purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
London is funding the rest of the UK, and other things we just learned about the nation's taxes | CityMetric
Interesting, if depressing, summary of some of the numbers in a Centre for Cities report on economy taxes with some nice infographics.
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PHD Comics: Doing vs Writing
This isn't entirely accurate for Computer Science, but I do sometimes get frustrated that the "doing" of programming up case studies and examples yields comparatively little in terms of publishable results.
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Britain is changed utterly. Unless this summer is just a bad dream | Ian McEwan | Opinion | The Guardian
An extraordinarily cynical piece but one which sums up a lot of what I've been feeling the past couple of weeks, right up to the final paragraph which sounds a note of, I would say, unwarranted Remainer optimism.
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The Corbyn Dilemma — Dan Rebellato
I agree with about 75% of this. I got myself a £3 special for the last Labour leadership election but didn't use it to vote for Corbyn. I find it hard to get a good grip on his policies or leadership, in part because most commentators treat him as either a saintly martyr or the devil incarnate and he clearly is neither. He comes across to me as a political scrapper with steely determination and some distinctly dubious allies but nevertheless an idealistic one. Where he seems to have failed is raising his game from backbench "in the trenches" activism into a frontbench grand vision. I'm not, personally, very taken with him, but just at the moment the PLP and Labour NEC seem to me to be worse.
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Forget Brexit — Italy is poised to tear Europe apart | Europe | News | The Independent
There's another referendum coming up which may topple a government...
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Can Theresa May make it to the top? | Gaby Hinsliff | Politics | The Guardian
Recommended by my sister, an insightful profile of Theresa May from 18 months ago.
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How the BBC's obsession with balance took Labour off air ahead of Brexit
I have huge sympathy with the BBC's nigh on impossible task of being "balanced" so what particularly interested me here was not the general thrust of the argument but the stats comparing the number of media appearances by Corbyn in contrast to Johnson which rather undermines the suggestion he didn't campaign hard enough for Remain.
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Theresa May reshuffle: what is behind the PM's top appointments?
Interesting analysis of Teresa May's appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary which avoids the tempting (but probably incorrect) idea that she's merely giving him the rope with which to hang himself when Brexit fails (for some meaning of the word "fail").
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Doctor Who | Punishment - YouTube
I'm not much of a one for fanvids, but his Doctor Who one is excellent - very angsty mind.
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purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Not entirely getting the panic.

I fully recognise that there are probably some people who were relying in an important way on Google Search, Google Mail, YouTube and Blogger keeping their information separate. However Google has given lots of warning that the change is coming, and I don't see any reason in principle why a web-based company should not share information between all its web-based services so long as it's up-front about the fact. So I find it hard to work up even the low-level sense of outrage I occasionally manage when Facebook springs some sweeping change to privacy settings on me.

I do, of course, see that Google's emphasis on "real names only" for Google+ etc may prevent people with legitimate reasons to operate pseudonymously when online from accessing Google's other services. But its real names policy seems to me to be tangential to the issue of linking its data. Obviously the issues interact, but I see more reason to fight the real names only policy than to fight the new privacy policy.

What I'm really not clear about is why it is particularly important that I, personally, take various steps (or should have done since it's now March 1st and so I'm basically doomed) to scrub my information from all Google's platforms. I mean this is the company whose search engine (when it confesses to knowing anything about me at all) thinks I'm a man, between the ages of 25 and 35 who's main interests are computer games, American football and women's clothing. I wouldn't actually be complaining if they could join a few more dots than that, to be honest. I should really re-check it, come to think of it, and see if, now they've linked my web search to my Google+ account, they've managed to work out I'm female.

Maybe I'm failing to see the panic because I'm moderately careful about who gets what personal information anyway, and have never assumed that any company (especially one based in the US) is going to keep it entirely secure and inviolate. I also suspect I tend to over-estimate rather than under-estimate the ease with which my online identities could be linked. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that Google+ wasn't already linked up with Blogger, YouTube and Search!!

