curiouswombat: (Galadriel 2)
posted by [personal profile] curiouswombat at 07:31pm on 15/04/2014 under , ,
I have three things to share with you - One is inspirational, another makes me just want to beat someone's head against a wall, and the third is a gloriously silly WTF moment!


Thing 1. The first thing is an article posted by the BBC World Service. It just wonderful, inspiring, fascinating - and also has some of the most wonderful photographs I've seen. I could just look at THIS for ages.


Also - I have just got to include something like that into a story somewhere.

........

Thing 2. This is about a very, very, ignorant man who actually managed to make it to being Mayor of Swindon. There have been reports in a number of the newspapers, and on the BBC, about him being asked to apologise for something he said in a 'semi-public' place - i.e. a training meeting for councillors.

What he said was shocking in itself - what was worse was that he really didn't seem to understand why he was asked to apologise. Read more... )
.........

And Thing 3; Today I got an e-mail from Amazon about something that was part of an order I made a couple of days ago, explaining that

Unfortunately, due to delivery restrictions on such items, we won’t be able to send you this item and have cancelled it from your order. This is because this item contains flammable, pressurised, corrosive, environmentally hazardous or otherwise harmful substances classified as dangerous goods under the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Air.

Although the amount of these substances in these products is usually quite limited, these products need to be transported in a certain way to ensure that they are handled with care and are therefore assigned to a specialist carrier. Unfortunately this means that we can’t dispatch this to any destination outside of mainland UK.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and hope to see you again soon.


What do you think I might have been ordering? It sounds dangerous, doesn't it?

Actually it was a bottle of Avon Skin so Soft in a non-pressurised pump action bottle. I only added it to the Amazon order as there wasn't anything else I wanted from Avon at the moment.

That seems pretty silly in itself - but the rest of the order arrived in the post this morning - including this... Which is a high pressurised container of a rather more likely substance to be any or all of the above!
Mood:: 'confused' confused
curiouswombat: (Powerful Absence)
posted by [personal profile] curiouswombat at 09:58pm on 02/07/2011 under ,
There have been a good deal of posts, in the Tolkien fandom, about a fic site which has been bought by someone who has said, in the past, that he intends to become very rich by buying (I paraphrase because I am too lazy to go and check exact words...) 'run-down sites where the current owner has no idea how commercially valuable they may be.' And that he intends to 'take over fandom'.

As you can imagine a lot of people are very pissed off at someone intends to make money from their creative work, and worry that he will draw the wrath of the Tolkien Estate, which can be extremely wrathful, if it looks as if he is making any money at all out of Tolkien related stuff. (If you are interested Esteliel has written a good account of the whole thing.)

I didn't post there, and hardly ever read there - the default is grey print on black, and even if you change to the alternative grey on cream it isn't an easy place to read.

So - why am I mentioning it at all?

Well - the person who had developed the site has said one reason she sold it was because she was paying a lot out of her own pocket because no matter how often she asked for donations almost no-one gave...

Do you read fanfic at any of the archive sites that has a 'donate' button? Have you ever donated? If not, why not?

Do you want to find your favourite archive disappearing, or being bought by someone who annoys so many of your favourite authors that they withdraw their stories? No? Then go and click on that 'Donate' button. And yes - I do - I reckon I get a lot of pleasure from my favourite sites and on the three of them that have a 'Donate' button I click it at least once a year.

It is not expensive - if every reader gave the cost of one paper-back book a year to their favourite sites there would be no question of any of them having problems keeping going. So - [personal profile] just_ann_now gave me a really good book (Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner) - the cover price is $6.99. I can donate that much money, or even just $5.00, and I can read guilt-free for a year.

Take a lesson from the Lord of the Rings Fanfiction buy out and make sure your favourite archive in whatever fandom has the support it needs. And the second lesson - if you want me to read, don't use grey on black as your default...

And now for the semen... This is a short clip from an e-mail from my daughter, currently having a whale of a time in Buenos Aires having been stuck in London for two days by a Chilean volcano until British Airways got her onto an Iberia flight from Madrid -

There was no inflight entertainment on the Iberia flight and I've been on nicer areoplanes with flybe and easyjet! But it got me here and I can hardly complain when BA had put me up in the Hilton and the Marriott and paid for all my meals the last 2 days!

I got through a rather lax customs, full of signs warning against importing semen into the country(!), and to Katie's with no problems...


I leave you to make of that what you will!!
location: On a rock in the Irish Sea.
Mood:: 'busy' busy
curiouswombat: (Hmm 2)
posted by [personal profile] curiouswombat at 09:49pm on 02/07/2011 under , , ,
There have been a good deal of posts, in the Tolkien fandom, about a fic site which has been bought by someone who has said, in the past, that he intends to become very rich by buying (I paraphrase because I am too lazy to go and check exact words...) 'run-down sites where the current owner has no idea how commercially valuable they may be.' And that he intends to 'take over fandom'.

As you can imagine a lot of people are very pissed off at someone intends to make money from their creative work, and worry that he will draw the wrath of the Tolkien Estate, which can be extremely wrathful, if it looks as if he is making any money at all out of Tolkien related stuff. (If you are interested Esteliel has written a good account of the whole thing.)

I didn't post there, and hardly ever read there - the default is grey print on black, and even if you change to the alternative grey on cream it isn't an easy place to read.

