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Posted by Mike Smithson

It’s claimed that the NHS moves could have cost TMay her majority

The I report notes that:

“The new analysis, by the specialist health consultancy Incisive Health and seen by i, reveals that the average 2017 swing from Conservatives to Labour in 105 marginal seats facing local A&E changes was 3.2 per cent. In seats not facing A&E changes the swing to Labour was half at 1.6 per cent. “The General Election was billed as the Brexit election, but changes to hospitals was a big issue on the doorstep.

Public concern about the future of an A&E can cut-through the noise of an election campaign like little else.” Kieran Lucia, Account Manager, Incisive Health If the swing in the 105 seats facing local A&E changes or closures is adjusted to match areas without, the Conservatives would have won 12 more seats – enough to have given Mrs May a majority in the House of Commons.

This on the face of it is interesting but I think we need to wait for the final BES study of what happened on June 8th before drawing too many conclusions. Clearly this study in the I report has been produced for a reason and that is to make a political point.

Mike Smithson


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The revolutionary technology allows wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for current turbines.
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The revolutionary technology allows wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for current turbines.
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Posted by Stephen Tall

LDV FANTASY FOOTBALLThe English Premier League kicks off a fortnight on Friday, 11th August, and LibDemVoice has revived its Fantasy Football League to mark the occasion.

So if you fancy pitting your soccer selection skills against fellow party members then here’s your chance. There’s over 60 of you already joined!

To enter all you have to do is click on this link. Simply register your details, pick your team, and away you go. If you need the joining code at any point, it’s 926270-223363.

Last season’s winner, Alain Desmier, finished in the top 500 world-wide — at the same time as taking on Emily Thornberry in the general election!

For those who don’t feel they have the insider knowledge to compete, you can always choose the ‘auto-complete’ option so your team is picked for you – just imagine how smug you’ll then feel when you beat those of us who’ve slaved over our choices…

Good luck to all those who take part.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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Posted by Jonathan M. Gitlin

Elle Cayabyab Gitlin

NEW YORK—On July 15 and 16, the fledgling sport of Formula E racing managed something its older, bigger, much richer sibling never managed: racing with the Statue of Liberty and the downtown Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. After races in Miami (2015) and Long Beach, California (2015, 2016), the Big Apple became the third US venue to host an ePrix, and it should provide the electric racing series a home for some time to come thanks to a 10-year contract with the city.

Before a sold-out crowd of 18,000, DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird stepped up to the pressure and took two wins from two races. And with championship leader Sebastien Buemi absent—the Swiss driver was committed to racing in Germany in the World Endurance Championship the same weekend—ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport's Lucas di Grassi made up ground in the title fight, narrowing the gap to just 10 points with two races left to go. Given all the excitement (and the fact NYC qualifies as the closest stop on the Formula E calendar), Ars took to the grandstands to see how one of our favorite racing series is starting to mature.

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Posted by Annalee Newitz

Comic-con teaser for Ready Player One.

The first trailer for Ready Player One, based on Ernest Cline's legendary novel, just dropped at San Diego Comic-con.

Ever since Cline's novel shot to the top of bestseller lists, fans have been waiting for the movie. It's the story of a kid growing up in the near future, dreaming of escape from his life in a massive, dystopian Ohio trailer park. He's only happy in the Oasis, a massive multiplayer VR world, where he indulges in his love for 1980s pop culture.

This trailer is a little uneven at first, but won me over when the 80s Rush song "Tom Sawyer" provided the perfect soundscape for an incredible VR-powered car chase.

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Posted by Nathan Mattise

Enlarge (credit: Nathan Mattise)

AUSTIN, Texas—Familiar IP (intellectual property) runs rampant on TV these days no matter where a viewer turns. Netflix openly exploits its access to the Marvel universe and has a penchant for reinvigorating classic IP across medium (from Wet Hot American Summer to Fuller House). Small cable networks offer numerous examples: CW has opted for DC with Arrow and The Flash; FX has FargoSyFy has The Expanse; Starz has American Godsand on and on. Even the big networks have embraced this, and recently they can’t seem to leave vintage movies alone (whether we’re discussing Fox’s Minority Report and Lethal Weapon attempts or NBC’s departed-too-soon Hannibal).

At this summer’s ATX Television Festival, execs from major players like HBO, Freeform, Marvel, and Dreamworks took the stage together hoping to shed some light on the trend. High rates of IP recycling haven’t coincided with a lack of engaging originals (see: Stranger Things, Mad Men, Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul, The Americans, GLOW, etc.). Evidently, the modern TV landscape offers room for both, so why the glut of familiar franchises? Everyone in attendance had plenty of theories.

“To start, it’s a risky business, and most of the stuff we develop just fails,” Marvel’s Grant Gish said. “But when you have a leg up—a great book, comic book, old movie, or TV show—it eliminates some of that.” Gish notes a known Marvel entity carries with it automatic audience awareness. And if network execs remain conservative when greenlighting productions, assurances of an inherent audience can go a long way.

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Posted by Mike Smithson


Chart: BetData

Jacob Rees Mogg moves back to 2nd favourite in the betting

It seems a long long time ago but during the summer of 2005 David Davis looked all set to replace Michael Howard as party leader. There were other contenders but by far the strongest favourite was Davis who two years earlier had stood aside so that Howard could replace IDS without the need to go through a members’ ballot.

Then we all know what happened. Old Etonian and then shadow Education Sec, David Cameron who had only been an MP for four years came apparently from nowhere and made a conference speech that very much sealed his victory. After losing three consecutive elections to Tony Blair’s LAB the Tories desperately wanted a winner and Cameron persuaded the party that he was that person.

Twelve summers later and the Tories are once again smarting over an election that didn’t go as planned and all sorts of question have been raised over TMay who decided to make the campaign about herself almost to the exclusion of her senior colleagues.

