Fuck off, Williwm Gibson.
By extremely tedious HuSer (Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 12:43:48 AM EST) (all tags)
Google, if you can hear me, let the world know: William Gibson's Pattern Recognition is pure crap.

Also: sound installation, ID cards, Jimmy Carr wants another award, HuSi Search.

Exhibition: Hearing Voices, Soas
Went to see the Hearing voices sound installation at SOAS last night. Quite interesting, and well put together. I think the space should be more like a chill out room of clubs of yore, because the piece lasts for an hour and standing around for so long is not very comfortable. But still, worth seeing (if you are into that kind of thing) and it's free.

Pattern Recognition
Still knackered from my week end of partying in Hamburg. Blimey! What a city. I was been reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition on the flight, and have just finished it. I had to finish it, because I just cannot put a book down when I start it, no matter how bad it is. Hell, I have even finished The Celestine Prophecies, perhaps the worse book ever. Strange, because I'll unhappily walk out of a cinema if I don't like a movie. Who knows.

2 words review of PR: Utter toss.
3 words review of PR: Pile of shite.
8 words review of PR: The second worse book I have ever read.
9 words review of PR: Was it worth killing all those trees for that?

Longer, more articulate review of PR: It's been a long time since I have read a book that was so crap. Mr Gibson, who made a career by writing bad spy thrillers disguised as culturally "on the edge" novels, has nothing more to say, and says it really badly. Since time is at a premium, here's what I didn't like about the book:

• his terse, emotionless style is always been quite hard to get into, and now it has become repetitive. A shadow of its former self. I understand expecting some verve from William Gibson is like expecting socialism from George W. Bush, but times have changed and he hasn't.
• The "on the edge" comments he peppers the novel with are either banal ("the ur-Martens of the first decade of punk, long since de-recontextualized into the inexpensive everyman's footwear they'd been designed to be") to the utter rubbish ("If there's any one thing about England that Cayce finds fundamentally disturbing, it is how 'class' works [...] And it is, highly codified: they look at one another's shoes first, she's convinced") SHOES??? Not the way they speak - bloody shoes??? You wanker.
• London. I am an (adopted) Londoner, and I don't like the way he describes it. All he talks about is Camden Town, Neal's Yard, Kensigton Gardens. London for American expats, not even scratching the surface of what this town is all about. You can tell what Mr Gibson does in his day to day life is fly to a town where he's going to set his book (London, Japan, and now Moscow because it's the next big thing), sit all day in a Starbucks scribbling away, never talk to anyone or anything like that. And Mr. Gibson, it hardlys ever snows in London. And people don't try to speak French in French restaurants, since tall waiters in London are Eastern Europeans anyway.
• The premise of the book is absolutely nonsensical. Desperate to remain 'on the edge', his latest character is a brand consultant (oh, so... cyberbrand?) who's hired by firms around the world becaus she has a 'special power' of being able to tell whether a brand will work or not. She also gets physically sick when she sees certain logos, particularly the Michelin one (another dig at the French by the non-esteemed mr Gibson). I haven't heard of something so ridiculous since reading bad comic books in the 80s.
• Then there is a cult based around a movie which is being released a piece at the time over the internet. Groan.
• The cast of character is so stereotypical it would make a 1950s western movie looke like arthouse.
• References to nine eleven. Poor, mr Gibson, very poor.
Verdict: this book made me really angry.

Talking of crap books
My friend Jimmy Carr (not the Jimmy Carr) is considering running a HuSi Cow Book Awards, which work the same way as the Movie Awards, but with up to 10 entries per categories, the categories being best fiction, best non-fiction, worse fiction or non-fiction. I'd ban any religious books, just to avoid twats posting K5 style flame bait, and I'd ask people to link each book to Amazon (because it takes forever to do!)
Any thoughts on that are appreciated.

More ID Card nonsense
<u>The story so far</u>: ID cards are being introduced in the UK, one of the few countries left where they don't have them. The mere mention of the word makes Brits go apoplectic. Details of how they are going to be implemented  They are going to be compulsory,  they are going to be paid for by the citizen (on top of taxes and everything), and it looks like they are going to be expensive. The idea of paying for them, and paying dearly, makes even the mildest of Brits foam at the mouth.
Meanwhile, the G8 countries have agreed to having biometric data in all of their passports, starting from NOW, and nobody seems to care.

