Ticked off a couple more on my Pendolinos-I-have-travelled-on list yesterday. Went out at 07:30 from New Street on 390-019 Virgin Warrior, coming home at 16:40 from Euston on 390-013 Virgin Spirit.
I was due to go to London on Monday but, for the first time in several years, the rail infrastructure conspired against me and I don't go anywhere. I did spend five minutes sitting on 390-045 101 Squadron. Not sure if it counts though.
email@example.com said Never had you down as a train spotter. I'll have to think about this very carefully... [added 30th Nov 2007]
#[linkfarm] More visitors hurt in Tate - As many as 15 art lovers have been injured at London's Tate Modern since the opening of an installation which features a large crack in the floor. Gah! Just too stupid!
* Ken [e] [w] said We are becoming quite a pathetic race. I'm all for reporting complete acts of negligence that cause injury, but this is an /attraction/ for Pete's sake, and in this case, we can liken it to a fairground ride - surely it's signposted with danger warnings, and self-evidently a mild hazard.
Do not partake if you can't assess the risk and manage it. Folk wouldn't report a slippery path up the side of Ben Nevis would they? [added 27th Nov 2007]
#[linkfarm] Drink rats' milk, says Heather Mills McCartney - Lady McCartney said that livestock created far more carbon emissions than transport, so we should go vegan - someone who eats no meat or dairy produce - or at least find something else to put in tea or coffee.
Somewhere out there in medialand, there is a celebrity who happens to be vegetarian and who is not a complete shrieking bloody fucking idiot.
* ajbattrick said I read that in the Metro on the way into work this morning, and I laughed my socks off. Internally, of course. [added 20th Nov 2007]
* Ken [e] [w] said Sorry, I'm just trying to sift the ramifications of this. So, in order to cut greenhouse gases from our huge livestock numbers (presumably we're talking methane farts?), then we'd not only have to cut the market for the produce, but also slaughter the animals wholesale? Am I right?
Or, burn the methane for power, a la pigshit in Mad Max 3. [added 20th Nov 2007]
It's cow burp rather than fart, but yes that's a significant factor. So is growing and processing stuff for animal, carting it around the place, refridgerating the carcasses, and all that stuff.
Nobody's advocating wholesale slaughter, not that I've seen anyway. If milk demand were reduced, fewer cattle would be bred. Comparatively few cattle are bred exclusively for meat. Animals fattened for slaughter are generally unwanted male calves from dairy herds. (That's why, incidentally, most of the cows you see about the place are utility breeds like freisan. They milk ok, but the fatten ok too.) Over time, the number of animals would reduce, the consequent waste would go down, and so on and so on.
As a campaign, it's one I can fully sympathise with. Unfortunately, everytime a celebrity vegetarian opens their mouth they cram as many feet as they have into their gapingly slack jawed maw. All publicity is good publicity? Bollocks.
[added 20th Nov 2007]
* Ken [e] [w] said I see, but most of that argument shouldn't be confined to just livestock should it? Local produce for local people seems such a simple concept, and it applies to 'produce' across the board - from foodstuffs to cars.
I'd hazard that it's not consumption of cows' milk that's the problem, but the price we're prepared to pay. If we all got our milk from the nearest dairy there's a huge slice of processing, storage, refrigeration and transportation gone in a thrice.
Cloud cuckoo land? I wish I lived there. [added 20th Nov 2007]
Dairy and meat consumption is definitely a problem, and these arguments apply to livestock to a far far greater degree than arable farming. Even if you reduce the miles traveled, the cattle have still got to eat and they've still got burp. You still need to process and refrigerate the carcasses, otherwise the meat isn't actually palatable. You've still got to dispose of the bits left over and the waste, which these days we tend to regard and probably constitute a health hazard.
Grain and produce don't, in the main, need to be refrigerated. The inputs are lower (you're probably familiar with the 8lbs of grain needed to produce 1lb of meat figure), the uneatable bits can be ploughed back into the ground. As a bonus, cereals, fruit, and vegetables tend not be contaminated with pathogens.
#[linkfarm] Work: Software Ptools - Both Jeffs have worked in the printer industry, so we decided we'd chip in by contributing a traditional Unix utility that no one else would be silly enough to write: asa(1), a program that interprets traditional FORTRAN carriage-control commands. [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] Eight suggestions for Python books That's books to be written, not books to read. From the start of 2000, but fascinating none the less. To my knowledge only 2 of the 8 have been written, and one of those wasn't very good. [Add a comment]
JezUK will be taking to the highway for a Christmas speaking tour, presenting a revised version of this year's Iterator presentation, on the following dates:
5 December in Cambridge
Come along and bring your programming chums!
