mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
This morning's random ride-to-work play list had a sort of theme. It started with 3 Doors Down's Running Out Of Days
And all these little things in life they all create this haze
There’s too many things to get done, and I’m running out of days
There was Sir Bob's We Are The World, which I didn't even realize was on my phone. My anthem came up, New Model Army's Before I Get Old
Live real fast, still not die
Never get old
This was followed by Peter Gabriel's Biko which is still emotional after all these years, and just as relevant now.
You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
I had to think then. To many people that I know now, Steve Biko is just a part of history, if they've ever heard of him. He was more than that to me when I was a teenager.

That was a long time ago. I've become tired & cynical. All of my edginess, if any is left, is in the areas of play & personal interaction. All the people I know now are "safe". Even the burners aren't what I'd call radical, though I admire their skills. I used to hang out with bikies, gang members, radicals, anarchists, criminals (the lines blur all the time in those groups). I used to bump fists with convicted murderers. Not that I want to do it again, but I used to haul body bags from helicopters. I used to fly round the country as part of an aerobatic team. Now possibly the most edgy thing in my life is having friends who are sex workers.

In many ways this is a good thing. I'm probably not physically capable of leaping from a 25ft roof, rolling, and coming up into a run without pause anymore. I probably can't take down heavier and stronger men with speed, skill & ruthlessness anymore. I'm out of practice, lazy, and unfit. It's good I am in a safe environment because I probably couldn't handle an unsafe one anymore.

But it does leave me feeling that there's something missing and I should be doing something about it. The first step though must be to deal with that lack of fitness. If only to better survive the coming zombie apocalypse.

Funny really, one of the reasons I did what I did around combat training when younger was that I fully expected there to be a nuclear holocaust, primarily affecting the Northern hemisphere, and I did what I could to be "ready" to survive it. Now it's zombies.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Largo)
Stryde Hax Hacks the Olympics
A well known activist relatively easily discovers online documents proving that a Chinese Olympics gymnast is too young to compete. The original official documents still appear in web searches, and though the original docs have been remove from the web, a search engine cached copy still exists. The important point is that it provides a lesson that even a government as restrictive as China's doesn't fully understand web search.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
NZ Post is ripping us off. They have moved from a weight-based system with volumetric pricing for large and odd shapes, to a completely volumetric system based only on some "standard shapes". This has effectively result in price increases of about 40% for most non flat packages.

For instance an effectively weightless square parcel, 15cm x 15cm, which used to cost $3.50 by Packet Post, now costs $5.50, purely because it is square, and the heights of the new standard sizes are severely limited. Similarly another item which once would have gone for $4.50 at the under 2.5Kg Parcel Post rate, now goes for $7.50. On discussion with NZ Post staff, they were also disgusted, and they informed me now that for many parcels, especially those which are not flat, it costs more to send them within New Zealand than it would to send them overseas!

The interesting thing is that NZ Post seem to be pandering to businesses by reducing the amount that it costs to send large bundles of A4 paper in envelopes. Before that used to cost $3.50 packet post as it was too thick for a large envelope. Now the allowed thickness's of large envelopes has been increased. So, the lesson seems to be, if it will fit, put your small, flat packages in envelopes and send them cheaper than before, but if you have square objects to send you must pay far more.

Can a case be taken to the human rights commission for NZ Post's biased treatment for platonic solids?

Just so this entire post isn't just me moaning, I pass on this from [livejournal.com profile] ethel_aardvark :
"A group of primatologists got together and wrote up a manifesto to encourage governments to support conservation and economic development efforts in habitat countries so that wild apes do not disappear completely in the next 50 years (only 20 for orangutans)."
sign the apes manifesto if you wish to help support our ancestors.

From a colleague, would you use this toilet?

I think is a cool idea !

