31 October 2012

Jack the Ripper Identified.... Again

Yesterday The Mail  carried an ticle about how the identity of  Jack the Ripper has been solved again......  -Uruguayan mathematician Eduardo Cuitiño, who has never set foot in London,.identified the Ripper as an Essex doctor called Stephen Herbert Appleford
.The Professor of Statistics at the University ORT of Montevideo said Appleford was a surgeon working in the London Hospital of Whitechapel - the area where the victims died.

He claims he was around 36-years-old, what he deemed 'the appropriate age of a psychopath', and had an IQ well above average, another trait common in that type of criminal.

Appleford was from the Essex town of Coggeshall, where Cuitiño said residents were famed as being 'stupid', which may have turned him into a social outcast.
Despite later marrying, he was at the time of the murders 'single, without children and living crammed into a house with his sisters'. He also had 'great physical strength' because at university he competed in rowing and swimming.

According to Cuitiño, Appleford started to commit his crimes after the death of his mother, to whom he was very close, in 1881.

A year later there was an attempted murder on a woman which the Uruguayan attributes to the Ripper, and therefore Appleford.

She was found stabbed in the back, the surgeon was close by and, after being identified as a doctor, was called to help her.He later produced a report in which he claimed that he had injured herself. Appleford was also left-handed, according to Cuitiño, 'just like the killer, who cut throats from right to left'. This, he said, was concluded from analysis of the doctor's handwriting obtained from a digital census record signed in the early 20th century.

Cuitiño said he used Google Maps 'to develop a geometric theory' around the crimes, especially the two committed the night of September 30, 1888.

Appleford died on August 31, the same date as the first crime, in 1940 when he was 88-years-old the year corresponding to 1888 - the year of the murders.
Cuitiño added: 'He probably committed suicide, laughing at England and the English until his last sign of life.'

Cuitiño has admitted there may be a degree of speculation as to his claims, published in an essay called Travelling through time to trap Jack the Ripper, seeing as he lives 11,000 km away from London and has never set foot in the city.

But the 38-year-old said: 'My interest is to link the history of mathematics, I try to give a mathematical approach to the riddles and mysteries' And to reach his conclusion, he said he spent two years analysing the geographical locations of the crimes on a series of computer simulators, and using information garnered online.

Well there you have it. Another solution to the Riper case. I will see many ore before I die I am sure

The Poor Mouth Endorses a Candidate

If you live in Virginia there can be ust one candidate worthy of your vote

The purr-fect candidate.

30 October 2012

Alternative Ulster

Didn't get to see SLF unti 1982. They were already ast their best. This song is still a favourite

On the Rocks

Always had a soft sport for Gillan. Saw them live in 1980 and 1981

A Beatles cover I aprove of

I'm no an of the beatles but I lie this cover.The Movign Sidewalks featured Billy Gibbons before ZZ Top

29 October 2012

Agent Double O Pigeon

A coule of day's agoThe Independent reorted that rediscovered post-war diaries have shown that British spy-masters considered developing remote-controlled homing pigeons - perhaps to carry explosives.

Details of the scheme have emerged in the post-war diaries of Guy Liddell, then-deputy director general of MI5. It seems the idea was discussed with Captain James Caiger, who ran the Army's pigeon loft after the war.

In an entry for October 3, 1946, Liddell described how Capt Caiger came to see him. "He is our pigeon expert. He is, in fact, the nearest thing to a pigeon that I have ever seen. He talks, thinks and dreams about them," he wrote. "He has had pigeons since he was a boy and his father had pigeons before him. I asked him about the homing instinct. He said that the matter is quite unsolved.
"There is however, one curious fact, namely that in a sun spot year all pigeons go hay-wire. Sun spots are, of course, minute radio active particles thought how they affect the pigeons' homing instinct nobody knows. This gives some colour to the suggestion that pigeons might be able to home on an electric beam, in other words that you might have radio-controlled pigeons."

It was not until 2007, however, that scientists were able to perfect plans similiar to those mooted by Liddell when scientists at a University in China implanted microchips which plotted the birds' course by sending electronic impulse signals.
The diaries, released to the National Archives in Kew, make reference to a number of 'spycraft' ideas.
In February 1949 Liddell discussed impregnating papers with radioactive substances to set off an alarm if they were removed from a building.

Liddell wrote that he was told: "it is quite possible to impregnate paper, metal clips or ink with radioactive substance and to install either under the floor boards or in a door post, or under the ground outside an apparatus which will register if anybody goes out of the building with a secret paper so impregnated."

But snags would include health risks to anyone if the papers were left in a drawer, he noted:
"It would at the outset produce extreme lassitude and later a loss of blood counts.
Well there you have it once again. I do find such ideas quite amusing.
© Shaun P Downey 2012

Li revisited

© Shaun P Downey 2012

28 October 2012


© Shaun P Downey 2012

A film regarding the first audio recording

Following on from the previous post you may find this video of interest

Listening to the first ever audio recordings

The Atlantic has  fascinating article about the recovery of sounds from the earliest audio recordings. A few days ago at the GE Theatre in Schenectady, New York, an audience of about 200 people sat and heard the sounds of a someone playing the cornet, a man laughing, and a recitation of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Old Mother Hubbard." It is believed that this event was the first time that any public audience had heard those sounds since they were captured by a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878.