Ken [e] [w] said That'll be the A14 then? [added 20th Nov 2007]
Assuming I drive. JezUK On The Train may turn out to be a more accurate title. [added 20th Nov 2007]
Ken [e] [w] said You need a 'tour' t-shirt - venues on the back, maybe the empty space used for some witicism. Pity there's probably not enough time to get a delivery from CafePress. [added 20th Nov 2007]
#Post-GDFAF: Mono and Jesu at The Factory Club, The Father-in-Law in Southport
No, the Father-in-Law are not some guitar band you've never heard of. I mean my actual father-of-my-wife-father-in-law, who we all trundled off to visit. It was alright, as it turned out, but a slight delay in leaving combined with the excitement of heavy snow slowed our return trip. Consequently, I arrived at the Custard Factory to find the evening's entertainment well under way. Unless you count missing Belouis Some opening for Queen at Knebworth 1986, I think this may be the first time I've missed an act at a gig. It was a shame, because I'd been looking forward to seeing the band in question, Mothertrucker, as my chum Russ speaks highly of them.
Hooking up with Pete, I bought us a beer. Pete divulged his plan to campaign for tea at gigs. You know, it was chilly and we're none of us getting any younger. I'd have laughed if hadn't been speculating on the possibility of a nice mug of hot chocolate on the way over.
Jesu are a band I've wanted to see play for a good long time. Rather, frontman Justin Broadrick is. As the force behind Godflesh, Broadrick went a long way in changing my view of what music is and what it can do to you. Jesu are as intense as Godflesh were, but uplifting rather than punishing. I may have been the only person in the crowd grinning like a loon at the end of the set, though. That might be a function of the age of the crowd, which wasn't as grizzled as I'd expected. The young shoegazer types with their little chin-beards take themselves far too seriously to crack a smile in public.
No grins on anyone's face at the end of Mono's set. Having retreated from the left hand speaker-stack, I found myself lulled by warm air from a wall vent, intermittently dazzled by the whirling-twirling lights overhead, and mesmerised by Mono's melody, power, and dynamic range. They did something crazy in the middle of their set where everything broke down into howling feedback for a very, very long time and I started to lose my balance. I wasn't blacking out, but I had to really fight to stay upright. Marvellous. Somehow I doubt they can capture the intensity and purity of the their live sound on record, but if you stare at this photo while listening to these tracks you might get a flavour of the feeling.
smellygit said Me and Kal saw the Wedding Present last night, I listened to the Archers podcast on the way there, I think that's more old person than wanting tea. We even gave up on the beer cos the queue was too long! [added 20th Nov 2007]
Pete Ashton said I mentioned the tea @ gigs idea to Jenny and Lisa yesterday. Apparently the riders for the bands was beer and tea. The tea was very popular, the beer not so much.
There's something in this. [added 20th Nov 2007]
Russ L said Nuts to tea and coffee in pubs. Absolute nuts to them and their tendency to take a barman out of comission for about ten minutes while they fiddle with those tea/coffee machine thingies.
Bah. [added 20th Nov 2007]
Nobody mentioned coffee.
There's something snuggly-blankety about tea in some situations that you just don't get with coffee. I'm presuming, but I don't think coffee figures on Pete's campaign radar. We're talking tea, from a tea urn, in a mug, perhaps with one sugar.
And those little pots of ice cream in the summer.
[added 20th Nov 2007]
Russ L said I have never seen this done, though, in any licensed establishment. They always have a stupid machine that either doesn't work or doesn't know how to be worked by any of those a-working. Presumably there must be a reason why they haven't all decided to catch the nearest way.
Ice-cream is acceptable to me. [added 20th Nov 2007]
Picture Queen [e] [w] said Tea should be available everywhere. But then I am very old and need lots of the lovely stuff. [added 21st Nov 2007]
Tootled down to London yesterday afternoon on A Decade of Progress, which sounds like the kind of name a Culturespaceship might give itself.
It's running number 390 010, and I travelled from New Street at 15:30. It was originally named Commonwealth Games 2002, then renamed Chris Green, before being renamed a third time in Wolverhampton on the 8th of May this year. Gah! I can't help myself
Came home this afternoon on the less excitingly named 390 017 Virgin Prince, departing 15:40 from Euston.