So - why am I mentioning it at all?

Well - the person who had developed the site has said one reason she sold it was because she was paying a lot out of her own pocket because no matter how often she asked for donations almost no-one gave...

Do you read fanfic at any of the archive sites that has a 'donate' button? Have you ever donated? If not, why not?

Do you want to find your favourite archive disappearing, or being bought by someone who annoys so many of your favourite authors that they withdraw their stories? No? Then go and click on that 'Donate' button. And yes - I do - I reckon I get a lot of pleasure from my favourite sites and on the three of them that have a 'Donate' button I click it at least once a year.

It is not expensive - if every reader gave the cost of one paper-back book a year to their favourite sites there would be no question of any of them having problems keeping going. So - [livejournal.com profile] just_ann_now gave me a really good book (Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner) - the cover price is $6.99. I can donate that much money, or even just $5.00, and I can read guilt-free for a year.

Take a lesson from the Lord of the Rings Fanfiction buy out and make sure your favourite archive in whatever fandom has the support it needs. And the second lesson - if you want me to read, don't use grey on black as your default...

And now for the semen... This is a short clip from an e-mail from my daughter, currently having a whale of a time in Buenos Aires -

There was no inflight entertainment on the Iberia flight and I've been on nicer areoplanes with flybe and easyjet! But it got me here and I can hardly complain when BA had put me up in the Hilton and the Marriott and paid for all my meals the last 2 days!

I got through a rather lax customs, full of signs warning against importing semen into the country(!), and to Katie's with no problems...


I leave you to make of that what you will!!
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
curiouswombat: (Anya)
posted by [personal profile] curiouswombat at 08:06pm on 12/08/2009 under , ,
I have watched with horrified amazement what is going on in the United States over the possibility of improving the health care of the nation as a whole by including more people into a national insurance scheme.

The wonderful misinformation I see about health care outside the USA would be hilariously funny if it wasn't so totally libellous.

I am probably not surprised that there does not appear to be a legal requirement for adverts to be truthful - although they might, in the long term, be more effective if people knew that they could trust them. There again perhaps many Americans don't realise that they cannot believe what they are told in 'infomercials'. I remember being amazed at this when Rudy Giuliani told insulting lies about me and my colleagues in 2007.

So regard this post as a Public Information Announcement.

The internationally accepted measures of the health, and health care, of a nation are usually seen to be the infant mortality rate and the life expectancy. Maternal death rate is seen as a third indicator.

You might be surprised to hear that, using these measure, the USA is not only not the best in the world, as some of your politicians tell you, you don't even make it into the top ten forty.

To ensure that figures cannot be considered to be in anyway biased against the USA, these are all from the CIA site - then confirmed them at the World Health Organisation.

Infant mortality - out of 224 countries the USA is 44th. Your baby is more likely to survive if you live in somewhere like Sweden, Japan, Iceland, France, the UK, Anguilla, the Czech Republic, Wallis and Fortuna (!) Cuba - and 34 other places. The top ten ALL, as far as I can ascertain, have some form of National Insurance/ government financed health care system.

Life Expectancy - the USA has only the fiftieth best life expectancy in the world - and guess what? Most of the countries who beat you have socialised health care. Countries like Japan, Canada, France, the UK. Here on the Rock, with only one small National Health hospital and anything bigger requiring transfer by air to, well a UK NHS facility, we still have a better life expectancy...

The third indicator - maternal mortality rate - the statistics are for fewer countries - and in this case the USA just makes it into the top 20 - at 20, again mostly behind countries with 'socialised medical care'. For comparison - in the USA your lifetime chance of maternal death is 1 in 4,800 - it is 1 in 8,200 in the UK with it's scary open to all, free at the point of need, health service.

My favourite example of the amazing misinformation in the US is the person who wrote an editorial for something called Investors Business Daily and said

“People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless,”

How wonderfully ridiculous is that? Professor Hawkings, born and bred in the UK, regarded as a Great British Hero, of course, replied, via the Guardian “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

As I understand it, because his MND began when he was still a student, he would have been uninsurable under the US system as it stands at the moment...

Personally, I believe all should have equal access to health care, but it is everyone's right to decide on whether they agree or not. I have to say, though, that if I was an American I would hope I had Swedish ancestors, or Japanese ones, and so could return to somewhere with better health care...

OH - and, of course, alongside the NHS Britain has private hospitals and private doctors etc. if people choose to use them...
Mood:: 'aggravated' aggravated
curiouswombat: (Hmm 2)
posted by [personal profile] curiouswombat at 08:08pm on 24/04/2009 under , ,
Well, I guess that's not a subject you see very often....

I guess this will not be of interest to friends purely in the Buffyverse, or not interested in fiction/fantasy whatever, but I am going to rant anyway!

I am ranting about armour - elven armour - in particular elven armour as envisioned by Peter Jackson in the LotR films. I spent many evenings, and days too, playing AD&D - I actually learnt a lot about armour that way, and I have to say -

Come on Peter - these guys have thousands of years to develop decent armour - and they wouldn't have come up with that.

pictures under here )


MY elves, I have decided, wear proper, elven chain. Without the flashy stuff. Because that is how it ought to be!
Mood:: 'cranky' cranky

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