For years the audio was trapped on a piece of foil you but there was no device that could play it and even if there had been, doing so would have likely ruined it.  Physicist Carl Haber was able to create a 3D picture of the foil whose topography could then be translated into sound using techniques of mathematical analysis and physical modeling to calculate how a needle would have played the recording. They were able to do so "without physically having to touch them," he explained to me. "And that's kind of the key issue, because these things are so old and fragile and torn-up, broken, and delicate that in many cases it just would not be possible to play them back in any of the more standard ways."

Edison invented his tinfoil phonograph in 1877 and began selling it in 1878. "This is the oldest recording in the United States and anywhere in the world that was made as a reproducible recording  Earlier phonautograms from France are playable today  but they were not intended to ever be played back.

The recording was made by a phonograph, whose stylus would move up and down, recording the sound waves as a hand crank rotated the cylinder. After a few playbacks, the stylus would rip through the foil, and demonstrators had a practice of tearing up the recording and handing out the scraps as souvenirs. Pops and scratches heard in the recording were likely created by the way the foil was folded while it was in storage for more than a century. A woman whose father had been an antiques dealer in the midwest donated the foil to the museum in 1978.

These early recordings are the earliest instances of a technology that has shaped just about every aspect of life. Recorded sound gave rise to the music industry, of course, but that's just the half of it; ethnographic research, field recording, journalistic interviews, historical research -- all of these capabilities trace back to Edison, his foils, and, later, his wax cylinders. With his invention in 1877, Haber said, "Edison really transformed the world."

Go to the article and you can hear the recording itself. I am glad that this was done.It is good to be able to recreate what was the earliest recording medium.How things have moved on!

25 October 2012

North Korean Gulag Still There (no surprise here)

Satellite images suggest that contrary to reports that Pyongyang had shut down its largest labour prison in June, Camp 22 is still serving as a penal gulag for thousands of inmates.

According to the Telegraph satellite images collected by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea earlier this month indicates the camp continues to function, it said in a report.
"Harvesting of crops continues, as does coal production, making it not yet clear that the camp has closed and that North Korean authorities have been slowly transferring small sections of prisoners out of Camp 22 and replacing them with a regular workforce from other locations," the group said in a statement.

The camp is in fact a collection of interconnected detention facilities covering 87 square miles and surrounded by an electric fence. Former guards who have escaped from North Korea say the camp has 1,000 guards armed with machine guns.No inmate, most of whom are serving life sentences for political crimes, religious beliefs or are purged senior party members, has been known to escape from North Korea.
As many as 50,000 inmates are held at the camp, producing furniture or labouring in coal mines or the fields. In total, some 100,000 people are believed to be held in North Korean labour camps.
Defectors have recounted numerous forms of torture at Camp 22, as well as claiming that medical and weapons experiments were carried out on inmates, including children.

HRNK is calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Programme to be given immediate access to the North Korean gulag system and is requesting the creation of an international commission of inquiry to look into breaches of human rights in the North. 
Hmm (again) I wonder why anyone thought that North Korea would be shutting its camps. I can't imagine that that Kim youn'un will be changing much aboith his insane littlefiefdom any time soon if at all. After all he is king of the dung heap.

Bride goes to court to be fleeced by Scientologists

The Independent reports that $cientologists have launched a landmark legal bid to overturn marriage laws in England and Wales. Scientologists believe it is unfair that Protestants, Catholics, Quakers, Jews and Non-Conformists are allowed to have state sanctioned marriages in their religious buildings whilst other faiths are not.

The case has been brought by 23-year-old a bride-to-be Louise Hodkin, who wants to marry her fiancée in the chapel at Scientology’s multi-million pound London headquarters off Queen Victoria Street. There is nothing to stop Ms Hodkin having a blessing in the chapel following a civil ceremony at a nearby registrar. But under Britain’s complicated marriage laws she cannot have a religious wedding because the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages refuses to recognise Scientology chapels as a “places of worship” - the necessary step before marriages can be solemnised.

Lawyers for Ms Hodkin went to the High Court yesterday to argue that the proscription against Scientology buildings is discriminatory and in breach of the 2010 Equality Act. Lord Lester QC, Ms Hodkin’s barrister, told the High Court that she was motivated by the fact that her fiancé’s brother had been allowed to marry at a Church of Scientology chapel in Edinburgh five years ago, a right which is permitted under Scottish law but denied south of the border.

“She and her fiancee both volunteer at the Church of Scientology and seek to celebrate their marriage through a legally recognised scientology wedding, surrounded by their friends, families and fellow volunteers,” he said. He described scientology as a “theistic religion”, in company with many of the major world faiths, and insisted that its chapels are used for “worship”. “It is a religion which believes in a supreme being,“ he told Mr Justice Ouseley, adding: ”As all the evidence before the registrar shows it does so in a profound way.“

But James Strachan, for the registrar, insisted Miss Hodkin's challenge was ”misconceived“. The decision not to recognise the chapel as a marriage venue had been made under the 1855 Places of Worship Registration Act, he said, and was exclusively focused on ”whether the place in question is for use for religious worship“.

Hmm if Miss Hodkin is dumb enough to believe the bullshit that $cientologyy spouts why not then offer up a substantial payment toreceive a bullshit marriage cermony. Anyone who is taken in by $cientology deserves to be fleeced by the charlatans

Peer suggests pensioners whould work for their pensions

Yesterday theBBC reported that former head of the Benefits Agency and crossbencher peer Lord Bichard Retired suggested that people should be encouraged to do community work such as caring for the "very old" or face losing some of their pension.

 "imaginative" ideas were needed to meet the cost of an ageing society he said. And although such a move might be controversial, it would stop older people being a "burden on the state".

