21 June 2016

Thanks for the memories

Some time after his short, early-1960s stint in 10 Downing Street, Alec Douglas-Home got talking to an old lady at Berwick railway station. “My husband and I think it was a great tragedy that you were never prime minister”, she told him. To which came the embarrassed response: “As a matter of fact, I was”

- ‘The Cameron legacy’, Economist, 26 May 2016

17 June 2016

SFO timelapse

Timelapse of 15 minutes duration, taken at dusk on Friday 17 June 2016 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Aircraft include both a B787 and a B747.

07 June 2016

Boyle on Trump

I sort of admire Trump in a way. Initially I thought that Trump was like somebody playing a president in a porno, and as it's gone along he's kind of aged and now he looks like someone robbing a back wearing a rubber mask of his own face. And the incredible thing about him is that he's managed to run a fear campaign and it's worked on a country of people who are on anti-anxiety medication. They're heavily drugged people and [yet] he's managed to scare them. I actually think his weird facial colour might be an attempt to cut through their fog of medication and register on their senses, because he's sort of getting brighter. Hillary Clinton is wearing brighter, blocky kind of colours as well. That's why it's called the primaries.

- Frankie Boyle, The News Quiz, BBC Radio 4, 3 June 2016

27 May 2016

The whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret

The US military’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by computers built in the 1970s that still use 8in floppy disks.

A report into the state of the US government, released by congressional investigators, has revealed that the country is spending around $60bn (£40.8bn) to maintain museum-ready computers, which many do not even know how to operate any more, as their creators retire.

The Defense Department’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System (DDSACCS), which is used to send and receive emergency action messages to US nuclear forces, runs on a 1970s IBM computing platform. It still uses 8in floppy disks to store data.

We’re not even talking the more modern 3.5in floppy disk that millennials might only know as the save icon. We’re talking the OG 8in floppy, which was a large floppy square with a magnetic disk inside it. They became commercially available in 1971, but were replaced by the 5¼in floppy in 1976, and by the more familiar hard plastic 3.5in floppy in 1982.

Shockingly, the US Government Accountability Office said: “Replacement parts for the system are difficult to find because they are now obsolete.”

- Guardian, 26 May 2016

22 May 2016

Petone foreshore

Sunday afternoon on Petone foreshore, near the Settlers' Museum, 22 May 2016. 

18 May 2016

Regional news highlight of the week

A band of rogue rambling roosters drunk on whiskey has been captured in Westport. Irate neighbours reported the noisy roosters who had been dumped in Westport Domain to Buller District Council's animal control officers.

"Thirteen of these fine-feathered gorgeous looking roosters were strutting their stuff in the domain," said Buller mayor Garry Howard.

"Three renegade roosters took a liking to a magnolia tree across from the domain in a residential area and our animal control staff were forced to climb the tree but it hasn't worked, the roosters are just going higher."

He said their noise was disturbing neighbours early in the morning. They then set a cage at the bottom of the magnolia tree but it was stolen.

"Some homeless Aucklander thought it would be good to steal that to solve the housing crisis and I'm sure it's now in Parnell somewhere," Howard said.

"We asked Mr Google about how to catch roosters and he came up with the idea to give them a bit of whiskey. Our animal control officer sacrificed some of his own finest Kentucky whiskey and we have laced some barley with it and we are getting results," he said.

The roosters were getting very drunk and rolling onto their sides, allowing the officers to pick them up.

- Joanne Carroll, 'Drunk roosters captured in Westport', Stuff.co.nz, 17 May 2016