Archive for November, 2007

All night long baby

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 | Life

I love all-nighters. There is just something about spending all night in DEC-10 that is magical. I’m going to miss it next year though I have little doubt that whatever I end up doing will involve all night coding sessions.

Today being the GI31 deadline, myself, Kieran, Sarann, Nima and Will were in here all night working away. I submitted it an hour or so ago though I might go back for a little more work on it. I couldn’t focus earlier but I’m getting my vision back now lol. What I really want to do is sleep though. Having worked the weekend before last I then had Atheist Week, then the A-Soc Weekend Away then I was doing my FYP on Sunday and GI31 late-nighters all this week. All in all it’s really cut into my sleep.

Sparring gear

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 | Life

After trying to get hold of my TKD gear for 2 months now due to a combination of either myself or Mr. Smith not being at training I finally got my gear today! It’s all very exciting though I almost missed it. I left training half an hour early due to the combination that a) I haven’t slept properly since before Atheist Week so am exhausted b) didn’t have any sparring gear and c) needed to get back to labs to finish my GI31 coursework but it turns out that Mr. Derrig turned up with my gear just after I’d left! Luckily he phoned me after training and being in DEC-10 I went down to pick it up. So, bring on the fun on Friday.

London on a budget

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 | Travel

Told you, you couldn’t do London on a budget… :p

  • Tickets and transport: £73.30
  • Eating out: £42.03
  • Snacks and drinks: £18.11
  • Admission prices: £5.00
  • books and presents: £31.47
  • Misc costs: £1.40

Total cost for the weekend, £171.31.


Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 | Humanism

Last weekend was the 2007 Atheist Society Weekend Away. We went down to London, staying just round the corner from King’s Cross station at a hostel named Ashlee House. It was a nice enough place, predictably we were on the 3rd (and top floor, I always am for some reason) floor but I’m not complaining, it presented a nicer view from the windows.

We headed down on National Express on Friday afternoon and rolled into Victoria station about 5. We hit a club on the Friday night and people got a little too drunk to be honest lol. Saturday saw myself, Norm and Jack disappear off to the Ethical Society and ended up at the British Museum. Sunday saw us hit speaker’s corner and doing some shopping on Oxford Street before heading home.

I managed to fit no less than six trips to McDonald’s over the weekend. The reason for this was that I slacked off on Saturday, otherwise it would have been higher. I was a little annoyed by the inconstency though, each store seemed to make up it’s own rules and policies.

It is also more expensive in London which shattered my illusions of The D not subscribing to price descrimination. A Big Mac sandwich was £2.49 rather than the £1.99 it normally is.

We were discussing where to go for dinner on Saturday night. I mentioned I had seen a few nice places on Euston Road but Michelle suggested somwhere named Roadhouse which was a 50’s retro place as “the other places didn’t look that nice” and “this place would be good” and only about £8. Turns out it was £14. We had to send two drinks and Charlie’s food back. Although apparently things like flies and bits of foil in people’s drinks are to be expected.

Incidently on the way back to the hostel on Sunday we stopped at The Euston Flyer, one of the places on Euston Road. The food there looked amazing. Only about £8 too. Really nice place.

Sin City
It just goes to show, you can go to the biggest city in the country, on a Friday night and you still can’t fill a club if you run an alternative night. We hit Sin City at the Electric Ballroom on Friday night. It started with a quite extensive search of everyone on their way in. Which really made me feel lucky I had decided to take my pen knife out of my pocket for the weekend. The music was quite good – it was a fairly Wendy style playlist though they played Linkin Park and a few other bands I love but you hardly ever hear even at alternative nights.

Ethical Society
Conway Hall, home of the Ethical Society was a nice enough place but Jenny, the chief librarian didn’t show up to give us a tour so that was a bit of a bust. While we were there though we did find a book that was basically Humanist Paul in a book. Interesting stuff indeed.

British Museum
Having given up on trying to get to the Natural History Museum because it was too much of a mission we began wandering around to see what we could find and found ourselves outside the British Museum. After having a nice but not quite ultimate lunch at The Ultimate Burger we headed in to have a look around.

It was amazing, you walk in and just the building itself is fantastic. We spent a solid 4-5 hours in there before basically, it closed. We managed to get round a fair bit of it though not in great detail and it would still take us another few days to get round all of it. I’d have liked to go round with my digital camera too as my phone camera, as good as it is, is no replacement for a real one.

Speakers’ Corner
We headed down to Speakers’ Corner on Sunday morning to catch some quality religion debates. When we got there there was an imam who was basically plugging a random political agenda though soon enough a crazy woman who had apparently just made up her own religion and drew our attention away.

Next some Christian preacher named Patrick turned up and so looking for some quality Biblical debate we headed over and he was soon explaining to me how I was a “qualified unbeliever.” Then someome named Nicoli turned up, began heckling him and sent him running. Nicoli began talking with his friend Danny about the double standards of how we find violence acceptable but sex unacceptable.

