Sunday, 22 July 2012


I've spent a long time trying to work out exactly how to start today's blog. This isn't going to be a collection of loosely related dick jokes nor is it going to a one of my highly entertaining rants. If you've never read this blog before then you should know that I'm a geek. I am also a Batman fan. As such I cannot let the recent tragic events in Aurora, Colorado without comment. Chris Nolan has stated that all we know for sure is that these people were there to watch a film. I disagree. This was a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. These people were Batman fans. If this had been Dark Knight then I would concede that some people were there for the Joker but with this film they were there for Batman. That means that at the very least these people were fans of a certain type of dark and complex storytelling but also in all probability they believed in what Batman stands for.

You see it's easy to dismiss comic-books and super-heroes as a bit of silly fun but it is also fundamentally wrong. Each of the characters within this medium has something to teach us. Spider-man teaches us that with great-power comes great responsibility. Iron Man is about overcoming your inner demons to become something better than you once were. Wolverine is about redemption. All of these stories have endured so long because the core of them they are about important things. Batman is one of the most influential, iconic and loved of these stories because it's core concept is the strongest. It is a story about what is right, what is wrong, having the strength to make a choice between the two and making a stand to defend that choice. The people in that cinema loved Batman because they believed in what the story had to say.

I've avoided scouring the internet for details of this story because it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I cannot say with certainty but I believe I am feeling something akin to what people of certain religious groups feel about the sectarian attacks in the middle-east. This was an attack on what I hold sacred. The people there were people I, happily, identify with. People who booked a day off of work months ago so they could be there to see the end of a journey they had loved. Instead of them having the simple pleasure of seeing a cinematic master-piece they instead were struck down by someone who represented the exact opposite of the hero they had come to see. It is utterly impossible for me to imagine the pain that the families of the victims have gone and my heart and, for want of a better word, soul go out to those who have been effected by this horrifying event.

There will now be a huge investigation into exactly what the motivations of the killer were, as there rightly should be. Normally under these situations the media attempts to link the details to the event. I hope that this event is not used to tarnish the good name of a medium that whilst filled with criminals, murder and evil is fundamentally fixated on those who put their lives on the line to defend the weak and innocent. I'm not saying that these stories haven't influenced people. I'm certain that through-out the years a fair number of people have made huge decisions based upon these characters. However I am completely certain that most of the influence that these stories have had on the world have been incredibly positive. All of this though is a discussion for another day.

What I really want to say is that the victims of this horrible event were part of a community. We are not a community that was forced together by geography or genealogy. We found each other. We were pulled together by shared loves and our shared beliefs. If I'd met these people the foundations of friendship would have already existed. So today I would ask that we take a small moment to lament the long geeky conversations that we will never have, the silly jokes that will never be laughed at but mostly the friendships that must now forever remain unmade.

eddie <peace and love>

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Christmas Tales Part 4

Another christmas story I wrote and now you can shove into your eyeholes. Alan isn't on the internet but he looks like Cillian Murphy and lives in Chelmsford... pester him if possible.

Alan Powell
Stuff Blows Up!

