webofevil: (all hail)
As anyone will tell you*, transporting horses for long distances is hard. There are many stories online of horses on aircraft being monitored closely by armed vets for the slightest sign of distress, when they will be immediately shot to avoid damage to the pressurised outer wall. Never mind that these are not truewhat if they were?

We have had our best people working on a solution to just such distressing fictional scenarios, and the final results are impressive. Rather than expose horses to the manifold risks of flying, this proposal would see them exposed to the slightly reduced risks of seafaring instead. Chief designer Mary Anne Zimmerman kindly presented me with the finished design on my birthday:

For a detailed guide to the many features of HMS Seabiscuit (but, due to an error, minus the sparkly horses), click the picture below:

* Well, not anyone.
webofevil: (Default)
Tim Westwood's live broadcasts from the military base at Camp Bastion have endeared him to the soldiers. So much so that they gave him a rare privilege—letting him take part in a training exercise.

The man known as the "Big Dawg" was dressed in a protective suit and set upon by the military's biggest alsatian. [Guardian]
This is obviously some strange usage of the word "let" which I was not previously, etc etc.
webofevil: (Default)
Bear in mind that this is genuine.

From the delightful How To Be A Retronaut.
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Fans of erotic dreams about George Osborne will be pleased to see that a fairly realistic sex doll of the great man has been rushed into production, modelled here by two of Girls Aloud. Now with poseable head!

webofevil: (pg)
Go to Google Translate and cut and paste the following message, and translate it from German to German:
pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschk
Then click "Listen".

/via @Rubovia on Twitter
webofevil: (rummy)
Last year I was at a talent show to cheer on a mate (who was just edged out of the national final). I have just found a note I scribbled in the dark at the time to commemorate a lyric by another competitor (whose absence from the final was far more of a foregone conclusion). His songs—for slightly detuned guitar and winsome troubadour—he had written himself and it showed, hitting a particularly dizzy height with the line:
#The railway of life just couldn't unfold
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A competition has begun to give members of the public the chance to design London's first official tartan. [BBC]

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The traditional throwing of a bride's bouquet for luck ended in disaster at an Italian wedding.

The bride and groom had hired a small plane to fly past and throw the bouquet to a line of women guests, Corriere della Sera reported. However, the flowers were sucked into the plane's engine causing it to catch fire and explode.

The aircraft plunged into a hostel. One passenger on the plane was badly hurt, but about 50 people who had been in the hostel escaped unscathed, as did the pilot. [BBC]
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I’m at a house party last Saturday, queuing. The only downside of the increasingly ambitious annual bash at this shared house in Homerton, which these days involves a marquee in the garden and live music, is that in the entire four-storey house there is but one toilet, which, as the evening draws on, becomes a bit of a star attraction.

A short Mexican girl joins the queue behind me. Someone leaves the cubicle and goes into the bathroom next to it to wash their hands. When they’re done the Mexican girl indicates the bathroom and asks me, “Are you going to…?” I tell her no, I’ll wait for the cubicle, and she dashes in, emerging triumphant a couple of minutes later. “You know how sometimes you guys piss in the sink?” she grins. “Well, that’s what I just did!”[1] The sink in that bathroom is very high. She doesn’t elaborate on how she managed it, but she requests, and gets, a high five.

[1] Please imagine this being said in the most Mexican accent possible.
webofevil: (Default)
The British are generally a stoic lot, but in these uncertain times there is one thing they definitely won’t stand for: national treasure Judi Dench cursing.
“Almost every time Dame Judi swears in a film, regardless of its category, we can expect a number of complaints,” said the BBFC. [BBC]
webofevil: (Default)
If you’ve ever found yourself idly wondering, “If I were a teacher, just what would I have to do to lose my job?”—I know I have—we’ve now got a pretty good idea, thanks to this selfless pioneer:
A teacher who made a girl with brittle bone disorder stand in a corner after she misbehaved has been banned from teaching for two years.

The GTCW panel was told Russell Doddington knew of the seven-year-old’s condition, which causes bones to break easily. The hearing in Cardiff was told he forced the girl to stand in the corner of the classroom for seven minutes. After five minutes standing facing the wall, she began to lean.

It was also claimed he banished another child from his classroom for a full day and is accused of not setting or marking homework. The GTCW heard that concerns about the teacher were first raised in 2002. A teacher described Mr Doddington’s lessons and his handling of the children as “appalling”.

When challenged by senior staff about his performance and the fact that he had missed agreed targets he dismissed their concerns, saying “anyone would think this was the worst thing since the Holocaust”, the hearing was told.

The panel heard that Mr Doddington did not keep a pupil record and had no idea what it was. When asked how he kept records of pupil development he told senior staff he “kept the information in his head”.

The panel heard that children’s books were left unmarked for months at a time, homework was not set, and despite having a class of just 21, parents were concerned that their children were not progressing.

The hearing was told that Mr Doddington asked a meeting at the school: “Do you think I can’t hack it, do you think I’m useless?” In another meeting, staff said he became aggressive, rolled his eyes and eventually stormed out, the hearing was told.

Panel chairman Mr Jones banned Mr Doddington from teaching for a minimum of two years. He said the panel had considered a suspension order with conditions to undergo retraining, but there was “no willingness to respond positively” to such conditions from the teacher. [BBC]
He finally resigned last year, so, measured from the first complaint, that’s a good five years of maltreatment of children bordering on abuse, along with general rampant unprofessionalism, before the situation finally starts to get dicey and the formal proceedings kick in. Enough time to get down to some serious experimentation in class, if you’ve planned ahead. Or maybe you just like to improvise. At the end of the process, so long as no-one has actually died, a strategic move to the other end of the country should hopefully see you evade the less-than-stringent CRB system, and you can start again. The classroom is your playground.

webofevil: (Default)
I’m confused; I thought committed antisemites usually professed admiration for Hitler. Yet while Nick Griffin is busy publicly distancing his whites-only party not only from Dolphy but ostensibly from the entire concept of being racist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also sticking the boot into a man normally embraced by the more, um, activist elements of the Muslim world.

