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January 10, 2007

Something different

Writing about web page http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=5187&&edition=1&ttl=20070110124244

I’m tired of the homosexual v christianity debate. People are arguing on two (or more) completely different grounds. Can we go back to Israel v Palestine please?


January 09, 2007

Dilemma

Watching E.R. tonight, I was wondering something. Two doctors who had just attended a funeral heard about a shooting at their hospital and some of their colleagues in life-threatening situations. So they decide to cancel their day off and rush to the hospital to help out.

The rest of the show we only see wounded doctors and nurses taken care of by their colleagues. Meanwhile, standard patients are queueing up outside or diverted to other hospitals.

Anyway, that’s not what I was wondering.

I was thinking, suppose you’re capable of saving someone’s life, but you have to chose between the average UK citizen (decide for yourself what this entails) and a brain surgeon. You have no emotional attachment to either patient. Who would you attend first?

My scary thought is that rationally, I cannot find a way to decide to prioritize the average citizen. The even more scary thought was not that the brain surgeon could probably save lives and do great things. No, instead, I thought how much money had been spent on this person to become a brain surgeon in the first place, and how less taxing he (or she) probably is going to be on society.

*sigh* I’m never gonna sleep tonight


November 12, 2006

My world renown life

Follow-up to What else to do on a Saturday night? from [TBA]

On a search for the origins of unwarranted abuse hurled at me through the means of blog comments, I realize my blog attracts people from as far away as Australia who wish to find out what to do on a Saturday night.

Including great suggestions found in the comments, and assuming you’re not looking for a list of stuff about me, here are some ideas:

1. Start your own blog. In particular, write about why you’re doing this on a Saturday night. Your university might offer you a blog, or try sites such as MySpace, Blogger, or LiveJournal.

2. If in the UK, and in the winter months, watch X-factor or similar shows. If in the summer months, do not watch television.

3. If known to the world of blogging, try visit other blogs and tell the owner how sad he/she is. It will surely make you feel better and might save your Saturday night.

4. Find a hobby. Try ornithology.

5. Go out for a beer and relax. [1]

6. Plan your next Saturday night. Not leaving it to the last minute implies you can organize for friends to come over. Or to obtain necessary equipment for your new hobby.

7. Make a list of things you could do on a Saturday night that are more fun than making a list of things you could do on a Saturday night (ad infinitum).

1 Please note that this has proven to be one of the more popular options of what to do on a Saturday night. As a result, the suggestion becomes a near paradox.


June 05, 2006

Mail

Why is it that the University and similar organisations have a hard time remembering my address, still sending stuff to my Claycroft residence (moved out there 2 years ago), even though I've filled out my address on it feels like 10 different occasions? In the mean time, shady credit card companies (wow, a support England in the WC card, jolly!) have no problem finding every single detail of my life that they need.

May 12, 2006

Coleslaw

To give myself an idea that I'm actually making progress, I updated my ePortfolio today. Come to think of it, it sounds like I'm regressing rather than progressing, but I guess the point is to narrow down your research.

In other news, I bought a little expensive notebook (I'm impulsive when it comes to shopping) and thought it was time to start noting things. Mainly because today being a TA was easy as the students got to work with soap and water.

So yes, coleslaw.

Is there anyone on this planet who gets excited by coleslaw?

I found a leaflet for a take–away advertising their latest meal deals. Now, to entice everyone, they have coleslaw as a specially included side dish. Just. For. You.

Now, I have nothing against coleslaw. Apart from the fact that there are a million side dishes around that are easier to make and that taste lots and lots better. And apart from the fact that it's so blatantly a word stolen from the beautiful Dutch language. But I do wonder.

Do you eat coleslaw? And if so, why? Do you have coleslaw cravings? If you can choose between side dishes at KFC, do you actually pick coleslaw? Are you more likely to go for my take–away's meal deals because they included coleslaw? Please enlighten me!