Ken [e] [w] said Yesterday I noticed a no.31 bus that could only have been the Grey Area by another name... [added 16th Nov 2007]
#[linkfarm] Warming Up - Whilst his mum was buying the drinks, Paddy and I found some seats and ended up sitting next to two pretty young women in their early twenties. I realised that a five year old boy is quite a good wingman to have if you are interested in talking to women ... within minutes Paddy (and by proxy me) were friends with two hot women ... if I had Paddy in tow with me everywhere I went then I would meet a lot of women and maybe manage to get a girlfriend by exploiting his cuteness and lack of shyness ... Shamefully I said that for the plan to work though I would have to pretend to be Paddy's dad and for it to really work we'd have to say that his mummy was dead. Paddy, God bless him, completely bought into the scheme, acting out what he'd do, hugging me and saying "I love you daddy!" and adding "I miss mummy" and with my prompting, "But daddy has looked after me so well." I don't think a woman on earth would be able to resist the allure of this It's all true, I've experienced it, I've done the comedy routine - "... and if I were to lean in and say 'sadly, his mother died in childbirth', they'd shag me there in the street". If not for the fact that Richard Herring and I have never met, I'd say he stole this bit from me.
* Russ L said Nick Hornby's "About A Boy" comes to mind. [added 16th Nov 2007]
#[linkfarm] Great War diary reveals original Captain Blackadder - Blackadder would have approved. On 9 November 1916, Captain Alexander Stewart of Scottish regiment the Cameronians wrote from the Western Front: "I am very much annoyed by memos sent round from Headquarters that come in at all hours of the day and night; they stop me getting a full night's rest and some of them are very silly and quite unnecessary. "When I am very tired and just getting off to sleep with cold feet, in comes an orderly with a chit asking how many pairs of socks my company had a week ago; I reply 141 and a half. I then go to sleep; back comes a memo: 'please explain at once how you come to be deficient of one sock'. I reply 'man lost his leg'. That's how we make the Huns sit up." [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] Andrei Alexandrescu, a C++ guru - Andrei Alexandrescu used to be a rocker. Andrei Alexandrescu used to be a sky diver. Andrei Alexandrescu was a Wall Street consultant. Today, Andrei, a Romanian IT expert working in the field of natural language processing in the United States, is the author of a best-selling programming book and is holding conferences around the world. Lovely chap and quite possibly the cleverest man on the planet. [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] This flyer ... shamelessly rips off Bone - I was actually thinking the other day about how flyers used to use panels from comics with shameless abandon back in the mid 90s. Brian Bolland's Joker was a frequent fave, implying the club night in question would send you into a state of homicidal glee, if that's what you were after. But of late, not so much. It's all typography now.
Ahead of the trend, I ripped off my first comics panel for a gig flier in October 1988, using a (Kirby I assume) picture of the Thing clobberin' someone. In fact I ripped off a rip off because I copied it from a comic shop advert in a magazine. My flier was for a Rocksoc disco - didya see what I did there. I went on to rip off the gatefold spread from Led Zep IV, other fliers posted around the student union, eventually binning images completely as too long-winded to produce and stripping down to the simplest, clearest, most typographically pure words I could.
I lived Pete's decade of fliers in three terms. Go me. Actually, go me and John because we did them together. Our lasting legacy (-ish, as I've no idea if it still continues) to poster-culture in Hull was signatures. We signed our posters and fliers, something that nobody else did. By the end of that year, virtually all posters were signed by the artist. When I visited that university several years after I graduated, it gave me little glow to see that most of the posters still carried signatures.
As far as I can tell, everyone agrees that outfit that licenses bouncers and what-not, the Security Industry Authority, was doing what it was charged with doing. Further, it wasn't do anything it wasn't asked to do. Specifically, it wasn't asked to check whether people had the right to work in the UK. There should be no need after all, because there's a legal duty on employers to check that. I've never employed anyone directly myself, but I'd be rather surprised that if you could take "an illegal" on without knowing it. So, 5000 illegal workers in security is the headline, and that scandal lies in the SIA and the Home Office? Get off, the blame lies the employers, although no one in Parliment seems to want to say so.
Have a nagging feeling I should be recording the times as well. For the record I went out on the 07:45 from Birmingham New Street, and came back on the 18:10 from London Euston.
