Friday, 28 May 2010
If so, here's mine. If not, well, here's a post explaining what's on my bloglist to the right of this post, and why I've included them.
The blogs are ordered according to when they were last updated. I could have ordered them alphabetically but it also helps me to keep up with what other people have to say.
Accordingly, right now, at the top of the list is Insert Pie Here
This is one of my other blogs. I also have a third, which was part of trying to raise my profile as a driving instructor when I was working for myself. Insert pie here was inspired by a picture on the BBC news website of a football fan (Burnley?) with his arms aloft and his mouth wide open. I just wanted to put a big pie in that hole, and the idea grew. Pies have been inserted into the mouths of musicians, politicians, sportsmen, supermodels. Actually, not supermodels. She didn't get one.
It will gradually fall to the bottom of the list because while I had fun with the idea, it was never going to run very far. So I have declared a moratorium on new posts, at least for now. I suppose at some point I may resurrect it, but I'm saying all I want to say here really.
It's quite pleasing on the eyes. This one looks quite dark and cluttered in comparison, and I might move some design elements over to here at some point.
Next is Bristling Badger
This is the blog of Merrick Godhaven, an environmental and social justice activist who's been an inspiration to me ever since I first encountered his writings over at Head Heritage. He's helped me mature enormously through both what he has to say, and the way he chooses to say it. And it's not all po-faced polemic either. Merrick is definitely a subscriber to Sex, Drugs, and Rock and roll. He knows his stuff, but there's a real human warmth and understanding in what he says too.
is the blog of Brighton based writer, Justin McKeating. It's a useful source of information, and is updated frequently.
This is my wife's blog. She has two, both of which are listed here. This one is her alter ego. The person she wants to be. Someone with drive and energy. A high flier in the local art scene.
This is the "real" Brenda. This blog also focuses on stuff outside of the photographic and artistic arena.
Richard Black's Earth Watch
This is a BBC blog, devoted to climate issues. A sensible and authoritive voice on the issues.
The Quiet Road
Mild mannered janitor by day. Jim Bliss turns into an expert on psychology and resource depletion, on which he writes, passionately and knowledgeably here. Jim is another person I met over at Head Heritage, and has probably done more to develop my awareness of the issues facing Humanity than anyone else. His blog archives are a rich mine of wisdom.
One author Jim turned me on to was...
An international author and academic, what Richard doesn't know about Peak Oil could fit in a very small barrel. He offers a sobering analysis of our prospects in the face of declining supplies of... Well, everything, in a detailed, referenced but eminently clear and readable style.
George needs little introduction. He's one of the most high profile writers in the ecology, environment and social justice areas.
Finally, Mark Lynas. Mark's blog postings are infrequent, but always thought provoking and backed up by years of research. He's written a book called 6 degrees which condenses thousands of articles and studies into how the world would be affected if global warming rose by each of the degrees from 1 to 6. Scary stuff. Yet he generally offers a less strident voice than George Monbiot.
So, that's my blog list.
Well let's see now... I'd started getting noticeable pain on Saturday 22nd May, but ignored it. Didn't sleep too well though. Did a bit of work. Felt tired and kept myself to myself. Went to bed late. Slept badly. Up early in some discomfort.
But I had a driving test to attend to. Pretty much the apotheosis of a driving instructors working existance. Something you only fail to turn up for in the gravest of emergencies.
My pupil passed. Plaudits all round. Lots of nice things to say, and I have a blog post saved as a draft about it.
Got home. Took paracetemol. Which didn't work.
At some point during that evening I found that I couldn't stop shaking. As soon as I went downstairs Bren noticed something was wrong. She wondered if I had been smoking weed, which sometimes makes me go shaky.
In fact I had quite a big infection, and my body was heating up to try to kill the bugs that were harming it. Eventually I 'fessed up to being in pain, and went to bed with clucks of sympathy in my ears. No sleep. Just sweat. Eventually found a combination of ibuprofen, paracetemol and codeine that allowed me to get a few hours of unconsciousness. Sweat snore sneeze snooze snarl. sweat. Sweat. Sweat.
When I awoke. Whenever I awoke, my side of the bed was soaking wet.
Next day we went to see a dentist, and he pulled out the offending molar.
I didn't eat for the rest of the day. I had just one cigarette at some point between drop in centre and dentist, and I still struggled to get enough sleep that night.
