October 31st, 2004


Politically speaking

 The highest possible rating is 700.

The highest possible rating, given the importance you assigned each issue, is 400.

You rated the Democratic stances 255. Democratic Platform

You rated the Green stances 283. Green Platform

You rated the Libertarian stances 155. Libertarian Platform.

You rated the Republican stances 105. Republican Platform.

Take the test yourself here.

Obviously the results are skewed somewhat, and my scores are largely due to my feelings on education, drugs, abortion and immigration, areas where the Greens and the Democrats are vying for least-worst position.

Douglas Adams talks about Jihad

There's a magnificent scene in Life, The Universe and Everything that goes somewhat like this (snipped, to take out the intervening comedy and whelks):

Ford: The point is, that people like you and me are just dilletantes, eccentrics, layabouts, fartarounds if you like. We're not obsessed by anything, you see. And that's the deciding factor. We can't win against obsession. They care, we don't. They win.

Slartibartfast: I care about lots of things.

Ford: Such as?

Slartibartfast: well, life, The Universe. Everything, really. Fjords.

Ford: Would you die for them?

Slartibartfast: Fjords? No. Wouldn't see the point, to be honest.

Ford: The point is that we are not obsessive people and we do not stand a chance against...

Slartibartfast: Let's just go down to the party, for whatever reason.

Ford: I think that's what I was trying to say.

Or as Yeats once said:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst. Are full of passionate intensity

And it's true. Look at the way that (for instance) the Democrats are versus the way that the Republicans are - The Republicans are _consumed_ by the belief that they are doing the right thing - they're a well-oiled machine dedicated to re-election, willing to let nothing stand in their way. They know that they're right and therefore anything that stands in their way is wrong. The Democrats always seem to have an apologetic air about them - "Yes, taxes need to go up, and we're sorry about that, but we think that maybe it'll make life better in the long run, kinda."

Somewhere far off in the distance from both these groups is me - I don't believe anything. I have theories, which I'm vaguely attached to in a variety of degrees, but I don't believe in them in anything more than a vague, postmodern working-draft way. My 'morals' are merely a collection of things that I like more than I like other things - mere whisps and fantasms compared to the rock-hard ideals that come with true belief.

I can't take on people that Believe. They attack on battlegrounds I have problems even seeing. All I can try to do is live my life as I see fit and occasionally try to persuade others that these battlegrounds aren't there either.

I wish I could believe - but I've seen too much and read too much and thought too much to have anywhere near the requisite levels of faith. I just try to live with the Whole Sort Of General Mish Mash and hope that someday enough people will feel likewise to make this world a little less terrible. I's not an entirely forlorn hope - the world is currently better, socially speaking, than it's ever been before. Some part of me hopes that it'll keep moving in the current direction fast enough to avoid the terrible problems that are lying in wait around the next corner...

(and yes, I know, I sound like an old hippy)


I went to dinner last night at Turkish restaurant Nargile. The table was a little small, the service was merely passable and the meal was £21 for just the food (that's my expenses for _this_ month). But the food itself was _incredible_. We went for a set meal for 4 and received small portions of many different starters and then larger portions of many different main courses. I was completely stuffed _and_ incapable of stopping eating.

Should you have a special treat of a meal coming up, I highly recommend it. Your stomach will love you forever (it's 12 hours later now and I still can't face the thought of more food).

Opressed by sexuality

I was reading this months Empire (films to look out for: "I love Huckabees" and "The Incredibles") when I happened upon a full-page advert for speakers, advertised by a sexy woman holding one in each hand.

I waved it at Lilian and said "Look at this! It's so blood unnecessary!", and we had a brief discussion to the effect that naked women were fine in naked-women-magazines, but not really elsewhere. Her reasoning was the traditional "It makes me feel that all women are valued for is looking sexy.", but I had my own reason, _I_ felt patronised by it.

I really object to the idea that my buying decisions for a set of speakers will be largely affected by the fact that there are a pair of breasts next to them. I want speakers that (a) sound good and (b) will look ok. As pretty much _all_ speakers look ok to me, I'm primarily concerned with finding ones that sound good enough. Saying to me "Look! Speakers and _Breasts!" just feels like the crassest form of manipulation, and I object on principle.

And the Squid take over the earth

GIANT squid are taking over the world, well at least the oceans, and they are getting bigger.  According to scientists, squid have overtaken humans in terms of total bio-mass. That means they take up more space on the planet than us. The reason has been put down to overfishing of other species and climate change.

Their growth rates also seem to be increasing as is their body size. The findings may offer an answer to the mysterious appearance of a giant squid on the coast of Tasmania last week and hundreds of squid washed ashore on the coast of California this week, although El Nino is also being partly blamed. Squid are now regarded as the "major player'' in the world oceans by sheer volume alone. Overfishing of some fish species has taken away competition for the squid in finding food resources.

The warming of waters due to climate change have also allowed squid to expand their populations. The animal ate anything in that came their way, bred whenever possible and kept growing.

More here.