Friday, 29 July 2011

Coop Norway

Norwegian Coop has taken down several videogames and toys that Anders Breivik may have used to become a terrorist. Brilliant. He also breathed air. Clearly, air is for TERRORISTS. I for one will NEVER BREATHE AGAIN. And if you do dare to breathe, the only logical conclusion is that you're only ever thirty seconds from minor genocide. I bet he also ate FOOD, the monster! Special TERRORIST food. I'll never eat anything he has ever eaten, and to see them on shop shelves for other terrorists to eat and train with disgusts me. What are you doing about it, Co-Op Norway!?

The worst thing is, this isn't even a Norway-wide ban. It's just a cynical, TERRIBLE attempt to garner publicity from the death of innocent children by a terrifyingly callous Norwegian company. It's a bit like a security firm advertising itself on the back of "We wouldn't let a crazed madman shoot kids on our watch! We've never had that happen at any of our events. Can our competitors say the same?", or a clock company going "Anders Breivik never used our time-keeping devices to work out when to commit atrocities. Use Watchico, exclusively not for terrorists!".

Perhaps I'm being unfair. Perhaps Coop have spent the last few years blissfully unaware that the violent videogames it sold contained the images of you shooting another person, and they've only just found out. But this thing is healthily enjoyed by a large proportion of the population, with absolutely no mass-murders, and yet Hitler grew up completely without them. It's obvious to see that insane people will do insane things, and if you keep banning things that 99.99% of people can enjoy perfectly normally, we'll end up shouting about terrorists training with sticks as rifles, and how society should protect itself against these stick-trained monsters by chopping down every tree, with, no doubt, Coop Norway saying "We refuse to sell any arboreal devices in this store, and no doubt or competitors will follow suit so as to stop terrorists, unless they are secretly supportive of it.". Correcting this isn't curing the actual problem at all, merely shifting blame onto a largely blameless third party. Surely if these games were so WILDLY engrossing he couldn't separate them from reality, he'd be halfway across Russia trying to defeat communism. And for God's sakes, he played World of Warcraft, which Coop removed from its shelves. What was he going to do with that information, dress up in a cloak, leap out and try and magic them to death?! "I use a fire spell against you! Why aren't you burning alive? Hey, does anyone know how much HP I have? I can't see my bar.".

Or perhaps it's fair to say that the videogames played no part whatsoever in the crazed acts of a right-wing lunatic, who was intent on doing this regardless of what videogames he played.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Factipedia: Rupert Murdoch

Born in 0AD in Australia as Satan's answer to Jesus, Rupert Murdoch lay dormant until 1770, when he was discovered by James Cook in Botany Bay. He spent the years between 1770 and 1784 learning to read and write English, Dutch and, rumour has it, Klingon. In 1785, he floated across to Britain on a raft made from the shells of tortoises and hollowed out trees. On his arrival in London, he immediately founded the Times, under the alias of John Walter, and then used a variety of puppets to control the company until he felt powerful enough to use his own name, uniting all his industries (Including, by this stage in his career, News of the World, and Fox entertainment) under the overarching branches of his News Corp tree. News Corp has a 14% shortfall in its accounts every year, money that shareholders are assuming Rupert Murdoch is using to fund his own personal Death Star, complete with bottomless pit, for him to keep his money in. Rupert Murdoch has been declared illegal in Italy thanks to a confusing by-law introduced by Silvio Berlusconi. Rupert Murdoch has never been seen dancing, but legend has it he is the only person to attain a perfect score on every single song in Dance Dance Revolution, a rumour he has neither confirmed nor denied. He supported WE Gladstone in all of his election victories, with The News of the World running the headline "It was The News of the World which did win it for WE Gladstone!" in 1892, because William and Rupert shared the same middle name, Ewart, a fact Murdoch has worked incredibly hard to keep out of the public eye, but many suspect the band "REM" were named after Murdoch's initials. It's said that Rupert Murdoch personally shot Archduke Ferdinand because sales of his papers were flagging, and it's not said whether he expected the ensuing chaos, but sales of his newspaper were never higher than in 1914. In 1971, he met the love of his life, Margaret Thatcher, but just as fate giveth with one hand, he taketh away with the other, and after a disastrous one night stand, Satan told them they were both related by blood to him. That night produced the slightly satanic and quite inbred James Murdoch, although this fact was little-publicised as the press never found out about his real mother. Being a naturally poor parent, Rupert Murdoch is alleged to have used his powers to have granted life to a raggedy-anne doll that James adored, calling it Rebekah and watching it grow up with his son. When the time came, they both got jobs within his papers. Rupert Murdoch dismissed any cries of nepotism with "If it's good enough for God, it's good enough for me".