This graphic detailing public acceptance of evolution, will probably not impress my USAian friends, though the data is three years out of date.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
During Earth Hour the other night Wellington actually used more energy than average for the time of year, in stark contrast to Christchurch's savings of 36.6 megawatt hours, which equates to about 8.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Had to pass on this little gem from [livejournal.com profile] elfs in which research shows that homophobia is directly associated with physical homosexual arousal. That's sure to annoy the right people! *giggle*
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Forever)
Sure, many of us are not citizens of the USA, but whomever wins the next USA presidential elections will have the ability to affect the planet in significant ways due to their control of USA foreign policy, and their ability to affect USA national internal policy on climate change and human rights.

Whomever wins, they need to be made aware that the the world is watching. To that end Avaaz.org would like your signature on an open letter to the candidates encouraging them to commit to climate protection, to respect human rights, and promote peace. In other words, to reverse the direction the US has been travelling under the incumbent.

Avaaz has already had a significant affect on the world stage, with the presentation of their petition dramatically affecting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, and their continued work to prevent the media from forgetting about the siege of Gaza or the repression in Burma, among other things, so this is not just a wasted gesture. IMO, it is the beginning of what might be called "The People's UN", as the existing UN is more for governments than people.

Cyber Storm

Feb. 5th, 2008 11:01 am
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Nice little report on Homeland Securty's recent cyberwargames" on El Reg, which talks about game participants using a Kobayashi Maru solutions to win.

The interesting thing is that their people are actually thinking of real vulnerabilities to the system from concerned citizens, not just hack attacks. I especially like the scenario around hundreds of people on the "No Fly" list turning up at once. Talk about activism that uses the system against itself! If I can't fly, no one will fly! It's given me lots of ideas though, like groups of people using masks or make-up while wandering round airports, designed specifically to hit the vulnerabilities of the face-recognition software and generate thousands of false positives. Already the needs of face recognition software have made it harder for real customs officers to do their jobs, as passport photos no longer look anything like the person who holds them due to the requirements to have hair out of the face and no glasses, etc.

But I'd recommend against civil disobedience in Peru, based on the look of their new anit-riot police uniforms. I can see there becoming a "black market" in ex-Peruvian riot police uniforms that the users happen to "lose", especially amongst the attendees of sc-fi and BDSM conventions.

A wise man once said : once is random, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action. The third happened last Friday off the coast of Dubai, but now that the fourth undersea cable has been disabled reducing connectivity for Qatar and the UAE (though this one was "taken off line due to power issues") , why aren't people looking for the submarine that's been doing it? Especially as it is now apparent the first event was not caused by an accidental boat anchor.

I reckon it's the Israelis,, though it could be anyone with a 100K to throw around, after all there are a lot of ex-USSR diesel-electrics on the market, not to mention that (for WWII history buffs,) the lost Black Sea U-boat fleet has been found.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Forever)
It tuns out that according to the Facebook Match "Things That Attract Me" quiz, I am "Twins" with [livejournal.com profile] bekitty and "Two of a Kind" with both [livejournal.com profile] jenni_talula & [livejournal.com profile] neongraal. Then again with only a small number of things to rank, it's probably not that surprising to get a few such matches even if everyone sorted randomly.

Listened to this interview from Naomi Wolf (best known perhaps for The Beauty Myth) about her new book The End of America. There's nothing new in it, but it's a good review of history, and a discussion of the blueprint for dictatorship. (Thanks [livejournal.com profile] meesto)

Watched a lot of season 2 Dexter. Really enjoying it, it's great for us closet socio-paths to see a like-minded character as a TV show lead (Bones is the other fun one). Y'know, although it might be rather scary for them, I think people who want to know what goes on in my head would learn a lot from Dexter's struggle to fit in.some spoilery stuff if you haven't seen the first three episodes of season two )

Also really enjoying Heroes now. The second season has finally hit it's stride, with people being pushed to their limits in all directions.

Bought tickets to London today. Bought tickets to DragonMeet last night via PayPal and arranged to pick them up via email with [livejournal.com profile] angusabranson. So next weekend's schedule is now fixed. I arrive at London St Pancras (domestic) at ten to seven Friday evening on an East Midlands service. Tell me where to go when I get there please, guys! Pub, club, restaurant, street vendor, whatever, but give me a street address!

