November 30, 2004
TCS Piece Up.
A shortish piece up at Techcentralstation.
Cato and Carthage.
For those interested in the origins of the phrase Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam that vital phrase which forms part of our everyday conversation in this EU Wonderland, a more scholarly approach and explanation is available from Michael Gilleland. Apparently:
These sentences are good ways to remember the passive periphrastic, otherwise known as the second periphrastic
which is way above my pay grade but I’m glad to see that Michael thinks that we got the grammar correct.
Oh Good Grief.
Gerry Adams in the Grauniad. This is what it was all about? From Wolfe Tone through the various incarnations of the IRA to this:
The current negotiations started at the beginning of the year. In June, I set the goal for Sinn Féin (and for any successful outcome) as "a comprehensive and holistic package, which deals with all of the outstanding matters in a way that is definitive and conclusive". A tall order - especially given the refusal by Ian Paisley to talk to Sinn Féin, and his party's oft-stated opposition to the Good Friday agreement.
Sinn Féin's approach has been twofold. We are trying to get the Democratic Unionist party on board. We are also seeking to ensure that any propositions from the British and Irish governments, and any agreement emerging from these discussions,are rooted in the Good Friday agreement. The governments' propositions have to be about delivery of the agreement. The integrity of the power-sharing institutions, the human rights and equality agenda, and the all-Ireland architecture of the agreement have to be safeguarded. This is essential if any deal is to be sustainable.
Really? 3,600 died in the latest round of the troubles, over the centuries tens if not hundreds of thousands have died for Irish nationalism and this is how it ends up? Regurgitated verbiage which would shame a trainee sociology professor?
The Equality Commission.
Some quangocrat is complaining about the new Equality Commission. Apparently the idea of treating discrimination against blacks, discrimination on the basis of race, as being equal to or similarly repugnant as discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, religion or disability is, in fact, um, discrimination. Oh, and there should be more money as well. Quelle Surprise.
Aaronovitch on Laughland.
It’s always fun to see one columnist take on another from the same paper. David Aaronovitch lays into John Laughland today and really quite destroys his reputation. Reading between the lines one gets the feeling that he is constrained by the libel laws. If you want more about Laughland go have a look at Harry’s Place. Just scroll through the last week or so. The thing that really kills Laughland’s reputation in my eyes is his association with Lew Rockwell. Now I’m probably closer to being a libertarian than any other political name you care to throw around (Manchester Liberal not being understood by many any more) but he’s way too kooky for me. Always seems to be operating according to the old Arab saying, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Sorry old chum, it ain’t so. It’s quite possible for your enemy to be a complete scumbag and for his enemy to be one too. You don’t want to get into bed with either.
European Union and Competetiveness.
One of the points of this whole European Union thing, from the view inside the tent pissing out, is that we’ll be ruled by a technocratic elite making the correct and tough decisions that we mere mortals simply couldn’t get right or understand. So what are they talking about here:
China's lightning advance into the production of cars, computers and high-tech industry poses a serious threat to Europe's economic base, according to a report by the European Commission.
Guenther Verheugen, the new enterprise and industry commissioner, said the EU must improve to avoid quick relegation down the world's economic league as Asia storms ahead on every front.
Beg pardon? What is this mercantilist crap? This self-claimed elite seems to be some three centuries behind on the economic thought front.
There’s a new low cost producer of cars and electronics.....OK, yes, got that.....this is a bad thing? Why? Just what have these idiots been smoking? So cars and electronics become cheaper, the consumer benefits from being able to have, either more cars and electronics for his money or, if that consumer prefers, the same amount for less money and is able to satisfy others of his desires within his income. In short, the consumer has become wealthier and these bozos are all wandering around with long faces crying out that the sky is falling. Sheesh.
It gets worse of course, for they have also failed to notice, presumably being pig-ignorant, what this actually means for the longer term. If we now have low wage countries like China making these sorts of products this means that these jobs are, by definition, low wage jobs. We do not want to work out how to protect car workers jobs in the EU. We want people to stop making cars in the EU as they are low wage jobs, we want them to go and do other things which are high wage jobs. Double sheesh.
I’ve always had my doubts about the wisdom of allowing ourselves to be ruled by experts, the value of a technocracy in and of itself, but when that very same college of technocrats shows itself to be incompetent on one of the most basic points of economics well, there’s no choice left, is there? It’s got to go.
ID Cards Again.
The move towards a police state continues:
People who fail to tell the Government when they move home will face a fine of up to £1,000 when the new ID card is phased in from 2008.
Oh Joy! Another new offense .....a thousand squid for forgetting to inform the authorities....so the aged aunt has to be dug out from her home of 50 years as dementia tightens its grip, off to the sheltered care home with her. Who pays the fine when she doesn’t register? She’s nuts so not her. The home? That caring nephew footing the bills? All of them to pay for John Prescott’s new computer system?
As well as civil penalties, there will be tough criminal penalties for misusing or seeking to forge an ID card, with anyone found guilty of tampering with a document risking up to 10 years in prison. Anyone involved in ID card administration who improperly discloses information will face two years
A trivial point but note that if an individual, a free citizen, were to try and make a mockery of the system they get 10 years. If, however, it is one of the State’s minions with his hands in the till they get two years. One law for the ruled and one for the rulers eh?
The cost of supplying thousands of public buildings, such as doctors' surgeries, with biometric readers to verify whether people are eligible for services when the scheme covers the whole country are unclear.
A thought occurs about these readers. I’m still not certain of exactly the technology that these cards will use but I assume that it will be some sort of flash memory in the cards? Are such cards wiped by magnetism? Would surreptitiously adding a little NdFeB magnet to the workings of a reader wipe every card passed through it?
A further nasty little thought occurs. As the cards do not exist as yet, making mock versions of them cannot be a crime.....you can only be convicted of forging something if there is a reasonable chance of someone actually accepting it as the true item. So, get photoshopping guys. Versions of ID cards for your favourite Nu Labour politician. Be as mean as you wish....As long as no one actually makes a plastic card then we’re safe. Send ideas to me and I’ll build a database of them.
An even further illegal thought occurs. Anyone with good contacts into the criminal underworld? No, you don’t have to identify yourself. Just ask around and see if anyone can forge these things already. I’m sure there would be a market for joke cards.....one that identified the owner as Marcus Mus perhaps, or one that identified a Brazilian PhD student as an illegal immigrant, for example.
Winston Churchill Memorial.
I agree that old Winnie was an important man, did most things in his life, saved the nation and all, but, well, this new memorial in St Paul’s
Was he really a darts player? I can offer you nothing but sweat, blood, tears and one hunnerd and eighteee?
November 29, 2004
Carnival of the Capitalists.
COTC is up at Lachlan Gemmell. A double issue this week no less.
The Flynn Effect Explained.
You’ve heard of the Flynn effect, right? The point that IQ scores seem to be getting higher with each passing generation?
Myself, I’ve always thought it was down to nutrition. We know that bad nutrition in the womb and childhood reduces mental capacity, we also know that (whatever the hysteics are screaming about now on obesity) said nutrition has become immeasurably better in the last few centuries. I mean ricketts for God’s sake, a simple calcium deficiency, was common enough in England pre-WWII.
I am rather ashamed to note that I was not thinking clearly enough myself (Mum? What were you feeding me those years ago?). Go read this quite stunningly good take on the subject from Stumbling and Mumbling. You should also read the rest of the blog. Going on my blogroll right away.