"Are there ways in which we could use incentives to encourage older people, if not to be in full time work, to be making a contribution?," he asked the rest of the committee."It is quite possible, for example, to envisage a world where civil society is making a greater contribution to the care of the very old, and older people who are not very old could be making a useful contribution to civil society in that respect, if they were given some incentive or some recognition for doing so."

Michelle Mitchell, director general of the charity Age UK, said: "Older people are a hugely positive part of society - over a third of people aged between 65 and 74 volunteer, a percentage that only drops slightly for the over 75s. "In addition, nearly a million older people provide unpaid care to family or friends saving the state millions of pounds."

She added that almost a third of working age parents rely on grandparents to provide childcare - and more than 900,000 people are working past the traditional retirement age "either because they want to or because they can't afford to retire".

Hmm like the ret of the developed world the UK will have demographic problems in years to come but forcing people to work to get  contributory benefit paid to them after they stop working? Hmm and tomorrow he'll be writing a version of "A Modest Proposal"for the eating of pensioners....

24 October 2012

Richard Mourdock... £%^$£(&^%

There is a lot of coverage Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who was asked during a debate Tuesday whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest. His response

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,”

And God intended him to be a fucking wanker

Auvers Sur Oise

© Shaun P Downey 2012

Muse and vine II

© Shaun P Downey 2012

23 October 2012

In Soviet Russia the crows bomb you

It looks as if the crows have taken up arms against the Putin regime.In  Yekaterinburg  anti-regime crows are bombing vehicles parked by the building of Sverdlovsk Region’s legislative assembly, local lawmaker with stones.

The ammo for the bombardment came from a garden of stones set up on the legislative assembly’s terrace by its speaker Lyudmila Babushkina, Ryapasov. The attack lasted for hours, leaving at least three expensive sedans with broken windows and numerous chauffeurs of lawmakers and regional ministers in a helpless frenzy.

Sverdlovsk legislature is controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia, which prompted a flurry of blog and forum reports accusing the crows of being in cahoots with the opposition.But the birds were likely either being territorial or just having fun according to ornithologist Tatiana Surkova.

Having fun? A likely story. Off to the gulags with these evil birds.

Rodong Sinmun Calls for Implementing Last Instructions of Peerlessly Great Men for National Reunification

It's been a while since I posted some news from North Korea so it's time to make both my readers suffer. Here is an item from the KCNA website

 It is the noble national duty for all Koreans at home and abroad to turn out as one in the struggle to implement the last instructions of the peerlessly great men for national reunification true to the great intention and patriotic leadership of the dear respected Marshal Kim as national reunification was the lifelong desire of the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu: President Kim Il Sung took to his heart the misfortune the Korean nation was suffering due to the country's division and worked heart and soul to hand over a reunified country to posterity till the last moments of his life. and Leader Kim Jong Il provided a firm foundation for carrying out the last instruction of the President for national reunification and led all Koreans along the road of reunification and patriotism with his noble patriotism and broad-minded magnanimity it being the the firm determination and will of Kim Jong Un to achieve the country's reunification by concerted efforts of the Koreans in line with the ideas and intentions of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and the wise leadership of Kim Jong Un provides a firm guarantee for national reunification, national independence, pioneered and led by the great Generalissimos to ensure that Koreans now foresee the shinning day of victory of the cause of independent reunification thanks to the leadership of Kim Jong Un identical to the great Generalissimos.

Something stupid in the state of Italy

The Telegraph and much of the rest of the world'sress is reporting on the result of a trial in Italy where six scientists and a government official have been sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter after providing “an incomplete, inept, unsuitable and criminally mistaken” assessment of risks posed by the devastating L’Aquila earthquake that killed more than 300 people in 2009.

The six scientists and a former government official were all members of the Major Risks Committee which met in the city on March 31, 2009, after several small tremors had been recorded in the region. At the time, they ruled that it was impossible to determine whether the tremors would be followed by a large quake, in a judgment which reassured residents. One of the group famously advised them to relax with a glass of wine. Just six days later, a 6.3 magnitude quake devastated L’Aquila.
On Monday, Judge Marco Billi announced the manslaughter sentence to a packed courtroom in a temporary building erected to hear the case in the still devastated city. He also ruled that the defendants should pay 7.8 million euros (£6.4 millions) in damages, with two million euros to be paid immediately.
Needless to say that the scientific community is outrage.
Richard Walters of Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences, said “The issue here is about miscommunication of science, and we should not be putting responsible scientists who gave measured, scientifically accurate information in prison. This sets a very dangerous precedent and I fear it will discourage other scientists from offering their advice on natural hazards and trying to help society in this way.”

Prof Malcolm Sperrin, Director of Medical Physics, Royal Berkshire Hospital, said: “If the scientific community is to be penalised for making predictions that turn out to be incorrect, or for not accurately predicting an event that subsequently occurs, then scientific endeavour will be restricted to certainties only and the benefits that are associated with findings from medicine to physics will be stalled.”

Prosecutor Fabio Picuti had sought four-year terms for each of the defendants accusing them of failing to alert the population of the historic Medieval town only days before quake struck on April 6. Judge Billi’s reason for the longer sentence imposed will be disclosed at a later date.

“I thought I would be cleared. I still don’t understand of what I am accused,” he said. Defence lawyers condemned the sentence and pledged to appeal it - under the Italian system, the seven will remain free until they have exhausted two chances to appeal.

Marcello Petrelli who represented Franco Barberi, professor of volcanology and a former deputy Civil Protection minister, said the sentence was “incredible and incomprehensible”.

