Those damned annoying CAPTCHAs – or are they?

We all know and love CAPTCHAs – those little boxes on sign-up pages that make sure the page user is a genuine human being, not a computer.

The acronym stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart – clever, huh?

The trouble is, they are one of the most annoying things on the Interwebz – frequently too difficult to read, and I guess we’ve all, at some time or another, wished there was some other way. Well, for the moment there isn’t.

But next time you have to use one, check and see if it actually calls itself ‘reCAPTCHA’ on its logo. If it does, then you can temper your irritation with the nice, warm, fuzzy feeling that you are doing your bit to help improve the world.

Because the images shown will be a photo and a word; and the photo will be from a book or photo published before the digital age, and which software has been unable to figure out and transcribe.

The reCAPTCHA program doesn’t know what the right answer to the CAPTCHA is, as it can’t read the word or numbers in the photograph. So it judges the correctness or otherwise of your response by your answer to the known quantity that is the second, known image. Then it verifies your answer by using it thousands of more times, always with a different second image.

Over time, it is therefore building up an archive of images preserved digitally for posterity, and all identified and confirmed by us – good old Joe Public!

So next time you use a website using reCAPTCHA technology, give yourself a pat on the back – you are part of a system creating the biggest digital picture archive ever constructed!

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Please, please, please don’t drink and drive…

I’ve just come across this video.

It’s Australian, and therefore pretty uninhibited by Brit standards, but by God it gets the message across.

WARNING – the video contains some pretty graphic images. Please don’t let young kids, old folk, or people with a nervous disposition watch it – it is pretty disturbing.

Please pass it on via your own blogs etc – you never know it might just save a life.

Merry Christmas!

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Spellcheck. Don’t make me larf!

I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished inn it’s weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.
Bee fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we’re lacks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.
Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.
Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.
Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too pleas

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I make no apologies for this – read it, remember, and be thankful!


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Robert Binyon, 1869-1943

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I don’t really do ‘politics’ but this just seems to make sense if you’re a Brit (and proud of it).
Nigel Farage for Prime Minister… 
This is what he said:

I am the Tory Party’s Worst Nightmare. I am a White, Tax-Paying, God-fearing English man. I am a hard working Brit and I work long hours to earn a living.

I believe in God and the freedom of religion, but I don’t push it on others. 

I believe in British products and buy them whenever I can.

I believe the money I make belongs to me and not to some governmental functionary, to share with others who don’t work!

I think owning a home doesn’t make you a capitalist; it makes you a smart Brit. I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to anything. Get over it. Join in with the majority!

I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, you should do it in English. I believe there should be no other language option.

I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to.

My heroes are fellow Brits like Freddy Flintoff and Winston Churchill and I know I’ve missed a few thousand!!!!!

I don’t hate the rich. What I hate is the way they always manage to avoid paying proper taxes. I don’t pity the poor, I just hate the way they are always moaning that they are hard done by!!

I know wrestling is fake and I don’t waste my time watching or arguing about it.

I believe if you don’t like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and change your own country!

This is ENGLAND…..We like it the way it is and even more so the way it was…so stop trying to change it to look like some other socialist country! If you were born or legally migrated here and don’t like it… you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have you. I believe it is time to really clean house, starting with the House of Commons, the seat of our biggest problems.

I want to know where the “Do Gooders” get their money from, and why are they always part of the problem and not the solution? Can I get an AMEN on that one?

I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you’re breaking the law, regardless of what race, colour or creed you are. And, no, I don’t mind having my face shown on my driving licence. I think it’s good….

I dislike those people trying to guilt me into making ‘donations’ to their cause….Get a job and support yourself and your family!

I believe ‘illegal’ is illegal no matter what the lawyers think!

I believe the Union Jack flag should be allowed to be flown anywhere in the United Kingdom !

If this makes me a BAD Brit, then yes, I’m a BAD Brit. If you are a BAD Brit too, please forward this to everyone you know….

