The Blog

Pike near Chorley in Lancashire. I knew I still had it but it had gone missing and I'd been searching for it for 15 years at least. Yesterday it fell out of a bunch of old papers and yellowed copies of International Times.

There's a detailed write up here of the adventures we and others had.

There's a postscript as well. Here And Now liked my write up so much, they asked me to do the liner notes for one of their Live CDs of their set at the festival.

[from: Google+ Posts]

What they meant was "No Brexit is better than a Bad Brexit".

At least I think that's what they should have said.
[from: Google+ Posts]


Whereas prosperity for all, peace, security and the safeguarding of the global environment are achieved by working together in the closest union;

Recalling the importance of the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity, liberty, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person;

Considering that the principles of equality and non-discrimination guide us, and the values of respect duty and community define us;

Considering that trust, justice and liberty govern us, and we are characterised by creativity, inclusivity and a belief in the human spirit;

Given that our glorious past helped forge European values and that our present enjoyment of them is largely thanks to the European Union;

Being resolved that our future happiness relies on remaining at the heart of the European Union and retaining for ourselves and future generations, the rights of EU Citizenship;


We affirm our allegiance to the European Union and promise to abide by and promote the universal values upon which it is based such as compassion, endeavour, ingenuity, altruism, diligence, daring and a peace-loving commitment to the dignity of all sentient beings, and we are pledged to maintain our citizenship of the European Union for us and for the generations that come after us.

[from: Google+ Posts]

- Full Brexit JRM, BJ, DD, ERG. Crash out in the biggest possible way.

- Chequers Compromise The impossible middle way. Not acceptable to pretty much everyone. EU, Leavers, Remainers, N Ireland, etc, etc,

- Brexit in Name Only Leave EU but not any EU structure. Stay in the Customs Union, Single Market, 4 freedoms, ECJ, Euratom, etc, etc. Sensible, but not actually acceptable to anyone.

- Delay Negotiate 2-year stays of execution. Repeat indefinitely. Give up control but don't change anything. Wait until political climate changes.

- Cancel Art50 and Remain This is probably possible but nobody really knows the implications. Full Euro and Schengen as a minimum payment for wasting the EU's time?

We are so screwed. But we're heading into an end game.

And people are beginning to talk about the break up of the UK 2 party system. And some fundamental re-alignments. Which is going to be tricky because the sensible middle ground consists of MPs who have never rebelled and never gone against their party's whip. It's hard to see how they could grow a backbone and do anything. While simultaneously holding their nose and cooperating with the other tribe. More likely is that the extremes of each party break away. Leaving 2 rump parties, neither of which can get a majority.

[from: Google+ Posts]

The thing that ate the constitution[1] seems to be losing its mind[2].

Watch with the sound off and judge for yourself.

[1] Could be the TSOG: Tsarist Occupation Government. Thank you, R.A.W.
[2] No sleep is a most effective torture technique

[from: Google+ Posts]

br /> This referred to the mission creep of London Congestion Zone cameras where vehicle movements were not passed to Police, passed to Police and deleted after two years, passed to Police and held indefinitely.

Now Sadiq Khan has announced a 2021 ULEZ that covers everything inside the N and S Circular roads. Which will require congestion zone style ANPR technology along the whole edge of this area. Which will inevitably be shared with the Police and held indefinitely.

Welcome to the Panopticon.

ps. I have friends who have old motorcycles who are very upset about this. They won't be able to ride them inside the N Circular without incurring a charge. I'm conflicted about this. One one side get with the programme. You're on the wrong side of the line. Should you be allowed to ride an LC350 2-stroke in a heavily polluted area? On the other side, M/C are really not the problem in terms of scale so why aren't they just excluded? Note also that the Congestion zone is front number plate facing. The new ULEZ will have to be rear number plate facing to catch M/C.

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This annoys me. So I formally announced that I would no longer do this and if you didn't like it please block me.

Also, some problems sharing this article on G+. Consider this a test.

 I’m a troll, and I didn’t even know it. Or am I being gaslighted? »
Bad faith, civility, sea-lioning, and modes of argumentation

[from: Google+ Posts]

This story made my day. It's time: Techno Against Racism!

House and techno could be heard from at least 20 speaker-equipped trucks. As 20,000[1] clubbers faced off 5,000 far right AfD to "Bass the AfD away."

