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Coda loves scratchies
Originally uploaded by erinamelia

vroom vroom

...that's the sound of the moving van.

As of now, I'm moving to Wordpress. I don't really use the functionality which is specific to LJ any more. Also, I'm kind of pissed off that LJ broke its promise of 'no ads, ever'. Wordpress, on the other hand, has a lot of functionality which I like (stats! categories!) and its flexibility suits my needs. I'm also not sure anyone will mind much that I'm switching, except for the people who read my LJ in their friends page, if you go to the new blog you will find it's super easy to add it as an RSS feed to any reader, or you can even sign up to get an email whenever I post a new entry. yay Feedburner. (This is, also, quietly, a plea to continue reading what I write.)

I suppose, what with the end of my relationship, the move back to the states, the beginning of my PhD, I thought I might toss one more change onto the pile. For future reference, I won't be closing down my LJ. I will, however, be using it as a more 'personal' i.e. not public, friends-only, blog in truly emo LJ stylee. So (!!!!!) if you read this blog, but you are not registered as one of my LJ friends, and you're not bored to tears by the personal stuff, comment below to be added.

So, without further ado, I can now be found at blog.erinamelia.org

pictures from the garden

Today when I got home i went out and took some pictures of the glorious flowers that have been coming up in the back garden of my house here in London. I can't claim any credit for making these gorgeous things come out of the ground, but I'm dedicating myself to enjoying them (and the warm weather which has finally arrived) every possible minute between now and when I leave.

in the garden

more pictures beneath the cutCollapse )

You can find more pictures at my Flickr site

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Comparing salt, fat, sugar, and CO2

(This is cross-posted from It's Getting Hot In Here)

Tesco, the UK's largest retailer, has announced a plan to put 'carbon labels' on four categories of its own-brand products: orange juice, potatoes, laundry detergent, and light bulbs.  The labels, which were developed with the Carbon Trust's carbon labelling program, show the number of grams of carbon which the product is responsible for during production, packaging, distribution, and disposal.

(.....although to be perfectly honest I'm HUGELY cynical about the whole thing.)
I am having a very negative day. First of all, I'm trying my damndest to sit tight and wait for the London Mayoral Election Results, which look grim, which make me ponder whether democracy should in fact be a cultural value, or whether it's a conspiracy of sad liberals setting themselves up to be run by idiots and facists.  Particularly because I know two people who didn't vote, one of whom forgot, the other of whom couldn't be bothered.  I consider these people my friends, and yet on a very basic level I believe that people who don't vote are only fit to live in a dictatorship.  I despise the complacency of it, the casual disregard for the suffragettes, the taking for granted of rights which people in Zimbabwe and Tibet and Burma and China are suffering for - and dying for - right now.

Also, sat through a nice staff briefing presentation today which was a timely reminder that slavery is still endemic in Brazil.  China too.  Did you know that before?  Well, now you do.  It should piss you off.

Finally, I'm not sure if this continues the crushing negativity or injects an element of hope into the proceedings, I direct you to an NPR story featuring my friend Juan Hoffmaister.  You've got to listen to the audio slide show, which rocked my world with its ability to communicate some powerful truths with JuanPa's usual blend of passion and understatement.

gimme some sugar, google

oh lord in heaven. I think I have food poisoning. The truly pathetic thing is, I spent all evening baking a cake for the CAFOD campaigns team bake-off. It's in the oven at the moment, I'm just waiting for the timer to go off. But the idea of food...urrrgggghhhhh....whingewhingewhingesplat.

BUT two good things are happening.

1) I can turn my computer into a seismometer.

2) Look what Google made!

2 parts melting permafrost, 1 part water.

I've been reading Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes From a Catastrophe, because I really liked the original series of New Yorker articles it was based on. The book is fantastic. It's wonderfully written (although i would have liked more maps and charts), evocative, and although it's obviously trying to drive home the point that climate change is real, and terrifying, it does so in a subtle way.

The problem is that it's very slow going. I can only read about 5 or 6 pages before I have to put the book down and clutch my head, pondering the fact that humans may well be totally fucked. Seriously, we're so doomed. I contempate the death of our civilization for a few minutes before I pick up the book and start again where I left off. Read, pause, think about doom, repeat.

(Do I really think we're doomed? Not really, or I would be trying to make vast amounts of money and enjoy the last days of hedonism before the sea eats New York. These days I'd say it's about 50/50 doom/hope.)

Anyway, read the book. It's really good.

Pennsylvania flexes its political muscles

Okay, first of all we have a tidbit from the LA Times on what to look for in Pennsylvania, which is a pretty succinct guide.  CNN's political ticker is probably a good place to follow things through the day.  ukeyouee, I'm looking at you.

And just a couple of things to rant about briefly:
  • Barack Obama showing that he really is kind of an elitist prig.  Not that I think that any of the candidates aren't, but he's REAAAAAALLY not doing himself any favors.  Even I was kind of miffed by what he said, and I'm a card-carrying member of the educated white bourgeoisie.  Doesn't he think that the white working class (check out this article for a more thorough investigation of what the 'white working class' is, anyway) might have reasons other than plain ol' stupidity and/or fear for voting against their economic interests?  I think they do.
  • Hillary, why are you sticking Osama bin Laden in your ads? (Unless it's to point out that we still can't find him.)  Shame on you. Down, FUD, down.
  • Finally, McCain, no you do not know what it's like to not have health care. This makes me livid.  As though someone who has had government provided health care all his life knows the quiet, constant fear that people have when they can't go to the doctor, when a life threatening illness or even a trip to the hospital can bankrupt you for the rest of your life.  Fuck you fuck you fuck you.  And an extra fuck you for good measure.

WTF

Okay, so at the moment I'm watching BBC news live coverage of the Olympic Torch relay in San Francisco, where they've secretly changed the route of the torch, secretly, with absolutely no notice.  It is surrounded by soldiers and police, with media photographers being driven just in front of that in what appears to be a Duck Tours bus.  This is one of the most insane things I've ever seen.

Over the weekend a friend of mine informed me in his most dignified tone of left wing irritation that he finds it hypocritical that people in the US and the UK are upset about Tibet when their own countries are occupying Iraq.  Which is a point, yes.  But the thing that makes the Chinese government so much worse, above Tibet and Burma and Sudan, is the fact that it's a totalitarian, dictatorial regime.  It's NOT the same as all of the other imperialistic countries who get the Olympics (not, deep down, that I give a rat's ass about the Olympics), it's worse.  People in China can't even use the internet.  And this farcical media spectacle/fake torch run really drives it home, the cheerful way in which the Chinese government is happy to lie to paint itself as a legitimate government, to protect its own wizened grip on power.  It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.  What does it mean for the world that one billion people are living under a regime that purposefully misleads them and tries to teach them not to think too deeply about where the power lies?

Also, a voice labelled 'Olympic Historian' has just informed us that the Nazis invented the Olympic flame. Huh.  I did not know that.