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Sigh

The Pope may also have a tendency towards Catholicism…

…and we all know about ursine silvan defecatary habits…

This staggering gem from the NYT/Daily Mail. I recall when the fun and games started in the ‘stan. There was a twinkly old bar steward “massing” with a fucking hatchet on the Af/Pak border and ranting to the BBC about killing Americans. Above him were the contrails of a B-52. He was (self) impo(r)tently waving his little mashie at the bomber. And he was ponying up from Pakistan’s “restive” tribal areas. Or Hell on Fucking Earth as is better known.

Anyone who sincerely believes the Pakistani government has been our best buds through this farrago which has cost something like 3,000 NATO lives, God knows how many Afghans and you may have noticed how well we’re doing in the Paralympics of late… Well they are demented.

It comes down to this. The USA has had an alliance with Pakistan for many years. In their early wars against India, Pakistan flew largely F-86s, and the Indians got chummy with the Soviets and flew MiGs (they also had some Hawker Hunters and the Pakistanis got some Supermarine Attackers which were truly dreadful but that would detract from the narrative). The Indians still are chummy with the Russians on aerospace which is why the Su-34 has a microwave oven and a proper toilet. It was specced-up and partially designed by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) primarily for India. A great strike fighter (with a microwave!) but they should have fitted (along with the toilet) variable geometry inlets for the engines to get the speed past Mach 2. Because under successive US Admins there has been a bizarre “Game of Thrones” in the spheres of interference and Pakistan landed in the US one and India in the Soviet one for whatever reason. But genuine friends? Seriously?

We know, or ought to know, who our real friends are. The first British DFC awarded to a female pilot came from her (and her crew) flying through an unbelievable shit-storm of fire into a fort (yes a fort!) to rescue a critically wounded Dane, twice – shot down first time around. Now my people stood (with fuck-off axes) against them Scandy sorts but the Battle of Stamford Bridge* was like nigh on a thousand years ago. Since then we’ve made-up and bought Lego and are genuine mates – real allies. This is not blood – though I am Nordic/Celtic ancestry. I have long blonde-ish hair right now and look like I’m about to lead the Éored down the right flank. Good. I like it as does my wife. I am not being racist. Indeed I’m suggesting I am of immigrant blood and blood matters nothing. What matters is culture and if not it’s exact convergence but the mutual understandability. That makes for genuine friendship and not the sub “Game of Thrones” we have with Pakistan and the Afghans. I mean Dear God we liberated Afghanistan so they could impose a law legalising marital rape! When we stormed the beaches of Normandy did we expect to set-up such societies? I have been to France and Germany and they ain’t like that. I haven’t been to Japan or The Republic of Korea (though I have put enough moollah their way) but I have been to the Korean War memorial in DC. That is a memorial to 50-odd thousand soldiers who died to ensure half the peninsula didn’t get over-run by the vilest regime on the planet.

And it isn’t blood, or culture or even religion (I found Turkey very friendly). Well, maybe it is culture. The culture of not being an arsehole. I am sure many Afghans manage it but not the Khazi of Kabul. Though a man not without sin there can be a need for an Atatürk (as we had a need for a Cromwell). Sometimes you need a hard bastard to pull you out of the soup.

Or maybe not. It’s not very libertarian is it? But Turkey would be a complete shit-hole without Mustafa Kemal (insert obvious joke). Mind, the current Turkish PM seems hell-bent on a return to the fucking dark ages.

Or maybe not. The great social changes I have seen in my lifetime have been of the slowly, slowly monkey catching variety. Sometimes you need society to simply change and the biggest change I have seen is probably gay rights. There has been a phenomenal change in that since I was at secondary school.

But fundamentally you don’t choose your friends – your genuine allies – they choose you or you just get on. There is a reason every year the Norwegians ship us a ginormous Christmas Tree for Trafalgar Square. There is a reason Hamid Khazai ships us fuck all (apart from heroin on the sly) – an Eid prezzie would be nice. It isn’t blood or treasure or religion. We simply get on with Norway and we don’t with ‘stan (because they are cunts, largely). That in a sense is what this war is about. Or isn’t. It is an attempt at “nation building”, in shit-holes. I saw on the telly a couple of years back a US Army Cpt taking tea with tribal elders. He was an engineer and wanted to build a bridge employing local labour so they could go to town and get jobs but all the lads had gone off Talibaning. The US officer was very obviously pissed-off. I don’t blame him. He couldn’t say anything, alas. But there was a definite look about him that said, “Well, if that’s their attitude then fuck ‘em”. Of course he offered to build a bridge and not offer the chance to “marry” pre-pubescent girls so he was buggered from the start.

