Not Saussure

June 18, 2007

Back shortly …

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 5:15 pm

… probably on Tuesday or Wednesday; it is, people will be relieved to know, real life rather than Second Life that is demanding my attention at the moment, though personally I’d much rather the problems to which I have presently to attend were in a virtual rather than the real world.


June 9, 2007

More Unfortunate logos

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 6:38 am

Via Andrew Sullivan. The London Olympics are, it seems, not the only people with an unfortunate logo brand, as an examination of this collection — which includes the London 2012 logo — will verify. Here, for example, is the logo for the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, apparently representing a stylised oriental pagoda in front of the rising sun. It’s not clear if they spent £400,000 on it:

This received some publicity in Boing Boing a couple of years ago, and the university rather unsportingly took down the relevant web-page.

This one, for a computer repair company, is pretty unfortunate, too:

June 7, 2007

Breaking news! Rachel’s stalker caught

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 7:45 pm

This just in, from the Oxford Mail (heads up via Unity)

Cyberstalker Felicity Jane Lowde has been caught by police as she sat in an Internet cafe typing away.Lowde, 41, has been on the run since April after she was convicted of harassing July 7 bombing survivor Rachel North with dozens of abusive messages on the Internet.

Lowde, from Jackson Road in Cutteslowe, Oxford, was not at court when she was convicted and continued to post messages on the web attacking Miss North, 36, and others.

Miss North, from London, survived the Piccadilly Line blast and began a web blog to campaign for an inquiry into the 2005 terrorist attack.

Shortly afterwards, Lowde began posting her messages to her, among them an accusation that she was “making a living on the backs of the dead”. She also criticised her in her own blogs.

But last night Lowde was in custody after police arrested her in a cybercafé in Brick Lane in east London.

Police have been trying to trace Lowde through her internet usage and asked the Oxford Mail for IP addresses of computers she was believed to be using to post messages on the newspaper’s website, It is understood someone began communicating with Lowde over the Internet this week, allowing officers to trace her to the cybercafe and arrest her.

Lowde is due to be sentenced by Stratford magistrates on June 28 for the harrassment charge. The maximum sentence she could face is six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.

Speaking after Lowde’s arrest, Miss North said: “I’m very relieved, because all I’ve ever wanted is for her to leave me alone. The fact that she is now in custody means tonight I can sleep safely.

“It’s great that she has finally been brought to justice after attempting to evade it for so long.”

While Miss North could not comment on the events leading up to Lowde’s arrest, she said she knew information supplied by the Oxford Mail had helped police in tracking her down.

Daniel Hart, 34, from Cowley, revealed last week that he was also subjected to 15 months of harassment after he designed graphics for Lowde’s blog.

Mr Hart has taken on a solicitor to have the offensive material removed from the Internet but the bizarre postings are still largely in place.

Mr Hart said last night: “I am extremely relieved that she is now in custody because she will not be able to continue these bizarre postings. I feel much more relaxed and I am hoping that court action will start the process of removing the offensive material from the website.”

Lowde has previously declined a request to speak to the Oxford Mail, but maintained her innocence on her blog, in which she claims to be ‘an authorised Special Branch researcher’.

Sgt Colin Brooker, of Thames Valley Police, confirmed yesterday that Lowde had been arrested on Wednesday night.

June 5, 2007

The death of the author

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 11:15 pm

Via The Flying Rodent’s comments the Postmodernism Essay Generator. Just click the refresh button every so often.

June 4, 2007

Don’t try this at home

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 9:17 pm

Via Boing Boing.

Chap in America –where else — buys a taser as a present for his wife. He thinks to himself,

if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and taser in the other. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

All the while I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5″ long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference, (pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, “No possible waaay!”

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I’ll do my best…..I’m sitting there alone, [my cat,] Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as if to say, “Don’t do it Master.” Reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn’t hurt all that bad….I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and … HOLY MOTHER ..WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION…@!@$$!%!@*!!!

I’m pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, “Do it again, do it again!”

Update: Boing Boing have now updated their story with the warning it may be apocryphal. Here’s Snopes’ take on it. Made me laugh, though, true or not.

That Olympic brand

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 7:39 pm

Olympic Logo

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: “This is an iconic brand that sums up what London 2012 is all about – an inclusive, welcoming and diverse Games that involves the whole country.

“It takes our values to the world beyond our shores, acting both as an invitation and an inspiration.

“This is not just a marketing logo, but a symbol that will become familiar, instantly recognisable and associated with our Games in so many ways during the next five years.”

Despite this, the new logo brand for the London Olympics seems to be causing a degree of ribald hilarity. For the considered professional opinion of a graphic designer, see The Devil’s Kitchen. The Thunderdragon, Mr Eugenides and Tim Worstall are also among those on the case (though Tim is apparently confused by references to Lisa Simpson in all this).