As the remains of the tower rocked and swayed Alan crouched below the window clutching his M4. Every couple of seconds there would be another crash and a deep tremor would be sent through the building, pouring another handful of dust on to his girly face, less regularly but not infrequently entire sections of the ceiling would fall down, usually with a significant amount of the wreckage from the many floors above him. He risked another peak out of the window. There were still at least twenty of the alien tanks across the river, maintaining a steady bombardment of the human positions. Above the sky was an indecipherable mass of plasma and ordinance, below the river was nearly entirely hidden by the vast swathes of laser and tracer fire. He felt the impact before he heard it, a vast explosion ripped across the bridge turning the barricade and those who manned it into so much shrapnel. Within seconds the invaders had started to pour across.
Alan turned and ran across what remained of the offices he'd holed up in. The assorted wreckage made crossing the room no easy feat and on more than one occasion it was only good fortune that stopped him from being flattened. He reached the stairwell door and kicked it open, because that's how you're supposed to open doors when your holding an awesome gun and you have to take these opportunities when life presents them. He got only two steps through the door before he heard the door at the base of the staircase slam open followed by the horrifying snarl of one of the creatures. Alan stepped back from the door taking aim at the opening as he did so. The creatures were fast but not faster than bullets. He knew he'd only been standing there a few seconds but adrenalin had a strange way of turning time to treacle, he was sweating profusely, making him look exceptionally like Cillan Murphy in the movie 'Sunshine'. Suddenly the door was filled with the skeletal shape of one of the creatures and Alan had his finger on the trigger, the creature let out an ethereal shriek as the bullets ripped through it's dark skin. As the creature toppled backwards, Alan heard a series of satisfying clunks that indicated the creatures corpse had not descended the staircase elegantly. He lowered his gun and readjusted his stance. There was a loud creaking noise.
A second later Alan was falling through the floor, surrounded by wreckage and confusion. Seconds later he was slamming into the floor, below but something wasn't right about the angle and before he could stop himself he was sliding along the half collapsed floor towards a huge hole in the wall. Without thinking he reached for his belt and pulled loose one of equipment clips, he snapped onto an extruding piece of re-bar and found himself dangling out the side of the building still a good ten floors clear of the ground. He stopped for a moment in the relative safety. However the enemy had other ideas and seconds later several plasma shots slapped into the wall around him. Frantically Alan reached for his pack and pulled loose a length of rope, it was the work of a few seconds to get himself tethered of and he soon found himself repelling down the side of, what by now, could only charitably be described a building while enemy fire sizzled through the air around him. Fortunately the alien invaders were bad-guys and therefore missed constantly while still shooting close enough to maintain an air of tension.
Alan had descended to exactly the height that he'd be largely unharmed if his chord broke when a stray shot ripped through the chord. Alan fell the remaining distance only to land on a pile of rubble that left him miraculously unharmed. After a moment or two of dramatically groaning and holding on to injuries that would heal as soon as something interesting started to happen Alan pulled himself to his feet and pulled his gun to the ready position, as he looked up he saw he'd actually landed a level below the main roadway and that the vast mass of the enemy troops were swarming by overhead, heedless of his presence. Alan jogged under the roadway and found a set of stairs leading up.
Huddled behind a recent attempt to make the city look nice through the aggressive use of shrubs Alan surveyed the situation, the main mass of the troops, including the tanks and larger weaponry were still on the bridge but would be at his present location within a few minutes. Alan reached into the pockets on the straps of his pack to check his C4, two loads, remained, not enough to destroy the bridge. Alan glanced around under the main road way looking for something more explosive. Then he saw the car park.
It took no time at all to hot-wire the cars because it never does and by the time the main bulk of the enemy force where close to his position he'd parked up three cars around each of the pillars supporting this section of the roadway and had put a tiny amount of C4 on the gas tank of each car. He knew that the cars would explode but he wasn't sure of how big the explosion would be. Detonator in hand he retreated as far as he could without being seen from overhead and hoped that the vehicles didn't go full Michael Bay on him. He wouldn't be able to see when the tanks were in position but he could see the dust falling from the base of the roadway as they moved closer and closer. Finally when the dust was falling about six foot three past the makeshift demolition kits Alan clicked the switch. The explosion was huge but Alan was far enough away to not feel even the slightest shock-wave. He glanced out from behind his cover in time to see the supports start to twist and buckle, and then almost instantly the entire section of bridge came slamming into the ground bringing with it one the invaders tanks. It was reduced to a crippled mess by the force of the impact. As Alan looked at his handy work, he started to hear a faint whining sound, it was difficult to place at first but then he realised it was the sound of hugely advanced technology makes just before it explodes.
That's not a good sound...” Alan said before turning on his heel and running as fast as he could from the remains of the tank. As he ran everything seemed to go into slow motion, that's when he knew he was in trouble. Then the tank exploded, unleashing and unholy sea of blue fire that chased Alan down the street like an small explosion would chase a man down a corridor in a lamer story. As he ran he couldn't help but feel he was going to make it to safety, if he could just make it to the inlet up ahead and dive, dramatically, through the air and into the water just after the explosion engulfed him. When he got close enough to the inlet he dove dramatically through the air and was engulfed by the explosion... moments later he slammed into the water.
A few moments later Alan pulled himself out of the the water on the other side of the inlet to find himself face to face with one of the creatures. As he looked up at he reached for his gun but the creature kicked the gun to one side. It then decided to utterly ignore the vast array of highly advanced weaponry it had at it's disposal and grabbed Alan by the neck and lifted him up in the air. No-one knows why vastly powerful alien warriors do this, it must be included in basic training for some reason. As he held Alan in the air with his legs flailing, it tilted it's head from side to side to examine his face almost as if he was studying him, which, again, is really weird when you think about it because there's no way you launch a full-scale interplanetary invasion without gathering a lot of intel about, and briefing your troops on, what the enemy looks like. Alan consulted his own training and tried to decide which of the standard “I'm about to kill an alien” lines to use as he reached for his combat knife.
Stay away from her you bitch!” He shouted as he rammed the knife into the creatures face. The creatures grip loosened as life oozed from the gash in its face. Alan stopped for a moment to catch his breath and was shot in the face by a sniper.
Fuck!” The control pad shattered into pieces as it slammed into the wall leaving Alan slouched bereft on the sofa covered in a fine dusting of cheesy snacks. He reached for his beer and drank the dregs that remained still consumed by frustration. “Vik!” He shouted.
Yeah!” She called back from the kitchen.
I'm going to buy another controller, do you need anything from the shops?”  

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Christmas Tales Part 3

I don't have much of an excuse today, but fuck it here's another story I wrote for one of my friends last Christmas because I'm creative and cheap... Alan isn't on the internet so I can't link to him but he lives in Colchester and has long blonde hair and looks like a wizard feel free to question him or follow him should you see him around.

