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Nothing else will happen this week, and nothing at all for several weeks round next June

In the same way that I didn’t care about two people I’d never met and and am not likely to meet getting married and was really quite sick of hearing about it by the time it actually happened, I don’t care that they’re now expectant parents. I’m not being curmudgeonly here. I’m delighted when people I know break the happy news that they’re having a baby, but I manage the disappointment of not hearing about it from the >99.9999% of the world I’ve never met and am overcome with indifference when it’s a sleb. What I said of the weddingathon is just as applicable now:

Despite my long standing republicanish tendencies I don’t harbour any ill will towards William and Kate. Okay, it does annoy me slightly that unless Australia ditches the monarchy he’ll be ‘my’ king one day, but that’s not his fault. The poor bugger never asked for the job and for all any of us know may turn it down when the time comes. So no, I have nothing against them, but I don’t know them and they don’t know me and it’s vanishingly unlikely that that will ever change, which means I have nothing but indifference towards them either. Sorry if this isn’t entering the flag-waving spirit that seems expected of everybody British born, but I’m just not prepared to jump on the bandwagon and sit here pretending that it’s in any way meaningful to me.

And there’s no reason anyone else should apart from the fact that millions are adherents of the cult of celebrity, of which the British Royal family is very much a part. Somewhere in Vietnam there’s probably a Mr and Mrs Nguyen who are also expecting their first child, and the indifference of rest of the world is such that not only does it not care, it doesn’t even know whether or not Mr and Mrs Nguyen exist. Worse, parts of it are probably only dimly aware of the country they live in because some good movies have been made about a bad war there.

Putting it another way, have a look at this screencap of a Google image search.

Screen shot 2012-12-04 at 11.14.00

Do you personally know any of the people in the images? Do you feel the need to express joyous feelings towards the ones you don’t know? Obviously you hope people’s pregnancies go well because you’re a weapons grade shit if you sit there wishing all the various horrible pregnancy complications on someone, but do you feel like e-mailing photo libraries asking for your congratulations to be passed along to any of the couples in the images? No? No inclination at all? So why will millions be mailing St James’ Palace?

This is something that happens to most people sooner or later and I don’t get why I should be expected to express happiness, or any emotion at all, for Wills and Kate when nobody thinks I should for any of the other 7 billion people who aren’t in my own social circle. I do get that it’s welcomed by some who can expect to get away with releasing bad news while most of the world and media are distracted for several months, and I do get that it’s welcomed by the media themselves who can milk it thoroughly for cheap news of poor Kate’s latest bout of morning sickness.

But I don’t get why it’s of more than academic interest to the rest of us and why any couple expecting a child should also expect to have to release images of the fucking sonograms to the press. Or for that matter break the news much earlier than planned because a hospital admission would only lead to press speculation otherwise.

So now we all know, okay? Any chance we can leave it there and just have the one day of multi-page coverage when the royal sprog/s is/are dropped? I ask in hope, but no real expectation, of not seeing the news filled with speculation of the baby’s name, sex, weight and eventual height and fashion preferences for the next several months.

On faith, freedom and female bishops

So the Church of England has debated the issue and ending up saying no to the idea of women bishops. This, we’re told, is a final no, but it strikes me that at some point in the past it was probably almost equally definite that there would no be women vicars, and yet today the Anglican church both in and outside of England has plenty of women priests who are not Dawn French. The article even says that it’s killed the prospect off for at least five years, which doesn’t sound all that final to me. For now though it does look like this has put the kybosh on the idea in the CofE.

And I say this: so bloody what?

There will now almost certainly be calls in Parliament for the Church of England’s exemption from equality legislation — effectively allowing it to discriminate against women by barring them from becoming bishops — to be removed, opening the way for women to bring a legal challenge.
[…]
Ben Bradshaw, a former Labour minister, said: “This means the Chruch is being held hostage by an unholy and unrepresentative alliance of conservative evangelicals and conservative Catholics.
“This will add to clamour for disestablishment, there is even talk of moves in Parliament to remove the Church’s exemption from the Equality Act.”

Look, it’s their religion and if freedom of religion is to remain in Britain then we all have to accept that practitioners of a given religion can run it however they like providing it doesn’t actually harm anyone else. And no, not providing an opportunity to be bishops is no more harming women than the lack of opportunity in Britain for people of either gender to become astronauts. The bottom line is it’s their god-club and their rules, and whether the first rule of god-club is not talking about god-club or no mitres are men only or no gay weddings in our buildings it’s still their rules. I’m for gay weddings if gays want to marry and I’m for female emancipation and the opportunity for the girls to seek any work they choose up to and including that of sperm donor. But as with the obvious case of sperm donation, freedom to seek doesn’t mean that there must be a guarantee that the position must be made available to women.

