I seem to have rather a lot of Random/Funny posts these days which are just collections of links. Possibly the separate category will be a good enough way of dividing these, but possibly I should consider Simon’s blogmarks approach.

But for now, have some links!

The Vice-Chancellor for my university has been publicly advocating the move to greater tuition fees. Although I do understand that universities in the UK are underfunded at the moment and that this needs to be addressed, I find it completely at odds with the government’s apparent wish to get 50% of people into tertiary education.

I also disagree quite a lot with the sudden changes that are being proposed … in South Africa (where I grew up) parents know from when their kids are born that if they want them to go to university they need to save significant sums of money so that they can fund this. My parents realised early on that I would be bright enough and saved accordingly. Then the universities charged fees but also had a variety of scholarships, to deal with everyone from the very bright, the disadvantaged right the way through to the sports superstars of tomorrow.

What this move will mean is that anyone in the next ten years who wants to get a degree without ending up in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt (currently you leave a four year course in ?12 000 debt … and fees are set to triple!!) will need to be from a rich family. It is also likely to lead to further increases (once ?3.5k fees is the norm) and to price-differentiation between universities, the like of which you see in many other countries.

Although better funding will mean that universities can offer more facilities, employ more/better staff and so on, I imagine it will lead to much greater commercialisation as well. And I think the worst thing that can happen to academia is for it to become something run just like a business. What sort of escape will that be for all the academics?

I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I think I am starting to ramble/rant … maybe a comments war would be more appropriate.

Tuition fees were the top scandal in today’s Queen’s speech but a lot of the other reforms look eminently sensible … especially the civil partnerships which I have commented on before.

As Simon noted the other day learning CSS is still full of pitfalls, particularly if you don’t live, sleep, eat web development. Although my forays into the realm of separated content and presentation were fairly painless, even the limited number of inconsistencies I found (just looking on IE, Firebird and Mozilla) were still a bit of a knock. Luckily, however, Dave Shea with the help of the world is putting together a CSS Crib Sheet.

UPDATE: Great explanation about Margin Collapsing via the Crib Sheet mentioned above.

I also found this fantastic Flash animation about how the design process works. I found it very interesting and quite a good description of some of the things that go on in my mind when I’m trying to do creative work … although I wouldn’t extrapolate that to anyone else’s brain too readily 😉

Despite the recent homophobic rudeness I’m still going to post about whatever I want to. And I’m glad to say that the proposed civil partnership bill in the UK appears likely to be part of the Queen’s Speech … so we might actually be able to get “married” some day soon 🙂

Also, from the first of December (so next Monday), workers in the UK will be protected by law from sexual orientation based descrimination in the workplace. It’s nice to know that I can’t be fired for being gay from next week … although to be completely fair, in my current company I cannot imagine this ever arising. They have a very progressive policy, which makes me happy to work for them. Suffice it to say, though, that some other places have been less than pioneering in this regard.

Well, it’s been a while — I’ve accumulated a fair number of links that definitely require blogging:

  • If you like Bush as much as these guys did on his visit to the UK you might be interested in buying your loved ones the Pants-on-Fire Bush doll
  • This Emergency Guide for what to do if the internet goes down is also absolutely hilarious.
  • If you have a really important message, why not rent this guy’s chest for $20 to get it across?
  • In other news, the crocodile hunter I mentioned earlier has failed in his attempts to capture the animal. LOL! I reckon they should get this guy in to teach it a lesson
  • If you’re stuck for Xmas presents for people (T-5 weeks people!!) then try Subversive CrossStitch … your grandmother may never be the same again!
  • Make sure you don’t break up if you have shared games on your Xbox — because as these two found out it’s impossible to move large saved games across. Via Kottke
  • And as Neil Gaiman noted, you’d hope that people would at least ask who it was when someone rang up with an emergency needing a cash remedy
  • Been too vocal in the monthly Mob meetings recently? Been caught on camera trying to shoot a president? No fear, because soon you could have a whole new face to protect you. Will this be the end of the open coffins revolution?

    Although I can see the point of this for people with serious disfigurement, I think many questions remain unanswered — like, how are the relatives going to react when they see their family member’s face on someone else? Also, if it ends up in the domain of cosmetic surgery (which I can so see happening) then what’s to stop criminals getting completely new faces to protect themselves? If this really happens, then Mary Carey may well be onto a winner in the form of cosmetic surgery tax.

    Over in America, in what is possibly the best (and possibly the worst) step towards gay marriage, the state of Massachusetts has ruled that gay couples are legally entitled to marry, saying that barring it was “unconstitutional”. This is fantastic, but the potential conservative backlash, including Bush vowing to constitutionally make marriage defined as heterosexual could be a major step backward. And although I would love to believe that liberal Americans will not let this happen, he still managed to invade Iraq, so my confidence is not rock-solid.

    Hello — these are the links I have found for Show & Tell today:

  • Some unlikely-looking Homecoming King got disciplined at school for something he wrote on his journal from a home computer! Seems like Bush’s “you only have rights when I think you ought to ” attitude has permeated to schools now
  • In other news, some guy’s mom found his blog (and yes, I know it’s satire 😛 )
  • In Japan they start them young — do you reckon diapers is part of the executive benefits plan?
  • And a fantastic guide to teaching maths
  • So what did you bring to Show & Tell today?