Alan Bolster: Time Wizard

First there was nothing. Of course, as anyone with a advanced understanding of the entropy can tell you, nothing is almost exactly the same as everything but for the sake of basic scene setting, there was nothing. The nothingness had been there forever. Unfortunately the concept of time in an infinite sea of nothing, or everything, is truly meaningless, the nothingness may have been there for billions of years or for a fraction of second. Observed from the outside the nothing barely existed for a few milliseconds but from within it was infinite. At some point the nothing would become something, or perhaps it already had been something or in fact everything. After several infinities or less than a second there was something in the nothing it was a complicated something but no more complex than the vast simplicity of the nothing but it was complicated enough to talk and it gave voice to the first, or possibly the last, or even the only, word that had ever been.
Fuck.” Said the something. The something was most accurately described as a collection of fundamental particles coalesced in a way to give the appearance of mass. It was more simply described as a man. However it was best described as Alan Bolster, time traveller, wizard and competitive beard growth regional semi-finalist. A more specific description of would have included the words perplexed, curious and pine-scented. He glanced at his watch only to see it reading all times simultaneously before giving up and just showing the face of a particularly confused gazelle, this was particularly baffling as it wasn't a digital watch. Alan shrugged his shoulders and pulled out a small video camera and after some fumbling began to record.
I have arrived some point before the beginning of the universe, I can't be more specific than that as time is problematic when dealing with near infinite entropy. However, I believe my presence in this space as a low entropy state should get time running from this point onwards. Now that time has begun running I intend to remain here as long as possible and witness the commencement of the universe.” Here Alan paused, he pulled the camera close to him so as not to drop it before realising that it was literally impossible for anything to happen to it and left it hanging whilst pointing towards him as he reached inside his pocket and removed the necessary accoutrements to create a joint. “Now it is my belief that what I'm doing here will be the only act of creation that occurs today... well not day but you catch my drift.” After an incredibly difficult to specify amount of time he had finished creating the small stick. “Now if you are watching this then and find this troublesome.” He said holding up, although again direction is a bit vague as well, the freshly prepared drug delivery system. “Then I will remind you that the planet earth isn't going to exist for roughly nine billion years and as such it is impossible for me to break any laws... even the physical laws of the universe do, as yet, not apply.” With that he popped the joint in his mouth and lit it with a snap of his fingers. “Now I have no idea how long it'll take for the universe to start, as time doesn't exist yet.”
Time resolutely failed to pass
After what seemed like a vast amount of 'time' but could even have been before Alan had actually arrived he'd run out of both weed and Subway sandwiches. The situation was starting to become desperate, well not massively desperate as the complete lack of physics meant leaving would be incredibly easy, it could be accomplished with little more than a thought, although it would be an unusually complex thought. However to leave without definitive proof that the universe was not created, that no booming voice had shouted “let there be light” at the nothingness and called forth the multiple facets of reality, evidence that life and a place in the universe was just a cosmic lottery prize, a place only held on to by those with the tenacity to fight for it was not an acceptable outcome. The idea of returning to what some laughably referred to as creation without the all time trump card in the history of human debate was not to be considered.
This mission had been embarked upon not just on a mere whim but with a nobler purpose. Freedom. To finally be able to show, empirically, that religion was a horrifying lie would be to un-tether mankind's scientific advancement in a way that had never before been seen, and that would be the only way to save the human race.
Alan had learnt mastery of the wizardly arts many centuries ago and had used his powers to unlock all manner of advancements, eternal life, cold-fusion and a way to create an iron-free shirt that didn't actually require any ironing, but it was only recently that his attempts to create a working time travel device had succeeded, although in truth he'd cut out a lot of the really hard work by travelling back in time instantly and helping himself with a lot of the development. As soon as he'd justified his own curiosity on the subject of Jesus, a third rate con-man, JFK, shot by a jilted ex-lover of Marilyn Munroe and the Tunguska Incident, crashed space ice-cream truck, he'd decided to see what the future held for humanity. What he'd discovered was chilling. Every single time he visited he saw the latest scientific ideas destroyed by the faithful, always under a different guise be it the Christians, Mars Worshippers or the out of control remnants of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He'd seen it a thousand times over, until finally his journey into humanity's star-spanning civilization had brought him to Terra Omega.
Terra Omega was the end of the human race and they knew it, on a single near-lifeless planet there was a solitary city clinging to life beneath the last days of the final star in the entire universe. When it collapsed in on itself all that would remain was a near-infinity of decay followed by the actual infinity of the heat death of the universe. All of human achievement was there, recorded in the city's vast database. He'd helped the city's finest minds try to discover a way out, a way to open a doorway to another universe or ascend to a different plane. Failure would render every single thought of every single human utterly meaningless, success would mean that every single nano-second of human existence would have been another step on the way to something so much greater, but even as they worked there was strife in the city. There was a faction who believed that God would save them if they only showed faith.
War had come to the city that quicker than Alan could've possibly imagined and within days the last of the scientists was dead. God never came for his 'chosen' people and Alan had been forced to watch from a distance as every future hope for his species had disappeared in the blink of an eye. He'd left downhearted and tried to return to a more hospitable time to live the rest of his life in a state of contentment, but peace of mind had never come, even when he was spectacularly high. Then one day the idea had occurred to him. If he could prove that religion was a falsehood it would derail the time-line and remove religion from the city at the end of time.
He'd decided that the early twenty-first century was the best time to make the attempt, with the Occupy movement that would see the reformation of human society was at it's height and the support for organised religion would soon enter a dip that would see it almost die out over the next fifty years, only to suffer a huge re-emergence during the first inter-stellar war. So here he was with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Oh just fucking start already!” Alan proclaimed. Almost instantaneously there was a huge deafening roar and a feeling that was indescribable in the purest sense of the word. Suddenly everything just happened the and Alan was bombarded by the vast waves of particles that until seconds ago hadn't existed. There was a vast wave of light, the brightest that would ever exist and then suddenly he was hanging there watching the cosmos begin to be. He looked into the camera.
It seems that I may have inadvertently just started the universe. Not massively inexplicable really, outside the realm of physics the existence of a consciousness could well turn thought into physical action.” He paused to think for a moment. “I'm definitely not a God though and I will be really angry if anyone wastes time worshipping me. It's actually possible that seeing as time has no meaning once times arrow has stopped that this is exactly how the universe was always going to start.” He turned off the camera slipped it into his pocket. As he turned away from the beauty of the newly formed cosmos he could only think how much he was looking forward to posting the video, all of his papers on time-travel and a personal memoir on but maybe he'd stop off at the Vatican first. Smiling Alan winked out of existence.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bitches Whining About Feminism.

I am a white man living in a first world country. It is fundamentally impossible to fall into a better cared for demographic. That’s not a statement of opinion it’s a statement of fact. There is not a single metric that exists by which we are not ahead as a group. The average white man will earn more over his life-time than any other demographic. When you live in a money-centric society, such as ours, that means everything. There’s a reason that Daniel Craig can promote a movie in a suit and Scarlet Johansen has to do it in her pants. The point I’m making here is that we are pandered to on every conceivable level. As a group we have so little to complain about its ridiculous. To quote Louis C.K. “You can’t even hurt my feelings.” I’m thoroughly aware that I no longer have the good fortune to live in a world where I would by this point of my life have been sold a woman to clean my house, cook for me and fellate me on demand but life’s still pretty great. The best thing is that due to the way the world is developing I will never have to settle for anything less than equality. That’s one hell of run being in first place for the entirety of recorded history dropping down to exactly the same as everyone else without a single moment of punishment. We didn’t even have to fight for it. None of my forefathers had to leap in front of a horse and get trampled to death, no-one has had a water cannon fired at them, I’ve had rights enshrined in law since the signing of the Magna Carta… plus I can pee standing up, it’s ridiculous how much the universe is apparently on my side. So when I see one of my number whining like a little bitch about femi-nazis and beta-males one simple phrase springs to mind. GROW THE FUCK UP!

