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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

genocide watch

One of the joys of doing a degree with the open university is learning new things, and that it makes you seek out further knowledge. The real joy is never the set reading but the further reading you seek out yourself. However in this lays an occasional problem, not least when your doing a degree in politics, philosophy and economics. The problem of living in a world occupied by that most insidious of creatures humanity.
Allow me to explain.
My current essay project is a written report for a fictional pressure group seeking to reinforce the united nations principal of humanitarian intervention. Heady stuff I am sure you agree. As the subject matter is interventions in nation states to prevent genocides and ethnic cleansing. A side of humanity which is it has to be said not its best. That is, of course, an understatement. Humanity has a history of horrendous murderous action, for reasons of race, religion or just one group seeking power over another at the end of a blade. We are a sadly vicious bunch. The example of the Nazis and the holocaust is the most obvious example of the worst of humanity, but at least, we can recall that the Nazis and there evil ideology was defeated in 1945.
Here in however is the source of my current malaise, in researching for the essay I needed to find out about genocides committed since the end of world war 2, which is a number of horrifying size.
Most everyone will know of the genocides of Rwanda and Cambodia. Others will have heard of the killings in Sierra Leone or partition India. These are however the tip of a bloody and nasty iceberg. The numbers make dreadful reading.
The +genocide watch lists them all, in the kind of detail no one wants to read and everyone perhaps should. I am not going to go into details here, if only because I have no wish to depress myself with figures, I shall only say no matter what you think the number of genocides is since the end of WW2 your probably wrong and thinking of too low a number. The link below will take you to genocide watch and you can look for yourself. Which is something everyone who votes, everyone who has ever listened to racist rhetoric or religious bigotry, or anyone who has ever sat next to someone telling a joke about 'those other people' should do.
Genocide is an ongoing evil in the human condition. It is the worst of our nature, it is something we should all be aware of. It something we should all try to stop .

Monday, 25 January 2016

pointless things of wonderfulness #2

Just because I got home today to find another small package I had forgotten about that put a smile on my face when I opened it ......

Stormtrooper cuff links from the same place as the millennium falcon bottle opener.

randomness is good ;)

Politics a bit of a rant

(wrote this on my phone a couple of days ago while waiting for my girlfriend in a sports centre drinking a latte and generally passing time. so its a bit of a rant and perhaps not overly insightful , but then again so is most political commentary) 

There is something strange in the waters of British and American politics.
This to be fair is nothing new,  politics has always had its odd side on both sides of the political fence. The right has always had its reactionary's, bigots and let us be honest here, racists and sexist's. Meanwhile, the liberal left has had its own radical's, whom are perhaps a little more loveable than the extreme right, but are no less extreme in their views.
There is an old saying, born a liberal die a conservative, but some of us never grow out of the liberal.
In Britain we have the return of the left, battling its age-old battles. Trying so had to do what it feels is right, Corban wants to scrap trident, yet has to face off with unions which want to preserve trident jobs, so comes up with the compromise of nuclear subs with no nuclear warheads. An insane compromise being forced upon him to safeguard a few jobs and keep the unions on board. Insane because the money it would cost could be spent creating so many jobs elsewhere. The right wing media rightly ridicules the idea. A sentence I never expect to write.....
Meanwhile in the USA, we have the radical right with its cheerleader billionaire Donald Trump, whose increasingly insane ideas would be as laughable as his hair, and boy do we laugh if he was not the leading republican candidate. There have been other radical right wing politicians with funny hair that were laughable, one of them did remarkably well in the German elections in the 1930's. Remember how that turned out?
Comparing Trump to a failed Austrian art students political ascension may seem far fetched. Just as far fetched as believing America could elect someone  to the Whitehouse who openly spouts idiotic racist ideas. This is however an America who elected G.W.Bush twice, accepted the patriot act and  whose poorest states tend to be the most republican.
There is a prevalent belief that the British left is unelectable. Just as there is an equally prevalent belief that the American right is unelectable. But despite a right-leaning media in Britain and deceiving polls, there is a groundswell of support for a more left-leaning labour party. Why? Well because there is a generation that has grown to middle age that has lived through centralist politics and Blairite hypocrisy's. Labour lost the last election not through been too far to the left, but by remaining in the same centralist tory lite they had moved to in the Blair-Brown era which lost them the previous election. Though under Margret Beckets' report this week into the defeat labour has blamed everyone but themselves.
Centralism has had its day as a political position because apathy among the electorate has had its day. Both in America and the UK. The extremes now have more draw as people look for solutions to the mess centralism has given us. The downside of wanting to have a real choice is that the electorate may not choose what you want. Which leaves us with the prospect of an extreme right wing in Washington and a left wing political move in Westminster.
Democracy, Churchill's 'least worst way to run the world', seems poised to throw a curve ball at us , to use an Americanism,  or bowl us a googly to use the British equivalent. There is something in the water, and the electorates of the two nations could give us a whole new ball game.

What's the curse about interesting times?....

Friday, 22 January 2016

pointless things of wonderfulness #1

There is a wonderful moment when the post arrives and within it is that thing that you bought from next to nothing over the internet then forgot entirely about. It's a moment of unexpected joy generally involving the most utterly pointless of things, and like all such moments, it is fleeting. But then we live in a fleeting age.
All the same for the cost of a couple of dollars postage and nothing else I had such a fleeting moment of joy this morning when unexpectedly this arrived in the post.

Yes, a Millennium Falcon bottle opener
Because when all is said and done sometimes the utterly pointless is also utterly wonderful

While I seldom endorse any commercial website I should perhaps put the link for the sellers here...  if anyone else wants one. Because there is little point in being a Geek if you don't share your absurd passions with the world. Indeed, that is more or less the definition of geekdom in my opinion. Loving something and wanting to share that love with the world. It doesn't matter what it is, its wanting to share your passion that makes you a geek.
A nerd, on the other hand, is one who wants to keep the secret knowledge of their passion to themselves.
This is I admit my own definition, but I find almost everyone is a geek about something, just wanting the rest of the world to fall in love with their own pointless things of wonderfulness.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


 Strange signs and portents appearing everywhere 

what could this mean 

never in the same place long 

find the strangest of visitors 

coming soon ......

Or as soon as I get past the next draft, proofreaders and the hell of self-publication angst