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A wilding

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Posts posted by A wilding

  1. 21 minutes ago, butterweedstrover said:

    The economist sanitized the report to make Ukraine look good, but even your beloved western media is reporting on it: 


    Go on telegram or twitter to see footage of the real horrors the draft has brought.

    Just in case you really don't understand the meaning of the word "projection", it means that you are accusing Ukraine of something that Russia has been doing vastly more of. And while your "kidnap off the streets" is massively inflated hyperbole in the case of Ukraine, it is hardly any exaggeration at all of what Russia has been doing.

  2. Just now, Heartofice said:

    Unless there is some other reason the mother is making these claims other than trying to protect her daughter then yeah I’m inclined to believe the allegations 

    Which does seem somewhat possible. The motives of people giving stories to the Sun can sometimes not be entirely pure.

  3. @dog-days Actually, I am still a little annoyed about been suckered into buying a copy of the book in my pre-lockdown buying spree (mostly on the recommendation of a friend, who judgment I will be more doubtful about in future, though they did withdraw the recommendation after reading the next book). So I have dug it out of our "for charity shops" pile and semi randomly picked a page to criticise. Here goes.


    Our protagonist, Oblong, a newcomer to the town, has come equal first in a festival race. A book of protocol is consulted and it is determined that there must be a tie-breaker. The winners must race to the top of the church tower, apparently without being allowed to enter the church. Now read on:



    Oblong jumped over the cemetery wall and located two parallel rows of stone rungs near the northern corner of the church's rear wall. They rose to the parapet of the tower high above him.

    The crowd, sensing that Oblong would provide richer entertainment, surged through the gravestones after him.

    Cocooned in concentration Oblong looked only at the green-grey stone in front of him, climbing up and up [...] Wooden slated windows just above marked the belfry [...]

    The morning had been calm, and the gust of wind caught him unprepared. His gangly legs flailed like a sheet in a gale and his right hand came away. Miraculously he was thrown across, into, and though the shutters. He clambered to his feet to see two large bells hanging beside four smaller ones - but they were nothing compared to the extraordinary frescos. [Continues to describe the frescos for a page or so.] A thick carpet of dust recorded his footprints. Nobody had been here in years.


    Stone rungs? On the outside of an ancient church and still able to bear a man's weight? Really?

    A gust of wind strong enough to knock a man off a wall and then sideways though a shuttered window? Into a room that has a thick carpet of dust that this gust apparently did not disturb?

    Not only was Oblong miraculously thrown though the window, he appears to also be miraculously completely unhurt. Yet he does not give his experience a second thought, then or afterwards. I guess those frescos really did draw his attention!

    What did the crowd think of all this? We are not told, but when Oblong eventually emerges from the church they are busy feting the winner and ignore him.

    Nobody ever shows the least interest in fixing those slats/shutters. :( Though to be fair I don't remember any mention of the church having services in it, or even having a vicar.

  4. 5 minutes ago, kairparavel said:

    (I do see the uh irony? of posting a BBC article about the BBC.)

    It does publish bad stuff about itself. Which the tabloids then endlessly talk up as part of their long running campaign to get it closed down.

    While scandals involving the tabloids (phone hacking, abusive behaviour, parties during Covid lockdown, etc, etc) are generally swept under the carpet as far as possible, other than getting some coverage on the BBC and a few independent outlets.

  5. I have been reading Arcadia by Iain Pears after a tip off by @Starkess

    Unlike some of his other books, this is clever and entertaining rather than deep, except perhaps for the ending, which needs some thinking through. The story does not so much borrow from a range of other authors as gleefully steal from them. I spotted Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, William Gibson, Shakespeare and John Le Carre, and I am sure there were others. One of two of these authors actually have cameo roles in the story. Basically it is a bit of fun, despite some very dark stuff which nearly all happens off stage.

    The associated app would appear to be a bit of a gimmick, which allows you to read the story in a different order. Though I understand it contains a certain amount of extra material. As the story involves multiple PoVs, from several alternate worlds (of a sort), and time travel (again of a sort), many reading orders are indeed possible.

  6. My gripe with Banks was that he tried for a sort of edgy realism, but it never quite worked.

    As an example. One book starts with two policemen randomly encountering a particularly nasty serial killer just after he has finished off his latest victim. (The serial killer is of a sort that thankfully is vanishingly rare in the UK, and yes he targets young women.) The killer resists arrest with a machete and in the resulting fracas kills one of the policemen, but is fatally injured himself. What follows is, I suppose, a mild spoiler:


    With a member of the public dead at the hands of the police, the surviving policeman (actually a woman) is put on suspension and an inquiry held. So far so realistic. But it then becomes apparent that she is very likely going to be prosecuted for manslaughter. At which point my suspension of disbelief went missing.

