Friday, 16 April 2010

British Politics embraces reality TV

British politics has taken a new turn with the first ever live Prime Ministerial TV Debate, the first of three. Interestingly equal footing has been given to the three biggest parties, the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal parties, even though the Liberal party has always been the third place party.

What this has meant is that the Liberal leader Nick Clegg has been given the kind of platform and exposure the former Liberal leaders could have only dreamt of. And by and large as Gordon Brown and David Cameron traded insults, Nick Clegg come out as the winner in the debate, distancing himself from his rivals and remaining dignified and confidently presenting his parties policies. David Cameron on the other hand did not look comfortable with the jibes from Gordon Brown when he was pressed on specific policies, so we can expect this to be exploited in later debates.

It's all good fun anyway at a time when the British public thinks many politicians are just crooks and scoundrels, fiddling their expense claims and selling their serivices as lobbyists to the highest bidder.

This was real Reality TV and a lot of newspapers in Britain have been speculating on how this will change the course of the election. I think they should lock all the leaders of all the political parties in the Big Brother House for four weeks and then let the public vote for who to lead the country at the end. This will ensure that the fascades all come down and the politicians will be exposed as they really are.

When you can't trust the politicians and you can't trust the church, what is their left to believe in?.....TV perhaps

John Clese takes 1500km taxi ride

John Cleese apparently has apparently paid 30 000 Norweigian Kroner to take a 1500 km taxi ride from Oslo to Brussels! He'll have to shoot a third series of Fawlty Towers to pay for this one!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Time to sort out Iceland

Speaking as an Englishman I have to ask, what the hell is going on with Iceland? Fist they loose all our money now they are closing our airspace. It's all a bit much and something should be done. I hope the next UK government will address this...possibly through invasion, since all the conflicts Britain are involved with right now are on the other side of the world it would be nice to have something closer to home, so the troops could get back at weekends and would not have to miss out on things like children's birthdays etc..

Sunday, 11 April 2010

HTC Desire: The perfect mobile phone?

Being an engineer and a Sci-Fi geek I started to think some years ago what my perfect mobile phone would be. At the time I was using my phone a lot for looking at text based WAP pages, mostly news sites. What I really missed was the chance to browse real web pages and so I thought the ultimate phone would have to maximise the screen area and this meant the keyboard would have to go. I was working for a company that used touchscreen technology and I always thought that a big touch screen would be perfect.

This was years before the Iphone but it seams I was really on to something. All the big players now have a big screen touch phone and the one I want is the HTC Desire. My wife has the HTC HD2, which is really nice but runs Windows and I want an Android phone.

Unfortunately I still have 6 months to go before my contract runs out on my existing phone, which means I will probably be looking for the generation after the Desire. Then I will be able to watch YouTube on the bus, browse the web and listen to music without ever having to drag my laptop out. I might even make some phone calls, although thanks to facebook, that seams unlikely.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Pope Covers up Sex Scandal - Is this a Man of God?

The scandal surrounding the complicity of Pope Benedict XVI in covering up sex abuse scandals by priests may just have found its smoking gun. In a letter to a Bishop in the US (Pope to be) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger writes that 'for the good of the Universal Church' there was no need to defrock US priest Stephen Kiesle and that he should be afforded 'as much paternal care as possible'.

Kiesle is was given a six year sentence in 2004 for molesting a young girl and he is now on the sex offenders register.

This just goes to show the endemic attitude of secrecy in the Catholic Church, keeping all the priestly misdemeanour's quiet, gently moving priests around to avoid any hint of a public scandal that might risk undermining the authority of the the church. But the truth is coming out now and the church is such a slow moving conservative institution it is very ill equipped to cope with this kind of publicity. In true Catholic style the response from Rome has been subdued to say the least, as the leaders of the Church struggle with how to admit responsibility without loosing face.

I hope before this comes to an end those priests who have knowingly engaged in covering up these abuses come clean and seek forgiveness from the congregations they serve and retire from the priesthood. At the best what they have done is deeply immoral and at worst criminally negligent in placing vulnerable children at risk. I also hope the authorities will look into bringing criminal charges against priests who knew crimes were being committed and stood by and did nothing.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Ipad Smashing on YouTube - Social Comment or Self Indulgence

I wonder of this vogue of smashing expensive bits of technology up is actually serving a psychological purpose by demonstrating that however much our lives are dominated by technology we are in control, masters of the technology and not to be enslaved by it (at least until we build Skynet, the Cylons or Nexus 6's). Watching people club computers and plasma TVs and Ipads to bits on Youtube always makes me think of the Apes knocking the crap out of each other in 2001 A Space Odyssey, its that kind of base animal instinct to show the technology that we are the boss, we are in control.

Of course of an alternative view is that this was just some rich kid looking for his 5 minutes of fame and some gratuitous self publicity and with nearly 1.5million views so far, he's sure getting it, which is not bad for only 499dollars investment. In fact this could be a great new source of advertising revenue if the corporate sponsors jump on the bandwagon...

.'The Nokia X11, smashed up in association with Coca Cola'.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Trampoline related injuries season opens

Now spring has arrived and the snow is finally melting, life is returning to the gardens of Sweden. First come the snow drops, then the tulips, then the dandelions (maskrosor) and then the trampolines.

Never, the most discrete addition to a garden, trampolines at least give the kids something fun to do and keeps the little blighters occupied for a few hours. That's the theory anyway. The truth can be somewhat different as trampoline related injuries begin to ramp up as the weather improves. In Göteborg on Sunday there were two children who left the barn akuten with broken limbs after playing on trampolines and the staff knowingly commented on how this was just the beginning of the season.

How do I know this? Because one of them was my three year old daughter who had earlier being jumping around with her cousins before landing badly.

Now I know that if you have side protectors and make sure its only one child at a time jumping then this minimises the risk, but come on, how often do you see that rule enforced. When the kids can jump climb on and start jumping, often with no adult supervision, you can't predict what might happen. I have learnt a valuable lesson as a parent, I just feel bad my daughter is the one who has to pay the consequence.

Today, when I waked into Toys R Us and saw a stack of trampolines mounted one on top of the other like a pyramid, with special offers and reduced prises, I just wanted to run up and rip them all down.

My daughter is doing well though and amazes me every day with how she has learnt to get around with one leg in plaster. I just need to find her something safer to play with when she finally gets the damn thing taken off.