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Aug. 20th, 2014

Comic Book
Debate: Which is the better movie, Clue or Murder By Death?

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Aug. 18th, 2014

Comic Book
In general, LonCon was really really wonderful. I hope it's a sign of revitalisation and a new wave of science fiction fandom.

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Aug. 18th, 2014

Comic Book
Not only did Vox Day not win a Hugo, not only was he dead last in voting, 'No Award' won 377 more votes than he did.

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Aug. 16th, 2014

Comic Book
So... One of the Worldcon panels, I end up being the tech getting the microphone to people. And it's the Furry pannel. So of course right at the end someone asks "Is it true about the conventions being people doing kinky things in the suits?"

I took the microphone over to our demonstating fursuiter, and asked "How much did your suit cost?" "Two thousand dollars." "Can you get it dry cleaned?" "No."

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[reposted post] Fundraiser for my friends Gwyd and Squirrel

Originally posted by djinni at Fundraiser for my friends Gwyd and Squirrel
My friends are in a bad financial situation right now, and I've helped them set up a gofundme fundraiser. If you feel so inspired, we would definitely appreciate signal boosts! The fundraiser is here: http://www.gofundme.com/cuovws

I have some stickers of the bookmarks I made and a few other things up on Redbubble, and the profits from those in August will go to my friends, also. Those are here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/djinni/shop

These are the friends I started a fundraiser for, for their cat Fuzzybutt, when the cat died right as we launched; we decided at that time to take the fundraiser down, but since then things have gotten more complicated. The first link explains more of the situation, but the gist of things is that they need to come up with at least $700 in August to cover crucial housing bills, and it is beyond their current means to stay on top of unexpected expenses.

Aug. 11th, 2014

Comic Book
Made a very minor social faux-pas in email. Feel like I'm the worst person in the world rest of the afternoon. #socialanxiety

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Aug. 9th, 2014

Comic Book
I'll be wandering around Loncon 3, this year's WorldCon, look for the badge name Jay Blanc, or drop me a line via twitter (@jayblanc) if you're there and want to say hi in person. Personal note: I'm fine with hugs, but please ask first as I do have social anxiety. My natural habitat is the board games area.

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Aug. 8th, 2014

Comic Book
Dear people who write updater-launchers for Video Games.

1) Disk IO is not multi-threaded. Launching multiple threads to apply patches to multiple files will not speed things up, it will actually slow everything down.
2) DISK IO IS NOT MULTI-THREADED. Seriously, running eight extra threads to do Disk IO will just flood the IO queue with requests, DO NOT DO THIS.
3) Use IO queue priority. Label your IO as background or low priority. BECAUSE IO IS NOT MULTI-THREADED. Dumping huge amounts of IO into the IO queue at the exact same priority as the rest of the system can make it slow to a crawl. Use the OS's priority marking for IO streams, and mark your bulk IO as background/low priority. It'll still get processed, it just won't choke out the rest of the system, so someone can still read their email and surf the web while your program patches 100GB of data...
4) To sum up IO IS NOT MULTI-THREADED!

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Aug. 8th, 2014

Comic Book
Custard is a non-newtonian fluid, which turns solid when exposed to pressure. So if you ran hard on the top of a giant vat of custard you could avoid drowning.
Thus, the Flash would survive being dropped into a giant vat of custard. As would superman, but he could also turn the custard into firm Creme Brulee with his heat vision.

Batman however would be quickly dragged under the custard by the weight of his gadgets.

Therefore, Batman’s secret weakness is custard.

Follow up: The Green Lantern’s weakness to yellow is overcome by a proportional amount of will-power to the threat, so use of a metric kilo-litre of Custard as the standard measure of will-power in the DC Comics Universe may have merit.

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Aug. 7th, 2014

Comic Book
So I've heard about the Aeropress for a while now, and was even thinking about picking one up while I was in Seattle a while back, but oddly enough couldn't find one in the places I looked. It's odd in that there's hardly any marketing for them, they get sold in odd places in real stores, and it's mainly easier to get them online. Well, now there's a ton of UK based places selling them via amazon et al, so I ordered one and it arrived a couple of days ago.