Whether she goes early or not is still very much in the balance. Her conference speech in October is going to be a major event and she has a lot of work to do assuring her party that she still has it within her.

In the meantime once again Davis is the favourite to take over the job with sentiment moving strongly against the previous long-term favourite, BoJo.

And now another old Etonan is apparently emerging as a threat – at least that is how punters see it. Jacob Rees Mogg now a father of six.

Mike Smithson


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Posted by Sean Gallagher

(credit: Inkshares)

The teleportation accident is an all-too-common trope of science fiction. The moral quandary of teleporters as "suicide boxes" and as potential human duplicators has been grist for many science fiction and speculative fiction writers, from George Langelaan's 1957 short story "The Fly" to China Miéville's 2010 novel Kraken (and yes, a few Star Trek episodes). But that trope has been given a fresh spin by Tal Klein in his debut novel, The Punch Escrow—fresh enough that, even before its release, the book was optioned for a film by Lionsgate.

A compelling, approachable human narrative wrapped around a classic, hard sci-fi nugget, The Punch Escrow dives into deep philosophical territory—the ethical limits of technology and what it means to be human. Cinematically paced yet filled with smart asides, Klein's Punch pulls off the slick trick of giving readers plenty to think about in a suspenseful, entertaining package.

Watch out for those killer nanobots

Set in the year 2147, Punch is the story of Joel Byram, a self-described smart-ass who makes his futuristic currency as a sort of bot-whisperer. Byram works as an artificial intelligence "salter" who helps train AIs to master the art of human interaction through the use of jokes and language puzzles. He's something of an AI interface hacker as a result, and he has the skills required to linguistically trick AIs into elevating his privileges and performing tasks they'd otherwise not.

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Posted by Arabin Patson

As Westminster begins its summer recess, the British people have once again lined the streets around parliament and waved flags jubilantly to give their beloved representatives a proper send-off.
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News reports say that Jeremy Corbyn has committed Labour to leaving the single market, in the mistaken belief that membership is tied in with being in the European Community. However, his interpretation of the rules was immediately challenged by one of the main rebels on the EU within the Labour Parliamentary Party:

The Labour leader’s explanation of his party’s Brexit policy was questioned by the former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, one of the party’s leading advocates of a soft Brexit, who pointed out that several countries including Norway were members of the single market without being full EU members:

Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “The single market is dependent on membership of the EU. What we have said all along is that we want a tariff free trade access to the European market and a partnership with Europe in the future.

"The two things are inextricably linked so the question then is the kind of trade relationship of the future and we have made it very clear we want a tariff free trade access with the European market.”

Corbyn also said the party had not decided on whether Labour’s policy should be to remain in the customs union, but claimed that was also firmly linked to being a member of the EU. “We haven’t jumped on either side of that fence but, again, the customs union is part of the European Union.”

All of this of course, is contrary to the views of most Labour members as well as the many thousands of young people who flocked to Labour's banner on 8th June. How much longer can Corbyn get away with this inherent contradiction whilst at the same time backing the Tories on delivering a hard Brexit?
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Posted by Megan Geuss

Enlarge (credit: EWE)

A German energy company recently announced that it’s partnering with a university to build a massive flow battery in underground salt caverns that are currently used to store natural gas. The grid-tied battery, the company says, would be able to power Berlin for an hour.

The technology that the project is based on should be familiar to Ars readers. Two years ago, Ars wrote about an academic paper published in Nature that described “a recipe for an affordable, safe, and scalable flow battery.” German researchers had developed better components for a large, stationary battery that used negatively and positively charged liquid electrolyte pools to exchange electrons through a reasonably priced membrane. These so-called “flow batteries” are particularly interesting for grid use—they have low energy-density, so they don’t work for portable energy storage. But as receptacles for utility-scale electricity storage, their capacity is limited only by the amount of space you have.

Now the ideas in that paper are graduating to real-world use. EWE Gasspeicher, a gas-storage company owned by German power company EWE, announced in June that it’s looking into building the researchers’ flow battery in two medium-sized salt caverns that the company has been using to store natural gas. EWE is calling the project “brine4power,” reflecting how a saltwater brine is used in the electrolyte.

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Posted by Attitude Magazine

She celebrated her 21st birthday at legendary London gay club Heaven and fronted one of the most diverse reality shows of the ’00s in Channel 4’s Big Brother, so it’s no surprise that Davina McCall has no qualms about her children growing up gay.

The beloved presenter, who shares two daughters named Holly & Tilly and a son, Chester, with her husband of 17 years Matthew Robertson, says she’s not fussed whether any of her three kids decide they like girls, boys, or both – as long as they’re happy.

“If any of my own children said they liked girls, or liked boys, or changed their mind, it wouldn’t matter to me. That is brilliant because it wasn’t like that when I was growing up.” Davina says in Attitude’s August issue, available to download and in shops now.

The 49-year-old, who returns to British TV screens this month for a brand new series of ITV’s Long Lost Family, continues: “I’m not naive, I know there’s a long way to go as far as homophobia and racism are concerned.

Davina McCall opens up about family life and LGBT+ representation in Attitude’s August issue (Photograhpy: Elisabeth Hoff)

“But my own kids have grown up not even seeing colour. They wouldn’t describe someone as black or white, or gay or straight.”

Davina, who helped honour everyday LGBT heroes at the Attitude Pride Awards earlier this month, continues: “There is so much hate in the world and so much discord, but our sexuality is one area where we can all just say ‘It doesn’t matter’.

“As long as we’re loving and respect each other and are not being judgemental, what’s the problem?”

She adds: “My good friend Fat Tony has the greatest Instagram page, and posted a quote that said: ‘Thou shalt not judge, because thou has fucked up also’. I love that.”

