archive of posts from November, 2007

Stuff & Nonsense #913

Network: Another good one – it really tickled me, but was too oversized to hotlink to.

Repitition #1, #2, #3

Actress Billie Piper stars in another adaptation of a Philip Pullman book as part of the BBC’s Christmas TV line-up; Actress Billie Piper is to appear in three more episodes of TV’s Doctor Who, reprising her role as Rose Tyler; Actress Billie Piper signs up for a second series of the ITV2 series, Secret Diary of a Call Girl – BLEEDIN’ ELL! Ever thought of moving forwards!

Repitition #4, #5, #6, #7, #8

Led Zeppelin break silence about rehearsal sessions; Led Zeppelin landmarks now on Google Maps; Led Zeppelin 2008 tour confirmed; Led Zeppelin reunion: Jimmy Page hints at full tour; Led Zeppelin reunion: band will play new song live – This shit’s being spewed out almost daily, and it says nothing! All the information that was forthcoming was put out at their press conference and it’s just the same meager returns regurgitated day after day, or it’s what some bloke said at an unrelated gig on another continent. And all this from a magazine that detested the band, their music, and their influence, for thirty fuckin’ years.

Repetition #9

The left-leaning, perennial outsider, beloved of latinos, once again pays the price for being articulate to an ever-more vacuous promotional sheet. It’s difficult to believe that there are enough people, that would care, out there???

Repetition #10

Cash for questions, a fullest possible investigation, but no conclusions, no prosecutions, nothing changes, no-one resigns…

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Word Of The Day 29/11


I can’t even stand-up now! I cannot feel my leg at all! It’s like a rubber attachment, and it’s just hangin’ there!

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I Know These People

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1999, Vol. 77, No. 6., 121-1134. Justin Kruger and David Dunning. Cornell University.


People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

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Stuff & Nonsense #912

Bad Science & Biometrics

Make your own ID.
The Guardian.
Saturday November 24 2007.
Ben Goldacre.

Sometimes just throwing a few long words around can make people think you know what you’re talking about. Words like “biometric”. When Alistair Darling was asked if the government will ditch ID cards in the light of this week’s data cock-up, he replied: “The key thing about identity cards is, of course, that information is protected by personal biometric information…

…The leak last week wasn’t because of unauthorised access, it couldn’t have been stopped with biometrics; it happened because of authorised access which was managed with a contemptible, cavalier incompetence. The damaging repercussions for 25 million people will not be ameliorated by biometrics. What about the stalker, or the estranged husband, buying the address of his target?

And will biometrics prevent ID theft? Well, it might make it more difficult for you to prove your innocence. And once your fingerprints are stolen, they are harder to replace than your pin number. But here’s the final nail in the coffin. Your fingerprint data will be stored in your passport or ID card as a series of numbers, called the “minutiae template”. In the new biometric passport with its wireless chip, remember, all your data can be read and decrypted with a device near you, but not touching you.


November 26, 2007 at 3:12 pm .

…At present it’s fairly easy to steal an ID, but not very easy to keep up the pretense. Every time you used it you’d significantly increase the chances of being rumbled because of anti-fraud measures. But, with an ID card once it is accepted nobody asks any questions because the computer says yes. It’s a bit like knowing a PIN number for a chip and pin credit card – if you know that nobody asks any questions, while they used to have to compare signatures…

November 26, 2007 at 7:52 pm .

…I want lots of official pieces of paper and cards etc which determine my identity. It makes it much harder to steal my identity if all the proof of it is kept in different places…

November 26, 2007 at 11:12 pm .

…my main objection to ID cards would still be on the grounds that pretty much every single company or organisation that I have dealt with and who has held data on me has cocked something up at one point or another. …

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Word Of The Day 21/11


I fell over in the hospital, on the carpeted floor downstairs, near the entrance, near the airport-terminal-shopping-mall-and-cafeteria area. Professional people drinking coffee, shopping, suited… not a sick person in sight. The sick and the dying they’re all upstairs, or in another (uncarpeted) terminal, out-of-sight, out-of-mind, not good for business, etc. … Infirmity in the infirmary! Ooh the panic!. A passing porter and an administrative assistant, arriving for their sandwiches. The haste with which I’m hauled to my feet, but only behind a defensive wall – don’t want to sour anyone’s sight-line. Where am I going? We’ll get you a wheelchair (and wheel you around back behind the scenes, back out of sight!). I’m just heading out to the bus-stop. Outside! Ohh (the relief)! Panic-over, fear-of-litigation over, and fuck-you-then! They want their food and frappé free of such thoughts, and frowns, and faux-concern, this is after all a commercial consideration and not a fucking hospital!

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Word Of The Day 16/11


If I wanted to work with him, I’d buy a grenade launcher and stick a fucking apple on his fuckin’ head!!!

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Word Of The Day 10/11


So is this what I call home now? Or is this just another holiday chalet?

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