want to find anything! Anyhow, 'tis all up and running now, having opened at lunchtime, so there'll be a "fair" few thousand laughs, screams and smiles around the area for the next few days. So, if you pop out for a peaceful contemplate of the broad Atlantic or the heathery hills over the next few evenings and catch a whiff of the unmistakeable smell of hamburger onions, check the wind. If it's coming up from the south, it's probably just us lot down here in Nottingham having our annual knees-up ... all Shetlanders welcome, bring a sleeping bag and you can kip on me floor ... just don't all twenty-odd thousand of you turn up on the same night! (Edited once to correct a formatting glitch)
  18. GR, there's a thing advertised in an annoying little booklet which dropped out of my copy of next week's Radio Times. It looks about as close to perfection as you'll get. Quote: The amazing Micro Cube speaker for iPods and MP3 players This speaker measures only 2.6cm (1in) cubed and weighs only 16g, yet pumps out 0.8 watts of great quality sound - and the internal battery lasts for seven hours! Charge it via your USB computer port for 1 - 1.5 hours, plug it into the standard earphone socket on your iPod or MP3 player and then listen to your favourite music without earphones. The picture (larger than life size!) shows a small black cube with an earphone plug moulded into one corner, the opposite end having a mini-USB socket and an on-off switch - not even a trailing wire to get in the way. The rrp is quoted as £19.99, or via the RT £14.99 for one or £19.99 for two. I suspect it's only a single (mono) speaker, but with only 1 inch to play with ... Or, get the two and make up a special cable or adaptor to split the channels between them. Amazing. I'd know better than even to try making one that size, but there it is. Has to be worth a mention. (Mods, please forgive this blatant advertising - it immediately reminded me of GR's query, and I have no connection with it or Radio Times at all (beyond buying the RT each week).)
  19. Another one worth keeping an eye on is Openmoko. It's still at this stage a bit of an enthusiast's machine (for which read: you may have to make it work sometimes), but the goal is a phone with open source hardware and software, and a licence which says "Do whatever you like with it". And for small downloads (already, on the existing early model) you can pop in a 16GB SD card, which should hold quite a few d/ls. A cool thing, IMO, and worth watching.
  20. Very slightly OT, but if you like tiny furry animals you won't want to miss this article in the Mail about Harvest Mice. All together now: Aaaah!
  21. From the New Shorter Oxford Dictionary: Fitful (a): Marked by irregular bursts of activity or strength; spasmodic; capricious. Not much help I'm afraid, but it seems to be living up to its name.
  22. Hmm, unfortunately that pretty much confirms the impression I'd got while searching for guidance. Maybe I should find a Perl forum and ask the experts who presumably use the darn things daily - or just get used to manual searches through lists containing 90%+ of guff. Noting all the comments about the difficulties of learning - well, just about any language these days, I'd bet a pound to a penny that the inventors of every last one of those languages and scripts reckoned that their baby was "it", the last word in programming simplicity and versatility. We (i.e., everybody else) must just be plain dumb not to realise that. And, ah, yes, the ZX81 ... at least it didn't make your screen flash like the ZX80!
  23. I suspect many of us are confused by there not being a "Youtube" button on the reply posting page, while there is one for "Img", "URL" etc. - could one be added, perhaps between the fonts and "Close Tags"? Also, two queries: (1) Should we leave the "&feature=player_embedded" bit on the end, when it's there, or add it if it isn't? (2) OK, how did you put those square bracket phrases in without them turning into, well, a Youtube link? One of your godlike Mod powers, no doubt! But thanks to you, Pooks, for the info. I for one hadn't realised there were any special Youtube tags. Do they work for all video sites?
  24. Quite right, and just the sort of questions - real world questions - which their supporters won't be asking. Greenpeace are not at all the "little organisation fighting big business" which they started out as, as one or two posters have commented. I used to support them for the most part, but no longer. For me, the final straw was this little gem, encouraging inter-generational warfare in the holy name of their beliefs (hope the youtubifying works, after Pooks' tutorial on how to do 'em): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgvnqv1-_D4&feature=player_embedded Nobody wants oily crud washing up on Shetland's shores, but there must be better ways of achieving that than their chain-dangling sort of idiocy.
  25. Can one of Shetlink's programming whizzes point me at a tutorial (preferably online, preferably free) on Regular Expressions? If REs come in language-specific flavours, it's Perl flavour I'm after - I've d/l'ed a program which is very useful as it comes, but cheerfully assumes that I can put together REs when specifying the switches which would really use its power. (It comes, btw, as a 350k Perl script, pretty impressive.) FYI I'm not entirely naïve, though my programming expertise to date is mostly in Forth (for driving hardware) and lately the AutoIt scripting language (for driving Windows), rather than in yer actual C++ or such.
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