I did not know we gave foreign aid to Argentina. Or Brazil. Seeing as they are not exactly potless God knows why especially we give money as if this is some cockamamie attempt to curry favour we haven’t exactly got very far. Let’s look at the evidence shall we? Brazil has a space program, Brazil is hosting not just this year’s football World Cup but the next Olympics. It’s like crying poverty because you can’t afford to fill the Bentley. As to Argentina. Well, they fucking hate us. They shouldn’t of course because oddly enough we historically have strong links of blood and culture with Argentina but they have a perennial knicker-twist over the Falklands. Oh, and the Argentinian government has just gone on a spree of arms buying. Although God alone knows (and the Pope is an Argentine recall) what the be-buggery they will manage to do with a squadron of knackered Spanish Mirages.
Look, don’t get me wrong… I am not 100% contra international aid (there is a reason I was conceived in Zambia). Zambia had a space program as well. My parents were paid by the FCO to teach out there and I guess fair enough. Up to a point and all that but most of my adult life has seen me living in English inner-city areas: Nottingham, London, Leeds, Manchester and they all have loads of places you can wire money back to the old country from. This genuine charity is larger than the official stuff in scale and is vastly better targeted. That is the future of aid – the little things like getting your uncle a cellphone so he knows where to land the fish he caught etc. Of course that means making life easier for non-EEA citizens to work here and we can imagine the howls over that – UKip et. al. are already doing their ends over Poles and such. I don’t have a problem myself but people seem obsessed with the idea of employment as a zero-sum game. It seems connected to the idea that “creating jobs” is a “good thing” in and of itself. No it isn’t. Imagine trying to explain what you do to a pig-poker from 1725? They’d probs burn you at the stake – “He be consorting with the demons of the HTML”. Destroying jobs is the “good thing”. It of course creates jobs our ancestors would never believe. And who wouldn’t rather design computer games than wallow in shit with the piggies? A woman I spoke to on a train once doing a BSc in games design thought otherwise. Blimey, I envied her! That is like so cool.
She was also very good looking but then life is a series of events.
Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the Chancellor should find savings by stopping aid that goes to countries who “don’t need it”.
Mr Nuttall was speaking during a debate on the BBC show [Question Time] about Mr Osborne’s recently announced plans to cut the welfare bill by £12 billion in the two years after the 2015 election.
Mr Nuttall said: “The welfare budget under Labour spiralled out of control, it could not go on and something had to be done.
“However there is another budget which is ringfenced which comes to around £12bn, it is called the foreign aid budget.
“I am not against giving money to countries who are in dire need, people who need to be fed. But what I am against is giving money to countries like Argentina and Brazil.
“I believe the way you should pay for these cuts is by going to the foreign aid budget and taking money off countries who don’t need it because quite frankly that’s your tax and it should be spent on our own people.”
Whilst I appreciate the principle of Nuttall there is a problem. How can I explain this? Here is a start…
It was reported over the weekend that Argentina have [sic] received £2m in aid from Britain since 2012.
Now two million quid sounds a lot to you and me but in the grand scheme it is fuck all. That is money Osborne can lose down the back of the sofa. Yes, the principle of not giving Argentina money (it annoys me) is sound but if anyone believes that is going to impact the deficit then they really need to think a bit deeper. Ukip are either being thick or dishonest.
I dunno. I do know we should not give government aid to Argentina but I also know the quantities involved are not a scratch upon the buttock of the body politrick’s pissing money up a rope. I do though believe in being much more open door (which UKip isn’t) rather than saying ‘eff off but we’ll give you monies.
In 1993 I bought a PC (my first but not my last). It was a second-user Elonex 386-SX16 and was truly abysmal (cheap, mind). I am fine with Bill and Melinda Gates giving a stunning sum to the potless and starving. I did and do through them. Fine.
I believe in charity and though I am not a rich man I do not starve I believe in charity in the sense of money, goods, whatever freely given. Not, absolutely not, cash taken from me by force. Jesus Christ! In the 1980s there was a famine in Ethiopia and I (despite being a primary school kid) organised a “Santa’s Grotto” which meant wearing me ma’s tights because I wound-up dressed-up as “head elf”. We raised a few hundred notes. I did that off my own bat and my mates came in. That is charity.