Trivia about Rupert Murdoch

He invented the flared jean, but took no credit for it, bestowing it upon the people as a gift.
He survives only on cubed pineapple and koala meat.
He once outstared Winston Churchill, in a four hour epic over the cabinet table. Both men had to have sandwiches brought in, and at one stage around 2 hours in, it looked like Murdoch had got the giggles, but he regained his composure.
He has clean bowled WG Grace and Donald Bradman, both for 0, with his tricky medium-pace off-cutters.

I'm still allowed to edit wikipedia.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Factipedia: Rhinoceros

The Rhinoceros, briefly classified as a unicorn due to a complex filing error in taxonomy in 1994 (granting it "mythical" status in the IUCN Red List and leading to the myriad of Rhinoceros defence systems in place across the world, and also (thanks to a by-law written into the Epsom rulebooks after a horse with an unusual growth wanted to compete in the 1922 derby and had to be waved through as a unicorn) leading to "African Dreams" winning the Derby before goring a fellow contestant and being disqualified) is one of the most famous species in the world, particularly the White Rhino, regularly papped out and about in southern Africa, usually grazing on grass, or, occasionally, trying to rub the cake from inside his skin. The Rhinoceros was invented as a cruel practical joke by Pliny the Elder, who wanted to trick his son. The joke backfired, and the 84-tonne prototype went feral on the streets of Rome (Several carvings illustrate this, with one such depiction showing a skulking horn round a corner, and the caption "Rhinoceros Urbus?!") before fleeing to southern Africa via Turkey (Constantinople is veritably littered with illustrations of the "Beast of Rome"). It bred, as rhinoceroses continue to do to this day to the bemusement of the scientific community, by asexual cell division. Recent skeletons show that it was originally 412 feet tall, but that decreased over time as food scarcity increased due to overpopulation. The modern rhinoceros, whilst not as big as its impressive forebears, still holds itself at a majestic 6 feet. The rhinoceros skin is considered harder than diamond and is used to make armour-plating for tanks, whilst its bones are all made from pure graphite. Popular culture depicts rhinoceroses as being hunted for their horns, but in reality, this is a myth. They are actually hunted and killed because they contain 4 gallons of printer ink inside each animal, and thus are the world's leading source of printer ink, contributing over 99% of the world's printer ink supply. The remainder is made up of expensive substitutes, and the small amount that elephants contain. the rhinoceros spittle is, on average, 2 on the pH scale, but has been recorded as low as -1.6, and has been known dissolve rock. Rhinoceroses are also notoriously long-lived, with some being as old as 157 years old, whereupon, to the constant bafflement of science, they die instantly. No-one has ever seen a rhinoceros less than 4 months old, even whilst watching the parent figure divide, and so they are considered "Provisionally invisible" by science, and are said to form the basis of ninjas.

I am allowed to edit Wikipedia. This is a situation that cannot continue if Wikipedia is to consider itself/be considered by others as a valid source of information for important work. I stress, not all of the above facts are true.

Friday, 8 July 2011

It's the End of The (News of the) World as we know it!