[added 8th Nov 2007]
prashton said I see you like Pendolinos! I have travelled on one four times, from New Street to Birmingham International return. Very comfortable, very smooth, but not very fast!!! [added 11th Nov 2007]
The run out to the airport hardly shows them to their best advantage. Take run down to London and be amazed. If you get the 7:45, it's non-stop from Iternational to Euston. Fab. [added 11th Nov 2007]
#[linkfarm] flyback - Apple's Time Machine is a great feature in their OS, and Linux has almost all of the required technology already built in to recreate it. This is a simple GUI to make it easy to use. [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] What is the Google Collections Library? - Kevin Bourrillion and Jared Levy are the two primary creators of the Google Collections Library, which aims to provide an extension to the Java Collections Framework. That Not that there isn't useful stuff here, but it's only new if you've not paid attention and consequently ignored the other collections and iterator libraries out there. [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] If We Had No Moon - Would life have evolved differently, or even appeared on Earth without the Moon?
* Ken [e] [w] said Cracking stuff. The *apparent* equal sizes of the sun and the moon must also have had an effect on our culture. We live here, so all these happy accidents to tend to feel like more than coincidences don't they ? ;) [added 6th Nov 2007]
Doing some work picking off some of the easy failures have just committed a fix to the xsl:sort implementation. The fix was a simple change from std::sort to std::stable_sort. If the stylesheet specifies a numeric sort but there's some non-numeric data in there, then the relative order of the non-numeric bits and bobs must be maintained. I'm not sure I can see this explicitly stated in the specification text, but that's how Saxon, MSXML, and Xalan work so I would be silly not to play along.
This may be the first time I have ever used std::stable_sort, so felt I should mark the occasion in my big book of programming accomplishments.
#[linkfarm] svnmerge.py - is a tool for automatic branch management. It allows branch maintainers to merge changes from and to their branch very easily, and automatically records which changes were already merged. This allows displaying an always updated list of changes yet to be merged, and totally prevents merge mistakes (such as merging the same change twice). [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] Sean Philips - Had an idea for a later Criminal cover today. Won't get around to painting it for a couple of months But Sean, it looks great just like that. [Add a comment]
#[linkfarm] Things Your Programming Language Never Told You - Would you be surprised to discover that only about 1% (one percent) of all the transistors on your modern CPU exist to ever compute anything? And that the other 99% (ninety-nine percent) of your CPU's transistors are essentially dedicated to nothing but hiding memory latency? Those are round numbers, of course. But you get the idea... [Add a comment]
* Ken [e] [w] said Most of these flies high and clear above my noggin, but I recognise the fluff about the use of GOTO in programming - specifically being told it wasn't elegant, and use of GOSUB routines was to be encouraged. I believe I was being lectured by a classmate at the time, as his head popped out of the latest copy of Spectrum Programming.
[added 2nd Nov 2007]
I'm ashamed to say I haven't read all of the original papers myself, although I'd hope (and expect) that I'm familiar with the lessons or results of them. The EF Codd paper describes the relational calculus, which underlies SQL and thus more or less every database out there. The Turing paper describes Turing machines, and showing that there are some results which you can compute. This has implications for provability and completeness. Another significant result is if you can show a system to be equivalent to a Turing machine you know it can compute any that's computable. Such a system is generally referred to as Turing complete. The Rivest, Shamir, and Adelman paper was entirely practical, as it turned out, and is the benchmark by which other now schemes are judged. The Shannon paper basically invented information theory, outlining the basics digital communication. Hoare's paper described a set of formal rules for reasoning about the correctness of a program. It doesn't necessarily help you with the termination problem (which Turing discusses), but it can tell you when you program will continue. It sounds rather abstract and Hoare's name doesn't come up in everyday programmer discussion, but ideas informed by his work, like pre-conditions, post-conditions, and invariants, do.
[added 2nd Nov 2007]
* Ken [e] [w] said Well, yes - it does help to have some background. The Turing stuff I knew something about, popular chap though ;)
#[linkfarm] East, west, the Brum balti's best! - TREKKING along the Inca Trail in Peru, running the New York Marathon, touring The Valley of Kings in Egypt... and a curry in Birmingham's Balti Belt! All the above have been named as the world's top travel experiences in a new book published this month. I've been to Peru and walked the trail to Machu Picchu. I've eaten at both Al Frash and Adil's, two of the three balti houses mentioned in the book. Much as I love going for a balti, it never occurred to me that wandering down the road for dinner in a bucket and what amounts three days of going up and down very long high-altitude staircases to a mind boggling ancient city are two experiences you could reasonably compare. [Add a comment]