We want our country back! My Country…..

I hope this offends all illegal aliens.

My great, great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Boer War. My grandfather watched and bled as his friends died in World Wars 1&2. I watched as my friends died in Sierra Leone Bosnia, & Desert Storm. Our sons and daughters watched & bled as their friends died in Afghanistan and Iraq . None of them died for the Afghanistan and Iraq Flag. Every Briton died for
the British flag.

At one high school, foreign students raised a Middle East flag on a school flag pole. British students took it down. Guess who was expelled… the students who took it down .

West London high school students were sent home, because they wore T-shirts with the Union Jack flag printed on them.

What is going on?? What idiots do we have in authority?? Enough is enough.

This message needs to be viewed by every Brit; and every Briton needs to stand up for Britain . We’ve bent over to appease the Brit-haters long enough. I’m taking a stand.

I’m standing up because of the millions who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the British flag.

And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message. IT IS NOT !

Britons, stop giving away Your RIGHTS !


This statement DOES NOT mean I’m against immigration !

YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally:
1. Get a sponsor !
2. Learn the LANGUAGE, as immigrants have in the past!
3. Live by OUR rules ! Dress as we Britons Do
4. Get a job !
5. Pay YOUR Taxes !
6. No Social Security until you have earned it and paid for it !
7. Find a place to lay your head !

If you don’t want to forward this for fear of offending someone, then YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !

We’ve gone so far the other way… bent over backwards not to offend anyone.


If you do not Pass this on, may your fingers cramp !


Nigel Farage UKIP
I don’t do politics, but this is the first politician I’ve come across who has had the balls to say what I suspect a lot of us think.
Good luck to him!
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Airport Security

I’ve just travelled to and from Northern Ireland’s George Best Belfast City Airport.

The reason, not that it matters, was to attend a christening, eat loads, drink too much, and generally have a great time.

The only slight downer was that one of the family fell ill, and the last hours there were a bit of a rush to get her to the hospital, checked out, and looked after properly.

Oh yes, thank you for asking, she’s gonna be fine, and we can’t wait for her to get the all clear and return to good old Blighty.

The only major downer was the ridiculous security checks at the airports, both going and coming.

Now, I’m no expert on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and I don’t believe anyone is either right or the winner, or that violence is likely to solve the problem, but I do wonder about our current security rules.

Firstly, why are we being checked on the way out to N Ireland? I don’t think, given the ridiculous bloody laws in this country, that anyone is likely to come over here, buy guns and explosives, and try to smuggle them back in to Ireland. Why would they – they’re virtually free in the Republic?

However, leaving that aside the for moment I accept that they might want to check you’re not carrying a Kalashnikov stuffed into your boxers, or 500gms of C4 up yer bum (although actually, they don’t appear to have thought of that one!), or, heaven forbid, a pair of plane-destroying nail clippers, but really, making people take off their sandals? Yes folks, THEIR SANDALS!!

And as if that wasn’t enough, I saw one young Mum being asked to take a swig of the liquid her baby’s bottle to prove it wasn’t poison or part of some sort of liquid explosive.

And the thought crossed my mind…if you’re a suicide bomber, and you’ve either been promised 72 virgins, eternal salvation or an eternity-long supply of Irish whiskey, depending on your religious affiliation, are you really, REALLY going to be phased at the thought of drinking something that will make you feel a bit icky?

And why are liquids restricted to 100mils?

If two lots of liquid combined will cause an explosion (it’s called a binary bomb), and two lots of 125mils will bring down a plane, surely 199mils is going to do some serious damage too.

And there’s nothing to stop you taking 2 lots of each chemical onboard, provided each container is under 100mils – so without breaking the security rules, you could take twice as much as you need and do a real number!

And to prevent this, thousands of people an hour at airports around the country are delayed, frustrated, insulted, upset and generally treated like shit.

And that is the definition of beating terrorism.