Is it silly that women shouldn’t be bishops? Yeah, I’d agree with that, but I’d add that I find it no more so than many other aspects of religion in general and Anglican Christianity in particular. If it’s sillier I’d say it’s only because some other parts of the Anglican Communion have gone ahead and allowed female bishops. But is it unreasonable? Should the CofE be compelled by secular law to allow female bishops? No, I don’t think so. If you want to remove the exemption on the principle that all are equal before the law I’d be all for it, though I’m really for laws that dictate and restrict how one is allowed to think and choose to be ditched as fundamentally anti-liberty. And if you wanted to disestablish the Church on the grounds of separation of Church and State I’d support that too. But this isn’t about applying the law equally or any such noble notions. This is just punishing a religious minority (I’m guessing CofE regulars are in a minority these days?) because their world view isn’t modern enough for you.

It’s a religion, yes? An unscientific and untestable faith in a 14 billion year old entity as explanation for literally everything? It’s not supposed to be modern, surely? So let them have their rules, outdated as some of us may think they are, and let those ladies who want to be bishops apply to those parts of the Anglican Communion that are open to the idea. Or start their own church if competition for positions is too intense in Scotland and visas for anywhere further are too much hassle. If, as we’re told, the big worry for the Church was a schism with traditionalists and evangelicals leaving then why don’t the pro-female modernisers leave instead. This is how freedom and tolerance actually works, you see. Their god-club means their freedom to set their rules, as I said before, and the rest of us tolerate that since we know that freedom also means that nobody who disagrees has to stay in the god-club.

Or are we admitting that Britain isn’t a free country after all? If so that might be a start toward becoming one.

 

PS A brief apology. Obviously I intended making a joke about bashing the bishop but I just couldn’t think of one. To anyone who is offended by this oversight, please take 50¢ and phone someone who gives a shit.

And in other news…

Nice to see that the media are all over the hugely important issue of Tom Thumb, er Cruise being divorced by Katie Thingy… not Perry, the other one… Holmes! Yes, that’s it, now where was I? Oh yes, being divorced by Katie Holmes and wanting sole custody of the kid (unless it’s kids). The state of the marriages of all actors should be a matter of huge concern to absolutely everyone and far more important than such trivialities as, say, some uncontrollable wildfires in Colorado that have destroyed hundreds of homes, caused millions of dollars of property damage and appear to have resulted in at least one death. In fact this prioritisation of the coverage of news events is such that I have just one question for the media and everyone in it:

 

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

 

 

Dear “captain ranty”…

Let me be very clear that that’s not – repeat not – Captain Ranty the libertarian and lawful rebellion advocate, but “captain ranty”, someone who seems to have got his cock in a knot with the true occupant of Ranty Barracks for some reason I’m not remotely interested in finding out about and to such an extent that he’s using his ever diminishing time on this planet to leave comments in the Captain’s name and with a copied gravatar with people on the CR’s blogroll:

Thanks for your contributions to my blog in the past, i have decided i do not want any more of your comments as they are not in the style and have the content i require in order to advance “lawful rebellion” in a new direction.

thanks again.

captain ranty

Presumably the hope is that the recipients of these comments will get the hump with the Captain and remove him from their blogrolls, although I have to say that if so then it’s an overly optimistic hope given the piss poor impersonation. There were a few things that shouted ‘impostor alert’ and one in particular made it certain, but even before looking at those there’s the fact that species as yet undiscovered on the bottom of the oceans can probably manage a better Ranty impersonation.

Anyway, I digress. I just wanted to make it absolutely crystal clear that this post is to “captain ranty” rather than Captain Ranty.

 

Dear “captain ranty”

I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what your beef is with Captain Ranty, and I honestly don’t give a remote fuck about it. I do care that rather than debate whatever it is with the Captain at his blog or your own you’ve taken your row to other people’s. While I can’t speak for anyone else it’s not welcome here.

Why? Well, let me put it like this. Imagine this isn’t the internet but the real world. Now imagine that I came and stood outside your home with a loudhailer yelling all the reasons I think that Andrew Demetriou is a dickhead, or even yelling that I am Andrew Demetriou and I don’t ever want to see you anywhere near me or anything to do with me ever again. Probably you’ll be wondering who the hell Andrew Demetriou is but almost certainly you’ll be wishing the tool with the loudhailer at your gate would go away and tell it to someone who cares because nobody appreciates someone else’s fight taking place on their lawn.

