Kindle Screensaver images identified…

Post updated with more identifications. Thanks to all the commenters making suggestions. Continue reading

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Some thoughts on the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

As I’ve finally got around to starting the second book of the Final Chronicles, Fatal Revenant, it has brought a few thoughts concerning the series to mind. (If you’re not familiar with Covenant, the wikipedia entry provides a good starting place. Also, be warned, I will be posting a few spoilers, especially for the first two sets of Chronicles.) Continue reading

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In which I lose all respect for Richard Dawkins

So… Rebecca Watson was recently propositioned in a lift, at an atheist conference, by a strange man, at 4am. She quite rightly complained that this was (at best) a little creepy, and made her uncomfortable.

Richard Dawkins posted on the Pharyngula comment thread about the incident… well, read it yourself.

I’m horrified by this. Does Dawkins seriously mean to tell Watson, in effect, to stop complaining because other women have it worse? Hey, Richard, apostates can be executed in Saudi Arabia, so you can shut up about creeping creationism in the UK and USA. The argument doesn’t work that way around, does it? So why should it work the way round you did it?

Worse still are the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of comments on three comment threads on Pharyngula actually defending creepy elevator guy, the vast majority of which are privileged clueless males defending male privilege (go figure).

For the terminally clue-impaired, here’s a link about why women have to treat all interactions with men with suspicion. And while you’re there, check out this guide to ignoring your privilege in online discussions.

Sometimes I despair of my fellow men.

Update: Phil Plait has weighed in on the issue here, saying the same as what I think, but in a much more eloquent fashion. Go Phil!

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When The Tigers Broke Free

It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black ‘forty four.
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks held back
The enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.

And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that father was gone.
It was, I recall,
In the form of a scroll,
With gold leaf and all.
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed
With his own rubber stamp.

It was dark all around.
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free.
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company C.
They were all left behind,
Most of them dead,
The rest of them dying.
And that’s how the High Command
Took my daddy from me.

Roger Waters, 1979

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I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818

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Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 – March, 1918

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Loads of bugs!


A group of my models from designs by Lang (Origami Insects and Their Kin)

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Samurai Helmet Beetle

Samurai Helmet Beetle: designed by Robert J Lang, folded from 21cm Tuttle Publishing patterned paper. Final models ~7cm long.

Another model from Origami Insects and Their Kin. A third one below the fold… Continue reading

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Atlas Shrugged

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

(From Wikipedia.)


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Another Unicorn

Unicorn. My design. Folded from 15c kami, final model ~8cm long

Another Unicorn of my own design. Continue reading

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