philmophlegm: (NFL draft)

Here's a clever way to make interstellar travel real.

"Around 50% 'hold authoritarian views'". Sounds shocking. What’s more shocking is the ignorance of the researchers (three politics professors no less, albeit from second rate universities) as to what constitutes “authoritarian”. Authoritarians would presumably favour powerful state control, right? You know, like Stalin or Hitler or Mao. Not according to these three clowns. Apparently “ideological sympathy for… rolling back the state” is an authoritarian point of view. Incredible.

Thankfully I wasn't the only person to spot this.

Did you own a copy of Buckaroo or MouseTrap when you were a kid? There's a good chance it was assembled by Irish slaves. Seriously.

The new president of the National Union of Students sounds like a lovely girl.

The Game of Thrones Mock Draft.

The Stevland Angus Appreciation Society

Brave socio-political commentary in 'My Little Pony'. Yes, really.

The man who put 50p on Leicester City to win the Premier League at 5000/1 and cashed it out for 45p after one match (which they won 4-2).

Richard 'fuckwit' Murphy had to publically apologise to Lord Ashcroft and make a donation to his charity for being wrong. I wish the legal system could force him to make an apology every other time he’s been wrong.

Paramount is trying to claim copyright over the Klingon Language. The Language Creation Society's legal reply is wonderful.

Why are we so understanding towards the crimes of Communism? A suggestion I’ve seen elsewhere is that International Labour Day should be replaced with a day of remembrance for the victims of communism and socialism. Good idea.

Gerry Adams apologises for tweeting the word "nigger". I’m amazed at the fuss about this. Might it not have occurred to the twitter commentariat that heading a terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths of 1,800 people is ever so slightly worse than typing a naughty word into social media?

10 things the bookies thought were more likely to happen than Leicester City winning the Premier League.

When the US Navy had flying aircraft carriers.

philmophlegm: (Bush Tucker Man)

I absolutely love this series of paintings of mechs attacking early 20th century east european peasants.

The other day an RAF Chinook with a distinctive bright red tail flew right past my window. (We're high on the side of a hill and they often fly low up the river.) Turns out it was a special paint scheme for the 100th anniversary of the squadron. (Aren’t Chinooks cool? You can keep your Apaches and your Lynxes and your Merlins.)

First edition King James Bible from 1611 found in cupboard in Wrexham Parish Church. (Thanks to pellegrina.)

I didn't know that a Welshman invented packet switching.

More evidence emerges of Corbyn and McDonnell's close links with the IRA.

Scenes from the Emu War of 1932.

"Children who play video games twice a day are less likely to achieve five good GCSE grades". (Or possibly kids who don’t bother revising, and go and do fun things instead, like playing video games, are less likely to get good grades than kids who revise more. Do you think…?)

Labour MPs aren't happy at the moment. ( I particularly liked one anonymous Labour MP’s description of communist Corbyn supporter Richard Burgon as “a fucking dickhead” and Ian Austin MP’s advice to Corbyn that he “should start acting like the Leader of the Opposition and not like a student union president”.)

Hipster Hitler - a webcomic

philmophlegm: (NFL draft)
Later this afternoon, the New York Jets* will play the Miami Dolphins* at Wembley. Moving an entire NFL team across the Atlantic for a single game is a major logistic exercise. The New York Times recently interviewed the Jets' Operations Manager about the extra work such a game entailed.

"Degerness learned which gate the plane would pull into, which door the team would exit and where the jet bridge would deposit the group. [OK, seems a little anal, but presumably this guy has to check for any eventuality because that's his job. Fair enough.] He also learned that when the Jets flew home, their walkway would meander past duty-free shops, and that worries him, if only a little. [Is it really a problem if the players buy the odd bottle of single malt on the way home?]

“It’s hard to tell the guys: ‘Don’t stop. Just keep walking,’ ” Degerness said. “Those are the things that keep us up at night — that we get through security, someone stops at duty free, and we leave Ryan Fitzpatrick because we didn’t know he wasn’t there.” In that unlikely event, the Jets have a solution: As each player boards the plane, a team official will cross off the player’s name with a highlighter. [These are highly paid adults, and apparently the only way to reliably ensure that they all board the plane is to treat them like children on a school trip. Do you think they'll be made to hold hands with a partner and told not to speak to strangers? Ryan Fitzpatrick, the player singled out, is the Jets' starting quarterback. He has an Economics degree from Harvard.]