With a nod to the late 70's "Rock Against Racism", 80's "Skateboarders Against Racism" and 00's English Disco Lovers (EDL) and Bass National Party (BNP).

[1]Some reports say 70,000.

[from: Google+ Posts]

IoT is normally thought of as things like internet connected thermostats. but:-

- Mobile phones, tablets, PCs with webcams, anything with a mic that might respond to "Hello Google"
- Cable modems and Routers. Especially ones owned by the cable company and locked.
- Home NAS. With built in bittorrent clients
- Broadband connected Tivo
- Smart TVs
- TV connected Chromecast, Fire, AppleTV, etc

Edward Morbius originally shared this post:
Our smart devices are gathering information about us.

...We are a group of researchers at Princeton University. We analyze different IoT devices in the Smart House and examine security/privacy problems.

Help our research! Tell us what IoT devices you currently have and what devices you are interested in buying. We will try to purchase the most popular devices, analyze them, and publish any issues that we find....

Contact & registration at link.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Will Twitter and please just motherfucking die already. I mean seriously, fuck that shit.

How the hell did long form text and discussion come to this?

This shaking fist brought to you via,
A most excellent rant about the need for a CS code of ethics. With teeth.
[from: Google+ Posts]

This needs sharing.

Alan Cox originally shared this post:
One of the curious things about writing stuff is the way it sometimes decides that you aren't entirely in charge. Characters add themselves without invite or what was intended to be one thing turns in other ways.

I was trying to write something about the rising disillusionment with the state and the 1%, but the words decided they wanted to be a good deal nastier

The sit and do their plotting
And they don't give a damn
You are part of the problem
If you aren't part of the plan
They really don't like it
If you stick it the man
But they've got ways to make
You vanish when they can

It's a dark country
And we're sharpening the blades
To test on politicians
Billionaires and aides
It's a dark country
It's a dark country

As the rulers climb the mountain
They think they're atlas shrugged
But money aint invention
And they won't do too good
When we knock down their empire
And take back all we should
When we tear up the system
Well it's time they understood

It's a dark country
And revolution stalks
Starting with the ballot box
And fighting in the courts
It's a dark country
It's a dark country

You can push the people so far
You can lie to them like dogs
But there comes a day they'll
stick a spanner in the cogs
When the machine grinds to a halt
And the dollars cease to print
Remember those you treat like shit
Were the ones to load the ink

It's a dark country
And the knives are coming out
If we can't beat you through the system
We'll beat you from without
It's a dark country
It's a dark country

So as you take away the healthcare
As the schools fall down and bust
As you swap wages for zero hours
As the libraries fall to dust
When the army don't give a damn
When the police have had enough
Everyone you stamped on is ready
To take you down with us

It's a dark country
Don't think that you can hide
One day we're going to get you
And you won't enjoy the ride
It's a dark country
It's a dark country

[from: Google+ Posts]

I've just stumbled across the Hertford & Stortford CLP Labour Party newsletter.

I'm going to quote the section on Brexit in full because it's quite a reasonable summary of where we are in early March 2018. One sentence stood out though under "known unknowns" (sic!).

"(c) After the May Local Government elections the Labour Party will revise its position on Brexit"

Ah, politics and the pursuit of power. Donchajusloveem! The Labour Party is so busy trying to get itself elected, it's sidelining the big problems. It's somehow persuaded itself (cough, Momentum has persuaded it, cough) that an overtly anti-Brexit stance will hurt it in the polls. So it won't do that until the May 2018->Mar 2019 window when there's no elections scheduled.

here's the text
Brexit: Seven months to go?

Here are the milestones:
1. Phase one written agreement March 2018
2. Phase 2 agreement October 2018
3. Departure from EU institutions 29th March 2019 (D-day)
4. Transition phase/implementation of any deal , not later than December 2020

And here are the variables:
(a) The EU four freedoms, the body of social, technical and commercial regulations, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), security, EU trade agreements, single market and customs union, air traffic, passporting, and EU institutions (commission, parliament, council)
(b) The UK redlines are no single market, no customs union, no free movement, no ECJ oversight, freedom to set UK trade deals, soft Irish border

The UK does not appear to have a position apart from a fall back ‘no deal’ exit from all of the EU variables above, and a World Trade Organisation (WTO) basis for trading.