That, buddy, is what you’re doing. You’ve come here claiming that you’re someone else and asking me not to contribute to their blog. If you want to use me to get at someone for you at least have the fucking courtesy to offer to pay me for it. I’d turn you down flat but I’d have a little respect for you. Not as much respect as I’d have if you just blogged why you think the Captain is wrong about whatever the fuck it is you’re at war with him over, but a little. Not knowing what what arcane aspect of lawful rebellion is involved I may or may not agree, though I’d be lying if I said that doing what you’re doing doesn’t prejudice me against you because you seem to prefer it to making a convincing argument. But far more likely I still wouldn’t know about it because, at the risk of repeating myself, I’m not fucking interested.

So, paraphrasing Mr Wolf, pretty please with sugar on top… just fuck off.

Unkind disregards,

The Angry Exile.

 
Not what I would prefer to be blogging on a Saturday afternoon, but necessary. As a result of this the comments policy has now been updated. The class of comments I will remove as soon as I’m aware of them is now as follows:

  • Spam, whether porn or otherwise
  • Anything blatantly libellous and which some fuckwitted legal system somewhere will hold me responsible for even though someone else actually said it
  • Impersonators of other bloggers/commenters attempting a bit of social engineering

P.S. I won’t delete “captain ranty’s” comment on the last post as it was made before this addition to the comments policy, but I will tinker with it a bit. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

P.P.S. Or maybe I won’t seeing as I’ve just noticed that on top of everything else the knobber’s misspelled the word ‘captain’ in the name. I’m not sure I should fuck with it when I can’t improve on the original.

P.P.P.S So much for me thinking that it’s a falling out over some fine detail of lawful rebellion. From one of the Captain’s tweets it seems he’s just another wowser.

Euro-trash? Moi?

According to the Grauniad, via the Filthy Engineer, that’s exactly what I am (him too). In my defence I’ll say that a few questions really didn’t have any valid answer for me but not being allowed to skip them I clicked the least inapplicable one instead. Still, 1% eh? Not bad for someone who hasn’t lived there for years and feels absolutely no loyalty to the place at all, and presumably a score of Euro-trash makes me so European that I can sing about masturbation on TV. And there I was always thinking I couldn’t carry a tune.

Iran’s Defence Ministry – apparently just like everyone else’s

Click for linky

Well done, geniuses. And how many battleships are currently serving with the navies of the world? With the Yanks having retired their last ones years ago I think the answer is very roughly approximately none. Yes, America has aircraft carriers to sink, but you don’t need to sink one to put it out of business – you just need to do enough damage to bugger its ability to launch aircraft. I’m no expert but I guess that might be the reason the Yanks don’t let them sail around on their own but supply each carrier with a bunch of other ships to support and protect it. All of which makes me think this ‘sink a battleship’ stuff is more about willy waving than anything else. No doubt it will go bang nicely if it hits a ship that gets within the 125 mile range but realistically that’s not going to be the US Navy all that often, and it’s not going to be anyone with a battleship except time travellers from the past. Tankers and freighters on the way in and out of the Persian Gulf, yes, but why make a battleship sinking missile for that?

No, I think this is more about giving the rest of the world the shits, and the only sensible response is the mature and dignified one. We all run up to the nearest Iranian embassy and yell “H4, H5, H6” at the top of our lungs and then run away again.

Junket science

Dial up the euphoria and forget the failure of the last junket, er, meeting to agree anything because a major ‘climate deal’ has been done at Durban. So says the GraunAge, Aunties Beeb and ABC, and all the rest. But forgive my scepticism when I read things like this:

A new global climate deal has been struck after being brought back from the brink of disaster by three powerful women politicians in a 20-minute “huddle to save the planet”.
[…]
… the 16-day talks were effectively over, with a commitment by all countries to accept binding emission cuts by 2020.

Or this:

Every single country in the world has committed to an agreement to take effect from 2020.

Or this:

Talks on a new legal deal covering all countries will begin next year and end by 2015, coming into effect by 2020.

Or this:

Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says it is an “historic breakthrough”.
“The idea is that after 2015 countries would start ratifying the new agreement and it would take effect from 2020.”

