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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 03:07 am
I have contacted folks about joining concomm. have not gotten an official volunteer position, and am therefore not on the list yet, but I am looking forward to getting on the list, finding out what is going on, and doing whatever is needed to save wiscon.
Thursday, July 24th, 2014 07:32 am

Posted by Ed Pilkington in New York

Convicted killer 'gasped and snorted' as officials attempted to execute him, as lawyers filed an emergency motion to halt the process

Witness to an Arizona execution: Joseph Wood's 660 gasps

The controversy engulfing the death penalty in the United States escalated on Wednesday when the state of Arizona took almost two hours to kill a prisoner using an experimental concoction of drugs whose provenance it had insisted on keeping secret.

Joseph Wood took an hour and 58 minutes to die after he was injected with a relatively untested combination of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone. The procedure took so long that his lawyers had time to file an emergency court motion in an attempt to have it stopped. For more than an hour, he was seen to be gasping and snorting, according to the court filing.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 07:14 am

Posted by Sean Michaels

Plans for the Kurt Cobain film are underway according to the Hole singer, who is currently considering demo reels

Ten myths about grunge, Nirvana and Kurt Cobain

Courtney Love claims she may have found flight MH370

Plans for a Kurt Cobain biopic are roaring ahead, Courtney Love has revealed, with a selection of "new Brad Pitts" under consideration for the lead role.

Love and her team are apparently considering demo reels submitted by actors who want to play Cobain in a film, with a hope to begin production "within the next year". "[It] was really tough because these boys are so pretty, so cute," she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "I wont name names because I dont want to jinx it for anyone but these are 25-year-olds who are blond, gorgeous and the new Brad Pitts ... Some are really good actors, not just pretty faces."

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 07:11 am

Posted by Rafael Behr

The aim is to pitch Miliband as a decent, modest man of principle, but by now many voters will have made up their minds

A week before the 2001 general election, Labour deployed a poster featuring Margaret Thatcher's unmistakable hairdo superimposed on the balding head of William Hague, then Tory leader. The caption read: "Get out and vote or they get in." It was a crude effort to inject some urgency into the party base in a campaign that everyone (rightly) presumed Labour had won already.

The late Philip Gould, New Labour co-architect, strategist and pollster, is reported to have commented that a more potent poster would have been Hague's face without the wig and a caption: "Seven more days before you can get this man off the telly." In other words, cruel though it may be, the Conservative leader could lose the election by being himself and Labour just needed to give him enough of an airing for that effect to take hold.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 07:00 am

Posted by Simon Hattenstone

No one tells a story like Bernard Cribbins. Simon Hattenstone settles down to listen to the former paratrooper, pop star and Womble talk about his epic career and never having children of his own

Bernard Cribbins is completing the Telegraph crossword when I arrive. He looks up. "What bloody time d'you call this?" I apologise. He grins. He knows the trains have been delayed at Waterloo. "Six down, enzyme, must be. Bobobobobom, bobobobobom," he sings, to no recognisable tune. It's a brute of a summer's day, and Cribbins' pink shirt is sweat-patched, and there's a rivulet dripping from his forehead. He has a full head of white hair, a beard like brambles and a crippling handshake.

He is 85 now and industrious as ever. This week, appropriately enough, he stars in the first CBeebies Prom as Old Jack, eponymous hero of the BBC show Old Jack's Boat. Appropriate because no actor has done more for children's drama than Cribbins. His CV of grownup work is formidable: the horrific Mr Hutchinson in Fawlty Towers; the belligerent barman in Hitchcock's Frenzy; a starring role as Nathan Detroit in Richard Eyre's Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre; camping it up with Kenneth Williams in the Carry On films; crooking it up alongside Peter Sellers in Two-Way Stretch. Then there are the hit singles he had in the early 1960s. But it is his work for children that most of us remember: voicing every character in the Wombles; a record number of Jackanory appearances; station porter Albert Perks in the enduring Railway Children; two stints in Doctor Who almost 50 years apart; and now Old Jack's Boat in which he sits with Salty, his gorgeous Hungarian wire-haired vizsla, and tells stories.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 07:00 am

Posted by Bob Granleese and Felicity Cloake

The traditional Neapolitan way to make pizza was to fry it, says Bob Granleese. Now UK pizza obsessives are coming up with their own versions. Felicity Cloake tries deep-fried versus dry-fried

"Bloody good, isn't it?" says Giuseppe Mascoli through a mouthful of hot pizza, a trickle of tomato sauce escaping down his chin. We're at Da Michele in Naples, a local institution that's been making some of the best pizza on the planet for 140 years. There are just two on the menu margherita or marinara and they're a revelation: a soft yet satisfyingly chewy base, all puffed up and charred at the edges, the merest smear of tomato sauce, the odd dot of mozzarella and a few torn basil leaves. No wonder there's a queue out of the door and Neapolitans rarely, if ever, queue for anything.

This is what Mascoli's been trying to emulate at his acclaimed London pizzeria, Franco Manca. "They're completely unwilling to compromise the product," he raves. "I get cross when I read recipes that say you can make authentic pizza like this at home you just can't."

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 06:30 am

Posted by Raphael Behr

This rigorous examination of data on the crash and the recovery suggests that the Conservatives' optimism does not bear much relation to the grim economic realities that most people face

The politics of the crash and most people's economic reality finally parted company on 27 June 2013. That was when the Office for National Statistics published revised data showing that the country had not, as previously declared, been through a "double-dip" recession. Growth at the start of 2012 had been only flat, not negative.

For Conservatives, this was the final whistle signalling victory in their ideological grudge match against Labour. Ed Balls, they said, was intellectually routed; George Osborne's vindication was total. The chancellor's plan had worked. The truth is more complex. Balls had not quite predicted a "double dip", only warned that it was a risk generated by Osborne's premature assault on public spending. And he was right to the extent that a discernible recovery in 2010 stalled.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 12:22 am
Today at work, the security club had a lockpick intro/practice session. I picked a disembodied lock with two pins! I poked at one with four and one with six. Mr. Zune said that the one with four was actually harder than the one with six. He also mentioned that it was actually sort of amazing that he'd left his alma mater without picking up lockpicking skills. Since he wears the brass rat, that is sort of amazing. In addition to the various locks, they had a tabletop stunt door with a knob, a deadbolt, and a chain. I learned that my long hair and typical braid is good for having an excuse to have hairpins on me at any given time, given their utility in shimming carelessly-locked handcuffs.

Lunch involved Purple getting asked geopolitical questions by some of his buddies, and him holding forth a bit. He's generally sensible on the topic, it seems.

As my manager warned me might happen, dev work on my database has halted. At least we have a bit, or something?

I keep discovering horrible usability problems with various bits of the new helpdesk system. Today's shenanigans went a little off-script.

Consent and the helpdesk guy. )

I hadn't gotten to sleep until nearly 5am last night. Purple gave me a few helpful suggestions by way of commiseration, which included a brief digression on milk substitutes for the lactose intolerant, and their likely effectiveness as a sleep aid.

Somehow it went from "hey, I might get out of here early!" to "oh god it's fuckin' late", but at least Purple found the bug he was looking for! At some point I must ask him whether it really does make sense to park where he does, but tonight was not that night. Purple did earn a "Best $NAME" due to some wisecrack. Also, even if the Randomizer were huggy in the absence of my manager, would I even want hugs from him? (No.)

I'm due an early-morning email presence to round people up for Second Thursday (reprise) (which is actually this Friday) and then I can finish setting up the meetings for next week's research participants. Whee!