Whichever way you look at it the scientists are being scapegoated for a tragedy. What message does this send to the scientific community? If something goes wrong we are going to take it out on you. The earthquake was a tragedy and I would not for a moment diminish the terrible losses but ustice has not been served here. The day that an italian court can ut the appropriate fault line in the dock then justice can be served

21 October 2012

More muse

© Shaun P Downey 2012


Until Friday I hand not heard of Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests but thanks to the tv show QI I do now! I think I could sit and watch them for hours.

Here is a link to Jansen's website

A pastor speaks against gay rights.....

Watch to the end for a wonderful twist!

20 October 2012

Graffiti Girl

© Shaun P Downey 2012

The Lost Honour of Neda Soltani

Some images are iconic - think of Kim Phuc or Sharbat Gula... if you don't know their names you will know their photos. Neda Agha Soltan, who was murdered by Baseej thugs  was the icon of the protests against Ahmadinejad's fraudulent election win in 2009. I missed this Guardian articlewhen it was published last week. It is quite shocking

Neda Agha Soltan

Her face adorned a thousand placards and posters, an emblem of the failed Iranian uprising.
 Unfortunately, it wasn't herwell not always....  As 26-year-old Neda bled to death on the pavement, her shocked eyes stared into an onlooker's mobile phone video camera and the terrible images were uploaded to international websites. It made her a martyr to those inside and outside Iran protesting at the flawed election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Scrambling to cover the story and looking to find a photograph of the dead woman in life, journalists who had been banned at the time from entering Iran lifted a photograph of a woman called Neda Soltani from her Facebook page and published it – and the life of the 32-year-old, middle-class university English lecturer changed for ever.

"It destroyed my life," said Soltani, who has now written a book called My Stolen Face and still has to endure her image appearing as if she were the murdered Neda Soltan.

For Soltani, the mix-up brought her to the attention of the Iranian secret service. "They wanted to use me to say the whole thing was a fake made up by western media – 'see, here is this Neda and she is alive'. They didn't care that it was nothing to do with me, that it was a mistake; they wanted me to co-operate and when I wouldn't, they hounded me," she said.

"I was interrogated three times and confronted with increasingly wild theories. They were threatening me and my brother and my mother. They charged me with treason. They said I was endangering the security of my own country. I knew what that meant: death. "In a matter of 12 days, everything in my life had changed. From the day Neda was killed to the day I fled. "My family were so shocked to see people everywhere carrying my photo, decorating it with black ribbons and flowers. Neda's own family were in shock and it was some time before they released her real photo and by then it was too late; the world had mine."

Luckily, Soltani had an exit visa in her passport, obtained for an academic conference she had been due to attend in Athens. Her friends bundled her out of the country just hours before the soldiers came for her. "I owe them my life because I was still so shocked, I didn't really know what was happening."

For nine months she lived in a refugee camp in Germany, Finally she was granted leave to stay and is now, slowly, trying to adjust to the culture, learn the language and build herself another life in Munich.

"It's hard. My friends have got married and had babies and I can never be there. My grandmother passed away, my brother graduated. Sometimes just the smallest thing, a smell, a certain moment, will bring back memories of home I am angry because it was amateurish and reckless. It shows how dangerous sloppy journalism can be. I had an apology a long time later from a news agency. It said: 'We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.'"

The consequences of a such a mix up can be dire anywhere but in an oppressive state like Iran? Well if you've got this far you will have seen and realise that it could have been far worse for the other Neda A lazy hack can destroy a life.

Graffiti boy

© Shaun P Downey 2012

19 October 2012

Bebe is comfortable

Petrol from Fresh Air?

The Telegraph and the rest of the press is reporting on a small British company that  has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity.

The technology, presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before "electrolysing" the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.The company, Air Fuel Synthesis, then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.

Company officials say they had produced five litres of petrol in less than three months from a small refinery in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside.

The fuel that is produced can be used in any regular petrol tank and, if renewable energy is used to provide the electricity it could become “completely carbon neutral”. The £1.1m project, in development for the past two years, is being funded by a group of unnamed philanthropists who believe the technology could prove to be a lucrative way of creating renewable energy.

Company executives hope to build a large plant, which could produce more than a tonne of petrol every day, within two years and a refinery size operation within the next 15 years. 
  Stephen Tetlow, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers chief executive, hailed the breakthrough as “truly groundbreaking....It has the potential to become a great British success story, which opens up a crucial opportunity to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.

Peter Harrison, the company’s 58 year-old chief executive, told The Daily Telegraph that he was “excited” about the technology’s potential, which “uses renewable energy in a slightly different way”.
“People do find it unusual when I tell them what we are working on and realise what it means,” said Mr Harrison, a civil engineer from Darlington, Co Durham.“It is an opportunity for a technology to make an impact on climate change and make an impact on the energy crisis facing this country and the world."

On first reading it sounded too good to be true. I then checked to see if it were April the first again. It certainly is interesting and if it is practicable on a large scale and can be coupled  to renewable energy sources. But is it the answer to the world's fuel needs or ill it remain an interesting concept that will be quietly forgotten?

18 October 2012

Meanwhile Damien Hirst churns out more crap and calls it art

 The Guardian reports that people flocked to Ilfracombe yesterdayto see a new Damien Hist statue called Verity. No sheep this time but a 20m-high statue of a naked woman yielding a sword and staring out to sea.