So – and I’m looking at this as I would if I were a true warmista, convinced of the danger of catastrophic warble gloaming – after this dramatic twenty minute huddle, followed by that equally dramatic two hours of tense negotiation, all of which had been preceded by more than a bloody fortnight of presumably equally tense negotiation, everybody agreed to kick the fucking can down the road for another few years. And that’s supposed to be a result? Jesus, what do you guys do for an epic failure? No, don’t tell me… begins with a C, doesn’t it? Cancun? Copenhagen? Email me if I’m getting warm, heheh. Sorry, that was insensitive of me.

Forgive my cynicism but having failed, even by what I’d call pretty low standards, in Cancun and Copenhagen and having just had the embarrassment of Climategate 2.0, which looked a lot like it was timed to damage the Durban circle jerk, there needed to be something positive and preferably scene stealing to feed to the media’s headline writers. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the very first thing that was decided, very likely behind the scenes and quite possibly before the conference even officially began. And fucking hell if a unanimous agreement to put off any hard decisions until later and otherwise maintain the status quo isn’t good enough if spun right, even if it’d spin the whole world right off its axis if done much harder.

So in practical terms the great success achieved at Durban is that everything stays exactly the same as it was before all those thousands of delegates got on planes and carbon belched their way through the sky to get there, and everyone has agreed to agree on something more meaningful in four or five years to take effect four or five years after that. Well, it might be good news for the campaigners, researchers, climate change departments and ministers, renewable energy companies, greenwashery makers and all the other rent seekers, but otherwise it seems like a resounding ‘Meh’.

Frankly I’m tempted to get down on my knees and thank my lucky stars and any deity that has even the faintest possibility of existing that I’m a climate sceptic. Because if I was a catastrophist warble gloaming believer I’d be shitting myself.

Taking the Pepsi challenge

Apparently Coke drinkers buying cans with polar bears on, all to promote the believed perilous situation of a species that has gone from 5-10,000 individuals half a century ago to about five times that number now and which must have survived warmer climates in the past, prefer the cans to be red rather than white. It’s not said whether they prefer the contents to be completely flat and fizzless so as not to release the few grams of carbon deathoxide that will escape genie like from the tin and rush north to hold the heads of a few bear cubs under water, but I suppose that’s less important than the look of the thing.

The cans featured the company’s iconic logo in red, set against an all-white background and featuring a picture of three polar bears plodding through the snow, in what the company described as a “bold, attention-grabbing” move to publicise conservation efforts by the World Wildlife Fund.

I think I’ll start buying supermarket own brand.

Midair shock death-risk sex horror Qantas outrage

Although I’ve not mentioned it for some time both my regular readers (hi Mum) will probably be aware that I think the Australian press have a bit of a thing for slating Qantas and that they do sometimes over egg that particular pudding. And here’s another prime example of a classic media beat up involving Qantas, all from the online pages of the Murdoch owned papers, and all with near carbon copies of the same article.

A QANTAS pilot is under investigation over a mile-high scandal with a female passenger during a long-haul flight to Australia.
Passengers in the first class section of QF32 from London were stunned at the pilot’s amorous antics with the woman.
He was seen sitting on her lap during the flight in the luxurious premium section of the Qantas A380 jet before things became quite steamy, sources told the Herald Sun.

EXCLUSIVE: A Qantas pilot is under investigation over a mile-high scandal with a female passenger during a long-haul flight to Australia.
Passengers in the first class section of QF32 from London were stunned at the pilot’s amorous antics with the woman.
He was seen sitting on her lap during the flight in the luxurious premium section of the Qantas A380 jet before things became quite steamy, sources told the Herald Sun.

A QANTAS pilot is under investigation over a mile-high scandal with a female passenger on a flight to Sydney.
First class passengers on QF32 from London to Sydney were stunned at the pilot’s antics with a woman in seat 2A. He was seen sitting on the woman’s lap during the flight in the luxurious premium section of the A380 jet before things became more heated.

Shock! Outrage! Disgust! How dare this individual leave the controls of the aircraft for a bit of a sweaty fumble. Not only is it a disgraceful dereliction of duty but also an issue of demarcation – everyone knows that with Qantas it’s the stewardesses responsibility to have sex with the passengers.* Not an unreasonable reaction to those headlines, but on further reading it turns out that nothing like that actually happened.

The pilot was off-duty and not in uniform at the time of the incident.

