The Eleven O’Clock News: How to Check the Apocalypse is Happening

So this is the last news ever posted while not everyone can get married in England and Wales. Unless the government turns turns to India for legislation advice anyway. Just in case that UKIP guy was right and tomorrow we’re all flooded out of house and home, leaving nothing but our Internet footprint as a sign of pre-equal marriage existence, here is a fun game of things to look out for during the apocalypse:

Ah damnit I wanted to make an actual game that people could tick off to check the world was ending. Sorry. Next week I will endeavour to write a post that serves the wider community.

The Eleven O’Clock News: I Forgot to Title This But It’s Real Good for Learning Stuff.

I’m tapping this out on my iPad partially because I want to watch Sport Relief and partially because Sport Relief is basically what I always wanted PE to be as well as everything I’m studying in Politics at the moment… Minus the debates about the benefits of nuclear proliferation.

So far, anyway.

Everything on TV pertaining to non-UK issues has so far has some sort of relevance as a case study exemplifying the bullshit that is rich people wanting to get richer and exploiting everyone else. The UK-based issues are no less relevant since we face them everyday… which calls into question why they are still even issues that require fundraising. Ugh. I can’t even find an appropriate GIF to express the disgust everyone should feel when they remember the shit that happens. Trust me, I just saw things no non-fangirl should ever see when Googling Sherlock.

Since this is the news and not just me getting angry here is some evidence of the bullshit from broadcasters with a modicum of credibility. Mostly. Hopefully you will find it interesting and helpful for Geography/Politics/quizzes/sounding smarter than the tabloid-reading misogynist you’ve been seated next to at a dinner party:

  • CIA World Factbook. It’s a bit tricky to navigate at first but you can pick a country and read about it in a pleasantly organised fashion, or compare states’ places on a list of, say, literary rates.
  • BBC country profiles. They’re a bit more wordy than the Factbook, with straightforward explanations of states’ histories and things that are quite useful, like phone extensions and Internet domains.
  • Historically-Political blog. I only saw this today but it was recommended by a teacher which makes it legit. It has examples of Politics and History essay questions which are horrible good at giving you the lowdown on Important Subjects. There’s also informed discussion about politics-y stuff, like here but with better grades.
  • YouTube. Amongst the baby cats and Tim Minchin videos (someone buy me a CD so I get offline when I’m working) there are documentaries and clips originally from TV shows or films. Take with a bucketful of salt, especially if you’re bootlegging a Hollywood film where they decided to impose a hero figure onto a story with almost no fucking hope (hi Blood Diamond! S’okay Leo I forgive you have a wee Oscar) and do your own research. “Be a sponge not a filter, Charlie.” Blood Diamond is a good watch for the record… I have a pair of bling-y earrings that I really, really don’t want to check went through the Kimberly Process.

The iPad is doing my head in – I also missed the ten o’clock mark because I was laughing at Beckham in Peckham and eating chocolate, mentally calculating how many children I could save if I emptied my bank account for Sport Relief…

It’s not a lot, but I guess it doesn’t have to be?

Audience Participation Time Please! (Don’t worry it’s only a comment.)

Hello snowflakes.

This week I’ve been attempting to organise myself and get closer to being a perfect handbag lady (without the threat of a breakdown, mostly) and that is why I’ve discovered – well, started using – HootSuite for all my Internet stuff. It’s very good, although I’m still learning it, but there is a snag: to add all the accounts I need to, especially for The Webways, I’ll have to upgrade to the ‘pro’ setting. It’s $10 a month which isn’t a whole lot but I don’t currently have a form of employment and won’t have one until the summer because exam season is starting and, hey, priorities. I don’t want to start selling ad space or doing paid reviews because nobody likes them. So I want to bounce an Indifferent Ignorance Fund Idea off you guys. If it works, it could fund the entire site plus HootSuite possibly an upgrade or The Webways.

  • Etsy listing: JPEG file of a picture that says something witty like ‘I support independent bloggers who don’t want to sell advertising space’. You purchase and download the file, which you can print out or use as a display picture or whatever. It’s a kind of deposit for the super cool thing I make alongside because:
  • When you order, there’s option to ‘add a note’. You write in a word or phrase.
  • I take one of the A6 cards I use for greetings cards and handwrite a story or witty musing all over it (I will show you an example at the weekend) using the word or phrase as a prompt.
  • I send it to you in the post.

Because the listing will be a downloadable file, to cover the shipping of the card I’ll have to add £2 or £3 to the price I work out for the materials and for site-funding profit so the Post Office doesn’t take the lot. It shouldn’t cost more than £5 though, which is a) less than a two-coffee trip to Starbucks, b) less than most CDs, c) less than most books, d) oh you get the idea. Plus you get two pieces of art, one of which will be totally unique as well as the fuzzy joy of supporting a blog you know and love.

It’s not a big thing but it’s simple and personal. What do you reckon?

Update: here is an example.

The Ten O’Clock News: The Luckiest Nut in the World

I feel like I’m cheating you guys out of some pi-based news chat but my wrist is creaky so here is a video about peanuts and world debt instead:

Bear with me. I first saw this video three or four years ago in Geography and didn’t really get it (WTF trade liberalisation you stupid choir). Then in Politics this week we watched it again and I got it (trade liberalisation is an idea people had to help out those in poverty by giving states loans. It doesn’t work because it inevitably makes sure that states have to borrow more money and cut public spending which usually causes poverty which can cause war which always causes poverty. You brilliant choir).