March 23, 2006

Killing in the name

Some people are driving too fast. Some people can't help but think they know what's best for their country. Some people can't help but think they know what's best for other countries.

Holland is a perfect example of what happens when there is no governing moral standard. The Dutch have decriminalized most drugs and people smoke dope openly in venues set aside for the practice. Prostitutes display their wares like mannequins in department store windows. And now we have at least one hospital murdering already born babies because someone has decreed them unworthy of life. Read here

Let's have a look.

The Dutch have decriminalized most drugs
Oh dear! Drugs… Let's assume you don't mean medicine, but the kind of stuff you don't get from a drugstore. You probably don't mean alcohol or tobacco either. Fact: so called coffeeshops are allowed to sell 5 grams of cannabis [weed, dope, grass] and as a result the posession of such a small quantity is tolerated.
Actually, of most drugs, only cannabis is tolerated, and in very small quantities. Turns out that coffeeshops are prevalent in Amsterdam [mostly occupied by tourists, though] which makes people believe you can smoke all the dope you want. But no.

Prostitutes display their wares like mannequins
Not sure what you've seen, and what you were looking for in the red light district. Yes, that says district – there are zones where prostitution is allowed, making up a wopping 0,00001% of the city centre [figure subject to author's abuse of mathematics] and there's no other reason to be in those zones but to have a look at those mannequins.
Also, none of them display their wares, for what would be the use to show what you've got when people can just stand outside looking at you without having to pay? So much for a job. It's just women with strong make up on in bathing suits, smoking a cigarette is optional.

Hospital murdering already born babies
This is what it's all about. Italian minister Carlo Giovanardi is convinced the Dutch are culling all the handicapped, blind, and ugly babies to make way for pretty ubermenschen. Fox News [why am I taking this seriously?] columnist Cal Thomas believes "Dutch parliament passed a law allowing doctors to actively kill patients they deemed terminally ill".
Fact: doctors are allowed to assist patients in euthanasia. This is in accordance with a patient's right to die. It involves lots of forms to fill out, by the patient as well.
Fact: in the law, minors from the age of 12 can request euthanasia. 12–16 year olds need their parents' consent. 16–17 year olds need to involve their parents in the decision process.

The current controversy doesn't speak about minors under 12, but focusses on newborns. Eduard Verhagen from the University of Groningen started the whole thing suggesting a protocol for termination of life for newborns. While looking for more information, I came across Verhagen's latest article [abstract]:

In the Netherlands, as in many other European countries, the majority of deaths in newborns are preceded by end-of-life decisions. In most cases, these decisions concern the withholding or withdrawing of treatment. Drugs with a potential life-shortening effect are often prescribed in the terminal phase of treatment of newborns to alleviate their suffering. The use of lethal drugs in order to deliberately end the life of newborns with a very poor prognosis and intractable severe suffering has been reported by Dutch paediatricians. Recently published data about end-of-life decisions in newborns in Flanders have shown that paediatricians in Flanders also consider the deliberate ending of life in newborns and young infants to be an acceptable option in exceptional circumstances. Real insight into the existing practice remains limited because the deliberate ending of life legally qualifies as murder in both countries. Few cases are reported because of the physician's fear of prosecution. Physicians in Flanders and in the Netherlands have pleaded for a different system of control of the deliberate ending of life in newborns. The Dutch government has recently announced the instalment of a multidisciplinary committee of experts to whom all cases must be reported. The advice of the committee to the prosecuting authorities will be crucial. It is expected that this change will increase the willingness to report cases.

It seems his sole purpose is to surface these cases that currently take place in murky waters. It probably happens in Italy and the USA as well, but this doctor would like to structurize the procedure and make it more humane, and as such needs a legal body to decide on this. For an objective review, go here. Anyone taking this whole nazi comparison seriously, please try and read up on what's happening before making Orwellian statements.


