Touchdown!

Being an absolutely massive nerd I’ve been up since 4a.m. watching the livestream from NASA of the Curiosity rover landing. It was genuinely nerve wracking, especially the last 15 minutes or so as the lander entered the atmosphere. I was literally on the edge of my seat and then when the first pictures started coming in.

GLEEEEEEE!

I was also following a really cool G+ hangout featuring intertube luminaries such as Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer and Dr Pamela Gay the Star Stryder. :)

I can’t wait until the rover’s head extends and we get the hi-res images coming in. The images above come from the hazard cams on the rover’s wheels. When Curiosity landed it was basically a box with six wheels and all instrumentation was folded inside to protect it from the dust that would be thrown up by landing.

One interesting thing that came up during the hang out was that the folk at NASA don’t get paid until the mission succeeds. No wonder they always look so relieved. That is also a really shitty condition of employment. (Unionise FFS!)

Here in the UK at the moment everything seems to be covered in b/s promoting the latest excuse to try and bolster feelings of patriotism and British nationalism, the Olympics 2012. The Olympics have cost, at the moment, £24,000,000,000. Landing Curiosity cost £1,600,000,000. So, for the amount of money that has been spunked on the Olympics we could have landed 15 rovers. Hell, we could be well on the way to landing a manned mission on Mars. Priorities, ours are clearly skewed.

Some cool pics I’ve found on the interwebs since the landing. :)

This dude was awesome :D

Also, from the Curiosity Rover’s Twitter feed :D

What a Fanny – David Hoffman

David Hoffman is a photo journalist and over the last 30 years has been given fantastic access to demos including to anti-fascist activity. This has included him being protected whilst taking pictures of people literally kicking nazis off our streets, and by extension making our communities safer.

However Hoffman decided to sue Freedom Press over their use of his photographs in their book Beating the Fascists. This book is an extremely important part of British working class history. The photographs used had previously been published by Anti-Fascist Action, upon whose activities most of the book is focussed, with the consent of Hoffman.

He has demanded £4,000 pounds off Freedom Press, which they have had to pay, which means that now the newspaper they publish, and have done for over a hundred years, has to come to an end.

This parasite made money off working class people defending themselves and then has the temerity to demand restitution for images he took of us and our comrades defending our communities? What a prick.

If anyone sees this guy, on a demonstration or elsewhere, then I suggest they let him know exactly what they think of his cuntish behaviour.

You can also drop him a line on Twitter if you like https://twitter.com/davidhoffmanuk

prick

Prometheus Bland

I went to see Prometheus

Prometheus shouldn’t have been a good film. It should have been a fucking fantastic film. With Ridley Scott directing and an absolutely cracking cast. However despite this and despite having some mind blowing special effects and an overarching plot that promises epic philosophical and ethical exploration it is let down sorely by one thing. Well, one thing and two people. The script and the people, Damon Lindelof and Jon Sphaits, who wrote it.

Overall the script was clunky and seemed to me to be a rehash of a rejected 1950′s B movie. The actors all deserve credit for managing to work their way through it as well as they did. The script is full of major plot holes, cod philosophy and so many basic scientific(and archaeological) inaccuracies that anyone with a high school education should have been wincing all the way through. Character development is nearly non-existent, aside from the character of David played by Michael Fassbender, so it is difficult to find any sympathy for any of the characters. The characters almost all act in a completely unfathomable way, even David who is the most developed character by far.

But it is the simple scientific, and archaeological, fuck ups that really irritated the fuck out of me. I’m not concerned with ‘realism’ when it comes to things that we don’t have today and so need bullshit explanations but when it is things that are available on wiki-fucking-pedia there is absolutely no excuse. Sorry, no fucking excuse.

For starters we are told that the crew have been asleep for a little over two years yet the nearest star to Earth is something like 4 light years away so they must have broken the speed of light to get there. A pretty remarkable advance for the next 70-80 years. But then we are told that they a visiting a galactic cluster that has a star in it around which orbits a planet with a moon. So the planet, sorry moon, we are visiting is in a different galaxy? And they got there in 2 years? And this galaxy, nay this entire galactic fucking cluster, only has one star with a planet? WTF????