Read Davina’s full interview in the August issue of Attitude – out now. Buy in printsubscribe or download.

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Posted by Attitude Magazine

Council planners have been urged to help save LGBT+ venues by the London mayor’s night tsar.

Amy Lamé used an event at City Hall for Planning Out, an LGBT+ networking group for urban planners, to set out a five-point charter for new venues and call on the profession to set a legal precedent through planning contract rules to protect venues.

Earlier this month, a report by UCL Urban Laboratory revealed that the number of LGBT+ venues in London has fallen by 58% from 125 to 53 since 2006.

Lamé said she had been shocked by the rate of closures: “I knew it was bad, I didn’t know it was that bad. The reasons why they are closing is not because of Grindr. It’s because of external pressures such as a lack of implementation of safeguarding measures in the existing planning system.”

Other factors identified by researchers included property developments on venue clusters and change of use of properties by landlords.

Lamé told the event: “What can we do about it? Planning policy in the London Plan [the capital’s strategic development plan] has a role already. What we need is a change in the approach.”

She confirmed one venue, Molly Moggs, will re-open after a refit after the developer was lobbied.

Lamé said: “They wanted to close it. That wasn’t the original plan. It’s a really important venue. I recognise there’s a number of things where it can protect LGBTQ venues.”

She set out five points that she believed would give LGBT+ venues separate protected status so that planners could easily ensure they were protected. These include: prominently displaying the rainbow flag, actively promoting itself as an LGBT+ safe space, staff trained to be LGBT+ friendly and the venue must be accountable to the LGBT+ community.

Many of the audience were from local authority planning teams or were planning lawyers. The night tsar issued them a direct challenge to use contract negotiations with developers to give her five points legal status: “If you include a Section 106 agreement, it has the potential to be legally binding. Who would like to set a precedent with me?”

She summarised the new approach: “It basically means don’t fuck with our LGBT spaces.”

Rob Krzyszowsk, co chair of Planning Out, welcomed Lamé’s proposals: “The planning system can definitely change things. what’s really good is that we’ve all seen the evidence in the UCL research and that the starting point.

“It shows what the real reasons for closures are and gets the message out there that things can be done. Amy’s proposals are excellent. Planners can’t do everything and there’s a lot of work to do but it’s a good start.”

More stories:
The Vamps’ James McVey gets completely naked to celebrate number one album
Heroes unite in new action-packed ‘Justice League’ trailer

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Posted by Attitude Magazine

The Vamps star James McVey has delivered on a long-held promised with fans – by getting naked.

James, the 23-year-old lead guitarist for The Vamps, told fans that he would pose completely naked if the band’s latest album hit number one in the UK.

The band reached the top of the charts on Friday with their third album, Night & Day. Their first chart-topping album knocked Ed Sheeran off the number one spot – for a week at least. So, to the delight of everyone, James had to deliver on the promise.

Taking to Twitter, he posted a picture of himself in the buff, with nothing but a copy of the album covering his modesty. He captioned the image with: “NOW LEAVE ME ALONE. WHY DID I PROMISE I’D DO THIS?!”

James deleted the photo soon after, but not before plenty of his thirsty fans screenshotted it for their (and our) pleasure.

Thanks for holding up your end of the bargain James, and congratulations on the number one!

More stories:
Heroes unite in new action-packed ‘Justice League’ trailer
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Posted by Ross Semple

The new trailer for the hotly-anticipated DC team-up film Justice League has arrived – and we’re counting down the days until November.

The four-minute mega trailer was released yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con, and features the five of DC’s biggest heroes teaming up to stop a villain intent on destroying the world.

Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot return as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman respectively. Newcomers to the series include Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone / Cyborg, and Ezra Miller as Barry Allen / Flash. Jeremy Irons returns in his role as Wayne’s butler Alfred.

WONDER WOMAN and all related characters and elements O & TM DC Comics and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

Wonder Woman is featured heavily in the clip, which is unsurprising considering her smash-hit solo movie is the best in the DC Universe so far. The film picks up after the events of Batman v. Superman, in a world without Superman following his death in the film’s climactic battle.

The clip hints at some of the film’s huge action sequences, while also providing us with enough eye candy to keep us interested.

Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder, who recently stepped down from post-production after the tragic death of his daughter. Joss Whedon, known for his work on The Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is stepping in to help complete the film.

The film’s synopsis reads: “Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

“Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”

Superman is dead, and will definitely not be making a surprise third act appearance where he saves his friends from certain death. Definitely not…

Watch the trailer below:

Justice League is out on November 17.

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Posted by Beth Mole

(credit: Chelsea Fortin/Bhatia Lab/Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research)

Being able to grow your own new organs may be in reach—with some cellular assembly required.

With a carefully constructed clump of cells, mice grew their own functional human liver organoids in a matter of months, researchers report this week in Science Translational Medicine. The cellular organ seeds blossomed in the rodents, expanding 50-fold in that time. They appeared to form complex liver structures, tap into vasculature, and carry out the functions of a normal liver. The critical factor in getting the organoids to take root, the authors report, was having the seed cells arranged just right.

Though the organ seeds are far from any clinical application, researchers are hopeful that they’ll one day be able to engineer larger liver organs to treat patients with liver failure or damage.

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Posted by Attitude Magazine

The government has announced plans for a consultation on the legal system that underpins gender transition in the UK.

As it currently stands under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, a person who wishes to make a change to the gender they were assigned at birth needs a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and must provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender.

However, critics have claimed that the law is too complicated and focused too strongly on medical transition including surgery. This decision comes after LGBT+ activists and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have challenged Prime Minister Theresa May to simplify the process.

