May 9th, 2003

Illuminati

Bloody dreams

I just woke from a dream and it's bloody well gone already.

I was watching a movie. I watched it once and didn't like it - couldn't see the point, then caught bits again when other people were watching it and suddenly saw why people liked it, and was halfway through watching it by myself, utterly entranced by it's beauty and depth when I woke up.

I don't remember much, except that it was animated (beautiflly), set largely in a public school gone horribly wrong and seemed to be about the power that masks have over the people who wear them.

Damn, damn, damn.
Illuminati

Better Health

I'm totally fed up with people who say that Labour have made no difference and have done exactly what the Conservatives would have done.

The introduction of a minimum wage, the removal of hereditary membership of the house of lords, vastly increased spending on the NHS and dozens of other projects have all come through.

Aha, they say, but despite the claims of increased NHS funding, it's still no good.

Wrong! You can read about the improvements here.

New premises, technology, and modern equipment mean much better care for patients than 10 years ago, it says.

But improvements remain "patchy", with continuing staff shortages and some dirty premises.

CHI's chair Dame Deirdre Hine told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there had been "tremendous advances" in many areas.

She said: "People are getting treated faster, getting treated with very up-to-date methods of treatment and, in particular, they're being given a lot more information."
Illuminati

Tripping into the mainstream

Article here on the fact that hallucinogens (LSD, magic mushrooms, peyote, etc.) are almost entirely undeserving of their illegality.

Well worth reading, especially by those people who believe that these things are universally dangerous.
Illuminati

Looks fine to me

Here you will find colourmatch, which takes a selected colour and gives you other colours that go well with it. I'm most impressed by how well it works - and I wonder what this tells us about the way the human eye/mind perceives colours.
Illuminati

(no subject)

One of the main advantages of HTML was that you described what your page in general terms and the browser would then interpret that to produce something the user could then read.

This initial idealism was sadly replaced by grim reality when vast numbers of designers created pages with pixel-perfect design that only worked on particular sized screens with the right colour settings.

Custom Style Sheets (CSS) were was supposed to fix that. The idea was that your basic page would contain no formatting at all - all formatting would be in a seperate file that defined what each section of your page would look like. This would mean that you could change the way your page looked (or even the way that hundreds of pages looked) by changing one place.

We used this in a web system I worked on a few years ago, defining (for instance) numerical fields so that when they were positive they were in green and negative they were in red. When the decision was made to make positive numbers the normal colour a single change in one place flowed instantly through the whole system.

There's a fantastic example of that here. Choose one of the different designs to see how much the custom styles can affect the same information. It's quite stunning.
Illuminati

True Story

A friend of minehad a girlfriend called Lorraine.
She very pretty and he liked her a lot.

Sadly, men being how they are, he fell for a girl at work called Claire-Lee who, while not as nice as his girlfriend was extremely pretty.

After a while it became obvious that she was interested in him too but he was loyal
and wouldn't get involved with her while he was still going out with Lorraine.

He decided that there was nothing for him to do but to break up with Lorraine and date Claire-Lee. He planned several times to tell Lorraine, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

Last week, as they were walking along the river bank, Lorraine slipped and fell in to the river. The current carried her off and she drowned. He stopped for a moment by the river and then ran off singing, "I can see Claire-Lee now, Lorraine is gone..."

Ok, maybe not actually true.
Illuminati

Half Life 2

I'm looking forward to this quite a lot. It's going to mean an upgrade, but if it's even half as good as Half Life, it'll be worth it.

Amazing screenshots here.
Illuminati

(no subject)

I used to commute by train. I still occasionally travel by train. It's a great way to travel 30 miles without having to worry (or stay awake) and you tend not to hit traffic jams or have to chat to the driver.

The UK rail system isn't in a very good state of repair, and it's slowly being sorted out, but I always assumed this was a worthwhile project. Once we had a rail system that was working again it would be a great asset.

Except that I just found this snippet:

Just 6% of the workforce commute by rail and one out of every two people never take the train.

The £3.5 billion paid in fares last year barely covered half the cost of running the railway.

Network Rail has said it needs £11bn extra to maintain the railways up to 2006, equivalent to £440 for every household.


There's no figures available for how much the railways will cost to run once they're brought up to scratch, but you have to wonder if you'd be better off just handing everyone £440 each towards bus fares.
Illuminati

By popular demand

A big brown bear walks into a beefsteak bar and says to the barman,"Barman, bring me a beer."

The barman says, "I'm sorry sir, this is a beefsteak bar. We don't bringbeer to big brown bears."

So the bear goes, "Grrrrr! Barman, bring me a beer!" and belches broadly.

The barman says, "I'm sorry sir, this is a beefsteak bar. We don't bring beer to big brown bears, and we certainly don't bring beer to bears who belch broadly."

So the bear goes, "Grrrrr! Barman, bring me a beer!" and starts behaving badly.

The barman says, "I'm sorry sir, this is a beefsteak bar. We don't bring beer to big brown bears, and we certainly don't bring beer to bears who belch broadly, and we definitely don't bring beer to bears who behave badly."

So the bear goes, "Grrrrr! Barman, bring me a beer!" and badmouths thebarman.

The barman says, "I'm sorry sir, this is a beefsteak bar. We don't bring beer to big brown bears, and we certainly don't bring beer to bears who belch broadly, and we definitely don't bring beer to bears who behave badly, and we refuse to bring beer to bears who badmouth the barman."

So the bear goes, "Grrrrr! Barman, bring me a beer!" and breaks abeaker.

The barman says, "I'm sorry sir, this is a beefsteak bar. We don't bring beer to big brown bears, and we certainly don't bring beer to bears who belch broadly, and we definitely don't bring beer to bears who behave badly, and we refuse to bring beer to bears who badmouth the barman, and we never bring beer to bears who break beakers."

So the bear goes, "Grrrrr! Barman, bring me a beer!" and takes a biteout of the bar.

The barman says, "I'm sorry sir, this is a beefsteak bar. We don't bring beer to big brown bears, and we certainly don't bring beer to bears who belch broadly, and we definitely don't bring beer to bears who behave badly, and we refuse to bring beer to bears who badmouth the barman, and we never bring beer to bears who break beakers, and in no circumstances will we bring beer to bears who take drugs."

"Eh?" says the bear, somewhat surprised. "I don't take drugs."

"Really?" says the barman. "What about that bar bit you ate?"