Let's Do This Dance Again…Again!

A new Parliamentary session, and yes! Another lame bundle of cobbled-together reasons from Labour about why we should all have identity cards. This time? Well, the Prime Minister says we need ID cards to “stop the soaring costs of identity theft”. Wow, that’s a new one. Not quite sure how it’s going to stop people from rifling through bins, finding credit card and banking statements and using that information to sign up to new credit cards, gamble on the Internet, and generally spend money. Perhaps our new ID cards will include sentry guns. They’d better, considering they’re going to cost the Government at least £5bn in creating the world’s most complex biometric database, using all kinds of unproven technology. Oh, and they’re going to cost us roughly £100 on top of that as well. Oh, and has the Government mentioned that you’re going to have to fork out that sum every five years? No? Fancy that.

I spent far too much time last year talking about this, so go have a look if you want to hear my arguments against the scheme (and while I am a lefty ‘identity cards will insidiously change the relationship between the state and individual much for the worse’, most of my arguments are on practical grounds). There’s also the No2ID site, which has a very comprehensive FAQ on the matter, along with all sorts of ideas about how to protest to Parliament about this Bill. Hopefully, with the help of a few Labour rebels, the Home Office can be sent packing once again…

Oh, and there’s a report from one of the biometric trials at the Home Office’s site. Iris scanning seems to be the most effective, but look at the shocking verification rates for facial and finger prints: 69% and 81%. Wonderful, a £5.5bn system that might have a 1 in 5 chance of making a verification error? round of applause

Also: there are around 70 proposed passport centres to be setup. Everybody needs to be scanned…it’s going to take quite a while, isn’t it?

currently playing: The Go! Team — Bottle Rocket

Midweek

01 (NE) Crazy Frog - Axel F 02 (NE) Coldplay - Speed of Sound 03 (01) Oasis - Lyla 04 (02) Akon - Lonely 05 (04) Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc 06 (03) Black Eyed Peas - Don’t Phunk With My Heart 07 (NE) Amerie - 1 Thing 08 (NE) Audio Bully’s ft. Nancy Sinatra - Shot Me Down 09 (NE) Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl 10 (05) Tony Christie ft. Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo?

(it’s a week for music heartbreaking, it seems; Mark Radcliffe crossed the BBC picket line yesterday)

EDIT: From Simon Tyers’s spanking new blog with a snappy title: 40,000 copies.

Not. Enough. Gun.

currently playing: ABC – Tears Are Not Enough

A Broadcast To The Nation

People of the UK! This week sees a great turning point in our nation. A week where a decision will be taken that will decide our country’s destiny.

You have a choice. You can either buy Amerie’s One Thing, or you can contribute to the infection that is spreading through the internet and all over our TV stations by purchasing the Crazy Frog. shudder.

You have a choice. A vote for Amerie means summer, sun, and fun. A vote for the Frog pushes Britain over the brink. This will be our future: a naked blue frog stamping on our face for all eternity.

Don’t let it happen. Vote bing-bong-bing-bong.

currently playing: Saint Etienne — Nothing Can Stop Us

For Tom…

Tor - a system for almost total anonymous internet connections…

(and Happy Birthday to Bicester Richard!)

currently watching: Lost In La Mancha

"Hold me like you did on Naboo"

Oo-er!

George Lucas is not a good director. Or scriptwriter. Maybe he was once; many speak of THX-1138 and American Graffiti was some affection, but twenty years without directing a film has taken a heavy toll. Revenge of The Sith is full of pacing errors, clunky dialogue, and an over-reliance on CGI.

That being said, I really enjoyed it.

Won’t talk too much, for fear of giving away spoilers, but my favourite moments? The rather moving “Order 66” montage, completely stolen from The Godfather but still effective, “I have the high ground!” and what came five seconds afterwards, and the cuteness of The Phantom Menace returning with rather horrifying results (you don’t see anything, but it’s easily the darkest scene in all six films). Even Lucas’s ham-fisted attempts at political commentary (a sample: “This is how democracy ends, then. To thunderous applause.”) amuse - at least he’s trying. He’s not good enough to get there, and yes, perhaps he should have got someone else to help with the script, but at least it’s not just making a toy commercial (the actual idea of the new trilogy is fairly strong, and more complex than the first three, but Lucas’s failings mean that many of the subtleties are lost amongst the action scenes).

It’s not going to change your mind about the series; if you hated it before, you’ll really hate it after this, but otherwise, it’s a good ending to the new trilogy.