These are not allies in the sense of friends. The French might be founder members of the “Awkward Squad” but I reckon we can vaguely trust ‘em. We can certainly trust some other Europeans and the USA and some of the Commonwealth. We have friends, genuine friends and that is very different from having “alliances”.

I know people I would stand with (if it came to it) to the last gasp and I know they would stand with me but realpolitricks never works in the long term.

I know this post has rambled and I hope it is taken in the right sense. This is not a rant contra Islam and it is not a paean to Nordicology. I am just saying that if you want a genuine friendship which is the utter prerequisite for a real alliance you have to get on rather than manufacture it. And a country that harbours public enemy #1 within a brisk walk of its premier military academy for years is not a friend and should not therefore be regarded as an ally. It is both a strategic and some level a moral failure.

*Some enormous Viking held the bridge with a giant axe until a sneaky Saxon went underneath and skewered the IKEA merchant with a spear up the fundament.

The War against Eastasia: Theatre: The Paranoid Style in Libertarianism

Single Acts of Tyranny proposes to tyrannize us by destroying our fondest dream, which is that hell is the creation of the Devil which takes the form of bringing to Humanity that most desirable of conditions, happiness and joy — O hell, World PEACE, happiness and joy — by denying us everything that any human being could possibly need or want. In this case, the sense of physical sweetness that sugar brings us.

Now along comes Perfesser “Nudge” Sunstein, who says, “No such thing”: It’s all the woolly-minded Paranoid Libertarians, who broadcast to us the Sirens’ wail in the form of warnings against such things as slippery-slope arguments, plus four more dreadful paranoid ploys.

On the other hand, the Comments to the articule (what an apt typo! think I’ll leave it) seem to be running rather heavily against what they see as the Prof’s muddying of the waters.

Actually, it’s my observation that as soon as you let the meaning of words (that is, their meaning in Standard English, since there does have to be a standard for interpretation somewhere or “it’s deuces wild”) — as soon as you let the meaning of words become unmoored from their core meaning in Standard English, you are deep into the territory of the Slippery Slope and worse. Mr. Whittle did a wonderful illustration of how this works, on a Trifecta a few years back. If you have a “standard” as opposed to “basic” (but still paid) membership, I think it is, you can still watch it.

But I’m O/T there. The point is that ANY argument can, in my experience, be stretched to prove anything whatsoever, if you have just the teensiest bit of imagination. And Lefties are loaded with it, as long it informs them that their plans will work so well that they should just naturally have the final say.

Go, read — including the Comments, until you get bored: there are 288 of them so far, some meaty — and be Enlightened.

PS: Acts, no offense. That first line is my idea of humor. I do like your idea of putting 5 kg. of sugar in jail, though. Maybe it work to help me lose a little around the hips. :>)

5.56mm abortions

Unless you have a very good reason it is wrong to shoot someone but deliberately targeting women and shooting them in the uterus to kill their unborn child is… Well, I’ve lived 40 years and seen and heard of some vile things in my time but this is atrocious. Particularly because shooting heavily pregnant women offers no conceivable military advantage. Apparently the scrotes doing this are betting cigarettes on it. I saw this on the BBC Morning News and was appalled. I knew bad things were going on in Syria but I could live to be a thousand years old and such a caper would not occur to me. For ciggies I go to the shop and exchange money for them – like normal folk.

Don’t believe me? What about this guy?. He’s a surgeon who did pro-bono work in Syria which included C-sections to remove dead babies from the wombs of women who had been heavily pregnant and they did target heavily pregnant women because they’re like more obvious through a sniper scope. I lack the technical skills to do that but I also lack the moral skills not to go off my rocker doing that.

Evil, true, pure Sauronic evil, exists. And if Dr Nott’s testimony has any reality (and I suspect it does) this is evil.