And it's just as good as people say. Really. Put on top of sturdy cup, put filter into bottom and screw closed, put in grounds, put in hot water, put in and push plunger down, very strong coffee comes out. It's marketed as "Espresso Strength", because it's not real espresso lacking the crema foam, but if you're making hot frothed milk to top it up to a latte you probably won't notice. The strength you need to use to push down on the plunger depends entirely on what kind of grinds you use, but even my weak muscles manage okay with what I've tested it on so far.

Downsides: You need to use two hands to hold it all in place while pushing down the plunger, it'd require a significant amount of adaption to be safely used one handed. You are using scalding hot water in something that could feasibly tip over while you are pouring into it, which is why you absolutely must use on a stable surface and into a very steady and sturdy mug. The plunger is air-tight however, which reduces risk somewhat and it is very very sturdily constructed, but this is still a manual method of handling scalding water. You do need to use the specially sized circular filter papers, but they are tiny so aren't hugely wasteful and you could clean and re-use if you really wanted to. Third-party 'reusable' filters are available, but I would imagine they allow grit through and will require an extended cleaning process.

Upsides: The Aeropress is very sturdly put together, there's never even the idea that you could break one of these while using it. The plunger is designed to be airtight, and you'll actually see that the air-gap pushes the coffee down not the plunger. This design leads to what is a unique point to the Aeropress, it's almost entirely self cleaning. Once you've made the coffee, you just take it over the sink and push the plunger all the way in to compact the grounds down; then take the cap off, and you can just deposit the grounds into your bin/compost by pushing the plunger out to eject the compressed puck. Wipe the end of the plunger, rinse out the cap, and put them back on the counter to dry off for your next use. This makes it easier to clean than my Senseo!

The coffee that comes out is... Actually very good, it lives up to the espresso strength claims, and you will have to dilute with hot milk or water to get a 'normal' cup rather than a shot. The coffee is produced in small amounts tho, so will cool quickly, and you might want to heat the cup first or fill it with hot-milk in advance to make a flat-white.

Considering how cheap these things are, and seriously they're a patented product from a specialist engineering company that could have put a ridiculous mark up on them, these should be everywhere! I would not even be surprised if small cafes started using them.

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Aug. 6th, 2014

Comic Book
When did they stop making 'Cheeseburger, Fries and Soda' movies like 'Big Trouble in Little China', and why did we have to wait so long till we got a new one in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?

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Aug. 5th, 2014

Comic Book
I feel like I've heard This Song before...



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Jul. 29th, 2014

Comic Book
So I just finished reading through the 4th district opinion 141167.P Timothy Bostic v. George Schaefer, and here's what I've taken from it.

  • As with Perry vs Brown, the proposed reasons for government intervention in marriage based on gender was taken apart comprehensibly.

  • As with Perry vs Brown, the arguments related with marriage's most important primary purpose being "for the children" were all but openly ridiculed.

  • Considering the punt the Supreme court took previously, standing was examined to ensure an air-tight procedural basis.

  • The dissent is incredibly flawed, and attempts to require a much lower standard of scrutiny for a discriminatory law, by declaring same-sex marriage to be entirely novel and unrelated to marriage. Justice Niemayer then declares that instead it is the "creation" of such a right that must be scrutinised. However, he provides no supporting evidence beyond his declaration of it to be so, only referring to cites that are not directly related to that question. And even recognises that other jurisdictions have identified marriage as a right that encompasses same sex marriage, and could be cited as such, but still claims that is not a reasonable conclusion. Since reduced scrutiny is the only plank of his dissent, removing it makes the entire rest of his arguments fall apart.

  • The majority found that the appropriate examination could only be Strict Scrutiny, a departure from Perry vs Brown and a much much more demanding basis. There are no valid court cases of precedent and standing where a law was questioned on basis of strict scrutiny and found to survive it. (Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 case that defended Internment of Japanese was later found to have been an unsound finding as the Government had withheld evidence from the courts that made it clear that Internment was not made on any rational basis. As such it is not directly overturned, but it does not provide precedent and could probably be directly challenged.)
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Jul. 28th, 2014

Comic Book
So, having thought about this... I have come to the conclusions that if I was going to buy a new console, I should buy... A Wii U. Because all the 'Console Exclusives' that I care about on PS4 and XBox One are actually coming out on PC anyway, but none of the Wii U ones will be.