That is what it should be about.
Thieves have taken off with the ten metre high Big Mango from a fruit-growing town in northern Queensland, Australia.
The giant, bright orange replica of the famous Bowen mango is one of Australia’s iconic tourist attractions[?!], and was the pride of Bowen[?!], before a team of robbers took off with it under the cover of darkness in the early hours of Monday.
Security cameras appear to have captured the daring heist, in which the three-story painted metal mango was unbolted from the concrete platform on which it had stood since 2002, rolled on to a heavy vehicle and driven off down Queensland’s Bruce Highway.
“Bruce Highway”! Only in Oz.
Motives for the theft remain unclear.
Quite the three pipe problem then.
Is there a university or college nearby? I mean other than the presumably small scrap value it says “student jape” to me. A pretty ambitious one but I guess they think bigger in the colonies. Well, the colony of criminals anyway.
Further to NickM’s post on his Android woes (of the current technology telecommunications variety rather than the future technology anthropomorphic electronic servant one), I was just going to post a comment, but it turned into a bit of a middle-aged-bloke-techno-rant.
However, since that is a perfectly valid perspective with a reasonable market share in the blogosphere, I thought I would upgrade it to a full-on blog post. I mean what the hell, it’s only electrons being shoved about isn’t it? – it’s not like they’ve got anything better to do – like holding together the structure of the universe…
So first-things-first, Sorry Nick, but I can’t help you with your problem, but it’s not because I don’t understand either the technology or your perspective (not that my knowledge of either necessarily helps your current predicament), because I have played a very, very minor role in developing the technology that you are currently afflicted with.
In between building hoppers for surface-to-air missile systems that couldn’t hit a barn door if they were holding the handle, I also worked on some of the 2G and 3G mobile phone technology at Marconi Electronic Systems as part of their military communications portfolio. I also sold part of a company based upon WAP and SMS-based message notification, so I’m not exactly clueless or even old-fashioned as far as both analogue and digital phone technology goes.
The problem is that the Motorola RAZRi you are holding in your hands is not really a mobile phone in the accepted sense. You might think it is, it might even be advertised as a mobile phone, but it fundamentally isn’t. What you are coveting in your palm is a piece of “Convergent Digital Technology“
Now don’t get be wrong, in actual fact it is a wonderful example of technological development, but it has been developed without any fundamental understanding of where it, or indeed the whole field of mobile communications is actually going.
Now I may well be a cynical old sod, harking back to a technological antediluvian era which never really existed, but I tried out some of the 2nd generation Android technology with my last corporate mobile phone (an HTC Desire), back in 2011 and although it was very flashy in everything else, e-mail, contacts, storing data, mobile internet, games consoles, emulators, blah, blah, blah – it was fundamentally a shit mobile phone.
Half the time the call would either never pick up when I pressed “Accept” or if it did pick-up I couldn’t hear what the other party was saying anyway, or I got disconnected or it ran out of power or it just plain froze up on me or etc, etc, etc. You get the picture (unless its by MMS)
Now, I’m sure the technology and the reliability have moved on since 2011, but I was so fucked off with my initial experience of Android (and I expect iPhone’s are no better), that I decided there-and-then that my next phone would be a phone, not one of these fancy multimedia MTC gadgets, but just a phone – i.e. a 10-number keypad and two buttons, one to dial and one to hangup.
Since then I’ve been happy as Larry with a cheap, SIM-only, no contract, dual-SIM (Malaysian and European), battery-life-of-a-week Nokia 108 that I picked up in Penang for a groat (well 140 RM to be honest, but never-the-less cheap enough for me). It has a camera I’ve never used and about the only accessory I have used on it is the Alarm Clock.
It works perfectly in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Europe and I’ve never (to my knowledge) lost a call or misheard an address.
Maybe the technology has moved on since my failed experience in 2011, but I as a customer, certainly have. When Motorola invent a working teleportation device, let me know – but someone else can be the guinea pig – after all, I’ve read Stephen King’s “The Jaunt”.
Source is an image, but the whole thing is too good, too inspirational, not to share. Dedicated particularly to Nick, and any other Kitty-Kounting Konsultants from Zanzibar. :>)))
So, Ray Kurzweil has joined Google (or Skynet) in an attempt to push AI into the Nexus 6 phase or something. I have some thoughts on all this but they are quite complicated and can wait.