I have already made a long comment listing my arguments in favour of ID cards, which if Scoops's search functions were actually half decent, I would actually be able to find. In short: they hardly make any difference to your life except for a bit of added convenience when dealing with bureacracy (being opening a bank account, going to A&E, voting, etc); and they do not help in fighting terrorism (possibly illegal immigration).

People object that they are in invasion of privacy, but don't you get it? The authorities are getting biometric information with the new passports - now, this summer.  ID cards are irrelevant - they could just as well ask you to carry around a 2 lb. quartz crystal. The government are already getting what they want.

Even someone pro-ID cards like myself has to admit the government has fucked up royally on this. What they should have done, is to have ID cards voluntary, and make sure they are accepted as the official document of choice in all transactions where identity is an issue. Eventually people will just start carrying them in their wallet because they can just forget them about it. That's what happened in Italy with tax number cards, which are used for all sort of transactions. The are not compusory, but they are needed so often people just carry them with them all the times. It just seems like common sense. To go from no ID at all to expensive compulsory cards in one jump, expecially in this country, seems pretty stupid to me.

Sometimes you wonder whether people in the government live on the same planet as we do.

Attention Hulver!
No <u> tag in autoformat?

Some time ago you asked for feature suggestion for Scoop. I know you are running this site in your own spare time and at your own expenses, and we are all grateful for it, but have you ever considered having an 'advanced search' which works? I mean something along the lines of Search for |_______             > all words             > any word Search In  | all            |_ non-hidden comments only            |_ hidden comments only            |_ holed stories             (etc) Author     |_______ Date From  |_ |_ |_ Date To    |_ |_ |__ 

I find it impossible to find comments someone has posted in the past. A message board without a past, well, it's just the same as IRC, innit?
As always, no worries if you don't agree (not that you ever do ;-) and thanks for running this site.

The End
As usual, no time to spell check or edit. Thank you folks, and have a wonderful day.

Fuck off, Williwm Gibson. | 57 comments (57 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Never really got William Gibson by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 12:57:37 AM EST
Neuromancer was dense and unreadable though I liked parts. I was reading a lot of Ballard at the time and Gibson seemed trite in comparison.

The book awards is a good idea.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

Neuromancers opening sentence is a classic though by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:00:23 AM EST
but yes, 'dense' is the word

[ Parent ]
ID cards by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:05:28 AM EST
But there just so damn continental ;)

They'll probably smell of garlic! by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 2) #8 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:20:25 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Mine will... [nt] by motty (2.00 / 0) #53 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 06:13:50 AM EST

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
Pattern Recognition by R Mutt (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:06:13 AM EST
I got two-thirds through it, but never got around to finishing. Did seem pretty weak. I liked the brand-sensitivity gimmick, but would have worked better as a short story; doesn't really stretch to a novel.

The cool-bits-of-London stuff were pretty crap. The bit where the guy has a magic parking permit that lets him park anywhere was quite amusing. One of the odd things about living in this demented patchwork of village-kingdoms is that that can't really happen here.

Also, not all French waiters are short.

It gets worse by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:15:46 AM EST
You'd hope that finding out what the footage is all about will somehow rescue the story - in fact, it makes you think of the money you have just wasted on the Gibson brand.

[ Parent ]
I'm anti-ID cards by stark (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:11:24 AM EST
Because of three main reasons:
1. The biometric technology isn't good enough; too many false positives
2. It'll cost more money than they think it will
3. We already have good ID documents (i.e. passports).
I'm pretty much against biometric guff in passports as well, but I can't see anyone talking the US out of it in their current paranoia.

--
U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
Talking the US out of their paranoia by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:18:33 AM EST
Whatever their paranoia, we (i.e, the rest of the G8 countries) should be able to take our own decisions.

[ Parent ]
Well, by stark (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:28:42 AM EST
if the USians say "We won't let you into our country after 2005 unless your passport contains biometric data conforming to these standards" (eg. the 2002 law, mentioned here) it's hard for our government to say "No, piss off". There's a negotiation phase about what will be acceptable by the US folks which can still be implemented by the rest of the world. I do still find the spineless approach taken by the UK rather disappointing.