Is there a flaw in this logic?

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Jul. 27th, 2014

Comic Book
Having a morning where I keep remembering ever dumb wrong thing I've ever done and constantly suspecting my friends don't really like me.

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Jul. 26th, 2014

Comic Book
I've noticed that common open source media decoder projects seem to have an odd issue... They seem to understand the concept that all Video stream decoders should have error resiliency built in, so that they don't just stop playing when they get a un-decodable frame. Audio decoders, not so much, it's pretty common for an Audio decoder to give up with a fatal-error if it has an un-decodable segment. Even some container demuxers don't do any kind of error resiliency and will fatal-error.

In a world moving towards streaming, particularly over-the-air streaming, of media - this is an issue. Some of the better methods for streaming media are not 100% reliable bit-for-bit transmission. Specific OTA-WAN broadcast methods such as DVB-T2 are explicitly expected to be degraded by atmospheric conditions.

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Jul. 24th, 2014

Comic Book
Ugh. The Odeon Cinema reward card has recently gotten really crappy. I used to basically get every fourth movie free. Now they've 'adjusted' the reward point costs by more than doubling them, and introduced point expiration.

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Jul. 23rd, 2014

Comic Book
What is it with these Fake Geek Guys going around saying "But Thor is his Name!", don't they even read comics. Just doing it for attention

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Jul. 21st, 2014

Comic Book
What do you think was the Worst Adaptation To Film?

Here's my Nomination - On Stranger Tides

It's hard to imagine that there was a time when a story about Pirates would not just naturally also have some magical-voodoo in it. It's even harder to imagine that this combination wasn't significantly made or popularised until 1987's "On Stranger Tides" by Tim Powers. Powers quickly made apparent the two flavours just fit so well together, in a work that mixed the rough salty pirate yarn, with the creepy ghostly-voodoo threads. Curses and cannons just suddenly and obviously went together in a tale of a young boy forced into piracy to discover the fate of his father. It should be recognised as a modern classic, and probably be on school reading lists, but sadly it's passed over.

And then there's the movie 'version'. The Pirates of the Carabean series had already heavily lifted tone, settings, and even set pieces from "On Stranger Tides" so it seemed natural enough that they should turn it into part of the series. Alas, the decision was made that the story should be changed so it all pivoted around Jack Sparrow, because of the rising popularity of the character and the actor who portrayed him. Alas, as we all discovered, Jack Sparrow is not a good focus protagonist. And the resulting movie was not only barely related to the novel it claimed to be adapting, but a mish-mash of concepts, set-peices and characters mixed together without care. And as you would expect the end result was a characterless messy stew with a bad taste.

I highly highly recommend you read "On Stranger Tides", I strongly suggest you don't watch "On Stranger Tides".

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Jul. 20th, 2014

Comic Book
"It's not that we're complaining that Thor is being replaced by a Woman, it's that Thor's name is being given to someone else. That's never happened before! Except for all the other times! But that was to Men! And a frog that one time!"

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Jul. 20th, 2014

Comic Book
Okay. So this film has things organised that we know that it's now ~4am, and yet somehow all these fresh looking people are turning up for a band's surprise show. I mean, yes NY is the city that never sleeps, but even NY gets a bit tired and listless at 4am.

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Jul. 20th, 2014

Comic Book
re: Movie. Pretty sure if you ran a Yugo into a new york fire hydrant, the yugo's front end would crumple like a cardboard box. Also, the fire hydrant would not topple over like it was made of styrofoam. Also, those things have huge water pipes under them.

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Jul. 20th, 2014

Comic Book
Well, this is annoying. The 'Romantic Comedies' available on Netflix are either atypically constructed ones, and thus useless for research, or awful ones I shouldn't use for positive research. Down side of screenwriting, having to watch the crappy movies in the genre you're going to write something in, to learn from them. But you gotta do what you gotta do...