Meanwhile, Theo Spark has put his animation skills to good use:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Update: The Telegraph isn’t too impressed, either;

Mesmerised as if confronting a nasty incident in traffic, we gaze at the Olympic logo. It is a puerile mess, an artistic flop and a commercial scandal.

though I still think Mr Spark demonstrates that a picture is worth a thousand words, at least in this case.

GoatseBBCUPDATE 2: user The Coast of Yemen aka Sean Stayte, managed to get this Goatse variant onto the BBC news website. The BBC pulled the picture shortly after Boing Boing publicised his little joke, but not before it had been broadcast on national TV.

UPDATE 3: (Via Mr Eugenides)

A segment of animated footage promoting the 2012 Olympic Games has been removed from the organisers’ website after fears it could trigger epileptic fits.

Prof Graham Harding, who developed the test used to measure photo-sensitivity levels in TV material, said it should not be broadcast again.

Charity Epilepsy Action said it had received calls from people who had suffered fits after seeing it.

June 3, 2007

The Weird Converter

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 11:53 pm

People will doubtless be aware that you can do conversions using the Google Calculator,and some rather strange conversions it’ll do, too; the speed of light, for example, is apparently 5.36493304 × 109furlongs per hour (a useful piece of information, as I’m sure most people would agree).

However, Google does have its limitations. Until now, people wanting know, for example, the weight of an average Blue Whale expressed in terms of average African Elephants or the weight of a male Polar Bear expressed in terms of average American women* have found little assistance. I am delighted, therefore, to have discovered The Weird Converter, via Boing Boing, which which will perform these, and many more, strange conversions. It does some equally surreal ones with length.

*One Blue Whale = 28.8649690480 Elephants; one Polar Bear = 6.0773480663 American women.

June 2, 2007

A low-cost president for Great Britain?

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 5:47 pm

Via Tim Worstall, the news that Peter Tatchell wants the UK to become a Republic (hold the front page, I know) and that, anticipating the objection we’d end up with President Blair, Mr Tachell writes,

But a US-Style president is not what most republicans want. I favour a low-cost, purely ceremonial, elected president, like the German and Irish presidents

For some un-earthly reason, Tim thinks this means we’d end up with President John Prescott, which rather implies the term ‘low-cost’ can’t mean quite the same to a member of the international scandium oligopoly as it does to the rest of us.

Who would we have, though, as our low-cost, purely ceremonial, elected president? Tim’s obviously disqualified, because low-cost and keeping him in the style to which he’s clearly accustomed wouldn’t be compatible. David Beckham is, presumably, ruled out on similar grounds.

Off the top of my head, I think it would have to be either James Higham or Alan Bennett, two very different but both very British chaps, either of whom would do a fine job, at, I’m sure, very reasonable rates. I’m open to other nominations, though. Possibly the Flying Rodent, as a sop to the Scot Nats. Welshcakes Limoncello would be another obvious choice, but but she’d have to live here to do the job and I doubt we’ll get her to return from Sicily.

June 1, 2007

Rachel’s stalker in the Oxford Mail

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 10:27 pm

I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all . . . like an opera.

W B Yeats

Well, it’s certainly getting rather operatic, and grimly amusing, in the columns of the Oxford Mail at the moment.

Backstory, via Rachel: the Oxford Mail carried a splash news story about Felicity Jane Lowde, recently convicted of harassing Rachel through a vicious and sustained campaign of cyberstalking, Internet hunt for cyber stalker’. The paper also carried a thundering editorial, ‘No Mercy for Cyber Stalker’, which starts

”Spare no sympathy for Felicity Jane Loude.
This despicable woman from Oxford can protest all she likes, but the fact is that she is a convicted criminal.

They also carry a story about another of Ms Lowde’s victims, Daniel Hart.

Anyway, Ms Lowde has added the Oxford Mail to her list of enemies, and, writing under a number of assumed names, makes her views very clear indeed in the comments to the editorial in her inimitable manner. Others take issue with her, and … well, read the rest and see.

Seriously, though, this woman clearly needs help, and it must be appalling for her family. Someone must know where she is, surely to God; loyalty to friends is all very well, but neither her psychological nor her legal problems are going to go away while she’s still at large.

At last, some good news

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 9:44 pm

From the BBC

Gurkha hero can live in Britain

A former Gurkha who won the Victoria Cross has been given the right to live in the UK.

Tul Bahadur Pun, 84, wanted to move from Nepal for medical reasons but had been told he was unable to demonstrate strong enough British ties.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne has now said his case is “exceptional” and he will be granted a visa due to a “heroic record in the service of Britain

However, Mr Byrne doesn’t seem to have said anything about Tul Bahadur Pun’s fellow Gurkhas; perhaps he considers them insufficiently heroic or not really to have done very much for Britain.

The petition on the Downing Street website

to immediately and retrospectively give all Gurkha servicemen and their immediate families past and present british citizenship

has by now apparently attracted over 12,000 signatures.

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