David Noble's Blog

Friday, September 15, 2006

HOWTO knit a pair of Converse All-Stars

HOWTO knit a pair of Converse All-Stars

Cory Doctorow: A Crafster community member made a pair of Converse shoes and sewed them onto a set of Converse soles whose uppers had worn away. After sewing on the Chuck Taylor All-Star ankle patches, the outcome was a dementedly fabulous pair of frankentennies.

I knit a pair of converse shoes. I'd had this idea for aaages, but just recently conned someone into giving me an old pair. I cut off all the fabric, save for about a 1/4 inch along all the edges, and knit pieces to sew in place. They didn't take a very long time to make- the hardest part was sewing everything together. Ugh! I think the effort was worth it, and they're actually really strong. I played a game of baseball in them the other day, and they've held up just fine!
Link (Thanks, Aija!)

Monday, September 11, 2006

I meant to blog about this when i read the story in the paper, but i forgot. For some reason over the weekend, I mentioned it to a friend who was interested and reminded me to post about it. Briefly, a company called Steorn have claimed to have created a machine that can 'make' energy. Now, i stop studying physics fairly early, and thus a long time ago, but one of the few laws i remember was the Principle of the Conservation of Energy; that energy can never be destroyed or lost or created, only changed. In order for their claim to be true, they must be getting out more energy than they are putting in, which according to the laws of physics, is impossible.

Suffice to say there's been huge controversy, and they are attempting to assemble a panel of 12 sceptical scientists to prove it to. I have no idea whether it's real or not. If it's not, it's either a genuine mistake, or a very complicated, elaborate scam (presumably into buying stock in the company when it floats or investing money etc.).

If it's real, of course, then it will, and this is no exageration, change the world forever. Free energy, no need to dig up oil or coal, no need to build nuclear powerstations, no harmful emissions destroying the environment etc etc and so on.

Read the story, look at their website. Make your own mind up. Guardian Unlimited story

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Why I miss Dorset part 42

So many things to be proud of from my home county, but surely nothing better than the fact that Dorset donkeys make the best team! Over-excited? Me?

Bruno wins top beach donkey prize

A six-strong herd of donkeys in Weymouth are named as Britain's Best Group of Beach Donkeys.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Vote Blue Go Pink -Would You Like to Come up And See My Surgery Sometime?

Ian Dale has blogged about an interesting new initiative by Greenwich Tory councillors to hold surgeries exclusively for gay and lesbian residents.

It seems very confused to me. It says that they <i>will be holding surgeries relating to LGBT issues</i>, but it also says that <i>Any resident of the borough wanting to discuss issues relating to council activities, including housing, civil partnerships, and council tax can come along to the surgeries without an appointment during the allotted time. </i> which is pretty well what would happen at any surgery anway, so what is really so special about this?

There are numerous issues that some LGBT residents might worry about in outing themselves to people in power, or indeed to anyone else.

It seems like it has been done to try and show that they are inclusive, but by inviting everyone else in anyway, it just shows that it's just a bit of spin

Vote Blue Go Pink -Would You Like to Come up And See My Surgery Sometime?


Friday, September 01, 2006

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - The Calcutta Affair

I don't often blog Boing Boing stories, mainly because they have a gazillion more readers than I ever will, but this was one I had to post. Some fantastic sole has posted up on Flickr

BoingBoing reader Jeremiah Britt says,
Knowing how much you guys love the random, beautiful and bizarre ephemera of yesteryear, I scanned in the illustrations from the Big Little Book "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - The Calcutta Affair". The poses are awkward, some of the panel art ridiculous and the captions surreal. It's especially amusing without the context of the text. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

UK Parliament report damns DRM, calls for reins on crippleware

News on one of my pet hates, DRM. Seems like our dear leaders have paid attention to the huge fuck-ups in the US and hopefully we won't have anything as bad over here. Fingers crossed...

UK Parliament report damns DRM, calls for reins on crippleware

Cory Doctorow: The UK All Party Parliamentary Internet Group has published a paper on DRM today that makes a number of very progressive recommendations on DRM in British law. The APPIG solicited public comments, and the UK Open Rights Group submitted a long, detailed set of recommendations on how to make Britain safe from copy-restriction technology. Many of the best recommendations in the APPIG mirror the ORG proposals, which suggests that Parliament is really listening to tech activists on DRM questions.

Specifically, the group recommended:

* Mandatory DRM labeling, explaining what you lose when you buy DRM technology

* Further, labeling should include information on how you'd be hurt if the DRM vendor goes out of business or if you buy new technology

* A promise of criminal prosecution the next time a Sony Rootkit DRM-style scandal crops up

* A call for investigation into the ways that DRM is used for illegal price-discrimination within the EU (e.g., charging different amounts for the same iTunes song depending on which European country you live in)

* A ban on future DRM mandates

* Action to ensure that DRM doesn't interfere with use by visually disabled people

* A promise that future DRM rules include activists and public interest groups, not just entertainment companies and DRM arms-merchants

* A rule allowing academics and security researchers to crack DRM and publish the details of their work

* Investigation into depositing non-DRM media with the nation's libraries

These reccos certainly could have gone farther, but hoo boy, would you look at that? Talk about a country bent on learning from America's dumb DRM mistakes.


