Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill

Cover of

I really like the way Hill plays around with the structure of the Dalziel and Pascoe novels and the quality of the plots rarely drops below excellent as far as I’m concerned. I’m surprised that this is the book that Hill won the Gold Dagger for though as I thought the plot was a tiny bit ropey in parts and not as watertight as in previous books.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 16th May 2002.


mozblog really is worth looking at if you’re running mozilla 1.0 and posting to an blogger api enable weblog tool. i tried to get it running with a mozilla release candidate a while ago with no success at all (it just crashed the entire browser out) but it’s working pretty well now. the interface is a bit klunky to get the hang of at the moment but it seems to work well when you’ve adjusted to it.

correlation of the day

there’s a definite
correlation between the level of your voice and the stupidity of your opinion.
the more stupid your opinion the louder you need to proclaim it. people
with sensible, logical opinions that they can defend explain them in quiet voices.

only joking

i can’t believe i’ve never seen this joke before! it’s the tagline at injektilo:

there are only 10 types of people in the world — those who understand binary and those who don’t.

that was worth waiting 30 years for. yes, really.

when i was about five i had an ice lolly with this joke on the stick:

how do you make a bandstand?

it took me at least ten years to understand the punchline:

take their chairs away

something in the delayed reaction means that that joke still makes me giggle today. i think the wait for that binary joke to find me will make it equally amusing to me for years to come.

falling again

just bookmarking this to check out later: a new version of tetris that breathes new life into the now ancient but still addictive game by incorporating real world physics into the ways that the blocks fall. looks fascinating and quite possibly too hard to play. we will see. versions for windows and linux are available with mac coming soon.

[found via boing boing]

nothing but the truth

weblogs in the us are currently full of stories and discussion about how the “pledge of allegiance” recited by school children across the united states has been ruled unconstitutional because it contains the phrase “one nation under god”.

i’ve always found the visibilty of religion in everyday america a bit disturbing, the recital of the pledge downright creepy and the presence of the words “in god we trust” on the banknotes a little presumptory. it just strikes me as a little odd that i live in a country with an official state religion (the church of england) and yet my exposure to religion on an everyday basis becomes much greater when i step into the us and into a country where the first amendment to the constitution guarantees an american’s right to freedom of religion, which (george bush senior’s take on the subject notwithstanding) includes the right to no religion at all.

something i learnt today is that the words that end the american court oath, familiar to most of the world from films and tv, the stirring but not particularly inclusive “so help me god” can be replaced by “this you do affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury”.

what i wondered was what i could say if i was appearing in an english courtroom. i’m pleased to find that the uk oaths act 1978 caters for all sorts from muslims to rastafarians and from quakers to jews. it puts the emphasis on the fact that the oath must be one that the person swearing it believes constrains them to tell the truth which seems uncommonly sensible for an act of parliament. should i ever appear in court i’m allowed to just give my word, without even wishing pain or penalty on myself:

i do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence i shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

this being the web i’d love to point you at my source but i only found the details of the act in google’s cache (for which the “use this url to link or bookmark this page” doesn’t work, i think that’s the first time i’ve ever had a problem with google) for this site which is down and the online repository of acts of the uk parliament only goes back as far as 1988.

cashless society

being stuck with using a note-unfriendly public transport system at the moment i’d really like to see something like the octopus card here. trying to ensure i have enough of the right coins on hand for metro machines that neither take notes nor credit cards nor give you enough time to pour your 5p collection in is driving me up the wall. cash on a card that removes the pesky obstacle of having enough money but in the wrong format would be great.

[found via rebecca’s pocket]

asteroid snooker

i had a book on mathematics as a child, actually my parents had it but they haven’t missed it yet (ooops, hi dad!), which had an explanation of levers and how given a long enough lever a man (or woman, or even small girl just getting interested in maths and science) could move the earth. the idea of being able to move large objects with minimal force blew my mind at the time.

now i find people are proposing ways of moving the earth for real:

we don’t need raw power to move earth, we just require delicacy of planning and manoeuvring.

the idea is to counteract global warming (and in the really long term also counteract the warming up of the sun) by throwing a large object at the earth and changing its orbit just a little. effectively we’d be playing snooker with planets and an asteroid cue ball.

one consequence of this would be that:

any alien astronomers observing our solar system would know that something odd had occurred, and would realise an intelligent lifeform was responsible.

‘and the same goes for us. when we look at other solar systems, and detect planets around other suns – which we are now beginning to do – we may see that planet-moving has occurred. it will give us our first evidence of the handiwork of extraterrestrial beings.’

my mind is blown once again by that!

[found via powazek]

time gentlemen, please

bloody hell, that’s a long pub crawl! a list of 428 wetherspoons pubs as visited by one man. (well actually it’s a list of all 632 wetherspoons pubs but it’s the 428 that john paul adams has visited that gobsmacks me).

i’m now wondering how many pubs i’ve visited in my entire life and whether it’s more than 428 or not.

[found via the view from here]

Play with Fire by Dana Stabenow

Cover of

Though it’s the fifth in the series this is the first of the Kate Shugak books, which are set in Alaska, to be set somewhere where it isn’t freezing cold. I enjoyed the change in scenery and seeing what Alaska is like when it isn’t snowing. In fact in this book Kate stumbles upon a body while picking mushrooms on the site of a forest fire. The transistion from snow to fire works very well for me, it brought out a different side of the series characters.

In this book despite having less of a mystery to solve than has been the case before Kate seemed to be more involved and more interested in finding out the answers. This is all in character because she wasn’t really employed as an investigator in this one, she was running off on more of a personal hunch for much of the book. Curiously the transistion from a professional to a near amateur made this book work better for me as a mystery than some of the earlier books. There was more logic to Kate’s actions here I think.

I liked the viewpoint that the book took on fundamentalist religion and it’s imposition on scientific teachings, you’d probably want to avoid this book if you’re a die hard ceationist or can’t see the other side of religious arguments. My line to take away from this book concerns the “Red Queen Theory of Religion”: try to believe six impossible things before breakfast, it’ll get you in practice for the Virgin Birth and the Second Coming.

The story telling and the characterisation are both improving as this series goes on. This book is more substantial in both plot and pages than it’s predecessors. I’m glad that I have several more to read.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 16th April 2002.