Jun
28
2016

+Google+ is 5-years old, Happy Birthday!

words and lyrics by Jean-Loup

+Google+ is 5-years old, Happy Birthday!

I haven't had much chance to celebrate this anniversary because of many real-world reasons but I wanted to at least do a quick shout-out to everyone on the G+ team who still works hard to keep up our favourite social platform and continues to bring about improvements. I have been here since 1 July 2011 and I have never looked back. What's more is since collections were introduced I have never felt more connected to so many people.

So thanks very much team and I look forward to the next 5 years 🙂

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Today is Google+'s 5th year anniversary, and we wanted to thank you for all that you've done on the platform. We aim to be the best place to connect with people around shared interests, and love seeing all the amazing ways you're doing that.

Over the past few days, we've looked back fondly on a few of our favorite memories from the last couple years. Over the weekend, members of the Google+ community went on photowalks thanks to the efforts of +Sam Breach – the best photos are shared in this collection by +Nina Trankova. Join in the celebration by sharing your favorite Google+ memories and adding #Gplus5 to your post!

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Jun
27
2016

Brexit – or the disintegration of British politics

words and lyrics by Jean-Loup

A lot has happened since we woke up on Friday morning to a United Kingdom having voted itself out of the +European Union and I've not really posted anything about it because I felt like getting snippets of info one trickle at a time wasn't going to be helpful. But now there's a clearer picture that is starting to emerge and the keyword here is contingency (or lack thereof as the case may be)

As you might imagine the EU leaders haven't been idle since the first talks of this EU referendum started making their way to Brussels. One may think all they want about European parliamentarians and commissioners not being democratically elected (I'm sorry did someone say "House of Lords"?) but they remain nonetheless well prepared to bring about all the legislation that is being voted at EU level. That's why Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker were so keen on Friday for Westminster to kick start the process by declaring article 50. They know what the process is supposed to be, they are prepared and ready to start the negotiations.

Sadly the same can't be said about Westminster

Since the results all the lies have again been revealed as such (with a big sense of deja-vu for us Scots), Cameron has announced his resignation effectively dumping the responsibility of starting up the break-up of the EU membership to whoever his successor is likely to be, Boris Johnson went off to play cricket and nobody has apparently hared from George Osborne. What's more it has now been made clear that not only did the Leave side not expect to win, but there was no plan whatsoever in place if case the did, dumping that responsibility on the Prime Minister.

Not only that but the Labour Party who is the effective opposition to the Tory government is now rife with internal conflicts from some wanting a vote of non-confidence to their party leader, Jeremy Corbyn to half their shadow cabinet resigning, including the shadow Scottish Secretary of State and only Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray.

Meanwhile up here in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon, our First Minister, has shown true leadership by announcing before anything else that we EU immigrants will always be welcome here in Scotland. No one else has said such words. She went on to affirm that it is her duty to explore all options to ensure continuity of EU membership for Scotland whatever form this may take including running a second Independence Referendum.

Let me say a quick word about #IndyRef2  here because it's important to point out:
Since the announcement on Friday morning that a new referendum would be on the table some polls have started to surface that show an increase support in favour of independence which would tip the balance in its favour were the ballot ran today or tomorrow. One poll even went as far as claiming 59% in favour of yes, though latter polls were more along the lines of 55% and 54% for yes. As encouraging as these are, it will need more than a few snap polls to ascertain a result within the timeframe required to organise a new referendum and set it in motion. Sustainability of support is the key word here and the actions of both Brussels and Westminster will be key in cementing people swayed support for independence.

I won't go into the repercussions of independence and how different it's likely to be from the 2014 one as it's deviating a little from the original point of this post.

I will say this though. The United Kingdom is on its way out of the EU. No matter whether Holyrood can veto it or finding out some other way to void the results, as far as the EU is concerned, the UK is now on its way out. It's final and there's nothing anyone can do about it which wouldn't be an attack on the democratic process.

