Rooms to let

Two rooms to let at my house at 1 Trafalgar Road. It's a good sized end of terrace house right near the river, Mitcham's Corner shops, Jesus Green and Midsummer Common, and five minutes walk from the city centre. Large open lounge space, large and pleasant kitchen, a great little courtyard garden for barbeques. Oh, and two friendly cats. Small and a large room available for £390/mo and £410/mo respectively, all bills, Internet, and cleaning included! Get in touch if you'd like to come and have a look. or 0777 999-6245.

LJ friends, feel free to pass on to nice people!

WTF is Adobe software?

I'm increasingly having to work with Adobe tools, so I wondered whether I should buy one of the "Creative Suites". The main problem with this (apart from the incredible prices) is working out WTF the software is. Adobe's descriptions of their own software are entirely useless. For each one, I have to go to Wikipedia to find out what it is. Here's a table.

The first paragraph in each case is the first from the product page or the “What is?” page on Adobe's web site. The second paragraph is the first sentence about each product from Wikipedia.

Premiere Pro

Adobe® Premiere® Pro CS5 software offers breakthrough performance for video production, enabling you to work dramatically faster thanks to the revolutionary native 64-bit, GPU-accelerated Adobe Mercury Playback Engine. Work natively with the video formats you want and accelerate production from scriptwriting to editing, encoding, and final delivery.

… a professional, real-time, timeline based video editing software application.


Adobe® InDesign® CS5 software provides precise control over typography and built-in creative tools for designing, preflighting, and publishing documents for print, online, or to mobile devices.

… a software application produced by Adobe Systems.

Flash Catalyst

Adobe® Flash® Catalyst™ CS5 software is an approachable new interaction design tool.

… a designers' tool for creation of the user interface for Rich Internet Applications.


Adobe® Dreamweaver® CS5 software empowers designers and developers to build standards-based websites with confidence.

… a web development application.


Adobe® Fireworks® CS5 software enables you to create expressive, highly optimized graphics for the web or virtually any device

… a bitmap and vector graphics editor.


Adobe® Contribute® CS5 software is a powerful web publishing and website management tool that integrates authoring, reviewing, and publishing in an easy-to-use WYSIWYG HTML editor.

… a WYSIWYG web authoring and content management application that is designed to facilitate collaborative editing of web sites, including workflow management.

Premiere Pro

Adobe® Premiere® Pro CS5 software offers breakthrough performance for video production, enabling you to work dramatically faster thanks to the revolutionary native 64-bit, GPU-accelerated Adobe Mercury Playback Engine.

… a professional, real-time, timeline based video editing software application.

After Effects

Whether you're working in broadcast and film or delivering work online and to mobile devices, Adobe® After Effects® CS5 software enables you to create groundbreaking motion graphics and blockbuster visual effects.

… a digital motion graphics and compositing software


Adobe® OnLocation™ CS5 software, part of Adobe Premiere® Pro CS5, is a powerful, direct-to-disk recording, logging, and monitoring solution — and a key player in your complete script-to-screen workflow.

… a direct-to-disk recording and monitoring software.


Vote for me!

Banking: Bankers should not be paid ridiculous and extortionate amounts of money.

Immigration: Keep out the people we don't want.

Housing: Housing should be affordable and 

Economy: Encourage economic growth. Make everyone richer.

Jobs: Reduce unemployment.

Transport: Cheap and fast.

Youth: They are the future.

Environment: Reduce emissions. Clean up.

Health: Reduce waste and improve service.

Pensions: Fix that too.

Justice: Yes!


Reasons not to go to Cuba

I just came back from a trip to Cuba with my parents. Everyone's asking "how was Cuba?" and so I'd better write something about it.

The main problem was that every Cuban (except hotel and restaurant staff, and sometimes even them) tried to trick us out of money. So we never really got to know anyone and eventually we had to stop speaking to them. Since my reason for going to Cuba was to find out about the country and its people and form opinions about it, this kind of ruined the trip.

In addition to this, the food was terrible everywhere, and there was no "great Cuban music" to be had anywhere. All the places we went recommended by the Lonely Planet had gone away, were closed, or had turned into tourist traps with yet more rip-offs and scams. Asking the Cubans only got you recommendations for more scams.

There is probably a good reason for all this. I have some theories. But it is not because the Cubans are so poor that they are lacking the basics. As far as I could tell they were well fed, healthy, and had reasonable homes and a good environment. What they don't have is luxuries, and imports can only be obtained using convertible currency which can only be obtained from foreigners. This means there's a lot of pressure to get convertibles.

I read and picked up as much as I could about Cuban history. Cuba's had a pretty bad time, what with Spanish exploitation, US exploitation, puppet fascists, and now somewhat oppressive socialism. But as far as I can tell, even if Castro is not wonderful, he's probably about the best they've had so far.

There are photos on Facebook: outside Habana and Habana.

I would not have minded lots of difficulties if I had been learning a lot about Cuba, but I feel that I learned very little. So it was on the whole an unpleasant experience and a fruitless one too.