Finally we heard Danny talking on his own with regards to his “don’t believe anybody including me” speach. By this point we were cold and hungry though so while I would have loved to spend more time there we headed off to The D for some food. Apparently Jay Smith turned up after we had left, gutted.

We win!

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 | Life

I did warn people that allowing poor people to go to university was a bad idea.

I was right. Leeds Met Union have declared themselves bankrupt. They were losing somewhere in the region of £80,000 a year and have been for a long time. Because the people who go to Leeds Met are pennyless losers with no future. And now they don’t even have a union. That will teach you to blow all your money on sports facilities!


Monday, November 26th, 2007 | Life

I learnt a new word today.

Interestingly, when we were in meeting room 5 for the faith & cultural assembly meeting today the previous group (or a group before them) had left there work on the white board. Which consisted of the terms dogging and cottaging as well as a few other terms. Which leaves me wondering who the last group in that room were. Having mentioned it around, it also appears to have left Kieran wondering what the last group in there were doing? :D.

Limited or no connectivity

Monday, November 26th, 2007 | Life

How hard is it to get an internet connection?

A lot f***ing harder than it should be!

You would think that in London you get get an internet connection but apparently not. The hostel, which we picked because of it’s wifi access, didn’t have it’s wifi access working and none of The Cloud’s wifi hotspots would give me an IP address despite many, many attempts.

I had to resort to getting my emails at 9.6k using my phone as a Bluetooth modem which I had the pleasure of paying for which took half an hour of fiddling with to get it to work including disabling G3 and this just failed to work all together on Sunday during my repeated attempts.

Then I finally got home to find UK Online was down AGAIN and it took me 15 minutes to get that back online just so that I could finally get an SSH connection to get my server back online!

KVM switches for the lose

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 | Tech

Having given up on getting my £25 KVM switch working I then spent more than double that on getting a new and better one. Does it work? Of course not.

It all plugged in file and seemed to work. The lights light up on the front when I eventually got it plugged in (it look me hours as I had to go to the Riley Smith Hall to reclaim a multi-socket) but when I began typing I noticed that it was dropping key strokes.

Try and write a sentence when connected to a Belkin KVM. You’ll have trouble. 20% of the letters will be missing. What are you supposed to do with that?

It also suffers from Windows thinking you are connecting and disconnecting hardware each time and making annoying noises because of it as well as failing to do whatever it does with regards to my Razer software that normally appears in the system tray. Oh it doesn’t work with half of my function keys just in case I wanted to use them which I will when I get back into WoW too.

I called Belkin and they said what they always say. Try rebooting your machine. Genius. That is what you get for employing non-English speaking idiots in your call centres. They said check if the keyboard was recognised by the BIOS when in the KVM which it was as it obviously was when I plugged it in or it wouldn’t have booted. It was still dropping keys though. They had given me a reference number to ring them back on though. So I did. “Belkin is closed” said the automated voice on the line.

The ethics of respecting belief

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | Thoughts

Having had Michelle storm out on me I headed to The Refectory with Jack to grab some food and our conversation left me with a few things to mull over.

As a general rule, I won’t respect irrational beliefs regardless of the discourse. The problem with this is that it generally doesn’t get people to engage in debate with you (with the exception of perhaps Muslims who tend to respond far more to conflict than friendship). if you start being honest about what you think of people’s beliefs they tend to close up and become defensive which means a) you’re not going to get through to them at all, b) they are going to find a way to disagree with you even if you are right and c) may not even engage with you at all.

The alternative approach is to grant irrational beliefs credibility and respect so that, hopefully, people are a little more open to ideas, which, you would hope would eventually bring them round to a rational viewpoint. This has the drawback of having to grant irrational beliefs undeserved respect, to give in to the religious privilege that theological ideas undeservedly enjoy.

So the question comes down to this: can i ethically justify granting unfair religious privilege to irrational beliefs in order to engage with people on a more open level?

Union referendum

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | Religion & Politics

An important aspect of democracy and voting is that my vote is private. Anyway, here is how I voted…

  • Motion 1 – plastic bags. I voted no. Paper bags are rubbish. We already pay for our plastic bags so people use them responsibly anyway. Plastic bags can be made bio-degradable. From what I have heard from union insiders, the union simply don’t want to foot that bill.
  • Motion 2 – Jack Straw. I voted yes. His honorary life membership was removed because of a personal disagreement with his politics. Personal disagreement? We’re a union of 30,000 students, how can we have a personal disagreement? Stop being so petite and give him is life membership back.
  • Motion 3 – 99p sandwiches. I voted no. Face facts, a 99p sandwich isn’t going to be a very good sandwich.
  • Motion 4 – Nestle boycott. I voted no. For many, many reasons. Read them on Facebook. As a quick summary, we’re old enough to make our own decisions we don’t need the union dictating to us. It’s hypocritical as we sell Coca-Cola products and we’re not even preventing Nestle products from being sold on campus so it’s pointless as well.