Maybe I'm failing to see the panic simply because I don't really use most of these services. I use search a lot, I post videos for family to YouTube, but my usage of all the over services is minimal to non-existent.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
B. and I have decided that we are Very Confused about Greece and the euro. So in the hopes that someone on my flist (e.g. [livejournal.com profile] philmophlegm or [livejournal.com profile] wellinghall) can help I said I'd underline our understanding of what is going on and then the flist can tell us where we're wrong and fill in the gaps.

How we think currencies, gov'ment bond and economies work )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
A conspicuous number of people, or at least a conspicuous number of pre-teens with their families, draped in the Libyan flag. I wouldn't describe it as a celebratory atmosphere, but a suppressed sense of excitement. I'm curious about the pre-dominance of families, particularly mothers with children, though a ten minute walk is difficult to generalise from.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/56224.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
A conspicuous number of people, or at least a conspicuous number of pre-teens with their families, draped in the Libyan flag. I wouldn't describe it as a celebratory atmosphere, but a suppressed sense of excitement. I'm curious about the pre-dominance of families, particularly mothers with children, though a ten minute walk is difficult to generalise from.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I don't have a good grasp of the sectarian politics of Liverpool. Though I am often struck, as I arrive on the train each morning, by the way the anglican and catholic cathedrals dominate the skyline.

Anglican Cathedral )

The Catholic Cathedral )

A couple of years ago in a "symbol of Christian unity" (which I suspect may have had something to do with modern art) a light was shone between the towers of the two cathedrals. Unfortunately the light chosen was a narrow red beam, creating the unfortunate impression that one cathedral had a laser sight carefully trained upon the other.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/48595.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I don't have a good grasp of the sectarian politics of Liverpool. Though I am often struck, as I arrive on the train each morning, by the way the anglican and catholic cathedrals dominate the skyline.

Anglican Cathedral )

The Catholic Cathedral )

A couple of years ago in a "symbol of Christian unity" (which I suspect may have had something to do with modern art) a light was shone between the towers of the two cathedrals. Unfortunately the light chosen was a narrow red beam, creating the unfortunate impression that one cathedral had a laser sight carefully trained upon the other.
purplecat: (academia)
Inevitably I have been linked via Facebook to the UCU petition of no confidence in the government's policies in further, higher and adult education.

Now, I think its fair to say, that I think the government doesn't have a good grasp of the higher education sector. It is probably also fair to say that I'm not convinced the UCU actually has any better a grasp of the situation. The sector is riven with elitist divisions between "old" and "new" universities, between researchers and teachers, between science and humanities teaching styles, between businessmen, scholars and engineers, between those who study out of interest and those who study to obtain a qualification, between the worth of the theoretical versus the worth of the practical (however you choose to define those two terms), between the sense of entitlement held by students and the sense of entitlement held by lecturers. The higher education sector has proved itself adept at optimising whatever short term targets the government has chosen to place before it, often to the detriment of researchers, teachers and students and any stated government long term goal the target was intended to encourage. A side effect seems to have been increasing and entrenched factionalism within universities. It would be nice to see the sector more united, with a clearer understanding of its own value and the reasons it does things the way it does. The government could play a part in that, though it would be a brave politician to try. But I don't think tuition fees are, per se, wrong if we know why we are charging them and how a student is meant to make ends meet while studying as a result and I strongly suspect the above petition will primarily be read as "I believe tuition fees are wrong under any circumstances" and not as a wider criticism of successive governments and the higher education sector itself in failing for decades to adequately define its role.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/48192.html.
purplecat: (academia)
Inevitably I have been linked via Facebook to the UCU petition of no confidence in the government's policies in further, higher and adult education.

