crankynick: (Default)
2009-10-09 08:32 pm

Three arguments in favour of the Obama Peace Prize

1) Anything decision that walks US policy back from the Bush era is a win for world peace.

2) Anything that makes us all hate America less is a win for world peace.

3) Anything that irritates the American right is, by default, good for world peace.
crankynick: (Default)
2009-10-08 06:25 pm

In a monstrous fit of stupidity...

...Ralph Lauren have issued a DMCA takedown notice to Boing Boing because they dared to take this piss out of a pretty appalling image they'd used in an add.

How dumb can you get?
crankynick: (Default)
2009-09-27 11:19 am

The coolest thing I've seen in ages



Winner of "Ukrania's Got Talent" - apparently they do.
crankynick: (Shirt)
2009-09-25 02:52 pm

Gerard Henderson is an odious moron (Part 12)

Yet again Gerard Henderson delightfully and publicly proves that he has no idea how the internet works.

In his rush to have a go at the authors of the study who claimed the ABC has a conservative (rather than left wing) bias, Henderson published a drive by hit on one of the study authors, Joshua Gans (it's the September 18 edition - Henderson's blog doesn't allow you to link to individual entries, in another sign of his general incompetence).

In addition to criticising the study for using maths and still not coming to a conclusion he likes, Hendo has a go at Gans for linking to a pretty funny XKCD entry on how many urinals should be put in dunnies.

During the drive by hit, in yet another sign that Henderson not only fails to comprehend the internet on a fairly basic level but also lacks even a vestigial sense of humour, he assumes that:

a) it was a serious bit of research and is therefore an enormous waste of taxpayers' money and;
b) if Gan linked to it, it must be him wot wrote it.

It's a thing of beauty:

Since the release of the report, [Media Watch Dog] has been analysing the important contribution to human knowledge made by Professor Gans and his colleagues in Melbourne. ...MWD is particularly impressed by his work on, er, male urinals. Gans’ paper “Urinal protocol vulnerability” attempts to answer one of the key questions of our time. Namely: “When a guy goes to the bathroom, which urinal does he pick?” Good question, don’t you think?

MWD is particularly impressed by the learned professor’s attempt to analyse and graph what he refers to as the “International Choice of Urinal Protocol”. This is how Joshua Gans sees it...
.

Then, having been called on his error does he apologise and withdraw the comments? And as a side note, do you, dear readers, think he acquired a skerrick of a clue about the internet from the exchange?

Nope:

As previously advised, I am willing to run an explanation in MWD as to how urinal analysis got on Professor Gans’ website. All I can say is that nothing goes on The Sydney Institute’s website without my approval as the Institute’s executive director.

The fact is that a paper titled “Optimal Number of Urinals” and signed by Joshua Gans is on Professor Gans’ website: www.economics.com.au. Moreover, Professor Gans consciously put a hyperlink on his website to the paper titled “Urinal protocol vulnerability” by xkcd. Professor Gans should have anticipated that someone would make fun of this - which is all I did in MWD.


Twat.
crankynick: (Jebus)
2009-08-25 11:39 pm

Brian Blessed does snooker commentary...

Funniest thing I've seen in months...

crankynick: (Default)
2009-08-25 11:26 pm

Have we bagged out Harry Potter fandom here recently?

Bug fucked crazy

Sanctuary opens for owls dumped by Harry Potter fans.

The Potter phenomenon has been blamed for a surge in the number of people buying owls, emulating the young magician who keeps a snowy owl called Hedwig as a pet.

Now an animal sanctuary has opened on the Isle of Wight to help cope with the problem of owls dumped by owners who can no-longer care for them properly.
crankynick: (Bike)
2009-08-20 08:30 pm

Bored of Ben Cousins?

Nascar brings the real drama:

Our antihero is Jeremy Mayfield, a driver who has recently tested positive for methamphetamine (twice), and whose case was not helped by his stepmother claiming she had seen him use the drug on numerous occasions. Mayfield's response? Well, he explained to reporters that she was "basically a whore", which might well be a term of endearment down Daytona way. He then opted to mention that "she shot and killed my dad".

