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Tempted by nihilism

Today's death report: Robert Jordan. OK, world, you can stop now, thanks.

Ganked wholesale from nyarbaggytep:

The process of running the 2011 UK Census will be contracted out by the Office of National Statistics to a private company.

One of the two contractors in the final round of selection is the arms company Lockheed Martin, 80% of whose business is with the US Department of Defense and other Federal Government agencies.

As well as being the world's number one military contractor and arms exporter, Lockhead Martin also perform intelligence gathering and surveillance work.

In addition, the US Patriot Act compels personal data held by any company on systems in the US to be made available to government intelligence.

If any of this causes you concern, then visit http://censusalert.org.uk/index.html for more information (there's a petition too).

I haven't looked into it yet, but at first glace it seems worrying.

It's beginning to look like panicking, uninformed consumers might actually CAUSE the collapse of Northern Rock that they're so worried about. Most of the stories I've read, my sympathy is with the bank - people trying to get money out of online accounts at the branch, even though the T&Cs say they can't do that; people worried about the £1 million in their normal savings account, where nothing over £33,000 is guaranteed safe, etc. If people hadn't panicked, I'm pretty sure the fuss would be over by now. The people I feel intensely sorry for are the staff at the branches - I think I'd be calling in sick, if I was them.

Reasons to be cheerful (edited for clarity): as well as QI and Heroes starting again over this weekend coming, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe starts again next Tuesday. Hurrah! His Guardian column this week is doing that vaguely annoying thing of writing about writing columns, or in this case, writing about how offending people is fun. Turns out the reason we got a dull spiders-related piece last week was because the Guardian spiked his original column, which is here. (Warning: Badly formatted myspace link.) It starts with, "Here's a sentence rarely used to open newspaper columns: why don't the vast majority of people just blow their own heads off?" but I actually found it mildly life-affirming by the time it got to the end. Mind you, I don't really see a point to life either, so I'm probably the intended audience.

R2bC2: The new lj community shoppinglists, for posting shopping lists you've found. Far more entertaining than it really has any right to be.

R2bC3: I got my Blog a Penguin Classic classic through this morning. It was Confucius's first ten "books". Had a quick read, and now I want to look up a lot of the background, because I don't think I understood a lot of it properly.



( 18 comments — Comment )
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:19 pm (UTC)
Robert Jordan :(!
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
I know :(
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)
Wah, you mean the new QI series has already started? Oops - obviously wasn't paying attention, there.

And I loved the Charlie Brooker column. It reminds me of the writings of Bargepole, which was always my favourite column in Punch.
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
Ooh, no, sorry - it starts this Friday. And Screenwipe starts next Tuesday, not tomorrow - I got a big confused about what day it was!
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, hurrah! Good news.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 17th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
It told me yesterday that he was playing Scrabulous with someone on my f-list who I didn't even know knew him. Very odd. I'm not sure if I believe it...
Sep. 17th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
I don't really see a point to life either
When you have come close to losing it a couple of times you may well well see the point!

You are right about Northern Rock, a run on a Bank usually kills it.

The terms of contract for a British Census would include a restriction on the distribution of information as a pre-condition (100 year clause) most if not all of the information disclosed on the Census form can be found on the local Electoral Roll and elsewhere.
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't really see a point to life either
Yeah, I didn't really mean it like I would want to throw it away, just that I don't see a specific meaning to it :)

I dunno if I trust an arms company - or the US Feds - to stick to the letter of a contract :) But a_pawson says they did it last time, anyway, so...
Sep. 18th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't see a specific meaning to it
Since I have nothing better to do I will tell you. Fate provides that for every possible contingancy there is someone ready to save the day, like Churchill in WWII, perhaps you are that one, the moment may arrive when you will change the world and your name will be written in the annals of history and I will say "I knew pickwick"
Sep. 18th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
Bloody hell. Census stuff sounds bad. I agree that the columnists are annoying when they write about writing, but based on what happened I think he felt a need to explain why his article that particular week was about spiders! Shopping lists as in shopping lists you find in a trolley at the supermarket or something? Sounds weird. *goes to check it out*
Sep. 18th, 2007 12:42 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, shoppinglists is quite interesting actually, if only because it gives you a bit of imaginary voyeurism into others' lives. The anonymity of it draws me in more than anything else. I think "Hmmm, somewhere there's a pished old lady who's farting offensively after eating copious quantities of bean's and spam for dinner, pouring herself a G&T or Bacardi and Coke for friends coming round that evening and surveying the single potato crisp she has bought for the evening." Hee. :-)
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, btw I was quoting her use of "bean's", not using it because I myself am stupid.
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
I know :D For some reason I remembered the bean's!
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
It's brilliant. I love the voyeurism, and I love that most of them have extremely random spelling mistakes. And I love the comments as people try and figure out what things are!
Sep. 18th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
At first I was surprised that we are outsourcing the census information collection, but it seems to be the norm. Last time around, in 2001, the contract was awarded to...........Lockheed Martin.
Sep. 18th, 2007 02:34 pm (UTC)
..Oh. That makes me feel slightly silly, oops! Must research more.
Sep. 19th, 2007 09:08 am (UTC)
Now we all feel a bit stupid. Sigh.

I didn't like his article that got nixed, I stopped reading it cause I disagreed completely with what he was saying about London. If I thought London was horrible I'd go live somewhere else.
( 18 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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