Ripping Yarns...
Thrilling adventures at the frontiers of pop culture

"The very finest selections from Mr Berners-Lee's Electric Interweb, hand picked and presented for the more discerning browser."


Complaints and compliments to Stuart Houghton


Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The first rule of label club...

One of the packaging designers at printer label manufacturers Avery is keeping the Project Mayhem flag flying. The sample address on Avery High Visibility Labels reads:

Tyler Durden
420 Paper Street
Wilmington, DE 19886

UPDATE: Apparently, its the other way around - Chuck Pahlaniuk got the name & address from a pack of Avery Labels. There is clearly some slight subversion going on at Avery, though. I mean '420, Paper Street' has got to be some kind of marijuana reference.

Posted by: Stuart / 11:19 am ::link to this entry

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

BBC Charter Review

The BBC's new charter review outlines some of the plans for their Creative Archive - they seem to be committed to using open standards, which is good news for anyone who can't or won't run RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.

They also reckon that there will be a move to get rid of 'derivative' or 'cynical' programmes. Does this include the National Lottery show? I honestly can't think of a reason why the BBC should show it at all - it is the worst kind of sub-Noel Edmonds rubbish, adds nothing to the 'experience' of playing the Lottery and just seems like a way of wasting half an hour of airtime.

Is it for the ratings? If so, why should the beeb be arsed? Its not as if they have advertisers to placate.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:23 pm ::link to this entry

Creator of Jennings dies at 92

Anthony Buckeridge, creator of the prep school boy whose rudest curse was "Fossilised fish-hooks!", died yesterday at his home in Sussex at the age of 92.

Last night, David Rudd, an expert on children's literature, suggested Buckeridge's work should be reassessed. "I think he is extremely underrated," said Mr Rudd, who lectures at Bolton Institute, Greater Manchester. "He is like a children's Wodehouse. He created excellent characters, brilliant dialogue and inventive slang."

Posted by: Stuart / 11:01 am ::link to this entry

Monday, June 28, 2004

Guide to Lock Picking

The theory of lock picking is the theory of exploiting mechanical defects. There are a few basic concepts and definitions but the bulk of the material consists of tricks for opening locks with particular defects or characteristics. The organization of this manual reflects this structure.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:09 pm ::link to this entry

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Japanese Electronic Music

Fan site listing various bands and artists that I will probably check out at some point.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:14 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Thirty-eight dishonest tricks

A list of 38 tricks people try to pull in arguments, and how to deal with them.

(8) The argument that we should not make efforts against X which is admittedly evil because there is a worse evil Y against which our efforts should be directed (pp 50-52)
Dealt with by pointing out that this is a reason for making efforts to abolish Y, but no reason for not also making efforts to get rid of X.
(9) The recommendation of a position because it is a mean between two extremes (pp 52-54)
Dealt with by denying the usefulness of the principle as a method of discovering the truth. In practice, this can most easily be done by showing that our own view also can be represented as a mean between two extremes.
(10) Pointing out the logical correctness of the form of an argument whose premisses contain doubtful or untrue statements of fact (p 58)
Dealt with by refusing to discuss the logic of the argument but pointing out the defects of its presentations of alleged fact.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:53 pm ::link to this entry

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The LiveJournal of Zachary Marsh

Amusing Lovecraftiana.

It's 3:00 in the morning, and I guess those people out of the reef are having another party because I can see fires out there and I keep hearing drums and whooping and hollering (some of it even sounds like screaming -- must be pretty wild). Anyway, they woke me up and I can't get back to sleep, so I guess I'll just surf the web for a while. BTW, Elliot and Chris aren't back yet -- they must be on a bender. I hope they're not out at that reef party without me, that would be totally lame.

Posted by: Stuart / 2:45 pm ::link to this entry

Homebrew Retro Bluetooth handset

You are bidding on a one of a kind hand set that has bee modified to house a bluetooth headset. It works fine and you'll get loads of looks! there is an access hole to charge and operation is via a single rocker at the base (see picture) this enables volume up and down for the ear piece aswell as for the ringer volume. I will include the manual for operation.

Posted by: Stuart / 10:22 am ::link to this entry

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Hott, bleeding edge web design company-no, wait-COLLECTIVE. Cyber D-Sign Clan will design your cardz.



Posted by: Stuart / 3:16 pm ::link to this entry

Monday, June 14, 2004

History News Network

The History News Network is run on a non-profit basis by a groups of journalists, academics and historians and aims

"To expose politicians who misrepresent history. To point out bogus analogies. To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history."

Posted by: Stuart / 3:37 pm ::link to this entry

The most useful website yet!

If someone asks you a stupid or obvious question, direct them to this site - it's the best favour you could possible do them.

Posted by: Stuart / 2:24 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, June 11, 2004

Virus-proofing your PC

Slate's Paul Boutin has 3 simple (free) tips for making your PC more secure from viruses and worms. Of course, Slate being Microsoft owned may have meant they couldn't give the fourth, more significant one - ditch Outlook and IE for Thunderbird and Firefox or go the whole hog and switch to Linux :-)

Posted by: Stuart / 8:55 pm ::link to this entry

Games Digest - games news & reviews

New games blog from the nice Mr Simon Munk.

