Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stuff'n'nonsense #3

I don't really feel much like blogging today. Today can be pretty much summed up with the acronym wombat: waste of money, brains and time. But still, I'll share with you the goodness I've found around the Net today.

But first, some news. We confirmed yesterday that there will be no more Ferox shows at Taste for the foreseeable future. We're going ahead with the April 29 show as planned, but after that, we'll be looking for other venues. Taste gave us a great start last April, but it's time to find somewhere else. We'll let you know as soon as we have anything definite.

  • 50 years of space today. The Russians still regard it as a priority, unlike the West. And check out how they boasted about it back then. Meanwhile, our space program is more concerned with prog rock - Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson will be doing a live duet with an astronaut. That's cool, and all, but hardly earth-shattering.
  • So why aren't we doing anything in space? Because we're spending abso-bloody-lutely everything we've got on the military. Check out this little chart. Don't need schools, hospitals, roads, scientific research, or any of that Commie crap - we need MORE WEAPONS!
    The military accounts for 20% of the American budget, and it's going up year on year. That's about 1.4 trillion dollars. (I can't even say that out loud without doing a Dr Evil face, it's such an absurd number.) Coincidentally, the US budget deficit increased by 1.4 trillion dollars last year...
    To put that in perspective, the US accounts for over 40% of the entire world's military spending. That's six times more than China. Eleven times more than the UK. Twelve times more than Russia. Over one thousand times more than Libya.
    I honestly can't conceive of a situation where anyone would need that much military power, unless they seriously expected to take on the whole of the rest of the world in a slam-bang knock-down fight to the finish. And if that happened, it would go nuclear anyway, and it wouldn't matter who won.
    If you want to reduce government spending, then the tea partiers should start here. And here's The Economist agreeing with me.
    (P.S. Note to the UK. Why the hell do we need to be spending that much on our military? We are the third biggest spender. Do we really need to be outspending Russia, for crying out loud? Get rid of the war toys, and fix the damn country's real problems. We're not the Empire any more.)
  • Okay, enough of that. Let's get weird. You're probably aware of angler fish, possibly the ugliest creatures on the planet. But did you have any idea how totally weird the male angler fish is? He kisses the female, his lips turn to glue, his face melts, and... no, I'm not going to spoil the surprise with what happens next. You'll have to click through, but believe me, it is possibly the grossest thing in the entire animal kingdom.
  • Writers - you'll love this. The Periodic Table of Storytelling. All the cliches, beautifully categorised. Print it out, and put it by your desk.
  • Book time. Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe. If you click that, you can get it for free. Whee! Best bit of the book for me was this:
    "It's all about being an advocate for the user. I observe what users do, and how they do it, figure out what they're trying to to, and then boss the engineers around, trying to get them to remove the barriers they've erected because engineers are all high-functioning autistics who have no idea how normal people do stuff."
    That's what I used to do, before some bastard turned me into a sales and marketing guy. (That means you still observe the users, but the engineers tell you to fuck off, because it's only marketing, and nobody likes marketing.)
  • And how's about this for a book? If it's the way comics are going, I like it. Nemesis, the Motion Comic.
  • And lastly, wtf has happened to Facebook? You now can't like, share or comment anything which didn't originate from Facebook itself. Check out the screenshot - there's no way to interact with that post!
    So if you're posting from Twitter or su.pr or some other feed system, or using a "share on Facebook" link on a site, nobody can respond to what you write. I'm really hoping that's a glitch, because that seriously reduces the number of potential conversations, which seems to be totally against the spirit of social media.
I'll end with this little snippet from Freda. My tribe. I love you all.

However your life develops after you come together with your tribe, you can be assured that its members will stand at your side. On the surface, your tribe may seem to be nothing more than a loose-knit group of friends and acquaintances to whom you ally yourself. Yet when you look deeper, you will discover that your tribe grounds you and provides you with a sense of community that ultimately fulfills many of your most basic human needs.

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