Category Archives: Ranting


If you are stuck for a resolution for next year, PZ Myers has a suggestion:

Just so you know, 31 December is #TwitterEvacuationDay, when many people are making the jump to alternative micro-blogging media, or just throwing up their hands in disgust and giving it all up. It’s the only way to make Twitter wake up, I think…or at the very least, to personally escape the toxic trap.

I’m recommending that everyone make the leap to Mastodon — or, I hope, that at least some of my friends get an account there. Really, it’s just like Twitter — the interface is exactly like Tweetdeck, if you’re familiar with that. The big difference is that, instead of one giant central server for everyone, it’s distributed among many smaller servers, or instances.

I had abandoned Twitter, and was happily using GNU Social, long before Mastodon was a thing. But Mastodon and GS instances can talk to each other, so which platform you prefer really is just a matter of personal preference.

But if you are still on Twitter, December 31st is a good time to join the Fediverse.

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I’m forever selling bubbles

Long Island Iced Tea Corp renamed itself to Long Blockchain – and its shares went bananas

Non-alcoholic beverage slinger Long Island Iced Tea Corp, which is publicly traded and wasn’t performing particularly well financially, decided to rename itself this week to Long Blockchain – and its share price soared 289 per cent.

I should start a company called “The e-Cyber Blockchain Business”. With a name like that, I won’t need a product.

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Superficial, pointless and wrong

There has already been plenty of response to the news that British passports will[ be dark blue after 2019. For me, this story underlines wrong with the various claims made by the Brexit lobby.

Firstly, of course, there is the fact that this is yet another case of ignoring reality in favour of a bunch of symbols of a world that no longer exists — and probably never did.

Secondly, the claim that the burgundy passport was imposed on the UK is flat-out wrong. There is no requirement for passports to be burgundy and no-one would have batted an eyelid had the UK decided to issue dark-blue EU passports, just as no-one bats an eyelid Croatia’s dark blue EU passports. Indeed, Charles Powell has confirmed that it was the Thatcher government that chose to ditch the blue passport.

This Brexiter obsession with superficialities like passport colour sums them up perfectly. It is a pointless and illogical obsession based on a complete failure to understand where we are today and why. The previous passport layout was determined by the League of Nations back in 1920 and the size and layout of modern passports is determined by the needs of international airports (as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the UN).

Brexiters have nothing. Everything they have promised has been shown to be a lie and they are reduced to either clutching at nonsense like this or pretending that a referendum result is somehow inviolate and unchangeable.

As David Davis once said, if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.

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Another Uber protest

Brussels taxi drivers protest against Uber

Around 200 Brussels taxi drivers staged a protest against the private hire app Uber on Tuesday morning. The drivers are unhappy about what they see as unfair competition from the app posing a threat to their jobs.

I find that my sympathies tend to be with the taxi drivers when it comes to disputes about Uber.

Ultimately, Uber is nothing more than a minicab firm with an automated dispatcher and underpaid drivers. I don’t really see why people keep getting so excited by this.

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Trust, once lost, is difficult to regain

In a surprise to no-one, the EU27 have “hardened” the language of a proposed Brexit resolution for this week’s European Council summit in following David Davis’ remarkably stupid comments on Sunday that last Friday’s Brexit deal with the EU was “more a statement of intent than a legally enforceable thing.”

The text now also says the U.K. will stay in both customs union and internal market for the time of a transition period, which includes the whole acquis (the body of EU law) and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. While that has always been clear to the EU side, it will be made explicit in the summit resolution “to avoid any ambiguity,” according to one diplomat.

Spelling out what transition means also include making it explicit that the UK will have no representation in any EU body or agency, “neither as a member nor as an observer,” the diplomat said.

And it doesn’t stop there. The European parliament’s main parties have drawn up an amendment to their Brexit resolution, on which MEPs will vote today, condemning the Brexit secretary personally for damaging trust.

Michael Roth, Germany’s minister for Europe, told German media he was “taken aback” that the language May had used in Brussels “differed somewhat” to what the prime minister had said in London since her return, referring in particular to the suggestion that Britain would only pay the final bill to the EU once a trade agreement had been reached. “She needs to be taking the same line in Brussels as in London,” he said.

The arrogance, incompetence and stupidity of the Brexit fantasists in Theresa May’s cabinet are undermining the future of the the UK and putting at risk the economy, jobs, services and the status of British citizens around the world. Their actions are liable to torpedo any deal with Europe and leave the rest of the World wondering why on Earth they would talk to us.

It’s way past time for some adults to step in, take charge and call a halt to this whole farrago.

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Two days after signing an agreement, the UK government is already trying to welch on it.

Putting everything else to one side for the moment, this is a government that wants to strike new trade deals around the world. What makes them think that anyone is going to want to start negotiating with a country that can’t keep its word for more than two days?

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UK cabinet soon to hold debate about ultimate Brexit aims

According to The Guardian, the UK cabinet will soon meet for their first formal discussion over what the government should be aiming for at the end of Brexit discussions.

Sources said May would update her cabinet on Monday about the latest breakthrough, but admitted a wider meeting would be held within a fortnight.

That could pitch the demands of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – who could be wary of too much regulatory alignment with the EU – against remainers such as Hammond and the home secretary, Amber Rudd.

Well, better late than never, I suppose, but it would have been a lot better all round if this ongoing joke of a government had given some thought to what they wanted to achieve before triggering Article 50.

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Muddying the water

New Europe reports that Yale psychiatrist, Dr. Bandy Lee is calling for a psychiatric evaluation of Donald Trump.

Lee argues that President’s Trump public language in infused with a pattern of “decompensation,” that is, “loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behaviour, and an attraction to violence as a means of coping.” Dr. Lee believes that the President’s deteriorating condition is perhaps triggered by the ongoing Robert Mueller investigation over his campaigns links with Russia.

President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has become a major concern, as he recently retweeted violent videos posted by a British far-right violent group and he referred to Elizabeth Warren as Pochahontas during a speech honouring Navaho World War II heroes.

I can’t help but feel that speculation about Trump’s mental state is a bit beside the point. His behavior makes him unfit for office and it’s because of his behavior that he should be ejected from office.

Why he behaves as he does doesn’t really have any bearing on this and speculation like this — regardless of how professionally grounded it is — runs a sizable risk of distracting attention from his many failings.

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