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That was the Scum's headline yesterday, you see - I skim their front page so you don't have to. Anyway, Kenny Richie has released after serving twenty years for failing to babysit a small child properly. Now, what exactly happened that night is still slightly unclear, but it's been obvious for years that there was no solid evidence that he set a fire. Nevertheless, at least one of the late toddler's family seem to have no uncertainty whatsoever - her aunt (according to the BBC) said in court Richey would "burn in hell". I don't personally see how the interests of justice are served by having the court solicit that sort of inflammatory statement, but doubtless the profane cannot be expected to understand these mysteries.

I have some reservations about criticising her for taking that point of view - her niece died, after all, which was and is tragic - but it does rather remind me of the people who went on believing that the Birmingham Six were definitely guilty and got away with their crime on a technicality. It's that sort of absolute certainty that creates miscarriages like this in the first place.

Weird comments reported elsewhere include the prosecutor, Mr Gary Lammers, saying "The fact that he spent 21 years in prison — I don't think that makes him a victim" because he's not the dead child. Apparently Ohio law says there's only ever one victim, even in very complicated situations. Well, you live and learn.

Richey is reported to have had a "New York strip" at lunchtime, which is apparently some kind of steak.

Meanwhile, back in Bay City, appeals are upcoming for Luke Mitchell and William Beggs. Should be interesting. I don't particularly envy those involved.

In other news, as I type it's neck-and-neck in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, with available estimates showing Clinton actually slightly ahead. 40% of the vote has still to be counted, but it doesn't look like the whitewash that has been being predicted1. I feel the need to describe her as the "Comeback Kid" at this point.

McCain seems to be ahead on the Republican side, which I understand may make things interesting, although probably not for Chinese values of interesting.

Update: Aaaand it's Clinton and McCain, sports fans, with Obama and Romney making generous comments about the winners. A useful lesson there about polls and volatility, methinks.

Fox's exit polls favoured Obama, CNN's favoured Clinton. Who was the better news provider? You decide.

1: Many thanks to Dr Dan Streetmentioner's excellent book at this point.
zotz: (primal)
I'm the first person to read my copy of Lanark. One of the pages was uncut at one corner. It's a secondhand paperback twenty years old. Tragic. Read more... )

Miffy wouldn't be seen dead in pink.

I nearly avoided that article totally, for fairly obvious reasons, but actually it's rather interesting. She turned 50 last year.

Errr . . . . on Friday I think I went to the pub and chatted to people until late. It was fun, anyway, and I think it happened on Friday. It was fun even if it didn't.

On Saturday Read more... )

On Sunday I went to see Ed after getting him a CD player and radio - anyone who can be bothered giving him disks (including disks of mp3s) is encouraged to pass them on. After that, I dropped in on Graham and Sara, and was rewarded with, among other things, conversation and the best roast potatoes I've had in a very long time. As I'd not seen either of them meaningfully in weeks or months, this was well worthwhile and long overdue. Sara's running a course on fantastic fiction soon, and I'm more than a bit tempted. I was probably supposed to go to the Beltane vido showing immediately after, but I didn't leave theirs until after it had nominally started, so I went home and then for a drink in the Festival Tavern (opposite the Odeon that was the ABC at the top of Bread Street) with Pete and Stevie, before going to KJ's for another. Was the Festival a restaurant before? And if so, how long ago?

[livejournal.com profile] gingiber and [livejournal.com profile] anonymouseth spent Sunday rather differently - they went photographing the wrecks of midget submarines. The results can be seen here.

At some point Mark phoned and insisted on playing some Gogol Bordello down the line. Consequently, Gogol Bordello recordings were purchased. I heartily recommend that any of you who can stomach the idea of energetic folky twostep in a daft central European accent do likewise - it's top stuff. Ed likes it too, so it must be good. And they're touring soon. The new Belle and Sebastian's not bad either. And I've been listening to the Editors album, too, with great pleasure.

Yesterday I went to the EUSA office to get a life membership photocard. The only pictures I have look like an axe murderer with a hangover, so that's what's going to be immortalised. I get the old card back, happily, which is definitely what I want as it has [livejournal.com profile] bootpunk's autograph on it. I picked up another bathroom brochure, on a tip from my folks about a bog they thought I might like. And I failed to find a couple of replacement bowls (food bowls, this time). Even the manufacturer seems to have evaporated.