The consultation on the Gender Recognition Act, to be published in the Autumn, will look to improve the recognition process and reduce the stigma faced by the trans community. Proposals will include removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before being able to apply for gender recognition and proposing options for reducing the length and intrusiveness of the gender recognition system.

Juno Dawson, trans author and Attitude columnist, welcomed the announcement of the consultation. “While it’s actually quite easy to apply for a passport or drivers license as a trans person, getting the gender recognition certificate was seen by many as complicated and intrusive,” Juno said. “More worryingly it led to cases of trans women being sent to men’s prisons and other legal difficulties. Any review is welcome, especially the need for medical diagnosis.

“Hopefully this will make it easier for all trans AND non-binary people to legally change their gender.”

Suzanna Hopwood, a member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group, said. “I am really pleased that the Government is making good on its commitment to review the Gender Recognition Act,” she said. “Reform is one of the key priorities in our vision for removing the huge inequalities that trans people face in the UK. The current system is demeaning and broken.

“It’s vital that this reform removes the requirements for medical evidence and an intrusive interview panel, and finally allows all trans people to have their gender legally recognised through a simple administrative process. That’s what we’ll be calling for during this consultation, and I’m looking forward to seeing the law change soon after.”

“The 2004 Act was ground-breaking in giving trans people a way to have their gender legally recognised, but the process is in dire need of reform. We need a simple process which isn’t medicalised, intrusive or demeaning. We would urge the Government to ensure that all trans communities are consulted and to act quickly on their concerns.”

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said that the announcement of the consultation is “hugely encouraging”, and urged for a simplification of the legal process for trans people.

“The 2004 Act was ground-breaking in giving trans people a way to have their gender legally recognised, but the process is in dire need of reform,” she continued. “We need a simple process which isn’t medicalised, intrusive or demeaning. We would urge the Government to ensure that all trans communities are consulted and to act quickly on their concerns.”

The government also announces plans to reduce gay blood donor restrictions ahead of the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

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Is a gay version of ‘Love Island’ in the works?

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An underwater robot spotted the lava-like rocks inside a reactor of Japan's destroyed nuclear plant.
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Posted by Josh Lee

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe turns 28 today (July 23).

Radcliffe is known for his role in the Harry Potter film series and that role in Equus. More recently, he has earned praise for roles in Kill Your Darlings and Horns. 

To celebrate his birthday, we’ve waved our magic wands to conjure up some of his hottest moments.

Enjoy!

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Radcliffe

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NEW YORK - DECEMBER 09: Daniel Radcliffe performs a song and dance at the 2008 Gypsy of the Year which raised $3,061,148 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at the New Amsterdam Theatre on December 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Radcliffe

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Posted by Attitude Magazine

Tom Daley has won his first individual gold medal in eight years, after a stunning victory at the World Aquatics Championships yesterday (July 22).

The 23-year-old diver triumphed over Chen Aisen of China in the 10m individual platform at the Championships in Budapest. Chen won the gold at Rio last year after Tom was knocked out at the semi-final stage.

It’s Tom’s first gold medal since he triumphed at the age of 15 eight years ago.

Daley and his partner Grace Reid also took home a silver medal in the mixed 3m springboard event.

“It’s been such a tough year getting over that competition in Rio,” Tom told the BBC after his win.

“Today the Olympic champion was never going to let me have it easy but I wanted to fight until the very end and I really wanted to prove a point.

“I’m just so happy with the way it turned out. My score was a personal best and I think it would have got the gold last year at the Olympics.

“I saw Chen do his dive and all the Chinese divers cheer, so I thought ‘Watch this one. You do that, I’m going to do it better’.

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Posted by David Kravets

Enlarge (credit: Linday Fox)

A divided federal appeals court is upholding a President Barack Obama-era regulation that barred e-cigarette smoking—also known as vaping—on both inbound and outbound US flights.

The US Department of Transportation officially banned electronic cigarettes on flights in March of 2016 to clear up any confusion as to whether they were also outlawed like traditional tobacco cigarettes.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives sued, alleging Congress' "no smoking" statute didn't apply to e-cigarettes.

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Posted by Mike Smithson

The main political stories this Sunday morning

Mike Smithson


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Posted by Attitude Magazine

The deferral period in which gay and bisexual men can give blood will be reduced from 12 months to 3 months, it has been announced today (July 23).

The news comes after mounting pressure on the government from campaign groups to work towards an individual risk-based policy.

As it stands today, those affected by the restrictions (men who have sex with men and trans people assigned male at birth) have to wait at least 12 months after their last sexual encounter before being able to donate blood.

Before the 12-month restriction period was put in place just six years ago in 2011, men who sleep with men and trans people assigned male at birth faced a lifetime ban on blood donations, put in place in 1981 during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It wasn’t until September last year that Northern Ireland lifted the lifetime ban and caught up with the policy that in place in the rest of the UK.

The government have also announced a long-term commitment to striving for an individualised risk-based policy as well as similar reduction in deferral periods for other groups affected by the 12-month restriction.

Campaign group FreedomToDonate today welcomed the Government’s new blood donation policy. Ethan Spibey, FreedomToDonate’s founder and director, reacted to the news by saying: “Today’s announcement from the Government marks a world-leading blood donation policy for gay and bisexual men and the other groups previously restricted. I’m so proud that the work of FreedomToDonate and our supporters will help ensure more people than ever before are allowed to safely donate blood.”

FreedomToDonate has been working tirelessly alongside the Department of Health and NHS Blood and Transplant to ensure the world-leading blood donation policy was introduced, in light of better testing measures which can detect HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis within three months.

Stewart McDonald MP, co-chair of the FreedomToDonate-launched APPG on Blood Donation, who led on the parliamentary inquiry, welcomed the reduced deferment period as integral in ensuring an increase in blood stock and expressed his approval of the amendment of the ‘outdated’ restrictions.