Ding Dong, the witch is dead, which old witch? the terrible newspaper that blighted British society like an unwanted wart on the face of an otherwise plain but not necessarily unattractive woman! Okay, so it doesn't scan correctly, but people are singing it up and down the street here. There are people burning effigies of Rebekah Brooks (Or possibly starting a hate campaign against raggedy anne dolls, it's difficult to tell with these things) and marching across the nation. I'm going to four different street parties to celebrate. People have said "goodness, we should be mourning the death of an institution" to whom I say "Just because it was an institution doesn't make it good. Slavery was an institution." and they say "Are you honestly comparing the News of the World to slavery?!" and I say "Both are highly morally questionable but enjoyed by vast swathes of the public." and they say "...Fair point".

Of course, this isn't REALLY the end, it's just a little breather till Rupert Murdoch gets his minions together and launches "Sun on Sunday" (Expect puns galore when that starts, along the lines of "It's SUNday!" etc), ideally by shouting "FLY my pretties!" at a boardroom meeting. But still! The NotW is GONE. I feel excited. Amazing. I'd say delirious, but I don't want to go to far. I'll settle for dizzy with giddiness. Finally, Parliament and the British public tag-team to slam Murdoch. It's a shame David Cameron is so woefully ingrained in News International that he had to pull his head out of their arse to hear the shouts of anger. MPs who've previously done nothing were vitriolic in their rage. Even Ed Milliband managed to briefly be possessed by a better Labour leader in his calls for an inquiry and Ms. Brooks' resignation.

I fully expect that one day, people will go into Wapping towers, or whatever they're called, and find a beam, on the roof, with "Brooks Was Here" written on it (Shawshank reference). There's no possibility she won't go, surely. It's like being in charge of a ship that has crashed, leaked, and is currently exploding and going "I had no idea we were doing any of this.", and then hoping to get away with it. And Andy Coulson looks set to be arrested. I guess figures of authority in a Tory government can't, despite their best efforts, actually help getting arrested in an international scandal. Brilliant. I'm going to upgrade my happiness levels to shaking with delight. I just hope that now something will be done about the terrible PCC. That would be the only thing to make this day more perfect.

Friday, 1 July 2011

The Trams

Trams are an ongoing issue in this city, with the good news now that the council have to find £200 million in order to pay for the trams, given that it's £215 million over estimated budget, and delivers considerably less capabilities than, say, buses. I won't say I'm always exactly right on my estimates for shopping, but if I nip to the local shop to buy dinner, I reckon I'll spend about a fiver. It's very rare that I'll come in and put my dinner on the conveyor and then get told "That'll be £200,000,005 please. Do you have a clubcard?". So you can see people's frustration at this level of incompetence. The trams are about as undesireable as a shaved chimp wearing lingerie would be in bed, but impossibly cost £770 million. I don't think I've ever seen a council spend close to a billion pounds and be more disliked for it. "We're fixing all of the roads, which look like they were made in 1842 and haven't ever been repaired since!" would have been a better option. Or "Increased funding towards primary schools to help our youngest citizens develop into the flowers we know they can be". Or "Increased funding to police to cut down on crime in your area: Edinburgh Council, keeping YOU safe.". Hell, they could even have just given us back the money, which, at 2001 census levels, would put £1716 back in your pockets (Or £1215, if the project had remained perfectly on budget). It takes a spectacular level of incompetence to analyse the options, and then go "No, this money goes to transport, despite our well-funded and efficient bus service. Which we will not dedicate this money to improving, expanding the network or delivering an improved service. No, what we will do is devise a sort of... a sort of bus train, that can only go places on rails, so it's trapped on one route. Perfect. Lunch break, anyone?". Spectacular.

Other things that money could have been reasonably spent on, provided that it was reasonably well invested and so on: A free ridacard for every citizen, every year, with interest/returns from the remainder hopefully being enough to cover the next year's costs, which would encourage usage of public transport much more than, say, a trapped bus living on rails and yearning to be free. A free pony for every household to cut down on car use for small journeys. Hay expenditure not covered. Just some of the ideas of the top of my head, that are better than trams.