mat's recent activity

  1. Comment on A History of Haggis in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    Well, the Irish and Japanese would like a word about decent whisky, but I take your point. Scotch pies are their own thing, sort of. Just fyi, it's Scots, not Scotts.

    Well, the Irish and Japanese would like a word about decent whisky, but I take your point. Scotch pies are their own thing, sort of.

    Just fyi, it's Scots, not Scotts.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on A History of Haggis in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    Haggis is more of an offal dish than a blood one. Scotland does a decent line in black pudding too though.

    Haggis is more of an offal dish than a blood one. Scotland does a decent line in black pudding too though.

    5 votes
  3. Comment on A History of Haggis in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    Well, they're pretty serious about fried food, also pies. Coronary heart disease.

    Well, they're pretty serious about fried food, also pies. Coronary heart disease.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on What's the education system like in your country? in ~talk

    mat
    Link
    The way the age splits happen in the UK is variable but one common one is Primary (4-10), Secondary (11-16), 6th Form (16-18, often part of secondary but not always. Vocational training can happen...

    The way the age splits happen in the UK is variable but one common one is Primary (4-10), Secondary (11-16), 6th Form (16-18, often part of secondary but not always. Vocational training can happen here, or academic), then 18+ for degree/equivalent. Degree level is payable, which is dumb but there you go. There are other splits - some places have Middle schools which I think are 8-13 but that's not the interesting bit. Most schools are state funded, although there are private options where you can pay up to £30,000 a year to send your kids there (Eton, possibly the most famous school in the world, costs that). Private schools have different rules, and some degree of tax exemption because you wouldn't want the rich to have to pay too many taxes, right?

    In the UK our system is horribly underfunded, the current government is slowly selling off our publicly owned schools to private companies, which is an absolute disgrace because all the Academy Trusts do is skim more money from their still-state-provided, but increasingly reduced, budgets to pay management and 'consultants' (never seems to be teachers!) and sell off assets like playing fields to developers. Nothing about being run by a private company is making these schools better for the pupils, but it is making those companies very rich.

    Along with that our approach to teaching is getting increasingly outdated. Evidence suggests that later starts (age 6-7), and play/project based learning is far more effective than 'traditional' teaching methods. The UK approach of vast amounts of testing, not to mention homework (there is no evidence homework is beneficial and some to suggest it's actively detrimental), is depressingly what happens when you let unqualified people be in charge of education. It's a funny thing, people seem to assume that because they've been to school, they are in any way qualified to say how schools should be run. They are not. Teacher training takes years of both academic study and experience. Teachers know that continuous assessment and coursework beats exam-style testing every time. Teachers know that homework isn't helpful. Teachers know that kids need to be mentally engaged in learning not say quietly learning things by rote. But time and time again government enforces all these things. It's odd. I use electricity but I don't think that qualifies me to be in charge of a power station. I have a body but at no point would I walk into an operating theatre and assume I was a surgeon, but it seems that logic doesn't apply to the people running the schools.

    Yeah. So there's that. You did ask. I am furious about the state of education in my country. My mum was a teacher most of her life and by the end she was absolutely sick of what her profession had become. She took early retirement, at some cost to her pension value, because she couldn't continue doing her job knowing she was failing her kids despite doing her very best to bend and break the rules imposed on her about how she was supposed to do a job she'd been doing very well for 40 years. I am seriously considering keeping my own kid out of the education system in favour of homeschooling, if possible.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on Are there recommended alternatives to Ebay? in ~tech

    mat
    Link
    There are lots of reasons not to like Facebook, but if do you have an account - Marketplace works really well for me when it comes to buying and selling stuff. I usually list things there and on...

    There are lots of reasons not to like Facebook, but if do you have an account - Marketplace works really well for me when it comes to buying and selling stuff. I usually list things there and on Gumtree (UK equivalent to Craigslist) and 95% of the time the Facebook ad works first.

    I think stuff like this does depend a lot on what you're selling, who you want to sell to, and how much hassle/cost you're willing to go through to sell stuff. Mostly I'm selling baby gear right now, which is always in demand and sells cheap.

    10 votes
  6. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    mat
    Link Parent
    Oh, I'm fine with self-promotion in general, I just don't want to spam too much here. Nothing worse than people spamming themselves, eh? But by the time someone asks I tend to think it's OK. My...

    Oh, I'm fine with self-promotion in general, I just don't want to spam too much here. Nothing worse than people spamming themselves, eh? But by the time someone asks I tend to think it's OK. My Etsy and my badly in need of updating website

    I have been considering doing a post about my metal casting process because it might be vaguely interesting to people who don't have experience of such things.

    5 votes
  7. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    mat
    Link Parent
    Only part time - it's not the only thing I do - but yes.

    Only part time - it's not the only thing I do - but yes.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    mat
    Link
    I have a wedding ring to make, which is for a friend so that's nice. I like doing wedding jewellery in general, but it is double nice when it is for someone I know. The friend is already married...

