Rainbow Connection

As an Australian-at-a-distance distracted by northern hemisphere stuff, I hadn’t fully absorbed the impact of the federal government’s Marriage Law Postal Survey. I mean, I knew it on an intellectual level, but not being surrounded by it day-to-day, it took exposure on social media to feel the full awfulness of it. Malcolm Turnbull has basically been prepared to put thousands of same-sex couples through months of agonising campaigning that strikes at the heart of their identity so that he can duck the responsibilities of power while maximising his chances of maintaining that power.

Read More · 2 October 2017 · Comment · Politics

Hurricane Season

Another batch of links on politics and other miscellany.

Read More · 2 October 2017 · Comment · Weblog

UKIP, Hide Your Lion Eyes

UKIP have revealed their new logo (or, more accurately, the favourite of two options yet to be decided) to immediate derision. The letters reminded me of quite a different animal...

Read More · 29 September 2017 · Comment · Politics

Omit Needless Words

Twitter has announced a shift from its longstanding 140-character limit to 280 characters, in management tweets which were twice as long as they needed to be. The move has brought criticism not just from fans of creative concision, but from those who point out that the company should focus more on their platform being used to harrass women, promote racism, and provoke nuclear war.

Read More · 27 September 2017 · Comment · Net Culture

I went to the blood bank to make a withdrawal, and they handed me a black pudding.

27 September 2017 · Comment · Whatever

The Wiley, Windy Moors

It’s a big ol’ links round-up. Exasperating political stuff below the fold.

Idyllic old postcards of the Catskills are now scenes of abandonment.

How our pictures can help reclaim lost history.

Dutch masterpieces with mechanics.

The Netherlands feeds the world.

A collection of deliberately inconvenient objects.

The notorious “free watch”.

Shoegaze isn’t dead, it just moved east.

Aussie bloke sings “Wuthering Heights” in its original key. A Brazilian equivalent.

Morris the reversible fish.

These videos about EnChroma glasses are a study in bottled-up male emotion. It’s like watching Field of Dreams.

Read More · 19 September 2017 · Comment · Weblog


If you’re chained to someone bigger running towards a cliff edge, you yell at them to stop, you don’t say “they’re the majority”. When you’re already feeling the effects of their mad dash for the edge, you don’t presume jumping will make things any better. You certainly don’t want to jump to prove a point about what a disaster jumping will be. It won’t help much if you survive the fall, you’ll still end up a mangled mess.

If you actually liked the firm ground you were on, talk of new horizons at the bottom of the cliff is no reassurance, especially when you’ve just spent years climbing from the bottom of the cliff to the top. If you can’t stop them from jumping, you at least want a hang glider for a soft landing, or to circle back to firm ground, because once they jump, they’re going to discover that neither of you can fly—while claiming that you haven’t been flapping your arms hard enough, and that both of your imminent deaths are your fault.

A Twitter experiment.

6 September 2017 · Comment · Politics

The Howling Wind

It’s fair to say that I’ve kept a low profile on Twitter for a while, after experimenting with tweeting in various different styles in its early years. Nowadays I spend my time there reading depressing news stories posted by far more prolific people. Occasionally I tweet something work-related, as many of my followers know me from work. Now and then I’ll tweet or retweet something that isn’t, but mostly I use the Like button to keep track of that, using them like bookmarks (or favorites, funnily enough).

Read More · 4 September 2017 · Comment · Net Culture

Four Fairy Tales

A selection of limericks, two old and the rest new, inspired by years of bedtime stories.

Read More · 4 September 2017 · Comment · Whatever

Hot August Sites

The 100 greatest comedy movies, according to a BBC poll of international critics. I’ve only seen 62 of them, better get cracking. [Edit, 2/10/17:] Time Out made a similar list in January. Members of Metafilter suggested more.

The first album composed and produced by an AI.

Twelve ways to spot a bot.

The Home Office isn’t fit for purpose. It shouldn’t matter that the government has got the number of migrants wrong. People with two nationalities should be feted, not mistrusted.

Can we fix it? No, someone else can. Thread.

Just how evil is Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

The end of the line for queueing.

My iPhone turned me into a squirrel-chasing dog.

31 August 2017 · Comment · Weblog

Citizen of the World

A couple of comments originally posted to Metafilter during the past month, which I’d planned to rewrite for here, but had better just post before they’re too stale.

Read More · 31 August 2017 · 1 Comment · Politics

The State of Things

I’d better get a post up if this blog isn’t to go a whole second month without any. The summer holidays took over: first I was out in Australia for a few weeks with the kids visiting family, and when we got back I began decluttering, culling five hundred old books and listing a bunch on Amazon, carting stuff to charity shops, auctioning on eBay, and tidying up things that had accumulated over the years. All still ongoing. We’ve also had trips to Glasgow, to Glentress for mountain-biking, a few Fringe shows, friends visiting, and the kids going back to school; and a disaster or two, such as our son’s new bike getting pinched last week.

So there hasn’t been much time for stopping here to comment on the state of the world, sorry as it is. Not that much has changed since the last times I did: Brexit is still a shambles, Trump has dropped all pretense of being anything other than fascist, and the climate is still inexorably changing.

But I do have a ridiculous backlog of links to post, so here’s a selection.

Read More · 28 August 2017 · Comment · Weblog

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