Thursday, 18 February 2010

Bloody Mary at the SE Frisbee Regionals

I played in the South Eastern University Regionals Ulitmate Fribsee tournament last weekend for the Queen Mary "Bloody Mary" team. I woke up on Monday morning more sore than I can ever remember being, but had a great time, and I've decided to write "the report" for the weekend. It's pretty long, so I've put most of it below the fold: if you don't want to read that far, here's a summary: we finished 10th, out of 23, after being seeded 23rd, with only 6 players, finished second in a 3 pint challenge, and partied at least as hard as any of the other teams. All in all, a pretty awesome weekend.

Incidentally, this is all pretty much steam-of-consciousness, and I can't be bothered to edit it, so please forgive any typos/spelling errors/factual inaccuracies/blatant lies. Names have *not* been changed to protect the innocent!

Click here to read the rest

Friday, 12 February 2010

Circumlocutory Collocations: The Dot Matrix Train Describer Board

The sign at Monument station on my way home last night said this:
Because of a failure the Dot Matrix Train Describer Board is showing incorrect information. Please check the front of the train for its correct destination.
This sign annoyed me for two reasons. First: "Because of a failure". That's right up there with "due to a delay, the train on platform 6 is running late". Thanks, but if you're just going to give a contentless explanation for the failure, why give any explanation at all?

Second, "Dot Matrix Train Describer Board". It genuinely took me a good few seconds to realise what the sign was talking about. I've simply never heard of a "Dot Matrix Train Describer Board" - and I'm not sure why I need to, surely they could have written the sign in English, rather than jargonese?

This sign was handwritten. Someone actually went to the trouble of writing out "Dot Matrix Train Describer Board" (I'm getting bored, and I've only had to type it). It's a sort of anti-nerdview. Whoever wrote the sign almost certainly wasn't aware that "Dot Matrix" refers simply to the fact that the board is pixellated, or that "Train Describer Board" is a horrible circumlocution. They probably thought Dot Matrix was a brand name (that's the only feasible reason I can think of why someone would bother to include it: feel free to suggest others).

The thing is, this must happen *all the time* - could TFL not have a generally accepted plain English phrase for referring to "Dot Matrix Train Describer Boards"? "Information Screens"? "Platform Displays"? Surely there's *something* better than "Dot Matrix Train Describer Board"?

Friday, 5 February 2010

We officially have a 2-tier legal system

I find it somewhat difficult to believe that this is for real. Shamso Miah broke another man's jaw over a dispute in a bank queue. He was let off because...

Ms Booth told Miah that violence had to be taken seriously, but said she would suspend his prison sentence because he was a religious person and had not been in trouble before.

She added: "You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour."

I think I said this yesterday but: seriously? Compare "You are a freemason, and you know this is not acceptable behaviour", "You went to St Johns, and you know this is not acceptable behaviour"...

The "not been in trouble before" part is relevant, and is the *only* part of that sentence that is relevant. As far as I'm aware (from doing a little reading some while ago) religious conviction is essentially completely independent of propensity to commit crimes. Cherie Booth, presumably, has read some more recent research.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Irritating Quote of the Week

From a really, really irritating Sensodyne advert, in which some pretty pictures demonstrate toothpaste sealing up holes in teeth, comes one of the most worryingly illiterate sentences I've heard in quite a long time:
We've clinically proven it works, but we really know it works because people keep coming back time and time again.
Seriously? They have the gall to put someone in a white coat in their advert then come out with such utter nonsense? I wish I had sensitive teeth so I could refuse to by Sensodyne on principal.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Just 4357 days later...

The Lancet has finally admitted that the MMR "study" published by Andrew Wakefield is a load of bullcrap, and withdrawn it. I can't quite understand why this wasn't done, say, 4000 days ago, when everyone knew the study was a load of bull, and the wakefield had a vested interest in claiming that MMR was causing autism.

At the moment it's still available on the website. I wonder if they'll actually take it down, or at least put a flag saying "we no longer believe this, it was a load of crap, and we shouldn't have published it in the first place.