In a statement that might from this distance look like the squawkings of a fucking loon but, for the Middle East, actually qualifies as quite staid and thoughtful political discourse, Ahmadinejad has accused rival presidential candidates of colluding with Jews (in his phrase, “Zionist entities”) to concoct false data about the state of the economy in order to discredit him, saying:
Such insults and accusations against the government are a return to Hitler’s methods, to repeat lies and accusations... until everyone believes those lies.
How come his former admirers and acolytes are suddenly rejecting him all over the shop? It’s just like that bit in the Bible: “‘Verily I say unto thee, thrice before the cock crow shalt thou deny me, young Paduan,’ saith Hitler.” (Memo: check this, but it sounds about right.)
webofevil: (Default)
Drawing perspective is difficult, isn’t it? Really quite difficult. Maybe that’s why the artist appears not to have put his name to this portrait of Sir William Langley, credited only to the “British School 1600-1699”:

I mean, seriously. I suspect there’s a reason this is an Alan Smithee picture:

webofevil: (Default)
Patent for “killer chip” denied in Germany

A Saudi Arabian inventor has filed for a patent on a potentially lethal science fiction-style human tracking microchip, the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) said on Friday. But the macabre innovation that enables remote killing will likely be denied copyright protection.

The tiny electronic device, dubbed the “Killer Chip” by Swiss daily Tagesanzeiger, would be suited for tracking fugitives from justice, terrorists, illegal immigrants, criminals, political opponents, defectors, domestic help, and Saudi Arabians who don’t return home from pilgrimages.

After subcutaneous implantation, the chip would send out encrypted radio waves that would be tracked by satellites to confirm the person’s identity and whereabouts. An alternate model chip could reportedly release a poison into the carrier if he or she became a security risk.
Well, if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear. Am I right?

Incidentally, I had to go looking for an even slightly trustworthy English-language source for this story. For the most part the sites it has appeared on are either blogs reproducing it unquestioningly or the sources that they’re reproducing it from—that is, full-out “agenda news” agencies like Fox or Iran’s darkly amusing Press TV (sample headline: “Jews to blame for US recession”).


May. 18th, 2009 12:07 pm
webofevil: (all hail)

While researching the fabled gnome garden of Bognor train station for [livejournal.com profile] lebeautemps (she has better pictures here), I came across the following handy mnemonic from the winter 2006 edition of the Arun News and Views newsletter[1]. I'm sure you’ll agree that it’s as catchy as it is memorable.

Door Step Code

Strangers can rob you
Try to say you are not alone
Remember to put cash away
Always use your chain before opening the door
Never leave the chain on all the time
Go and look out of a window first
Examine caller identity carefully
Refuse entry if you are not sure
Seek help from a friend if you are worried
If I were elderly and confused, I might well find the “Examine, Refuse and Seek help” part useful. So long as I could remember that far. Although personally I'd advise “Going and looking out of a window” before opening the door. And any mnemonic instruction beginning “Remember” is asking for trouble—you run the risk that your target audience is going to be stood in their hallway thinking “Now, I had to remember something… um…” The command should probably be something like “Cash should always be hidden”. Oh, and I’d recommend doing so before claiming not to be alone in the house, or there’ll be a suspicious pause in the conversation. Which leaves us with… SCTGANERS. Excellent. Can anyone improve on this further?

[1] Voted “least interesting link ever posted by [livejournal.com profile] webofevil” by experts.
webofevil: (Default)
Airlines should not try to be cute. Airlines should concentrate wholly on getting the “up in the air, along a bit and down again” part right. Exhibit A: salt and pepper sachet from Norwegian airline SAS, several years ago.

webofevil: (Default)
When pressed, I always have to say that my favourite section of the preliminary state security clearance form is number 35.

webofevil: (bunting)
Postal workers are demonstrating outside Parliament today to protest at plans to sell off 30 per cent of the Post Office. Numbers were smaller than expected, however, as many of them were unable to find the address.

On discovering that they were not allowed to enter the grounds, several postal workers sustained serious injuries as they tried to jam themselves through the railings, while others lay around by the gates in the hope that someone would eventually carry them in. Meanwhile, a whole group of postal workers was found dumped in a bin round the corner.

Organisers have denied reports that the original plan was just to quietly drop a note through the door saying that thousands of people had turned up to demonstrate but no-one at Parliament had been at home.
webofevil: (all hail)
When she was about 14 my mother loved the author Angela Thirkell. She recently re-read one of Thirkell’s books that she had so enjoyed and was appalled: “What was I thinking? It’s unpleasant, stuffy and snobbish. On top of which, for no good reason, there’s just page after page of reported speech. It’s dreadful.”

Her disappointment was slightly tempered by finding the following passage, for which there wasn’t really any excuse even in the 1930s. There is a carousel, with boats, aeroplanes, horses and an ostrich, which Delia is riding side-saddle,

and under her direction, Mr. Grant took possession of the cock [whose orbit was within that of the ostrich].

“I knew it was you on the ostrich,” she said to Delia. “I told Noel you’d be here, didn’t I, Noel?” she added to Mr. Merton who had climbed up [on to the carousel] after her. “I say, someone’s on my cock.” …

Mr. Grant, really quite glad of an excuse to dismount, offered his cock to Lydia, who immediately flung a leg over it, explaining that she had put on a frock with pleats on purpose, as she always felt sick if she rode sideways.
As my mother said, “You can’t tell me that there was a time when that wasn’t funny”.

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