| Saturday 27th August 2005 22:11MDT | → 0 Comments |
Pat Robertson apologises for his call for Hugo Chavez to be assassinated. Apparently he was ‘misunderstood’ (a frequent claim) but added:
“I didn’t say ‘assassination’, I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping…”
Well, that makes it alright then - it’s only slightly violating international law.
| Thursday 25th August 2005 20:37MDT | → 1 Comments |
Last week a Tornado hit Wisconsin. Specifically Dane County, which is where Madison is. Bf sent a report written in his uniquely engaging style which he’s allowed me to reproduce here:
The town of Stoughton, Wisconsin and its fifteen-thousand residents, lies four miles south of Madison on County Hwy #51. Stoughton though a separate Township is a bedroom community to Madison. Most of the citizens are employed in Madison, and commute past Lake Kegonsa, its State Park and rolling farm land back and forth during the work week. It is well kept and idyllic in many ways. It is listed as a “Wisconsin Star City” for its aesthetic appeal, and the quality of lifestyle it provides for the folks that live there.
Stoughton has had a very-very bad week. The State of Wisconsin has had a terrible week.
On Tuesday morning Stoughton’s oldest and largest church and enjoining school burnt to the ground. It was an accident caused by a welding iron left on during repairs to the church’s plumbing. Total loss.
Then Thursday afternoon at about 6:25pm Stoughton was hit by a tornado. Twenty-one houses were destroyed. The Lake Kegonsa Golf Club was destroyed. One man was killed when his fireplace chimney collapsed on him as he huddled in his basement seeking
shelter. Over two-hundred homes and businesses were damaged. Three farms were leveled. More trees had been uprooted then have yet been counted.
If what happened to Stoughton sounds horrible, to all of you, that is but a small portion of what happened Thursday here in the southern third of my fine State. Wisconsin broke it’s own record Thursday - a meteorological first in recorded history. We had twenty-eight confirmed tornadoes over the course of six hours covering eighty square miles. It was an awful afternoon. The old record was twenty-four Twisters on the ground in 1966.
The day was hot, humid and hazy. The weather forecasters predicted afternoon thunderstorms. The thunderstorms started to the north and west of Madison and moved east. As they strengthened all hell broke loose. The Town of Viola was the first to be slammed by Mother Nature. It was hit by 90mph straight lying winds sustained for forty-five minutes. The town is more or less gone. Then for six hours storm after stormed appeared and did what they do: destroy.
The Emergency Sirens in Madison started to wail at 2pm and went off eleven times between then and 7pm. The sirens sound when the National Weather Service is tracking “cyclonic activity” in which we are in the path.
It was pleasant…
Dogs wailed, birds flocked and fled, chipmunks hid and most sane people went to their basements a half dozen times during the afternoon. My poor cats were a wreck… cowering one moment and fur filled with static the next.
Well, the nearest tornado to my apartment was two miles away… far enough but then again not. We had winds of 80mph and two inches of rain in one-half hour. My neighborhood was spared the hail, massive wind damage and flooding that occurred wide spread across the region but it looked like we had one hell of a party using nature’s confetti to toss.
All said and done over four hundred homes were destroyed in Wisconsin. Thousands of houses were damaged. Autos and train cars were tossed like toys. We are lucky that only one person was killed. The tornado that hit Stoughton was classified as a ‘Category 4′ storm. That is defined as 200mph sustained winds, cars tossed, trees uprooted and other indicators obscure to me. On the ground the Twister was a quarter mile wide. Imagine that sight coming towards you.
It was very odd. Rose [neighbour] and I were sitting on her patio at 6:30pm. The sun was shining. The last storm had gone over our heads and at that very moment was ripping through Stoughton four miles away. Dane County where I live was designated a National
Disaster Area by President Bush. This means we get fast-track help with physical aid to clean-up and monies to rebuild and repair.
It was a day.
What strange things these tornadoes do…..
A dog blown away in Stoughton was found alive, and well, forty miles from her home, and has been returned to her family. Wallets, checkbooks, photos, receipts, etc-etc have been found as far away as one hundred miles from Stoughton and are being collected to be returned to the owners.Four rainbows were seen, at once, in the sky east of the town as the storm passed.
Well that is the latest folks. I hope your lives are not as dull as mine.
| Wednesday 24th August 2005 19:22MDT | → 2 Comments |
A row has erupted over a call by US religious broadcaster Pat Robertson for the US to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I think Paul Schmelzer puts it succinctly, though I would add that there is definitely something suspicious when the US Government described Robertson’s comments as merely ‘inappropriate’.
Combine that with the same administration dismissing a report from the IAEA on Iran claiming they don’t have any weapons programme and there are echoes of ‘WMD in Iraq’. In other words, the hints of possible future (and undoubtedly internationally illegal) actions can be seen.
| Monday 22nd August 2005 20:09MDT | → 1 Comments |
Two nerd requests: a script that recursively replaces all the spaces in directory and filenames with underscores on Unix (hmm, I wonder if I could do this with command line PHP?)