Now, I think its fair to say, that I think the government doesn't have a good grasp of the higher education sector. It is probably also fair to say that I'm not convinced the UCU actually has any better a grasp of the situation. The sector is riven with elitist divisions between "old" and "new" universities, between researchers and teachers, between science and humanities teaching styles, between businessmen, scholars and engineers, between those who study out of interest and those who study to obtain a qualification, between the worth of the theoretical versus the worth of the practical (however you choose to define those two terms), between the sense of entitlement held by students and the sense of entitlement held by lecturers. The higher education sector has proved itself adept at optimising whatever short term targets the government has chosen to place before it, often to the detriment of researchers, teachers and students and any stated government long term goal the target was intended to encourage. A side effect seems to have been increasing and entrenched factionalism within universities. It would be nice to see the sector more united, with a clearer understanding of its own value and the reasons it does things the way it does. The government could play a part in that, though it would be a brave politician to try. But I don't think tuition fees are, per se, wrong if we know why we are charging them and how a student is meant to make ends meet while studying as a result and I strongly suspect the above petition will primarily be read as "I believe tuition fees are wrong under any circumstances" and not as a wider criticism of successive governments and the higher education sector itself in failing for decades to adequately define its role.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I didn't see the lunar exclipse (clouds, trees) but this stunning image is today's NASA photo of the day taken from part of Greece with the improbable name of "The Planet of the Goats".

Lightening Eclipse from the Planet of the Goats )

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/45975.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I didn't see the lunar exclipse (clouds, trees) but this stunning image is today's NASA photo of the day taken from part of Greece with the improbable name of "The Planet of the Goats".

Lightening Eclipse from the Planet of the Goats )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
According to the BBC anyway.

I'm not sure what to make of this news. Skype is quite clunky in several ways and it would be nice to see it improved with the potential investment of Microsoft's resources behind it. Unfortunately the terms "not clunky" and "Microsoft" don't automatically link up in my mind. There's also a concern that the Skype implementations for Linux and MacOs may become poor cousins (though part of the value of Skype must be its ubiquity) and that the charging model may become less generous.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/41480.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
According to the BBC anyway.

I'm not sure what to make of this news. Skype is quite clunky in several ways and it would be nice to see it improved with the potential investment of Microsoft's resources behind it. Unfortunately the terms "not clunky" and "Microsoft" don't automatically link up in my mind. There's also a concern that the Skype implementations for Linux and MacOs may become poor cousins (though part of the value of Skype must be its ubiquity) and that the charging model may become less generous.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I'm mildly depressed by this. My parents vote Lib Dem. In fact they are positively pillars of liberal democracy. I was half-hoping for some kind of revelation that, you know, actually I secretly agreed with David Cameron or something and that, in fact, listening to the Today program actually wasn't sufficient to decide between the parties. But on being asked my opinion on a series of yes/no questions the Daily Telegraph concluded I was a Lib Dem - yeah, yeah, I know it is equally trivial but if I was majorly deluded you'd expect it to show up and I actually couldn't state off-hand, in general, which parties agreed with which statement though I could make educated guesses.

Locally, I don't know. I've read their leaflets but both lots (the Conservatives can't be bothered) say they will improve the same services while criticising the corruption and waste of the other.

I'd have doubts about accepting a cake from any of them.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/4659.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I'm mildly depressed by this. My parents vote Lib Dem. In fact they are positively pillars of liberal democracy. I was half-hoping for some kind of revelation that, you know, actually I secretly agreed with David Cameron or something and that, in fact, listening to the Today program actually wasn't sufficient to decide between the parties. But on being asked my opinion on a series of yes/no questions the Daily Telegraph concluded I was a Lib Dem - yeah, yeah, I know it is equally trivial but if I was majorly deluded you'd expect it to show up and I actually couldn't state off-hand, in general, which parties agreed with which statement though I could make educated guesses.

Locally, I don't know. I've read their leaflets but both lots (the Conservatives can't be bothered) say they will improve the same services while criticising the corruption and waste of the other.

I'd have doubts about accepting a cake from any of them.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
B. just sent me this link which contains 35 stunning photos of the eruption and its effects.

Photos

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/3888.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
B. just sent me this link which contains 35 stunning photos of the eruption and its effects.

Photos
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I was just emailed the link to the Guardian live twitter on the G20 protests (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/01/g20-london-summit-twitter).

I have not really paid much attention to twitter before but must say I'm finding the impression this one is giving of a vicious fight between the police and rioters (drinking chilled chablis and (shock horror!) not wearing ties) more than a little surreal.

I gather one journalist is in some bank restaurant overlooking the riot (hence the tieless chablis-drinking bankers who are, presumably, treating the injuries, brutality and mayhem as some kind of spectator sport). Billy Bragg is also involved, somehow, though I haven't quite worked that bit out.

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