2009-05-25

Polifesto

I've just released Polifesto. Everyone has read access, but you need an OpenId to make edits. I'd like to know what you think!

Polifesto is a wiki of political policies. Add new policies and edit existing ones to improve them. You can also rate the manifestos and policies.

Of course, the top rated policies will be instantly implemented by all world leaders.

2009-05-21

Citizen Kane


The poster says, 'Everybody's talking about it!' and people do still talk of it, so I thought I should see what it was all about. So Kazim and Liz came over and we watched Citizen Kane.

For me, the film is a morality tale. Its essence is revealed when Kane's second wife leaves him, and he pleads with her not to, saying how much it will hurt him. She retorts that he only only thinks of the hurt she may cause him, and doesn't think of the hurt he's causing her, and that's why she's leaving.

It's saying, 'if you're a selfish control-freak who is only concerned with outward signs of success, then you'll end up friendless and alone'.

2009-05-13

imprimatur-015

New release of Imprimatur with the following changes:
* Changed so that a regex matches if it's found anywhere within the string.
Previously you'd have to use the pattern .*hello.* to match 'hello' within a response. Now you can just use the pattern hello to do the same thing.
* In regexes, a dot character now matches line terminators as well.
Imprimatur used to remove all control characters from the response, and then do the match. I thought it was better not to do this behind-the-scenes chicanery and make '.' match line terminators as well.

2009-05-10

4th June: EU Parliament Election


I've visited the EU's election website (filled with dull and worthy headlines such as 'From One Legislative Period To The Next') seeking a list of the candidates standing in my area, and what their manifestos are. Not there. Ah, found a list of candidates at the UK office of the European Parliament. Well I'll ignore the Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship", Fair Pay Fair Trade Party and the like and concentrate on the ones I've heard of. It's a bit unfair, but I haven't got all day. I have to choose a single party, and then the seats get allocated according to an unusual system.

Green Party

I've had a look at their list of candidates, and their core policies. The first policy is:
Resist economic globalisation and privatisation. Revive UK manufacturing for a balanced economy.
Well they can stop right there. I'm not against economic globalisation or privatisation. Also I wouldn't intervene to help one sector of the economy against another. Maybe I'm being a bit hasty, let's look further down the list:
No single currency. No further centralisation of economic or political power. No EU army.
Why rule out the single currency? For the UK to have its own currency is bonkers. I'd like to see an EU army as well, and an EU government! No way am I voting green.

Liberal Democrats

Graham Watson is the first candidate. I'm glad he's supporting the European Grid. Not a word about EU elections on the LibDems UK site. The ALDE group in the european parliament has a list of its top ten policies. Ooh, don't like talk of the 'european social model'. Like the bit about common foreign policy. Point 9 seems to point to tentative support of free trade? The entire list is vague and woolly, but nothing too appalling.

Labour

Their list of issues highlights the importance of the European Social Chapter, something I'm sceptical about. Their health text is good:
From food additives, to dangerous chemicals at work and to free emergency hospital treatment throughout the EU, acting at European level makes a real difference for your health.
I suppose that's where socialism comes into its own.

Nearly there, thanks for bearing with me this far...

Conservatives

The Tories are members of the European Democrats. They say:
The ED is expressly committed to democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, national sovereignty, free enterprise, minimal regulation, low taxation, private ownership, respect and security for every individual and a strong transatlantic alliance.
Well that's great, just the party for me! But what about this national sovereignty? I think that's sometimes in conflict with individual liberty. I can live and work anywhere within the EU, and that's a triumph for individual liberty. But it was only possible at the cost of national sovereignty. So sorry ED, until you rid yourself of this 'national sovereignty' hangup, I'll not vote for you.

Conclusion

The Liberal Democrats have my vote at EU elections on 4th June.

June 4th 2009: Council elections

On the 4th of June, I've got the Wiltshire Council elections.

My ward is Trowbridge Central, so I've got a choice between John Knight (Liberal Democrat) and Chris March (Conservative). Let's have a look and see what they say...

John Knight

Presumably he will follow A Liberal Democrat Vision for Wiltshire. The first page emphasises prudence and fiscal rectitude. Good. In the justice section there's a mention of restorative justice, which is interesting. Education, fairly standard nothing to frighten the horses. Funding decided by local democracy. Environment: okay, but would rather hear talk of free trade than fair trade. They have a 'leisure' section. I hate this use of the word leisure.

Chris March

The conservatives' don't seem to have a manifesto for the Wiltshire council elections. There is a page on Chris March, but it contains no details of what he intends to do.

Conclusion

Well, the Lib Dems have my vote for the Wiltshire council election on June 4th.

Christening


This is the font where my latest nephew was christened earlier on today.

2009-05-09

Dream: 286


I dreamt I started a new job writing software. They didn't have a computer for me, but eventually they found a really old 286 and an old-fashioned printer. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do the job working on such hardware. Nobody was very nice to me.

For some reason I had to travel to another city, and I was driven there at high speed along a dual-carriageway in a go-cart by Jonathan. I remember thinking that we were going to crash and die, and kept telling Jonathan to slow down. We made it in the end.

Then I was house-sitting and a middle-aged woman came to inspect the house. I was eating something like liquorice root, and couldn't talk properly so I spat it out in the garden. It looked like dog poo, and I hoped she wouldn't notice it when she inspected the garden.

2009-05-07

Open Streetmap


My house (and street) wasn't on OpenStreetmap (OSM), so I put it on there! I've got a phone running Android so I used the My Tracks app to record a GPS trace as I walked down the middle of the road along Yeoman Way.

Then I uploaded the trace to OSM, did some editing and now it's there, really simple. I've learnt that you have to do traces longer than about 100m, otherwise the whole process doesn't seem to work very well.

People wonder why I contribute to OSM. They shake their heads in disbelief that I'd do this work without getting paid. I think the key thing is that when you contribute to non-proprietary information, society as a whole benefits, and so I do too (being a part of society).

This is in contrast to, say, working in a shop for nothing. Working in a shop without pay would benefit the shop owner, but not necessarily society as a whole, and would not necessarily benefit me.

2009-05-06

blogging from phone

Well I've got my Android phone, and it's not for the prolix!

2009-05-01

River Cottage Canteen


On Wednesday I had lunch with Andy at the new River Cottage Canteen in Bath. The service was chaotic, but the food was great, the menu exciting. When I say chaotic service, the staff were keen, friendly and helpful; but they were disorganized and poorly trained. I'd definitely go back there though, I prefer enthusiastic bungling over frosty efficiency!