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Which spider-themed movie is the funniest?
- Arachnophobia
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From Twitter: @MisterFlarpy
Sun 27th Jul 2014

Loving the concept of the facebook app 'Timehop'. Give us access to your entire profile and we'll occasionally give bits of it back to you.

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Achievement and Appreciation
Sun 27th Jul 2014

It has come to my attention that we, as a society, place far too much emphasis on sport. We worship footballers like gods and have many national and international competitions in which athletes and those of peak physical fitness can shine, and be doted on by an adoring public.

This first came to my attention during Danny Boyle's opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Boyle did, in my opinion, a wonderful job producing a spectacle that incorporated pretty much everything that's good about Britain - while leaving it to the closing ceremony to showcase everything that's bad about it! But there was one thing that stuck in my mind more than anything else, and that's the fact that a grinning David Beckham riding a speedboat down the Thames got instant recognition and applause from the crowd, yet Tim Berners-Lee got a polite and slightly subdued clap only after an announcer told everyone who he is. For those who still don't know, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, and Beckham gets paid to kick a ball around a field.

I believe this is a problem that stems from childhood. I was one of the kids at school who was useless at PE, but I excelled in subjects that actually matter, such as maths and science. I'm not for a minute suggesting that it's not essential to get some exercise, but it always annoyed me that one day every year we had to be pulled out of lessons to go and watch the physically able kids show off - we called it "sports day". I certainly don't recall a "maths day" in which academically bright children were cheered and applauded for doing what they're good at. I may even go as far as to suggest that it's possibly a root cause of bullying. We're encouraged from a very young age to worship the physically fit, but not the brainy kids. Who are the kids who most regularly get picked on at school? The geeks and nerds.

I'm not telling anyone off. If you feel that someone who can score a goal from the other end of the pitch or run 100m in under 8 seconds deserves praise and adoration, feel free to give it to them. Heck, if I was feeling particularly cold and ruthless, I might even suggest that we genuinely need to show sporty people all this love, because it may be the only thing preventing them from realising that their achievements don't actually matter in the grand scheme of things, and I personally can't imagine anything worse than having no purpose. But as we show love to these physical powerhouses, let's not forget those who actually get things done. Scientists, doctors, nurses, teachers, builders, inventors - heck, toilet cleaners and street sweepers do more for the good of humanity than most footballers, and get a fraction of the appreciation, not to mention paycheck. So let's make our culture better by celebrating and appreciating everyone, not just people who are good at sport.

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Posted by Ash | Permalink

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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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

 
 
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