(Disclosure: I'm a proud co-founder and adivsory board member for the UK Open Rights Group)

[via Boing Boing]

Everything about Victorian London

An absolutely fascinating website, this, full of letters and images of Victorian London, seems so much more realistic than boxes set in the period. I could (and probably will!) spend hours in this site.

Everything about Victorian London

[via Boing Boing]

University pay dispute resolved

So, it's over. The new union, UCU has accepted the 13.1% over 3 years that was offered, despite rejecting it last week, which is hardly an auspicious start.

University pay dispute resolved

University lecturers accept a pay deal, bringing to an end a three-month boycott of exam marking.

Jovian Storms Prepare To Duke It Out

Jovian Storms Prepare To Duke It Out

Astronomers on Earth will have ringside seats to a face-off between two of the biggest storms in the solar system.

[via SPACE.com]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cherie Scrapes the Barrell by Signing Hutton Report for Auction

I'm a little late to this story, but I have to say that I'm absolutely astounded but, on reflection, perhpas it isn't that surprising. To precis, Cherie and the icky Alistair Campbell have auctioned off signed copies of the Hutton report. The woman has NO SHAME.

Cherie Scrapes the Barrell by Signing Hutton Report for Auction

[via Iain Dale's Diary]

Monday, May 22, 2006

More tests needed for ID card technology

It's not often i blog UCL news, because frankly it's usually pretty insular, but this one is an interesting opinion, and always worth paying attention to.

More tests needed for ID card technology

The government’s development of ID card technology has been hallmarked by a disregard for testing, usability and clarity regarding remit and capabilities, according to Angela Sasse, Professor of Human-Centred Technology (UCL Computer Science).

[via UCL News]

Left to the market alone, train travel will become the preserve of the rich

Buying train tickets is one of those things that's got more complicated since the internet rather than simpler. And the prices are generally ridiculous, to the point where it's cheaper to fly to Scotland than take the train, with all the additional environmental impacts that has.

Transport is one of those issues that Labour has completely failed to grasp, or even tackle, except by kow-towing to the transport lobby. If Tone wants a legacy, there's something he could really get his teeth into.

Jenni Russell: Left to the market alone, train travel will become the preserve of the rich

Jenni Russell: A baffling price structure, overcrowded carriages, soaring public subsidy - all good reasons to renationalise the railways.

London's heart of stone

It's one of those funny things, the London Stone. I've seen it once, was fascinated by it and the history, rumours and superstions attached to it, and then almost immediately forgot about it again. Every now and again it pops into my consciousness and gets me thinking about why i get a little nervy when i hear stories about it being moved or nearly getting lost. I don't know why, i'm not a superstitious person on the whole, but I really don't know if I'd want the stone moved. I suppose if they do move it, it should only be temporary while the new buildings are built, then put back in time for 2012.

London's heart of stone

[via BBC News | England | London | UK Edition]

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bye Elections

Democracy in action in Chichester as Labour trail in 5th, behind the BNP and UKIP with a might 14 votes. Not 14%, but 14 individual votes. On the plus side, at least there'll be no accusations of electoral fraud...

Bye Elections

West Lindsey DC, Lea - Liberal Democrat gain from Independent
LD 621 (61.4; +27.3), Con 391 (38.6; +19.8), [Ind (0.0; -47.1). Majority 230. Turnout 57.4%. Last fought 2003.
Chichester DC, Tangmere - Conservative gain from Lib Dems
Con 278 (44.1; +2.9), LD 275 (43.7; -8.4), BNP 41 (6.5;+6.5), UKIP 22 (3.5; +3.5), Lab 14 (2.2; -4.5).
Majority 3. Turnout 36%. Last fought 2003.
South Kesteven DC, Truesdale - Conservative gain from Ind
Con 416 (42.2; +42.2), LD 232 (23.6; +23.6), Ind 1 171 (17.4; -82.6), Ind 2 166 (16.9; +16.9). Majority 184. Turnout 27.7%. Last fought 2003.
Wyre DC, Park - Con gain from Labour
Con 560 (55.1; +27.2), Lab 456 (44.9; -27.2). Majority 104. Turnout 32.0%. Last fought 2003.
East Ayrshire UA, Alton Hill, Hillhead and Long Park - SNP hold
SNP 715 (59.0; +4.4), Lab 296 (24.4; -6.8), Con 178 (14.7; +6.1), SSP 23 (1.9; -3.6). Majority 419. Turnout 42.2%. Last fought 2003.
Hambleton DC, Thirsk - Conservative hold
Con 700 (61.0; +34.2), LD 286 (24.9; +5.8), Lab 161 (14.0; -10.9), [Ind (0.0; -29.1)]. Majority 414. Turnout 25.5%.. Last fought 2003

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Best FA cup final ever? Quite probably. Were it not for Istanbul almost exactly a year ago, I'd say probably the best cup final i've ever seen.