I have four recommendations if you're going to Cuba:
  • Make a genuine Cuban friend before you go.
  • Go to an all-inclusive resort where you're protected from touts, and can enjoy the environment.
  • Backpack in poverty around lesser-known places and try to discover real Cuban life.
  • Don't go to hotels in well known places.
I haven't done any of these, but if I were going back I would try!

(no subject)

A meme from Gareth, Ashley, and others. Ten books I have on my shelves that I think are not on yours.

  1. "Social History of Nepal" by T R Vaidya, Tri Ratna Manandhar, and Shankar Lal Joshi. Keep reading! Not all of the books are like this, I promise.

  2. "日本の歴史12江戸幕府ひらく" by 児玉幸多 and あおむら純 . Japanese history in manga, the period of the enlightenment of the Edo shougunate, and in particular, the arrival of the Miura Anjin depicted in the fictionalization "Shōgun" by James Clavell, the book which originally drew me to Japan. It would be cheating to list more Japanese books so I'm not going to.

  3. "Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art" by Roger Sabin. For more than a century the comic book has been one of our most familiar, yet least appreciated popular art forms.

  4. "Die Akte „Langfinger‟" by Mike Roschmann. A bizarre little comic book that was given out in Zürich station as part of a compaign to prevent pick-pocketing. There was a huge metal sculpture in the station too.

  5. "Radio Amateur's Examination Manual" by George Benbow. In preparation for sailing around the world, I became a radio ham, so that I could talk to people at home using long distance ham radio frequencies. Learning morse was the most fun.

  6. "Kites" by David Pelham. A great little book packed with photos that scream 70s.

  7. "Modern Coin Magic" by J. B. Bobo. I can only do about three of these well, but I've invented a new one which I've not seen elsewhere.

  8. "Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis" by John Grant. Documents how the "ultra feminine" archaeologist Mimi Culotte discovered gravity-defying "steles" that had engravings explaining how the residents of Atlantis discovered sex. Before that there was only mud wrestling.

  9. "The Drake Manuscript" by some Huguenots. A facsimile of a book of deranged drawings of creatures and people seen on Sir Francis Drake's voyages to the West Indies. The thing is, there's no reason to believe that the artists were deranged. But why do all the fish have faces like dogs and eyes like people? In the world before photographs, was it really not possible for people to judge whether what they drew was an accurate projection of what they saw? I am fascinated by this question. Incidentally, the Cambridge Museum of Technology had a display of simple camera obscura at the weekend, and the chap there claimed that Vermeer used them because there was no theory of perspective at the time. This is dubious to say the least.

  10. "The Know-how Book of Batteries and Magnets" by Heather Amery and Angela Littler. Steady Hand Game. You will need: a Know-How bulb holder (see page 12) and a 3.5 volt bulb, 3 pieces of flex about 15cm long (see page 10), a 4.5 volt battery, 2 pieces of florists' wire, a cardboard box with a lid, sticky tape, and scissors. I spent a lot of my childhood in the pursuit of florists' wire. I still have the spool of it I eventually found. One day I will make a shrine for it.

Here are ones I had to remove because someone had one.

  • "Advice to clever children" by Celia Green. The human psychosis is extremely simple. Hatred of reality (originally caused, it is to be supposed, by a traumatic experience or experiences of objective impotence) has become displaced on to other human beings.

  • "The Misenchanted Sword" by Lawrence Watt-Evans. I love this downbeat antithesis of the heroic fantasy novel.

  • "Angry White Pyjamas" by Robert Twigger. An English teacher in Japan spends a year on the riot police aikido course. A few years later, one of my colleagues from ETP did the same after I told her about this book.


Dr Charlene Werner at the "Healing the Eye and Wellness Seminar" explains homeopathy

A transcript of Dr Charlene Werner at the "Healing the Eye and Wellness Seminar", Bozeman, MT, USA, on August 18 2007, as seen here on YouTube and found via this Bad Science article.

Well thank you so much. I'm going to explain to you exactly actually how it [homeopathy] works.

Now, has everybody had chemistry, like, in school -- way back when? But you do know what H2O is? And have all of you heard of Einstein? Well, you know that light is energy, right? And he gave us the theory that energy equals mass times the speed of light. E equals M C squared. Now, if you take that formula, and, we think there's a lot of mass, right? OK, if you collapsed all the mass down into the universe, so there's no space between the mass, do you know how much mass there is in the entire universe? You think you're a lot of mass right? Well, the whole universal mass can be consolidated down into the size of a bowling ball. That's all there is in the whole world, and the universe! So how much mass are you? That's right -- an infinitesimal amount. So if you take that formula -- E equals M C squared -- you can almost cross out mass! The formula ends up being energy equals the speed of light. And that's why the vision system is so important [gesturing at her own eyes] because we have lots of photoreceptors that receive light.