So what’s the big deal and why the lurid headlines? Basically what we have here is a pair of passengers, one of whom happens to be an employee of the airline and whose job is to fly planes, got frisky in First Class and had to be told to pack it in a few times before the cabin crew ended up separating them. Probably happens all the time, and the only thing that makes this any different from any other incident where a couple of passengers have to have the mid air equivalent of a bucket of cold water thrown over them is that the guy’s a pilot for the same airline and should reasonably be expected to know that that behaviour isn’t tolerated on their planes. As a result of that he’s under investigation, but it sounds more like an internal Qantas investigation than anything official – The Telegraph headline may say ‘court hears’ but neither their article nor either of the others mention any court at all, just what sounds like a Qantas in-house disciplinary. And of course if the guy hadn’t worked for Qantas there wouldn’t even be that. Hell, if he’d been ground crew he’d have had the same investigation but the papers wouldn’t have bothered to report it because there’s no much value in headlines like this:

Qantas check in guy gets steamy midair

Qantas baggage handler’s wild blue wander as court hears of mile-high scandal

If you’ll pardon the pun, they don’t exactly fly, do they? But because it’s a pilot we can go crazy with the headlines and make it look like it was one of the blokes flying the plane who decided to leave the flight deck and try entering the cockpit instead, at least until people get down to paragraph four when it’s finally mentioned that the guy wasn’t actually working at the time and had no more to do with flying the plane than the fat guy trying to sleep back in 56G or the bawling child kicking the back of his seat. It seems it’s not always about what’s newsworthy but about making something newsworthy out of something irrelevant, especially when it comes to the Aussie media and their national carrier. Just you wait and see how they’ll cover a real emergency, like one of the toilets running out of soft paper and having to use that horrible cheap shiny stuff instead.

* Kidding, of course. It’s been a while since I last flew but when I’ve used Qantas I’ve found the cabin crew to be polite, helpful, professional and incidentally pretty easy on the eye, but none of them have ever offered me sex instead of tea or coffee. Maybe you just have to be Lord Voldemort. This is in contrast to the booking departments of several airlines which have certainly fucked me in various ways, generally involving the words ‘extra charge’.

Who cares?

So Sarah Palin, someone I’d probably agree with on several issues while at the same time suspecting she may be a little mad, has supposedly had some Bolivian marching powder while on a snowmobiling trip, smoked marijuana at college and had a one night stand with a professional basketball player. And to that I’d say simply, so what if she has? Seriously, so what? Who died as a result? Nobody. I don’t see the attraction but coke has gone up enough noses, particularly noses of fairly wealthy people and certainly some politicians, without doing any appreciable damage to much beyond their own septums that I really can’t see what difference one more or less makes. As for weed, many students past and present have smoked it, and again some will end up being politicians. Do you really believe Bill Clinton didn’t inhale? Really? Or Obama? In fact we can be pretty certain he did because when asked he said he thought inhaling was the point. Ah, but the basketball player. Scandal, sharp intakes of breath, miscegenation, ruined marriage… oh, give over. If it happened it was before she married and in this day and age should be a non-issue, not to mention it’s bugger all to do with anyone other than the people concerned. Come on, if she’s supposed to be as mad as a crate of badgers there ought to be something better than that to put everyone off the idea of her being president. Except there’s not really a lot of point since she’s not running for president, so the question stands: who cares?

In other news, son of former Labour leader so useless he couldn’t even defeat John bloody Major is accused of being gay by wife’s enemies who are trying to prevent her becoming PM of Denmark.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

This isn’t news, it’s fucking soap.

iCloud? Never heard of them.

Yep, them, being iCloud Communications, a Phoenix AZ based company offering VOIP services, rather than iCloud, the latest wheeze that the revered St Jobs has brought down from the holy Apple mountain. Obviously I’ve heard of that iCloud – I have a Mac and I’m not in a coma. But the other iCloud? Nope, and I still wouldn’t have known about them but for one thing: they say Apple nicked their name.

The lawsuit, filed last week in an Arizona US District Court, argues that Apple’s use of iCloud is trademark infringement on the name of iCloud, a VoIP (Internet phone service) and cloud services company founded in the US state of Phoenix in 2005.
[…]
The company also says in its suit that Apple knew that iCloud Communications held the trademark on the iCloud name, but used it anyway and in doing so, has hurt its use of the name.

Well, it’s no doubt buggered up their SEO as googling iCloud at the moment gets you mostly Apple stuff, iCloud Communications having been pushed off the valuable first page of results, although for the zillions of people who leave Google’s Instant ‘save yourself literally microseconds of your time’ predictive search feature that might not be such a big deal.

See? iCloud Communications still appears above iCloud Apple, so no big deal unless you think your potential customers are so dribblingly moronic that they can’t tell which is which and might accidentally buy Apple’s online file and music cloud service when what they were looking for was a VOIP provider. And if you do think your customers are thick enough to confuse those two things I’d say you have bigger problems than someone else using a very similar name.

