Stuff we've discussed on IRC.
Posted by azz at 2006-05-09 22:22
Right, this is going to take a bit of explaining, but there's some good stuff here.
There's a Star Trek TNG episode called "Disaster", in which (among other things) Picard gets stuck in a lift with some children.
Now, obviously, in the hands of a competent fanfic author, this could spawn an interesting and entertaining series of fanfics about the children and how their experience with the Enterprise crew shaped their future lives.
However, the hands this storyline fell into were those of Stephen Ratliff.
The resulting series of fanfic stories is entertaining, but probably not in the way Ratliff intended. Think "The Eye of Argon".
However, fiction that's just plain bad gets boring after a while. Which is where the Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans come in.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the "MSTing" genre, the idea is that it's MST3k fanfic, with the characters poking fun at some other piece of text. Keith Palmer's collection is a good place to start.
Such as, for example, The Stephen Ratliff Misting Archive.
Some of these MSTings are written by Adam Cadre.
(Who's Adam Cadre, I hear you say? I'd suggest you go and play some of his interactive fiction; I-0 and 9:05 are my favourites, and fairly short.)
Most of the Ratliff MSTings (at least, the ones I've read) are hilariously funny, but they're looking at the work from the obvious perspective: it's really awful fanfiction about a group of poorly-realising uninteresting characters.
Cadre decided instead to treat it as only slightly awful fanfiction about a group of utterly psychotic characters. And write a sequel.
The Master Builders (NSFW) is the result.
It's really dark. It's also one of the funniest things I've read lately, filled with subtle twists on Ratliff's work. You'll need to read some of the MSTings first to make sense of it, but it's worth it.
Posted by David at 2006-05-09 21:10
"For a better Google Mail experience, use a fully supported browser."
But ... but ... Konqueror with its tabbed browsing is giving me a much nicer experience then the default Ajaxy nightmare!
Is Safari a supported browser? If so, then Konqueror will presumably behave fine as well...
No idea - but I like the "Your browser sucks" interface better then the "Ohhh! Have some Ajax" interface (which breaks the back button, and ability to open links in new tabs)
Posted by azz at 2006-05-09 15:29
NATFHE's strike FAQs. An incredibly arrogant and self-contradictory document; I can't see how any student could read this and still support the strikes (if they ever did).
"Why has boycott of marking and exam boards been chosen as the form of action? [...] It [...] does little irreversible damage to students [...] Students cannot gain qualifications or progress towards them."
NATFHE, you honestly think that students not being able to get their degrees -- or getting utterly worthless degrees where half the assessment load has been rendered invalid -- is "little irreversible damage"?
Words fail me. (That is, I can't think of a way of describing these reprehensible villains that's both strong enough and not obscene.)
Given that this affects PhD students too -- in that they're instructing their members not to participate in PhD vivas -- there are going to be a lot of very angry new staff around next year. I wonder what that'll do to union membership figures.
Oh, and you've got to love the command of English that NATFHE displays. "So what affect is there is if you went on strike in this period?"