Quirky Romantic Comedy Set In New York is now a formula. Look, we use NY slang like 'Bridge and Tunnel!', and the City is a Character! Look at the City! LOOK AT THE CITY! LOOK AT IT!

Also, we gave the male lead a Yugo, to show how much he's sluming it! I mean, let's disregard that it'd actually be really really really hard to find a Yugo these days, and it'd be cheaper to find almost anything else, but the production designer really liked "Waynes World".

Not only does it have a Manic Pixie Chick, it has the Non-Threatening Gay Friends Playing Cupid. Three of them! That's like, one and a half more than the average Quirky Romantic Comedy Set In New York!

We're making fun out of how this girl is putting herself at risk by being dangerously drunk on the streets of New York at night. The premise for Act Two is an extended joke about fear of being raped in the back of a van. ISN'T THAT QUIRKY! But look, we also have the Port Authority Bus Station, see NEW YORK HAS CHARACTER!

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Jul. 18th, 2014

Comic Book
There's a fairly high chance it's going to be swelteringly hot in London during the Worldcon (Loncon 2014), so if you are going, or you know someone who is going please pass on this public safety announcement:

When traveling on the London Underground in hot weather ALWAYS CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER. There are NO VENDING MACHINES ON LONDON UNDERGROUND PLATFORMS. If you get stuck in the London Underground without water and verging on heat-stroke you are going to be in a lot of trouble, so ALWAYS CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER. Even if you do not like the idea of buying plastic bottles of tap water, if you do not have water with you before entering the London Underground system, buy a bottle of water above ground, because there are NO VENDING MACHINES ON LONDON UNDERGROUND PLATFORMS. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are no laughing matter, and large parts of the London Underground are too deep to effectively air-condition, and the entire system acts as a microclimate pumping hot air from those regions around the system. When traveling on the London Underground in hot weather ALWAYS CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER.

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Jul. 17th, 2014

Comic Book
Wow. Some press douchebag just decided to take their position as the first person to get a question at the US's press conference to ask 'Can you confirm the sanctions against the AK company will not affect Americans's ability to buy semi-automatic rifles?'

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Jul. 17th, 2014

Comic Book
After watching far too much of it, I conclude "Teen Wolf" is the popcorn-chicken of TV Fantasy. You know it's not that great, but it's not immediately bad, and you keep eating it. Then three buckets in, you realise that there's no difference in consistency between the popcorn nuggets that are 'chicken' and the ones that are all breading. It's also pretty firmly on the Kissing Cryptids side of Urban Fantasy, and while it has 'continuity' it's of that meaningless kind that means really it doesn't matter because little of consequence is ever lastingly resolved.

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Jul. 16th, 2014

Comic Book
White middle aged male journalist writes "lifestyle" collum showing distress because a cabinet that had been dominated by white middle aged men is no longer entirely dominated by white middle aged men, just a majority of white middle aged men. Claims to be discriminated against. Attracts support from UKIPers and trilby wearing MRAs. Does not understand why women roll their eyes at him. Entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Post a comment there or here, there are comment count unavailable currently posted on dreamwidth. (You can login with your LiveJournal OpenID account.)

Jul. 15th, 2014

Comic Book
At some point afore mentioned webcomic added this to their comments policy - "destructive criticism of the general content of Sandra and Woo or the personality of the main characters is banned"

More evidence that trying to cast "protection from editors" is one of the things that summons the brain eater?

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Jul. 14th, 2014

Comic Book
I need an idea for a 1998 era dot-com that would have sounded sort of reasonable but would be doomed for failure.

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Jul. 14th, 2014

Comic Book
Is there a word for that feeling you get when the artist of a webcomic you liked appears to have been attacked by the brain eater, and is now doing 80s era jokes about evil feminists?

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Jul. 10th, 2014

Comic Book
Dear Google people...