Meanwhile back on Planet Nick I’ve got a problem with my Android phone.
I was trying to change my wallpaper to a nice photo I’d taken and got the error:
“Unfortunately, Google+ has stopped.”
My vague understanding is Google+ handles a lot of the multimedia type antics so this is bloody magic. This has happened apropos of nothing I can think of. I really haven’t messed around with the phone which I’ve only had about 3-4 months. It’s a Motorola RAZRi* on the Three network. It’s a nice phone and hasn’t been any hassle. I got it because it was cheap(ish), tough as hell (aluminium, Gorilla Glass, Kevlar) and has a one-touch from dead straight into camera which is cool because I wanted a snap-shot camera (lugging a DSLT and lenses etc being something I only do if I know there is something to photograph). It’s Android 4.1.2. The only app I have installed is Google Starmap and that was a while back and was seamless. It’s free and a pretty good app.
Now. I have tried clearing the cache and doing a hard reboot. I haven’t cleared the app data (I saw that suggested but I am loathe because I dunno what that deletes exactly though it’s about 800K so it can’t be too much). I guess I could always just yank the piccies to a computer and do a factory reset but I kinda want to understand what is going on and all that. And I’d have to put all my contacts in again…
Any help gratefully appreciated.
*i.e. a Google Motorola. Ask me Lenovo can’t get cracking soon enough.
[Editorial note - this story is from a while back but I've been sick as a mangy hound with nastiness so never finished it. I'm back now.]
… except it isn’t. Since childhood I have been an aviation fanatic. I’m astigmatic, somewhat short sighted and RG colour blind. So when I started my degree I spoke to the recruiting officer for the East Midlands Universities Air Squadron and when I explained my ishoos I was told to politely eff off. Having said that would you really trust someone who had to be told what colour Corsodyl toothpaste is with hands on the throttle and stick of a something that costs more than David and Victoria Beckham’s house and can drop JDAMs?
Shame but fair enough I guess. Having said that the highest scoring fighter ace in British history, Major Edward “Mick” Mannock, Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Two Bars, Military Cross and Bar (61 confirmed kills, maybe 73) and that Irishman was blind in one eye (allegedly). He (allegedly) bribed someone in the medical section to get the sight-test chart and memorised it. I think they are a bit more careful these days. Never trust the Irish or the Daily Mail.
Prince Harry has created a scholarship to get wounded veterans behind the wheel of an iconic Spitfire.
A fine and noble goal except a Spitfire (do we need to be told it is “iconic”? Do we ever need to be told something that actually is iconic is “iconic”?) doesn’t have a wheel. No, seriously. This is a snarky piece but it is aimed against the Mail and not Harry. I knew a lass at Nottingham University who helped out with riding for the disabled. Imagine how freeing it is for a paraplegic to be astride a horse and to gain that speed, height and mobility. A Spit has rather more horses in the front so…
The scheme, inspired by Second World War pilot Douglas Bader, will see the strongest candidates move up from a Tiger Mother biplane, to a Harvard, to the bespoke craft.
A Tiger Mother? God help us! The Harvard though was the RAF’s LIFT at the time so OK there but what’s that with “bespoke”?
Oh, and we had many disabled pilots in WWII. One bloke had nose art on his Spitfire showing the arm he’d had blown off flicking the V-sign.
Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot, launched the scholarship by climbing into the cockpit of a Spitfire and starting it.
Er… He’s an Apache WSO. Whatever.
But this is astonishing…
The Mail caption is this, “Britain built about 20,000 Spitfires, but they became obsolete after the invention of the jet engine. Here, a fleet is pictured with wing commander Robert Stanford-Tuck for the 1968 film.”
I’m not even going to point out they are Hurricanes.
I can fact-check stuff in the press. But I have limits. I know about certain areas such as aviation, bits of physics, a few other odds and ends but that is my lot. Worrying isn’t it? How much can the media smuggle past you as “truth” if you don’t know the subject?