But when Haneman [Einstein?] died, the scientists didn't fall in his camp, and the pieces of the puzzle didn't fit well together. So God in his infinite wisdom sent another Einstein called Stephen Hawkings[sic]. And Stephen Hawkings gave us the string theory. And what he discovered is that there are other energetic particles in the universe, and they're shaped like little youees [U-shaped?] and what they do is they work by vibration. So our body is so wonderfully designed, we have light receivers, and ears, string -- vibratory -- they pick up vibration. So if you add that to that theory -- Einstein's theory of relativity -- we have E equals M C squared (but mass is crossed out, almost) and strings -- vibration.

But that still doesn't tell us the whole picture, because, what is a cell? A cell has cell walls, cell membranes, cytoplasm. Is that mass? Not very much really, so what is that? You can break down the cells into tiny pieces of energy called electrons, protons, neutrons. So the whole body has an infinitesimal amount of mass, but what is the remainder? Energy. So I am energy, you are energy. Now, if you go to study physics, energy cannot be created: we do not know how to create energy. But we don't know how to destroy it either -- that is not humanly possible. So what we do is take energy and we transform it from one state to another. That's all we do. So if that's all we do, guess what the definition of disease is. It's not mass. We have transformed our energy state into something different. That's what the definition of disease is. So we should be able to re-transform our energy into a previous better state. Right? And, what we do is we use light, we can use sound, we can use homeopathy.

So what is homeopathy? Well, if nothing is really mass (or an infinitesimal amount of it) and everything is energy, that means everything has a vibration to it. So what if I could, encase some sort of energy for later use? So if I wanted to make a bomb, and I took all these chemicals, and I encased it in a, you know, a bomb, and tonight, my neighbour lets his dog poop in my yard, literally, and and I'm mad at that dog and my neighbour. So I'm going to take this bomb and get back at him. So what if I threw that bomb at his house. Would he be happy with me? Because what happens now when that energy is released? It destroys something, or changes it. It makes the building now not in structure form. It changes its energetic state. Well that's what we do with homeopathy. We take substances, and we pulverise them, we and we put them in solution, and we surcuss[sp?] it just like the bomb, to release its energy into this liquid. Then we take these little white pellets, and sprinkle them with that solution. Then guess what we have just made. An energetic substance -- to be used when we choose to use it.

So, how homeopathy works is, whatever your disease process is, it's an energetic change, and if I can find the remedy that matches your state and give it to you when we so choose, what can we do with your energy system? Transform it to a previous better state. And that's how it works.

I have a couple of stories too! So, every single one of us vibrates with a certain vibration. We either vibrate with a plant, a mineral, or an animal. The way we talk, the way we interact with people, is that's how we are! So I had a patient that came in and he was like, I have a squeaky knee like a hinge. It squeaks. And he has some sort of insulin-resistant, kinda going towards diabetes state, and he said "can you help me?" And I said "I don't know" so we took his case, and he said "You know, I would like to think that I am a man of my word. And that's how I want people to treat me -- I want them to be a man of their word." Well, if you research in the homeopathic remedies, there is a remedy called "kali carbonica", and do you know what those people are? I am a man of my word. So I gave him, in 30C, actually we started with 30C and, well, there's controversy but I like low remedies in physical symptoms, and then you go up for mental symptoms. So we gave him a 30C, and four weeks later he was "I'm fine!" He stopped his sugar cravings. His squeaky knee went away. And that's been almost a year on that one tiny little pellet. And that's how -- it's so miraculous, it's so exciting! Anyway, thank you very much.


I recently had occasion to write a Forth interpreter in Linden Scripting Language (in Second Life). I've done it before (more than twice) and it only took me an hour or two. I've written the odd Scheme interpreter (and compiler) too. Forth and Scheme are both elegant little things, and I've always wanted to think of a way of combining them, but with the aim of making Scheme smaller and simpler, but making Forth a bit more workable.

Well, I've come up with something that's smaller than either, but may not be at all workable.

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Those naughty scoutmasters

I'm posting this because I think it should be on the web somewhere where it might be found and used.

"A man who is homosexual is no more at risk of abusing a boy than a man who is heterosexual is at risk of abusing a girl."

"Part of the stigma is the sense that they must be more risk to children. There simply isn't any scientific evidence to support that."

"There's no credible evidence that a homosexual man is more likely to abuse a child than a heterosexual man."

Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D., founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of patients with sexual disorders, such as pedophilia, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. Quoted from Penn & Teller's Bullshit: Boy Scouts.

Incidentally, this particular programme is about how the Boy Scouts of America has been taken over by the conservative Christian Right, and now actively excludes atheists and homosexuals. The Supreme Court of the USA upheld this right because the BSA is a private organization, but in fact it receives a lot of public funds and has a special connection with the US military. The Scouting for All campaign exists in opposition.

I'm pleased to say that the Scout Association of the UK say "It's OK to be gay and a Scout!" and have many clearly and sensible policies on the matter on their site.

Although, given the second line and seventh article of the Promise and Law the Scouts may simply be fundamentally flawed.