Letter to my MP on the overseas aid budget.

Letter I sent to my MP today on the overseas aid budget. Let’s not be foolish.

Dear Ben Spencer,

Please use your influence to persuade the government to maintain our overseas aid budget commitment at 0.7% of national income.
I believe that changing this policy would be a mistake, increasing the risks of extremism and forced migration around the world.

The policy was established when the budget was very tight, and I think the reasons for it remain compelling: to prevent selfishness and short-termism from hurting our own and others’ interests.

Please pass my letter on to the Chancellor.

Yours sincerely,
Andy Balaam

Feel free to re-use some or all of this.

To write to your MP, try writetothem.com.

Letter to my MP on racism in the US and UK

Here is the text of a letter I wrote to my MP today via writetothem.com:

Dear [],

I am writing to you to express my growing horror at the ongoing police violence and brutality Black protesters are facing in the US, and the UK’s disturbing silence on the matter.

These protests, begun as peaceful demonstrations against the state-enabled murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, have been escalated by the US police, who are using excessive force against protesters practising their civic rights. If this were a non-white country, Western countries would have denounced this brutality; instead, the UK has elected to remain silent.

I am painfully aware that the UK itself suffers from many racist structures. Thanks to systematic injustice, the recent pandemic has impacted BAME people at a vastly higher rate than white people. The death of Belly Mujinga, caused by a racist attack and by her presence at work despite underlying conditions that should have resulted in paid leave, was horrifying and preventable, and the dropped inquiry utterly disgraceful.

I ask you personally to:
– write to the Foreign Secretary asking for a strong statement of condemnation of police brutality in the US,
– make it a personal priority to address the systematic injustice of unfair outcomes for BAME people in the UK,
– ensure that the government responds materially to the report on BAME COVID-19 deaths,
– insist on a full enquiry into the circumstances surrounding Belly Mujinga’s death.

Yours sincerely,
[]

Inspired by: @anahitrooz.

New home page design

After years of getting around to it, I have redesigned my home page at artificialworlds.net.

It’s basically intended to make me look clever or productive or interesting or something. Alternatively, it gives you somewhere to find that thing you know I made but can’t find the link:

Screenshot of artificialworlds.net - colourful boxes with rich-coloured picture of drawers behind.

The background image is “Read where you are” by delaram bayat.

I am pleased with the page’s responsive design, clarity, fast page-load, and colourfulness.

What do you think?

Poor performance in Chrome (especially on mobile) – caused by SVG background images

I have spent the last few hours investigating abysmal performance in my latest little game project Cross The Road. Firefox was fine, but Chromium and Chrome, especially on mobile, was rendering at about three frames per second.

When I stopped using SVGs as background-images for my elements, and used PNGs instead, it improved to about 20-30 FPS.

It seems fine to use SVGs as normal images, but for background-image, it really hurt performance.