The phase 1 agreement was fudged in December 2017, i.e. the divorce settlement, end of free movement (EU and UK citizen status) and the Irish internal border. The EU requires the agreement in writing (no fudges) at the end of March (milestone 1). Only the divorce settlement at £39 billion may be definite, citizens rights are contentious and a soft Irish border is impossible without either the EU or the UK or both compromising on the variables. The EU has made it clear what it expects to include in the agreement (see It is not clear how the EU will react if agreement cannot be reached on the phase 1 issues.

The phase 2 agreement is about to start negotiation. Although D-day (departure day) is March 2019, any agreement has to be approved by the 27 national governments, the EU Commission, and the European Parliament. This approval is estimated to require the six months October 2018 (milestone 2) to March 2019 (milestone 3). The UK Westminster Parliament and the devolved Assemblies potentially have the
opportunity to approve the agreement although the Government has warned this may not be possible in time to influence the outcome of phase 2 (milestone 2). A key part of phase 2 negotiation is the transition (implementation) phase after milestone 3. This is currently highly contentious but may end up as exit from the EU institutions, but retention of the other EU variables with the ability to negotiate (but not sign)
trade treaties. Reese Mogg, as leading Brexiteer, refers to this as a ‘vassal state’ and might force the Government to drop the transition phase. The EU, in the absence of a UK position, has produced a position paper “Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement” It is not clear what will happen
if one or other or both of the agreements are unacceptable or require further negotiation so that the EU approvals are not received by D-day.

The EU has indicated that it would welcome the UK’s return to the Union although stopping Brexit might require the approval of all 27 EU nations. If this were to take place before milestone 3 then Brexit could simply be stopped. If it takes place before milestone 4 (if there is a milestone 4) then the UK could simply
rejoin the EU institutions and continue in a (diminished) membership. If it takes place after milestone 4, then the UK would join the list of countries seeking access to the Union and could be required to join the Euro as the price of re-admission.

Within the EU, there is a common negotiating position and strong resistance to ‘cherry-picking’ and ‘having cake and eating it’ approaches to modifying this position, although the UK lives in hope.

Within the UK, the known unknowns are:
(a) There is no customs union of any form
(b) Theresa May’s government might be replaced by a strongly pro hard Brexit administration
(c) After the May Local Government elections the Labour Party will revise its position on Brexit
(d) Passage of legislation embodied in the UK Withdrawal Bill and other bills may falter
(e) The Tories may call a General Election

The Government has already indicated that it will not remain in the customs union but might be a member of a customs union; however some Brexiteers are opposed even to this. No customs union (option (a)) is a significant barrier to trade (and to the Irish Border). The “customs arrangement” suggested by the UK is ill-defined and may be unacceptable to the EU. Option (b) is a possibility if the Tories can agree a replacement leader. The signs are that this could move the Government even further to the right and to a definite hard Brexit position. Option (c), if it happens, might result in the Government (even with its DUP backed majority) being unable to pass key legislation. Resistance to parts of the withdrawal legislation can be expected, for example the ‘Henry VIII’ powers that give the Government a virtually blank legislative cheque, or omissions of key aspects such as worker’s rights and environmental issues. However, failure to provide a legal framework post Brexit (option (d)) would have a nuclear impact on the UK so that Labour might press for amending rather than outright blocking of legislation.

The Tories would not want to risk losing a General Election (and maybe having a soft or no Brexit) and would seek to avoid option (e), although they might be tempted to risk it after D-day (milestone 3) on a “job done, don’t spoil it” platform but before the end of any transition period. Labour would then get the blame for the expected problems that would follow milestone 4.
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[from: Google+ Posts]

Always scary to see yourself on TV. Our local Save Green Belt campaign got chosen with an hour's notice to represent the problems with Sajid Javid and his proposals due to be announced tomorrow.

Here's the 90 seconds we got on Channel 4 news tonight.

[from: Google+ Posts]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

Space is unbelievably hostile to meat sacks.

Space is at the other end of a deep gravity well.

It looks like we had one shot at using a cheap source of energy to make the leap off planet.

And failed.

Well done mankind. You had one job ...


Maybe, there will never be another period of laying down fossil fuel on earth now that fungi that can digest Lignin have appeared. Which means no future life on earth will have the benefit of easy access to very large quantities of energy to bootstrap a technological civilisation.
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br />

Another spectacularly meaningless collection from a large number of "Thought Leaders". ;)

Here's mine.

"What's the minimum viable population and civilisation that can support a chip foundry".
 The Edge Question 2018 - 1 | »
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[from: Google+ Posts]

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