Stonewall’s Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said the change was “welcome” but stressed that there is more work to be done. “While this is an important move, it’s vital that this is a stepping stone to a system that doesn’t automatically exclude most gay and bi men. We would like to see individualised risk assessment, and are encouraged that the Government and NHS Blood and Transplant Service are committed to exploring how to do this.”

An announcement of when the policy will come into effect is expected in due course.

The government also announced a consultation to help ‘streamline’ the legal process for gender transition in the UK.

Words by Marcus Wratten

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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge (credit: Kathy Gauthier)

The stepmother of the late Alexandre Cazes told Ars that she and her husband have a hard time believing what American and European authorities have said about their son as a criminal suspect. The Department of Justice said Thursday that Cazes was behind the recently shuttered AlphaBay, the world’s largest underground drug website,

The DOJ also said that Cazes was arrested on July 5 in Thailand at his home outside Bangkok and apparently committed suicide while in a Thai jail on July 12.

In a brief French-language interview conducted over Facebook Messenger on Friday afternoon, Kathy Gauthier, of Trois-Rivières, Québec, said that Cazes was always a "good boy" who had no previous run-ins with the law.

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Posted by Gary Stanton

The morning-after delayed contraceptive pill is more expensive than keeping your legs together you filthy scrubber, it has emerged.

Augmented reality wins big in legal flap

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 02:31 pm
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Posted by David Kravets

Enlarge (credit: Candy Lab)

A judge on Thursday declared as unconstitutional a local Wisconsin ordinance mandating that the makers of augmented reality games get special use permits if their mobile apps were to be played in county parks. The law—the nation's first of its kind—was challenged on First Amendment grounds amid concerns it amounted to a prior restraint of a game maker's speech. What's more, the law was seemingly impossible to comply with.

The federal lawsuit was brought by a Southern California company named Candy Lab. The maker of Texas Rope 'Em—an augmented reality game with features like Pokemon Go—sued Milwaukee County after it adopted an AR ordinance in February in the wake of the Pokemon Go craze. Because some of its parks were overrun by a deluge of players, the county began requiring AR makers to get a permit before their apps could be used in county parks.

The permitting process also demanded that developers perform the impossible: estimate crowd size, event dates, and the times when mobile gamers would be playing inside county parks. The permits, which cost as much as $1,000, also required that developers describe plans for garbage collection, bathroom use, on-site security, and medical services. Without meeting those requirements, augmented reality publishers would be in violation of the ordinance if they published games that included playtime in Milwaukee County parks.

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Posted by Mike Smithson

Remember Gordon Brown’s LAB and Charles Kennedy’s LDs GE2010 & GE2005 Scottish performances

I’ve published the above chart before – the experience of LAB at GE2010 which totally knocked on the head the notion of uniform national swing.

We all know that election wasn’t a good one for Gordon Brown’s LAB. They lost power after suffering huge seat losses. There was one part of the UK which bucked the overall trend Scotland.

Whereas in England LAB was down more than 7.4% in Scotland the party in increased its vote share by 3.1% and came away with 41 of the 59 seats north of the border.

    So extraordinarily LAB’s average vote change in Scotland at GE2010 was a whopping 10.5% better in Scotland than in England. The reason was simple – the LAB leader, Gordon Brown, was Scottish.”

As was remarked at the time by a prominent Scottish politics academic “Brown maybe a bastard but he’s OUR bastard.” I’ve often thought that a contributory factor to Labour’s GE2015 Scottish disaster when it lost 40 of its 41 seats was that the party no longer had a Scottish leader.

At GE2005, when the LDs were last led by Scottish leader, the late Charles Kennedy at GE2005, they won 13 of the 59 seats north of the border making them the second party in terms of Scottish MPs at that election.

With Scottish politics in a state of flux at the moment there it looks as though next time, when ever that is, could see a lot more movement in Scotland.

The Tories there have a strong figurehead – Ruth Davidson and TMay’s part in the 12 Scottish gains was minimal.

So who could the three national parties choose? It’s said that Vince Cable is keeping the LD leader’s seat warm for Jo Swinson; it is conceivable that a way could be found for the Tories to elect Davidson as national leader, but it is hard to see a suitable LAB figure.

Mike Smithson


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Posted by Cathleen O'Grady

Enlarge (credit: Kate Evans for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR))

We’re trashing the world not because it’s fun, but because it pays to do so. People respond to financial incentives. So, how do you provide an incentive to stop trashing the world? One idea is to use cold, hard cash. If people earn more by not trashing, the thinking goes, the incentive flips: it suddenly pays to conserve. Based on this idea, a trial program in Uganda paid landowners to preserve the forest on their land and tracked the results.

It turned out not to be so simple—people don’t always neatly do what they’re supposed to. What if these landowners were already concerned about deforestation and were already preserving their land? You’ve just forked out quite a bit to pay for something that was already going to happen. Or what if they just cut down trees elsewhere instead? Figuring out whether the benefits of the program are worth the cost requires collecting a lot of data.

A paper in Science this week reports on the results, which are encouraging: deforestation slowed to about half the previous rate, and it looks as though people didn’t just shift their forest clearing elsewhere. The program benefits seem to have outweighed the costs, whichever way you slice it. In other words, money provides a great incentive to preserve habitats, which is great news for climate change efforts.

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Posted by Will Stroude

It’s been 18 years since Queer as Folk bursting onto British television screens in a Middle England-baiting whirlwind of drugs, sex, and the bright lights of Canal Street, and it remains of the world’s best-loved gay TV shows.

Chronicling the lives of three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village at the turn of the millennium, Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking drama series drew critical acclaim – not to mention a great deal of controversy – for its frank, funny and fearless depiction of LGBT life.

