Campaign resources on privacy and surveillance (mainly)

So I’ve been clearing out my filing cabinet, which I’ve barely even opened in the four years we’ve been living in Woking. This means I’ve been reminded of a bunch of papers and references I compiled for campaigning — mainly against ID cards. Now I don’t need all of these in hardcopy, so I’m looking them all up electronically. As I wanted to have them as reference, I figure that other people might also like the references, so why not put together a blogpost at the same time. Continue reading

Going out for a meal: surprisingly traumatic

The first part of this post was written last night, while I was still anxious; the last part was written this morning.

Another example of the fun I have with mental (and, this time, physical) health.

I went out for a lovely meal this evening. I stupidly had dessert as well (though no starter). I’ve spent the last hour feeling strongly nauseous and with an upset stomach. Continue reading

BBC and press ignore massive demonstration against austerity in London

owenblacker:

“Left-wing bias”.

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

If you were in the centre of London today you might have noticed 50,000 people taking part in a massive march against the government’s austerity policies:

If you did notice, you’re doing better than most of the UK press who seem to have entirely missed it.

It seems the BBC are capable of tracking down a single Scot in Brazil who cheered a goal against England but fail to notice 50,000 demonstrating on their doorstep.

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Related articles by Tom Pride:

I still remember when firefighters were heroes. Now we just ignore them.

Ian Hislop comes out on BBC Question Time

Government ministers announce plan to deter immigrants to UK by making it shit

Scientists discover dim stars orbitting massive black hole at heart of BBC

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Please feel free to comment. And please share. Thanks:

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My writing on Medium

I’ve written a couple of pieces on Medium and it’s only just occurred to me that I should have shared them here.

https://medium.com/nowt-so-queer-as-folk/4dcb871f38e9

https://medium.com/nowt-so-queer-as-folk/d1bd8e4ce6ab

As an aside, it must be said I love how the embed codes show up here. On WordPress.com, we just have to paste a Medium link and it shows up like above; instructions on how to do that elsewhere can be found here:

https://medium.com/help-center/3eaed64aed8a

Planning Poker

Because I know I’ll forget where I found these things (despite having added them to Delicious), I figure I should add them here.

A hand of Planning poker cards

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Planning poker is a consensus-based technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of user stories in software development. In Planning poker, members of the group make estimates by playing numbered cards face-down to the table instead of speaking them aloud.

Once everyone has played a card, the cards are revealed and the estimates are discussed. By hiding the figures in this way, the group can avoid the cognitive bias of anchoring, where the first number spoken aloud sets a precedent for subsequent estimates.

I’ve just mailed round my team and asked them to install the Android or iPhone app, so we can use Planning poker in an estimating session I need to run soon.

The photo of a Planning poker set used in this article is taken from the Wikimedia Commons and was released into the public domain by its author, Wikipedia user Hkniberg.

The government’s lobbying bill

So I’ve written to my MP (Jonathan Lord: Con, Woking) about the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, due for Second Reading in the House of Commons tomorrow.

There are three main sections to this bill — one to create a register of lobbyists, a second to regulate non-party spending in the 12 months preceding a General Election and a third to tighten the regulations around trades unions. The second part of this bill is widely considered to offer an existential threat to British democracy; I also have concerns around this third part, but my MP is a Tory and I know which battles are worth fighting.

The text of my letter (edited slightly to read better as hypertext) to Mr Lord follows:
Continue reading