Nevermind Talladega Nights. This is Nascar's Hamlet. It seems that two years ago, Mayfield's father was killed by what the medical examiner called a "self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest", and Mayfield has now pledged to file a wrongful death suit against his stepmother.

Furthermore, he alleges that the only reason he keeps testing positive is because Nascar are spiking his samples, and that the sport's chairman, Brian France, has "issues" of his own. "Brian France talking about effective drug programmes is like having Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement," Mayfield blithely told reporters. Denials have been forthcoming.

As for the stepmother, last weekend saw her arrested for drunkenly breaking and entering Mayfield's house, and both sides are now spewing restraining orders.


Awesome.
crankynick: (Default)
2009-08-19 02:10 pm

Prop 8 challenge

Fascinating New York Times profile on Ted Olson, the lawyer who's challenging Prop 8 in the US courts.

He's the same bloke who got Bush into the Whitehouse, and advised the same dickwad on the extension of presidential power, and has a long history of opposing affirmative action.

But, while I disagree with most of them, it looks like he's actually a man of some principles - he's opposed to government discrimination on the basis of sexuality for the same reasons (as he sees it) he's opposed to affirmative action: all should be equal before the law.

It's a fascinating article - and on the upside, Olson has won 44 of the 55 Supreme Court cases he's argued, and is very influential in conservative legal circles.
crankynick: (Jebus)
2009-08-19 06:44 am

Fighting a zombie outbreak: the science

Or, why I love epidemiologists, part 142:

Real disease modelling on a theoretical zombie plague.

The good news? We don't have to bother with humanitarian programs like quarantining the fuckers, or searching for a cure - we can just break out the fucken' shotguns:

...if you try to quarantine the zombies you won’t catch them all, so “it’s basically humans fighting it out with slightly fewer zombies than there were before.” That’s not what you want, given that you’re dealing with flesh-eating, undead monsters that will either kill you or bite you and turn you into one of them.

If you go for a cure, “unless the cure was 100%, which it would never be in reality, you can’t turn all the zombies back.” You wind up with “this equilibrium where people are always switching back and forth” between human and zombie. Entirely unsatisfactory.

The only solution — and if we haven’t learned this from zombie movies, we haven’t learned a damn thing — is to mount wave after wave of military attacks. That should get rid of the zombies in about a week and a half, according to Smith?’s equations. And who can argue with equations?


Bonus - actual paper is embedded in the WSJ article, so it's all there if you want to read it...
crankynick: (Default)
2009-08-16 01:22 pm

BNFs are the same everywhere....

I haven't been much of a part of the political blogosphere for a long time. I don't post here much on political topics (other than the occasional wtf link-out, I don't comment much on them when others do, and I've tended, recently, to not even read the big political discussion blogs - let alone comment on them.

I've been trying to work out why that is - despite no longer being engaged with the ALP I'm still passionate about political issues, and I don't think I've gotten so bitter and cynical that I don't have anything to contribute anymore.

But there's been something about online political debate recently that's made me want to stay the fuck away - and I think I've finally found an clear example that sums up what it is that keeps me away.

Part 1

Anna Winter described the decision in the WA Supreme Court that a nursing home should not force feed Christian Rossiter as a 'partial win', and took the view that starvation is a pretty unpleasant way to go, and surely there must be a better way, if it's Rossiter's firm view that he wants to end his life.

Part 2

[personal profile] lauredhel steps in and makes an excellent point about the public debate framing the discussion about Rossiter's court battle - namely that we've only been talking about his right to die, and not about the way he has been treated in the lead up to making that decision.

But - and here's where it all goes to shit - she accuses the Anna Winter of supporting death panels wanting to "knock him off" - language that is clearly inflammatory given the state of debate on US health care in the last couple of weeks and which completely mischaracterised Winter's position.

