Blog Entries



Frustrations and the #GE2015 UK election

Posted 12-May-2015 at 01:48 PM (13:48) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Tags ,

It's not bad enough that the opposition failed to put up a credible election campaign in the British general elections, but after the full scale of the defeat became apparent, some decided to make it worse. First off, there were a few who decided to get violent at an anti-austerity demonstration in London - after someone had vandalized a memorial sculpture which was built in honour of women in WW2. There were a few Socialist Workers Party (SWP) members at the demonstration, which is what I assume...
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How to make a complaint and/or claim under the British Data Protection Act re the BlockBot team

Posted 28-Mar-2015 at 04:07 PM (16:07) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

If you are resident in Britain, the Data Protection Act, 1998, and small-claims-court proceedings, can often be an easy and cheap way of stopping someone from misusing your data. That applies to the present situation with the BlockBot, if the Blockbot team have appended false allegations about you to their blacklisting of you on their BlockBot list, including with your real name or any clear connection to your real name. A similar avenue of redress exists in Ireland too. Here is some official information...
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Tomorrow is World Suicide-Prevention Day

Posted 09-Sep-2013 at 05:52 PM (17:52) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 09-Sep-2013 at 06:12 PM (18:12) by Gurdur

... and I helped!

I was just out of hospital by one day, and I was just looking at my tweets stream last Wednesday when a tweet came up from Suicide Prevention ‏@GrassrootsSP: "#Help! We're looking for a donation of 10 white #t-shirts for World Suicide Prevention Day activities at the weekend. Can anyone help? RT pl"

Well, that sounded very nicely easy in several ways. While my cash is very limited, not being...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

More details breaking as news on the Woolwich murder attack

Posted 22-May-2013 at 10:03 PM (22:03) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-May-2013 at 02:40 AM (02:40) by Gurdur

There are details as breaking news right at this minute of the crime at Woolwich, London, in in which two attacked a victim with knife and cleaver. My last blog post was about a series of tweets from a person who was an eyewitness at the Woolwich crime scene; this blog post is about the news just breaking now, and also the already-known video footage obtained by British Channel 4 News, as well as some questions of reporting ethics.

The man shown in the video below, and in the screencapture...
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Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

Who owns the history of the winter of our discontent? A reply to Mary Beard et al

Posted 05-Feb-2013 at 11:27 AM (11:27) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 05-Feb-2013 at 11:52 AM (11:52) by Gurdur

Richard III was a king in England back in the days when a king was expected to take up sword himself, no matter how bookish or slight of build he was. Richard the Third was both bookish and slight of build, and had damage to his spine, most likely resulting in raising one shoulder a little higher than the other, making him look off-kilter. He was the very last king of England to actually die in battle, and he died bravely, fighting on despite being surrounded by foes and vastly outnumbered. ...
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Bishop Justin Welby as new Archbishop of Canterbury: nobbling the Great Sermon Handicap in the Church of England

Posted 07-Nov-2012 at 01:05 AM (01:05) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Nov-2012 at 01:00 PM (13:00) by Gurdur

The announcement came through in a very typical British fashion. The betting agency, Ladbrokes, stated it would no longer accept bets on whom would be the new Archbishop of Canterbury of the Church of England (the CofE, the established, Anglican church of England itself), "after a sudden run of bets on Bishop Justin Welby [@BishopOfDurham] – two of them from new accounts – had raised speculation that he had been chosen". This more than suggested that either someone had inside information and was...
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Upcoming meet-ups and possibilities for such

Posted 25-Sep-2012 at 06:50 PM (18:50) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Sep-2012 at 07:39 PM (19:39) by Gurdur

Taking things in chronological order:

There looks to be a good chance for a tweet-up in Berlin, say Thursday 11 October or Friday 12. Would anyone in Berlin like a meet-up on one of those days?

There seems to be a chance for a meet-up on Saturday or Sunday, 13 or 14 October, at the Weinlesefest in Neustadt an der Weinstraße (Germany). I'm not sure if this is happening, but it may.

