While I was in Wales connectivity was bad, so I had time to keep up with security on AoB Blog and Then Dig, but not here. This coincided with the discovery of a major security flaw in a plug-in. For the past month or so I’ve been looking at how to fix the theme without losing everything, but it seems that might not be an easy task, so instead I’ve started work on adapting the AoB template for other sites.
It’s a handy exercise in seeing what is effected by the hack and what isn’t, but it also means that visitors here will see things shuffling around or breaking for the next few days or weeks.
I heard this on the TV while making a cup of tea. Press play, close your eyes and imagine Avon’s brave new world of alpha-grade beauty products.
No doubt you’re receiving plenty of emails protesting the execution of Tory Davis, and no doubt you’re aware why — and not convinced that reasonable doubt is enough to prevent an execution.
Instead I have a couple of questions.
If it is found later that Troy Davis is innocent, would you support the conviction and death penalty of all those who proceeded to enforce the execution despite clear evidence of reasonable doubt?
Would you also recommend that the UK Foreign Office warn British citizens against visiting Georgia on the grounds that the state of Georgia does not consider the possible innocence of a person sufficient reason to avoid killing them?
With all due respect,
The Spirit of Aberystwyth (inspired after Instagram)
The move to Wales was less successful than I thought. Broadband was due on Aug 23, then August 31 and now October, sometime. It left me with very limited time to connect to the internet and keeping the work site ticking over was the priority. I’m back in England till either Sky or BT realise they can connect the house to the internet after all.
Over on AoB Blog, the new HTML5 theme is live. It intentionally looks like the old theme, but there are some obvious changes made. The customisation of SlideDeck was helped greatly by this page on CSS selectors from NetTuts and X:nth-child(n). It’s not sexily database driven, but it does the job. The theme was built from H5, a template from Digging into WordPress.
It’s been done a different way to usual, as I prefer to experiment with new themes here first. It’s less of a problem if something goes horrifically wrong here. But for various reasons that’s no been possible. I’m now looking seriously at reworking the theme for Then Dig, as that site has a few flaws. Something I’d like to add to Then Dig is a version of the Photo Search that I’ve set up at AoB Blog.
I also have another project I’d like to kick out of the door before Christmas, so blogging here will probably be a little light for a while.
Oh, and seeing it’s the anniversary of the Voyager launch I’ve updated the post I wrote on space archaeology in 2006.
The house move has gone ok. At least one of our neighbours is taking interest in us.
While moving house it was also the week for the International Botanical Congress. I ended up with a surprising amount of work after collating tweets from the first day into a Storify post. You can see the whole thing at the Annals of Botany.
This is another post that’s being pulled from the draft folder. The first draft was written a couple of years ago. My grandfather had just died and on the day after the funeral something popped up in my RSS reader. It was a smug and rather vicious piece by a bishop about how atheism had nothing to offer at funerals. He went one with some relish imagining what atheists would say to grieving families. I think the idea was to contrast it with the caring, consoling approach of Christianity. Instead it just read as an intolerant rant and probably revealed far too much of his own suppressed desires of what he’d want to say at a funeral.
My reply never went up. I wanted to write something that was the opposite. Not a piece that said Christianity was a lie and offered nothing of value for the grievers. Whether or not it’s true it’s not something you’d want to rub in the face of a family that’s lost someone. So I wanted to write something positive. After writing it I had no anger for the bishop, only pity. Respect for the feelings of another human being isn’t a uniquely atheist position. Nearly all the Christians I know share the same feelings. The venom of the original post suggested he’d lost some connection to humanity and his rage was more about his own problems. Publicly naming him and berating him wasn’t going to help.
It stayed unpublished because it seems a common feature for someone with bigoted views to claim they’re “Christian” views rather than personal views. Reductio ad absurdum the Westboro Baptist Church claim their picketing of funerals is not a demonstration of the hate at the core of their beliefs but a necessity of Christian values. The fact that many Christians vehemently disagree shows that the Phelps clan are at best self-deluded. Treating bigots as spokesmen for Christians does no one any favours.
But if you strip away the spite and hate, the bishop raised an interesting question. If there is no eternal reward what hope is there for the future? For someone raised in a religious tradition it’s a reasonable question. Just before Christmas my grandmother became seriously ill. Recent events mean I’ve taken this out of the drafts folder and had a go at re-writing it. Continue reading
I haven’t got round to plugging this site yet because every time I sit down to do so I either get a lot of work, or else they put up something else that’s brilliant. In the meantime you can check it out for yourself.
Another December post that got delayed till now, but now if I blog on the New College of the Humanities you have some idea of where I might be coming from.
If I were a Lib Dem intent on breaking a pledge, or a Conservative who genuinely believed the policy I were supporting, there’s one simple change I would make to the bill.
David Cameron has stated that when it comes to the financial crisis, we’re all in it together. Here is his opportunity to prove it. I would add a clause to the Education bill that any MP voting in favour of fees will be be expected to pay back a ‘loan’ at the equal to the highest value of ‘loan’ paid by a student. If the nation is not benefiting from a student graduating from a course Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford in 2015, then nor can it have benefitted from someone graduating from the same course in 1988. If the MPs are sincere that the free ride at the tax payer’s expense has to stop then they should be the first to get off.
There are some reasons why such a clause could not happen, but they don’t hold water.
- You can’t just drop a massive bill on to someone with little or no warning.
Actually you can, and this is exactly what Parliament intends to do to seventeen year olds in England from 2012.
- You’re eliminating choice, some MPs would not have taken a degree if they were aware of its cost.
Incorrect, if the government it to be believed. They are very clear that the prospect of starting working life £50,000 in debt to the state is in no way a disincentive to education.
- The MPs already have financial commitments, they could not afford to pay such fees.
Students paying off these ‘loans’ will still be paying off these ‘loans’ when their own children start university. Further, fees will only be paid by people who can afford to pay them. Any MPs earning under £21,000 will not pay a penny.
This isn’t going to solve everything. There’s still the small matter that thousands of people feel the Liberal Democrats have stolen their vote. Still, at the moment the published plan is to force children who have had no opportunity to vote to pay for an education that MPs got for free. It’s the political equivalent to hanging around the school gates and bullying the small kids out of their lunch money. Paying the fees won’t magically make everything alright but it will make a difference. It will at least allow MPs to establish their sincerity rather than leave them with the odour of piggies who want to keep their noses in the trough.
We might all be in it together, but at the moment some of us are definitely more in it than others.
Password tips from Rocketboom, which I haven’t watched in ages.