So, come the next day I awoke still feeling like shit, and far earlier than I needed to. And off I went to my first lesson. Only needed to drive about half a mile. By the timeI got there it was prety much obvious to m e that I was struggling to drive, never mind teach someone else how to do it. My pupil had just passed his theory test with flying colours, partly due to the help I'd given him, and was happy to cancel. My only other pupil for that day was also happy to rearrange via text message, so I went home. And lay on the sofa with the curtains shut.
Bren was obviously worried about me. And had been for the previous 48 hours. She thought that I might still have an infection, and went to see the dentist to ask for antibiotics. He passed her on to the doctor's surgery. She gave my symptoms to the receptionist - photosensitive, lethargic, achey, high temperature, and the receptionist sends out an emergency ambulance, because what she's just described could be meningitis.
So. upon my couch, I wake up or drowse or sleep or something, and at some point Bren walks in and tells me an ambulance is on it's way.
Poor thing. Her last hubby died quite quickly of some kind of leukemia. It's hard to appreciate that snese of possible sense of history repeating.
My love for, and respect for her knows no bounds, and I hope I can continue to do right by her.
I did look rather pale apparently, but I responded appropriately to their questions, my eyeballs reacted appropriately and equally to their light beams. I didn't shrink, eyes streaming, at the light's approach. My temperature was high, but not abnormally high. My BPM was normal. My My RPM was 46, which was just a liitle high. And my blood sugar level (it's just a scratch) was normal for someone that had eaten bugger-all for days.
So no meningitis, but an appointment later that afternoon to see the doctor, who did a lot of the same tests. Includig the one with the sphygmomanometer.
That was yesterday.
Today I've still been a bit washed out Quite emotional. Found myself wanting to cry watching this...
But perfectly capable of getting some work done.
And that's me, up to date. Now I'm going for a fag, and then off to bed. Night night.
This is an iceberg radish, grown on our allotment by the sweat of our brows, and I just had to take a piccy of it before I scoffed it.
If I'd been blindfolded and someone had forced it between my quivering lips, Id have said it was bloody lovely. I suppose knowing that it was something that we'd facilitated by weeding, digging, hoeing, planting, hoeing, and generally nurturing made it all the sweeter.
It was probably the strongest, most peppery radish I've ever tasted.
They're part of the brassicae family apparently. That's OK. I can get on with Frank while despising Gary. And I can like Radishes while puking at the taste of cauliflower. Totally different.
I do hope though that all this allottmenting stuff will help breakdown some of the psychological blocks I have in place. Perhaps at some point I will grow my own sprouts and eat them, and thus eradicate the force feeding negative conditioning that my parents fostered.
There are quite a few things harvestable right now. I couldn't tell you what they all are, although I'm sure my beautiful talented vivacious tolerant sexy and intelligent other half could post a list when she reads this.
Some of that is rhubarb. Some of it is rocket. Indeed, some of it is wild rocket, and it's the tastiest rocket I've ever tasted. And I've tasted some tasty rocket in my time, I can tell you.
Go on! Get your name on the list for an allottment! It might take a while before you hear anything, and the plot you get might need a lot of prep before you start seeing results, but this stuff knocks supermarket produce into the middle of last week in terms of freshness and flavour.
No seriously. I like spicy food. I bought this a few months back thinking I'd enjoy it. Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle? Not a problem to me, mate. So first thing I did was slather it liberally on a pizza.
Big mistake. Eating a pizza has seldom been such a trial.
Today I ate pizza, my first substantial intake of calories for several days following the toothache/infection/extraction/ambulance saga, and I'm still not 100%. The thing nearly choked me. Yet it didn't even come close to the exercise in oral self-flaggelation that the insantity sprinkled pizza represented.
Yup. Ambulance. As in Emergency paramedic. More about that shortly.
Anyway, gave this stuff a wide berth for a while, but then, about a week ago, added one millilitre of it to a bowl of soup.
One millilitre was way too much.
The message I'm trying to get across here, is that this stuff does exactly what it says on the bottle.
Wear gloves before handling, and do not pick your nose after using it.
Oh, and the ambulance? See next post.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
WheneverI go to see a dentist, they do unpleasant and painful things to me. Not like the old colgate adverts where a smiling child proudly announces, "No fillings today, mum!"
So I must admit, I've developed something of a phobia of them.
The result is that when small things happen, I let them turn into big things. So that tiny chip that could easily have been filled 18 months ago has now become a full blown cavity. And it inevitably became infected. And I've hardly slept for the last two nights. By maxing out the dose of ibuprofen and a codeine/paracetemol based tablet, I finally got a few hours shut-eye.