“Due to the worldwide media coverage given to and generated by Apple’s announcement of its ‘iCloud’ services and the ensuing saturation advertising campaign pursued by Apple, the media and the general public have quickly come to associate the mark ‘iCloud’ with Apple, rather than iCloud Communications,” the internet calling firm said in its complaint. “At the time Apple elected to adopt ‘iCloud’ for its cloud computing telecommunications and data services, Apple was aware of or was willfully blind to iCloud Communications’ use of and rights in the iCloud Marks.”

And at the time iCloud Communications chose their name Apple had been i-prefixing things for seven years. I suppose the choice to use an i-prefix to name a VOIP provider had nothing to Apple having already popularised it?

Not that I would want anyone to think I’m taking Apple’s side. Both my readers should know by now that I tend to think of them as a shower of cunts who make some pretty good desktop computers, some portable devices and peripherals that fall in every category from mediocre to brilliant, and some absolutely shithouse mice.* And they’re not above a little self-indulgent lawsuit wankery themselves, as I have blogged previously.

… Apple have mounted a legal challenge to Woolworths over the use of the logo, and according to The Age they say it’s too close to theirs. So let’s look at them again in detail.

Both have a kind of 3D effect going on, and both have a leafy thing at the top leaning to the right. But while one is silvery and solid, has a two tone effect, a drop shadow and is shaped like an apple that someone’s taken a bite out of the other is green, has smooth tone changes, no drop shadow and is shaped like some apple peel that has been arranged in a shape reminiscent of the letter W. It’s also not entirely unlike something I had to bag earlier today after the dog curled one out in the local park, but fortunately for him not green. If Apple want to sue the dog, which given everyone else they’ve gone to court with they might do, they’re welcome to get in touch with me via the comments section or something. As far as I’m concerned the mutt is on his own if he’s going to start shitting out trademark infringements, but I ought to mention that his net worth is a few disintegrating lamb bones buried around the garden and since the offending (in more ways than one) item has been destroyed and appeared accidental as he seemed to pay no attention to arranging it in a particular shape it seems like it’s unlikely to be worth the effort. And being just a dog it’s unlikely he intended using it the way Apple fears Woolworths will use their logo:

Woolworths’ application includes a wide class for electrical goods and technology, putting it in direct competition with Apple should the retailer choose to brand computers, music players or other devices.

Do fucking what? First off, does Apple think that Woolworths are going to do a Tesco and start selling electronic goods bearing in mind that Woolworths is just the supermarket brand of Woolworths Ltd, that the group already has a dedicated consumer electronics chain called Dick Smith Electronics, and that Dick Smith already fucking sell Apple computers? Seems unlikely. But let’s just say for the sake of argument that Woolies do start doing computers, MP3 players and snazzy phones and that all of these carry a green W that looks a lot like apple peel. That brings up the second point: do Apple think that we’re all so moronic we’d be unable to tell the difference? Even if Woolworths went so far as to make something like a notebook computer with an all aluminium case and a glass screen and trackpad nobody would confuse it for a MacBook because, and I think I may have mentioned this already, the logos are fuck all alike. Not only that but also the MacBook will have OS X installed on it while what we might call the WoolBook will almost certainly come with whatever edition of Windows is around at the time.

So what’s the fucking problem, Apple?

So it’s hard for me to feel too much sympathy with either party in this case. In my non-expert opinion iCloud Communication are taking the piss just as much as Apple were when they went after Woolworth’s, and for that matter when Apple the Beatles’s music company sued Apple the computer making company for much the same reason. For Christ’s sakes, lawyers, we’re not all stupid. We can tell the two things apart. I can understand a company getting all litigious if someone else in the same market starts using the same or almost the same name and with very similar looking trademarks, if Hungry Jack’s launched a Big Mac burger for example or if Nikon cameras rebranded themselves to Cannon I could understand and sympathise with McDonald’s and Canon getting bent out of shape about it. But so often this is no more than the corporate equivalent of schoolyard willy-waving and yelling “I thought of it first!” before running off to find teacher, with the nasty additional aspect of trying to wring money out of another company which isn’t necessarily even a competitor.

Grow the fuck up, the lot of you.

* The old one button jobs were ludicrous at a time when everyone else had at least two and a wheel, if not more; the Mighty Mouse had an all directions scroll wheel on the top which, being effectively an upside down trackball, clogged up and jammed with annoying regularity – it also got confused about whether you were right or left clicking from time to time; the Magic Mouse seemed to me like it would make the back of my hand ache after a while, on top of which it’s useless if your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth and costs as much as the superior (though also Bluetooth) Magic Touchpad – IMO Apple’s first pointing device that does not appear to have been conceived by a complete iDiot. Seriously, as a long term Mac user my first piece of advice to any Mac virgin who’s just about to unpack their new Mac unless they got it with a Trackpad is to stop, get back in the car, return to the store and buy another mouse.