It's not about previewing games a year
away, or long rambling fan-boy editorials. It's all about the really
interesting innovations in videogaming (PC, console, handheld,
mobile, whatever).

XML feed available here.

Posted by: Stuart / 10:22 am ::link to this entry

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Scientology infiltrating US school system?

Anyone listening to a classroom talk by Narconon Drug Prevention & Education is unlikely to recognize the connection with Scientology; the lessons sound nothing like theology. Instruction is delivered in language purged of most church parlance, but includes "all the Scientology and Dianetics Handbook basics," according to Scientology correspondence obtained by The Chronicle.

Narconon's anti-drug instruction rests on these key church concepts: that the body stores all kinds of toxins indefinitely in fat, where they wreak havoc on the mind until "sweated" out.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:07 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

PJ O'Rourke on the decline of the political argument

I am a little to the right of ... Why is the Attila comparison used? Fifth-century Hunnish depredations on the Roman Empire were the work of an overpowerful executive pursuing a policy of economic redistribution in an atmosphere of permissive social mores. I am a little to the right of Rush Limbaugh. I'm so conservative that I approve of San Francisco City Hall marriages, adoption by same-sex couples, and New Hampshire's recently ordained Episcopal bishop. Gays want to get married, have children, and go to church. Next they'll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO, and voting Republican.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:41 pm ::link to this entry

Quick Reference Cards

Loads of printable quick reference cards for a variety of tech subjects

Posted by: Stuart / 12:16 pm ::link to this entry

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The BNP have figured out how to make flash movies, oh joy.

A 'hilarious' cartoon detailing the way the country is being overrun by all those awful foreign types.

Part of me finds this incredibly depressing, while another part takes some comfort from the fact that this is an amateurish piece of shit that, if nothing else, exposes Nick Griffin's airbrushing of the BNP's policies for the nasty, racist ranting that it has always been.

It's just so I dunno.. childish. If the best outlet for your views you can think of is a cartoon that reduces the immigration debate to a simplistic depiction of comically exaggerated 'foreigners' causing the country to sink then I would doubt your chances of getting them taken seriously by anyone who doesnt already hate and fear those different from themselves.

Posted by: Stuart / 5:40 pm ::link to this entry

Monday, June 07, 2004 Is your MP working for you in Parliament?

From the lovely people who brought your FaxYourMp, TheyWorkForYou will mine Hansard for information about your local MP (or you can search for a particular MP, or search by topic to see if it has been raised in parliament, and by whom.

Posted by: Stuart / 11:41 am ::link to this entry

Friday, June 04, 2004

Butter Dogs

Er, probably best if you just read this one, but here is a quote...

"Dogs' lives are shortened if they ejaculate too much. Labradors generally live for about 10 years, but if they've appeared in adult videos, their lifespan is generally halved," a canine talent agency source tells Tokusatsu Shinsengumi. "It seems dogs don't like being made to ejaculate when they're not on heat. That's why we insist that a dog can ejaculate only once per day while shooting an adult movie."

(Not Safe For Work - as if that wasn't obvious)

Posted by: Stuart / 4:38 pm ::link to this entry

Thursday, June 03, 2004

So I guess ECHELON is real then...

Man sends Clash lyrics via SMS, gets visit from special branch, claiming he is a terrorist.

Admittedly, the lyrics in question were: SO LET'S AGREE ABOUT THE PRICE AND MAKE IT ONE JET AIRLINER AND TEN PRISONERS so you perhaps understand how a few alarms were tripped.

Does this mean all our SMS's are being monitored? It is certainly much more feasible to do this with text messaging than with actual phone conversations - you just have to grep (pattern-match) the text rather than do complex phoneme analysis or other magic.

This particular story ended happily, with the Clash fan being let off with just a warning to be careful what he texted in future... but hang on a minute. How the fuck was he meant to know that sending a text would get him noticed by Special Branch? That 'advice' seems to start from the basis that we all know we are being monitored 24/7. Perhaps I am being naive.

Now this is out in the open, how long before people start jamming the system by appending random pseudo-seditious text to outgoing SMS using their groovy new Java phones? How long before doing that becomes illegal? In some ways it is reassuring to know that people are on th elookout for terrorist activity - what worries me is what else this is being used to monitor.

UPDATE (3/6/04 14:05 ): Apparently he just sent the text to a wrong number and the person who received it freaked and called the police. Cue 'but maybe that is just what they want us to believe' theories..

Posted by: Stuart / 12:15 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Girl, 12, killed by fellow pupil

A 12-year-old girl was stabbed to death by an 11-year-old female classmate in south-western Japan yesterday, prompting more public anguish over violent crimes committed by children against their peers.

In 2002 Japanese MPs, under increasing pressure to address the juvenile crime wave, lowered the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 14

...and it that doesn't work, maybe they could fit the kids with exploding collars and set them loose on a deserted island full of weapons, booby traps and Beat Takeshi?

Posted by: Stuart / 12:17 pm ::link to this entry

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era

Tee hee - I wonder what the all those 'RPGs are the Devils work!' nuthandles will think of this?

Posted by: Stuart / 5:20 pm ::link to this entry

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