Posts Tagged “shrill”

I was in the UK for 5 days a couple of weeks ago. It cost me 70CHF in roaming charges. 12CHF for 120kb of data works out to 100CHF per mb (or 100,000CHF per gb).




62 Richest people in the world according to Oxfam (2014)
1. Bill Gates ($76bn)
2. Carlos Slim Helu & family ($72bn)
3. Amancio Ortega ($64bn)
4. Warren Buffett ($58.2bn)
5. Larry Ellison ($48bn)
6. Charles Koch ($40bn)
7. David Koch ($40bn)
8. Sheldon Adelson ($38bn)
9. Christy Walton & family ($36.7bn)
10. Jim Walton ($34.7bn)
11. Liliane Bettencourt & family ($34.5bn)
12. Stefan Persson ($34.4bn)
13. Alice Walton ($34.3bn)
14. S. Robson Walton ($34.2bn)
15. Bernard Arnault & family ($33.5bn)
16. Michael Bloomberg ($33bn)
17. Larry Page ($32.3bn)
18. Jeff Bezos ($32bn)
19. Sergey Brin ($31.8bn)
20. Li Ka-shing ($31bn)
21. Mark Zuckerberg ($28.5bn)
22. Michele Ferrero & family ($26.5bn)
23. Karl Albrecht ($25bn)
24. Aliko Dangote ($25bn)
25. Carl Icahn ($24.5bn)
26. George Soros ($23bn)
27. David Thomson & family ($22.6bn)
28. Lui Che Woo ($22bn)
29. Dieter Schwarz ($21.1bn)
30. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud ($20.4bn)
31. Forrest Mars Jr ($20bn)
32. Jacqueline Mars ($20bn)
33. John Mars ($20bn)
34. Jorge Paulo Lemann ($19.7bn)
35. Lee Shau Kee ($19.6bn)
36. Theo Albrecht Jr & family ($19.3bn)
37. Steve Ballmer ($19.3bn)
38. Leonardo Del Vecchio ($19.2bn)
39. Len Blavatnik ($18.7bn)
40. Mukesh Ambani ($18.6bn)
41. Alisher Usmanov ($18.6bn)
42. Michael Otto & family ($18.4bn)
43. Phil Knight ($18.4bn)
44. Masayoshi Son ($18.4bn)
45. Tadashi Yanai & family ($17.9bn)
46. Gina Rinehart ($17.7bn)
47. Mikhail Fridman ($17.6bn)
48. Michael Dell ($17.5bn)
49. Susanne Klatten ($17.4bn)
50. Abigail Johnson ($17.3bn)
51. Viktor Vekselberg ($17.2bn)
52. Lakshmi Mittal ($16.7bn)
53. Vladimir Lisin ($16.6bn)
54. Cheng Yu-tung ($16.2bn)
55. Joseph Safra ($16bn)
56. Paul Allen ($15.9bn)
57. Leonid Mikhelson ($15.6bn)
58. Anne Cox Chambers ($15.5bn)
59. Iris Fontbona & family ($15.5bn)
60. Francois Pinault & family ($15.5bn)
61. Azim Premji ($15.3bn)
62. Mohammed Al Amoudi ($15.3bn)


Katy has been in the hospital for close to 3 weeks now, and we’re still not sure when she’s coming home. Every time she talks with a doctor or nurse,  she gets a different, partially overlapping bit of information. The left graft completely failed. You’ll need to have another operation. We’re not sure when. It’s infected. No, it’s not infected. Oh, it’s partially taken so we’ll keep you in to try and save it. You might not need to have another operation. But you probably will need one. We’ll reassess on Monday. Or maybe Friday.

God damn it, try and give a consistent message. I get that it’s an inexact process, and you do need to wait and see, but don’t jerk us around like this. We need to try and make plans around all of this.

I’ve been hearing a high-pitched whine for the last couple of hours. It’s been getting louder and louder. It’s been driving me completely batshit. Katy, who will undoubtedly read this, will shake her head and groan because I’m prone to hearing things like this. Even though I’m completely deaf at some frequencies – generally when she’s talking to me – I can zero in to some noises and begin to obsess about them. Which is what has been happening. I know that some of our power adapters have an electric hum to them. That’s not it. Sometimes the cat water pump has air in it. That’s not it. It is a very directional noise, coming from the kitchen area. I’ve ruled out that it’s not electric or coming from an appliance by turning off the breakers to most of the front part of the apartment. It could be the building ventilation, but I can’t think where it’s coming from. It’s not coming from Bean’s cartoons. It’s not coming from the fish tanks, laptop adapters, phone and tablet chargers, lights, fluorescents, taps…..


Update: Well, shiiiiiit. Fucking facepalm.


That whistle that’s been driving me up the walls for the last 2 hours? It was coming from a bottle of coke zero left on the counter with the lid not properly screwed on.