The other is command-line based apps that allow me to upload, sync, delete, etc. files to and from an iPod. To me, this is the ‘last mile’ when it comes to making podcasting truely automated. At the moment (and am I the only one?) you have to manually upload the files, sync and unmount the device. Various apps I’ve tried already suffer from the slight problem of not actually working. As usual, the accompanying excuse for documentation makes one run screaming in terror.
How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons. I must visit Stockholm again as I didn’t explore it sufficiently while on secondment to Ericsson Sweden some years ago. Supposedly I have enough BA miles to do so, if they haven’t expired.
| Sunday 21st August 2005 21:16MDT | → 1 Comments |
Some pictures from my walk this evening.
| Tuesday 16th August 2005 20:24MDT | → 2 Comments |
This week’s purchase: Blackstone’s Guide to The Human Rights Act 1998. Looking forward to reading it as I’ve already good knowledge of ECHR operations and case-law but not so much when it comes to domestic application of the HRA.
Today, our software had a problem out in the field. The log file reported a ‘HeuristicHazard’ error. That would make a good name for an ambient band/album/track/festival.
| Sunday 14th August 2005 10:42MDT | → 0 Comments |
On Friday I went out for a birthday dinner with Denise, who’s birthday was the day before. Like a lot of people, possible me included, she prefers not to do anything on the actual day but spread out any festivities over the week. We went to a Thai and had a fantastic time. She’s always lots of fun.
Yesterday was spent learning about CSS, something I really need to master. This site still uses evil tables and they will be banished just as soon as I get my head around positioning and browser CSS misimplementations (i.e. IE).
| Thursday 11th August 2005 22:37MDT | → 0 Comments |
I’ve been working late the past couple of days as there has been an important customer software delivery. Normally I hate working late but this hasn’t bothered me that much. My company is very much into remote working so everyone’s main machine is a laptop and they have a VPN connection into the work servers. That way you could work at home in the evening rather than staying late at the office.
City terror attack ‘inevitable’ sez City of London Police Commissioner James Hart. Given that he admitted there is no specific threat identified, just what the hell is the point of making such a statement? In other words, of what use is this information? I suspect Hart is straying into the political arena to keep people scared and therefore more likely to accept Blair’s anti-terror-stomp-on-civil-liberties-assume-everyone-is-guilty proposals.
Equally fatuous was Michael Howard playing to the gallery in criticising so-called ‘judicial activism’ and ‘doing a blair’ by telling judges they should do as they’re told and not hold any legislation to the standard required by the 1998 Human Rights Act. Aside from how right-wingers despise the idea of universal rights for the great unwashed, Howard should pay closer attention to history as the principle of judicial activism (to use his happy phrase) goes back many centuries and is the basis for English common law. So he’s asking them to give up 1000 years of history (where have we heard that before?).
Furthermore, Parliamentary soverignty is not affected by the Human Rights Act as all judges can do is declare a law to be incompatible and leave it up to Parliament to change it - which they actually don’t have to do.
All in all, it just adds further weight to my belief that all right-wingers are just f**king thick.
Speaking of human rights (and undoubtedly right-wingers again), those opposed to the hunting ban continue their ever pointless and laughable attempts to employ every single piece of law to get it overturned. This time they claim, in judicial review, it was contrary to the ECHR articles 6, 7, 8, 11, 14 and article 1 of protocol 1. I’ve always been of the opinion that the more articles you claim have been infringed, the more dodgy your case is. The Law Lords told them where to get off (also when the hunters claimed the ban was contrary to the Treaty of the European Union in relation to free movement of goods, services and workers - huh? You’ve got to be kidding!). If only this were the end of it.
On the plus side, Guildford (the place wot I live in) is the 9th best place to live in the UK according to the Channel 4 property programme ‘Location, Location’.
| Monday 8th August 2005 21:42MDT | → 1 Comments |
I’ve bought bf a DVD player. He asked for one and I found a comfortably cheap but feature-rich model on Amazon, which I could get delivered directly to him (and being the US site, the exchange rate was in my favour). Even better was being able to monitor the delivery via the UPS website, so I know he recived it at 1.52pm today his time.
Blunkett warns judges over anti-terror plans. Sickening behaviour - the sort of bullying that Mugabe takes pleasure in. From the article:
“If the judiciary say ‘We think that parliament was wrong and therefore the democratic vote is wrong’, I think that is a different matter … We obviously have the right to go back to parliament and to say ‘We, the sovereign body who are elected, are the only ones in the end who are answerable for the protection of security and stability in our country. We will make the decision’.”
Except that they are a ruling party with only 35% support, who get their policies through by threatening their own MPs using the whips and, as a Government, by no means consider themselves answerable to anyone. Now we see they’re challenging the very idea of common law.
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| Saturday 6th August 2005 23:57MDT | → 0 Comments |