Archive for June, 2013

West Yorkshire Humanists AGM

Sunday, June 30th, 2013 | Humanism

Earlier this month, the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire held their AGM. Congratulations to Moz who was re-elected chair, Chris who was elected secretary, Martin who was elected social secretary and Brian who was elected Bradford SACRE rep, as well as Paul and Bob L who will be staying on as well as myself as treasurer.

It was a momentous occasion as Bob T stepped down after 34 years as secretary. That is longer than I’ve been alive! He was a founding member of the society 46 years ago and also served 18 years as treasurer – an incredible service to the society! Bob is now moving to York and we wish him all the best.

As a small token of our appreciation, we presented him with engraved tankards for himself and partner Mavis.


After the AGM, Gerald presented a talk entitled “Interned as His Majesty’s Pleasure” in which he described how his family was interned on the Isle of White during World War II. This is despite his family being Jewish and hating Hitler more than we did! Sadly, this was the case for many German Jews who had fled Nazi Germany.

Armed Forces Day

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 | Religion & Politics


Today is Armed Forces Day. A event that I am sure we will all agree to be a very important one.

After all, it’s easy to overlook the armed forces. Too often we think about heros who save likes, likes doctors and firefighters, and forget about those people who do just the opposite – take lives away. In exchange for money.

It’s not easy to shoot in Iraqi civilian in the face. That’s not a joke – it’s genuinely very difficult. And even if you manage it, you then have to live with the fact that you’re a murder for the rest of your life. Even if you leave the military in good physical health, veterans often suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

So let us take the time to remember those who accept our tax money in exchange for killing other people. The sad reality is that they too are a victim of the military venerating brainwashed society we live in.


Friday, June 28th, 2013 | Programming

These days, you’ll hear a lot of people talking about Composer in a conceited, condescending, and generally irritating way (you are using Composer, right?). It’s very annoying. But despite their best attempts their best efforts to put people off, Composer is actually a really useful tool.

It’s a dependency manager for PHP, allowing you to easily include libraries without having to bundle them in with your application – it’s essentially a package management system for PHP (kind of like PECL, but a lot more useful in many ways).

You can read about it here. Or here, in this blog post. What I should really say is, you can read more about it on the above website. Anyway…

Once you have it installed (and you can install it globally or just on a per project basis as an executable you can run), you can easily install all the depenencies in your project using:

composer install

This installs everything you need based on the project’s composer.json file, that you can save into your version controlled codebase. For example, here is the one I use for a Wing Commander project:

	"minimum-stability": "dev",
	"require": {
		"xmeltrut/wing-commander": "*"

You can specify as many libraries as you need, and add version requirements for them too. There is also room for a “dev require” section – for example if you are using PHPUnit, you might want to install that library for your dev environment, but not your production clone.

Once you have everything installed, upgrading to the latest version of the libraries is easy:

composer update

Each time you download the libraries, it produces a composer.lock file that you can use to install your dependencies from – this records the version you are using, so you can generate your lock file on your dev environment, test it all works, then ensure your production environment has the same versions of all the libraries.

It also does dependency resolution. So if you try and install something with other dependencies – for example the Wing Commander library uses Flight and Mustache – it will automatically find this and download them too.

You can search for the packages you need on Packagist and while a lot of the libraries you will use are on Github, there is no coupling here – the dependency can specify any repository location and this is all handled transparently.


Homeopathy is Hokum

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 | Public Speaking, Video

For my 8th project at Toastmasters, I presented a talk on homeopathy.

Leeds City 2013/2014 Elections

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 | Life


Earlier this month, Leeds City Toastmasters held their 2013/2014 officer elections. I’m proud to say I was elected as president and am joined by Josh (vice president of education), Chanaka (vice president of membership), Pierre (vice president of public relations), Glynn (secretary), Phil (treasurer), Matt (sergeant at arms) and Jude (immediate past president).

I’m sure with such a strong committee, we’ll be in for a superb year!

A-Soc at The Reliance

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 | Humanism

Earlier this month, the Atheist Society held a meal at The Reliance.

IMG_4328 IMG_4330 IMG_4336 IMG_4338

York EbOrators

Monday, June 24th, 2013 | Public Speaking

To ensure the Leeds clubs are the best clubs they can be, I’m trying to get round some of the other local Toastmasters clubs to see what ideas we can take from them. The first club on my list was York EbOrators.

They’re a small club, similar to White Rose, though they do seem to have a slightly more established membership – they had most of the roles filled, with a few duplicates and interesting, omitted the sergeant at arms role entirely.

There were a number of differences that got me thinking – they have CC and CL achievement boards in the room, and they also include grammarian and ah counter in the evaluation voting. Definitely worth the visit, if only to truly appreciate the high standards that Leeds City has achieved.


Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 | Books

Ulysses is heavy reading, so in between reading a chapter from it, I’m reading Discworld novels. So far, it’s proved a very successful formula. The most recent having been the ninth in the series, Eric.

It is much shorter than all of the novels so far – about half the length of the most of the others. It is based on Faust, but as I haven’t read that, the references were lost on me.

Never the less, it proved an interesting read. It isn’t my favourite Discworld novel, far from it, but the short length meant that the arguably sparse storyline didn’t get boring because it kept moving in a switch fashion. Plus having Rincewind in a novel is always a good thing.

Not a book for those new to Discworld, but for those who are already fans of the series, it makes for a short and fresh instalment.


More on everyone loving pornography

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 | Religion & Politics

In April, I mentioned a Huffington Post article discussing how everyone loves pornography, even in Islamic countries where it is banned.

I thought I would share some stats from some of Worfolk Online’s sites. Here are the most popular countries for our Finnish language site:

  • 1. Finland
  • 2. Iran
  • 3. United States
  • 4. Sweden
  • 5. Estonia
  • 6. Germany
  • 7. Pakistan
  • 8. United Arab Emirates
  • 9. Turkey

Iran appears in the top nine of our English and Swedish language site too, and Saudi Arabia features in the top nine of our English site as well.

James Gandolfini, 1961-2013

Friday, June 21st, 2013 | News

James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini, best known for his role as gangster Tony Soprano, passed away aged just 51, from a suspected heart attack. A Sopranos marathon is definitely in order.