Emily Davison had balls twice as big as most men.

Over at the fantastic law blog it recently kicked off in the comment section after a post about the culture of sexual harassment at conventions. I’ve never been to a convention so I cannot vouch for the truth of these allegations but the debate that sprang up was very much not about whether or not the allegations were true but rather about whether the complaint was valid. Now I’m not going to say that feminism is a flawless movement. I actually think that it’s fairly redundant as every argument about equality should cover discrimination across the board rather than focus in on one particular facet. However if a man is going to act like a creepy sleaze-ball then he shouldn’t expect a free-ride and he shouldn’t expect his behaviour to go without comment. What does strike about most of the criticism against women who’ve been victims of sexual harassment consists of an assertion that if a woman finds something offensive she should toughen up. The argument they put forward is that men take the things people say about them on the chin and so should women. They do this whilst going to great lengths to explain why the woman in question should never have said that, that the woman has crossed a line and offended them and boo-hoo-hoo. If you are going to complain about how women aren’t tough enough try to do it without sounding like a pussy.

Women don't need to toughen up any more than they already have.

When women are complaining about men treating them in this way it isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. It’s a woman drawing a line in the sand and saying this behaviour is unacceptable and I will not stand for it. This is the strongest stance any member of the human-race can ever take. I’m going to run through a list of men who’ve taken stances like this in the past and you can tell me which of them was weak. Winston Churchill. Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King. William Wilberforce. Fidel Castro. Joseph Stalin. I don’t agree with all of these people but weak they were not. So let’s imagine that we lived in the halcyon days of man’s dominance of society. Let’s imagine that it’s the late 18th Century and you went up to some young lady in the local public house and acted towards her in a thoroughly lecherous way. The “men” who believe this is acceptable behaviour would have quickly found out that the lady in question had a father or a husband or a brother who would promptly punch his face in. Obviously this didn't apply in polite society... no they had duels over this sort of thing where people got stabbed and shot. It was called conduct unbecoming of a gentleman.

I think Andrew Jackson had about twelve duels
about this kind of thing whilst president

The womens rights movement that started way back with the likes of Emily Davison was really two separate struggles. The first was to ensure that women would be treated equally by society with regards to rights and pay. The second was to ensure the protections that had been stripped by banning men from kicking the crap out of each other for acting like dicks were enshrined in law. To make sure that the woman who had no brothers could sit in a public place unmolested by unwanted advances from dick-heads. If you ever find yourself rushing to defend the men who behave like this and attack women who complain, with every justification, then just apply the Batman test. You see there are many criticisms you can fire at Batman. He's insane. No really. There is absolutely no part of his mental make-up within waving distance of healthy. However he is not weak, he is not a 'beta-male' and he is nothing less than completely and totally awesome from the moment he wakes up in the morning to the moment he falls asleep with the Jokers blood dripping from his hands. Now ask yourself would Batman get drunk and at a conference and harass an attractive red-head? Now ask yourself would you like to be trapped alone in a lift with Batman after he'd just seen you do that? Of course not he'd punch you and when Batman punches you, you stay punched. I'm not saying that being a drunken rapey lech makes you a criminal but it damn sure doesn't make you a good guy and no-one else has to tolerate a single ounce of your tedious bullshit.

eddie </rant>

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Christmas Tales Part 2

You know what I'm going to be completely honest here. I've got nothing. I've got about three half formed ideas. There was something about the fact that the word rapist is being thrown about online as an insult rather than being reserved for people who'd been doing rapes and the like. However if I go any further into that I could wind up sounding like one of those 'equal rights for men' twat monkeys so once again I am forced to offer up on of the tales I wrote for my friends last Christmas. This one is about my friend Bobby who (sometimes) blogs here.

Bobby vs ROBOTS!

