Mandatory Parental Licensing, I'm not advocating it. But it got your attention, right? Over on Thingbox we've been having a very long debate about how to tackle those problem children that Tony Blair is so worried about in an effort to distract attention away from his leaving office. So here's my position: People are hard-wired to make babies, even if it’s not a very good idea. People who are highly educated (regardless of financial status) tend to try and pick the best time to have kids, and so have fewer, but more successful children. People who are poorly educated show less planning, and have more kids, and those kids are less successful. We as a society have taken the decision that we cannot let these poorly-planned kids starve to death (because their parents haven’t planned how to feed them) or kill themselves in any of a variety of ways. Instead, we want to try and help them succeed. That’s very noble of us. One way to help these children succeed would be by helping them be planned children in the first...
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Metronidazole and the subjective nature of reality

Written Friday, 1st September, 2006 The last 5 days have been some of the worst days of my life. It all started with that incompetent dentist I've been whining about. As I've already mentioned, I had have an emergency root canal on Sunday morning to relieve the pain from an abscess under one of my teeth. With the treatment, I gratefully accepted a 3-day course of antibiotics to cure the infection that caused the abscess. Grumpy, in pain, and exhausted from the lack of sleep, I did nothing at all on Sunday. I felt particularly annoyed because it was supposed to be the first day of my vacation proper, and I had planned to spend the days off happily coding away on one or another of various personal projects. But now I felt in no fit state to do so. Over the next couple days, my mood did not improve. I stayed indoors, off instant messenger, doing nothing and talking to no-one except my flatmate when he came in. I declined offers of friends and family. None of this was really unusual; I...

And now, for something completely different

We take a break from tales of suicide and woe to bring you the cutest couple in the universe. Seriously. These kids together are better than a roomful of baby pandas. Pandas holding kittens. And the kittens are wearing hats. P.S.: Are we looking at a Maggie 2.0 here? My politico friends keep saying there's no chance he's leaving before the party conference but frankly I'm wondering if he'll make it to the end of the month.
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Suri Cruise

The baby photo seen around the world: This is an amazing photo. You can see why they picked it for the cover. In a single image it captures the entire story: Cruise, the proud father, crows over his latest acquisition while wrapping it protectively to his chest. The baby is almost obscured by the leather jacket Tom is wearing as a symbol of his masculinity, thus unintentionally emphasizing the baby's own status as a the same kind of symbol. Mother Katie, on the other hand, though obviously loving, has already been obviously literally and emotionally sidelined -- she has to crane her neck just to fit into the frame and Tom pays her no attention at all. This photo, and this marriage, are all about Tom, Tom, Tom, and that's exactly the way he wants it to be. This photo is an absolute masterpiece.

Two related thoughts, part 1: DVDs and airline security

Case A: It's the late 90s. The DVD industry, worried about the security of their copyrights, creates a method of encrypting the movies on DVDs. Called CSS, this is supposed to prevent people copying DVDs. However, the industry still needs people to be able to play the DVDs in their legitimate players and on their DVD-equipped computers. Therefore, they have to give these very same people whom they don't trust not to violate copyrights the tools to unencrypt their encrypted copyrighted works. Naturally, in reasonably short order, somebody reverse-engineers these tools and works out how to send the movies anywhere -- like another DVD, or their hard drive -- not just to the screen. Called DeCSS, this effectively ends any hope the industry has of technically restricting copyright violation, although they do briefly attempt legal restrictions, chiefly by making it illegal to use the software (or even link to it). However, it is soon pointed out that the software is based on ideas so simple they can be...
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Shoot experience

Anybody fancy doing a photographic treasure hunt of West London tomorrow? One place left on the team, first come first served with frankly unfair exceptions made for cute people.
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The Shoot Experience

It was loads of fun. We wandered around new bits of London, had a nice pub lunch, played in the park, and took lots of photos, many involving a can of Baked Beans.
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Birthday shenanigans

Roller Disco was every bit as fun as I remembered. Woohoo! I think I'm going to use some of my birthday money to buy a pair of proper roller skates -- one thing our neighbourhood does have is an awful lot of concrete, and it's probably good exercise or something, even if it is unspeakably gay. Oh! And I got ID'ed. For age 18. At my 25th birthday party. I think that's the best present a boy could ask for.
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I seem to have accidentally acquired a non-geeking, non-dancing hobby. It's even outdoors! I've never had one of them before. P.S. Your joke for the day (mainly for M): Q: Why do socialists all drink herbal teas? A: Because all proper tea is theft.
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I will give £10 to the first person who successfully works out what I saw on the Internet that eventually worked its way out of my subconscious as this word. I may give hints later. Each hint will drop the prize by £1.
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