"Impressive," said James Silvesto, who had picked up his nine-year-old son Charlie from the local primary school and whizzed him down to the harbour on his moped. "She's a magnet. She's got a personality that draws you in." Charlie was not so sure. "A bit rude, a bit weird," was his verdict.

Engineer Melvyn Robinson said he found it "grotesque". "It's not my cup of tea, I prefer my art a bit more conventional," he said. "It's typical Damien Hirst, a bit Hannibal Lecter-ish. He can't help himself, can he?"

Boatman Paul Barbeary was also unconvinced. "I just think she's in completely the wrong place. What has she got to do with Ilfracombe? A mermaid would be better."

Pensioner Eve Martinson, who was holidaying in Cornwall but had decided to take a spin to north Devon to have a look at Verity. "She's a bit, well, naked for me," said Martinson. "I don't like her nipples very much, a bit too pointy. And those bits and pieces of her inside. You have no choice but to look."

But shopkeepers were delighted at the attention the resort was getting because of Verity. The ice-cream parlours and fish and chips shops were doing good business. Hirst's own restaurant (he also has a home nearby) was, unsurprisingly, full. "I think the statue is brilliant," said Felicity Cowley, a consultant at the Driftwood art gallery, which had a few Hirsts on the walls. "A midweek day in October is not usually very busy. We've had loads of people in. Whether you like it or not, it's a phenomenon, an attraction."

And most of those who made the pilgrimage to Verity on Wednesday were positive. Tim Brownings, a local tour guide, can see the statue from his front room. "I was a bit worried she'd wreck my view of the sea," he said. "I thinks she enhances it actually. But for me the best thing is that she is getting people talking about art."

People like harbour master Rob Lawson, who was happy to wax lyrical about the merits of Verity: "One half of her is calm, beautiful; the other half is provocative – the human as an animal."
He is delighted the statue, on loan to the town for 20 years, has created a buzz. And if nothing else she will make it easy for visiting yacht captains to find Ilfracombe. "Some people say they find it difficult to see the harbour entrance from out to sea. They won't be able to miss it now."

Frankly I think it's a piece of crap but then again I have a very low opinion of Damien Hirst's work. Virtually none of it has any merit. I will leave Danny Kaye to give the final verdict on his work

Nick Griffin is a piece of shit

 A piece of shit

Hunts Post a localpaper for Huntingdon are reporting that the police have been informed about a series of Tweets posted by British National Party MEP Nick Griffin in response to today’s court victory for Michael Black and John Morgan.

It was announced earlier today that the couple had won a discrimination case against a B&B owner who refused to give them a room because they are gay.

here are the tweets

Mpre prrof that Griffin is a See You Next Tuesday

Exoplanet next door

I meant to post this yesterday but I didn't feel like it.Astronomers  have discovered an earth sized in the cosmic equivalent of next door.

Just four and half light years away and orbiting Alpha Centauri B the planet is very close to teh star oriting every four days.  The astronomers who found it say it's likely there are other planets circling the same star, a little farther away where it may be cool enough for water and life.
The research was released online Yesterday in the journal Nature. Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, who heads the European planet-hunting team, said this means "there's a very good prospect of detecting a planet in the habitable zone that is very close to us."

The European team spent four years using the European southern Observatory in Chile to look for planets at Alpha Centauri B and its sister stars Alpha Centauri A and Proxima Centauri. They used a technique that finds other worlds by looking for subtle changes in a star's speed as it races through the galaxy.

Part of the problem is that the star is so close and so brightthat it made it harder to look for planets, said study lead author Xavier Dumusque of the Geneva Observatory.

Dumusque described what it might be like on this odd and still unnamed hot planet. Its closest star is so near that it would always hang huge in the sky. And whichever side of the planet faced the star would be broiling hot, with the other side icy cold.

Because of the mass of the planet, it's likely a rocky surface like Earth, Dumusque said. But the rocks would be "more like lava, like a lava planet."

Well there you have it. It would be amazing to find a planet in the goldilocks zone so near to us... but when I say near we won't be seeing the results of explorations to that star!

13 October 2012


A blast from the past.Saw Gillan in 80 and 81

Border Walls - Forough Farrokhzad

Border Walls

Now, again in the silent night,
sequestrant walls, border walls
like plants entwine,
so they may be the guardians of my love.

Now, again the town's evil murmurs,
like agitated schools of fish,
flee the darkness of my extremities.

Now, again windows rediscover themselves
in the pleasure of contact with scattered perfumes,
and trees, in slumberous orchards, shed their bark,
and soil, with its thousand inlets
inhales the dizzy particles of the moon.

come closer
and listen
to the anguished beats of my love,
that spread
like the tom-tom of African drums
along the tribe of my limbs.

I, feel.
I know
which moment
is the moment of prayer.

Now stars
are lovers.

In night's refuge,
from innermost breezes, I waft.
In night's refuge, I
tumble madly forth
with my ample tresses, in your palms,
and I offer you the equatorial flowers of this young tropic.

Come with me,
come to that star with me
that is centuries away
from earth's concretion and futile scales,
and no one there
is afraid of light.

On islands adrift upon the waters, I breathe.
I am in search of a share in the expansive sky,
void of the swell of vile thoughts.

Refer with me,
refer with me
to the source of all being,
to the sanctified center of a single origin,
to the moment I was created from you
refer with me,
I am not complete from you.

on the peaks of my breasts,
doves are flying.
within the cocoon of my lips,
butterfly kisses are immersed in thoughts of flight.
the altar of my body
is ready for love's worship.

Refer with me,
I'm powerless to speak
because I love you,
because "I love you" is a phrase
from the world of futilities
and antiquities and redundancies.
Refer with me,
I'm powerless to speak.