It's been a bad one for sure. Shivering, sweating, crawling around unable to keep still.
So the need to get rid of this very real and present pain is greater than my fear of dentists.
Now, I'm not registered with a dentist. As well as the tooth that's currently giving me jip, I have another couple rotting quietly away. Some of them have disintegrated to a point where they will have to be dug out.
So I'm hoping that they will do it in hospital, under a general anaesthetic.
Will be getting Bren up soon (she was up most of the night, trying to make my life easier) and heading off to my local NHS walk in centre, see if I can score some antibiotics and start the ball rolling on whatever other treatment I need.
I may possibly need dentures, as the gaps will outnumber the teeth.
Hail to the thief...
Monday, 24 May 2010
There's been a pushpin in my google earth map, just on the coast of the Caspian Sea, near to the Ekranoplans, with the letter Z, just waiting to be posted.
Now I'll be the first to admit, it's not the best Z in the world, but it's a Z none-the-less.
God, as Zorro, has cast a Z with his... hovercraft? For it is something like an Air Cushion Vehicle or Ground Effect Vehicle that has made these marks.
It's co-ordinates are: 42°53'1.63"N, 47°39'51.62"E and clicking on them should take you there, if I've remebered how to do this. (It's been a while...)
B, J and N left to find!
I could rotate the Z through 90° and call it an N, but that's cheating.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.
You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.
The Earth is built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily. So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do NOT think this will be easy.
This is not a guide for wusses whose aim is merely to wipe out humanity. I (Sam Hughes) can in no way guarantee the complete extinction of the human race via any of these methods, real or imaginary. Humanity is wily and resourceful, and many of the methods outlined below will take many years to even become available, let alone implement, by which time mankind may well have spread to other planets; indeed, other star systems. If total human genocide is your ultimate goal, you are reading the wrong document. There are far more efficient ways of doing this, many which are available and feasible RIGHT NOW. Nor is this a guide for those wanting to annihilate everything from single-celled life upwards, render Earth uninhabitable or simply conquer it. These are trivial goals in comparison.
This is a guide for those who do not want the Earth to be there anymore.
- Mission statement
- Current Earth-Destruction Status
- Methods for destroying the Earth
- Fall-back methods
- Other, less scientifically probable ways that Earth could be destroyed
- Methods from fiction
- Things which will NOT destroy the Earth
- General geocide strategy
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Well it's the sort of place Europeans would want to build a settlement, or at least a monument. So perhaps it's a town or a city.
It could also be some other kind of man made landscape such as farmland.
But if it's a place where humans have little influence, then it will be, by definition, a tropical area - it is exactly on the equator after all - which means rainforest, or desert, or savannah.
Did I mention that it could be some kind of mountainous terrain?
Well here goes...
Yup. Totally out! The reason why you've never heard of the famous point where 0° meets 0° is because it's 16,500 feet under the surface of the Atlantic ocean.
Presumably, somebody has dropped a big plaque from a ship as they passed, and which now lies, bedarkened and fouled with barnacles, upon the ocean bed.
But he's moved. Same role but just as I could teach driving pretty much anywhere in Britian, given a short time to familiarise myself with the roads, so Peter can also ply his trade in a variety of locations.
He's challenged me to find his new home on Google Earth. Here's what I had to work with...
23-storey tower block, Laem Chabang Tower, just 100m east of Sukhumvit Road, aka Highway No. 3, in the town of Ao Udom in the province of Chonburi. It's white and about 2-3 km to the east of a massive oil storage depot.
Well that's quite a lot of information, and I quickly pinned down Highway No.3. The Laem Chabang bit took me miles away, so from what I had, it was a matter of following highway no. 3.
G.E. Imagary of Thailand isn't the highest, and it's a pretty crowded area, but my best guess puts him just north of the intersection with highway no. 7.
I'm not totally confident about this one, but nearly everything else seemed far more lowrise.
They drive on the left in Thailand, just as we do here. Just thought I'd let you know.
Oh, and Pete. The weird red button in the middle of your new laptop's keyboard? It's probably a mouse of sorts. Try pushing it in different directions and see what happens to your pointer.
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Then we had to tidy up.
Somebody has turned the town centre of Liscard, where I live, into 3d buildings. Seeing it done in a place I'm very familiar with makes me see how effective it is. The process itself is like Google Earth in miniature: Create a shape, and overlay photographs upon that shape. But as the pictures show, the amount of detail that can be put into these things means they can really capture how things are.
