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Pointless Poll
Which spider-themed movie is the funniest?
- Arachnophobia
- Eight-Legged Freaks
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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Thu 24th Jul 2014

Trending topics really need semantic properties. I thought was referring to my all time favourite J-Lo film :(

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Wed 23rd Jul 2014

What's on *your* mind? http://youtu.be/QxVZYiJKl1Y

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Mon 21st Jul 2014

You know... if anyone ever broke into my desk drawer at work, they'd probably think I was having multiple affairs. http://twitpic.com/e8oxtm

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Mon 21st Jul 2014

Never judge a stranger by their actions. You can't possibly know how much of a dick they are until you've seen their Facebook profile.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 20th Jul 2014

I swear I type 20% faster while listening to one of the early Metallica albums.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 20th Jul 2014

The jokes practically write themselves... http://m.dailyecho.co.uk/news/11353637.Lightning_strikes_Hampshire_church/

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 20th Jul 2014

It's so, so true http://www.lifebuzz.com/restaurant-truth/

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 20th Jul 2014

Two young ladies and a dinosaur. http://twitpic.com/e8ku3j

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sat 19th Jul 2014

Oops, just accidentally knocked the horn while getting out of the car at 1.15am. Luckily, most of my neighbours are twats.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sat 19th Jul 2014

Yay! @themafiarocks has resurrected Dodgy Phil! Mayfield will be proud!

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Wed 16th Jul 2014

One good thing came out of ... I've finally got round to configuring Orbot on my (rooted) phone.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Tue 15th Jul 2014

Well it's official - I now have an NHS loyalty card.

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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Mon 14th Jul 2014

"Not passing this bill will seriously impede the police's ability to do their job" Er... they didn't have a problem before the DEA

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Fighting Fire with Water
Mon 14th Jul 2014

There's a lot of controversy in the press at the minute (rightly so) about the fact that a bill is about to be passed through parliament. All the main party leaders (plus Nick Clegg too) have come out in support of it despite it not even being read in parliament yet. It's being called "emergency" legislation, meaning it'll be passed through much quicker than any other law. In fact, had Tom Watson (the only MP for whom I have any respect whatsoever) not brought it to the attention of the press, we probably wouldn't have even heard about it until after it became law. The big-shot politicians are all saying this is necessary to prevent terrorism (textbook excuse #1) and paedophiles (textbook excuse #2) but a lot of people are beginning to think that, in the wake of the actions of Edward Snowdon and Chelsea Manning, maybe a government isn't really fit to wield this kind of power. Whether you agree with that or not (I'm torn, I must admit) it's not exactly a healthy sign of government when bills get rushed through parliament lickety split before anyone can read them, even when you consider this bill will probably have no effect whatsoever on the powers available to, say, GCHQ.

So you'd think that I'd be outraged at this bill. Well, I'm not. And the reason is simple: technology is a much more effective weapon against law than law is.

Law is slow. I mean, really slow. It's also dumb. I kinda lost my last shred of respect for the law during the infamous Twitter Joke trial when they started arguing over grammatical technicalities, when anyone with more than two brain cells could see the guy had no intention of blowing up an airport. The fact is that law doesn't understand technology, so usually when laws are made to restrict technology there is an awful lot of collateral damage. This is partially because law makers like to cover all bases, but mostly because politicians, judges and lawyers don't know enough about the technology they're trying to legislate. Basically, law is really bad at solving problems, particularly modern ones.

Compare this to technology, which is very good at solving problems. The problem of your ISP being required by law to store logs on your browsing habits, solved by Tor and VPNs. The problem of not being able to smoke legally indoors, solved by e-cigarettes. Heck, when vehicle clamping became illegal suddenly every private car park in Southampton had ANPR cameras installed. Look at any kind of obstacle, good or bad, legal, technical or otherwise, and there's more than likely a form of technology that can circumvent it.

I don't fear a surveillance state because I know that for every wall there is a higher ladder. And as I'm not a lawyer, or anyone with any kind of political influence whatsoever, my ladder is technology. When (not if) the new bill is passed, I will simply continue using Tor to encrypt my traffic. I will continue to use VPNs to mask my IP address, and to fool my ISP's traffic shaping procedures. And the next time a law is passed that I'm not happy about, I'll come up with a technical solution to that too, rather than waste my time lobbying politicians who don't listen.

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Posted by Ash | Permalink

Questionably Named Transformers
Thu 5th Jun 2014

There's another Transformers movie coming out soon. It apparently picks up a few years after the last one, the Autobots are in hiding and the humans have built their own robot defence force. It also apparently features dinobots, which can only be a good thing. I thought I'd do something a bit different and use this as a poor excuse for some puerile humour. Let's look at some of the questionable names given to Transformers characters by their creators. All of these are genuine, although I've no idea if they were entirely innocent or not.

5. SLAG

Hopefully even the most casual of Transformers fans should know of Slag. He was introduced in 1984 as one of the original Dinobots. Oddly enough, his name has been quietly changed to 'Slug' over time. He changed into a mechanical triceratops. Since the 80s he has been in and out of rehab due to the severe depression caused by having ones name used as a common insult on Eastenders. He's due to make an appearance in the new movie (under his new name, obviously).

4. SPASMA

Spasma was the head of Apeface in the Headmasters series. Consequently, he transformed into nothing more than a monkey head, which only really became funny when Monkey Island was released in 1990. His only cartoon appearance was in the US series 4, in which he appeared as a member of Nebulon's "Hive". When the Japanese decided to ignore series 4 and do their own version, Spasma was ret-conned, along with all the other Nebulons.

3. DISCHARGE

Discharge was a Micromaster, and consequently not in the TV show and therefore I personally don't know much about her (I'm reliably informed it's a rare female Transformer). Her alt form is a fire engine (presumably the discharge comes from the hose) and she's part of a combiner team that forms Sixturbo. Apparently. Anyway... Discharge.

2. GUSHER

I feel really, really sorry for Gusher. Not only is he named after a type of porn formerly banned in the UK, but he's basically the arse-end of a pantomime horse. He and his buddy, Pipeline, between them combine to form a construction vehicle, but Pipeline is the cab and Gusher is just the trailer. I'm not even sure Gusher's alt-mode can move on its own.

1. ERECTOR

Yes, there is actually a Transformer called Erector. And he turns into a crane. I don't really think there's anything more to say about this.

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Posted by Ash | Permalink

 
 
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