Secret underground city

The Sunday Times reports that the MoD is selling off Burlington, a massive nuclear fallout shelter designed to house the Queen, the Prime Minister and 4,000 civil servants. The city lies 120 feet underground in an old mine in the West Country – and with a rail connection from the Great Western main line (branching off in a tunnel). It even has a pub – modelled on the Red Lion in Whitehall.

To you, sir, £5m (plus maintenance of the military base above). Slashdot discusses.

Flock’s sake

If you were watching Newsnight this evening, you’ll have seen a classic bit of technojournalist gush over a ‘revolutionary’ new browser called Flock, that’s going to sweep away MSIE and is created by these extraordinary people called geeks who eat pizza and … oh, forget it.

Anyway, the free ad worked to the extent that I’m now sitting here using a beta of Flock and … er … it’s just another browser. Specifically just another browser based on Mozilla, like Firefox and Camino.

Except this one allows you to:

  1. post to your blog from the browser.
  2. share your bookmarks on
  3. and…
  4. er…
  5. that’s it.

Comrades! On to the Winter Palace! Forward with the Revolution!

India’s flag

In a discussion on imperialism on Metafilter, someone said that the Indian flag had been patterned on the Irish tricolour, by way of solidarity between anti-imperialist national movements. I thought this sounded a bit odd, so did some research.

The Indian flag, image from Flags of the World

I’d always assumed the Indian flag was green for Muslims, orange for Hindus, chakra (wheel) for Buddhists and white for peace. Interestingly, though, that interpretation is specifically rejected in the official Flag Code, which reads:

“Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation of disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work. The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green shows our relation to soil, our relation to the plant life here on which all other life depends. The Ashoka Wheel in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principles of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change”

Nehru said, at the adoption of the flag:

“Some people, having misunderstood its significance, have thought of it in communal terms and believe that some part of it represents this community or that. But I may say that when this Flag was devised there was no communal significance attached to it.”

That’s me told.

Oh, and the discussion on Flags of the World mentions an Irish link in the original model of the flag – the red/white/green of the Indian National Congress.

List of enacting formulae

Wikipedia has an international list of enacting formulae – the bits that go at the front of Acts of Parliament.

Though not a monarchist by any means, I always think that the British enacting formula is pleasantly orotund:

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

The Nicky Line

A Wikipedia article on the Nicky Line, the former Harpenden to Hemel branch line, closed (surprisingly early) in the late 40s. Interesting how a potentially useful link line was run down because of stubborness by the competing companies.