Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The lives of others

'Bleeding heart liberal' alert
The writer of this blog does not think Civil Liberties are a non-issue. If you support Cameron's Support for Terrorism and Surveillance Initiative  ('STASI'), send comments to /dev/null.

I am not usually a supporter of this newspaper, but there is a brave (if rather silly) article in the Daily Mirror delivering a rejoinder to the welter of vitriol poured on 'Internet Companies' for not flagging up the Rigby murder plan: a Google search for  
internet rigby irresponsible  
throws up over 6,000,000 hits. Oh dear...Is it just me, or is there a smell of Dangerous Dogs Act  (that's a cached version; there's room for a conspiracy theory or two [as it was only taken down on All Souls' Day (as we used to say in the One True Chorch]) here? And you know what a farce that stirred up.

I say 'rather silly' as it considers a plot hatched in a pub. But that reductio ad absurdum doesn't really work (as a pub is not a message-carrying service); perhaps it would work if the plot was hatched on a pub noticeboard, but that image really is pretty silly: 
Jihadi interested in beheading and all sorts of terrorism would like to meet similar. Catch me in the Snug, sipping an orange juice, most Thursdays. No time-wasters.
[De mortuis nil nisi Bonham-Carter – still less tenuous analogies. So I've removed the Kookaburra gag.]

OK, let's get real. If any analogy is to hold water in this context, there must be an element of carrying messages. Much ink  has been spilt on essays about the causes of WWI. Well, I've got it sorted. No need for pages and pages about  economics and regime change and so on. One cause: the Sarajevo Postal Service.

The point about terrorists is that they want to provoke a fascistic response. People are more likely to take up arms against a State that enforces an unreasonable security straitjacket. Yes, they only  have to 'get lucky once', but passing undemocratic laws – and enforcing a surveillance regime that depends on one group of citizens grassing up every Tom Dick or Ali every time they use an unconsidered word when they're online – is just a Recruiting Sergeant for the forces of evil (and a recipe, incidentally, for a Denial of Service tsunami of false alarms). What we must do is Keep Calm and Carry On.

Shooting the messenger? Suing Wells Fargo, more like.


Update 2014.11.28.10:15 – Deletion – with explanation in mauve – of not very good (or appropriate) joke.

 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
nearly 48,200 views  and over 6,500 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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