To be fair I've not heard so much about biometric data in passports in the UK, although I was relieved to get a new one recently that was unencumbered with an expiry date in ten years time.

According to the BBC the British passports will contain digitised photos (I can cope with that) and will "eventually" contain iris or fingerprint data (which I'm not happy about).
--
U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.

[ Parent ]
I suppose by R Mutt (3.00 / 1) #13 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:39:13 AM EST
They could theoretically offer a choice of passports, a US-compatible passport and a non-US passport that just lets you visit everywhere else.

I assume that since passports are all EU-standardized now, that would be a decision for the EU not the UK government though. Something to lobby your Euro-MP about...?

[ Parent ]
US-compatible by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #51 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:50:21 AM EST

What the Yanks are saying is that everyone must have a biometric travel document. If we don't have a biometric passport, we will have to (shock, horror) get a biometric visa from their embassy.

And what, precisely, would the US do if the EU, and other states, told them we wouldn't allow their citizens in on biometric passports?

--
DFJ?
[ Parent ]
why do you hate america? [n/t] by martingale (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:28:45 AM EST

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Jerry Springer by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 1) #35 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:45:46 AM EST
Really gets on my tits

[ Parent ]
yeah by martingale (2.00 / 0) #57 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:10:45 PM EST
He's a real small guy.
--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
I'm 33% more anti-ID cards. by squigs (4.00 / 1) #24 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:36:31 AM EST
My issues:
1. As you mentioned - Price.
2. Inconvenience.  I can't post my hand off to the ID office.  I'll need to report there.  I really can't be bothered queing up.
3. General mistrust of government.  They're either stupid or they lied to us.  They keep changing their story, so I don't believe their reasons.
4. I consider it rude.  I am who I say I am.  If they want me to prove it, then they should be able to provide a good reason why they need to know.
I don't like the biometric passport idsea either (for reasons 1 and 2).

I will concede that a government issued ID card with a picture on it, and a bit of information in a smartcard, that can be digitally verified by various organisations would be useful.  I also believe that this could be achieved for about £10 per person.  I'd also disapprove of it but only because of reasons 3 and 4 above.

[ Parent ]
I didn;t mean this to be another pro-ID card diary by extremely tedious HuSer (3.00 / 1) #36 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:50:27 AM EST
I was just saying, the government are bungling it. But anyway

# As you mentioned - Price.
Yes, it should be included in what we pay in taxes. However, all the money the government spends, untlimately, is our money.

# Inconvenience.  I can't post my hand off to the ID office.  I'll need to report there.  I really can't be bothered queing up.
Oh come on, stop whinging!

# General mistrust of government.  They're either stupid or they lied to us.  They keep changing their story, so I don't believe their reasons.
Oh yes, because the unelected French-owned electricity board which currently proves your address can be trusted more?

# I consider it rude.  I am who I say I am.  If they want me to prove it, then they should be able to provide a good reason why they need to know.
You already have to prove who you are in many situations, like buying a telly with HP at Dixons.

[ Parent ]
Sorry. But you started it:P by squigs (3.00 / 1) #39 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:13:27 AM EST
Yes, it should be included in what we pay in taxes. However, all the money the government spends, untlimately, is our money.

A £3 billion scheme is a waste of money whoever pays for it (since it will be us anyway).  A £50 million scheme could probably be justified.

Oh come on, stop whinging!

I'm British!  It's what I do.

Oh yes, because the unelected French-owned electricity board which currently proves your address can be trusted more?

I am not obliged to use the electricity board.  But anyway - I know why they want my ID.  They want to charge me for use of electricity.  There are also laws in place that limit them to using the data for this purpose.  I have no idea why the government wants all the data they do in a database.  Why will they require I identify myself, and why can't a fairly simple card be used for this purpose?

If you're saying an ID card would be useful for proving ID for bank accounts and the like, then I can see your point.  This does not require an expensive unified database.

You already have to prove who you are in many situations, like buying a telly with HP at Dixons.

This is why I don't use HP at Dixons (or anywhere else for that matter).  But this is a valid reason for me to have to prove who I am.

