/* My bits are protected, are yours?*/ poons: August 2005
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George W. Bush is coming to the UK... and we'll be waiting for him.
18 August, 2005
  Just passing through
Well last night was fun, 11 hours spent giving TLC to an errant file server with a terminally ill hard drive.

I'm off to Beatiful Days festy tomorrow and then off on an adventure (weather permitting).

So I'll be back at the yoke sometime next week.


p.s. New Abuse Photos Could Spark Riots, US General Warns - the comment from old hippie sums my thoughts up pretty well.
17 August, 2005
Monty Pythons....
bloody well everything.

An unbelievably good Python site, check out the multimedia "world's most accurate" movie scripts for a start.
  Simpsons - Original Shorts

Found at Best Week Ever Blog
  Dear Leader

I suspect this might be the real deal.
I mean the profile adds up and everything.
  Meme Miner (pass it on)
16 August, 2005
  Embrace Wind

The people over at Embrace Wind are staging a series of open days at wind farms across the country over the August Bank Holiday weekend, clicky here to find out more.

More info on Wind (a whopping 170odd pages of PDF loveliness) here, well after all the nights are drawing in...
  Judge Fines Voices in the Wilderness $20K for Taking Medicine to Iraq
If you were wondering just how fuctup the US is, try this for a starter.

MP3 stream and transcript can be found here

Oh go on then, have some good news too
  A long list of software
That I want to go back to later...
Read pg 16 of the linked PDF file and see if you can spot the dubious reference before moving onto pg 17.

Just in case, here's a clue.
15 August, 2005
  A distant relative?
  New Cars For Police Purposes
I reckon there are going to be some gems hidden in this archive of Home Office circulars.
  Bad Pun
Another gem from damocles over at b3ta
  Comments suspended
More comments spam.
Off to try and find out if it's just me.....

Edit: Ah stuff it - I've got me old comments on e-mail, haloscan seems to be unaffected, and I've been meaning to do it for a while.
  UK Political Blogs
Just picked up a link from these good people to the Robin Cook post below.
It is a veritable feast of UK political blogs, should you ever find yourself at a loose end.

Edit: Comments suspended on this post due to a bit of comment spam from Richard Shields who can be contacted [ but not outside office hours ;0) ] on 01279 452284, which I want to keep intact.

Edit 2: Another 2 from two seperate places also snuck through. WTF?

Edit 3: Maybe if I switched anonymous comments off again..... DOH!
14 August, 2005
  Worcester Cathedral

Taken by Heidi.
  Robin Cook
It's just over a week since Robin Cook sadly died and, like a lot of people I suspect, I've learned more about him in the last week than I knew before.

Gordon Brown gave a superb eulogy and his summing up got me thinking.

So let us draw strength from Robin's achievements that light the way ahead.
Let us affirm his work will go on.
That those who heard him as a voice for justice will have their voices heard.
That justice will be championed wherever there is injustice and in every corner of our country and our world.
And guiding us on that onward journey, now and in the days ahead, Robin's values, Robin's service, Robin's passion for justice.

One of Robin's passions was electoral reform, and as part of that commitment he was the President of the Make Votes Count Campaign. In their words :

Make Votes Count is the coalition that campaigns for referendum on a more representative voting system. It has brought together all the organisations campaigning for reform, these are: Charter88, Christian Socialist Movement, Electoral Reform Society, Fawcett Society, Green Party, Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform, the Liberal Democrats, New Politics Network, and Plaid Cymru. Make Votes Count also has over ten thousand individual supporters.

There is an article written by Robin that puts the Labour case for reform that gives the astonishing fact that

Back in the 1960s one third of all MPs were elected by the vote of a majority of the electorate of their constituency. Yet today the first-past- the-post system cannot handle the increasing pluralism of British opinion. In 2001 not a single MP was elected with a majority of the electorate in their constituency.
Most people, by far the majority of the people in Britain were represented by MPs for whom they did not vote and our MPs represent constituencies in which most of whose electors did not vote for them. This is not a healthy democratic situation.