Then there is the archaeological stuff that was just absurd. At the beginning of the film we are told that we are on the Isle of Skye at an archaeological dig. We see Noomi Rapace hard at work making a discovery and sending a fellow archaeologist to call Dr. Holloway, hereafter Annoying American Dude(AAD) ‘quickly’. Said archaeologist rushes out of the cave and shouts down the hill to AAD who is hard at work sieving some soil samples(meinne gotte! Some actual archaeology!). AAD quickly throws his sieve to the floor and dashes up the hillside because you have to be quick off the mark to catch archaeology… Anyway, AAD gets to the cave where Noomi Rapace has found a wall full of cave paintings in the style of Lascaux. “Have you dated it?” AAD asks, and here I am willing to suspend disbelief and accept that there has been some super fast and portable means of radiometric, or other technique, dating developed in the 80 years between now and then. The response though “Yes, 35,000 years”. 35,000 years? W.T.F??? The earliest evidence for human occupation in Scotland goes back maybe 10,500 years. 35,000 years ago Scotland, and therefore Skye, was under a sheet of ice a kilometre thick. It was uninhabitable. Also bear in mind that the paintings at Lascaux date back around 17,500 years.

Seriously. Hollywood. There are plenty of folk out there with archaeology degrees. Just pay one of us to give your script the once over. As it goes the film comes across as something produced by the SyFy channel but with better effects and an expensive cast who are wasted on a clunky script written by morons who deserve to have their livers eaten by birds.

It is a pretty film mind…

Edited to add: Lol, can’t believe I missed this one :D

Terry Curry 2012

I felt physically sick last night when I read this story about Bei Bei Shuai, who has spent the last year in prison in Marion County, Indiana, USA for the crime of ‘feticide’ and ‘attempted murder’. Her crime? Trying to kill herself whilst pregnant. For this she is on remand with no chance of bail. How the hell can this be allowed?

Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry says that

It is my goal as your prosecutor to make Marion County a safer place to live, work, and raise a family.

How prosecuting a woman for being desperate enough to try and take her own life contributes to this is beyond me. This case is symptomatic of the direction that the US seems to be moving in. Towards being a land where women are stripped of any form of autonomy over their own bodies and where foetal matter is given greater societal protection than living breathing human beings.

Terry Curry

Reprehensible man is reprehensible

Already we have seen women compared to cattle with regards being forced to carry a dead foetus to term, bills being put forward that would mean women are left to die in order to protect what is in their womb and many, many more attacks on women by various states. The US seems bent on turning Margaret Atwood into a prophet, rather than just a damn fine author.

I would like to propose that we, the collective hive mind of the internets, let prosecutor Terry Curry know what we think of his disgusting imprisonment of Bei Bei Shuai. There is already a petition to sign here and you can follow the campaign to free Bei Bei on Facebook and Twitter,  and I think that people should also be emailing, telephoning and writing to Terry Curry to let him know how we feel about this case.

For starters we can start to tweet him and tweet about him @MCProsecutors he can also be contacted via his office by both email and snail mail. Hell, if you live nearby you can always pop by to see him. Just remember take along as many of your friends and neighbours as possible when you do so.

Write to Terry or drop by for a chat at:

251 E. Ohio St. Suite, 160 Indianapolis, IN 46204, USA

Email him:   MCPO@indy.gov

Give him a ring: +001(from UK) (317) 327-5338 (Get your international dialling code from here)

You could even be all old school and fax him: +001(from UK) (317) 327-3531

We can also leave messages for him on the Marion County Prosecutors Facebook page.

If anyone else can think of any ideas for letting this man know that he must not prosecute Bei Bei, and that she should be freed and compensated immediately, let me know and I will happily update the post with new info.

If half the internets can get all riled up for the blood of Joseph Kony, so much so that they support a campaign that will ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands in Uganda, then surely some of that wrath can be brought to bear on this man in order to get this woman out of prison. If only I could afford to make a flashy video with some self righteous hipsters…

Free Bei Bei

URGENT: Please help Aziz and Gemma!

*URGENT: Please help Aziz and Gemma!*

**Aziz Hussini (Home Office Ref: *H1206065*) is currently in detention
and is due to be forcibly removed from the UK to Afghanistan on *Monday
12^rd March*, on charter flight *PVT081* to Kabul at *23:10.*

**

**

The UK Borders Agency arrested 18 year old Aziz on his wedding day,
bursting into the Registry Office and dragging him away. Waiting to walk
down the aisle, Gemma, his distraught fiancé, who is a British citizen,
did not know what was happening until 2 UKBA officials in their stab
proof vests came out to tell her that her wedding could not happen
because they had detained her fiancé.

