February 26, 2013
Skynet’s gonna get you…
I found a bunch of old Meccano – the green and red stuff. Since then I bought a Meccano radio controlled vehicle set (with big chunky off-road-type wheels) and a couple of the “single model” kits (a bi-plane and a fork-lift truck) plus there’s loads of Meccano components on eBay. It’s an interesting pass-time, something I never got into as a kid (we were a Lego household).
I’ve seen robotic arms kits for sale before, but they always seemed a tad pricey for what they are. So I thought: Why not make one of my own with Meccano? So I did a bit of Googling and found this interesting blog article. It’s an old page (2008) and there aren’t any plans or parts lists. But there are a number of photos, from different angles which might help.
Anyway, I left a comment asking for plans etc (currently “awaiting moderation”), and hopefully the author will post some useful info. In the meantime I’m still googling for more info, so maybe some day soon you’ll find a post saying the robotic arm is complete! I’ll include instructions and a parts list, so you can emulate my achievement. But beware: this might be part of Skynet’s plan to exterminate the human race. Kids and hobbyists all round the world build robots… next thing you know they’ve got you on Chiron Beta Prime, working in the mines and being fed Soylent Green by our robot overlords I mean protectors. So if you embark on such a project, do what I do – keep your models locked up securely, far from any tools or other makeshift weapons. Otherwise you’ll be kicking yourself when you’re enslaved by your model (assuming you’re not already being kicked by a robotic leg…)!
February 24, 2013
I saw this story on the Guardian website about “uproar” concerning the Oxford University Students Union debating whether to boycott Israel. Ho hum. But what really got my goat was a little comment near the end of the story:
Not all students have immersed themselves in this debate. The Oxford Student newspaper reported that a member of the Bullingdon Club was fined for setting off a firework at a nightclub earlier this month. According to the paper, the student was accepted into the club after an initiation ceremony which included burning a £50 note in front of a tramp.
I know that the Bullingdon Club is an exclusive, expensive, ostentatious group who lord it around because of some twisted sense of humour. But burning a fifty pound note in the face of a “tramp” (I expect they mean a poor homeless person)… really? Being in the Bullingdon Club is a route to the top later in life: Bullies include prime minister David Cameron, chancellor George Osborne, London Mayor Boris Johnson… this is how political figures – especially Tories – get into positions of power. By sneering down at the poor. Is it any wonder they’re known as the Nasty Party?
February 20, 2013
Marc Dutroux, the Beast of Belgium, kidnapped raped 6 children and murdered 4
Marc Dutroux, the Beast of Belgium, sentenced to “life imprisonment” for kidnapping and raping 6 young girls and murdering 4 of them, has had his appeal for “conditional release” refused. He claimed he was no longer a danger to the public, and under Belgian law, prisoners can be freed after serving 15 years of a life sentence if they are no longer considered a risk to the public. But in its ruling the court said there was an “absence of any prospect” that Dutroux could be reintegrated into society.
I’m shocked that Belgian law is so lax as to allow early release in this way. Thank goodness this particular court saw sense. But I am also troubled by allegations, made soon after Dutroux’s arrest but later swept under the carpet, that Dutroux was merely the “procurer” and “fall guy” for a network of pedophiles including influencial Belgian judges, prosecutors, politicians, businessmen… that aspect of the case has never been properly investigated, possibly because these influential pedophiles have “deterred” any proper police investigation.
So is Belgium run by a coterie of nonces? We’ll have to wait and see…
February 18, 2013
Marc Dutroux, rapist and killer of children
Marc Dutroux, the Beast of Belgium, sent to prison in 2004 for “life” (45 years under Belgian law) for the kidnapping and rape of 6 girls and the murder of four of them, is asking for “conditional release”. In Belgium, a convict can apply for conditional release after serving a third of his sentence, including time served before sentencing. In August last year there were angry demonstrations when Dutroux’s ex-wife Michelle Martin, convicted as an accomplice, was given a conditional release after serving 16 years of a 30-year sentence She now lives in a convent.
Conditional release is a controversial in Belgium, There have been appeals for the European Court of Human Rights to stop this practice. If Dutroux is released he will be pretty much as free as anyone else. He would have to wear an electronic bracelet as part of the conditions, though it’s unclear how this bracelet would stop him from kidnapping, raping and murdering more children.
Dutroux has already displayed how untrustworthy he is – in 1998 he escaped from court during a hearing – but now he insists he poses no danger and deserves conditional freedom.
His own mother thinks that freeing her son would be a huge mistake. In an interview in the French newspaper le Soir, Jeanine Dutroux, 78, said she was “certain he will start again” if he was freed.
“Marc is not ready to be released because he is still trying to blame others for what he did. I am certain he will start again. He has no sense of reality. He’s a repeat offender in his soul, as he has already proven throughout his life.”
She added “Sooner or later he will be released, but I hope to be no longer in this world when that happens.”
February 14, 2013
The ConDem’s “Universal Credit” benefits overhaul is fulla bad, as one might expect of a scheme dreamed up by Cameron and Osborne as a way to kill as many poor people as possible before 2015 (that’s when the next general election is due – and fewer poor people = fewer votes against the Tories). But there is some good that could come from the Universal Benefit plan. As 38 Degrees explained to me in a recent email, the introduction of the new benefits system means the government could easily decide to extend free school meals to all children living in poverty. And there are plenty of impoverished families in Britain: up to 1.2 million kids are missing out on free school meals. And as free school meals are often the only decent meals a kid gets to eat every day, this all adds up to one huge shed-load of malnourished children living here in Britain, one of the richest nations in the world.
Should this sad state of affairs be allowed to continue? Or should our children – our nation’s future – get a proper meal at least once a day? I know what I think. And I really really hope you think the same.
You can help 38 Degree’s campaign to feed our children really simply. And it won’t cost you a penny. All you gotta do is follow this link: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/school-meals. Really, it’s as simple as that. Think of those schoolchildren you see when you’re on your way to work. Chances are, some of them haven’t eaten breakfast and probably won’t get anything to eat when they return from school later. Don’t let children in Britain starve to death. Click the link: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/school-meals
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I wonder how many British children died of malnutrition while you thought about clicking the link?
February 10, 2013
Shopping trolleys, Feb 2013
Had to do some Gimping to get rid of the locks and chains that keep our beautiful trolleys in captivity. Any comments on my work? Haven’t done much Gimping before, except for cropping, resizing and such.