:: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 ::

Hate Week

I'm really pissed off about the garbage in the media yesterday and today about the Edinburgh mosque. A right-wing think-tank managed to find just one piece of dodgy literature in the whole of Scotland and it becomes the first thing on the news alongside lots of crap about "hate fuelled extremism". The Times editorialised that "This torrent of medieval bile is abhorrent."

The only ones fuelling hate are the media. Have they read a bible recently? There is some pretty violent stuff in there and churches are packed with the things. Meanwhile Lothians-bases apostates remain unslain.

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:: Friday, October 26, 2007 ::

Nobody's Twisting Your Arm

Weddoes, originally uploaded by alister.

The Wedding Present/St. Judes Infirmary
Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Wednesday 24th October 2007

It's twenty years since the Wedding Present released their debut album 'George Best'. It wasn't clever, it wasn't experimental. But it was fast and jangly and I liked it. Now they are touring again and playing the entire album as part of their set. The idea was to play the same towns as the original GB tour but a few extra dates have been added and they are only playing one of the original venues.

Well I don't think I attended the original tour, but I did go to the one before that.

Support came from St. Judes Infirmary, who I thought were excellent. Not twee, but the dark side of jangly. They are Fifers too some of them, albeit Kircaldy so that can't be bad.

St Judes Infirmary

The crowd swelled for the arrival of the weddoes and they were well up for it. I heard singer Dave Gedge on the radio last week talking about how he had to imagine himself back in the same mental place as he was twenty years ago. George Best is an album full of angst...unrequited love, jealousy, infidelity, all that stuff. I imagine the forty-something singer ("David, or Mr Gedge" as he told the hecklers yelling Gedgie) might prefer to be singing about DIY or pigeons now. But he screwed up his face and did the job. All with the help of a giant bunny.

Bunny Countdown

So we got a few new numbers, some classics like Kennedy and Flying Saucer and of course, George Best in its entirety. Top stuff.

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:: Thursday, October 11, 2007 ::

All Hail Our Insect Overlords

Who needs sci-fi? George Orwell never came up with anything like this.

Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

"I heard someone say, 'Oh my god, look at those,' " the college senior from New York recalled. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects."

Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.

"I'd never seen anything like it in my life," the Washington lawyer said. "They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?' "

That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Others think they are, well, dragonflies -- an ancient order of insects that even biologists concede look about as robotic as a living creature can look.

No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.

The robobugs could follow suspects, guide missiles to targets or navigate the crannies of collapsed buildings to find survivors.

The technical challenges of creating robotic insects are daunting, and most experts doubt that fully working models exist yet.

"If you find something, let me know," said Gary Anderson of the Defense Department's Rapid Reaction Technology Office.

But the CIA secretly developed a simple dragonfly snooper as long ago as the 1970s. And given recent advances, even skeptics say there is always a chance that some agency has quietly managed to make something operational."


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:: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 ::

Che's and Onion

Che Guevara was of course both Argentinian and a rugby fan, editing a rugby magazine in his youth. So I didn't take Argentina's victory over Scotland in the rugby world cup too badly.

It is of course the anniversary of Che's death. The indigenous Bolivian peasants and workers carrying the image of Che whilst campaigning for Evo Morales are a bit more interesting to me, but here is some fluff from Style magazine.

"As Style File readers are no doubt aware, today is the anniversary of revolutionary/T-shirt icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara's death. To mark the occasion, the Brecht Forum is hosting an exhibit/panel discussion called "Viva Che! Behind & Beyond the Icon," with Tariq Ali, Chesa Boudin, Juan Gonzalez, and Greg Grandin. After the talk, everyone's going to repair to…Socialista. What are socialists doing at a celebrity watering hole that's been styled to look like a workingman's bar in 1940's Havana? Colin Robinson, who's on the board of directors at the Brecht Forum (which used to be called the New York Marxist School) and helped to organize tonight's talk, sees the meeting of the two as a form of "comradely solidarity." "I'd like to create a united front, to turn what's become an enclave of $8 million condos into the Left Bank of New York," he explained. "I think it was very sweet of them to have us, really." For more information, see www.brechtforum.org."


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