**

/Aziz and Gemma Gemma on the morning of her wedding/

Aziz and Gemma have been together for over a year, and were planning a
life together before they were torn apart by Border Agency officials.
Gemma is beside herself with worry, and hasn’t eaten or slept properly
since Monday, when she was supposed to get married.Gemma first met Aziz
in February last year, and says that /“When I first saw him, the
connection was there straight away, we’ve been together ever
since”./This is not a ‘sham marriage’, Gemma has had an ‘/A’/ tattood
behind her ear at Christmas as a symbol of her commitment to Aziz, and
is learning Dari, Aziz’s native language.She says she will fly to
Afghanistan to live with Aziz if necessary.

Their relationship has never been properly considered by the UKBA even
though they clearly knew he was due to get married on the day that he
was detained at the Registry Office.

Aziz arrived in the UK 2009 as an unaccompanied minor. Despite a
difficult start, Aziz is flourishing in Glasgow.When he first arrived in
the UK, he couldn’t speak a word of English, but is now hoping to study
at University and has many close friends who he has met through
collage.After first studying English, Aziz is now working for an HNC in
Computing, where Gemma says he worked twice as hard as everyone else.In
Glasgow, he was completed a voluntary work placement as textiles artist
with Little Persia,a Persian rug shop in Glasgow.He has also received
awards from the John Muir Environmental Award, and an accreditation from
the ASDAN charitable foundation, illustrating his commitment to his
local community.

Forcibly removing Aziz to Afghanistan would be a devastating violation
of his Right to a Family and Private Life (Article 8 of the European
Convention of Human Rights, 1998 Human Rights Act).The UKBA didn’t even
bother to consider Gemma when they refused to allow Aziz to continue
with his life in the UK, claiming that /“There is no evidence that the
appellant has any close family in the UK”./Now that they’ve ruined Gemma
and Aziz’s wedding, they must know that this isn’t the case.

However, Aziz is also terrified that if he is returned, he will never be
reunited with Gemma.His life is in danger in Afghanistan, which he fled
after being commissioned to make satirical depictions of a
fundamentalist party leader on a carpet.Aziz has lost contact with his
family, so will have no-one to support or protect him, and would be left
alone and afraid in an impoverished and dangerous country he has had no
contact with for the three years he has been in the UK.

Aziz is due to be forcibly removed on one of the infamous charter
flights used by the UKBA for mass deportations of people to the same
country. Flight number PVT 081 is scheduled to depart at 23.10 to Kabul
on Monday evening.

These charter flights have been regularly criticised. In particular,
guards accompanying the detainees have been criticised for using
excessive force as there are not any other passengers to act as
witnesses. Similarly concern has been expressed about the UKBA’s
practise of substituting people at the last minute without warning to
fill spaces on the flight left by people whose lawyers managed to
successfully get them off the flight.

**

*Please urgently contact the Home Secretary, Theresa May, your MP, and
Aziz’s MP, Ann McKechin, to ask them to halt the forced removal of Aziz,
and allow him to stay in Glasgow, with Gemma, where he belongs.*

**

*Contact the Home Secretary:***

Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office
2 Marsham Street

London

SW1 4DF

email: mayt@parliament.uk <mailto:mayt@parliament.uk>

UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk
<mailto:UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk>

CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk <mailto:CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk>

Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
<mailto:Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk>

Contact Aziz’s MP too

Ann McKechin MP,

154-156 Raeberry Street

Glasgow

G20 6EA

tel:0141 946 1300 or 020 7219 8239

fax:0141 946 1412 or 020 7219 1770

email:anne.mckechin.mp@parliament.uk
<mailto:anne.mckechin.mp@parliament.uk> /

http://annmckechinmp.net/contact-ann/email-ann

The UNITY Centre
30 Ibrox Street
Glasgow
G51 1AQ

0141 427 7992
www.unitycentreglasgow.org <http://www.unitycentreglasgow.org>
PLEASE NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: info@unitycentreglasgow.org
<mailto:info@unitycentreglasgow.org>

The UNITY Centre is run entirely by volunteers and funded completely by
donations from our supporters. We need your help! If you would like to
help by making a donation or by volunteering you can find more details
on our website. Thank you! UNITY!

Template Letter Aziz & Gemma (.doc)

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