Last Friday, as we were going to work, I'm pretty sure this stone owl ) on the roof of the school across the road from us, winked at me.

As [livejournal.com profile] cha0sslave seemed to like "Alice" the T3 Guitar Hero model, I'm sure he'll like this X-Box advertising campaign from Poland, especially this (NSFW) "action shot" :)

I'm still listening to NMA's High a lot, and while I know what they're really about, the lyrics of Nothing Dies Easy are giving me theme ideas for Changeling games!
And nothing dies easy, it holds on until the end
It takes all of your power to push the blade in
The last glow in the ashes, a last spark in the eye
Breaking the glamour, breaking the spell
Breaking another bad part of myself
Breaking the glamour, breaking the spell, nothing dies easy
And, for the Mage players, if Drake wasn't dead, I think Wired would have to be his theme song. Then again, for those that remember that far back, it could almost be something that Spyder would have done. I think I'm missing role-playing, let's hope the DragonMeet fix will tide me over till I get home.

Damn I'm missing not having a guitar with me. Tempted to buy a crappy one, and throw it away when I leave. But I find that hard. My guitar at home is a crappy one, but even so it's mine, and to me a guitar is like a sword is to a samurai. Heh, cheesy animé idea right there ! Re-do Bleach but with musiicians and guitars. Sure Moorcock did something similar with the real-life band Hawkwind in Queens of Deleria, and Truman's Grimjack played battle rock in the Demon Wars, but they didn't do the guitar samurai thing! :)

Finally, while the song is actually talking about why there are suicide bombers and soldiers, the following lyrics seemed rather appropriate given what [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly is working on (he says cryptically :) ).
There is something in us all that wants to surrender
To be guided through it all like star-eyed children
...
I am part of something I am one of the Chosen
Can you tell I'm alone with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon except listen to music, watch TV and surf the web, and ramble on?

Enforced idleness is good for one thing though, I feel my batteries of "wanting to do things" charging. It's like forty days and nights in the desert, and like the album I'm listening to and the messiah in the dessert I am high above a desert. Admittedly, I am in the comfort of a penthouse apartment and the desert is a city full of people I don't know, and the chains that keep me here are of my own making, and there's not really a thing preventing me from getting royally pissed and going to a strip club, not a wife, not money, not fear, not morals, just a sense of asceticism and no real desire, a sense of being happy with what I have and the afterglow of a late night/early afternoon phone conversation with my lover.

I should stop this is already far too long.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
Being uninspired by the TV News this evening, here's my version of the important news over the weekend :

White Wolf Merges with CCP

Nope, White Wolf have not become part of the defunct Soviet Union, even though their editiorial policies are similar enough to make such a merger natural. In fact they are merging with Crowd Control Productions, the makers of the MMOG that no-one's ever heard of EVE Online, who hail from Reykjavik, Iceland! According to the release
Products to be introduced in 2007 will include strategy guides,enhanced collectible card games, role-playing systems, and novels allbased on EVE Online. White Wolf will leverage CCP's industry-leadingtechnologies to bring its offline role-playing titles online. Conceptualization and early development has begun to bring White Wolf's World of Darkness, one of the world's strongest gaming properties, into the online world

Quis Custodes Custodiet? YouTube!!

A video of LA police officers gratuitiously punching a guy who claims he can't breathe has resulted in an FBI inquiry.

It looks like the idea of being able to post such things and have then seen internationally may in fact work as a good method of policing, as long as people can get the neccessary access. Can't stop the signal!

If everyone could film what they're seeing and immediately make it available internationally to all, would that reduce crime in general ? Or would it just make everyone scared to do anything silly?

Actually, it seems that acting on such things is unusual, there is an awful lot of video of police brutality from the US on YouTube, try searching for it. And there are also many examples of why New Zealand Police should not be issued with tazers!