Why does the government need to know?  They already have enough information on me for general administration purposes.

[ Parent ]
Also centralization by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #42 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:39:24 AM EST
Don't think that objection's been mentioned in this particular ID card diary. I don't really like a system where all it takes is Al-Quaeda/IRA/ALF/NF/The Judean Peoples' Front to get one mole into one low-level clerk's job in one goverment department and then have them immediately know everything about everybody.

[ Parent ]
wha by tps12 (4.00 / 1) #43 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:48:46 AM EST
What is a terrorist going to do with a bunch of personal information? Blow it up?

[ Parent ]
Two suggestions by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #45 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:00:06 AM EST
1. Use it to identify targets
2. or, more likely, introduce errors and vastly inconvenience people.
If they marked people as dead, then those people are going to have an awful lot of explaining to do. Do it to enough people, and it could bring the country to a standstill.

Not that you need terrorists to put bad data in the database. Government contractors are rather efficient at doing it by themselves.

[ Parent ]
Depends by R Mutt (4.00 / 1) #47 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:06:39 AM EST
The racists would probably be most interested in the biometric information, since you can presumably identify someone's race from that. Good way of tracking down miscegenators, getting addresses of prominent targets.

The animal rights people are targetting anyone who deals with animal experimenters (employing a relative of a scientist for instance). Make their lives a lot easier.

The IRA splinters would probably be most interested in police and military addresses, since any current or former policeman is a fair target.

Plus all of them would be interested in stealing/forging identities from this handy centralized database.

Not all terrorists want to kill everyone indiscriminately.

[ Parent ]
bah by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #48 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:43:05 AM EST
Race is pretty fuzzy stuff when you're looking at straight-up genetic code...I'm going to go out on a limb and posit that identifying ethnic minorities from the shapes of their fingerprints is impossible.

I guess I see what you mean, though. I wasn't thinking of the kind of terrorists who track down specific targets.

[ Parent ]
IIRC the aim is by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #49 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:47:56 AM EST
That it biometrically encodes your appearance. But even if not, a large part of the time you can guess someone's ethnicity from their name.

[ Parent ]
Passport biometrics by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:22:20 AM EST

You know what has actually been agreed for passports?

A digitised photograph. That's it. The Americans are unilaterally insisting on fingerprints as well.

My passport has a photo in it, I can live with having a scanned version on board and I've no intention of visiting the USA. Apart from that, if you think I'm not who I say I am, proving it is your problem, not mine. The cards will help with benefit fraud will they? 50 million a years worth, or a quid a head. Whoopee, a veritable bargain. Just how much NHS fraud goes on? What's the betting more than that could be saved just by not bothering to check?

Mmmm. I need to read more on that. by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:41:41 AM EST
You may be right, but I am sure in the last couple of days I have either read or heard in the news about iris scans being done this year, at great cost. I will report back when I have time to do a bit of research.

[ Parent ]
Big difference by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:31:46 AM EST

...between what is required and what is being done. The feature creep is already well under way.

[ Parent ]
<u> tag by hulver (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:34:58 AM EST
Is pants.

Yes, the search is shit.

If somebody knocked up a fancy front end that had an expandable "Advanced" box that contained all the options listed above (and appeared using the magic of JavaScript without a page reload from the server), I'd consider the scoop changes to make it work.

I'm playing around with xmlhttp stuff at the moment, and this would be a nice thing to test it with.
--
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

You are on by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:43:48 AM EST
I am a tad busy right now, but should be able to do something within a week or so. Unless someone else sends you one before that.

Let me know of any does and don'ts, etc.

[ Parent ]
Search by gpig (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:43:28 AM EST
I have already made a long comment listing my arguments in favour of ID cards, which if Scoops's search functions were actually half decent, I would actually be able to find.

Just use Google with site:hulver.com . Or was it in the Hole? If so, it's kind of your own fault for putting some actual content in there ....
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(,   ,') -- eep

Yes, you are right by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:44:59 AM EST
didn't think of that.

[ Parent ]
ID cards, feature creep by Idempotent (4.00 / 1) #18 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:50:25 AM EST
The problem is not so much the current implementation, but what it might be in the future, and who you'd trust it to.