Then I will make a real effort to get down south to the Erlangen/Nuernberg...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

A love-song to London: review of "Dodger", a historical novel by Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted 21-Sep-2012 at 07:56 PM (19:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Sep-2012 at 08:56 PM (20:56) by Gurdur

Terry Pratchett has a very new novel out, "Dodger"; he describes it as a historical fantasy. Here is the USA edition, and here is the British edition (photos of which are below this post). The novel is very much a love-letter to London, and especially to the London of the later 19th century. When Sir Terry Pratchett talked about it at the recent DiscWorld convention in Birmingham, he said he had considered writing it as a DiscWorld story, but decided not to go that way, at a remove, but instead...
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Tax Justice in Britain and internationally - dealing with tax avoidance & evasion, poverty, injustice

Posted 12-Sep-2012 at 06:44 PM (18:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 12-Sep-2012 at 07:06 PM (19:06) by Gurdur

In Britain, a new campaign is starting, one aimed at focusing on tax injustice - the problems of large corporations and the very wealthy avoiding (legally) or evading (illegally) tax, thus causing economic injustice both at home and for developing nations, especially at a time where the economy is threatened by the ongoing credit- and banking-crises affecting the West. This new campaign is being promoted through use of a travelling bus, on the Tax Justice Tour. It will all start tomorrow with a...
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Photos of the 2012 #DiscWorld #DWcon convention in Birmingham, Britain

Posted 03-Sep-2012 at 10:53 PM (22:53) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-Sep-2012 at 11:02 PM (23:02) by Gurdur

At very long last I have finished captioning 134 photographs I made of the 2012 DiscWorld DWcon convention in Birmingham, Britain. Some of the photographs are not good; partly very poor lighting was too blame, and for a few, unnoticed rainspots on my camera lens for one day. A couple of them may be duplicates. In any case, they're all now organized into a gallery on this site, and here they are.

Please be aware it is 134 photos, spread out over 6 pages. Click on any pic to see the...
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Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.

Women and men, and coffee, in 17th-century London

Posted 16-Aug-2012 at 04:42 PM (16:42) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Aug-2012 at 04:55 PM (16:55) by Gurdur

With grateful thanks to @DrAnnieGray, and also to @GentlemanSykes, here is a bit of tabloid (pamphlet) history. From 1674, London, a pamphlet against coffee allegedly being a womens' petition. Apparently this prompted a response, also in 1674, allegedly a "Mens' Answer To The Womens' Petition Against Coffee".

As to what was really going on, my guess is various commercial interests - pub owners and the like - were campaigning against the then-very-new coffee-houses, coffee as drink...
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News in science communication, 03 August 2012

Posted 03-Aug-2012 at 02:53 PM (14:53) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-Aug-2012 at 04:09 PM (16:09) by Gurdur

Some news in science communicationn (#scicomm), so here it is. First off, a new Guardian regular blog, "The H-Word", on the history of science. It's run by Rebekah Higgitt (@beckyfh) and Vanessa Heggie (‏@HPS_Vanessa), under the Guardian's history of science section (the blog also uses the Twitter hashtag #thwb). A reminder as well; if you really like history and philosophy of science, then the two Twitter hashtags #HPS and #histsci will serve you well, and the premier networker/networking publicist...
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Personal update - apologies for #Synod and meet-ups

Posted 07-Jul-2012 at 07:59 PM (19:59) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Tags , , ,

It's been a very frustrating three days. Owing to sudden complications brought about by the immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) medication, complications I hoped would die down but didn't, I am not able to attend the Church of England (CofE) synod in York at all. I had hoped at the latest to be able to fly out early this morning, and thus be there this afternoon, but it was not medically possible.

