Saturday, October 16, 2010

Please may I use the facilities?

I went to look up the opening hours of a local Barclays Bank branch, and I noticed there was a wee tab I could click on, called "Facilities". Wondering what facilities the branch offered, I clicked on it.

"Facilities: Yes"

I'm still slightly mystified. But I wonder what they would do if someone came in asking to use their facilities.

At least they are open on Saturdays.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Some tumbleweed rolls past...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Don't you know there's an Election on?

Maithrie was blogging about the election, so I thought I'd mention an interesting site from they work for you. You put in your postcode of constituency, and they give you a quiz where you compare your views on policies - many of them local - with those of the candidates.

An excellent idea.... except that the DUP, UUP/Tories, and the SDLP can't be bothered telling us what they think. Poor show, Alasdair McDonnell, Jimmy Spratt and Paula Bradshaw. Looks like the Greens or the Alliance then?

There are also similar quizzes from and - you can't have too much information (though you can have too little time to read it all, I've found).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bloke colours vs Girlie Colours

We've "known" for ages that Girls can name colours that we men are quite certain are actually animals, plants, or basically almost anything but colours. But is it true?

The Doghouse Diary recently posted a cartoon to show how this works.

But XKCD have gone one further, with a survey that investigates this phenomenon.

And is it real?

For full details, you'll need to check their blog - but in a word (or two (or three)) Yes... and No....

So there we have it. Women know slightly more colours - and they can apparently spell better as well.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's going wrong with the Police?

As M3 and I were returning to the UK a few weeks ago, we saw two Metropolitan Police officers behaving in an aggressive and intimidating manner to a young Spanish visitor - fortunately, after about half an hour of throwing their weight around and abusing their authority (and snapping at any members of the public who, they felt, were standing too close, or looking to see what the fuss was about), they let her go.

Most of the police officers I've met have been civil and helpful. But there seems to be an increasing number of uniformed thugs who enjoy throwing their weight around. And it's not just jumpy airport police either.

Soon afterwards I read on the Granuiad Online about police officers harassing ordinary members of the public who were taking photographs in public. The Register has been covering this issue for a while.

And then there was the would-be airline passenger who, annoyed by the way Doncaster Airport collapses under the UK's meagre snowfall, and fearing he would not be able to fly the following week, posted the following irate nonsense to his friends and "followers" on twitter:
"Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"
Twitter is a network that people use to update their friends and acquaintances on what flavour of coffee they are drinking, or whether they are cycling to work, or taking the train. You can "follow" your friends, and receive a stream of conciousness from their daily life. It's not where you'd normally expect to find secret plots to destroy western civilisation.

Paul Chambers was clearly venting. This was not the act of any sort of credible terrorist - and certainly not a public threat calculated to strike fear into the heart of anyone with the slightest amount of common sense. So what do you imagine the defenders of our free society made of it?

A week later, the South Yorkshire Police arrested the unfortunate Mr Chambers under the Terrorism Act and questioned him for nearly 7 hours. It seems he actually had to explain to the officers interrogating him what Twitter was. You'd think if the police were investigating Internet bomb threats they'd have someone who actually knew something about, you know, the Interwebs, and, like, computer stuff. But that might be perilously close to doing their job, and protecting society from actual real threats.

After he was released on bail, he was suspended from work pending an internal investigation, and he has, it seems, been banned from the Doncaster airport for life. So no sense of perspective at the Airport either (if you're curious about their thought processes or reasoning in this case, the airport's contact page is online here).

The Independent reports that the South Yorkshire Police went so far as to charge Mr Chambers with "sending by a public communications network a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character contrary to Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003."

For goodness sake!

It's a shame that the police are wasting their time and abusing their powers by harassing innocent people - whether photographers, visitors to the UK, or twitterers - instead of serving society, and protecting our freedoms.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A new kind of spam?

I was wondering about the newfound popularity (slight though it was) of my blog from Japanese-language bloggers. By "popularity" I mean that there had been about one kind and apparently relevant comment on a number of my posts.

Then I noticed that their blogs all seemed to relate to eye clinics.

It could be a coincidence, I suppose - but somehow I'm not so sure. Spammers are getting cleverer... or at least more devious.

The thing is, if blogger uses "nofollow" links in comments, to prevent spammy links from contributing to better placements in search engines, I'm not sure what the point of the spam is. Perhaps it's more old-school than that. Maybe they are hoping actual humans will follow the links, Flattering, if they think my blog will help with that. I doubt it, though.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Yesterday we had traffic cops checking our passports and my driving licence. One grumpy "get out of the car" cop, possibly peeved that he'd been waving his torch around and been ignored. One polite cop. We ignored the grumpy one even harder and showed the documents to the good cop, who wished us a good evening and sent us on our way.

Today we were stopped at a Navy checkpoint. They must not have so much to do after the collapse of the Tigers - but I'm not sure why they need to do the Army's job for them - especially as the President is increasing the size of the Army (peace dividend, it seems...)

Such is the aftermath of the Presdential election here in Colombo.