I saw this post earlier on, about Mike Peters and various other kent faces playing and releasing an album under the name The Alarm MMVI. While it's probably not bad, the only thing running through my head while reading it was the line "Hot Shot City is particularly good".

[I hadn't previously seen the ones on the end of that link, although I've read many of the others (there are currently almost a thousand on Amazon). SFW, at least in not containing smut. Interestingly, on the strength of those reviews, [livejournal.com profile] blackmetalbaz actually bought a copy.]

Politics, broadly speaking - women, that prick Moyles, music, and judicial murder )
zotz: (primal)
A Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an investigation by the Guardian has discovered.

Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about".

The Guardian article's source was an agent of the company, which has, they say, exported collagen products to Britain in the past, although they do not know whether it is currently doing so.

When formally approached by the Guardian, the agent denied the company was using skin harvested from executed prisoners. However, he had already admitted it was doing precisely this during a number of conversations with a researcher posing as a Hong Kong businessman.

If true, I can't see this being good for the kipperlips industry (errr . . . you have all seen my Mick Jagger impression, haven't you?) - but the question, of course, is whether it's true. There will be strenuous denials from people I wouldn't trust to speak my weight, of course, but being morally flexible in general doesn't prove anyone's lying in a particular case. One informal chat isn't solid proof. One to watch. There have, of course, been many stories about organ and tissue harvesting from the Chinese capital punishment program, and from (Baathist) Iraqi jails also (while they were nominally our friends back in the Eighties, IIRC). I've not come across allegations about cosmetic products before, though.


Sep. 2nd, 2005 03:25 pm
zotz: (Default)
Well, mostly better. And back at work, because it seems that somebody has to be here who understands the monochromator's little idiosyncracies. It has, I should say at this point, been working very well for the last few months, and I think people are now very pleased with it. A while back I mailed Till to thank them for whatever they did the last time they had it back, because whatever it was it certainly did the trick. There's a (very) slight problem with the control software, but I suspect that that's the fault of the software company, who are unconnected. There's a very simple workround, anyway. That was what Kirsten's call on Wednesday was about. Tom called me at home yesterday about another issue - he just couldn't get any illumination from it. I couldn't think of anything that might cause that, and when I fired it up this morning it worked perfectly. So it goes.

It was pointed out to me (thank you to [livejournal.com profile] sneerpout) that the man convicted of killing Mia Zapata has had an appeal upheld, not against his conviction but against the severity of his sentence. But even if he gets a decade lopped off the previous 36-year stretch, he'll still likely die inside.

There have been some interesting studies out too. That one on male bisexuality has apparently been printed now, as has one allegedly claiming that men are clever than women (difficult to prove using a tool like an IQ test, for only very slightly technical reasons) and also one on the worthlessness of homeopathy. I should probably drone on about each of these . . . and I may if I get bored.

What I probably will do sooner or later is spell out at unforgiveable length when and how I think the animal rights movement lost the plot. I mention this now rather than at any other point because A Prominent Local Scientist (not me or anyone I know personally) has had his van vandalised and his house threatened recently, and someone else from the same institute had had their house vandalised shortly before. A few years ago, of course, the Roslin Institute was firebombed, as was a building at the Bush Estate (part of Edinburgh University). In the latter case, the wrong building was actually bombed (stupid fuckwits), as the lab that was burnt out (destroying many years of work by a good number of people) was actually a tropical botany lab. You can insert the usual "vegetable rights" jokes here if you like, of course. Still, at least nobody was hurt. Or, alternatively, at least nobody's been hurt yet. All fun and games.

I don't have anything exciting to report about my life and travels, as I've been mostly sitting in the house for the last couple of days, stroking the cat and bringing up phlegm. I'm not downcast, though. New Model Army have a new album out very very soon (and I'll get to go see them on my birthday), Leonard Cohen has one out RSN, there's what looks like a very promising club on tomorrow and a big firework display on Sunday.

Finally, I'd just like to pass on a quotation about the Old Man of Storr, lifted from the NVA book:
"Had this rock been on the plains of Hindostan instead of the mountains of Skye, it would have been an object of greater devotion than the Jaggernaut Pagoda." J Macculloch, Geologist, 1819.
zotz: (Default)
"We have been trying for 40 years to save the world, sometimes against the world's wishes," Mr. Rotblat said.

Read more... )

Ny'Awlins, oil prices, Justice Center )


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