The forest was silent. Well, obviously not silent, forest are never silent as anyone who has ever been in one will tell you, between the noise of the wind soughing through the trees and the various wild-life fighting, fucking or dyeing, forests are usually a fairly noisy place to be. There were no people though and as such poets, most of whom don't spend time in forests, would have described it as silent. So it wasn't silent but for the purposes of this we'll pretend it was. The forest appeared to be unoccupied by human beings, is really the take away point from this.
FUCK!” Yelled the forest. We'll assume it was the forest because as was previously stated the forest appeared unoccupied. Although now I come to think of it I wouldn't have said 'appeared' if I wasn't going to turn the entire thing on it's head. So, yeah, there's totally a person in the forest. Let's join them.
Bobby was sprawled across the forest floor as a result of the 'fuck' exclamation related incident of seconds before, she'd grazed her hand slightly and had some twigs tangled in her <insert current hair colour> hair. Within seconds she'd pulled herself to her feet and continued to silently prowl through the woods. She'd travelled for several days to reach this point and was damned if she'd let a little trip damage her resolve now. If she let this injustice stand then it'd only be a matter of time before every other gang on the planet started stepping on her toes.
Within an hour she'd completed the twenty minute walk to the edge of the forest and found herself on a rocky outcrop above the robot outpost. There were several silver buildings but from up here it was impossible to tell which of them contained what she sought. She'd once been told that the robots painted all their buildings silver even though they were actually made of fairly flimsy timber, there were many theories as to why they did this, most believed it was to trick there enemies into believing there bases were much harder to destroy. Bobby thought it was because even robots realised that a robot in a log-cabin just looked really, really silly. After looking down at the base for a moment Bobby had formulated a plan.
A few hours later found Bobby straddling a large tree that she'd managed to haul to edge of the outcrop and holding here favourite mecha-atomic-laser-death-cannon, it was hot-pink with neon stars plastered over it with green hi-lighter pen and played show-tunes every time she pulled the trigger as well as unleashing a steady stream of hot laser death. She started to rock back and forth on the precariously balanced mass of wood but the tree refused to move
Fuck this!” She exclaimed and throwing caution to the wind pointed the hand-held WMD at the rear of the tree. Seconds later the forest was alive shaking from the blast of a vast explosion and the strangled tones of Cabaret by Liza Minelli. Bobby was travelling down the mountainside at a furious pace, the rear of her make shift transport wreathed in flame as she loudly warbled along to the musi in a display of what only the excessively kind hearted would refer to as singing.
Within seconds of the initial blast, the air was filled with a million different coloured lasers as the robots opened fire on the bizarre and unexpected attack. Half way down the slope Bobby started to return fire, her cannon belting out random snatches of show-tunes like John Barrowman's iPod, if it had epilepsy, vast beams of laser energy sliced through huge swathes of the camp turning the robots to piles of molten metal. She giggled with joy as she continued her manic descent toward the robot stronghold. Seconds later the tree slammed through the outer wall of the compound and started to grind to a halt. When it did finally finish grinding to a halt Bobby hopped off her timber steed to find herself surrounded by a crowd of angry robots.
Hey, guys! What's up?” She enquired as one of the camps many buildings exploded behind her. A flaming robot ran from the building screaming while flailing it's arms comically.
The robotity.” One of the nearer robots exclaimed putting a monstrous robot claw to its mouth hole. Bobby glanced at the carnage around her, then at her gun... the charge bar showed it was empty, it'd be a few minutes before she could fire it again.
Erm... I know this looks bad.” She began.
Looks bad! We were minding our own business and you've just reduced half of us to slag.”
He-he, slag!” Bobby chuckled throatily.
Oh it's funny is it? You killed Jim and he was only two days from retirement... what am I going to tell his grand-bots?” Here the robot dropped his head into his hands.
To be fair Tim... slag is a pretty funny word.” Said one of the other robots. Bobby pointed at him dramatically and nodded in agreement.
Hold on... Tim? That's not very... ya' know robot-y” Bobby said giving the little robot a curious gaze.
Well what's you're name?” Tim replied
Bobby.” She returned.
That's a blokes name.” Tim responded only to find himself quailing beneath the gaze of intense hatred that she'd fixed on him. “Oh fuck it, shoot the bitch!” Tim declared pointing his own laser towards her.
Oi! There's no need to get all aggressive.” Bobby declared looking at the sea of whining lasers. “You started it!”
What are you talking about?” Tim shouted. “You just threw most of a tree at us.”
And you stole my jelly!” Bobby shouted in response. Here the crowd of automatons went quiet and there was a lot of down-turned heads and shuffling of feet. “See you're not denying it are you!” She said wagging an accusing finger.
Regardless of whether that's true or not...” Tim said authoritatively.
It is” Bobby interrupted sarcastically.
... it doesn't justify you committing, what is basically, a war crime.” Tim finished.
We obviously have very different views on the importance of jelly” Bobby said glancing at her gun, just a few more seconds and she'd be able to finish the filthy jelly thieves off. “Give me my jelly back and we'll say no more about it.”
Say no more about it! That's a school you blew up.” Tim yelled pointing at the ruins behind her. It was now Bobby's turn to look at her feet.
Sorry.” She said quietly.
Oh she's sorry! I don't give two fucks” Tim advanced towards her as the mecha-atomic-laser-death-cannon let out a small beep. Within a heartbeat Tim was vaporised where he stood.
Any of you slags want some?” Bobby yelled rhetorically.
Bobby dropped down on the sofa later that day she flicked on the TV to see some boring news report about a bunch of dead robots or some shit plastered all over every channel.
Boring!” She exclaimed and tucked into her jelly with gusto.

Jelly addiction is a serious issue. If you or anyone you know have been affected by the
issues raised in this story please contact the National Jelly Addiction Hotline on 08001234567

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Conservationist (Part 2)

This is the second part of a short story the first part of which can be found here.

… This is also the only time we get a decent look at the actual colouring of the birds. They won't develop their trademark flame covering until they first take flight. Although they have to ability to breath fire right from the off. Both the males and females have a distinctive flame red beak and bright yellow feathers forming a crest around their face, but the bodies of the males are a shimmering gold in colour whilst the females are a charcoal black. The males have a tendency to attack on sight whilst the females are incredibly docile and actually seem to enjoy being handled but this does necessitate changing from climbing gloves to fireproof gloves on the cliff-face. Even with protective gear it's entirely possible for the chicks to burn you, we believe that their base temperature is it's highest at this stage I think that this is because they can't release the heat by flaming at this point.
In addition to cataloguing the new members of the species we also have to spend a lot of time making sure that the location remains secure. In addition to regular patrols around the area, a few of us take jobs working as guides which allows us to steer walking groups and the like away from the area. Fortunately the cliff itself faces out towards the sea so we only have about a mile and a half of forest to keep clear of visitors, we can't risk anyone seeing a gout of flame on the cliff-face and investigating or worse calling the authorities. We've considered putting up signs and fences up around the site but it was decided it risked attracting more attention than it would dissuade. So we keep roaming the area in an ongoing attempt to keep the secret.
This cycle of surveillance and study continues for three months. In that time the birds develop their full plumage. The feathers on the males are incredible. The half closest to the birds body retain the golden shimmer of the hatchling whilst the rest of the feathers are covered in an intricate pattern of white, blue, yellow and red, the effect is to make each feather appear as if it is wreathed in fire. Most of the people I work with believe these to be some of the most beautiful things in the world but for me they pale in beauty when compared to the feathers of the females. I've heard them described as black but that's not really accurate. They look black under a normal light but if you take them out of the light and view them in total darkness they reveal white speckles. These tiny points of light make the feathers look like the sky on a clear night. They are, in my opinion, the most startlingly beautiful things on this planet.
It has been hypothesised that the darker colouring of the females has developed to allow them to avoid detection during the nesting period, this would fit with the fact that most of the hunting excursions made by the birds are made undercover of darkness whilst the birds are nesting. Prior to the hatching of the eggs the birds mainly hunt other birds, pigeons and such that they snatch on the wing with unerring accuracy. This tactic changes dramatically once the chicks have hatched with the birds hunting more like an owl. Sweeping through the foliage under cover of darkness and hunting mice, voles and other small creatures. These smaller creatures are a lot easier for the chicks to feed on. Where some birds regurgitate predigested food for the phoenix allows their young to tackle each meal themselves this is made quiet easy by the razor sharp beaks the birds hatch with. The chicks are cared for right up until the night of the Autumnal Equinox.
The females leave the nests during the day and won't return for at least six months although most will not be back for at least eighteen months and some will wait another year on top of that. We have no idea why there is this variation but that's an aside. The chicks remain in the nests until darkness. Around midnight the nests fill with flame, not of the same intensity of the hatching but it's still a fairly intense sight. Then within a few seconds of each nest setting on fire the birds launch themselves skyward with an stream of flame tailing behind them. Like a dozen tiny Apollo space rockets. Once they are gone our work is done for another six months. It takes us a week to wind up the operation and then I head off to the Caribbean... This job pays quite well.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Ideas For A Better Tomorrow

