Friday, 6 May 2011

An AV irony

A quick thought about AV. An irony I'm currently enjoying.

AV is about giving a fairer voice to democracy. Accurately representing the views of the British public, if you will.

However, the British public have voted comprehensively No.

So does this make them right or wrong? If the vote of the people is 'right', then there is no grounds for complaint about this result. If they are 'wrong', then should we really be trying to give the public a fairer representation? After all, they can't be trusted to know how to vote...right?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

End of the season and technology dramas

Gomes scrambles back after his fumbleAfter Saturday's loss, it's rather looking like Spurs won't be getting Champions League football next season. We should top Liverpool as we have a game in hand, but Spurs have underachieved against the smaller teams and have paid the price. That said, we was robbed on Saturday. Much has been written on the subject of technology in football, but nothing has changed. I think Harry Redknapp hit the nail on the head when he suggested that the reason for this is that the ones making the decisions didn't have the idea, and so they are refusing to implement it. Technology has been used to great effect in many other sports, only football lags behind with absurd ideas about lower levels not being able to have technology (as if that bothers the other sports), and once again a team has been hard done by because of a lack off willingness to implement something that already has solutions ready to go.

Aaron Ramsey scores Arsenal's goal Spurs could still overhaul Man City, and that match against them will be a crucial 6-pointer, but it seems unlikely at this stage. I'm also still backing Man Utd to win the league, but it could get interesting. Again, Man Utd v Chelsea will be a crucial game in the title race. I almost wonder if Arsenal could do it, but with only three games left that seems absurdly unlikely. I think of all the teams though, Man Utd deserve it the most - they have had the most consistent, if not most spectacular, form throughout the course of the season. Wenger will need to bring in some experience if he's going to deliver some victories next season, Arsenal can be great, but have some big flaws, especially as Fabregas is good enough to go looking in more silvery climes.

I also really hope that Blackpool stay up. If they could just sort out their defence they could do pretty well in the Premiership, and it would be sad to lose Ian Holloway from Match of the Day.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Slo Mo Jell-O

Apologies for the Americanised title, but it rhymes, so I felt the sacrifice was worth it. I saw this slow motion video of a jelly cube bouncing, and it looks pretty cool.

I don't know about you, but I love watching things shot with those super-high framerate slow motion cameras - you see all sorts of things that you never noticed before. Things that used to look solid and stable actually wobble all over the place (for example, when cricket ball hits the bat, the bat wobbles all over the place in a way you just can't see normally:

Top marks for my favourite slow motion shots though, has to go to water droplets. Check these bad boys out:

The best bits are at the end of this one, I just find it amazing the way the droplets actually sit on the surface of the water due to surface tension, it's crazy and you just don't see it in real time. I love this universe:

Osama Bin Laden

In case you hadn't noticed, the internet has gone crazy today as the Americans have announced that they have, at last, killed Osama Bin Laden. There isn't really much yet to say on this topic, although the BBC News website will probably give you all the information you could ever need - past, present and future...

At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I do have a couple of questions about the veracity of the claims - an issue that the BBC doesn't seem to have yet addressed. I don't really doubt that it's true, but I find the fact that they've buried him already, and at sea, so there's no body to show, a little surprising - this is the kind of thing that I'd have thought you should be confirming beyond a shadow of doubt. That said, it was announced by the President, which means they are probably pretty convinced - and are at least convinced that they won't be proved wrong!
I guess it makes sense, as then he doesn't have a tomb that can be either made a focal point for terrorists or to be defaced - and you don't want terrorists attacking the military to recover the body either.

I'm not really surprised that he died in the raid, although it would be interesting to know the circumstances - it's much more convenient for the Americans that he died there - no messy trials, no questions about appropriate punishment, and no risk of terrorist attacks to carry out a jailbreak. I'll leave other people to discuss whether it's better this way, or whether justice would have been better served if he had been kept alive (although maybe that wasn't even an option in the end).

I realise reading this over that I sound like a classic conspiracy theorist, but I'm not really - I'd rather believe that the Americans are right on this one, I just thought I'd voice a couple of questions that sprang to mind and see if anyone had a good explanation for it.

I confess to some satisfaction that some form of justice appears to have been served, but it will be interesting to see what the implications of this event actually are. One fears reprisals, and also you have to recognise that, unlike in stories, killing the leader does not necessarily mean total victory. Al Qaeda is not like Voldemort, they do not have 7 Horcruxes that just need destroying before final victory is achieved. Maybe it is a step in the right direction though.

And yet, whilst on one level I feel satisfaction that he has faced the consequences of his actions, I also pity him, because he is not now going to his 72 virgins, but is rather standing before God, and will have to account for his life, and it will not go well for him. This seems to me a prompting to pray for a change of heart amongst terrorists and those who would become terrorists - and turn to a God who does not want His kingdom expanded through violence and coercion, but rather has suffered violence in order to win us through love.
Edit: For a more complete treatment of this last part, see Denise's blog.

As a related side note, I was prompted by this news to have a look through Youtube and I found this video, which contains some genuinely remarkable amateur footage of the 9/11 attacks, there's an astonishingly close view of the second plane hitting around 2:22. I still find it quite hard to get my round the fact that 9/11 really happened in America. I mean, obviously it did, but like with 7/7 you just don't expect things like this to happen in 'safe' countries like the US and the UK (I live in the days after IRA bombs after all).