If the Jets were playing in South Florida, for instance, they would not have needed to pack more than 5,000 items — ranging from cereal [Yeah, because we don't eat breakfast cereal in the UK. Come to think of it, aren't the three biggest breakfast cereal manufacturers in the UK market - Kelloggs, Quaker and Nabisco all American companies?] and extension cords to gauze pads and wrist bands — onto a ship containing supplies for all six N.F.L. teams playing in London this season.

They would not have needed to list the value and country of origin for the contents in every trunk or bag. Or find an industrial launderer to pick up soiled practice clothing at one location and deliver it clean to another. Or fly in the chef at their London hotel to observe how food is cooked and served at team headquarters. [OK, fair enough.]

Or order 350 rolls of toilet paper to replace the thinner version used in England. [Wait...what?]



The toilet paper side of the story has been picked up by Pro Football Talk and the BBC among others. The BBC investigated further: "There was an intern who had been over to London numerous times. "He noticed when he was there that - and I quote - 'the toilet paper was very thin because their plumbing isn't as good'. "So, the intern informed the operations staff, and the Jets ordered 350 rolls of toilet paper for the hotel and the stadium."

So an organisation of a few hundred people apparently had to rely on a single intern to tell them what one of the world's most important cities and most popular tourist destinations was like. Where did the thin toilet paper idea come from? Apparently, American toilet paper is "2-ply". Well, so is British toilet paper. Here's the toilet paper section of Britain's biggest supermarket chain's online website.  All of the toilet paper, even the dirt cheap 'Tesco Everyday Value' stuff, is 2-ply. In my life, the only time when I have ever seen single-ply toilet paper in the UK was at a grotty campsite in the late 1970s. If a major hotel is providing single-ply toilet paper to its guests, then you're in the wrong hotel. (It occurs to me that the intern who had experienced thin toilet paper had been dirt poor when he visited London and maybe stayed in a really awful hotel. Even then, I think he'd have been unlucky to experience single ply toilet paper.)


I wonder if this could lead to one of those odd stereotypes that Americans have of the British. We all drink tea and nobody drinks coffee. Beer is served warm. That kind of thing. Oh, and British people have bad teeth.

Where the hell did the bad teeth stereotype come from? It presumably predates this scene from The Simpsons:


I've seen it in plenty of places since then. Yet British dental health is generally considered to be among the best in the world. Here's an OECD study that said that British children have the healthiest teeth of all the OECD countries. (You'll note that American children had only average teeth - not as good as the French, and a long way short of Germany and the UK.)







* Or, as the BBC announcer rather incompetently says "New Yorks Jets will play Miami Dolphins". What, any jets? Any dolphins? Is a random collection of airliners from JFK International going to show up to thrash a bunch of small cetaceans?
philmophlegm: (Google Partners)

Never swallow a porcupine whole.

And the lesson to be learned here is this: make a self-deprecating joke to a conference that could be misinterpreted as politically incorrect if removed from the context in which it was made, then it _will_ be removed from its context, selectively quoted and used by a social media mob to hound you out of your job, no matter how great your previous accomplishments. Richard Dawkins is angry about this, and really so should we all be. This is typical of the condemnatory articles that didn't think to check facts.

Doctor Who Online does look to be defrauding advertisers. They’ve tried this with The Shop on the Borderlands (we sell Doctor Who RPGs), but I was too sceptical. Combine a proprietary analytics system that massively overstates traffic with quite persistent selling, and yes, I think Mr Sandifer is on to something.

Half of households receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. (And that’s before you include the cost of state education, state healthcare, public sector salaries etc…)

Free market lessons from Scandinavia.

The man who invented trainspotting (sort of) has died.

Well Google, this is awkward...

Sir Nicholas Winton, the "British Schindler", has died aged 106.

Did Joss Whedon base Firefly on Traveller? This is a good examination of the evidence.

Holograms that you can touch (sort of). Next step, Holodecks!

This year's ENnie Awards (the RPG and miniatures industry awards)  nominees

So let me get this straight - Scottish votes for Scottish laws is right and proper; Welsh votes for Welsh laws is right and proper; Northern Irish votes for Northern Irish laws is right and proper but English votes for English laws is "racist".

Nice collection of photos of the British Grand Prix over the years.

I'm amazed that the Forth Bridge isn't already a World Heritage Site.

This is who we got to present the winner's trophy at this year's You're Hired! final. Seems a good chap.

This time it really is the end of the line for  the Avro Vulcan.

philmophlegm: (911)
[Poll #1966713]

To make this perfectly clear, for a journey to be purely about pleasure there can't be any other reason to do it. So going for a walk in the country counts, but not if you had to walk the dog anyway. Going for a scenic drive counts, but not if you just took the scenic route to somewhere you had to get to anyway. Going for a jog or a run counts, but not if you're doing it partially to get fit.

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