    I have a wedding ring to make, which is for a friend so that's nice. I like doing wedding jewellery in general, but it is double nice when it is for someone I know. The friend is already married but they only had a cheap ring for the ceremony and are upgrading to a nice handmade electrum one from me. Also it's bloody freezing in my workshop at the moment so it'll be nice to get the metal melting torch out and warm the place up a bit.

    Hopefully some more christmas orders will come in via Etsy or my website over the rest of the week, it's been very quiet this year so far.

    5 votes
  9. Comment on David Siegel’s Chocolate Porn in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    Technically you might be correct (you might not, it does depend how you define 'chocolate') but that's not what Siegel is saying in this instance. The exact quote is "White chocolate and milk...

    Technically you might be correct (you might not, it does depend how you define 'chocolate') but that's not what Siegel is saying in this instance. The exact quote is "White chocolate and milk chocolate are not worthy of the name chocolate. They are grocery-store candy."

    He's not interested in what 'chocolate' exactly means in a technical sense when he writes this, he's demonstrating how superior his palate is to us savages who dare to enjoy his precious chocolate in some form other than the one he has decided is the definitive one.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on David Siegel’s Chocolate Porn in ~food

    mat
    Link
    Well, that finally lost me at "white chocolate isn't worthy of the name chocolate". I've had some amazing white chocolate, at the kind of restaurants this guy might even lower himself to...

    Well, that finally lost me at "white chocolate isn't worthy of the name chocolate". I've had some amazing white chocolate, at the kind of restaurants this guy might even lower himself to patronising (ie, multiple Michelin starred).

    I also read his knife porn article, which was equally pompous and condescending. But I know slightly more about knives than I do about chocolate, and it confirmed that he really doesn't know as much as he clearly thinks he does. I'd characterise the knife article as about 90% utter nonsense and I think it's probably safe to assume the chocolate article is similar.

    I really hate this 80s-style, Marco Pierre White-like "I know so much better than you plebs" kind of attitude among a certain type of food person. High end chocolate is a great thing, but so is (relatively) cheap chocolate. You don't need to shit on 95% of something just because the top 5% is better.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on Your car doesn’t need a touchscreen in it in ~design

    mat
    Link Parent
    I have one and it turns out I really really don't want a touchscreen in my car. It's noticably harder to locate virtual buttons than physical ones. I have to take my eye off the road, find the...

    I have one and it turns out I really really don't want a touchscreen in my car. It's noticably harder to locate virtual buttons than physical ones. I have to take my eye off the road, find the control on the screen, navigate my finger to it - which is far harder than not looking much and banging my hand into a physical control until I can grab it. I hit the wrong control on my screen all the time, I never press the wrong button for the AC or to skip music tracks or other things with physical controls.

    It might sound like a small issue but I want to minimise the effort it takes to do anything in my car which might distract me from the business of driving. Fiddling about on a screen is dangerous compared to bashing a knob or button.

    I use voice recognition where-ever possible because of this but Google never recognises the names of my playlists so that's super annoying. It's not bad at navigation though.

    17 votes
  12. Comment on Tech support request: recovering from hard crashes in Linux in ~tech

    mat
    Link
    In addition to @whbboyd 's excellent answer, can I just say in reference to this: Nah, don't be embarrassed. Nothing wrong with asking. Also you searched first. And you asked a really well formed...

    In addition to @whbboyd 's excellent answer, can I just say in reference to this:

    This is something so rudimentary that I'm a little embarrassed to ask

    Nah, don't be embarrassed. Nothing wrong with asking. Also you searched first. And you asked a really well formed question, lots of detail and a clear request at the end.

    10 votes
  13. Comment on Twitter will remove inactive accounts and free up usernames in December in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    Unfortunately it's not. I do have genuine reasons to keep it, but I'd sell it if anyone was actually interested. I did look a while back, just out of interest. Twitter cracked down pretty hard on...

    Unfortunately it's not. I do have genuine reasons to keep it, but I'd sell it if anyone was actually interested. I did look a while back, just out of interest. Twitter cracked down pretty hard on the sale of accounts some time ago.

  14. Comment on Twitter will remove inactive accounts and free up usernames in December in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    Good question. I didn't say I don't use it, I said I haven't tweeted for nearly ten years, which isn't quite the same thing. I'm not interested in tweeting. But there are, despite the site's...

    Good question. I didn't say I don't use it, I said I haven't tweeted for nearly ten years, which isn't quite the same thing. I'm not interested in tweeting. But there are, despite the site's general awfulness, a few people I can only keep in touch with via Twitter. I follow them using my account, and occasionally DM them using it.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on Twitter will remove inactive accounts and free up usernames in December in ~tech

    mat
    Link
    Yeah, I got an email asking me if I wanted to keep my dating-from-2007 three letter username. I do. Come april next year it will be 10 years since I tweeted anything. Over the next few hours I got...

    Yeah, I got an email asking me if I wanted to keep my dating-from-2007 three letter username. I do. Come april next year it will be 10 years since I tweeted anything.

    Over the next few hours I got a lot of emails about accounts I had forgotten about for various automation projects. Turns out I had quite a lot of twitter accounts.

