Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter


This isn't adequate, but...

Originally posted by rozk at This isn't adequate, but...

We come to Skull at last. And Skull's a smile.
Rewarmed next day, each tragedy's a farce.
Kings fall, we all fall down. Prat-fall. On arse.
Perfectly timed. Poised, elegant. With style.

Rude noise. Best laughter comes from quiet rage
channeled and weaponized. Always about
something beyond the joke. He didn't shout
wry quiet almost whisper. Rueful sage.

Some things are never funny. In each book
reduced their number. With a jest would name
each foolish monster, when those monsters came
from life and dream. Crush with a knowing look.

His comic timing still his last best friend
Prepared it earlier. Told us. The End.


Sydney Siege ended at 2am Sydney time - 3 dead including the gunman

A sad result but could have been worse.

The gunman was known to police and, surprisingly, me and a lot of the public as he had been sending offensive letters to the widows of casualties in Afghan conflict. He had lost a High Court appeal on Friday and was released on bail for sexual assault. There's every indication that he was a lone nutcase.

Here's the Guardian's report

BTW - the #illridewithyou hashtag was created by Tessa Kum aka @sirtessa - one of Australia's SF community. A wonderful idea to kick against the toxic climate of hate and create solidarity with the Islamic community.

It should be remembered that it was members of the Islamic community who warned the police about the gunman in the first place.

Our local Murdoch tabloid released its own toxic cloud in a special afternoon edition. It got pretty much every detail wrong.

In today's broadsheet (which is also a tabloid - it's complicated) Peter Hartcher takes our politicians to task for, basically, doing what terrorists want them to do.

The area around Martin Place is still under lock down.

A terrible day - but at least the police and most of the media acted responsibly.


Siege in Sydney

A gunman is holding hostages in the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place, Sydney. Martin Place is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the Sydney CBD so the surrounding area is in lockdown. I have a couple of friends unable to leave their buildings (one I was meeting for lunch).

There are reports of a visible black flag with white Arabic characters and so people are jumping to conclusions. At this writing there's not enough information (in my opinion) to make any kind of judgement about motivation or the eventual conclusion.

I'm hoping for a peaceful and early resolution to the crisis but there are already reports of anti-Islamic incidents fuelled by ignorance.

This seems to be one of the more responsible sources of information at the moment.


Hopefully, the voice of the future

Hope I live long enough to see her become POTUS.


And some days Humanity can touch the face of god

Amazing photos from the Rosetta mission


New Toy

I am now trying out Google's Inbox which is quite a different paradigm to Gmail. Emails are bundled into like tasks, so can be swept away with a click. It's like a very enthusiastic butler. Not sure quite what to make of it yet.
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Kind of a spoiler of the season finale of Doctor Who but -

Is it my imagination or is Doctor Who (the series) especially hard on non-caucasians?


Odd combination of mail today

- A letter from my local member congratulating me on my half century
- A letter welcoming me to the wonderful world of bowel cancer screening


I'm as old as Acquire!

That explains my fascination with Sid Sackson.

A retrospective on Acquire (that triggered the revelation.)

The Boardgamegeek entry on Acquire (for those who don't know what it is.)

(I'm also as old as GI Joe but don't really care.)


The Middle East - explained in thirty seconds.

Originally posted by andrewducker at The Middle East - explained in thirty seconds.
Imagine you have a whole sprinkling of tribes, provinces, and vassal states, ruled over by a single empire, that then fell apart[1].

Then imagine that a couple of other empires grab this area, and divide it up based on the lines that make it easiest for them to rule over it[2].

For each of those areas, the ruling empire would pick a particular tribe/clan/family. This group would be picked for being a minority and then supplied with weapons and made into a local proxy for the foreign power (while being hated by the majority abd entirely dependent on foreign support) [3].

And then, eventually, with the waning power of their foreign backers, the rulers of these countries lose control of the majority, overstep themselves, and are overthrown in violent revolutions or military coups[4].

However, these countries are still based on semi-random lines drawn on the map by foreigners, cross numerous tribal lines, and are inherently an unstable mess, frequently supported by numerous foreign countries who use them as proxies, want their resources, and support whoever is the enemy of their enemy[5].

With nationalist, tribalist, and religious infighting being the norm, along with low levels of education, and constant turmoil, this leaves huge societal gaps for religious extremists to fill.[6]

All of which is greatly simplified, but hopefully gives a basic idea of why things the entire area is such a disaster[7].

If you want to know what we _should_ be doing, then part of that recognises that those lines on the map are probably unsupportable, and that short-term measures that support them are probably making things worse in the long run[8].

[1]The Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299 to 1922. Seven years too early to be an anagrammatic pair.
[2]The Sykes-Picot Agreement between the UK and France.
[3]Client States being the technical term.
[4]Egypt in 1952, Iraq in 1958, Iran in 1979, etc.
[5]Hence the US arming Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war, before deciding that had been a really bad idea. And arming the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviets, including Osama Bin-Laden.
[6]Hence Al-Quaeda, and then ISIS/ISIL/Da'esh
[7]And I haven't even mentioned Israel! Where things are more complicated than you think!
[8]This lays out the options pretty well.

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