March 07, 2006

Tubthumping

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4780992.stm

\*Carefully steps on thin ice, making sure to have enough time to make statement*

I'm not sure if it's the best idea to blog this during International Women's Week, but the BBC article confused me.

Ensure consent for sex, men told

Okay, that's the title, and until that point it made sense. Then it continues on no matter how drunk the woman is, as a man you must have had consent to have sex with her, otherwise you could later be convicted of rape.
– I assume the terms man and woman can be interchanged in some cases

"Hi, I noticed you around. Can I get you a drink?"
"Oh yes, please, a rum and coke would make my day!"
"Ooh, before you start drinking, can I ask you…"
"Yes?"
"Would you consent in having sexual relations?"
"Ooh sorry, not now. Maybe later. Where's that drink?"

That probably won't work. But once the woman has been drinking, she will be in a state where she'll be less capacitated to make the decision. Then again, even if she consents earlier on, can't she deny it in court? Maybe a written consent – perhaps in electronic form – is the way forward?

I'm well aware of the severity of rape dates and the advantages made of people when they're drunk. But to set in stone such a blurry situation, and to blame the not so drunk person on beforehand sounds a bit too much like a freebee to me.

Isn't the worrying situation that people go out on their own – or without people they can trust – and get absolutely leathered?

*crack*...


March 01, 2006

I want it all

I want a new laptop. And I might actually get one soon. I've been holding off so long afraid of being the kind of person that wants a new car every year because there's something better on the market. But recently I've found that my Dell is just not up to the task.

We've been together for 2 and a half years now, and it's been a bumpy ride. It was alright in the beginning, though my Dell seemed to have a lot of trouble staying silent when I wanted to watch a film or the latest 24 series 2 episode. I tried teaching it to focus on the most important tasks [I don't care about stupid viruses, just play the film. Puh-lay fil-lum. Thank you.] but it just couldn't grasp the concept of synchronized sound tracks and moving images.

This year it's reached a new level however. I've walked around with it a lot, but that can't have anything to do with it overheating after just starting Windows. It's got these rubber feet to keep it off the desk so the fans can get more air [I assume - but who puts fans at the bottom anyway?] but these have all come off because the extreme heat melted the glue to inexistence. I can't read the specs of my laptop on the bottom anymore as the motherboard seems to have scorched its way through the casing. I just tried to check but apparently laptops don't like being held upside down and it just stopped working completely.

All I want is to listen to music without cringing – it's not the songs I listen to – I think my sound card and wireless card use the same crazily-named-slot and when I use the internet lots the wireless card overheats [as well] and corrupts whatever sound I was trying to get from the card. And I'd like to model at least to some extent on my laptop. As I recently mentioned, I've finally taken up working with C++ again and a class class mate managed to make it all a lot more understandable, using words as bubble and fishtank instead of struct and vector.

As a result, I managed to make a working program that only had to initialize a vector of pointers to 10,000 bubbles. It took hardly a second to initialize all these bubbles with their specs! But then I thought to go a step further and have the bubbles rise [change their y position each time step] and merge [if they overlap - we're not too worried about bubbles avoiding each other yet]. 10 time steps would take the program 20 seconds, which was bearable, apart from the fact that nothing interesting happens after 10 steps, and we need a lot more to derive some good statistics. So I thought I'd run it for 100 steps and have a cup of tea in the mean time. Again, it just about managed without too many complaints [I'd say fan noise level comparable to flight engines in preparation].

Unfortunately, 100 time steps still didn't seem to do the trick, so I thought I'd run it for a 1000, and have a shower in the mean time. Just as the program was about to finish, I smelt something funny. It was Rich cooking, so it couldn't have been that. Instead, my Dell just did *poof* and fainted. Indeed, it was the horrible smell of solder. Don't get me wrong – I love the smell of solder! But not when it comes out of my laptop.