Any sensible IT person will design the database so it's easy to add new stuff to it. (ethnicity, voting records, sexual preference, union membership, etc) And in time, these will be added (as it has been to everything else).

So, fancy the BNP getting hold of that info?

The information is already all there by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:57:44 AM EST
(except for biometrics, at least for people who've never been arrested). ID cards are just a convenient interface to it

[ Parent ]
Yes. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:17:26 AM EST
But it has to be collated, and matched together. Ask anyone who's tried to combine two databases together matching on name and address... it's not easy.

It has been described as "poor civic hygiene" to build a system which would enable a police state to be created in a couple of weeks. Remember, the Nazi's got elected, and they were big collectors and processors of data (on index cards!).[1]

[1] I feel OK about using emotive language like that, because pro-ID card people tend to use stuff like "terrorists! behind you!" and "think of the children".

[ Parent ]
Leave the nazis out of this by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:39:44 AM EST
The nazis also made (maight have made) the trains run on time. Does it mean trains running on time are bad?

[ Parent ]
Yes by Gully Foyle (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:07:23 AM EST
When they're going to Auschwitz.

[ Parent ]
A classic logical fallacy. Are you trolling? by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #32 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:12:20 AM EST
When considering building such a system, you should not just be thinking of now, you should be thinking of circumstances under which it could be used to attack the population.

The Nazi's are totally relevant. Let's say we're 10 years from now, a lot more data has been collected, and due to a massive global depression, a right wing scapegoating party has been elected.

Do you want them to do SELECT Name,Address FROM Population WHERE Ethnicity=Jew OR Sexuality=Homosexual and then email the results to the death squads?

Now that would be efficiency.

[ Parent ]
No, they'd do: by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:40:38 AM EST
SELECT * FROM school_records WHERE ethnicity NOT aryan;
SELECT * FROM workers_public_sector WHERE ethnicity NOT aryan;
etc..

[ Parent ]
OK. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #37 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:56:51 AM EST
But with the ID cards in the current implementation, it would be very easy to add deny rules to stop "undesirable" people having access to government services such as healthcare.

Are the benefits are worth handing such easy power to a future government?

Is the cost now justified by what it will achieve now?

[ Parent ]
Possibly not by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #38 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:09:57 AM EST
Cost wise. Really, if you were to do it at all you'd gradually phase it in, starting from situations where money where going to be spent anyway, and so on. A bit like, say, migrating the whole government from PCs to Lunix.

I don't understand the big hurry, to be honest, which is way I am saying the government are making a mess of it. Like the made a mess of the whole joining the Euro thing

[ Parent ]
Let me get this straight. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #46 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:01:10 AM EST
You're for a government which you think is making a mess of something to implement a radical change in the relationship between citizen and state?

[ Parent ]
No! I am in favour of the concept of ID cards. by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #50 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:50:16 AM EST
But I think the present government is making a mess of it.

[ Parent ]
The NAZI's *what*? by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #55 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 10:40:48 AM EST
Christ, man. Don't leave us hanging here.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
I liked neuromancer by johnny (4.00 / 1) #19 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:51:59 AM EST
and then I tried but failed to read other Gibson. Tedious; yes. Flat. Straining-so-hard-to-be-hip. Somehow his lesser books remind me of when my dog gets in the garbage and eats a lot of paper and then cannot shit for a week, despite trying really really hard to do so.

I thought the title and epigram for "Count Zero" were inspired, however.  I'll give him that much.

In order to seed the HusiCow book discussion let me just say that my favorite book in the "technoparanoid nanobioneuro thriller" department is Acts of the Apostles, by moi.  And Cheap Complex Devices is simply the most cleverest, and yet profoundest satire of hive-mind theories of garbage-collecting runtimes that has ever been self-published in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

WIlliam Gibson's novels by TheFragile (4.00 / 1) #21 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:02:03 AM EST
In all my ignorance, I -like- William Gibson novels, including Pattern Recognition which I read last year. So there! :o)
The most powerful weapon is the eyes.. for it is through them that one sees directly into the soul, and watches over the souls of others.
WIPO: DRAFT-DODGING SON-OF-A-BITCH by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:41:16 AM EST
Take note; I've ranted about this in a previous Diary.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

Another ti dave's classic by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #29 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:58:42 AM EST
Whos'a draft dodging son of a bitch?
What have ranted about in a previous Diary?
Which previous Diary?