Currently, only a bit of it has been done. Presumably we will see more and more of this as time goes on.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
In general terms, though, I'm getting very bored with polemics. The stuff I've read since the general election has been utterly predictable, and not particularly productive.
And I'm talking about the Left here. I'm not particularly interested in what right wing commentators have to say, and I'm in the main, blissfully unaware of it since I don't generally read the stuff.
This isn't just a recent thing. Going back a few years, I can remember British Left Wingers shouting at Americans for being such morons as to elect George W Bush.
Great stuff. "Hey, Americans!, You're idiots!" Just the thing to swing people to a different point of view.
So I suppose I'm looking for things that fit together, rather than someone venting their opinions. I know the two are not mutually incompatible, but it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it I supppose.
For example, I have a lot of time for both Mark Lynas and George Monbiot - both of them can be found in the blog list to the right of this post, but of the two, Lynas comes across as more trustworthy, and less agenda driven. Similarly, Justin McKeating at Chicken Yoghurt is starting to get on my nerves. Not that I don't think he has a point, more that I'm already aware of the issues, and the constant and unvarying reiteration is starting to get on my nerves. Nothing personal. Just where I am right now.
Things that fit together? Well there are certain ideas and concepts that make a lot of sense to me. Instead of being party political, or just evenhanded in their cynicism and distain for mainstream politics, these ideas stand up to logical analysis.
Here are a few:
- "You can't have indefinite growth within a finite system."
- "If you have a finite resource and you use some of it, there will be less of it available for you to use in future."
- "If something has an effect, making that something bigger will tend to have a greater effect."
- "order and complexity require energy."
Stuff like that.
On the other hand,
"David Cameron went to a posh school so he's evil" ?
Well so did Tony Benn. Grow the fuck up.
One of the first things this new government has done is to scrap the plans for Heathrow's third runway. Yes I know they plan to build a high speed rail link that will also use huge amounts of energy (and which is part of trying to continue with economic growth - see point 1 above) but I wonder if left wingers will be able to see pst their prejudices and put credit where credit is due?
Friday, 7 May 2010
the much vaunted lib dem surge never happened. people seem to be going straight from labour to tory. I do hope they can't get overall control. It looks like it could be pretty tight.
UKIP have come nowhere this time. BNP don't seem to be able to get much support either. My own constituency is a labour hold and I really am off to bed. 5am.
Also, in constituency after constituency, I've seen the turnout has been generally a few % higher than in 2005. Mind you, I don't suppose 2005 was a year reknowned for it's mass participation.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
As has been pointed out elsewhere, electoral reform is within our grasp. That the lib-dems happen to be the most left wing mainstream party on many issues (like trident for example) is just a happy accident. "most left wing" is a relative term. Like saying the Indian is the smallest of the main oceans.
But there you go. Perhaps my vote will have some effect on things. I really don't know how things will go tonight. You'd think Angela Eagle, with a majority of just over 9000 at the last election would be fairly safe, but who knows?
I think whatever happens tonight, this has been a kick in the face for the tories. As New Labour have lurched and stumbled from fiasco to crisis, you wonder why they aren't set for a landslide.
I'd like to think it's because people have long memories, but I'm inclined to think it's because there's bugger-all to choose between them.
But now here's a thing.
According to Johann Hari,
But it is wrong to say, on this issue, there is no difference at all. The gap is real, and millions of people live in that gap. The Institute of Fiscal Studies just published a long-term study of how Labour's tax changes have affected different classes, compared to the last Tory government. It found that the richest 10 per cent have seen their incomes cut by 9 per cent, to pay for an increase in the incomes of the poorest 10 per cent. A rich man has lost on average £25,000 a year; a poor woman has gained on average £1,700 a year. I have seen these changes among my own family and friends: gaining £1,700 is the difference between struggling to pay the bills, or being able to give your kids a summer holiday. Yes, there should have been much more – but the cigarette paper between the parties is big enough to make a pretty fat roll-up.
But according to George Monbiot,
Let us begin where my colleagues claim the party’s record is strongest: poverty and inequality. During the first seven years of the Labour government there was real progress on poverty. But from 2004 onwards the trend went into reverse. In the three years to 2007/8 the number of people in households living on less than 60% of median income rose by 1.3 million: producing a total better than in 1997 but worse than in 1989(5). This was before the recession hit, so God knows what the next set of figures will show.
The number of people in extreme poverty (living on less than 40% of median income) never substantially fell: it held steady through the first eight years of Labour government, then rose. There are now 700,000 more people in this condition than when Labour took office, and more than at any point since records began(6). The average real incomes of the poorest tenth declined by 2% in the ten years to 2007/8(7). These figures, again, pre-date the recession.