Why have I never been able to convince Google Maps that "Oxford University" does not have a meaningful physical locations. There are some addresses for business offices for the organisation of colleges called "Oxford University", but there is no single location for Oxford University. And it very clearly is not in Wadham College's lawn, which is where the pin for Oxford University on maps.google.com is at the moment. Previously it's thought Oxford University existed in the back rooms of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Once Oxford University was a blank stone wall on Parks Street. Sometimes Oxford University gets pinned to one of the various offices or office complexes that do have physical addresses. But they've all been wrong of course, because OXFORD UNIVERSITY IS NOT A PHYSICAL PLACE. You can not drive to Oxford University, you can not visit the Oxford University Campus, it is meaningless to ask for places to eat near Oxford University. Oxford University is an administrative collection of Colleges in and around Oxford, not a single place of learning. Offer meaningful locations for specific colleges, and specific office buildings of Oxford University, but Oxford University it's self has no physical location.

And yes, I know that pin on maps.google has lots of reviews from people who 'checked in'. But read those reviews, and you find they're from tourists gushing about one day wanting to learn at "Oxford University". Perhaps they were led down to one of the indistinct office buildings, or that blank wall, or perhaps they now think Wadham College is now "Oxford University". And they shouldn't because, and I stress this again, Oxford University has no physical location.

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Jul. 3rd, 2014

Comic Book
As expected, all the 'seen for a second' signs and newspapers in "The Grand Budapest" have actual meaningful text and tell stories of their own.

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Jun. 30th, 2014

Comic Book
The context of this awkward salute is hilarious!

So, the season three premier for Legend of Korra is actually really really good, and right up there with the best of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It makes no apologies for instantly moving us onwards into new territory, while at the same time managing to smooth over some of the issues from season two. And gawd damn are the character designs for the new antagonists wonderful.

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Jun. 28th, 2014

Comic Book
Huh, I missed this when it was announced... SoE have finally accepted that it was a huge mistake to give ProSieben their all of their EU player base and are going to be transferring players back to SoE accounts and presumably ending their association with ProSieben.

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Jun. 26th, 2014

Comic Book
Prediction: Few at Google will understand why the “Android Wear” Google watch failed.

The Google Watch is that classic thing of an answer to a question no one asked. It is a product they are only releasing, because they want to release a Google Watch before Apple release an Apple Watch. They don’t know what the Apple Watch will actually be or do, but they can throw some stuff together and hope.

Do you want your watch buzzing and saying “It is time for you to BUY PIZZA from these RECOMMENDED RETAILERS!”, because I’m pretty sure I don’t. Do I want my watch to become a billboard for shops and diners I’m walking past, trying to entice me in because “Your friend came here once!”, I’m pretty sure I don’t.

Also, because it’s ‘always on’ to do these things, and of course to also be a watch, the Google Watch has an “estimated battery life” of 36 hours. Which in real terms means if you forget to put your watch on the charger when you go to bed, it’s battery will run out somewhere before lunch while you’re at work.

Now, maybe Apple’s Watch will have all the same issues. But was it wise to rush to be first to market when you don’t know if you’re actually running in the same direction as Apple are?

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Jun. 24th, 2014

Comic Book
This probably needs to be signal boosted around the Fandom. MCM Expo are reacting to reports of harassment by their 'security staff', reports of harassment and difficulties caused to disabled people, and other such reports; by deleting the reports and banning the person who made them from the MCM Expo forum. And that their history of doing so dates back to 2010.

There was a public tumblr for people to put the reports they had deleted but it seems to have gone unused (person running it disappeared?) - http://mcmexpotakedown.tumblr.com

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Jun. 15th, 2014

Comic Book
I was having a nice day out. Then some scrote stole my ipod touch. Lifted from my pocket at an open air music thing.

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Jun. 14th, 2014

Comic Book
Video game idea. Attack of the Steves. You play as a Black Female protagonist, against the army of White Male Dudes called Steve who all want to take your place.

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Jun. 5th, 2014

Comic Book
I love Guillermo del Toro, such great movies, but ye gads is he bad at doing movie commentary tracks. The one on Pacific Rim is... very very dry, in his odd flat monotone, talking almost solely about scene composition and colour theory.

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Jun. 3rd, 2014

Comic Book
So, the post WWDC decision on a new macbook has been... to wait till next year for Broadwell, while upgrading to an SSD and some more memory to squeeze the last drops of utility from my existing one.