Oh God/Allah/Mohammed/Krishna have mercy!

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So the Dorset Constabulary boss would like to see unpaid volunteers used to help police her county’s streets?

Well, as someone who works 20-30 hours a week on an unpaid voluntary basis for a national charity, I feel I’m doing enough.

But in principle I think she is right – why not use volunteers? Why shouldn’t well-meaning,, socially-minded, caring, helpful individuals be out on the streets in all weathers, putting themselves at risk, being abused and villified just like their ‘real’ police colleagues who earn reasonable salaries, but not allowed to do any of the easy stuff like driving round in nice warm cars eating sarnies and drinking coffee (oh yes, I’ve seen them down the quiet streets in the early hours).

Here’s a slightly radical alternative:

Send the paid, trained policemen and women out on the streets to do what they’re trained and paid for (and what they ‘volunteered’ for in the first place), and use volunteers to man police station front desks,  maintain records,  type up reports,  answer the phones,  log lost and confiscated property,  handle putting recovered stolen property for disposal, and all the other myriad tasks which take uniformed officers off the streets.

By all means use volunteers, in any field of endeavour you can think of – but  put them in the back office where they’re safe, not up at the sharp end!

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NASA Video

I just found this video on the NASA website. Titled “Flying Over the Earth at night”, look out in particular for the shots of the aurora – absolutely stunning.
The NASA caption for the video reads: ‘Many wonders are visible when flying over the Earth at night. A compilation of such visual spectacles was captured recently from the International Space Station (ISS) and set to rousing music. Passing below are white clouds, orange city lights, lightning flashes in thunderstorms, and dark blue seas. On the horizon is the golden haze of Earth’s thin atmosphere, frequently decorated by dancing auroras as the video progresses. The green parts of auroras typically remain below the space station, but the station flies right through the red and purple auroral peaks. Solar panels of the ISS are seen around the frame edges. The ominous wave of approaching brightness at the end of each sequence is just the dawn of the sunlit half of Earth, a dawn that occurs every 90 minutes.

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No Council Tax rise – great news?

We’ve just received our council tax bills for 2013-14 here in Cornwall, and as promised the council have not increased the levy at all. Great News….you’d think.

But quietly tacked on is the other half of the message – services will be cut because they can’t afford to keep them at the same level.

Now, I personally can’t see what they can possibly cut. Admittedly our rubbish is still collected weekly (well, when I say collected, I mean distributed between the gaping maw of the refuse vehicle, and the even  more gaping wide open spaces called “the roads”);
our recycling is collected fortnightly (well, when I say collected, I mean we leave the bags and boxes out full, and they empty them. Then rather than make the long and hazardous trip to your garden to put them back safely, they leave them out in the road empty. And you should see what a 25mph North Westerly wind can do to a canvas recycling bag…well, actually you can’t, because ten minutes after they’re emptied, they’re approaching the south coast of Cornwall heading for a Gallic holiday);
we have a community policeman (well, he writes a piece in the local freesheet sometimes, so we
must have – but I’ve never seen him);
and we still have our libraries, most of them open five days a week, most of them well used by that section of the populace who haven’t yet embraced the Kindle (although finding a librarian is becoming quite difficult – and by librarian I don’t mean the cuboid Dalek sitting by the door which scans your books in, checks them out, imposes fines, takes your money, messes up your change, and does everything a librarian used to do except say “Ssssshhhhh” in a tone of voice somehow laden with unspoken threat);
and of course we still have our county council, there to ensure the county is run properly (and when I say properly…ah, I see you can already guess what I’m about to say. I will take your advice, dear reader, and avoid the being sued for libel (or is it slander) by not continuing with that thought.).
All of these are now, to some degree or another, at risk.

Suffice it to say, I suspect that no matter how tight money gets in the local council coffers, the one thing Cornwall will never, ever be short of is….local councillors.



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Great guitar work – I hate him!

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