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D20s at the ready

Help, the country's gone mad again. Lamp posts in Brick Lane have been padded to stop people hurting themselves by walking into them while texting. (Or completely pissed, as the case may be. Or, er, just not paying attention. Not that I've ever done that.) The video on that link, from the ITN news, is hysterical - 90 seconds of frustrated actors walking into street furniture over-dramatically, hoping it'll give them their big break. (Please provide your own punchline, preferably pun-based.)

Someone on Saturday night told me about the BloodBus blog. An anonymous Glasgow bus driver blogs about his motley crew of passengers (and co-workers), and it's brilliant. His writing is great - very Glaswegian and also very linguistically skilled and funny - and I'm sure I recognise some of his passengers.
At last, it was time to leave the terminus. It was time to ride my battle scarred mammoth out of this iniquitous thug spawn. I put the bus into gear and released the brake. Of course, I wanted to hit the gas and smash through that fence towards the neds. I wanted to stampede over the skull of every last one of those dung-munching plebs in a crazy elephantine charge; the kind of charge that would give the normally placid Mister Snuffleupagus a boner to wow even the most pessimistic grouch.

Trampling ned skulls would indeed have been fun. But instead, I thought it best to just slink away quietly before the brick of full sexual intercourse came fucking through my windscreen. Hopefully I could tip-toe unnoticed from this cauldron of crab-ridden coitus.


Gary Gygax, the creator of D&D, has died, and the blogosphere resounds with wailing and D&D-based wordplay. theferret is collecting examples here. (Of wordplay, not wailing.) Favourites so far: "Gary Gygax was finally gotten by the gazebo" and "Gary Gygax will be critically missed".

miss_s_b on theyorkshergob says everything I think about rape conviction rates here, especially this bit:

Most rapes are not stranger rapes. Most rapes are between people who know each other. Most rapes involve a perpetrator and a victim, and no other witnesses. No CCTV. Nothing. It's the perpetrator's word against the victim's. If the proper standards of evidence are in force, and all else is equal, in this situation it's entirely proper that the perpetrator is acquitted. Because the other option is diluting the principles which protect us all, in all circumstances. Rape is a horrendous, horrifying ordeal. No person should be forced to perform sexual acts against their will. But that's not a reason to lower the standards of evidence for a conviction, because that would be the thin end of the fattest wedge of all.

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( 13 comments — Comment )
sovietkiki
Mar. 4th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
As slightly odd as the first link is...whenever me or Adam go into town with Rozy and someone is texting her, we have to be on lamppost look out. Or she will walk straight into them. First night out, she walked into a bus-stop. And she wasn't even drunk...or texting. I fully support the padding of lampposts in Chelters. If only it means my friend won't get hurt.
pickwick
Mar. 4th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
I'm not entirely against it myself, having been known to walk and text :D And also just to walk into lamp posts, to be honest.
marysiak
Mar. 4th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
I can't believe it's not the 1st of April. I hope none of those actors got paid, those were the least convincing attempts to pretend someone had walked into a lamp post I ever saw.
pickwick
Mar. 4th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
My first reaction was to check the date! Very odd. And yeah, they were ridiculously bad. I'm going to assume they were badly-paid researchers having a laugh, or something.
luckykaa
Mar. 4th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
I agree with you (and snapesbabe). Law is important. An there's often s no way to prove that consent was or wasn't given.

Although there's a point about rape conviction rates that a lot of people miss - The rates are low because a lot of cases are taken to court even though the prosecution knows the chances of convictions are virtually zero. The way to increase conviction rates would be to prosecute fewer.

This doesn't mean that they should do that. It just means that conviction rates are completely the wrong metric.
pickwick
Mar. 5th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, also true. I suppose it's part of this whole "targets" culture we seem to be caught up in.
bunnyk
Mar. 5th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)
Walking and texting...
I walk and text, but I pay attention to my surroundings, too! I've never walked into anything. The one time I wasn't paying attention when walking (and I wans't even texting!) I fell over, and to the left. This was a good thing, as if I'd fallen right I would have ended up in the canal. *grins*
a_pawson
Mar. 5th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)
Re: Walking and texting...
The lamp post thing is a publicity stunt by 118118. They must be killing themselves laughing at how many news outlets they have managed to get to cover the story.
bunnyk
Mar. 5th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Walking and texting...
*grins* It did sound somewhat far-fetched, but was amusing enough to share with people :)

I've seen it happen quite a lot, though.

*chortles*
pickwick
Mar. 5th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Walking and texting...
Yeah, it did mention 118 118 in the story :D Still funny...
pickwick
Mar. 5th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Walking and texting...
I don't think I've properly walked into anything, but I've come close!
datura800
Mar. 5th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
I don't think it's as simple as 'it's one person's word against another's and both have equal weight' though. That ignores all surrounding context and evidence. Greater legal minds than mine can work out the standard of evidence required, but I really don't think we're talking about convicting people based on not much at all. I mean, you could argue that dropping the requirement for corroboration (as happened) was 'the thin end of the wedge'. You could argue that not allowing the sexual history of an accuser to be cynically exploited by a defence was 'the thin end of the wedge' (which again has already happened). Rape laws have continually changed over the past 40 years. It wasn't even a crime for a husband to rape a wife until quite recently. The fact is that the system is still very much weighted against a rape victim and this means that thousands of rape victims still don't even report it. I don't think trying to do a little to correct this is all that bad. Remember, the standard is REASONABLE DOUBT. There seems to be this idea around that you have to be utterly convinced that someone is guilty before you convict them. That is not the case. To use a horrific example, the sad fact is that if I was to come to your house and punch you in the face I'd be more likely to be convicted than if I came to your house and raped you.
pickwick
Mar. 5th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
I know in some cases there's evidence, but in a lot of them there's not. It's something to be careful about, anyway - I see a lot of people apparently pushing for a rise in rape convictions no matter what the cost, and that seems to me to be the wrong priority. I mean, one of the reasons the conviction rate is so low, and has gone down, is precisely because spousal rape is now illegal and so on, and because more people report rape than they used to.

I know about reasonable doubt, of course, but it's hard to quantify exactly what that is. I wouldn't have to be 100% convinced that someone was guilty to convict them, but I'd have to be pretty damn sure - if these things were measureable, say 90 to 95%, depending on what the crime (and punishment) was. I probably wouldn't convict if I was 75% sure.
( 13 comments — Comment )

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