A Grand Ayatollah in Iran has determined that access to high-speed and 3G Internet is “against Sharia” and “against moral standards.” In answer to a question published on his website, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, one of the country’s highest clerical authorities, issued a fatwa, stating “All third generation [3G] and high-speed internet services, prior to realization of the required conditions for the National Information Network [Iran’s government-controlled and censored Internet which is under development], is against Sharia and against moral and human standards.”

Internet access has been an ongoing struggle between Iran’s hardliners, who retain key bases of power in the judicial, intelligence and security branches of government and wish to maintain strict censorship and control over all information, and the 42 million Iranians—some 55% of the population—who use the Internet. Internet speed is a critical weapon in this battle, as the authorities frequently slow the speed of the Internet as a means to render it effectively useless, thereby depriving the citizenry of the online access it needs for professional, educational, and commercial use.



The elections office in Quebec is throwing cold water on a theory put forward by the Parti Quebecois on Sunday that students from elsewhere in Canada could be trying to steal the provincial election. The PQ expressed concern about media reports that an influx of English-speakers and other non-francophones from outside the province were trying to vote in the April 7 election. By late afternoon, however, the province’s chief electoral officer brought forward numbers showing there were no signs of an irregular increase in voter registration. “The abnormally high number of requests doesn’t exist,” said spokesman Denis Dion.

Still, the PQ’s strong language meant the controversy dominated Day 19 of the campaign. One PQ candidate at the news conference, justice minister Bertrand St-Arnaud, called on the province’s chief electoral officer to closely examine new attempts to register to vote. “We don’t want this election stolen by people from Ontario and the rest of Canada,” St-Arnaud said in Montreal. Another party candidate, former student leader Leo Bureau-Blouin, added he wants to make sure the election is decided by Quebecers. “We are concerned by the fact that many, many people who are not registered on the list want to be registered,” said Bureau-Blouin, who in the past has made increasing voter participation among youth a priority. PQ Leader Pauline Marois raised her own concerns later in the day.

There have been numerous media reports lately of English-speaking university students trying to register to vote. Some students complained they were turned away even though they believed they had the necessary documentation.
While Quebec’s English-language media has generally focused on those cases, French-language counterparts have sometimes presented the issue differently — as an effort by students from outside Quebec to influence the outcome of the election.

The PQ’s St-Arnaud said he found a report in Sunday’s Le Journal de Montreal particularly troubling. It described an attempt by “hundreds of Ontario students” to vote against PQ leader Pauline Marois. The parent company of Le Journal de Montreal, Quebecor, was founded by the family of Pierre Karl Peladeau, a star candidate who is running for the PQ in the election. Peladeau stepped aside as Quebecor’s CEO last year and when he announced his candidacy this month he said he would place his ownership stake in the company in a blind trust and insisted his media outlets would maintain independent coverage.

The story from Le Journal de Montreal story came after Mathieu Vandal, the head of the election revision board for a downtown Montreal riding, resigned on Friday and went public with concerns that an increased number of non-francophones were attempting to register and weren’t being adequately screened.

Dion said there had been an increase in attempts by out-of-province students to register in some ridings, but that Vandal’s comments were “alarmist” and had “exaggerated” the situation. He said the issue was further complicated because some officials didn’t understand the registration rules. That may be why a number of English-speaking students have come forward to complain they were unfairly denied the right to vote. In one case, a McGill PhD student said he was turned away even though he has lived here since 2008 and only takes three weeks vacation a year from his lab work.

Sean Beatty, a 31-year-old from British Columbia, was so frustrated he secretly recorded an exchange with elections officials and post it online, where it quickly made the rounds on social media. Beatty said he has voted previously in a federal election in Quebec, and was compelled to register in the provincial election this time because he disagrees with the PQ’s proposed charter of values. “I’m really disturbed by the way the process is set up, the idea that someone can deny you the right to vote without requesting any additional documentation or having an appeal process,” Beatty said in an interview. Beatty said he presented his passport and utility bills and that he has previously filed taxes in Quebec, though he has still has a British Columbia health card.

To register in Quebec, Dion said a voter must be a Canadian citizen and have lived in Quebec for six months. They must also have the intention of making Quebec their home, a term that’s open to interpretation.

Dion said officials also take into account other evidence, such as proof of a bank account in a Quebec institution, a Quebec health insurance card or driver’s licence, or a Quebec income tax return. The PQ’s strong stance on the voting controversy recalled complaints in the aftermath of the failed 1995 referendum, when federalists were accused of taking unfair measures to boost the Yes vote. Rival parties have so far avoided talking up the controversy. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard and Francois Legault, head of the Coalition party, both said they would leave the issue up to the chief electoral officer.


I had a notification of an OTA upgrade to Android KitKat for my phone. Yay, thinks I. I run the installer, everything goes well, until I notice that half of my apps have been quietly uninstalled. WTF??


This is narrow-minded, petty, xenophobic politics at its worst, where it seems that common sense an tolerance is thrown out the window. Infrastructure is collapsing and seems to be held together with duct tape and prayer, health care is suffering, companies are leaving the province because of the stupid, draconian language policies and this is what the fucking morons keep hammering on. Shit like this makes me happy I’m no longer living there to have to deal with it and doesn’t make it attractive for me to want to come back.