In night's refuge, let me make love to the moon,
let me be filled
with tiny raindrops,
with undeveloped hearts,
with the volume of the unborn,
let me be filled.
Maybe my love
will cradle the birth of another Christ.

Translated by Layli Arbab Shirani (2/96) 

From  www.forughfarrokhzad.org/

12 October 2012

Feral Cat Again

I know I posted this not many months ago but I've ust given permission to an academic to use the image on a report on animal welfare.

I took the photo in Ireland in 2008.  She was particularly hostile but then I was standing very close to her kittens. This could have been Bebe had we not taken her in

11 October 2012

Jesus in Devon?

Think of Burgh Island and I think of Agathat Christie but according to Michael Goldsworthy  the island holds a far greater secret.

Goldsworthy says there are bodies hidden on Burgh Island and he hasr informed the Torquay coroner of his suspicions as, alongside the human remains, he believes there could also be priceless treasure.

Goldsworthy maintains that hidden on the island are the remains of Joseph of Arimathea, the legendary uncle of Jesus, plus some of the most famous artefacts of history including, possibly the famed Ark of the Covenant. He also claims the island may house the body of Jesus himsel

Mr Goldsworthy’s claims concerning Burgh Island are based on his interpretation of a 1,500-year-old Latin riddle attributed to a monk named Melkin. Melkin claimed that the burial place of Joseph of Arimathea, who in the Bible story owned the tomb where Jesus was buried after the crucifixion, was to be found on Avalon, the island which later became famous through the legends of King Arthur. Avalon may be an entirely mythical place, although it has frequently been associated with Glastonbury, a connection once strongly supported by the medieval monks of the abbey there. When Melkin wrote that it would be on Avalon that “Joseph of Arimathea has found perpetual sleep in a marble tomb” it was assumed he was referring to somewhere in the vicinity of Glastonbury abbey or tor.

The crux of Mr Goldsworthy’s theory is that Avalon has been misidentified. He says that it is the same place as another island of legend, Ictis, famed for its role in the tin trade. It is only by correctly interpreting Melkin that the true position of the island can be identified. It is, says Mr Goldsworthy, Burgh Island.  Understanding Melkin, Mr Goldsworthy claims, involves an understanding of ley lines. These are, supposedly, invisible lines of energy in the landscape, which had been known to the Neolithic inhabitants of Britain and were rediscovered by amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins almost 100 years ago. By drawing ley lines on maps of southern Britain and examining the geometric shapes created, Mr Goldsworthy says that he can make sense of the ancient clues.

If he gets permission to explore the island, what does he expect to find? Enough amazing evidence, he claims, to solve almost every Christian mystery and put a metaphorical bombshell under the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus died on the cross, was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven.
“After the crucifixion, Joseph managed to obtain Jesus’s body and supposedly collected his blood and sweat into one or two receptacles and brought them with him to England and for all the Grail’s multitudinous depictions, it is the connection with Jesus that is the one unchanging theme. The vessel or vessels supposedly now lie with Joseph of Arimathea in an undiscovered sepulchre on mainland Britain.”

Advancing over 1000 years to the time of the famed religious order of warriors, the Knights Templar, Goldsworthy says they must have known about the hiding place on Burgh Island and its contents. In 1307, he maintains, three ships arrived off the island bringing sacred treasures from the Holy Land to secrete in what they would have believed was a special place. They took away with them the shroud as a relic and souvenir. The Christmas carol ‘I saw three ships’ is said to originate from this visit, as the ships sailed in on Christmas day to attract the least attention.

What happened to the Templars and their ships subsequently is unknown. However their secret did not die with them. Mr Goldsworthy maintains that Leonardo da Vinci was in the know and painted images of Burgh Island and the river estuary into his two versions of the painting “Madonna of the Yarnwinder”. The geology, it is also said, of his painting “Virgin and the Rocks” is also identifiable as that of Burgh Island.

What undermines Mr Goldsworthy’s claims, as far as the sceptics and mainstream scholars are concerned, are their all-embracing nature. To suggest Joseph of Arimathea is on the island is one thing, but to say so is Jesus, the Holy Grail, Templar treasure, possibly the Ark of the Covenant, that his discoveries solve the mystery of the Turin Shroud – and Leonardo knew all about it – might stretch the credulity of even the most ardent conspiracy theorist.
Well  I et he can string a coherent sentence. That's one u on that drivel merchant Dan Brown

10 October 2012

My little Cthulhu

Some bad poetry again

A Tragedy by Theophile  Marzials

The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks – "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks – "Die."
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them -- and fled
They all are every one! – and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.I might reel and drop.
And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
Flop, plop.
A curse on him.
Ugh! yet I knew – I knew --
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end --
My Devil – My "Friend"
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air --
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Plop, flop.


Posted it before but it'sworth a repeat it being so bloody awful!

09 October 2012

Not Marijuana but Montauk daisies

Police in Lethbridge, Alerta may need to go to horticultural school after they accused Ryan Thomas Rockman of growing marijuana plants in his garden back in July

Lethbridge police accused Rockman of harbouring the biggest outdoor marijuana grow operation in the city's history, even though Rockman has repeatedly insisted all 1,624 plants seized were only Montauk daisies - a fall-blooming shrubby perennial that he's been growing for 10 years in his yard.