I’m just wear my Mr Sceptic hat. I’m not exactly accusing them of making things-up or even of cherry-picking things to reflect their views but of in a fundamental way not really caring about hard truth. I mean that in the sense that the Mail sees the truth of telling a heart-warming story of the dashing young prince driving fast cars for a good cause (which it is) is more important than the awkward little facts. They all do it. What we have to do is behave like small Danish boys and sometimes shout, “But I can see his willy!!!”.
I put the money quote in boldface ….
‘Anyone advocating government officials or anyone else coercively taxing some people against their will and giving that money to others [is] guilty of advocating coercion and intimidation. Such people are not libertarians based on the ZAP criteria.
‘Such people are also guilty of fraud if they claim to be “libertarians.”’
–Commenter Garry Reed | December 7, 2013, 9:36 pm
…in response to the posting ‘U.S. “Libertarians” Debate Basic Income,’ which links to several pieces, pro- and not-so, on the topic by various Shining and Less-Shining Lights. These include a podcast interview by somebody at Cato of our pal Zwolinski, whose allegedly libertarian heart regularly bleeds, though not for people who think charity and justice are two different things, and also a piece by somebody at Reason, who tells us how much less demeaning such a program would be. (I guess people are still, underneath it all, not proud of being unable to look after themselves — not even in the face of catastrophe.)
I thought this last article might be a satirical debunking of the idea, but no such luck.
A most interesting, longish piece in which Daniel Greenfield discusses the place of Climate-Alarmism, and of turn-of-the-20th-century SF, in what one might call “The Project for Social Change” (cue the Usual Suspects). Follow the Kitties to Zanzibar: Read the whole thing.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The Green Socialists of Mars
Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog — 14 Comments
We live in a strange world in which the weather is a subject of furious political debate. People have been arguing about the weather ever since the first rainstorm caught the first man without the umbrella that he did not yet know how to make, but they didn’t hold political debates over it.
For the last fifty years, the anti-weather side has been insisting that the world is headed toward a Frostean apocalypse of ice or fire. …. The end of weather was here.
[ ... ]
The original error of climate researchers was their assumption that planets were more fragile than they truly are and could be undone by a nuclear exchange or even by a few coal plants. Carl Sagan, who had done much to popularize unscientific paranoia about nuclear winter and global warming, warned that the Gulf War’s oil fires would lead to a miniature nuclear winter.
They did not.
The mingling of philosophical paranoia over a godless universe and political pacifism disguised as science shaped not only Sagan’s musings, but the entire ideology of weather apocalypses which derived from the conviction that ungoverned man was bound to destroy his environment.
[ ... ]
Socialist science fiction had become a booming field in the late 19th century. Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward had envisioned time travel to a Socialist American utopia in the year 2000. It was a bad book, but a popular bestseller because it used the frame of pseudoscience to depict Socialism as both a practical model and inevitable. …
Novels such as “Politics and Life in Mars”, “Unveiling a Parallel”, “To Mars via the Moon”, “A Prophetic Romance” and “Red Star” envisioned culturally superior Martians demonstrating their advanced Socialist societies with income equality, planetary labor unions and pacifism to the human race.
In the Russian “Red Star,” the Lowellian canals are a Communist triumph over inhospitable nature anticipating the USSR and Communist China’s disastrous dam projects. The German writer of “Two Planets” envisioned the advanced Martians invading Earth to impose their superior Socialist society on human beings.
The Martians, like Global Warming, were a tool of radical social change.
[ ... SNIP]
Please, do not miss this 1:26:33 of Prof. Epstein’s inimitable and marvellous discourse. Indescribably educational, and, of course, fascinating; and this one is particularly wide-ranging. My quibble-quotient here is tiny and is swamped by the education effect. The UT description:
Published on May 21, 2012
Richard A. Epstein, legal scholar and author, visits the Dole Institute to discuss courts grounds to invalidate the constitution.
Filmed on October 19, 2006 at the Dole Institute of Politics.
Mustaches are racist.
—-Ralph Haddad, Student editor of The McGill [University] Daily
Student Paper Editor Claims Mustaches are Racist
November 29, 2013 by Daniel Greenfield
In case you don’t recognize “Daniel Greenfield,” he also posts good stuff to his weblog, under the nom de guerre of “Sultan Knish.” His piece, linked above, links also to the column “Movember declared ‘sexist, racist, transphobic’ at Canada’s sorry imitation of Harvard” at The Daily Caller.