Gee, man, where's the effort?

[ Parent ]
Gibson is. by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #54 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 10:05:18 AM EST
Jumpin' Jiminy Christmas. Do I have to explain everything to you people?

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
He might have thought by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #56 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 12:17:37 PM EST
You mean a certain other draft dodger.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Snow in London by Cloaked User (4.00 / 1) #27 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:51:51 AM EST
I've lived here for about 10 years, and I only remember it snowing once, at least in the centre. It's snowed once or twice out where I am, but a lot of people don't count Zone 6 as London...

I'm against ID cards myself, and definitely against them being both compulsory and non-free (as in beer). I don't think the potential benefits outweigh the potential for abuse, and am not convinced that the purported benefits will be realised in any case.

I'm utterly against using biometrics for identification purposes for one simple reason: if your identifying data is compromised, you cannot possibly change it. With a password or PIN or similar, if someone else guesses it, you can change it. If someone manages to fool a fingerprint or iris scanner, you're stuffed. It's going to be a constant arms race between the powers that be and the ne'er do wells, and one that I don't think the good guys can ever decisively win.

/me removes tin foil hat

--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

WIPO: Should be tried at the Hague by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 1) #28 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:56:03 AM EST

for popularizing the word/prefix "cyber".

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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
I used to be fairly blase about the ID card by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #30 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:06:37 AM EST
thing... Having lived abroad in enough places that required me to carry ID around, it sort seemed a bit of fuss over nothing, especially since, as you say, they already have plenty of ability to track me.

But, then, I've never paid more than a negligible amount for an ID card. That's right I'm about to froth at the mouth about price.

The government has plenty of IT projects on it is busy cocking up. This will be outsourced to one of the same old companies who rake in billions and turn out a pile of cack. Since, they have all the data they need anyway, what's the point of spending lots of money on this system?

I already paid for a driving license and passports, but the issue is more for the bottom end of society. There's lots of figures being bandied about but even the low end is about 70GBP. That's a lovely tax on the poor. Is it really necessary? Surely it would be smarter to upgrade the passport?

Also by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:21:29 AM EST
1. The biometrics don't work well on minorities
2. It gives anyone wanting to hassle minorities a lovely tool. Think "stop and search", which eventually had to have all sorts of data reporting tacked on to prevent abuse.

[ Parent ]
Define religious please by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #40 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:18:33 AM EST
or at least clarify which of the following books I'm familiar are religious:

• The Bible, KJV
• Autobiography of a Yogi
• Stranger in a Strange Land
• The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
• Be Here Now
• The Davinci Code
• The Name of the Rose
• Dune
• Food of the Gods
• Chariots of the Gods
• American Gods

Well, you get my drift. It does sound like a good story idea.

I was going to stick to the classics by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #44 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:50:22 AM EST
Bible, Quran, Torah. Possibly Mein Kampf too (but then people will go on about Das Kapital, and then we'll enter K5 territory)

[ Parent ]
I liked Pattern Recognition by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #41 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:37:52 AM EST
easy fluff fiction, and I am easily seduced by tech talk. It did take me three tries to get through Neuromancer, though. I haven't read any of his other stuff.

*I blame theantix.

first off by 256 (2.00 / 0) #52 Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 06:11:38 AM EST
if you are trying to google bomb him, i would recommend spelling his name correctly in the title.

also, i basically agree with you about Pattern Recognition.

i really enjoyed the second series of gibson books and did even derive some enjoyment from Neuromancer et al.

with pattern recognition, i think that the main problem was that gibson was jealous of douglas coupland's sales figures and consciously tried to write a douglas coupland book. unsuccessfully.

also: re: 9/11 in books. it pisses me off too. on every occassion that 9/11 has played some role in a novel that i have read, it has just made the whole thing feel cheap. but i have to wonder how long we must wait before it becomes reasonable fodder for fiction. i mean, history is fair game. it doesn't piss me off when i read a book that utilizes the vietnam war.
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I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

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