Simon’s Backup Weblog


Living in a grim meathook Philip K. Dick future…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 27, 2006

A while back I came to the conclusion we were living in a John Brunner future.

But now it’s sliding into a Philip K. Dick future, too. According to an article in the Times, UK police forces are setting up a pre-crime department…

Criminal profilers are drawing up a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists of the future even before they commit such crimes, The Times has learnt.

The highly controversial database will be used by police and other agencies to target suspects before they can carry out a serious offence. Pilot projects to identify the highest-risk future offenders have been operating in five London boroughs for the past two months.
[…]
Experts from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Prevention Unit are creating psychological profiles of likely offenders to predict patterns of criminal behaviour. Statements from former partners, information from mental health workers and details of past complaints are being combined to identify the men considered most likely to commit serious violent crimes.
[…]
Ms Richards said that once an individual had been identified, police would decide whether to make moves towards an arrest, or to alert the relevant social services who could steer those targeted into “management programmes.”

The big question is: How accurate are these models? I’m sure the intentions are good (but then, we all know what paves the roads to Hell), but the risks of ruining innocent people’s lives are just too great.

“If it saves just one child” is a delightful sentiment, but how many families will be blighted by an incorrect profile?

A Philip K. Dick future, without the drug cushion…
[Link via ]

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They’re in your noun verbing your nouns

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 27, 2006

What if the inside of your computer was an anthropomorphic Brio train set?

As blogged elsewhere, but now found on YouTube.

In the soul of the great machine

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 26, 2006

In the soul of the great machine
Originally uploaded by sbisson.

One of the largest pieces of experimental physics you’ll ever see, the ATLAS detector in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider fills a five story cavern below the Swiss plains around Geneva.

Photo montage assembled from 9 7Mpixel images.

CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
November 2006

Oz in the post

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 25, 2006

The postman woke me this morning with a delivery from Galaxy Bookshop. Yes, it was my much anticipated copy of Sean Williams’ The Devoured Earth (along with The Resurrected Man). I can now happily finish The Hanging Mountains without having to travel to the southern hemisphere to track down the final volume of The Books Of The Cataclysm. Now all I need is a copy of Metal Fatigue

Meanwhile has introduced me to Kerry Greenwood‘s Corrina Chapman mysteries, which are proving most enjoyable. Corrina is a baker living in a Melbourne apartment block shaped (and named) after a Roman insula. A mixed bag of neighbours lead to interesting mysteries, and a lot of cooking. Side references to Buffy, Babylon 5, and Blakes 7 slash (along with touches of Dorothy L. Sayers) add to the enjoyment. Perhaps not as geeky as Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow books, but definitely a charming and an engaging read.

Recommended so far: Heavenly Pleasures (sabotage at a chocolate shop and the collapse of the Megatherium trust) and Devil’s Food (mad monks, a missing father, and an incompetent herbalist).

I suspect I will be starting on Greenwood’s other series, the Phryne Fisher books (mysteries set in a 1920’s Melbourne) soon – as is reading chunks of them out to me with similar relish to her discovery of Jennifer Cruisie…

At last

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 24, 2006

Just about seventeen months after my little black car got side-swiped by a dangerously-driven Czech lorry on the M4, it’s finally going in for repairs on Monday.

The wheels of insurance grind exceedingly slow.
New insurance company next year, I think…

Cat Foneatix

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 24, 2006

Joeffrey has taken to sleeping on top of my iBook. I have pointed out to him that the cat is meant to sit on the mat, not the Mac.

pointed out to me that cats can’t spell.

Icon Story

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 24, 2006

For your Friday afternoon delectations:

A rather delightful (if somewhat violent) little Flash animation showing just what goes on on your PC’s screen when you’re away.

The moral? Be careful just what games you install…

Central Otago Tors

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 22, 2006

Central Otago Tors
Originally uploaded by sbisson.

The tors of Central Otago, with the Southern Alps in the distance. A wild and desolate landscape, perhaps best known as the plains of Rohan…

Otago, New Zealand
October 2006

The Dolphins Of Coromandel

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 22, 2006

A glorious day, driving up the Coromandel Peninsula from Coromandel Town to Colville, following a pod of dolphins making the same journey.

Coromandel, New Zealand
November 2006

The Dolphins Of Coromandel

The Dolphins Of Coromandel The Dolphins Of Coromandel
The Dolphins Of Coromandel The Dolphins Of Coromandel
The Dolphins Of Coromandel The Dolphins Of Coromandel
The Dolphins Of Coromandel The Dolphins Of Coromandel

Full Flickr set here.

Sole Inhabitant Released

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 22, 2006

For all the Thomas Dolby fans reading, TMDR just announced on his blog that the Sole Inhabitant DVD and CD are now available – on CD Baby and iTunes (I’m not sure if it’s on the UK iTunes store yet).

Order quickly to get one of the limited edition signed copies!
I did!

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