Playstation 3 sells out on release in Japan yesterday

Though seeing as they only had 80,000 units that seems hardly surprising in such a market.

UK Woman charged with terrorism because of computer files

(Reuters)
Police said among the items on the hard drive found in her possession were the Al Qaeda Manual, The Terrorists Handbook, The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, a manual for a Dragunov sniper rifle, The Firearms and RPG Handbook, a manual for a 9mm pistol and a manual on how to win hand to hand fighting.
As the /. commenter said, maybe it's time to delete that old copy of the Anarchist Handbbook you kept about for amusement value... alternatively, maybe it's time that everybody was given copies of these manuals on their hard-drives, whether they want them or not....
And let's hope the "RPG" in the title The Firearms and RPG Handbook is "Rocket-Propelled Grenade, as otherwise it means they think role-playing games are a sign of terrorism!

Robot says : Humans taste like Bacon

Or prosciutto ham. Technology confirms what we've always suspected!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (M.U.N.D.E.N.S)
I got CDT working in Eclipse with MinGW. This will mean I don't have to deal with logging onto a Radius firewall, logging onto a Windows Terminal Server, Starting up Hummingbird, and logging onto a Unix box, then edit and compile the code from within a plain old text editor. Yes I'm working on some C code. Because I'm old enough to remember how, and it's hard to find C programmers these days.

But the crusty old fossils they have currently supporting this shitcode are willing to jump through all these hoops and develop using vi on a unix box miles away. Me, I can't bothered doing all that when it's not necessary. I like being able to refactor with a button click, and be able to see the structure of the code and jump straight to the definition of a type no matter where it is.

After all, if I can't use all these tools that make me a faster developer than those who haven't figured out what they can do with them, where am I going to get the time to write LJ entries? :)

I expect to, as usual, reduce the size of the existing code base, even though I'm adding new functionality, after a first pass through it.

We've heard all the bad shit happening in the world, but there is some good stuff happening in response.

WITNESS helps people to document human rights abuses, and have along with Global Voices launched a Human Rights Video Hub.

Damn good idea, basically the concept of YouTube used for something a wee bit more important than personal fame and copyright abuse.

While following links I also found that Reporters without Borders have a Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents where they talk bout how to get respect and broad coverage. Thought that might interest a couple of people

V

Sep. 29th, 2006 04:25 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
I was reading [livejournal.com profile] holding_pattern's recent post on birth control pills, and felt like ranting on it. but I didn't want to intrude on the ladies seriously discussing pills and the like, with what is a slightly flippant rant.

Though don't get me wrong, I actually believe the gist of the following, it's just more fun to be a bit over the top about it. Anyway..

Other than that for those with heavy periods and pains, where the pill sometimes can help to relieve symptoms, I believe use of the various before-the-fact birth control pills, should be proscribed.

The pill is an evil symbol of male oppression, corrupting the most necessary and sacred functions of the female body, and in the process potentially causing untold damage to those bound into it's vicious cabaret, and to what end?

Merely so that men can avoid worrying about birth control!

And at the same time the simple, mechanical, ability to abort foetuses is controlled, and this hormonal imbalance system that no-one properly understands is encouraged instead.

I fear that just like with thalidomide, sometime in the next century or so endocrinologists will discover that the use of hormones for birth control has significantly damaged our genotype.

What the system is saying to women is "if you want to have sex, and not get pregnant, you have to accept a non-natural hormone balance for the rest of your life".

Of course, it's advertised as allowing women the ability to have sex, giving them "the power" to decide if they get pregnant or not, but women don't need a pill for that! It's interesting that so many women seem to have fallen for that marketing, when in any environment where a woman has the right to refuse sexual advances of a male, they already have that!

The obvious answer for the modern woman is to have her menfolk sterilized.

These days it's a simple, easily reversible, operation with no obvious side-effects, except perhaps an increase in libido.

Seriously, I think male vasectomies should be being encouraged and hormone pills discouraged, unless the reason for use of the pill is for treating menstrual problems.