Should meat be displayed in butcher shop windows?

Village butcher's window display with pheasant hanging outside.

Over the weekend, a Suffolk petition triumphed, as JBS Family Butchers removed the meat hanging in its window display. The shop, in Sudbury’s Borehamgate precinct, followed the centuries-old tradition of displaying its wares in the window until it became the target of a letter campaign in the Suffolk Free Press.

“I, too, have been disgusted at the needless display of multiple mutilated carcasses on display,” wrote Ben Mowles from Great Cornard, who claimed he had been forced to suspend trips with his 12-year-old daughter to the nearby sweet shop because he would “rather not look at bloody severed pigs’ heads when buying sweets.”

It is a stark image. The father shielding his daughter’s eyes as he rushes her past the “mutilated carcasses” – which show the signs of provenance, the story of where the meat came from. He protects her from the reality of the chicken that goes into chicken nuggets, the beef that goes into beef burgers, the pork that goes into sausages. And he rushes her to Marimba sweet shop to find solace in a bar of chocolate instead.

Roger Kelsey, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders, explains that butchers’ windows have been the subject of investigation in the past. There are regulations surrounding the hygiene of hanging fur and feather alongside pre-prepared meat. “But this is different,” Kelsey says. “This is public opinion, branding butchers’ windows too gruesome.”

At butchers M Feller Son & Daughter in Oxford, it is quite a different story. Far from hiding his produce behind the counter, Michael Feller hangs it outside the shop to attract custom. There are often woodcock, pheasants, wild boar and even whole Père David’s deer on display. “We do have complaints,” says Feller, “but the reaction is an overwhelmingly good one – particularly at Christmas, where the window is a real draw. It is important people remember where their meat comes from,” says Feller, whose grandchildren recently joined the family business.

“The problem is that supermarkets tell us what cuts we’re allowed to eat. They wrap it and package it, and people forget that pork loin ever even came from a pig. My customers often come here for sweetbreads or testicles and other interesting cuts, but as soon as you start to target independent butchers, all this will disappear.”

Richard Balson, manager of Dorset butchers RJ Balson & Sons, expresses dismay at the petition. “The people kicking up a fuss about this man have gone soft. They’ve lost touch with reality,” he says. “When our family business was founded in 1515, the animals would have been walked into the middle of the towns, where they’d be slaughtered in front of everyone,” he says. “I appreciate that it’s a completely different world that we live in now. But this is over the top – it’s the minority kicking up a fuss, and the minority have too much power.”

Danny Lidgate, from Holland Park butchers, agrees that the petition is based on a minority opinion, but it’s one he is willing to listen to. “There’s always going to be 5-10% of the people who take offence. They’re going to be the ones who are most vocal about it,” he says. Lidgate has decided not to hang carcasses in his window. Instead, he displays cuts of meat, alongside roses hand-carved out of animal fat and seasonal vegetables.

“I want people to think ‘look at those lovely lamb chops’ – not ‘oh my goodness, there’s a whole pig dangling in the window’. Lots of art galleries purposefully display shocking work to generate a reaction. Sometimes it’s a good reaction, sometimes it’s bad. But either way, it provokes some sort of reaction – and that’s what lots of people choose to do in butchers’ windows.”

In Framlingham, 30 miles north-east of the Borehamgate precinct, butcher John Hutton shares Lidgate’s opinion. Hutton is proud of his window display – but admits that he would draw the line at a whole pig’s head. “A good old rib of beef is a lovely thing to look at,” he says. “But a pig’s head … I don’t know, it might offend more than please.”

His reasoning is based purely on aesthetics, and is certainly not through any attempt to obscure the reality of where the meat comes from. In fact, his meat delivery arrives in a van from the abattoir round the time that children are walking back from school, past the butchers. “They’re not squeamish at all,” he says. “The whole pig carcasses come off the back of the lorry, and it doesn’t seem to bother them in the slightest. If anything, they’re intrigued, and their parents like it, because they know they’re buying meat cut from the whole carcass.”

Back in the Borehamgate precinct, Richard Nicholson, the assistant manager at JBS Family Butchers, is overwhelmed by the public support. The butcher’s window was a topic of debate on both Radio Suffolk and Radio Norfolk. The butchers has since been inundated with phone calls from people encouraging the owners to put the meat back in the windows. “Ultimately we’re just a small shop. Our priority is to do what’s right for the business,” Nicholson says. “We’re leaving it down to the public to decide – if they think that’s how a butcher’s window should look, then we’ll put the display back. If not, then we’ll keep it down.”

Emphasis, mine. People need to realize that meat doesn’t come in a nice plastic-wrapped tray from Tesco. Your steak goes MOOOOOO, your bacon goes OINK and your chicken breast is a stupid, smelly bird that goes CLUCK. These are not mutilated carcasses. Show some respect for the food you’re eating, for f’n sake.