Thought, experience and memory from a brain in a jar, one that sometimes has control over a thirty-two-year-old Londonite.

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Location: Herne Hill, London, United Kingdom

25 May, 2005

Revenge of the ID

Dear Tessa Jowell,

As we approach another debate on the proposed ID Cards Bill, I wonder if you could find time to answer a few questions about the Bill and your position on it.

Do you agree that, as Patricia Hewitt states, all MPs should stick solidly to the Labour manifesto "that they were voted in on"? Do you feel that no Labour MPs were voted in *despite* the manifesto? Do you feel that no Labour MPs were voted in *despite* Tony Blair's ongoing leadership?

Do you feel that the spirit of Patricia Hewitt's statement is that all Labout MPs should follow the party line at all times, irrespective of the needs of the people they have been elected to represent? Do you feel this would constitute a positive or negative effect on democracy? Do you fear we may be heading for an elective dictatorship?

Current tests of the technology are falling short of the needed level of reliability. Do you feel it is timely to pass the Bill before the biometrics technology is ready?

It was stated during the last debate that Government was wiser now about large-scale digitial databases. What lessons *have* been learnt from previous bungled Government instigated large-scale databases?

Why, if the ID card system will pay for itself, are the public being asked to foot the bill?

How do you see the increase in Police powers with respect the introduction of ID cards effecting relations between Police and the ethnic population within your own constituency? How do you see the tests on the ID cards effecting race relations considering the iris scanning's poor results with ethnic minorities?

Given the consititutional nature of the proposed ID Bill, what efforts have you made to find out the opinion of your constituents?

Can you explain in practical terms how the existence of compulsory ID cards will, in the words of the Home Office Minister, "help tackle illegal immigration, organised crime, ID fraud, terrorism and will benefit all UK citizens."

Can you demonstrate a link between the introduction of biometric ID in America with a decrease in America of ID theft?

Can you explain the hurry?

Yours sincerely,

Simon Scott

24 May, 2005

Everyone's a Critic!

Everyone's a Critic!
Everyone's a Critic!,
originally uploaded by Simon Scott.
Saw this today which made me smile. Ah the sarcasm of quotation marks...

Embarrassing Myself In Public #002

When the Hayward Gallery had their optical illusions exhibition on Jonathan and I decided to pay it a visit. They'd put on a good show (although perhaps not quite good enough for the money) and we enjoyed the various magic lanterns, the sculptures that look like different things from different angles, and the smatterings of porn creeping in at the edges. Best of all was a device I'd been wanting to try out for years, a set of glasses that use prisms to switch what your left and right eyes see, which had the effect of inverting objects (imagine a concave object with the outer surface on the inside). In one of the cabinets there was a telescope resting on a shelf at an angle. At the end of the telescope was a tilted mirror. I wondered what it did, so bent my head in to look through the eyepiece, resoundingly headbutting the glass front of the cabinet (they keep it so clean, these days!). I shocked a pair of viewers stood next to me and, perhaps in a concussed state, sad to them "there's glass there". They said they knew, in strong English accents. Somehow I could have coped better with the ensuing embarrassment had they been foreign tourists, but it was not to be.

Let's Get Nuts

Squirrel 3
Squirrel 3,
originally uploaded by Simon Scott.
Tripped to Richmond on Monday for to be sociable. Dan, Sarah and I went off to the park for a picnic and fed the squirrels. They're tame enough there to actual take food out of your hand. It was great! I felt like an under-privileged child!

"Eyeless in a sea of black stones"

Strange revelations in my game. I finally admitted to myself that I'm not a 22 kyu, despite my ranking on the Kiseido Go Server. Some time ago a 22 Kyu resigned very early on in a game (he was playing dreadfully), and as a result I suddenly jumped six stones. Following on from that I stopped playing ranking games for a while, disheartened at losing to Dan all the time. But because of the way the match system works on Kiseido, I could only get to play people who were genuinely 22 kyu, meaning I was getting trounced to the point of absurdity. Following some sage yet obvious advice on the KGS chatroom, I played a ranking game against a 22 kyu and lost, which immediately bounced me down to a 28 again. I'm not sure if my losing made the 22 kyu jump up by eight stones. I hope not, as he'll now be in the same position I was in. Thinking of all the players on the server, I can easily imagine these strange chains of communication made up of wrongfully advancing players. Presumably this bottoms out eventually - Dan matches tend to come down to a one or two stone lead.

My next match was against a 29 kyu, and I played much more effectively, and following black's resignation I rose a stone. My opponent said he "had to go" but I was giving him a hard time, so suspect he was saving face. Suddenly KGS is a nice place to be again!

And on the Dan front I've won three consecutive games, which we both agree is only partly down to an improvement in my own game. Dan's a little out of practice. On Monday I beat him by about eighty points, and would have beaten him by even more had I not mucked up a delightful little corner tesuji (I put myself into atari as a crooked four instead of a square, letting him live, which served me right for being so cocky). I gifted Dan with a snapshot of the Sensei Library - a wonderful and only marginally annoying wikipedia on the game, and a copy of the KGS client server, whose tree diagram approach to variation exploration is second to none. Hopefully Dan's going to be online at some point soon, which means he won't be restricted to playing TurboGo and myself.

And my set's black stones stain the fingers. I'm trying to decide whether to remedy this with some nail-varnish or not. Another benefit of playing online! Those interested in any of this can check out my slow and eratic progress here.

