Sunday, 19 February 2017

Church of England and gay marriage - a guide for the perplexed

The Bishops Report said that "only a man and woman could marry in church."

The House of Bishops voted 43-1 in agreement.

The House of Laity voted 106-83 in agreement.

The House of Clergy disagreed, 100 votes to 93.

To get approved, all three Houses have to agree.

After the vote, one bishop said that he accidentally voted the wrong way. And there's statements that other people voted the wrong way. If they can't even vote the way they mean to, maybe they should pray harder.

So as things stand, the Synod, overall, plumped for "no change". So, no same-sex marriage in the Church of England.

So what's going on here? Why are they against same-sex marriage?


A) The way people claim that religion works, is that God tells you what to do, and then that's what you want.

B) The way religion works, is you think about what you want, and then claim that God told you to do that.

So - Leviticus 20:13

"If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

So here's the thing.

1) How come the Synod accepts the first part of that, but not the second part? Why aren't they calling for the death penalty for homosexual acts?

2) Why do they ignore Leviticus 11:12; "Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you."

Go figure.

Still, it's good news. Every time the Church brings itself into disrepute, it opens more eyes.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How to backup your daughter's blog

It occurred to me that I didn't have a backup of this blog. I expect the good folks at do backups, but "expect" is not good enough for me. So I did one.

Then I wondered about the blog of daughter.2, It's a good blog, all about ... well, go see for yourself. But does she do a backup? I didn't know.

So I did one for her. It's very easy.

wget -r

That downloaded everything from her blog to my computer. When I told her I'd done this, she was a bit concerned at first, and wanted to know if I'd hacked her blog. Well, no. The blog is *supposed* to be publicly readable, and what I did was read it! But I should have taken a picture of her face as she asked that.

That gave me a tree of files. So next, I converted that to a single file.

tar -cf silverspoon.tar

That was pretty big, about 6 gigabytes. More than would fit onto one DVD. You might think that then I'd use some sort of compression, but most of the data is JPG files which are already compressed.

split -d -b 4480m silverspoon.tar

That gave me two files, and I burned them on to DVDs, which I gave to her next time we met.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Taboo words

What constitutes a taboo word changes with locality and over time. 25 years ago, when I roamed around AOL, The Powers That Be would give you a ban (temporary or permanent) for using taboo words. But they wouldn't tell you what words you couldn't use.

So I tried using the word "smeg", which isn't in any dictionary, but which sounds vaguely obscene (and was used thus in Red Dwarf), and got into an argument with TPTB about whether it was obscene or not. My argument was that "it is a meaningless word, so how could it be obscene?" Their argument was, "We're TPTB". And no, they wouldn't give me a list of taboo words, I ought to know without being told, and my protestation that the list of taboo words in the UK wasn't the same as the list in the US, fell on TPTB ears.

So I rooted around until I found a list of the words that AOL considered vulgar (they didn't actually use the word obscene).

But times change.

And now we have Facebook.

I'm in a group that has rules, including "No disparaging comments against groups of people, i.e. no discrimination against genders, races, sexual/gender orientations, etc.". That sounds fair enough, except that most of the bans I'm seeing, are for ableist words. So what is an ableist word?

I don't know. Words that I've seen incuded are "crazy, stupid, insane, dumb (in the US sense, meaning stupid - I suppose if used in the "I can't speak" sense it wouldn't be ableist - or maybe it would?)". "Blind" is obviously ableist, except that I have a colleague who is 100% unable to see, and he doesn't seem to be offended by the word "blind". But what about "foolish"? Or "silly"? I've gotten away with using those, even though they seem to me to be little different from the banned words.

And if stupid is ableist, so is its opposite; intelligent, clever, brainy. Short and tall, fat and thin, brunette or blonde. Are any of those ableist? Your hair colour is one of those things you have no control over (unless you dye it).

And anyway, although these words are describing characteristics that people wouldn't want to have (or would want), are they disparaging? It's a minefield. "Black" used to be the word to use, then it was "coloured", now I'm told there isn't a word, you have to say "African-American" (but not everyone is American) or "person of colour", and how "person of colour" is less offensive that "coloured person", search me. Plus Americans seem to have a very different definition of who falls into that category than I would.

Go figure.

You guessed it. In this group, they're mostly Americans.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Steep drop in spam

There has been a sudden and very drastic drop in the volume of spam I'm getting. Whereas before I could see around 1000 per day, now it's more like 50. I'm guessing that a major spammer has been removed from the game.

Let's hope it's permanent.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

New shaver

My electric shaver has become blunt. And it's running roughly. Bottom line - I'm not finding it easy to shave with it. So ...

You might think that it would be cheapest and easiest to replace the shaving head, and maybe the foil. But that isn't the case; typically, you'll pay £25 to replace those. But a new shaver is a lot cheaper.

I've had a good experience with the Chaobo RSCW-9500, which I got from DealExtreme for about £9. Yes, three of these are cheaper than one replacement head and foil for a big name brand shaver! So I've changed over to my backup 9500, and I went back to DX to buy another. Sold out! Which means they don't stock it any more. So I googled around; used to sell them, but no longer. I persisted until I found Focalprice. They have the 9500 for $12, three for $11.34 each. So I bought three for $34.02, which is about what you'd pay for a single replacement head and foil for a big brand. And each one comes with a spare head!


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Melania Trump vs The Daily Mail

Mrs Trump is suing the Daily Mail for $150 million.

A lot of what the old-style media reports, is just stuff they've gleaned from the internet, and they don't bother checking whether it's true.

"Decide for yourself," they say, but there's no way you can. "We're just reporting the rumour" they say, as if that's an excuse.

Wouldn't it be great if the media checked whether things were true, rather than just repeat what they read on the internet?

So who should we be cheering for?

On the one hand, losing $150 million might make them more careful in future. Plus, it's the Daily Mail, which we don't get even when it's a free newspaper at the supermarket and it's the only paper left.

On the other hand, it's Mrs Trump.

Decide for yourself.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Our courrier was not able to deliver your parcel

Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2017 03:06:06 +0800
From: USPS <>
Subject: Shipping information for parcel 8217163

Our courrier was not able to deliver your parcel because nobody was present at your address.

Someone must always be present on the delivery day, to sign for receiving the parcel.

Shipping type: USPS Next Day
Box size: Large Box ( 2-5kg )
Date : Feb 6th 2017

You can reschedule the delivery over the phone, but you will have to confirm the information on the
delivery invoice.
Another delivery can be arranged, by calling the number on the delivery invoice we left at your address
and confirming the shipping information, including the address and tracking number.

A scanned copy of the delivery invoice can also be downloaded by visiting the USPS website: []

In the exceptional case that a new delivery is not rescheduled in 24 hours, the shipment will be
cancelled and the package will be returned to the sender.

Thanks for shipping with USPS

Copyright © 2017 USPS. All Rights Reserved.
Two clues that this is a scam. 1) "courrier" and 2) the web link doesn't go to it goes to

Apart from those two, it looks very plausible.