    The UK police are not totally corrupt, but in a case like that, with one of their own dead, there is no way that they would not close ranks with an almighty clang. Evidence would be lost, expert witnesses gently leaned on, the survivor coached in what to say, etc. Nor, given the revolting nature of the serial killer, would there be any appetite in the wider world to demand a prosecution. Any politician would shudder at the probable tabloid headlines should they demand one. Most likely the survivor would actually end up getting an award or something.


  7. On 7/4/2023 at 1:25 PM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

    I will say what I always say… I believe it is karmicly uncool to… celebrate… anyone’s death.  That said not being particularly mournful over the passing of someone you find unpleasant is understandable.

    The Maggie Thatcher case was complicated by a bunch of right wingers trying to use her death to canonise her. I still remember clearly someone on the BBC describe her as being "uniquely revered". Not surprising that people felt the need to push back against that.

  8. On 6/26/2023 at 6:40 PM, dog-days said:

    Has anyone read Andrew Caldecott's Rotherweird books? My library service has all of them. I remember Waterstones pushing them heavily a few years ago, and the covers are certainly beautiful, but I can't recall seeing them mentioned with praise or otherwise here. 

    I mean, I guess I could just read them myself and make up my own mind...



    Late to the party, but I read the first one when short of books in Covid lockdown and it was dreadful. I imagine it only got published because of the author's connections. I was going to do a snark, but never got around to it.

  9. 27 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

    Yeah my first thought was it seems to make  ontologically evil. Isn’t it silly to get mad at them for lying? It’s just second nature to them.

    Upon deeper consideration I can see the functionality  to this line of argument—try to get his opposition too fretful to criticize his side for the awful things they do.

    The  point is to shut down conversation passively. 


    Those people who voted Brexit to get a better funded NHS? (Of whom I know a couple.) They should just endure the NHS collapsing and not "go on about it". They should just accept that "how things work" is that politicians tell blatant lies all the time, and that they can't tell what they will actually do if they get voted in. They should just give up and accept their lot.

    Lets forget about having a functional democracy then.

  10. Though I note that the moderators don't agree about not being able to spot the AI posts. Obviously not 100%, but pretty accurately. They typically have their own expect knowledge for example. And apparently often they are very obvious - e.g. a new user posting large numbers of verbose answers to a wide range of questions in very quick succession. Or posts flagged by multiple other users as being garbage. Also the owners seem to be arguing in bad faith - claiming that the moderators are using tools to identify the AI posts, when most of the moderators say that they re not.

  11. 1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

    Just be clear, this comment was in reference to the side of the bus figures, which vote leave absolutely wanted remain to get into a dribbling mess about, and which people are still going on about, completely misunderstanding how these things work.

    Just to be clear.

    You are saying that the leaver camp made a Big Lie the centrepiece of their campaign, with the deliberate aim of making the remain campaign "get into a dribbling mess about" spending bandwidth explaining in detail why it was wrong.

    And you are also saying that remainers still being annoyed at how this Big Lie was used to sell Brexit is simply them being naive about "how these things work".


    Edit: and on the more productive discussion, the Tories are looking at being slaughtered now versus being slaughtered next year. Naturally most of their MPs want to hang on for that extra year so as to arrange something for themselves if/when they lose their seats. Hence what appears to have been a plan for several of them to resign now and force multiple by-elections seems to have fallen flat.

  12. I don't think the Drake equation is implying that evolution has a direction or that sentience is inevitable. It simply has a term:


    The fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life

    So it does not regard the evolution of intelligent life as in any way inevitable, just as possible - and we know that it has happened once, here. (At least, after a fashion.)

  13. 19 minutes ago, Crixus said:

    Yes, lacking entirely as you say - probably like quite a few other theories out there. I just found it a refreshing change from the sort of alien scifi I've generally watched/read. 

    It is not a new idea though. It goes back at least as far as Greg Bear's Forge of God/Anvil of Stars duology. (Incidentally, Forge of God also explores the idea that the personal weaknesses of a US president might be used to paralyse the US).

  14. A small customer service rant.

    Today I phoned an insurance company. While I waited in the inevitable queue to speak to a real person, ignoring all the stuff about it being easier to do everything online (not in this case) they played me a message. Paraphrasing somewhat it was: "We pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service. Therefore, during this exceptionally busy period, when you get through to a customer service agent, please be polite." I had plenty of time to think about this message while I waited and it was played at me twice more before I eventually got through to someone (who was able to deal with my problem).

    Firstly, every single time I have phoned some customer service for the last many years I have invariably been told that they were in an exceptionally busy period. Hire some more staff, or own up to the fact that you have budgeted for customers having a significant wait!

    Secondly, being English, I am always polite. Especially when what I am saying is particularly vicious.

    But mainly I was just deconstructing that message. They pride themselves on their exceptional customer service, apparently without even noticing that the "exceptionally" long wait means they have clearly failed to provide it. But it felt more fundamental than that. They don't care what their actual customer service is. They take pride in the simple fact of projecting a PR image of themselves as providing an exceptional service, and the reality is irrelevant. Whoever came up with that script needs to get over themselves because the cracks are showing.

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