After Charlie Hunnam’s request for a reunion of the iconic Channel 4 series sent us on a serious nostalgia trip over the weekend, Attitude got thinking about exactly where the show’s beloved stars are now.

We’ve done some digging to find out exactly what happened to the cast after the series’ short-but-sweet 10-episode run came to an end in 2000. So without further ado, here’s there old QAF gang as they are now…

Aidan Gillen (Stuart Alan Jones)

Aiden Gillen was already a fairly established TV and film actor by the time Queer as Folk premiered in 1999, but his role as magnetic, manipulative man-hunter Stuart scored him a TV BAFTA for Best Actor and helped propel his career to new heights. He appeared as Tommy Carcetti in three seasons of acclaimed HBO series The Wire between 2004 and 2008, and is probably now most widely-recognised for his role as Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in that little-known fantasy show, Game of Thrones.

Craig Kelly (Vince Tyler)

Craig Kelly’s geeky, love-lorn Vince was the beating heart behind Queer as Folk. A former Casualty star with appearances in Titanic and Attitude favourite Spice World to his name before landing the role, post-QAF Kelly enjoyed further TV success in series including Totally Frank and Hotel Babylon, before appearing in Coronation Street throughout 2009 as Carla Conner’s dodgy business partner Luke Strong. Since then, it’s all gone a bit quiet on the acting front, with the 46-year-old’s last onscreen appearances coming in a couple of short films back in 2012.

Charlie Hunnam (Nathan Maloney)

This one probably needs no introduction: After making his name as Queer as Folk‘s wide-eyed-yet-troublesome schoolboy Nathan Maloney, Charlie Hunnam has gone on to forge a career as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand leading men. Following a gritty transition starring as Jackson “Jax” Teller in eight seasons of motorcycle gang drama Sons of Anarchy, the 37-year-old has appeared in blockbusters including Pacific RimThe Lost City of Z and the newly-released King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. He even turned down the opportunity to star as Christian Grey in the 50 Shades movie – a role eventually taken by Jamie Dornan.

Denise Black (Hazel Tyler)

After starring as Vince’s free-spirited mum Hazel, British TV veteran Denise Black has continued to make regular appearances in pretty much every popular drama series you can think of, including Benidorm, Doctors, Holby City, Midsomer Murders, Doc Martin, Robin Hood, Dalziel and Pascoe, and The Bill. She’s also known to many as Coronations Street‘s Denise Osbourne and Emmerdale‘s Joanie Wright.

Denise notably reprised the character of Hazel for a fan-pleasing (if not incredibly sad) cameo appearance in Russell T Davies’s next-generation LGBT series Cucumber back in 2015.

Antony Cotton (Alexander Perry)

Now one of the most recognisable gay actors on British television, a then 24-year-old Antony Cotton got his big break playing Vince and Stu’s loud and proud friend Alexander. As well as appearing in over 900 episodes of Coronation Streets as barman Sean Tully since 2003, Antony took part in ITV singing competition Soapstar Superstar in 2007, and won Attitude’s TV Personality of the Year at the Attitude Awards 2015.

Jason Merrells (Phil Delaney)

Before taking on the role of Vince and Stu’s ill-fated friend Phil in QAF, Jason Merrells had tasted prime-time TV fame playing Matt Hawley in Casualty from 1994 to 1997. After *that* tragic hook-up, Jason carved out a career as one of British TV’s most dependable drama faces, starring in Cutting ItWaterloo Road, and Lark Rise to Candleford, before taking on the role of Declan Macey in ITV’s Emmerdale for four years from 2010-14. Last year, hee appeared in Sky One’s Agatha Raisin and also recently implied that a return to Emmerdale might be on the cards…

Carla Henry (Donna Clark)

Carle Henry is probably still best-known for her role as Nathan’s supportive, no-nonsense school chum Donna. She went on to make appearances in 2002 film Revengers Tragedy and 2004’s satirical TV film I’m A Juvenile Delinquent – Jail Me! before turning her attention to theatre – although over the last few years she’s cropped up in TV dramas including the BBC’s short-lived Frankie and opposite Sheridan Smith in 2015’s crime-drama series Black Work.

Peter O’Brien (Cameron Roberts)

Former Neighbours star Peter O’Brien was already a well-established actor when he took on the role of Vince’s hunky accountant love interest Cameron. He’s continued to make regular TV and film appearances since parting ways with Vince at the end of series one – most notably as Theo ‘Stitch’ Labert in Casualty in 2007, and as John Howlett in 2009 blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In 2015, he returned to his Aussie roots to star in  Australian mystery-drama-thriller TV series Winter.

So there you have it, folks. Oh, and if this trip down memory lane has got you craving a return to Babylon, both series of Queers as Folk are available to watch free on Channel 4 On Demand now.

More stories:
Why Queers as Folk USA remains essential viewing ten years later
After Queer as Folk, Charlie Hunnam isn’t phased by onscreen nudity

Is a gay version of ‘Love Island’ in the works?

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 11:36 am
[syndicated profile] attitude_magazine_feed

Posted by Attitude Magazine

Love Island is the breakout hit show of the summer. Not only does the programme’s drama make for unmissable television, the show’s male stars are all too keen to get their kit off at every opportunity.

The only thing that would make the ITV2 show better would be a gay version, and if recent reports are anything to go by, that could be happening sooner rather than later.

The show’s creator Richard Cowles recently revealed that he is up for a gay version of the show. In an interview with The Times, Cowles said “I would like to see what a gay version of the show would be but trying to mix the two would be difficult.”

A gay version of the show would require more work, as there would have to be two completely separate versions of the game happening at one time – one for gay men and another for lesbians. However, we’re still holding out hope that our fantasy of a Gay Island will be a reality.

The current series of the show is already pretty gay. Earlier in the series, Islanders Chris and Kem shaved their initials on to each other’s pubic hair. Really.