Forcing a woman to take pills forever just because she want's sex with a man and doesn't want to get pregnant is a silly idea when the mechanical solution on the male is so much simpler and interferes far less with the mind and life of the person to whom it is done.

If men want vaginally penetrative sex they should be willing to have a little reversible op, after all they spend so much other time and effort trying to get back where they came from, what's an hour under a knife an anaesthetic ?

And if they won't do that little thing for a woman they want to bed, let them eat pussy!

Hmm.. not sure that came across quite as well as the Marie Antoinette original did... I need a better speech writer.

Anyway, let's start a movement! Slogans anyone?
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
I was going to comment on [livejournal.com profile] trickofthedark's latest post where she has a rather cute and endearing picture of a sheep soldier. But then I thought that the subject of my comment might be far too serious for the light hearted nature of that post, so I decided to make a separate post here rather than pollute her memespace.

I think that [livejournal.com profile] trickofthedark's sheepish soldier is a step in the right direction.

It reminded me of Donavan's Universal Soldier :
He's the one who gives his body as a weapon of the war,
and without him all this killin' can't go on
If we can get people to think of soldiers as silly sheep, rather than as brave heroes, if we can get away from this recently popular and ultimately stupid idea that the soldiers don't have any choice but to follow the dictates of their insane leaders (a principle roundly rejected at Nuremberg remember, but which is now quite popular in the US) , maybe there will be less incentive for the silly sheep to join up and give their bodies to the war pigs?

It's a paradox I know, I have a deep-seated belief in the idea that it is right to defend one-self and ones's people in any way you can. In some cases that means using what could be called terrorism, see the non-combatant's "defence" of Dorsai as an example. I can also understand the whole concept of "forward defense", fight the enemy on their ground not yours. I would be happy to fight and kill to defend those I love if it was necessary. I might also be willing to do so for other causes. Sometimes that means being ruthless and seemingly cruel, and sometimes it requires a sudden decision to act Killing after all, is something we do every day to survive, even the most Vegan or Buddhist of us, so shouldn't be considered completely abhorrent or the domain only of the disturbed*

And yet at the same time I think that it is the inherent duty of any soldier, not just their leaders, to avoid combat wherever possible, to be sure that what he or she is fighting for is right, and to refuse to fight when they are not sure, just as any other worker should remove their labour in protest at poor conditions or other things they disagree with.

I feel the majority of those lead into into combat in Iraq have been fooled and have gone there thinking it's just another big adventure, and that they are doing the right thing. I think they are sheep, and have a responsibility to not be sheep. But of course that is merely my opinion. And as a relativist I respect other people's opinions.

And that is the big question, at what point do we abandon respecting the other persons opinion, and act to protect ourselves? Where do we draw line? Is the difference between an imperialist and a pacifist merely where they draw that line?

The current summit on climate (see Idiot's summary, if you haven't already) seems like it might be the time to make that decision.


* Separate comment so broken away here :
Unlike others, I don't see any inherent value in a human life over that of a blade of grass, we're all just part of the ecosphere of this planet, and the blade of grass has as much right to live on as any human. In many ways humans are far more damaging and thus need to be culled. Not that I'm suggesting that we should consciously cull humans, but I would not be surprised if the ecosphere reacted in way that would ensure a cull, and the actions of humans are part of the ecosphere.

The number of "nutters" who go crazy and kill the people around them, what John Brunner called "mukkers" IIRC, seems to be correlated to the concentration of people and the difficulty of survival. One can see the rise of mass murders as a natural reaction to overcrowding, pollution, and resource pressure. Rather than crazy individuals, they are really manifestations of the species desire to survive as a whole by reducing the population to sustainable levels.

We are a culture that celebrates the individual, the rights of the individual, and yet we live in a world where that individual is a part of something larger, another dichotomy, and whilst it may seem callous and cold to treat the disease at the level of populations, it may be the only way.

PS. It may be a comment of some sort that my LJ client's spell-checker did not understand the word "ecosphere". It suggested "exosphere" as a replacement.

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