Category Archives: Uncategorized

There’s ignorance; and then there’s wilful ignorance

The Telegraph today reports that “Chris Grayling has no credible plan for ‘no-deal’ Brexit, road hauliers warn”.

In a series of tweets commenting on this, the article’s author James Rothwell (the Telegraph‘s Brexit & Europe correspondent) brings some more detail:

I understand that senior members of Britain’s road haulage industry came out of a recent meeting with Grayling where they were astonished by his lack of grasp of the key detail on Brexit

One of them, Kevin Hopper, who runs a major firm up in Yorkshire, said that he tried to explain to Grayling that if there is no Brexit deal then UK haulage drivers won’t be able to drive in EU as their papers will be invalid

Grayling, he says, “looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.”

Kevin says Grayling appeared to have never heard of this document but he insisted that “everything would be fine”

There’s more: go and read the whole thread if you want the full gruesomeness.

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The top ten searches that bring people to this site

I don’t understand why this should be as it is, but here are the top ten searches that bring people to this site (from the WordPress stats page):

1 x-rays 6,680
2 sushi 5,926
3 the lightning thief 3,565
4 doctor who doctors 3,251
5 crunchie 2,525
6 doctor who 2,504
7 reinvigorated programmer 2,359
8 receipt 2,354
9 silmarillion 2,231
10 doctor who actors 2,136

#2 makes perfect sense, given the huge number of sushi photos on The Reinvigorated Programmer, and #4, #6 and #10 make sense in light of the many words I’ve spilled on Doctor Who. #5 (“crunchie”) sneaks in because of the Crunchie-refund saga, which I never thought of as a particularly major part of this site but OK. I suppose #8 (“receipt”) is here for the same reason.

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The Brexit deal that Theresa May already has

As some of you spotted, yesterday’s post on Theresa May’s negotiating priorities as the UK leaves the EU was rather facetious: everything that I said she should be trying to obtain is something we already have as members. Let’s pick it apart.

Let’s start with the list of nine important goals, before moving on to the four less important — but, for some reason, symbolically significant — issues

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Good news on Trump: the American press is not taking this lying down

If ever the United States of America needed a fourth estate, it’s now. The man-child in the president’s seat is completely out of control even by his own standards. Given his history of vendettas against those who oppose him, it would be easy — understandable, even — for the press to just hunker down and wait four years for all this to be over.


It’s to their enormous credit that they are not doing that. The most respected newspapers and magazines in America are writing boldly and uncompromisingly about the man who every day brings the presidency into disrepute.

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#harkive 2016 liveblog

Andrew Hickey has made me aware of the harkive project, which is interested in what music people listen to. Today, July 19, is the day they do it for — I have no idea why — so I will be live-blogging what music I listen to today. As much for my own interest as theirs.


(Random) Richard ThompsonFor the Sake of Mary. Picked by my random MP3 chooser, from an album that I downloaded when I was searching for British singer-songwriter folkies. I find this disappointing. Seems sort of sub-Springsteenish. Continue reading

Good customer service from Tesco

Due to a mixup over exactly what he wanted, I bought a phone from Tesco (Moto G 4G) as a birthday present for my youngest son, then found that it wasn’t wanted.

I just called them. They’re coming tomorrow to pick it up, and will refund me in full, not charging for the pickup.

This is quality service. It makes me much more likely to buy expensive items from the again, knowing that they’ve treated me well this time andsafe in the knowledge that they will treat me well in the future.

Nice, work, Tesco!

Go home, JavaScript, you are drunk

Using rhino, the command-line JavaScript interpreter:

mike@brach:~$ rhino
Rhino 1.7 release 3 2012 02 16
js> []+[]

js> []+{}
[object Object]
js> {}+[]
js> {}+{}

From Gary Bernhardt’s classic lightning-talk, Wat, which is very well worth five minutes of any programmer’s time.


Saying goodbye to the first two charity spammers

I said last week that from now on, when I get spammed with physical begging letters, I will send the junk back to the originator in the pre-paid envelope, with a big STOP SPAMMING ME message scrawled over it. Here’s the first batch:


These are the first new charity spams to arrive since I did the big clear-out when I just junked the 40 or 50 that had accumulated. The one on the left (Carer’s Trust, rather irritatingly styled carerstrust) I’d never even heard of before. The one on the right I do have involvement with; but that is very specific and constrained, and they should never have used that as an excuse to send me unrelated junk mail.

I put there in the post a couple of days ago. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

What is the opposite of “man”

Here is a linguistic oddity that I’ve been aware of for some time. What is the opposite of “man”?

  • Boy (because he’s immature)
  • Woman (because she’s female)
  • Machine (because it’s artificial)
  • Beast (because it’s not rational)
  • God (because he’s not mortal)

All equally valid answers, because a man is an adult male natural rational mortal.


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James Bond movies, part 4: Sean Connery returns again

As Roger Moore’s sequence of Bond Films settled into its increasingly frivolous nature, Sean Connery — who has famously said “Never again” after filming his comeback Bond-movie Diamonds Are Forever — was persuaded to return once more twelve years later.

Never Say Never Again (1983)

This came out in the same year as Octopussy, which I consider the nadir of Moore’s efforts. Tiring of Moore, I watched Never Say Never Again between For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, and found myself liking it a lot more than I expected to. Connery is clearly too old for role at 53 — but that’s still three years younger than Moore was in his offering of the same year. More importantly, Connery had retained his charisma — if anything, he emits even more of an alpha-male vibe in 1983 than he had in 1971. And that alone makes the film work.

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