PLUS! YODA AS JOHN MCLAINE! “Come out to Dagobah, we’ll get together, have a few laughs!”

currently playing: Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place

The Return of The Trackers

Last week, the MPAA declared war on TV filesharing, taking out some of the most popular BitTorrent trackers all at once. You could almost hear the cries of anguish screaming through the Internet.

Well, today, the Internet is chuckling. For there is a new beta release of BitTorrent. And it removes the need for a central tracker, instead turning every client in the swarm into a mini-tracker. The weakest link in the BT design has been fixed. Oops.

currently playing: Jackie Lee – The Town I Live In

Why you should be scared today!

From Harper’s

When Bush invited him to the Oval Office to discuss policy with seven other chieftains of the Christian right in late 2003, Pastor Ted regaled his whole congregation with the story via email. “Well, on Monday I was in the World Prayer Center”— New Life’s high-tech, twentyfour- hour-a-day prayer chapel —“and my cell phone rang.” It was a presidential aide; “the President,” says Pastor Ted, wanted him on hand for the signing of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Pastor Ted was on a plane the next morning and in the President’s office the following afternoon.

Also, made the mistake of watching this man today. Completely awesome. Includes amazing bits such as “the Bible does not refer to America in any of its prophecies. Perhaps this indicates that America is coming for a fall” Or, perhaps, just maybe, that Daniel and the others may not have known about the American landmasses at the time. Just maybe

currently playing: The Beat – I Confess

Also...

There is a special level of Hell being carved out for employees of Jamster. I feel like rewriting the Bill Hicks routine on advertising…

As Much As I Despise The Man

British Parliamentary System 1 US Senate 0 (Away win, in case you’re doing the pools)

currently playing: The Art of Noise – Moments In Love

The Loneliest Dalek

INT: A School classroom. It’s the beginning of a new day; all the children are sitting patiently at their tables, as the teacher, Miss Keene, walks in.

MISS KEENE: Good morning children!

CHILDREN: Good morning, Miss Keene!

MISS KEENE: Now, children, we have a new member of class joining us today. (to the door) Come in!

(A pepperpot-shaped object trundles in)

MISS KEENE: Class, this is Derek. Say hello to Derek, class.

CHILDREN: Hello, Derek!

DEREK: HELLO-EARTH-CHILDREN! YOU-WILL-BE—

MISS KEENE: Hush, Derek. We have to get on with class.

DEREK: YES-MISS. I-WILL-OBEY.

(Miss Keene looks around the class, spying an empty seat)

MISS KEENE: Ah, Derek, why don’t you sit next to Tom over there?

DEREK: I-OBEY!

(Derek trundles over to Tom’s desk, crushing the empty chair)

MISS KEENE: Now class, let us continue with algebra. Who can remember what x is in 2x + 5 = 11?

(Derek sticks his plunger up)

DEREK: I-KNOW! I-KNOW I-HAVE-THE-ANSWER! IT-IS-THREE-MISS-KEENE!

MISS KEENE: Very good, Derek.

(Derek’s eyebulb glows)

MISS KEENE: Okay. Now Beth, could you solve this problem for me….(voice trails off)

(Tom pokes Derek)

DEREK: OW!

(Miss Keene looks around)

MISS KEENE: Derek?

Derek: TOM-POKED-ME-MISS-KEENE!

MISS KEENE: Tom?

TOM: Did not, Miss!

MISS KEENE: Derek, don’t tell lies. (turns back to Beth)

(Derek glares at Tom, flashing his lights. Tom pokes him again)

DEREK: MISS-KEENE! HE-POKED-ME-AGAIN! HE-MUST-BE-EXTERMINATED!

MISS KEENE: I won’t have that kind of talk in my classroom! Go stand outside, Derek!

(Derek trundles out, eyestalk lowered)

CUT TO:

EXT. The school playground. Tom is holding a football, with a boy called Billy next to him. They’re standing in front of a wall, picking out other boys from a line.

TOM: Okay Billy, I’ll have Peter, Richard, and Leo.

BILLY: Jack, George, and Liam? You’re with me.

(The boys file over to the appropriate side. Derek’s head revolves from side to side, realising that he’s the last one against the wall)

DEREK: WILL-NO-ONE-PICK-ME?

(Tom and Billy exchange a look)

TOM AND BILLY: WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE?!!?!

(Derek trundles off, eyestalk lowered, to the tune of The Littlest Hobo in the background)

This is just the sort of event that the BBFC is protecting us from. Remember kids, it’s not nice to be cruel to Daleks!

currently playing: Saint Etienne – Stars Above Us