So what?

So the birth certificate is out and it says Obama was born in Honolulu. Or rather the full birth certificate, since the short version was out ages ago. Which also said he was born in Honolulu. And this changes what exactly? The Birthers, none of whom would have voted for him or want him to win a second term, will want to know why it took so long and will say that it’s because this is just a new fake – as if it would have taken anywhere near this long to produce a fake with the resources Obama’s mob have available to them. Even if they were all persuaded they’re still not going to vote for the guy. And as I’ve said before where he’s born became almost irrelevant once he was in the door, and certainly far less important than what he actually does.

So if it doesn’t change anything what was the point in even bothering? Just to make Donald Trump look silly? First shot fired in the re-election campaign, maybe?

Here comes another paywall.

What is it with Rupert Murdoch? Is he determined to make sure I only get the Grauniad/Fairfax side of things? I’m not saying he’s unbiased because The Australian seems mostly right of centre to me, but if I look at both publications, smash the contents together in my mental LHC (Large Horseshit Collider) and filter things through a layer of common sense I reckon I get something that can at least pass for neutral reporting in poor light. Rupes, however, seems determined that I should have only one point of view, and bizarrely it’s not his.

The Australian will charge people to read its website some time this year, but won’t say how much it will cost or exactly when it will become the second major Australian newspaper to install a paywall, after Fairfax’s Financial Review.

Hey Rupert. Want to know how much Times/Sunday Times content I’ve read since it went behind the wall? Exactly what was reprinted in The Australian. Want to know how much content from The Aussie I’ll read when the wall goes up?

Go on, guess.

Your idea is that I should be prepared to pay for quality reporting, or so it was said of The Times‘ paywall, and I would. I’d pay for extra content that interests me, for example, and sometimes I buy the weekend papers for that reason. But why would I pay for general reporting that is no better than what’s freely available elsewhere just because the editorial slant tends to balance that of the Fairfax mob? It’s just not worth it to me.

So what I’m going to do instead, starting from when you through the paywall up, is spend a lot more time at the websites of The Age, Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald. And I’m going to click a lot of the ads while I’m there, because why fucking not? If that’s where you want me looking they might as well make a few bob from it.

Mrs Speaker, attention seeker.

But for the careful and, she insists, tasteful intervention of some bed linen it could have been Mrs Speaker the Westminster streaker.

”It was just meant to be a bit of fun but obviously it has completely backfired on me and I look a complete idiot.”

Idiot? Normally I’d agree, Sally, but as things are by doing the shoot and interview and then going on non-stop about how you now wish you hadn’t and didn’t expect to be asked to strip off and do the sheet photo you’ve probably got nearly as much attention as if you had run through the Commons with your own despatch box on display. And for that reason I’m going to break my normal blogging habits and not link to the story where I got that quote – you’re getting enough attention for not doing anything of much importance as it is.

More 2012 related arse gravy…

… I’ve just run across this piece of bollocks from a few days ago on news.com.au. A headline and bullet points read:

Tatooine’s twin suns – coming to a planet near you just as soon as Betelgeuse explodes.
  • Betelgeuse losing mass
  • Explosion will create “new sun”
  • May be set for 2012 appearance

Oh, dear. I’m no astrophysicist, and I’d guess that neither is Claire Connelly, the news.com.au borg who wrote it, but I am interested enough in this kind of thing to spot a few holes. First, and most obvious, should be that an exploding star hundreds of light years away doesn’t mean a second sun coming anywhere in the same way that a roadside bomb going off in the ‘Stan won’t install another light fitting in your bathroom, which I imagine is why “new sun” gets quote marks after the headline. Second, Betelgeuse is indeed losing mass, just like every star loses mass once fusion begins. They do that, you know. Mass is converted into energy – heat, light, etc. Sunshine, basically. The more massive the star the faster it happens, and since Betelgeuse is pretty big it’s losing mass at quite a rate, but all this has been known for ages – news, it ain’t. And the possible 2012 appearance? Well, let’s come back to that in a bit.

IT’S the ultimate experience for Star Wars fans – staring forlornly off into the distance as twin suns sink into the horizon.