"It made me look like a villain and it made them look silly," Rockman said Monday afternoon, explaining police had let him know earlier in the day that they would be dropping one of five charges against him. Everybody makes mistakes. I still scratch my head over how," he said. "It baffles me, to be honest. At the same time, I don't want to try to point the finger of blame at them either because they're still just trying to do their mandate and make it home every day," he added. Rockman also said he'd support relaxed laws on marijuana use so that police could spend their time on what he sees as more serious crime in the community.

Samples of the plants police had sent to a lab in B.C. tested negative for marijuana, so police have dropped the most serious charge against Rockman: producing a controlled substance, although the 41-year-old still faces charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, and possessing proceeds of crime in relation to 697 grams of dried marijuana, 6.3 grams of cannabis resin and some cash that police also allegedly seized during the investigation.

Ah well he'snot facing heavy ail time mercifully but all that grass makes him a naughty boy!

Taliban "heroes" shoot teenage girl

Most papers are carrying this story about a digusting incident in Pakistan. A 14-year old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafza who championed education for girls has been shot in the head by a Taliban gunman.
 Malala became famous for highlighting Taliban atrocities, happened as she sat in a bus preparing to leave the school grounds in Mingora, the main city in the Swat valley which was the scene of intense fighting between the army and the Taliban in 2009.

Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, quickly claimed the group was responsible for.
He said the teenager's work had been an "obscenity" that needed to be stopped: "This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter."

Doctors said the gunshot wounds to her head and neck were serious and that she might have to be moved to a larger hospital in Islamabad or Peshawar.

Malala won fame in 2009 during the Pakistani army operations to crush a Taliban insurgency that had taken hold in the Swat valley, an area popular among Pakistani tourists three hours drive from Islamabad.
As part of her campaign for girls' education she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC about the chaos at the time, including the burning of girls' schools.Her efforts were recognised byPakisan's prime minister who awarded her the country's first National Peace award and a reward of around £3,300 after she missed out on winning the International Children's Peace Prize for which she was nominated in 2011.

She had also spoken of her desire to set up her own political party and a vocational institute for marginalised girls in her area.

Once again it shows that the Taliban are real heroes I dont think. If Allah exisits they are going to be in for a fucking huge shock come judgement day!

08 October 2012

Rothko Vandal Vladimir Umamets: Deluded Wanker

 The Tate Modern is the proud owner of one of the largest collections of Rothkos in any single art gallery. This is thanks to the artist's donation of a series of murals that were originally intended to be displayed in a restaurant in the Seagram Building in New York

 Yesterday  astonished witnesses watched saw ta man in his late 20s, calmly walk up to Black On Maroon (1958) and scrawl a graffiti message in black marker pen or paint yesterday afternoon.
The graffiti reads: “Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism.”

Vladimir Umamets, who is originally from Russia, admitted today that he had written on the painting, but insisted his aim was not to destroy or deface it.

 "Some people think I'm crazy or a vandal, but my intention was not to destroy or decrease the value, or to go crazy. I am not a vandal," he said.
Umamets the founder of something called "Yellowism "I don't need to be famous, I don't want money, I don't want fame, I'm not seeking seeking attention....I believe that from everything bad there's always a good outcome so I'm prepared for that but obviously I don't want to spend a few months, even a few weeks, in jail. But I do strongly believe in what I am doing, I have dedicated my life to this."  He also said he feels he may have increased the value.
The Tate’s conservationists are currently assessing the damage.Julia Nagle, a painting conservator, suggested the painting was not ruined forever. "I have every faith it will be cleaned off. They're delicate surfaces and it's important not to rub them but there's a massive body of research into Rothko and his techniques and a great conservation department at the Tate.  "I've no doubt they will manage to take it off."

Umanets said yellowism was "an element of contemporary visual culture" and not an artistic movement. It's not art, it's not reality, it's just Yellowism," he said. "It can't be presented in a gallery of art, it can be presented only in a Yellowistic chambers.The main difference between Yellowism and art is that in art you have got freedom of interpretation, in Yellowism you don't have freedom of interpretation, everything is about Yellowism, that's it. I am a Yellowist. I believe what I am doing and I want people to start talking about this. It was like a platform. Maybe I would like to point people's attention on what it's all about, what is Yellowism, what is art? It's good people are shocked about what happened. No-one is realising what actually happened, everyone is just posting that the piece has been damaged or destroyed or defaced. But I believe that after a few years they will start looking for it from the right angle. So that's why I did it."

Yellowism?What gives him the right to deface a great piece of art? What he did was not an artistic statement it was an act of vandalism that could potentially have ruuied a magnificent piece of art.

Umamets comes over as an utter arsehole. I doubt that his artistic defence will cut any ice when he faces his day in court. erhaps he should pay for the restoration, the wanker.

Next time give me cheese or your fingers will have an appointment with the Claw brothers

On the other hand there's still life in the old boy!

07 October 2012

Robyn enoys a snack

Now Iran blamed for 9/11?

I didn't catch this Story when it first came out but four days ago a US judge formally ordered Iran, Al-Qaeda and several other defendants Wednesday to pay $6 billion compensation to the victims of September 11, 2001.

Although Iran denies any connection to 9/11, it was included in the list of alleged culprits by the US District Court in New York, along with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Afghanistan's Taliban guerrillas and Al-Qaeda, which took credit for the massive terror attack.

The ruling caps a series of court decisions prompted by lawsuits filed by families of 47 victims from among the nearly 3,000 killed on 9/11.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan at the time and were giving shelter to Al-Qaeda. Iran was blamed by the US court partly because some of the hijackers passed through the country on their way to carrying out the attacks.