The other day before I got all distracted by science, bosons and invisible spiders I mentioned that I had recently spent some time pondering exactly what sort of policies I would find more palatable at the polling station. Anything would be a nice change of pace from the current debate over exactly what type of knee-pads would be the best to wear as big-business salty shaft is lolling on our collective tongue. Well I actually have a fair number of policies I think would make this country a better place, some might work some ma well be bollocks but then I'm not actually a politician, I have morals. So without further ado let's run through them.

Ban tax-havens. Obviously that's not something you can deal with at a national level... except of course that it very much is. If any company wants to do it's business in this country and it's based in a tax-haven they can either transfer it's base to the UK and pay all their tax here or pay a flat 40% on all profits made in the UK. Those are your options, stop being a greedy dick and pay your way or fuck off and make nothing. On a related note tax evasion would be punished with each £100 avoided would equal day in prison. These measures would plug up the gap in funding the UK's welfare state with complete ease. I'd also cut the amount of money required to run the most of the countries infrastructure by introducing national service. Not military national service, unless that's the option you want to choose. I'd just like to see an extra year added on to the education system regardless of whether you choose to leave at sixteen, eighteen. This work-force would be put to work in hospitals, nature reserves and where-ever charities and the like need man-power but also to help with science.

Brian Cox recently pointed out that in one year of economic bail-outs the UK government gave the banks more money than we've spent on science since Jesus. I'd want to see that figure increased to approximately 15% of total government spending. This is easily achievable by simply relinquishing our position as Americas side-kick. If someone else wants to jump in and make themselves a target for fundamentalist Muslim terrorists feel free. Britain worked very hard to make sure we had a dog in every fight for the last thousand years it's about time we sat a few turns out. I don't want us to rid ourselves of our navy and he like rather use those resources as tools to further this nations scientific advancement.

In the global economy every country needs a niche and I feel that the UK has an unique place in the history of science and should therefore be focusing on making ourselves a big part of the future of science. The benefits to our nation would be immeasurable. We would attract the brightest minds in science from across the globe resulting in huge leaps forward in our infrastructure, healthcare, defence and overall quality of life. The idea would be to spark a new wave of high-tech manufacturing industry in this country as well, meaning a drop in unemployment. China is a great place to get you're lead painted toys made but the UK would be a better place to get your hydrogen fuel cells. Now onto some other random bits and pieces.

I want the National Curriculum to include gardening. Seriously everyone should be able to grow their own fruit and vegetable, it'd be a great solace in tough economic times to know that you wouldn't be going hungry. Also give everyone in school the same level of basic medical training as you give to the army. I want more spending on the police-force but not on more police I want better training and equipment. If you're a police constable in the UK I want you to be a trained MMA fighter, covered with gadgets and constantly plugged into a central super-computer... basically I want all coppers to be low-level Batmen. I want a one time huge cash injection into the BBC for the specific purpose of getting the entire BBC back-catalouge available on iPlayer, I'm including all news in that, it'd make a great educational resource. More public artworks. More benches. Allow people to sell organs, their my organs if I want to sell one to a rich guy I see no-reason why I shouldn't be allowed to.

Another thing I'd like to see is a massive reinvestment in libraries. Turn them into what the fucking well should be. Get rid of all the fusty quiet rooms and make places that have the books, sell coffee, have spaces give over to making stuff throw in decent computer labs with a half sensible porn filter and you have a space that might attract young people. Hell whack a skate-park on the outside and you've gotten a massive chunk of 'youths' off the street. How about an online bill of rights so that I don't have to e-mail my MP once a year to protest against the latest attempt by the entertainment industry to destroy the internet to protect their out-dated business model.

I genuinely could go on for ages here but it's occurred to me that it might be worth actually writing up into some sort manifesto for a genuine alternative to the current system... I might actually consider making it as a DRM free e-book and attempt to create an open-source political party. That idea is not as mental as I first thought actually. This has a real possibility of actually turning into a genuine thing... hmmmm.

eddie <providing political ideas without political leadership>

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Higgs Boson

So I've spent the last few days ruminating on today's post. I've spent an awful lot of time here criticising the way our little species is governing itself but I've also made it clear that criticism without alternatives is pointless. If I have a mission statement, which I don't because I'm not that kind of cunt, it would be to suggest a better world. So I decided to spend a lot of time and thought writing up a manifesto. The policies I want to see put forward the kind of things that I would vote for and that I think would make the world a better place. It was an exceptionally well thought out piece of writing that had real potential to make a difference. Unfortunately you won't get to read it just yet because holy jesus-balls on a cracker they've got all sorts of Higgs up in my boson.

