There are 143 posts in total.
The new Doctor Who
- 2017-07-17, 09:30:22
I think a legitimate criticism of casting a woman in the role is that whilst fiction is all made up anyway, it ¡'should'! follow it's internal continuity rules within the universe that's been created, and in 50 years there's never been anything built into the continuity to allow a time lord to change sex on regeneration, Missy notwithstanding - if they were going to do it, then they've had nearly 15 years of the new series to do a proper job of laying down some backstory conditions to enable it.
The counter-argument to that is all the way through its history the show has played fast and loose with its established continuity, whether that's been out of convenience to solve a rabbit hole they've gone down or whether it's because the producer and script editor at the time have simply forgotten something. The various alternative histories of the Daleks, the date settings of the John Pertwee U.N.I.T. stories (and indeed the modern reverse engineering of UNIT to be Unified Intelligence Taskforce rather than United Nations Intelligence Taskforce), and Robert Holmes just making up on the fly the 12 regeneration rule are the biggest examples.
And arguably the show has been at its weakest when it's been hidebound to its continuity knots, and stronger after the occasional reboot!
I do though think it's a shame the role has become so politicised that whatever the sex or race of the new person to be cast as the Doctor, there would have been one group or [...]
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If I were a betting man...
- 2017-07-12, 21:52:10
'If I were a betting man...' it has only just occurred to me is a phrase only ever said by people who aren't betting men. Because if they were betting men, they'd know that there's no point in betting on a dead cert, because you'll win about 20p from so doing. [...]
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In 2017, why are organisations still sending out HTML emails which look like this on a handportable telephone?
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It could be the dead wot won it
- 2017-06-08, 09:02:15
According to the polls - varying widely between an increased majority for the Conservatives down to a hung parliament, with one little-reported poll (done by an ad agency rather than a traditional polling organisation, but with a track record of getting its guesses right) even showing a Labour win, the election is too close to call. The fact of there being such a wide variation in the predictions in the final polls from each organisation is evidence enough it's too close to call, even with some polls predicting a big Conservative win.
So of course people are hanging their hopes on the poll which shows the result they'd rather see, and hanging their hopes on the demographic which is mostly likely to vote for the result they'd rather see. 'The old could win it', Conservative supporters say, 'The young could win it', Labour supporters say.
With it this close to call, there's one demographic nobody has thought of who could win it. The dead.
In the olden days it was a pretty tricky process to get a postal vote - you had to satisfy your local elections office, and even prove so, that it would be physically impossible for you to get to the polling station on Election Day. More recently in an effort to boost turnout the requirements were dropped, and postal voting was made available on demand to anybody who asks for it.
So it's feasibly possible that there are people who applied for postal votes, sent them in, and died before [...]
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Six years after everybody else realised word clouds are a bit rubbish, one of our candidates has cottoned on to word clouds.
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- 2017-05-25, 10:06:16
Here's my handy cut out and keep guide to effective political campaigning:
When campaigning one needs to realise who one is campaigning to - you're not campaigning to committed supporters of the other side, you're campaigning to uncommitted supporters, or undecideds. Whilst it's unlikely that party-supporting Facebook groups will contain many undecideds, there's a reasonable chance that they might contain uncommitteds.
What this means is that when campaigning - whether that's going into the lair of the other side or what one posts into one's own timeline - you need to craft your message in such a way that it'll appeal to the uncommitted / undecideds.
Calling the other side a bunch of nasty loony idiots, or posting pictures of their leader looking ugly next to pictures of your leader looking inspirational, might make you feel good and get you lots of Likes from your side's supports, but as a campaigning method it's probably the worst thing you can do. Insulting the uncommitteds on the other side is only going to turn them into committeds, and make the undecideds more likely to swing away from your side than towards it.
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The modern toaster
- 2017-04-27, 20:49:18
The Sky At Night 60th anniversary show mentions that the computers which took the Apollo missions to the Moon had the processing power of a modern toaster.
Which is impressive enough, but it does prompt the question - what does a modern toaster do with enough processing power to send three people to the Moon and back? [...]
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So which is it, then?
- 2017-04-24, 17:55:15
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The realisation that modern twitter is the modern equivalent of the person on the bus who shouts random abuse at random strangers as they walk past. [...]
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I've lived in Birmingham for 29 years and never before noticed this clock on the back of the building next to Rackhams.
Read the rest of Things unnoticed.In group Birmingham
- 2017-02-28, 09:20:48
Recurve if every time you see a reference to the White House Chief of Staff you think they're talking about the hip-hop / soul artiste Prince Riebus.