Okay it's a symbolic ruling but to be honest I found this decision perplexing. Much as I loathe the Iranian regime I don't believe for a second believe that Iran was complicit in the attack. As for crossing territories they must hve crossed other counties too to get to the USA.

Ah well the drumbeats for war with Iran probably have gotten a little louder

04 October 2012

And a Red Dwarf Dance Routine

Red Dwarf back

Red Dwarf is back for a series tonight after a 13 year absence (excludiing Back to Earth that was shown on Dave a few years back which was terrible). I hope that it is as good as earlier series of the show but I'm not holding my breath. I'll know sometime around 9.40 whether it was worth watching.It's on the cable channel Dave at 9m

03 October 2012

Arrival in Utopia

When a half baked idea goes badly wrong

Today's Guardian. caries this story

Ruth Anim needs constant one-to-one care, has no concept of danger and attends life skills classes to learn practical things like how to make a sandwich or a cup of tea. So it came as a considerable surprise to her mother, Cecilia, that an official assessment of her daughter's abilities classified her as someone who would be capable of finding work in the near future.

The reporty ATOS  contained a number of factual errors, perhaps most remarkably the assessor's description of the 27-year-old as a "male client", but more disturbing for Anim was the conclusion of the doctor who carried out the test: "I advise that a return to work could be considered within 12 months."

Anim says: "For Ruth to go to work is actually totally unimaginable. She can't even cross the road without someone going with her; she doesn't know that if a car hits you it will kill you; she has no concept of danger." Her daughter was born with complex medical needs, learning disabilities, a heart problem and epilepsy. "She is somebody who has a one-to-one carer – is she meant to go to work with her carer?"

As a result of the assessment, Ruth was assigned to a category known as the work related activity group, and required to attend the jobcentre regularly to begin mandatory preparations for going to work.

Cecilia Anim's amazement at the written report, describing her daughter's work capability assessment (WCA), the test to determine fitness for work, echoes the shock felt by hundreds of thousands of former claimants of incapacity benefit over the last three years, after undergoing the stringent new computerised test to check their continued eligibility for benefit payments.

Since the test was introduced in 2008 more than 600,000 people have appealed against the assessments; the cost to the state of those appeals has risen from £25m in 2009-10 to £60m in 2011-12. About 38% of those who appeal against an initial fit-for-work finding see that decision overturned on appeal and benefits granted. Welfare rights organisations and charities have voiced consistent unease about the test and the way doctors employed by the private IT firm Atos, which is paid £100m a year by the government to carry out the test, have implemented it.
Last week Labour called for a "fast and radical" overhaul of the system, admitting the policy it introduced when in government was not working.

As deputy president of the Royal College of Nursing, Anim can project her fury about the experience her daughter endured far more powerfully than most individuals going through the system. This awareness has heightened her desire to talk about the "injustice of the process", to educate people about how inaccurate the assessments can be.

"I am able to fight back, but what about the people who are not able to fight back? It's causing a lot of problems for a lot of people," she says. "My daughter's consultant neurologist was beside himself with fury when I told him. The first question he asked was, 'Have they done a risk assessment?' "
Ruth's case is by no means exceptional.  The principle underlying the WCA is that a health condition or disability should not automatically be regarded as a barrier to work, and in theory the policy is designed to ensure that support is available to help people find work.

The 45-minute examination was chaotic from start to finish, Anim says. Her daughter was extremely anxious and kept asking the doctor if he was going to take a blood test. She refused to sit down and hopped on and off the medical examining couch when the doctor was talking to her. Anim points to a line in the partly computer-generated report which notes "client was able to sit on a chair with a back for 45 minutes".

"The whole examination was very chaotic and bizarre because she was not co-operating. But in his report he has put that Ruthie sat for 45 minutes. She never sat down for more than three minutes. She was all over the place," she says. "At one point she went to the tap and washed her hands and started spraying the water everywhere. He raised his voice and said 'Stop doing that!' I said no, no, don't speak to her like that. She's got learning difficulties; she doesn't understand."
A few questions the doctor asked, about her daughter's condition and her schooling, made Anim doubt his familiarity with the British care system. He noted in his report that her daughter's speech was normal, although Anim had done most of the speaking. The few questions Ruth managed to respond to were answered inaccurately. "He asked her how old she was and she said 18, despite the fact that she is 27," she says.

A few months after the medical assessment Ruth was called to an interview at the jobcentre to discuss finding work. She went with her mother, who was aghast when she understood why they had been called in. "I said 'Are you having a laugh?'" The jobcentre adviser realised very quickly that a mistake had been made. "We sat down, and every question she asked her, Ruth raised her palms as if she didn't know the answer. She asked 'What day is it?'; Ruthie said Thursday, but it was Tuesday. She asked 'What time is it?'. She said 5.30pm, but it was 2.30pm," she recalls. "Ruth was rummaging through the tray on her desk and being disruptive. She kept saying, 'What's your name?'"

"They said she must come every three weeks to show that she is actively seeking work," Anim says; but the adviser also told her that she could appeal against the decision. "It only took her 10 minutes to realise that the decision was wrong."

Anim spent her summer holiday trying to sort out the problem, marshalling the support of her local MP, Glenda Jackson, and a welfare rights organisation, Brent Association of Disabled People, as well as contacting Atos and the DWP.

A DWP spokesperson said: "The work capability assessment is under constant review to ensure it is both fair and effective, and it is in everyone's interest to get the system right. We are committed to help thousands of people move from benefits and back into work while giving unconditional support to those who are most in need."

 What to say?