Worse, Winter turned up the in the comments at Hoyden to complain and didn't get the simple retraction and apology which would have settled it - and was told, in fact, that "it's not about you".

Part 3

Winter responds, at length, on LP - and the argument continues.

Part 3.5

While this is going on there's a fair bit of Twitter traffic going on:

I called Lauredhel on the misrepresentation and was told "not to fuck with me on this subject, because it's very personal."

There's also some traffic drawing attention to the discussion - but much of it is bitching about it, deciding what should be said in response on LP, and then dispatching someone off to do it (your classic "Heidi Patrol" behaviour, for those following the BNF analogy).

"Sending in the flying monkeys" is a term coined for the way that right wing bloggers send in their friends and followers to attack people who dare to publicly disagree with them or criticise their behaviour - it's a term that seems to fit this incident very well also, though.

Winter asked the people involved to kindly discuss the matter with her, rather than twittering abusively - and a round of defriendings on Twitter, LJ and other places ensued.

This is why I don't do online political debate anymore, I think, and why I haven't really engaged in most of the issues that have been floating around recently.

These are two fellow travellers - people who fundamentally agree on most things, and previously had a pretty good relationship.

But one ill-judged rhetorical twist, combined with an egotistical refusal to back away from it, and we have a pretty petty blog war and a round of childish defriendings.

There doesn't seem to be room for political discussion that isn't intensely personal at the moment - it seems to me that criticism of a particular position is being conflated with a total lack of good politics - "Well, if you're wrong about this, you must be a terrible person wrong about everything off my list of friends and fellow travellers."

I had much the same reaction to watching [profile] starla80 get worked over on a thread at [profile] mynxii's the other week - a debate again, I should point out, partly fueled by [personal profile] lauredhel's commentary on Twitter (but not on the thread itself, as was the case with Anna's issue).

Full disclosure: while I haven't used proper names here, those people who don't know should probably be aware that I have a close relationship with Anna Winter - it's possible my view of this exchange is highly coloured by that, but I don't think it is, on the whole.
crankynick: (Jebus)
2009-08-05 11:39 am

Your daily (orright, weekly) dose of WTF?

From today's Crikey -

A newcomer to join New Kids on the Block. Talking of Popes, the pop groups New Kids on the Block, Guns N' Roses, and Tokio Hotel will have a new label mate by Christmas. Their record label Geffen and Universal haas signed Pope Benedict XVI to produce an album called 'Alma Mater’ which is due to be released on November 30. The German-born Pope will be accompanied by the Vatican choir singing in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

I'll be interested when they reintroduce the Castrati - which can't be long, given Benedict's ongoing quest to return the church to its medieval roots.
crankynick: (Default)
2009-07-30 04:52 pm

Korean boy bands have their moments...

And this is very definitely one of them:

crankynick: (Me)
2009-07-24 09:23 pm

Women in music month 4 (for me, at least) - Tainted Love

And I fucking love this song - fuck the goths, this is the best version. Northern Soul rules.

Listen and love:



crankynick: (Default)
2009-07-24 07:45 pm

Oh, and...

...this is almost certainly just me, but...

T'pau:

crankynick: (Default)
2009-07-24 07:29 pm

Women in music month

We haven't had any Siouxsie yet.



And I know that other people have a different view, but I still love her version of The Passenger:

crankynick: (Default)
2009-07-21 05:41 pm

Jimmy Carter...

...still rocks quite hard, aktualy.

Given that he's always been a deeply religious man, and heavily involved in the Southern Baptist Convention, telling the god botherers so publicly that their attitude to women sucks is a big thing - and he does it well, here.
crankynick: (Default)
2009-07-18 04:05 pm

Women in music month

I'm with [profile] deborahb in loving Deborah Conway.

Do Re Mi's Man Overboard is still on of my favourite Australia songs ever.



I also always loved Sherine Abeyratne's vocals with Big Pig:



and more so on Breakaway