Friday

Is this how it feels?

One thing I've been really, really 'noid about on the last month is the double bank holiday. Not because of the bloody queen, not in particular, more the fact that we've been on half term and didn't get a bonus bank holiday. I mean, we didn't get to enjoy the extra time off.

It's not nice for everyone else to have days off during our school holidays. It stops it being special when everyone else gets to enjoy it. Last year was great, we had Easter holidays and then the week we came back was the royal wedding and only a three day week. Of course, all the time gets made up in the long run, but Wednesday was great because Everyone else had to go back to work and we were still on hols.

And as I consider this line of thought, sardonically, it occurs to me that this is exactly how those weirdos who oppose gay marriage must feel. Other people having holidays doesn't affect my time off work in the slightest, on much he same way as gay marriage does not remotely affect the union of anyone who's not gay. But that feeling of being undermined by everyone else enjoying what you normally have an exclusive right to; I don't know, I've never before empathised so strongly with a group of people I've disagreed with so strongly, even if I recognise the stupidity of that feeling myself.

Consider c4m.org.uk - not one sentence makes a relevant or connected point. There's words there, yes, but they're not going to convince anyone who doesn't already believe in the vaguely-hinted-at claptrap because they don't build on anything to arrive at a point. It's a well built argument Fo nothing more than to teach logic in schools.

On the plus side, it's a great opportunity to
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2012/rhetological-fallacies/
Which lets you fisk an article extra thoroughly. The glyphs, each representing a easy-to-spot argumentative sleight of hand, are great fun.

Anyway, on with the show.

Sunday

Dear GLaDOS


This is an acoustic indie mix playing non-violent source-engine-powered deathmatch against an ambient/dub mix, with britpop refugees, archive folk, and soundtracks from Dear Esther and Portal 2. good for Sunday nights towards the end of the school year.

Saturday

Abortion/over-population

I've started reading the newspaper again in the mornings. This remarkable innovation is mostly due to the i, a paper I came across in a restaurant and is readable, cheap, and short. I still love my grauniad, but I never get through it and I wouldn't buy it for the journey to or from work.

One thing about reading the paper most days is a beautiful (if, possibly, illusory) feeling of 'being informed'. I feel... In the loop. You see stories develop over time. You get behind the headlines. You have things to think and talk about that aren't just off your favourite websites.

Friday's issue was very upsetting for two reasons. What struck me first was the story of the Chinese woman whose 7 month old foetus was aborted by the authorities for being an illegal second child. More specifically, the story was about how a photo of her abortion had been circulating china and causing a stir. The authorities stance is that the abortion shouldn't have taken place since they have a 6 month limit; hence this story shouldn't be used to criticise china as a whole, but rather the individual officials who broke the law by ordering and carrying it out (although I'm sure the staff involved must have been under duress too).

It's a horrific image to conjure up, as the abortion debate never really calls into question terminations *that* late. The quibbles about how many weeks is acceptable, or the right of women to control their own bodies at all, never needs to consider events that far down the line.

In other news, a senator was silenced for saying 'vagina' during a debate on abortion, although none of the debate around that talks about how she actually said 'my vagina' which is an entirely different thing to ask someone to picture.

anyway, back to the original point of the Chinese story, and the root cause is their one-child-per-family rule. In the same issue was a story about over-population, and how some parts of the world will even see their populations triple in the coming decades. This, while we're trying to make our resources for the current 7 billion something approaching sustainable. Even if we achieve it now, how on earth will we maintain it when that population increases further?

Over-population really has been the elephant in the room around the environmental debate, but I think it's finally going overground. The thing about it is, there will always be an upwards pressure on population, no matter what our supply of resources is. So I suggest: we do not consider trying to think about supporting any more people, or even the current population.
No matter where we set the bar, as long as people are over-fertile, and over-consuming, then there will be 'over-population'. That's how we define it. Even If we found ways of sustainably meeting the needs of the current population, by next year it would no longer suffice.

Because there will always be this upwards pressure, setting the global population limits, like food production or amount of habitable space, low will actually reduce the number of deaths, simply by the fact that the numbers can't go so high.

What I'm saying sounds barbaric, but for two points: firstly, doing this would actually mean overall less deaths than allowing the population to grow really huge and then crash; secondly, yes it does sound barbaric, but the only alternative is to modify people's behaviour so that we remove that upward pressure. Which brings us back to china, and a one-child-per-couple rule, where parents who can't pay the fine are forced into abortions.

I'm not saying any of this is morally right, just logically right. What do you think?

Tuesday

London fields

Walking down broadway market this morning, there was police tape around the road works. I thought, eh, hipsters, I bet that's like 'ironic shoreditch bunting'. But actually, it was because of the previous night's stabbings. sigh.

Sunday

Baku 2012


I think this takes a little bit of explaining.

Eurovision this year had a bit of a dampener put on it by being held in Azerbaijan, as bravely investigated by the bbc themselves on panorama earlier in the week.



The images of the city, the Orwellian surveillance, the Despotism, really reminded me of Syndicate Wars, so I decided to put in a track from that soundtrack and a couple of other tense-ambient tracks with an air of menace and suspense: Zan Lyons' Desolate and the theme from the thing (which was tricky to find, since despite sounding like a John Carpenter self-composition it's actually by Morricone).

Fall of Efrafa were a concept band exploring themes from Watership Down, in particular the rebellion against Dystopian governments and their ideologies. I loved one track they did, then bought two albums on the basis of it, which disappointed me slightly as they just seemed to plough the Salvation-era Cult of Luna trough a little too efficiently. Aborym and Cradle of Filth (what is it with these 'of' bands?) are just bloody good angry songs.

That all said, there are three eurovision-themed songs here: Rambo Amadeus' incredible 'Euro Neuro', which opened the first semi-final and just left everybody utterly baffled at it's jazz funk rap idiocy. I think it's brilliant.

Then we have the entry that Armenia would have put in, had they not pulled out in fear after the president of Azerbaijan called them "the enemy". For the Eurovision Company to them fine Armenia and insist they still broadcast it... ugh. So i'm happy to have found it, and i quite like it. lastly is Jamal Ali, the singer who was interviewed in Panorama claiming to have been beaten and exiled from Azerbaijan after criticising the regime. This is his song about the homes that were demolished to make way for the eurovision stadium, it's a bit indie schmindie but here's the video which might make more sense:



It's a good sunday morning mix.