Tim Minchin’s beat poem Storm, centres on an argument with a “hippie” who believes in various New Age alternatives in lieu of actual medicine, he states: “Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved.”

It is 2 years old at this point, but I only just discovered it today and it is bloody fantastic.

Written and performed by Tim Minchin (@timminchin). Directed by DC Turner (@dcturner). Produced by Tracy King (@tkingdoll). See more at www.stormmovie.net.

Via Slate

Xbox One thoughts

So Microsoft revealed their forthcoming replacement for the Xbox 360 last night and I sat down and watched it with my wife as we are both gamers and were excited about this event.

I’m still excited about the Xbox One even if the presentation didn’t go down particularly well with a lot of people. Hardcore gamers are annoyed that there was very little about games last night, but that wasn’t what last night was really about. E3 will be the big reveal for the games.

My favourite comment by Amy was when she talked about how cheap she thought the suits were. Can’t Microsoft employees afford better suits!

The Xbox One was being heavily promoted as the entertainment hub of the living room which is fine with me. We’re pretty much using our 360 as the entertainment hub already, we used to watch DVDs on it until we finally got a Bluray player about 6 months ago and still watch BBC iPlayer and 4OD on it. I have no complaints in that regard and I’m sure given that the Xbox One is designed with that in mind from the start it will be better at these kind of things.

I don’t give a fuck about the partnership with the NFL, they never even explained what the fuck that entailed anyway. Halo television show was a cool bit of news but not really relevant.

The most interesting thing for me last night was this line from Marc Whitten.

The soul of the new system is the Xbox One architecture. Three operating systems in one.

Three operating systems in one and the instant switching between gaming and other Xbox features made me think straightaway that they are using virtualisation. I’ve since seen that this has been confirmed.

So it will be running a hypervisor, and then two virtual operating systems a cut down version of Windows 8 and then the Xbox gaming OS. This is a very sensible thing to do in my opinion and the instant switching if it works exactly as it did in the demo will be great.

Amy wasn’t as fascinated as I was with the underlying technologies of the system but she did like the design of the controllers a lot and the responsiveness of Kinect to voice and hand gestures. In addition she was excited by the idea of full screen Skype on it using the Kinect’s 1080p camera.

Overall even despite not seeing much in the way of gaming this household will be purchasing One on release.

Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut

Best news coverage of the event comes from The Onion Fuck Everything, Nation Reports

“Well, I suppose we have to try to pick up the pieces and make some sort of sense of this tragedy and—you know what? Fuck it, I can’t do this,” said Connecticut resident Michael Zaleski, his remarks understandable given the circumstances, because, holy shit, what else can one say? “I’m sorry, but I can’t fucking do this. Can you? Can anyone?”

Witnesses said the gunman fired at least 100 rounds during his deadly rampage, which, according to children in the school—goddamnit, how? How? Twenty children. Dead. In a fucking school.

Also Charlie Brooker’s commentary on the news coverage of similar previous tragedies seems quite apropos.

Hellblazer comic series to end at #300

‘Hellblazer’ wraps its run, Constantine continues

The infernal fire that has blazed beneath cynical detective John Constantine for years is being extinguished.

But not for long.

The chain-smoking British occult detective, long a staple of Vertigo’s “Hellblazer,” is getting what promises to be a duly deserved send-off as the title ends at No. 300 in February.

But Constantine, a somewhat sorcerer more at home fighting demons than socializing with people, won’t be fading away with the title’s end that is being written by longtime writer Peter Milligan and illustrated by artists Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini. Instead, the ending is a beginning of sorts for the character.

That’s because writer Robert Venditti, a best-selling author whose works include “The Homeland Directive,” will launch “Constantine” with artist Renato Guedes, a new series from DC Comics focusing on the detective’s adventures in the relaunched DC universe.

Somewhat sad news as I’ve been reading Hellblazer for pretty much 18 years since my friend Tim introduced me to the comics whilst we were at university together. A DC comics version will be PG-13 and just not the same, that’s not to say that it will be bad but it will be the end of an era.

Bruce Schneier discusses Liars and Outliers

Bruce Schneier is discussing his latest book Liars and Outliers on The WELL.

The discussion is still open for the next couple of days but has been very enlightening so far. I particularly like the notion of cooperators and defectors to describe individuals in relation to systems.

Also — and this is the final kicker — not all defectors are bad. If
you think about the notions of cooperating and defecting, they’re
defined in terms of the societal norm. Cooperators are people who
follow the formal or informal rules of society. Defectors are people
who, for whatever reason, break the rules. That definition says nothing
about the absolute morality of the society or its rules. When society
is in the wrong, it’s defectors who are in the vanguard for change. So
it was defectors who helped escaped slaves in the antebellum American
South. It’s defectors who are agitating to overthrow repressive regimes
in the Middle East. And it’s defectors who are fueling the Occupy Wall
Street movement. Without defectors, society stagnates.

I’m a great fan of Schneier’s writing and how his analyses has grown beyond that of computer security to the fundamental notion of what security is and how group within societies embrace or reject aspects of it.

Banana cake

A fantastic way to use up bananas that have over ripened. The cake is great with a cup of tea or warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Banana cake

100g/4oz butter, softened
140g/5oz light muscovado sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
75g/3oz chopped hazelnuts (optional but I think they add a nice crunch)
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp milk
225g/8oz self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 (Fan oven 160°C/320°F) and grease and line a 18cm/7″ cake tin.
I did the following in a food processor but you can just mix the ingredients in step by step in a bowl if you don’t have a food processor. Cream the sugar and butter together and then add the eggs. Fold the nuts, bananas and milk into the mixture (you may need to mash the bananas up beforehand if they are not over ripe). Now fold the flour in.
Spoon into the lined cake tin and bake for about an hour until risen. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then turn out, remove the paper and cool.