    6 votes
  16. Comment on Tesla Made a Pickup Truck for the End of the World in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    That is a good point. While a simple motor can be given an AC or DC current and it'll spin round, Telsa's motors will be software controlled. I'd still take a Cybertruck as a base for modification...

    how well can your repair a Tesla vehicle on your own, especially with it's reliance on software? The Cybertruck specifically features a bunch of tech doodads which are going to fuck you up in an post-apocalyptic world, like sideview mirros being cameras for example.

    That is a good point. While a simple motor can be given an AC or DC current and it'll spin round, Telsa's motors will be software controlled.

    I'd still take a Cybertruck as a base for modification to a post-apocalyptic vehicle over an ICE. There's billions of DC drives* out there to be cannibalised, any factory or logistics plant will have plenty of them. Hook one of those up to the motors and fiddle about until it works. It might not be all that efficient compared to the original system but it should be doable fairly easily. The post-apocalypse lack of oil processing is a much bigger hurdle to get over. Also, somewhat tangentially, I'd steal a load of EVs to use as battery banks for my solar powered wasteland base.

    As for the mirrors? Parking tidily and overtaking probably less of an issue when shit's got all Mad Max :)

    * there are two parts to electrical drive systems - the drive and the motor. The motor is the arrangement of magnets and wires that spins, the drive is the device which provides modulated angry pixies electricity to make the motor actually work, the drive controls speed and power and so on. Drives can be simple or complex, depending.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on Tesla Made a Pickup Truck for the End of the World in ~tech

    mat
    Link Parent
    EVs are far simpler than ICEs. Probably fewer people know how to maintain or repair a battery or electric motor just because there are less of them about, but that doesn't mean they can't be...

    Combustion engines are already fairly complex, but in their most simple form, an experienced user can fix them with spare parts. You can't do that with electrical engines or batteries.

    EVs are far simpler than ICEs. Probably fewer people know how to maintain or repair a battery or electric motor just because there are less of them about, but that doesn't mean they can't be fixed. Electric motors are, essentially, just a few wires and some magnets. The simplest ICE is still hundreds of parts and a modern engine is thousands, with incredibly tight tolerances.

    In a scenario where there's no electrical grid, there isn't going to be an oil extraction and processing network to produce fuel for you. At least the sun is going to keep shining. In a post-apocalyptic scenario I'd definitely be going around pulling solar panels from roofs and stealing EVs.

    25 votes
  18. Comment on Bon Appétit - Making Perfect Season 2: Thanksgiving in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    That. Is. Not. A. Pie. It's a casserole with a silly pastry hat on Also I can assure you that the residents of Cornwall have strong opinions on whether pasties are pies. They are not pies. I know...

    chicken pot pie

    That. Is. Not. A. Pie. It's a casserole with a silly pastry hat on

    Also I can assure you that the residents of Cornwall have strong opinions on whether pasties are pies. They are not pies.

    I know you guys have proper pies really. But they never seem to get spoken about much. :)

    1 vote
  19. Comment on Bon Appétit - Making Perfect Season 2: Thanksgiving in ~food

    mat
    Link Parent
    It makes me so sad when I hear North Americans talk about pie. I always feel like they're missing out on real pies. Dessert pies with fruit in are fine, but they are the lowest form of pie....

    pumpkin pie is the best pie

    It makes me so sad when I hear North Americans talk about pie. I always feel like they're missing out on real pies. Dessert pies with fruit in are fine, but they are the lowest form of pie. Especially topless ones (hint: it's not a pumpkin pie, it's a pumpkin tart). Fruit pies are the cheap date, the warm lager, the budget airline seat of the pie world. The best pie is unquestionably steak and ale pie and I'll remonarchise any former colonies who try to claim otherwise. ;-P

  20. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    mat
    Link
    I'm currently re-reading Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, which is one of my favourite sub-series in the Discworld books, with the intention of finally reading The Shepherd's Crown at the...

    I'm currently re-reading Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, which is one of my favourite sub-series in the Discworld books, with the intention of finally reading The Shepherd's Crown at the end. Pratchett was a huge influence on me when I was growing up, and his books are the safest of safe, cosy places for me to go (I rarely re-read anything but I re-read Pratchett). I've thought about reading The Shepherd's Crown several times since it came out - I bought it day one - but for the longest time I wasn't ready to live in a world where there was no more unread Pratchett. I may well not be ready yet, we'll see in a couple of books time.

    Might as well recount the time I met him, while I'm here. I'd gone to a theatre to see him talk, some time in the mid-nineties before he was quite so famous. My English teacher has driven me and a couple of others to the theatre that evening, and I slunk off to the bar for a cheeky underage pint before the event started. It was very quiet, so I sat at the bar and after a while a guy came and sat next to me. We chatted about the kind of small things you talk about over a beer, he was very pleasant although eventually apologised for having to dash off, donned a wide-brimmed black hat and stalked out of the bar with a swish of his long black coat. I thought no more about it, finished my drink and made my way into the auditorium. The man I'd been talking to walked out on stage and said "Good evening, I'm Terry Pratchett". He remains the most famous person I've ever met and I had no clue at all.

    6 votes