Is it too early to say that Love Island is one of the greatest television series in the history of human civilisation?

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Caron Lindsay

As you read this, I’ll be on my way to the beautiful Highlands for two weeks. I need my spiritual home to work its restorative magic on me.

I have decided that I’m going to have a proper break. In previous years, I’ve still done meetings and continued to write for LDV albeit at a reduced rate.

This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster. From the personal drama of my husband’s serious illness last Autumn to the Council elections to the General Election and starting a new job, I’ve not had much space to draw breath.

I need some proper downtime. I fully intend to do not much more than read books, eat cake, drink gin and walk on this gorgeous beach with this gorgeous creature:

I can’t see me going a whole two weeks without a single opinion to inflict on you, so I may pop up once or twice.

Other than that, I shall leave you in the capable hands of the rest of the team. There may be times when the site is a bit quiet, but normal service will be resumed from 7th August.

I hope all of you will have the chance to have a wonderful break over the next few weeks if you haven’t been away already.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

[syndicated profile] attitude_magazine_feed

Posted by Attitude Magazine

Riley Carter, the first trans actor to play a transgender man on a British soap, has slammed the way his character’s exit was handled on EastEnders.

Carter entered the soap as Kyle Slater in 2015, but Kyle was axed last November when a new executive producer took over.

Speaking to The Sun this week, Riley said that he was frustrated with the way his character was handled over the course of his time on the show, complaining that Kyle was never given a ‘normal’ life.

Kyle’s biggest storyline involved coming out as transgender to his family during the first few months of his stint on the show. However, the character gradually faded into the background and left Albert Square in November to study catering in France.

BBC

Riley told the tabloid: “I was disappointed it was not shown that Kyle had a normal life.

“He had the big coming-out story and it was dramatic and emotional, but we didn’t get to see a happy ending, like a relationship of any sort other than the reunion with his half-sister, Stacey. It was frustrating.

“I felt I let myself and the fans down as I could have pushed for something.

“It’s a shame to have gay characters and then you have to say goodbye.”

More stories:
Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty strips down to his pants in revealing Instagram snap
Gay porn found at Pompeii could help us understand the Bible

[syndicated profile] attitude_magazine_feed

Posted by Attitude Magazine

Adam Peaty certainly knows how to start our weekend off right.

The Olympic gold medalist and Attitude cover star shared not one, but two incredible bathroom selfies on Instagram last night.

Adam, who is in full training mode, has been sporting a sexy beard recently but broke all of our hearts by announcing that he was shaving it off. He didn’t seem too happy about it, telling his fans that he was “about to look 10 years old”.

However, there was something else in the picture that grabbed our attention even more than the beard …

Well, that’s just … well.

Not content with leaving us speechless, Adam posted another selfie post-shave – reminding us that he looks gorgeous with and without facial hair.

Earlier this summer, Adam appeared on the cover of Attitude and took part in a sizzling shoot that set pulses racing across the land. Sales of fans and water skyrocketed as Attitude readers attempted to cool themselves down and quench their thirst after seeing the pictures.

Take a look at some of our favourite pictures of Adam here. He’s not wearing very much in any of them.

Get your copy of Adam’s Attitude Summer issue cover. Get in printsubscribe or download now.

Adam Peaty, shot by Daniel Jaems for Attitude’s Summer issue.

More stories:
Gay porn found at Pompeii could help us understand the Bible
Ariana Grande named ‘the gay icon of her generation’

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Eric Berger

Enlarge (credit: ESA)

This week we all had a good laugh at the expense of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who asked NASA scientists during a committee hearing whether it was possible that a civilization existed on Mars thousands of years ago. "Would you rule that out?" he asked. "See, there's some people... Well, anyway."

Rohrabacher is an interesting figure in Washington, whose once-idiosyncratic views seem largely in vogue with those of the new administration. Politico called Rohrabacher "Putin's favorite Congressman" in a mini-profile last year. Like Trump, the Congressman has also has called climate change a hoax. In a 2014 letter to President Obama, Rohrabacher wrote, "Mr. President, we both know I have referred to the theory of man-made global warming as a 'hoax,' and, yes, I once used to the phrase 'dinosaur flatulence' as a soft jab at what I considered to be climate alarmism."

So after Rohrabacher's question—which seemed driven by some arcane conspiracy theory given his use of "some people"—it was curious that one of his few defenders was a well known climate scientist, Gavin Schmidt. "To be fair, NASA astrobiology is very interested in this (and similar) questions. Not sure why it's out-of-bounds to ask," the NASA climate modeler wrote on Twitter.

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Posted by Ross Semple

Pornographic images found at Pompeii could help us understand religious attitudes to sexuality, a prominent Christian has argued.

Thousands were killed when molten rock, volcanic ash and deadly gases engulfed the Roman town in a fiery eruption that lasted two days when Mount Vesuvius erupted back in 79 A.D.

Archaeologists are continuing to make discoveries at the site of the blast, including artwork displaying sex acts between members of the same sex.

Rev. Steve Chalke, a campaigner for LGBT+ acceptance in the Church of England, has delivered a talk explaining how these discoveries could help us understand the context of the Bible, as reported in Indy100.

Wikimedia

Chalke says that homosexual sex was common in Roman times: “In Rome sex was an important thing. If you were a man you were expected to have sexual playthings apart from your wife. Your wife was to pass on the family line but you would have a mistress, a concubine, a boy that you would have sex with as well and all of that was expected. It was normal, it wasn’t frowned upon and it was written about.”

He argues that the Bible passages that chastise homosexual acts are misinterpreted, as gay sex was only taboo when it was between two members of the same class. “What you weren’t allowed to do, under any circumstance,” Chalke says, “was to have sex with another Roman. Roman citizens were protected. You could only have sex with someone of a lesser status, with a slave or a gladiator.”