This is the man who is going to win this years Nobel Prize for physics.

Today the LHC announced that they've found what appears to be the Higgs particle. I say appears because this is science bitches and we don't just stamp a fifth sigma on something and prance off into the night like a religionist. It has all the hallmarks of a Higgs and was found exactly where we last left the Higgs so it's got a definite chance of being a Higgs. You know, if it looks like a fundamental particle, walks like a fundamental particle and quacks like a fundamental particle it's probably a fundamental particle. Anyway I'm going to try to break down what exactly a Higgs is.

This is the image that'll be the front cover of the next decades science textbooks

I recently mentioned that some religious types use the lack of scientific understanding of gravity and mass to justify the existence of the Jesosaur. Well the Higgs, if it is what it is, is why we have gravity. First of I want you to imagine the universe is all 2D because it's just fucking easier that way. Now imagine that it's also a massive spiders web, and that the web is covered with invisible spiders. When a fly lands in the web the spiders flock towards it. This causes the web to sag. Are you with me so far? The slumps in the web of the universe are what causes gravity, stuff just rolls into the dips and what not. The Higgs particle is essentially like the fly and the Higgs field is the spiders. Also the fly is invisible as well. Up until now we've only been able to guess at the existence of both spiders and flies due to the fact that gravity happens. However we've now found evidence of the fly. We know we were right. By we here I of course mean all people who subscribe to the Standard Model of Physics, I did very little on this project other than come up with the bitching spider analogy. So what next?

I mean, I guess you could have a wicked game of laser-tag there.

Well these experiments will have to be replicated a whole bunch of times, because that's science, until everyone's all like. 'Yep! Definitely a Higgs. Huzzah!' Because some things just deserve a huzzah. It will also be a period of intense focus in the physics community. There's a new toy... we need to find out what it does. How does it react to being bombarded with gamma radiation? What happens if we fling a whole bunch into the heart of a reactor? What is it's relationship with cats? This will generate a massive leap forward in the understanding of how the universe works, anyone working on non-Higgs related theories of quantum mechanics will refocus their energy in what we now know is the correct direction. By the end of the next decade Brian Cox will have a whole new bunch of reasons to stare wistfully into the sky.

This is the man who'll be explaining this for the next four years

The real important thing though is that now we know what it is that controls mass we can start messing with it. This is fucking awesome. You see we went from knowing what an atom was to blowing up Japan with them in less than 50 years. If we master the Higgs as quickly it'll be astonishing. You see the speed of an object with no mass is c. As in E=mc2. As in the speed of light. With a Higgs nullification field Mars is a four minute trip away. Alpha Centauri is less than 5 years away. All of this without having to worry about the effects of acceleration and inertia because we'll be plugging zero into the mass field on all of the relevant equations and seeing as it's nearly always multiply by mass it'll take most calculations down to zero.

I hope that our ability never catches up with our imagination

Look I know I'm babbling about the distant end of human scientific advancement but this breakthrough lets us know where that distant end is. It informs fantasy because it lets us know exactly what the first barrier to getting of this rock is... it's that bastard Higgs particle. Quantum theory gave us an understanding of electrons that in turn gave us the transistor and by extension every piece of technology that exists. This might be the next jump, where it'll land us we have no idea and that's just so exciting it actually makes me slightly nervous. Maybe it's not going to help us get to our nearest neighbouring star but maybe it'll bring the stars another step closer to us.

Lets just get the fuck out there.

I'd like to finish up by echoing the sentiment of Fabiola Gianotti, leader of the ATLAS team who made this discovery and a person very likely to have something important named after her, by simply saying “Thanks nature.”

eddie <last one to europa is a rotten egg>

Monday, 2 July 2012

Dealing Death

In my last blog I touched briefly on the subject of the death penalty. Now I'm guessing that those few of you who actually bother to read this have probably assumed that I am on the left wing of the political spectrum. This is in fact not true. I'm a pragmatist. If I believed that the war on drugs was a winnable and good for society, I would have no option but to support it I'm against it because there isn't a single measurable metric that indicates that it's a worthwhile endeavour. Equally if it could be shown that the death penalty had a single positive effect I would be forced to support it. It does not.

Those who support the death penalty site three primary arguments in favour of their position. I'll run through each of these in turn.

The primary argument put forward is that the death penalty acts as a deterrent. The evidence from this is at best inconclusive. The problem is that it's very difficult to gain a clear idea of the figures due to the fact that the only real-world testing ground is America. It's the only place where states with similar laws and social-economic factors but with different policies on capital punishment rub shoulders. Unfortunately every state in America is very much it's own barrel of parsnips. There are so many other variations that it's hard to see what might be causing variances in the crime rate. Even those studies that tend towards supporting the death penalty estimate each execution as saving roughly 18 lives. Even in execution happy Texas only clocks up 1 execution a month that's only 216 lives saved a year. Subtracting from that the twelve who you have to kill that's only 204 lives total saved. Texas has a population of 25,674,681 according to the latest census data. That's 0.000794557% of the population saved each year. Not strong support for a major policy decision. Add to that the opinion of Steven D. Levitt of Freakonomics fame that:

if you do back-of-the-envelope calculations, it becomes clear that no rational criminal should be deterred by the death penalty, since the punishment is too distant and too unlikely to merit much attention”

You've pretty knocked that argument on the head.

Second up is the the belief that it is significantly less costly to simply kill criminals than to imprison them. Well it's also cheaper to set up a Escape From New York style prison island and just drop in food once a week that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Leaving that idea, which is a fantastic idea until someone inside the manages to kidnap the presidents daughter, to one side lets examine the actual costs. It costs the same to keep someone in prison for twenty years whether they are on death row or not. Now the average life sentence doesn't extend much beyond 30 years. If you're imprisoned at the age of 30 by the age of 60 you're probably not considered much of a threat to society. So obviously your basic costs will be higher for the lifer than the dead-man-walking. However if you get life in prison you are probably going to settle with the verdict of your first appeal, especially if you are guilty. On the other hand even the most blatantly guilty will fight tooth and nail to overturn a death penalty the cost of all these appeals will amount to a small fortune much more than life in prison. Of course you can give them less appeals but then you've increased the chances of killing the innocent which in the long term will just undermine the authority of the justice system.