People of England and Wales (and the other nations too) have made an irrevocable, stupid and misinformed but irrevocable decision which has knock-on effects far wider than they could have imagined. Ultimately I believe they'll be the worst for it as the UK economy is likely to decline. The pound seems to have stabilised at about $1.35 but it's devalued so much I'm not sure what effects this will have on trade come Monday (see https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=GBPUSD%3DX#symbol=GBPUSD=X;range=5d).

In my view the only way this could be saved is if the Conservative Party finds itself a bold and forward-thinking leader that can detangle the country from this quagmire it put itself into and negotiate with Brussels terms which can benefit everyone. Unfortunately I can't think of anyone fitting the profile right now.

I'm proud to be a Scot right now (civic nationalism is a lovely thing by the way) and although the economic future is looking bleak and uncertain I remain faithful that Scotland as a country can come out of this stronger, independent (most likely) or not.

[All of this is my analysis based on events of the past 2 days or so as well as succinct analysis I've read too numerous to quote (I apologise)]
[Illustration via Twitter, too good not to use]

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Luciano Floridi on Twitter: “Unbeatable Jane Austen “
@Floridi @guillorybe 48 to 52. Its way too narrow to say there was any kind of majority. Just vote again and strike it down in parliament. Sorry, Twitter is taking too long to load. Try again. Home · Sign up · Log in · Search · About. More like this; Less like this; Cancel. Not on Twitter?

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Jun
24
2016

I Love #EU  

words and lyrics by Jean-Loup

I Love #EU  

And I'm afraid there's nor much else for me to add tonight

For +FloralFriday curated by +Eustace James +Beth Akerman +Kiki Nelson and +Tamara Pruessner 

#floralfriday   #floralphotography   #flowers   #flowerphotography   #roses   #rosephotography  

I Love #EU  

And I’m afraid there’s nor much else for me to add tonight

For +FloralFriday curated by +Eustace James +Beth Akerman +Kiki Nelson and +Tamara Pruessner 

#floralfriday   #floralphotography   #flowers   #flowerphotography   #roses   #rosephotography  

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Jun
24
2016

I won't say too much about the #EURef  because the results are still beyond…

words and lyrics by Jean-Loup

I won't say too much about the #EURef  because the results are still beyond shocking

I will never look at England the same way again. I take their vote as a clear notice that their rejection of Europe is a rejection of its citizens too.

The market response is historical, to say the least. I don't know if this is likely to make leavers think twice about actually leaving in the short term but I'm not happy about that, even though I'm not quite sure what it will mean in day-to-day situations.

In other circumstances I would be happy to see David Cameron go but as we all know the alternatives are even less appealing. Eton old boys only crave power and care nothing for the little people, it's like being back in feudal times, so much for democracy.

But the UK is now on shaky grounds, there are reports that Sein Fenn now want a referendum for a reunification of Ireland, which frankly would be the best solution to the conundrum this result puts Ireland in.

As for us, well every single local authority reported a remain vote, with Edinburgh overwhelmingly voting in at 74.44%. However now is far too soon to talk about another Independence referendum for us. It will happen there's no question about that but the more we rush it, the more likely we are to fail once and for all so we must exert excruciating patience with this and start with negotiating with Brussels for specific terms for Scotland to remain part of the EU. This would guarantee our place when we finally vote yes.

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Jun
23
2016

Remember that whole "Stairway to Heaven" trial? Well Led Zep just won …

words and lyrics by Jean-Loup

Remember that whole "Stairway to Heaven" trial? Well Led Zep just won it.

To be fair it was a no brainer, there's too much difference between both songs involved

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Led Zeppelin Win “Stairway to Heaven” Lawsuit
A jury today found that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant did not plagiarize a 1968 song with their composition “Stairway to Heaven.”

Page and Plant were accused of plagiarizing the song “Taurus,” written by Randy California (born Randy Wolfe) and performed by his band Spirit on their self-titled 1968 debut album. “Stairway to Heaven” was written in 1971 and, like “Taurus,” features a descending chromatic arpeggio line performed on acoustic guit…

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