22 May, 2005

Naming Nieces

originally uploaded by Simon Scott.
I've just returned from Swindon where the latest addition to the family gene pool was receiving her name. My new niece Jasmine (pictured) had flowers waved at her at the Spiritualist Centre, in a ceremony that is very simple, and strangely humanist were it not for the obvious spirit-plane overtones.

Ella had her naming ceremony at the same place, and I'm pretty sure we struggled with the same songs (and I mean songs - Born Free and Thank Heaven For Little Girls!)

There was gathering back at sister's for a couple of hours, which allowed her to give me my birthday present - a signed picture of a hairy dwarf, which I managed to get back home in one piece. Mum also handed me my degree certificate (graduated nine years ago!) and a card someone had given her to give to me on the day of the cap-and-gown. Oh and a shirt. It made me feel a little guilty, if truth be told.

18 May, 2005



Sadly it doesn't say whether it loves Hundreds And Thousands and plays the mouth organ.

15 May, 2005

Local Man Weds

originally uploaded by jackdinn.
Paul and Ellie got married! Lovely service and reception in Wye, a village near Canterbury where the nuptual pair resides.

And I introduced them, so it's all my fault.

03 May, 2005


Received this on the GRW account this morning:


We need your help for...


The Time Traveler Convention
May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)
East Campus Courtyard, MIT
42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W
(42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees)


What is it?

Technically, you would only need one time traveler convention. Time travelers from all eras could meet at a specific place at a specific time, and they could make as many repeat visits as they wanted. We are hosting the first and only Time Traveler Convention at MIT in one week, and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Why do you need my help?

We need you to help PUBLICIZE the event so that future time travelers will know about the convention and attend. This web page is insufficient; in less than a year it will be taken down when I graduate, and futhermore, the World Wide Web is unlikely to remain in its present form permanently. We need volunteers to publish the details of the convention in enduring forms, so that the time travelers of future millennia will be aware of the convention. This convention can never be forgotten! We need publicity in MAJOR outlets, not just Internet news. Think New York Times, Washington Post, books, that sort of thing. If you have any strings, please pull them.

Great idea, I'd love to help! What should I do?

Write the details down on a piece of acid-free paper, and slip them into obscure books in academic libraries! Carve them into a clay tablet! If you write for a newspaper, insert a few details about the convention! Tell your friends, so that word of the convention will be preserved in our oral history! A note: Time travel is a hard problem, and it may not be invented until long after MIT has faded into oblivion. Thus, we ask that you include the latitude/longitude information when you publicize the convention.

You can also make an absolute commitment to publicize the convention afterwards. In that case, bring a time capsule or whatever it may be to the party, and then bury it afterwards.

Can't the time travelers just hear about it from the attendees, and travel back in time to attend?

Yes, they can! In fact, we think this will happen, and the small number of adventurous time travelers who do attend will go back to their "home times" and tell all their friends to come, causing the convention to become a Woodstock-like event that defines humanity forever.

Unfortunately, we of the present (2005) don't have time travel, and so we only have one chance at observing the convention. If the time travelers don't leave us their secrets, we won't be able to go back in time and see our convention in all its glory unless it is publicized in advance.

Isn't time travel impossible?

We can't know for certain. The ancient Greeks would have thought computers were impossible, and the Phoenicians certainly wouldn't have believed that humans would one day send a spacecraft to the moon and back. We cannot predict the future of science or technology, so we can only make an effort and see if any time travelers come to our convention. If you would like to read more about time travel, check out our reading list.

I'm from the future, and I'd like to attend!

We're not sure how you're emailing us from the future, but we'd love to have you! Come as you are! No dress code whatsoever. We do request that you bring some sort of proof that you do indeed come from the future, and haven't just dressed like you do. We welcome any sort of proof, but things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty, or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated.

I'm from the present, and I'd like to attend!

Great! We would also love to have you, especially if you have helped publicize. We request that you bring refreshments if possible, as we need to make this a great party for you and for the time travelers. RSVP at, and then show up at the designated place at the designated time! The East Campus Courtyard is in between the two red rectangles on this map. If you plan on attending, PLEASE check this page frequently for updates.

I'm from the present, and I'd like to attend, but I can't!

No worries! If time travel is invented in your lifetime, you can always come later. Even if it isn't, we'll have pictures and video up at this site within a week after the Convention.

I've volunteered and helped publicize!

Thanks! If you'd like to be included in the gallery, please send us a picture of your publicity effort by email at You can also email us with any other questions you might have.

This is neat!


There was a place called the Conspiracy Cafe. Shelves filled with books, film reels, sound tapes, official government reports in blue binders. She wanted to have a coffee and browse but he waved the place off- a series of sterile exercises. He believed the wellsprings were deeper and less detectable, deeper and shallower both, look at billboards and matchbooks, trademarks on products, birthmarks on bodies, look at the behavior of your pets.

Something's staring you straight in the face.

Public archives:

Hosting by

Wonderful fun!

01 May, 2005

Inauthentic Man

Inauthentic Man
Inauthentic Man,
originally uploaded by jackdinn.
Case in point, a doodlesome self-portrait...


I've been totally sucked in to this site. I keep finding myself just sitting there looking at the "Everyone's Photos" page, which always has a steady flow of utterly eclectic pictures.

Another trick is to pick words at random and do a search on them - verbs seem to work best for this.

More to the point, though, it's provided another great direction in which to push my wayward creative urges...