Basically, Roman men could have sex with guys all they liked, as long as the men were of a lower class.

Earlier this year, scientists made a surprising discovery about Pompeii’s famous embracing couple.

Dubbed “The Two Maidens,” the two bodies were found hugging in their final moments as they were covered by molten rock and ash.

For years, it was believed that the two bodies were both women – but new research has discovered that they’re actually both men.

Aged between 18 and 20, the men weren’t related, and are positioned in such a way that it’s now speculated they were lovers who shared an embrace in their final moments alive.

More stories:
Ariana Grande named ‘the gay icon of her generation’
Who wants a sneak peek at Gareth Gates’ Attitude Active shoot?

[syndicated profile] attitude_magazine_feed

Posted by Ross Semple

Ariana Grande has been named the gay icon of her generation, causing some to question whether a straight person can be considered an icon for the LGBT+ community.

Billboard has bestowed the title on Ms Grande, and given eight reasons to justify her selection. These include her support of her gay brother Frankie, the lyrics to her sex anthem ‘Side to Side’, and her Pride performances.

Other justifications on the list are, admittedly, a little tenuous. Are sampling Diana Ross or doing a (brilliant) Céline Dion impression gay icon credentials?

When the story was posted earlier this week, many people took to the internet to express their frustrations.

One user asked: “How is Ariana the gay icon of the generation? What about RuPaul? What about the Babadook? What about an actual gay person?”

However, this isn’t exactly shocking news. Ariana Grande is the latest in a long line of women who have been given similar status.

Historically, a gay icon has been a high-profile figure in the world of entertainment with whom LGBT+ people identify with. The majority of these figures (Judy Garland, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand) are straight, cisgender women. They are referred to as gay icons not because they have lived the LGBT+ experience, but because they empower their LGBT+ fans through their music and performances.

Furthermore, the best thing about gay icons is that we get to choose them for ourselves. You don’t think Ariana Grande is a gay icon? That’s absolutely fine, she doesn’t have to be yours. I love Judy Garland, but none of my friends do – and that’s fine too. But nobody gets to tell you which artists you should or should not idolise as an LGBT+ person.

More stories:
Who wants a sneak peek at Gareth Gates’ Attitude Active shoot?
John Barrowman shocks Comic-Con audience with TARDIS dress in support of female Doctor Who

Why Deborah Orr is wrong about the Liberal Democrats

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 09:04 am
[syndicated profile] peter_black_am_feed
The by-line says it all - Deborah Orr is a Guardian columnist, and in that capacity she is obliged to find so many hundreds of words each day to bore us with her wisdom. It is easy to find fault, the hard part is to have something constructive and useful to say, as no doubt I will now prove.

In the latest diatribe, Ms. Orr lambasts Vince Cable for his failure to grasp the nettle ten years ago and save us all from the dreadful coalition government. She says that the best that could be said for Nick Clegg is that he was not Chris Huhne and alleges that the Liberal Democrats squandered their best chance to introduce AV, even though it is a half-hearted compromise and not party policy.

She says that by putting Cameron in power the Liberal Democrats set in chain the events that led to us leaving the EU, to the collapse of social justice and the reassertion of two party politics, which for so long we were the main alternative to.

Now counter-factual history is not an exact science, it is actually a form of fiction, so one would expect some justification for these conclusions. Instead Orr embarks on a more reasoned demolition of the first past the post system and why it needs to be replaced.

For, whatever else one might say about Nick Clegg, at least he tried to make a difference, at least he made the effort to put in place key Liberal Democrat policies. And yes, there were times when he was naïve, out-of-touch, when he failed to assert himself properly, and broke promises but I suspect history will prove far kinder to him than the rant that masquerades as Orr's opinion column.

The first question is what were the alternatives in 2010? A coalition with Labour was a non-starter, it would not have commanded a majority in the Commons, could not have provided stable government and would have quickly collapsed in its own contradictions. So it was a choice trying to influence government and put into effect Liberal Democrats policies with Cameron or walk away altogether.

If Clegg had walked away, my view and that of many others is that we would have had a minority Tory Government followed by a second General Election in which Cameron would have secured a majority. Austerity would have been more severe, without the constraining influence of the Liberal Democrats, the referendum on Europe would have come sooner and AV would not even have made it to the floor of the House of Commons.

In Government the Liberal Democrats achieved some important reforms, the green investment bank, the pupil premium, raising the income tax threshold to take millions of low paid workers out of paying that tax altogether, equal marriage, reforms to industrial policy and many more. They held back the sort of cuts to welfare that the Tories subsequently embarked on in 2015 once they had a majority and they kept the UK firmly within the EU.

There were negatives, the bedroom tax, the tuition fee debacle and NHS reforms amongst them, when Clegg should have listened to his party and put his foot down. But the balance sheet is one to be proud of not one to run away from.

At the end of the day it is the electorate that decides who should be in government, not the Liberal Democrats. Politicians do their best with the cards that are dealt to them. The mess we are in now is the result of forces that are reflected elsewhere in the world, the anti-politics movement, disenchantment with the establishment, the search (once again) for a form of messiah who will lead us to a promised land. To seek to blame it all on the Liberal Democrats is perverse in the extreme.

The one bright light in all of this gloom is the diminished band of Liberal Democrats MPs and the 100,000 plus members who continue to fight for internationalism, liberalism, social justice and against the forces of reaction. Vince Cable and my party offer hope. We are in no way the spent force Deborah Orr imagines.

C-Turtle: The landmine-detecting robot 'turtle'

Friday, July 21st, 2017 11:14 pm
[syndicated profile] bbc_technology_news_feed
The disposable robot is made from cardboard and powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero computer.

About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.



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