I challenge you to not have “groundnuts replaced slavery as Senegal’s biggest industry” stuck in your head today… Explaining in more detail would mean more typing so please research it and/or leave a question and I shall endeavour to answer it! Please note I will be using a handful of pages of notes and a section of one undergrad textbook. Said section may have been used to squish a bug judging by the smears over the structural adjustment programme paragraph… metaphor?!

Spoon Keyboards and Snakes Being Freaky

I am typing this on my new computer and using an ergonomic keyboard which is curved like an upside-down spoon. It has lots of short cut buttons that I’m eagerly anticipating using in my quest to become a Serious Writer Person… new computer, new start and all of that. Except I don’t have Microsoft Office or Photoshop and I spent about 75% of today asleep… also the spoon-keyboard is a little bit daunting. But I have a cup of tea, which is a necessity if one is to become a well-respected artiste, so all I need now is something to talk about…

Okay so first of all, my friend Hollie who hangs out here sometimes has started a blog of her very own. She only has one post so far but it shows promise of greatness. If you could all leave a comment and say hi it would be great, not only for her as a person but also because, as I understand it, female gamers are seriously under-represented and Pixel Scum is evening the playing field!

Right now down to business. Did you guys see this news story? Holy bats. I mean, the snake basically looks like the average human just after New Year…

Found BBC.co.uk
Found BBC.co.uk

… but snakes get to unlock their jaws.

Found BBC.co.uk
Found BBC.co.uk

Argh it’s been a week since I saw that and I’m still freaking out that Nagini will slither round the corner and eat my face.

In the interest of grossing you out further, a few years ago a Python tried to eat an alligator and exploded.

(I solemnly swear to never complain again when Fred or Donnie yawn in my face. Dog breath is bad but snake breath sounds like it should be toxic.)

The Six O’Clock News: Examining the Bigger Picture of the Oscar Pistorius Trial (Mostly Unscientifically) So that You Don’t Have To!

I haven’t been sure what to talk about today because the week’s big news, Ukraine, is changing so fast that a blog would be redundant in about twenty minutes. In a lot of ways so would the Oscar Pistorius trial but Ruby and I were talking earlier about aspects of it, so let’s have a go. Not at the ‘this could be a crime drama’ element – though it could which is unnerving – nor the ‘he shot her deliberately! Ah no he didn’t’ element (let’s let the courts decide).

The thing that I haven’t seen anyone talking about, unless it’s just on blogs like this  (which I don’t read because this is exhausting enough, is that bad?), is that the basic story of ‘person shoots other person apparently by accident and turns out to have a propensity for firearms’ is really similar to the stories that come out of the USA seemingly every week. This CBS bulletin explains that a man was charged with aggravated manslaughter of his three-year-old this week after she accidentally shot herself. A five-year-old’s death from a gunshot wound is believed to be accidental according to ABC. WPXI reports that a three-year-old has been hospitalised after accidentally shooting himself. All of those stories are from this week.

In terms of analysis, I reckon those stories raise two questions. One: why, if people own guns, are they loaded in places that small children can reach? If you feel that you need to own a firearm for sport, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t keep it in a purpose-built gun cupboard, preferably not loaded until you go out to shoot some deer or whatever. Children are generally smarter than adults in terms of the meaning of life but the best of them are usually kept out of anything that’s bigger than they are and difficult to open. Two: if you feel that you need a firearm for self-protection, as I believe is the general reason why South Africans own them and Americans won’t ever stop owning them, why can you not take half a minute to check that your gun is on your person and not anywhere a small child could reach? Let’s face it, your aim and judgement about when to pull the trigger is probably better than your toddler’s even if you are paranoid.

By the way, according to this fun map, America and the Yemen have the highest number of guns per hundred people and Colombia has the highest percentage of homicides by firearm. Yay. So, as good politics students, we’re going to discuss what these statistics imply. Here is a handy and completely unscientific list:

  1. A large number of people feel that it is in their best interest to own a firearm.
  2. Presumably this is because of their area’s crime rate and general safety atmosphere. Car jackings are so common in South Africa that one insurance company won’t cover a certain type of VW Golf because they’re too easy to jack. Taking steps toward self preservation is a-okay, right?
  3. Like the knife crime situation in the UK, owning a gun is probably more likely to get you hurt than to hurt other people who want to hurt you, which adds to the shitty aura of gun ownership.
  4. Nobody wins except gun manufacturers.

Oscar Pistorius claims he shot his girlfriend after mistaking her for a burglar and given South Africa’s notorious crime rate, he could well be genuine. Nobody’s questioning that the families of those toddlers had the guns for legitimate reasons (I’d dispute shooting game as ‘legitimate’ but if that’s your culture then I’ll judge you from afar because now’s not the time to explain about the circle of life). But people are being hurt and killed because at some point a person has decided that possessing a gun is a good idea… which begs the forty million dollar question: should we be taking these cases as a sign that there’s a picture bigger than ownership and intent and start focussing on the reasons why societies have made the ownership necessary? Because no one owns a handgun in little English villages where everyone throws garden parties with signs on the front door saying ‘It’s open and so’s the back :)’.

Just saying.

If that hasn’t completely depressed you please leave a message with your opinions so we can all feel like we contribute to the very society we’ve just realised is full of shit!