The rich, on the other hand, have seldom done better. Forty per cent of the extra income enjoyed by British households over the Labour years has accrued to the richest 10% (8). The richest one percent, according to Danny Dorling’s new book Injustice, have captured a higher share of national income than they have done since the early 1930s(9). Inequality in the United Kingdom is now higher than at any point since consistent records began, in 1979(10). I feel that needs repeating. After 13 years of Labour government, the UK has higher levels of inequality than after 18 years of Tory government.
Anyway, for better or worse, I've gone from being a fully paid up labour party activist to someone who'd only vote for them to keep something worse out. Yet I've hardly moved.
Something else that caught my eye was the Norfolk Labour candidate who tagged Gordon Brown as the worst prime minister Britain has ever had.
Come on Norfolk! Vote Labour!
tired tired tired. Margie failed her test, despite driving as well as I've ever seen her for an hour or so beforehand. Made a minor error and her arse started flapping, as the saying goes. I really feel for her. Her mum's dying. She needs to go see her. I wish she'd passed today. She failed because she was being scrutinised, not because she can't drive. The Examiner - Let's not name names here - is not one of the ones I'd hoped she'd get.
Another day done. Off to bed soon. Not staying up to watch the results. If I hadn't been up all last night mybe I would have done.
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
I'm watching a programme about sex on the telly, while playing a facebook game and reading an aricle about Chinese coal use. Now there are adverts on and I'm watching them too.
Now Bren's going to bed and has turned the telly off.
The sex program featured some light bondage, filmed in a lay-by. The adverts were that meercat thing for an insurance price comparison website, and an adult chatline.
The programme that followed the adverts was "The sexy bits from Eurotrash". It got switched off during the credits so I don't know what it contained.
The coal thing is an e-mail from an author called Richard Heinberg, who's specialised subjects are resource depletion, climate change, and social complexity. And the interactions therein. It's a periodical mailing list thing, available here if you're interested. I've struggled to the third or fourth paragraph, and it explains that while Chinese growth, both economic, and in consumption of coal, are spectacular, they are also unsustainable.
The facebook game is called bejewelled blitz, and involves sliding coloured blocks around to form shapes and sequences of the same colour, for points, against a time limit. It is intensely interactive, and demands almost my entire attention for a minute at a time.
The way this seems to work is as follows:
1. Play bejewelled blitz.
2. Pay some attention through sound and peripheral vision, to the sex program (and adverts) on the telly.
3. If a part of the telly programme catches my attention, watch the telly, and don't restart another game. If the telly programme isn't engaging me, restart and have another game.
4. If I've taken my attention away from the game by watching the telly, read a bit of the article for a few lines or a paragraph.
5. Restart game.
But that's all changed now. Now I'm writing this blog post because the telly is off. I've been writing pretty constantly for the last fifteen minutes or so. It's much easier to concentrate on one thing now that the telly is off. So rather than flit between game, blog and article, I am just typing the words you are now reading.
I'm now drinking my third bottle of beer. Tonight I went and bought three bottles of beer. But the last few times I have done this, I've woken up, stiff and uncomfortable, downstairs on the sofa or on the floor. So today I deliberately went for beer that was less strong. I mean, 4-5% abv instead of 5-7% abv.
Trouble is, there's reaction time to consider. Drink a drink. Drink another. You're still getting pissed from the first. Drink the third, and it's easy to overshoot where I want my head to be. So drink something nicer, but less head-wrecking. Easy, innit?
I've done 8 lessons today. Well, 7.5 actually. Today I have driven in or through, Wallasey, Birkenhead, Bebington, Neston, Port Sunlight, Rock Ferry, New Ferry, Thornton Hough, Barnston, Thingwall, Upton, Moreton, Greasby, Irby, Pensby, Heswall, Gayton, Pensby, Poulton, Seacome, Liscard, Poulton Lancellyn, Hooton, Willaston, Ness, Little Neston, Tranmere and Clatterbridge. And Leasowe. And New Brighton.
Also went to see my Mum and Dad. My Dad is responding well to treatment, or so it seems. We're promising ourselves a game of golf together some time. I think we're both hoping to consolidate our bridge-building and friendship.
'tis a good thing for sure.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Come on Rovers!
Not because I think they'll be anything other than a bunch of right wing fucks when in power, or something like power- although they are probably the most left wing mainstream party on many issues - but because I'd like to see an end to the current electoral system.