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- 2017-02-25, 18:30:02
This I think has to be one of the laziest pre-packed foods.
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Applying for a copy of a Birth, Marriage, or Death Certificate
- 2017-01-20, 16:08:44
tl;dr - Applying for a copy of certificates from your council's register office is considerably more painful than it should be. And for online applications, it probably makes more sense to signpost people to the central government General Register Office site.
A couple of years ago it occurred to me that I didn't know where my copy of my birth certificate is, and that it might be a good idea to get another one. When I went to the website of the council where we lived until I was 10, I saw there was no online process to order copy certificates, meaning an order process of sending a cheque or postal order through the post. Since I've not had a chequebook for about 10 years, that meant going to a post office to buy a postal order - and Birmingham city centre only has two post offices, meaning most lunchtimes and near-closing time the queue is out the door and down the street. So since I had no pressing need for a copy of my birth certificate at that point I didn't pursue it.
Time passes and more recently a need for my birth certificate arose - but of course this problem of having to go and get a postal order still got in the way of me stirring myself, until last week I eventually hauled myself out to the post office queue to pay £11.25 for a £10 postal order. And by this time, the deadline for [...]
Read the rest of Applying for a copy of a Birth, Marriage, or Death Certificate.In group Public / Third Sector Digital
Young people and their phones
- 2017-01-04, 12:49:33
So here's a thing just occurred to me - what's the difference between a young person always fiddling with their iPhone, and a middle-aged person in a suit always fiddling with their Blackberry? [...]
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If unattended luggage left on the station concourse could potentially be a bomb (needing to be removed and destroyed by the 'security services'), how come taking it to store in a left luggage facility removes the potential for it to be a bomb? [...]
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Patatas muy bravas
- 2016-11-12, 14:14:43
Like patatas bravas, but sufficient food to be standalone lunch.
- Small potatoes
- Celery (chopped)
- Leek (chopped)
- Tomato (chopped)
- Garlic (chopped)
- Chilli (chopped)
- Smoked paprika
- Plain paprika
- Swiss bouillon powder
- Lemon juice
Steam the potatoes, whole.
Whilst they're steaming, start frying the chopped leek and celery, and then add the potatoes when softened along with the paprika. Lots of paprika, and then a bit more paprika. Once that has established, add the tomato and garlic and a sprinkling of bouillon powder alongside any salt and pepper you might be into. When it's looking nearly done, add a splash of lemon juice, stir it in, and serve with a blob of mayonnaise on the side and the chillis sprinkled over the top.
#cheatcuisine #lunch [...]
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The failure of politics
- 2016-11-05, 17:22:31
Whilst the referendum itself was David Cameron's hubris, the constitutional controversy which has come about this week is entirely the fault of each and every one of the 650 MPs and 812 lords who were too bone idle or too incompetent to give the Referendum Bill the proper scrutiny during its passage through parliament to ensure all the Is were dotted and the Ts were crossed. No wonder the overriding theme of every Adam Curtis documentary the last 15 years has been about the failure of politics to organise society.
#politics #AVeryBritishRevolution [...]
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The Fixed Term Parliaments Act
- 2016-11-04, 09:17:36
Remember kids, a spring general election can only happen if a majority of @UKLabour MPs think they can win one. Does it seem likely that a majority of Labour MPs would think they could win?
#politics #AVeryBritishRevolution [...]
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The state of the Labour Party in 2016
- 2016-09-27, 07:50:00
The Labour Party should just split and be done with it; let the voters choose which wing of the party they prefer - https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/25/jeremy-corbyn-critics-will-not-be-silenced-despite-unity-calls
#politics #labour [...]
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Local Government Digital Service Standard Summit, 19 September 2016
- 2016-09-19, 13:20:35
Earlier in 2016 the Local Government Digital Steering Group, of which I'm a member, held a workshop day at the Government Digital Service to discuss whether there was any mileage in creating a local government version of the GDS Digital Service Standard. Not surprisingly, there was overwhelming agreement that it was indeed a good idea, so the steering group set to work in collaboration with local government digital practitioners up and down the country to create one - the Local Government Digital Service Standard. Today there's a summit at City Hall in London to share the work that's been done so far, gaining insight from people working in central and local government in their experiences of using the standard - and an important point being emphasised that it's not about creating a whole load of bureaucracy, and neither is it about replicating the same thing across hundreds of councils - it's just about creating good digital services.
Here are my notes from the morning main speaker sessions.
Natalie Taylor, Head of Digital Transformation, GLA - City Hall and the Digital Service Standard - Building the new london.gov.uk