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May. 29th, 2014

Comic Book
People suck. Just had to break off a relationship with someone after discovering they're the kind of person who lectures disabled people for not having a job. "'Oh well you can obviously type so go work in an office doing data entry'."

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May. 28th, 2014

Comic Book
You know what I hate. When you spend some time away at a hotel, and you're eating out all week. And then you get back home. And you're flailing about because you forget how to kitchen.

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May. 27th, 2014

Comic Book
I’ve been hearing anecdotal accounts of there being a student campaign to vote UKIP in order to “Punish Clegg”. If it occurred in large numbers, it seems like a replay of the disaster of the AV referendum where significant amounts of people were “voting to punish the Lib Dems” rather than on the issue.

My personal advice would be to stop trying to engage with “The UKIP Voter”. Just stop. It was that behaviour that has cast the party as “legitimate” and a focus for protest votes. There is no policy short of a full on isolationist withdraw and ‘national identity by legislation’ that appeases UKIPs core votes. And all engaging with them did in the way that has been done was make them out as the anti-establishment protest vote.

Why are people insisting that the parties should all go fight on the ground UKIP wants them to fight. It’s insanity. Immigration isn’t an issue, it’s a distraction. Stop telling people who are wrong that they are right, show some background and actually be leadership. Yes it’s scary that UKIP got votes, but remember it was a protest vote in a very small turnout election few in this country treat seriously. I don’t see how this has altered the political and economic realities.

Someone needs to say “Actually, no, we don’t need to listen to Farage, we heard what he had to say and it’s rubbish. UKIP’s declared policies are inane, and they were shown to be totally wrong about how much immigration was going to increase from Romania! I’m appalled that so many people voted for idiots. They should be ashamed.” Sometimes you really do have to tell some of the voters that they are wrong.

Chasing popularisim is a fools errand, because Farage set out his stall there first and you’re only going to make him look like he was right. The mistake was ever taking him seriously in the first place, and allowing him to frame debates the way he wanted.

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May. 22nd, 2014

Comic Book
 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' trailer had me convinced it might be worth seeing, right up until the 'Black Guy' joke, and then I realised Seth MacFarlane still doesn't get why you shouldn't use humour to punch down.

And I just know that the usual suspects are going to defend it by saying that “Blazing Saddles” used racial humour. And I’m going to have to try and explain the difference between a Black comedian delivering jokes at the expense of racists and doing so to highlight contemporary racial tensions, and Seth MacFarlane telling a joke about how Black Men like girls with big bottoms. And no the “But he’s just portraying a racist of that time” defence doesn’t work when the entire rest of the set up is that Seth’s character is actually acting like a modern guy. It’s a throw away racial stereotype joke that shouldn’t even have made it into the screenplay, let alone be highlighted in the trailer.

Do not waste your money on this movie. No link to the trailer included, it does not deserve your attention.

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May. 22nd, 2014

Comic Book
 If you're not a racist, please do vote in today's European elections. Don't let the enthusiastic nutters vote alone. Entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Post a comment there or here, there are comment count unavailable currently posted on dreamwidth. (You can login with your LiveJournal OpenID account.)

May. 20th, 2014

Comic Book
 Congratulations Pennsylvania and Oregon.

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May. 17th, 2014

Comic Book
 I bought a new antenna that has a suction cup attachment on the base that I will likely throw away as a) I do not need it b) it doesn’t stick to anything.

WHY DO THEY MAKE THESE?

Cheap to make suction cups are a solved engineering problem. It is not cheaper to make a suction cup that doesn work properly than to make one that does. And yet I have never ever bought any peice of consumer tat that comes with a suction cup, and had said suction cup ever actually stick to anything. It’s not even as if there’s a big secondary market for replacement suction cups! Why do they do this?

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May. 11th, 2014

Comic Book
 Congratulations Arkansas, pending appeals.

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May. 7th, 2014

Comic Book
Considering scalar processing is done in hardware now, does the 'swap two integers together using only two variables' question still get asked in interviews? Entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth. Post a comment there or here, there are comment count unavailable currently posted on dreamwidth. (You can login with your LiveJournal OpenID account.)