Linkblogging for 23/08/08

A few quick ones today – I’ve still got 3400 unread items in my feed reader from the week and a bit I was away, so I’ve probably missed all sorts of things I *should* be linking to today. Anyway…

The Mindless Ones are still doing their own special thing, with bobsy using the I Ching to try to divine who the villain is in Grant Morrison’s Batman RIP, while Zom reminisces about childhood attempts to form a superhero team.

Various writers in The Grauniad are talking about how good everything is in the north of England. Obviously, you, as a reader of this blog, are a person of taste and discretion, so you already know this. However, in that strange other country called London they appear to believe they are the only ones who have running water and electricity. Some even seem to believe that this ‘London’ is in some way superior to Manchester, God’s Own City (it’s not even superior to Liverpool or Leeds, though I have been told that some parts of London do reach almost Newcastle-esque levels of tolerability). This link, patronising as it at times appears (Manchester has orchestras too! They eat food in Yorkshire just like the real people darn sarf!) might help these Cock-er-knee people see how misguided they are…

John Conway and Simon Kochen have proved a result that has always seemed intuitively obvious to me (and which ties in neatly with the Darkseid post below) – determinism and the concept of ‘free will’ are mutually incompatible, and thus any hidden variable model of quantum mechanics (such as for example Bohm’s model) means free will doesn’t exist. This means that either other interpretations (such as the standard Copenhagen interpretation) are true, or that free will is a mirage. It still leaves the question open of course – and since I’ve never found a definition of free will that has any operational definition at all I have no problem with the assumption that it *doesn’t* exist – but it will predispose a lot of people towards non-hidden-variable models.

The tube cleaners in London have won a living wage (of sorts – £7.45 an hour is barely a living wage even in a proper city, let alone That London), which is something to celebrate.

And I know this makes me a terrible, horrible person, but all I could think about when reading this Amnesty bulletin about terrible violence in the Philippines was the mental image conjured up by the headline, of “civilians under threat from MILF units and militias”. However, it is a serious situation, and if you’re not already a member of Amnesty, why not?

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