Steven Gerrard is clearly some sort of god

Friday, May 05, 2006

Clarke axed in Cabinet reshuffle

Thank god. The only problem is the even more rubbish Reid has replaced him. Surprised Kelly stayed, and very surprised that Straw has taken the bullet for Blair's foreign policy cock-ups.

EDIT: I was premature, Kelly has gone, replaced by Alan Johnston. Prescott loses his department, which goes to Ruth Kelly. Margaret Beckett becomes the first female Foreign Sectretary, which will be very interesting, especially with Ms Rice.

Clarke axed in Cabinet reshuffle

Charles Clarke has been axed as home secretary as Tony Blair seeks to regain momentum after local election losses.

Blair - I blame John

Clearly, it can't be anything to do with El Presidente.

Prescott to lose job in reshuffle

Blair reshuffles cabinet in wake of local election losses.

Schools should set bedtimes, parents say

I wonder how many of these parents also complain about the Nanny State trying to control everything they do.

Schools should set bedtimes, parents say

Parents increasingly want schools to set bedtimes for children and many feel their children are watching inappropriate shows before bed, a new survey shows.

63-year-old to become Britain's oldest mother

So, when the child is going through the trauma of being a teenager, first loves, sex, self-concious image, maybe questions about sexuality, its mother will be in her mid-to-late 70s, assuming she's still alive. When the child is stressing through A levels, its mum will be 79. When the child graduates, she'll be 85.

I'm glad that Patricia Rashbrook isahppy to be pregnant, but it's a shame her selfishness is most likely going to put her newest child through unneccesary emotional pain for totally selfish reasons. It's not like this would have been her only child. This just smacks to me of a selfish woman (well couple) who can't re-adjust to not being so needed by her children anymore, and has decided to have another to self-validate. I pity the child.

63-year-old to become Britain's oldest mother

Society: Child psychiatrist set to become Britain's oldest mother says she is very happy to be pregnant.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Star Wars/LotR mashup - see Gandalf/Yoda disco-fight!

Star Wars/LotR mashup - see Gandalf/Yoda disco-fight!

Brilliant,  simply brilliant. When geeks sit down and create, the world should stop and take notice!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Boy, 16, executes father's killer

That is terribly sad.

Boy, 16, executes father's killer

A teenage Somali boy stabs and kills the man convicted of murdering his father, in a public Sharia law execution.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The British: Just Like Us, But Better

This is, obviously, from an American blog! Just wait till news of more Prescott infidelities break!

The British: Just Like Us, But Better

Striking similarities exist between the U.S. and British governments. Consider the following ways in which the Brits are just like us:

  • they view their current government as “sleazy and incompetent”;

  • due in part to an unpopular war, their leader’s approval rating is languishing in the low 30’s, an all-time low; and

  • various administration officials are now the subject of repeated and vociferous resignation calls.

In addition, Tony Blair, just like President Bush, has a hard-drinking kid who sometimes gets a little out of control.

So why are the British better than we are? Well, they currently have a sex scandal going on in the administration:

[Deputy Prime Minister John] Prescott’s former secretary, Tracey Temple, 43, has accused Prescott of having an affair with her, which included liaisons in his office and in a hotel room just before they joined Prescott’s wife, Pauline, for dinner downstairs….

[Temple also] alleged that she and Prescott often had sexual relations behind the desk in his office, with the door left open. She said one sexual encounter at his taxpayer-funded apartment took place immediately after the two had attended an Iraq war memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

We can’t let our former colonial masters get the better of us like this. Please, someone tell us about a Bush Administration sex scandal that’s just waiting to be exposed! We’ve blogged extensively about those congressional hookers; but that didn’t come as a surprise, given how Members enjoy living the high life. Right now we’d like to learn about lust within a famously disciplined executive branch.

(Random observation: Gale Norton sure left office quickly, and with surprisingly little commentary or media attention devoted to her departure. What’s up with that?)

Sex Scandal, Low Ratings Are Latest Setbacks to Blair Government [WP]
Report: Blair’s Son Gets Rowdy in D.C. Bar [WT/UPI]

Earlier: Hooker/Cunningham/WatergateGate: Who Didn’t Get Hookers?
Boring Ol’ Congressional Corruption Case NOW WITH HOOKERS

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Related: A Few Good Men -- and Their Tattoos, Too

[via Wonkette]

Is union man back?

There's an interesting piece in the New Statesman about the potential re-growth in importance of the Trades Unions. Clearly depending on your politics will determine whether this is a good thing or not, but as far as I'm concerned, it has to be, if only to stop Labbour's continuing drift to the right. However, for me the big problem for the unions is their inept management an infighting. The continuing trend for mergers threatens to undermine the whole movement by homogenising the membership.

Is union man back?

As public sector workers get restive and rich donors back off, the Labour Party is being forced to reassess the importance of the trade unions. The balance of power is starting to shift, reports Martin Bright

Clamping the clampers!!

Ahhh, there are stories that you just want to read on a bank holiday Monday morning, and sticking it to 'the man' are always near the top of the list!

Clamping the clampers!!