Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Parakeets of Clapham

I have finally seen these mythical beasts with my own eyes – a rowdy group of around 12 birds were squabbling over a plane tree trunk outside Holy Trinity, Clapham – a most exotic sight and sound in the current deep freeze. The birds seemed completely undeterred by the weather: they have obviously acclimatised well.

Of course, nothing exciting can happen in the UK without being attacked by zombie bureaucrats – the poor parakeets are under sentence of death because they are too foreign. Are parakeets Brazilian? Avoid the tube!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Voyage of the Damned

AKA our staff office party. A “Dinner” and “Disco” “Cruise” from Kingston to Teddington and back. Boss entertainingly tore up the dancefloor. I was sorely tempted to jump overboard to escape the horror. The horror.

Got back home at 3 am. Drunkenly frootled around in the kitchen for something warming and came up with excellent inspiration: hot cocoa with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Yum!! Definitely doing that again.

Mum ‘phoned at 6:45 am Saturday morning.

I was still attempting to make breakfast when my houseguests arrived from Cambridge around 6 pm. Inexplicably, my porridge oats exploded in the microwave.

My niece found them much later on when she was preparing convalescent food for her catastrophically ill pet rat. I know how it felt. It was that sort of weekend.

Diet – wk 10th December

Coffee x 4

Crisps x 0

Choc bars x 1

Pack choc biscuits x 1

Once again, not too bad. Also, Saturday was a virtually food-free day – spent the day largely in bed recovering from The Voyage of the Damned.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Diet: wk 3 December

5 x coffees

1 x packet crisps

1 x choc bar

On the whole, not too bad!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Faking Fingerprints

I’m rather pleased about Labour’s ongoing funding scandal; at least that distracts the government from its all-out misbegotten attempt to destroy our civil rights in the name of ‘security’.

Of course, they also had the recent scandal about half the Nation’s personal info going missing in the post on a couple of unencrypted compact discs – hopefully this will make ID cards harder to introduce. But the government is taking the stance that ‘biometric data’ will make ID cards more secure.

Ha. More people should be aware of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column about Biometrics in The Guardian (24th November. Ben Goldacre's Bad Science blog here)

Crucial quote: “every time you touch something, if your security systems rely on biometric ID, then you’re essentially leaving your pin number on a post-it note.

…In fact you might sense that the whole field of biometrics is rather like medical quackery: as usual, on the one hand we have snake oil salesmen promising the earth, and on the other a bunch of humanities graduates who don’t understand technology, science or even human behaviour. Buying it. Bigging it up. Thinking it’s a magic wand”.

Ben points out, frightingly, it has already proven easy and cheap to fake a fingerprint either from the original finger, lifting a fingerprint from a glass surface, or reconstructing a fingerprint from digital data alone (ie the way fingerprints will be stored on the ID card). The faked finger thus produced fools scanners 80% of the time.

Hooray for our Brave New World.

Diet: week 26th November

Much better!

Chocs x 0

Crisps x 1

Coffee x 3

Yay! Must keep up the good work . . . .