Looking at their 2005 general election key facts article, makes for even more depressing reading.

Labour majority of 67 based on 35.2% of the UK vote - flimsiest base of public support ever for a majority government.
Labour supported by only 9.6m out of 44.4m voters - lowest total of Labour votes in any post-1945 election except for 1983. With turnout an abysmal 61.3% this government was supported by only 21.6% of whole electorate.
In simple terms for every person who voted Labour, almost two voted for other parties and two did not vote.
Only 34% of MPs were elected with over half the vote in their constituencies, the lowest proportion in British history.
No MP polled a majority of electorate in their own constituency (back in the 60s around 1/3 of MPs enjoyed this level of support).

So that 66% of the House of Commons are sitting there without a majority of the vote never mind the electorate. This is very very wrong.

MVC currently claim 10,000 individual supporters, but my betting is that there are over 10,000 people who thought Robin Cook was honest, decent, principled beyond the trappings of power, and that his demise is both un-timely and a very bad thing for British politics. If you are one of those people, then potter over to MMVC and register your support, check to see if your constituency has a contact. As that link shows mine hasn't so I'm looking into it.

To Quote from Lord Lipsey's letter to The Times :

Robin took his presidency of Make Votes Count (MVC) not just as a badge of honour but as a duty to act. His passion in the cause was enough to persuade all but the hard-boiled that only a fool or knave could back the present system, by which most votes have no conceivable effect on the general election result. From this defect, he argued, much of the dangerous decline in political engagement flowed.

We've got 5 years at most to bring about a change in the voting system in this country, time to get busy people.
  Employees waste an hour a day online, says survey
Only an hour? They've obviously never heard of B3TA then....
  Curried Meatballs and Alien Abduction
Good to see the Freedom of information Act being put to such good use.

"Have we done any experiments with aliens? Have aliens actually landed on Earth? There are thousands of questions I could ask, but what I really want to know is are there extraterrestrials on this planet? Please please please could you tell me if there are photos? Because I really need to know. I PROMISE to keep it a secret."

More info on the uses and abuses of the UK FOIA (with a smattering of other countriess experiences) can be found here
13 August, 2005

Fontweaver is groovy new web-app to get the typefaces you want on your pages or in the words of it's creator, Charles :

"The simplest way to describe Fontweaver is as a tool which allows designers the freedom to use non-standard fonts in their web pages with almost as much ease as if they were working with plain text. It does this by creating graphical character sets which can then be used very easily with scripts that Fontweaver generates, links to your pages and provides easy-to-use wizards for incorporation.

The free, personal, edition creates JPG images, the professional adds the capability to produce GIF and PNG."

The personal edition is FREE, and well worth a look. If you like it please make sure you link it from your blog, this is ultra-new and needs to get out into the mainstream.
  poons year 2 or it's great when you're straight
Well the planned move hasn't really happened so I've decided to move back into the old gaff. Tomorrow I turn 35 (ouch) and will be spending it in an unusually sober manner, cos I've not had an alcoholic beverage since 8th August and so am feeling 'disgustingly healthy' after over a decade of being not quite sober most of the time (listens for sounds of pennies dropping from those who have read some of my more obscure posts) and considerably better off financially ....

Whilst on the birthday trip - All the best to Ross over at CNUT who's blog I stumbled into via Blogwise and who spookily turns 35 on Monday...... He's on the blogroll, as will a few others be when I get my shit into gear.

During my break I noticed that I've missed the anniversary of my first post to here back in June (don't time fly.....)

I'm currently playing around with a new browser by the name of Deepnet. It sits on top of the IE rendering engine, provides a nifty RSS feed thang, and a Gnutella P2P client as well as an extra level of security, and I've got to say that it seems to be behaving quite well (only a couple or three crashes).

Anyway visitors, old and new, please send birthday greets, paypal donations etc to the comments. Oh and if any of you are still linking to me as howlingspoons, could you amend it to just plain poons and link it to the howlingspooons.tk domain, I want that google top spot off Larry Poons and I want it now!

Oh ah! Atom feed is now available here

getting a bit more serious

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