Is it? Perhaps Claire has met more fans than I have but I’d have thought the ultimate experience for Star Wars fans would involve either light sabres, battering George Lucas unconscious with a Jar-Jar Binks figurine, using the Force to make things fly around the room, or Natalie Portman (Carrie Fisher in the tin bikini for older viewers). Two suns? Meh. Didn’t Star Trek do it already? Oh, who cares as long as Natalie Portman shows some skin?

Yet it’s not just a figment of George Lucas’s imagination…

Why not? See this morning’s blog.

… twin suns are real.

That’s completely true.

And here’s the big news – they could be coming to Earth.

That’s complete bollocks.

Yes, any day now we see a second sun light up the sky, if only for a matter of weeks.

Which – and this isn’t even a technicality here – makes it not a sun. Mister Sun shines for millions or billions of years, see? So that means that Mister Bright Light That Lasts Three Weeks Or So is not a sun, got it?

The infamous red super-giant star in Orion’s nebula – Betelgeuse – is predicted to go gangbusters…

Gangbusters?

…and the impending super-nova may reach Earth before 2012, and when it does, all of our wildest Star Wars dreams will come true.

Someone somewhere is probably expecting Natalie Portman wearing nothing but Vegemite, and will be terribly disappointed. Personally I lean towards the Jar-Jar themed violence towards George Lucas. I know for certain that I’ll be disappointed.

Now a word of warning is necessary at this point. If either of my readers (hi, Mum) know anything at all about very large stars then to protect your keyboards and monitors please put down any drinks or food right now.

The second biggest star in the universe is losing mass, a typical indication that a gravitation collapse is occurring.

I’ve already mentioned that stars are constantly losing mass and that mass loss on its own means little, but the second biggest star? In the whole fucking universe? Not even nearly, and someone must have let Claire Connelly know because at the end is a correction.

Addendum: NEWS.com.au would like to apologise for their error – as we all know, Betelgeuse is the second biggest star in the Orion constellation, not the universe.

Which makes it a bit like talking about the second tallest man in Redditch, but it’s still wrong anyway because unfortunately Betelgeuse is not the second biggest star in Orion either. By mass, which for an article that goes on to talk about whether it’ll become a black hole or a neutron star is probably most relevant, there are are several that are probably larger and at least two that are certainly larger. But if you want to talk volume then I think Betelgeuse is actually the largest of the lot (Orion, still, not the universe). Fifteen minutes of not particularly hurried Googling, basically Wikipedia entries confirmed elsewhere, was all the fact checking needed for this.

For what it’s worth Betelgeuse is the second brightest star in Orion, and journalists may be the second brightest species that mostly walks upright.

When that happens, we’ll get our second sun, according to Dr Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland.

I very much doubt he said exactly that. Perhaps something about a bright light rivalling the sun, but “we’ll get our second sun”? Yeah, right.

“This old star is running out of fuel in its centre”, Dr Carter said.
“This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly.”
When this happens a giant explosion will occur, tens of millions of times brighter than the sun.
 [If you’re in the vicinity of Betelgeuse when it goes. If you’re watching from Norfolk it might not appear quite as bright as that – AE]
The bad news is, it could also happen in a million years. But who’s counting?

So maybe 2012 as per the bullet points at the top of the page, but also maybe 1,002,012? Could someone go check please?

Betelgeuse ‘not likely to explode in 2012’

  • Cold water poured on twin sun dreams
  • Nobody can say for sure, though…
  • More like full moon than Tatooine sun

Ah, I won’t stay up for it then.

Now I realise that the tone of the article is not supposed to be taken entirely seriously from the photo of Luke Guystalker (oh, come on, him and Han… you don’t think he had hopes?) staring moodily at the horizon where t.A.T.u’s orbs were sinking lower and lower.* Underneath it was a caption reading:

Rumours of possible wamp rats and Sarlaac manifestation yet to be confirmed.

Okay, I get the message. Tongue in cheek, fine. But what does that make the article? Because as well as not being serious it’s inaccurate and talks about something that might happen next year or up to a million years time. It could have been an amusing but informative article about the various things that might happen to it when Betelgeuse does eventually go bang. Instead it’s irrelevant, poorly checked, often inaccurate, and serves no obvious purpose other than having fun using the spelling mistakes to spot where someone at the Daily Mail has put together their own article with excessive use of copy and paste.

From news.com.au on the 19th

From the Mainly Fail yesterday

The word, both of you, is neutrinos. Please, will someone somewhere in the MSM turn on the fucking spellcheckers.

* Yes, I’m determined to get everybody thinking of those films in a whole new way.