Grant Shapps Announces £2 billion for Active Travel

Living as I do in Welwyn Hatfield my Member of Parliament is Grant Shapps. I met him a couple of times before he was elected in the 2005 general election and he has been our MP ever since. I have contacted him on a number of occasions since then on issues such as Palestine, arms sales, Trident, cannabis etc. Suffice it to say that we rarely agree. Last year Grant Shapps was appointed Secretary of State for Transport.

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DVD Coated with Layer of Sticky Goo

I met a woman called Laura who turned out to be a film maker. She gave me a DVD of her 2017 film Hesperidies and last night I decided to watch it. I don’t have a TV or DVD player so I watch films on my iMac, and if it is a DVD I always rip it using an external DVD drive and HandBrake, the open source video transcoder. Then I can watch it from my hard drive. So I plugged in my DVD drive, opened the shrink wrapped DVD box, and inserted the DVD into the drive. That fired up HandBrake but when I tried to open the DVD it gave an error:

“libdvdcss.2.dylib” cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified
macOS cannot verify that this app is free from malware
Safari.app downloaded this file on 4 February 2017

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Gigs I attended and the Setlist Wiki

In early 2018 I was reminiscing about gigs I had been to, particular during my time in the US in the second half of the 1980’s. I had not kept much in the way of a diary but I remembered quite a few, sometimes with a good idea of the venue and maybe an approximate date. While trying to narrow things down I came across The Setlist Wiki at setlist.fm and created an account. I hadn’t looked at it since then until a couple of days ago when I managed to work out the exact date I saw Billy Bragg in Burlington Vermont. Although there were setlists for other dates on the same tour that one wasn’t listed, so I added it and now I have eight artists listed on my setlist profile, although that corresponds to just four concerts.

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MacPorts Upgrade Woes

I am running macOS Catalina on a late 2013 iMac and I use MacPorts for installing various command line tools. Although I do use the Mac Mail app a bit I still handle most of my email using Mutt, or rather the fork called NeoMutt. I also want the ability to send and receive signed and encrypted emails using GnuPG. So my two most important ports are probably neomutt and gnupg2. I also use GnuPG to encrypt files using a symmetric cipher, in particular a file containing all my passwords.

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Thinking about Climate Change Activism

A friend recently gave me a collection of speeches by Greta Thunberg called No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. I have read the first few and they prompted me to take a look at my website where I list 15 organisations I support, none of which are focused on climate change. That is not because I don’t consider it to be an important issue – on the contrary I think it is the most important issue of our time, and I have been active in this area with a number of organisations over the years. I suppose it was just that I couldn’t choose which one to highlight.

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Online Petitions 2

A little over two years ago I posted something about Online Petitions. At the time I stated my intention to take a break and not sign any online petitions for at least a week. In fact I managed a four week hiatus before signing a SumOfUs petition asking PayPal to stop discriminating against Palestinians. One of the reasons I keep a record of signed petitions is so that when I am asked to sign one I can do a quick search to check whether I have already signed it. For this reason I also record surveys that I have taken part in but there are far fewer of those.

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On Simplicity

I just watched a YouTube video on P vs. NP and the computational complexity zoo inspired by the Complexity Zoo Wiki. Despite the title, the video ended with a couple of quotes about simplicity. The first was Attributed to Frederic Chopin:

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.

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STEM Channels on YouTube

I have my own channel on YouTube where I have uploaded a dozen videos (all taken by me). Over the years I have also subscribed to a lot of other channels so that as of today I have 86 subscriptions. Each day when I go online, as well as checking my email and Facebook feed, I go to YouTube and look at the list of new videos on my subscribed channels. There is some really excellent content out there.

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Sender Policy Framework

About a week ago I realised that an email I had sent to a Gmail address had not reached the recipient, who later found it in her spam folder. I had known about an issue with my mail setup for a long time but now was the time to finally do something about it.

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June 2017 General Election

I was hoping to have passed on the position to someone else by now but for yesterday’s General Election I was still the Welwyn Hatfield Green Party Election Agent. After casting my own vote just before 10pm I cycled over to Welwyn Garden City for the count at Campus West. This was the first election for our candidate Christianne Sayers and the whole process was quite new to her. In May 2015 our candidate was Marc Scheimann, but this year he stood in Luton where he lives and Christianne, a Hatfield Resident, stepped up to the plate.

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