As you might be able to tell, the poor thing still works, but I definitely need to move on. If you have any ideas what affordable laptop can make music sound ok, and that can manage with not too intricate models, please let me know. I've gone past the stage of watching films or TV shows on my laptop, so modelling and music it is. I don't just want a new laptop. I need one. Please help me.


February 20, 2006

Confessions

Dear friends, family. What you have feared for those years while I've been in the UK has come true. I've been taken over by the force, and have been identified as a Christian, and even been spotted evangelising

The signs have been there all the time. Whilst in England, I have visited a total of 36 churches, some of which more than once! I'm very proud of this fact actually, as churches are generally cold buildings, and revisiting them is a sign of true spirit.

Then there is Rev. Singing songs with words as Joyful, joyful, Lord we adore thee! must mean that I believe the Lord exists and is wonderful. In the same way as singing you make me feel like a natural woman is speaking from my deepest desires.

On this blog I have touched upon some religious issues, inviting Christians to help me out in finding out about Christian concepts, such as heaven. Clearly, one must be a Christian in the first place to even want to talk about Christianity, or Christian related stuff.

On other blogs, I have tried to explain how I see the ways some Christians work, for instance how evangelism to them makes sense, a sense that makes it feel like it's their duty to tell people about their faith. Another sign of being a Christian: actually trying to make sense of Christian activities and trying to explain others about their ways. Surely a non-Christian wouldn't even bother?!

Then look at where I spend most of my time. This term I've actually managed to get to campus in the morning every day when I didn't feel crap. Some of the time spent on campus was for direct maths purposes [lectures, supervision, seminars, PhD progress], but most of the time I spent in the Chaplaincy, where obviously all one can do is talk Christian stuff and be converted if not already and figure out how to convert other people.

What went wrong?!

Nothing, really.

I joined Rev because I like singing. I ended up visiting churches [which I already did, but mainly for tourist purposes] with Rev because, well, that's where we stay, and that's how we're supported most of the time. I ended up talking about Christian stuff because many of my friends here are Christian, and I like to understand why their faith is so important to them. I believe in something there, and it makes sense to me to call it God.

Grown up in a Western society, it's quite common [understatement] to be brought up with Christian morals. Seeing that our laws are based on Jewish-Christian traditions, I don't think anyone in such a situation can reasonably say they have nothing to do with these religions. [I'm not implying Islam has had no influence or contribution in Western civilization, but it's not part of the current argument.] I understand if people don't want anything to do with these religions, but to dismiss their relevance in life shows a complete lack of historical and political awareness, and that annoys me.

Seeing that lately, I've had trouble getting my point across, so I'll try some more:

  1. I don't and I won't call myself a Christian [I believe in most of the stuff 'necessary', but without sounding rude, there's other stuff in my life that I think needs more attention]
  2. I don't mind you calling me a Christian if that makes sense to you. I don't see how what I've said makes me more a Christian than a Muslim though
  3. I don't mind anyone being whatever-ist or -im or -an. Just don't go about telling other people why they're wrong [note that this is different to telling people why your faith is good, which sounds perfectly acceptable to me - hence me defending evangelism]
  4. I'm sure there's another point, but no one's perfect so I can forget things too

On a final note

Apologies for the attack on your senses. I was on a mission, being truly annoyed by someone claiming to show so much respect but disrespectfully dismissing my attempts of coming to a common ground, and I changed my blog in such a way to get my message across of how ridiculous the dismissal was. The green-ness is all in favour of Hayley to see if she can shine a better light on the entry if the letters don't dance in front of her eyes. It's only temporarily, really.


January 25, 2006

Is there really any need?

I need help with something techie, so I contact techie people. Next day techie people respond, suggesting I should give them a ring to discuss further details, or to go to other techies who can help me out in different way. I don't like calling about techie stuff, so decide to drop by instead with said techie object.

Is there really any need for non techie enquiry person to give me bad attitude for dropping by instead of calling? Really? Didn't think so. You dis-made my day. Thanks.


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