My apologies for that; please understand then problems involved. I will make very sure...
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Views 1564 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

Some very different views of British policing, past and upcoming riots

Posted 03-Jul-2012 at 06:16 PM (18:16) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-Jul-2012 at 06:30 PM (18:30) by Gurdur

The riots last year in England were predicted by many, including myself, well beforehand by six months and more. Now more riots are being predicted as a strong possibility, just at the time that the present British government is cutting police numbers savagely, just at the same time the present government is also savagely cutting social services and benefits in a large number of ways. Not a brilliant way to operate. So very far from brilliance that even medical doctors now go on strikes.
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Views 1914 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

Reporting on the Church of England synod in July - BYOC, Bring Your Own Collaboration

Posted 30-Jun-2012 at 07:52 PM (19:52) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Jun-2012 at 07:57 PM (19:57) by Gurdur

As you will know, I will travel to York and around about, Britain, in July, to report/blog on the CofE synod, and to meet as many people as I can and whom would like to meet me. There are a fair few things to note in connection with this:
I will have to make a major effort in reporting properly, and that means all sorts of things needing done or tackled. I can very much use your help to explain to me what is going on, what something means, who and what someone is.

Bring Your...
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Views 4735 Comments 1 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 18 votes, 5.00 average.

Preliminary report on the Cologne (Koeln) 2012 European Atheist Convention, Germany

Posted 26-May-2012 at 04:01 PM (16:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-May-2012 at 02:20 AM (02:20) by Gurdur

I went to the 2012 European Atheist Convention in Cologne (Köln, a.k.a. Koeln), Germany, yesterday, and will go again today (if I can; other jobs are pressing too) and tomorrow. It's a bit of a mixed bag, and this is only a preliminary report; I'll blog more in depth on aspects later. You can find the convention schedule here. Embedded here are two audio clips I made, of the speeches by Dan Parker and PZ Myers. I didn't get to do more recordings, but there was a video team at the convention, and...
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Views 9953 Comments 9 Gurdur is offline

Britain, protect your police and public services

Posted 10-May-2012 at 10:49 AM (10:49) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2012 at 11:12 AM (11:12) by Gurdur

The current British conservative government is savagely cutting public services, while claiming it's necessary for austerity measures. At the same time, the Tories seek to privatize as much as they can of the public services, whether the police ever more and increasingly, or the fire service, or how the government has sought to destroy the NHS, after its attacks on nurses and other public services.

If you are British, the emergency services are your national common good. Unless...
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Views 1947 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

Historical evidence for the existence of Bissonomy found

Posted 10-May-2012 at 07:18 AM (07:18) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2012 at 08:27 AM (08:27) by Gurdur

Bissonomy was originally one of the 7a Virtues. Only everyone forgot what Bissonomy actually was. Everyone knows what prudence, charity, hope and grace are, no-one knows anymore what bissonomy was. All of that is detailed by Sir Terry Pratchett in various of his DiscWorld novels; you can read up all about Bissonomy here. Well, now, courtesy of @mariawolters and @langology who alerted me to this news article (though the DiscWorld Bissonomy connection is all my own fault), about the discovery of a...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Who owns atheism? Trouble and exclusivism within the atheist movement today

Posted 28-Apr-2012 at 09:46 AM (09:46) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-May-2012 at 05:32 AM (05:32) by Gurdur

Atheism, despite gaining much ground in public acceptance in the USA in recent years, is having difficulties. It may be getting into trouble in other parts of the world; as possibly in Russia, for example. As for the USA, the impact zone is secularism rather than atheism itself. Jacques Berlinerblau has a new article up on the British New Humanist titled, "The death of American secularism", in which he worries about conservative backlash in the USA. The atheist movement may cease to be effectually...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The weird post-atheist phenomenon

Posted 28-Apr-2012 at 04:07 AM (04:07) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-May-2012 at 05:30 AM (05:30) by Gurdur

I'm currently watching a bulletin-board destroy itself very slowly. I watch not out of horror, as I did with the old RDFRS board, but this time round out of sheer amusement; it's a punishment for them fit for the crime. The bulletin-board in question - call it say X, for want of a name - is made up largely of atheists but with a fair smattering of Christians and general whatevers who migrated from other boards. Most of these folks take great, oft-voiced pride in being "post-atheist", that is, they're...
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