So the third and final argument I want to deal with is a simpler and more emotional one that is usually worded simply 'hanging's to good for them'. Now I'm not denying that some people deserve to be killed, but they mostly sit behind desks in suits. However it completely ignores the simple question of whether or not we deserve to kill. Stop focussing on how much paedophiles aka the mentally ill (if you don't think it's mentally ill to fuck kids... get help) deserve to die and focus on how much the state deserves to kill. Do you trust the government with the power over life and death? If you live in the modern world you either live in a developing nation with a horrifyingly corrupt government that is in cahoots with the military, business interests and the media to maintain a grasp on power. Or you live in a developed nation with a horrifyingly corrupt government that is in cahoots with the military, business interests and the media to maintain a grasp on power. Do you really believe that these fuckers would hesitate to kill an innocent man through negligence or malice. I don't. I find it concerning enough that these people control the economy to their own nefarious ends. Watch any science fiction movie that starts out with a system only slightly more corrupt than the one we live in and tell me what happens to outspoken critics of the government... Exactly! Don't give those fuckers anything close to that option.

eddie <death to death>

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Stupid Arguments

I recently wrote, here, about the ridiculous twaddle that preachy carnivores have a tendency to trot out whilst they are persecuting Vegetarians, all the while never spending any time focussing on the fact that we leave more bacon for them. Like most of my articles it engendered a lot of thought, debate and comment. Like most of my articles it was only me it engendered this in... Come on people pimp this blog to your friends... What it mainly got me thinking about was other ridiculous arguments. So here I am going to present some other arguments I find stupid. I'm not going to tell you where I fall on these topics because I broadly agree with some and broadly disagree with others but these particular arguments are absolutely terrible.

“We can't get rid of the monarchy they're great for tourism”
If you happen to live anywhere other the United Kingdom then you probably don't have to regularly hear people discussing the pros and cons of abolishing the monarchy unless you live in 16th Century France. This debate does have merit on both sides but this argument is stupid. If China was to start running the Hunger Games it would be phenomenal for tourism that doesn't mean it's a good idea. I chose China because they could pull it off. If tourism is your primary concern then abolish the monarchy and build a Harry Potter theme park on the site of the Buckingham Palace. No scratch that you put, Diagon Alley, Nocturn Ally, Gringotts et al there and build Hogwarts at Balmoral and link 'em by the Hogwarts Express. That'd make us millions.

“Scientists believe in things that they can't see as well”
This argument is largely trotted out by religionists and is there way of pointing towards dark matter, dark energy and the like as being equivalent to believing in god. Now there are a whole ton of reasons to believe in a deity... none of them persuade me but that's a separate issue. You see Scientists don't want Dark Matter and Dark Energy to exist it's a theory that exists to explain the world the universe works. That is to say that the theories of Dark Matter and Energy only exist because they are the best explanation of things that we have witnessed, removing them from the equations stops the maths that underpins the workings of the universe stops working. Physicists working in this field know that the maths does work because it make testable predictions and explains observable facts. If you come home find your door kicked in and your TV missing and you say 'a thief has been here' it is not akin to believing in god. I can't see the atmosphere I know it's there though.

“There are a lot of holes in the evidence for evolution.”
This is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. There is more evidence to support the theory of evolution than any other theory to explain the origin of life on earth. Not just some more. Fuckloads more. Evidence has been gathered and amassed that supports it for 150 years. This argument further more is presented by people who's only evidence for there theory is two chapters of a book that was written approximately 1800 years ago and of whose author we know literally nothing. It's very much like a naked man point out a hole in your t-shirt.

“You've read a lot of books but the real world doesn't really work like that”
This is less of an argument in itself and something that is more used to dismiss any argument backed up by statistics or facts. The reason it's so fundamentally flawed is that it assumes that any degree of 'book-learning' is gained at the expense of real-world experience, when it's not it's gained at the expense of real-world experience it's gained at the expense of watching sports, reading the tabloids and having terrible taste in television. People who have a decent understanding of science, statistics and social issues still go down the pub and have as many anecdotes about the funny thing Dave did as those who don't. They just also know that the death penalty doesn't act as a deterrent due to the facts that US states with and without it still have similar crime-rates, and psychological experiments that prove criminals don't think about punishment before committing a crime.

“Only humans have war.”
This is an argument put forward by those those on the left-wing who are usually also members of PETA or some bollocks. The argument basically being that we are inherently a worse species than most of the others. Utterly failing to understand the way the world works. We are the top predator on this planet and if we weren't whatever had developed to take our place would have been as warlike as us. Without war and struggle you can't rise to this level you'd just end up as a ig lizard until a giant space-rock killed everyone. Also only humans have romance and medicine so it's not a great argument. In addition to these points animals are constantly fighting with each other for food, mating rights and territory.

“Scientists don't know how it gravity works so it must be god.”
Richard Dawkins calls this the god of the gaps. It's one of those ridiculous arguments that renders debate futile. You see scientists don't understand how gravity or mass work... YET! They're working on it as we speak. You've basically set a limit on you're belief in god. As soon as science works out gravity you've lost the argument. It's the argument that was used thousands of years ago except then it was 'we don't know why the sun rises so it must be god.' Well we know that now and we'll know a metric fuck-ton more in the future. Arguing that science hasn't unravelled a mystery yet therefore god is as stupid as it is ridiculous.

Once again I try to see the merit in all points of view but these arguments are just pathetic enough to undermine your entire point.

eddie <all for intelligent opposition>