I joined a Netflix-like DVD rental service a while ago, based in part on the promise of a new iPod Shuffle after 3 months. I’d lost track slightly, so was pleasantly surprised when one arrived yesterday. As ever the packaging lives up to the rest of the product, and the machine itself is almost too small to believe. This is just the warm-up act though; the next version of OS X is released on Friday, and pretty soon after I’ll be in line to buy a couple of Mac Minis (one for us to use as a DVR, the other for my father to replace an aging PC). I’m no Josh when it comes to tech-love, but I must confess I’m moist with anticipation.

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While figuring out how to get to an indoor play area for the kids, I came across this intriguing bit of parking.

Sea Vixen in Gosport

I’m not positive, but I think that’s a de Havilland Sea Vixen. Not quite as odd as it might seem, as just a couple of screens north is DARA Rotary, who provide deep maintenance (i.e. not just topping off the fluids) for Chinooks, Sea Kings and Lynx helicopters, so there is some precedent. But it’s still not what you’d expect in an industrial estate next to a jungle gym.

Politics and Intelligent Design

One of the criticisms often made of ID is that it isn’t predictive; that it will see something that appears to be designed and point it out as an example of ID, but if an evolutionary explanation is found they don’t hesitate for a moment to just move on to the next one in the list. What that means in practice is that any feature can be considered evidence for their cause, yet the exact opposite could just as easily do the same; what decides isn’t evidence or research, but convenience.

Here’s the same idea at work in politics. John Negroponte commented on activity in Afghanistan recently:

NEGROPONTE: It’s getting better. It’s definitely getting better. And I’ve heard some people suggest, go so far as to suggest, that al Qaeda is getting discouraged in Iraq and is thinking more of concentrating their efforts on Afghanistan and other areas.

ROSE: That good news or bad?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I think it’s at least good news that their wings have clipped somewhat in Iraq.

Here’s the rough grid Negroponte is working from:

How are AQ doing? Well in Iraq Poorly in Iraq
Well in Afghanistan Last desperate throes Getting desperate in Iraq
Poorly in Afghanistan Getting desperate in Afghanistan We’re in the end game

It doesn’t matter what the facts on the ground are – it doesn’t even matter if we can’t know them – there’s only the message.

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Alan Coren

Alan Coren, author, broadcaster, columnist, take your pick, has died aged 69. Coren has a small place in my heart as the first grown-up humourist I read, probably when I was in my early teens. Until then I liked funny stuff, of course, but my definition of what was funny was, well, that of someone in their early teens. Coren had a lovely relaxed writing style that could carry you along for several pages before you realized that he was being on occasion quite venomous (though never unjustly). You can sample a few of his pieces at The Times.

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I picked up my new trike last night, and will be building it back up (doesn’t quite fit in the back of my saloon) tonight. I may even squeeze in a little test drive, without using my right knee of course. Here’s a pic:

Tadpole Trike

and here’s a link to the page of a similar machine (spec is a little different I’d guess, but it’s made by the same people in China).

The chief advantage of such a machine is comfort – no strain on shoulders and back, and most of all your arse – and the downside is slightly reduced speed compared to a normal two-wheeler (also known as a DF – diamond frame – or wedgie). Given that I’m not that fast anyway I don’t mind the slowdown, and the point at which it’s most noticeable, uphill, is compensated for by the fact that you can stop when you want without falling over! The guy who sold it to me (at a service station late last night, but it’s legit, honest) said that it’s very easy to go slowly, because it’s so comfy you start daydreaming and taking it easy without noticing. So basically a wheeled couch then; I’ll see if I can rig up a mount for our portable DVD player.

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