Panoramas VII

Time for another gallery in Detail: more panoramas of the Tasman Peninsula, taken in July 2017. Won’t be the last.

20 July 2018 · Comment · Travel

Worst-Case Scenario

As the risk of a no-deal Brexit becomes ever greater, the Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Project has been told to prepare for massive civil unrest.

Hey, Brexiters: Spam and other tinned goods are still widely available. It’s still possible to make homemade wholemeal bread and mock apricot tarts out of carrots. You can even dig a hole in your back yard, put a tin roof over it and go and sleep in it, and pretend the traffic noises are Home Guard armoured cars driving past. You can live out your own personal “Very Well, Alone” fantasy without dragging the rest of us into it.

Read More · 20 July 2018 · Comment · Politics


The beautiful, ugly, and possessive hearts of Star Wars.

Emmy Noether changed the face of physics.

Usborne are giving away PDFs of their Computer Guides from the 1980s.

Coral forests have been discovered around deep-sea volcanoes off Sicily.

Drought has revealed ancient sites in Welsh farmland and a massive unknown henge at Newgrange.

Global warming is destroying Arctic archaeological sites.

Icelandic whalers may have killed a blue whale.

Rogue Chinese factories have been using CFCs. My home state ends up under the ozone hole every summer.

China’s dystopian dream: A.I., shame and lots of cameras.

How blogs broke the Web. Whoops.

20 July 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Two by Four

As feared, Trump is making impossible demands of NATO allies as a pretext for pulling out. They don’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.

Half of the US’s 3.5% of GDP defense spending must relate to its other spheres of influence, such as the Pacific and the Middle East, including standing bases that can’t just be moved elsewhere at a moment’s notice. So if other NATO countries started spending 4% of GDP on their armed forces, Europe would quickly exceed the US in military capability in the Atlantic.

To pick up on one of the countries already exceeding the 2% target, UK GDP in 2016 was US$2.619 trillion, so raising its defence spending from 2.1% to 4% of GDP would cost almost an extra US$50 billion, or £37.5 billion at current exchange rates. That’s two Brexit buses’ worth a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.

12 July 2018 · Comment · Politics

The London Thylacines

A serious plumbing snake.

Werner the Herzog.

Wonders claimed by lava.

Wonders reclaimed from a canal.

The London thylacines.

On boredom.

2 July 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Trial Runs

British democracy “may be under threat”.

How little the UK government understands.

Trump is saving Germany’s liberals.

Bible Stories with Jeff Sessions.

“At least during the Internment...”

Trial runs for fascism.

Ferdinand Marcos’s greatest trick.

Lessons from the Norwegian Resistance.

2 July 2018 · Comment · Politics

Marching Against Brexit

A gallery of photos from the People’s Vote March last weekend.

30 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

Some more thoughts from the Mefi thread I started this week.

Read More · 27 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

My post to Metafilter about the People’s Vote March and the latest Brexit developments has spawned a vibrant thread (and was even featured in the Best Of sidebar, quite an honour). Here it is, with some of my subsequent comments in edited form.

Read More · 27 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

The March

I made it down to London in time for the People’s Vote March on Saturday, and was proud to have been there. It may be ignored by the government and mocked by Leavers on social media, but when we’re all scrabbling around for our last tin of beans next year, those of us who were there can at least take some solace from having tried.

I took a ton of photos, and will put up a gallery of them here in the next few days. But first up, here’s a compilation of the short videos I took, as posted to YouTube.

27 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

Au Revoir, Airbus

Look, up in the sky: it’s another home-made #StopBrexit graphic (to go with this one and this one), prompted by this all-too-predictable news.

Read More · 22 June 2018 · Comment · Politics


A breathtaking opinion piece at ConservativeHome advocates “preparing for what’s best called a No Deal deal now—to kick in from next March, rather than the spring of 2020”. They’re getting themselves psychologically prepared (if not actually, y’know, prepared) for something that was supposedly unthinkable a year ago. The comments thread shows the Brexiter strategy of Remainer-blaming in full flight. It’s an intriguing thread, because you can also see in it plenty of Conservative panic.

Some commenters there still cling to the idea that this is all a masterly game of double-bluff: “Those of us who ‘bang on’ about no deal do not necessarily want no deal; we just want a good deal, which can only be obtained if we threaten no deal.”

We’ll end up with no deal because they’re speeding down the motorway playing chicken with an oncoming brick wall labelled 29 March 2019. The EU doesn’t have to cower before such “threats”: it’s resigning itself to our departure and preparing for the worst, which will hurt our neighbours (except, unfortunately, our closest neighbour) far less than it hurts us.

Read More · 21 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

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