A wilding

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  1. Talking about mobiles, this is something I actually saw. In South Africa in the 1990's just after apartheid had ended and they had just got their first mobile network up. A guy was walking through the city centre talking loudly on his mobile, clearly showing it off. And then it rang, because someone had actually phoned him ...
  2. Yes, at least until they make it legal again after Brexit!
  3. Well I listened to a an interview of David Morrissey on Front Row which the presenter introduced with the words "Beszel somehow occupies overlapping space with a gleaming metropolis in another dimension". If they can't be bothered to understand what is going on it is perhaps understandable that other people are confused.
  4. What I am mostly worried about is acquaintances who have this sort of attitude. They say (with only a little exaggeration): "Why shouldn't I post your name, your address and phone number, your date of birth, your Mother's maiden name, photographs of you, etc, etc on Facebook or anywhere else I want? Unless you can give me a simple reason that I accept then I will go ahead and do just that."
  5. We have just binge watched it too. The book is my favourite Mieville and I think they have managed an excellent adaptation, even if the last episode seemed a bit weaker than the first three. Obviously they had to simplify it and make changes, the chief of which is that the indoctrination and surveillance is much more obvious and in your face than in the book (in which we are told that it is everyone in both cities that keeps them apart every day and that Breach is merely the last ditch defence). But the basic set up of the two cities is put across very well, using an impressive range of techniques. There seem to be a fair few people out there who hadn't read the book and who were confused and didn't understand what was going on, but to me that just proves the BBC is not afraid to put out something a little challenging. (And it was on BBC2!)
  6. The one that annoys me the most is the scene where the Gondorians are just standing around behind the main gates of Minas Tirith, just waiting for the orcs to finish smashing it in. That is not how mediaeval siege warfare works!
  7. I thought I would add a link to this: Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model? It seems that the answer may well be no. And also that the company that cured hepatitis C shot itself in the foot by doing so.
  8. In order: They would say that the manipulation did not start with the referendum campaign but has been going on for years. It is up to the US whether they respect their result (FWIW my opinion is that their democracy is not in a healthy state). But of course the fundamental difference with the election of Trump is that it is not irrevocable (assuming he does not mount a coup or start a nuclear war or something like that.) I was mostly arguing that my circle will probably be less affected by Brexit and so voted disinterestedly. Though you are right that many of them are very worried for their children. No I didn't say the current state of the NHS is the fault of Brexit. If anything Brexit was sold as a cure for it, with that ridiculous £350 million a week lie (and I know anecdotally of people taken in by that lie). As I said, that was just my opinion - that Brexit will in the medium term be the final nail in the coffin for the NHS in its current form - and that I am, as far as possible, budgeting for that.
  9. One of Cameron's most stupid moves. We had already negotiated the best deal we were ever going to get (and for once in my life, a shout out to Maggie Thatcher, who managed it). There was no way we were ever going to get anything other than cosmetic improvements. By talking in such terms, instead of pointing out all our existing special arrangements (starting with being outside Schengen), Cameron was shooting his own campaign in the foot.
  10. Yes, and most people I know would tend towards the latter. The general opinion is that a tiny majority of people have been manipulated into voting for us all to be dragged off a cliff. The idea that a narrow majority obtained on a specific occasion is sacrosanct is being balanced against the irrevocable impact of the change. (Of course, those people who are retired or near retirement enough not to worry about their jobs, and have sufficient investments not to worry about an impoverished old age, will probably be ok. But I think that even we should be worried about developing an expensive medical condition, given that the NHS is now unlikely to survive in anything like its current form, especially when the ISDS clauses of the trade deals we will be desperate to sign up to force its partial privatisation.)
  11. Out of interest, where do you get that from? The vast majority of the (South East England, middle class, generally leftwards leaning) people that I know, while certainly not "noisy", are in various degrees both furious about the result and deeply worried about the future. Almost all would be very happy to see it overturned, and are hoping, though with little confidence, that we somehow end up with the softest possible Brexit.
  12. One problem is (even discounting the fact that the current UK government is weak and near paralysed by the oncoming headlights of Brexit) that there is a nagging fear that, when push comes to shove, the current US government will fail to back Europe up, given its president is widely suspected to be in Putin's pocket.
  13. I would suggest also Undertones of War by Edmund Blunden. It was written mostly as self therapy and gives a very good impression of what it must have been like to be on the Western Front. I think it is available online.
  14. I was a little underwhelmed by his The Second World War. It was too big a subject for him I thought. His style works best when he can easily cover both the overall story of events and give lots of anecdotal stuff of what it was like for individual people involved. Generally Stalingrad and its thematic sequel Berlin: the Downfall are generally considered his masterpieces I think.
  15. Another of my trigger points: There are basically two options in the UK other than the NHS. 1) Pay for services as you use them. This basically is only practicable for the top 0.1% (which obviously includes all those Tory Grandees who want to get rid of the NHS). 2) Pay insurance to one of the private health care providers and hope. Probably about the top 10% can afford this (or get it as a job perk). In practice, in my opinion and anecdotal experience, lack of regulation makes this is little better than a scam. The companies will happily take 3 digit premiums per month, and provide certain limited services, but if you develop anything expensive they will do all they can to avoid paying for it and also to try to get you off their books entirely. Even when they do provide services, there tends to be very little depth to their expertise - you hear stories of patients being rushed to NHS casualty because something has gone wrong.