Islamic Vinegar

One school policy to rule them all; unless you are an aggrieved Muslim father in which case all bets are off.

That’s right.  Yet another dhimmi appeasement.

A Muslim father has removed his six-year-old daughter from school in protest at her teacher who confiscated her Islamic necklace.

Despite the fact that school regulations do did not permit the wearing of necklaces, Islamic or otherwise.  But Islam is a special basket case isn’t it.  So Tariq played the only card he holds in his hand – the offended Muslim trump.  And did it work?  Well what do you think?

The Year 2 pupil was told to take off her taweez – a chain containing verses from the Koran – after she was caught playing with it at Nottingham Academy last Monday.

A disciplinary action, surely.  You can’t be paying attention in class if you’re fiddling with an item of jewelery you shouldn’t be wearing in the first place.

As a result, Britain’s biggest school have now made a U-turn on their uniform policy, which dictates pupils can only wear one plain pair of metal studs, and say she can now wear the jewellery in class.

A singular act of cowardice from the school.  Religious offence dictates a change in school policy and the school is now guilty of undermining a member of its own staff for upholding the original, sensible rules and keeping discipline in the classroom.  Way to go Nottingham Academy.  You’ll be putting halal meat on the school menu for everyone, including non-Muslims, to eat next.  Oh, wait.  There’s a good chance you already do…

But now the school has shamefully caved in that should be the end of the problem, yes?

However, Mr Tariq has still pulled his daughter out of lessons for over a week after he branded the teacher’s actions an ‘insult to Islam.’

FFS!

Give these idiots an inch and they take a mile of piss.  Verbally disciplining his darling daughter and removing a necklace equates to a  religious hate crime?  Seriously?

He is now demanding that she be placed in a different class away from the teacher who banned her ‘sacred’ locket.

Well the school caved in once so why not issue another outrageous demand to see if the school rolls over even more quickly?  The law of unintended consequences anyone?

Yesterday Mr Tariq said: ‘My daughter was really upset about it when she came home – she was in floods of tears.

How traumatic!  What is the world coming to when a kuffar teacher corrects a distracted Muslim child in the classroom?

‘This is very sacred to her and to our religion. It should not be taken off Muslims and it is something she holds very dear indeed.

All secular schools must kowtow to Muslim demands or else.  Islam is a special case so your rules do not apply to Muslims and don’t you forget it.

‘To have it taken off her for the entire day and be shouted at by her teacher like that is an insult to our religion.

Diddums.   Kids get disciplined by their teachers every day but their parents don’t usually create about it or try to turn it into a religious hate crime.

She said she had only been itching her neck and had got the taweez out to scratch her neck.

Why would she need to take the entire thing out just to scratch her neck?  Or isn’t it Islamic to simply reach behind and scratch?

‘But the teacher thought she was playing with it and swinging it about.

Probably because that is precisely what the girl was doing.

‘The whole thing really upset her and I don’t think she is happy in the class any more.

Kids attend school to be educated.  Not being happy with teacher from time to time is par for the course.  Discipline in the classroom isn’t a popularity contest and nor should it ever be.  Until Miss Tariq learns that “no” means “no” she’s going to remain unhappy.  It’s a shame her father failed to teach her that before she started school.  But then he clearly doesn’t understand what “no” means either.  Nor does the school apparently.

I think it will be better if she moves to a different class so I have taken her out of school until we can get this issue resolved.

I think Tariq should be prosecuted for keeping his daughter out of school and depriving her of part of her education in an attempt to blackmail said school into giving in to his delusional demands.

The academy has now agreed that Saniya can wear the item on religious grounds – except in PE and swimming.

Spineless!

Saniya, who lives with her parents in Bakersfield, Nottinghamshire, said: ‘I wear it every day.  My taweez means a lot to me and I think she should have asked my parents before making me take it off.’

It was teacher’s fault!  And now I can play with my necklace in class whenever I want and not suffer the consequences because they would be an insult to the beliefs of my, and my parents, Dark Ages religion including the bits they make up as they go along.

Headteacher Steve Jones said: ‘After speaking to Mr Tariq about his daughter, we decided Saniya could keep her necklace on in school, under her polo shirt, apart from the PE and swimming lessons.

He’s talking like the child is a special, one-off case.  Here’s news for you Steve Jones, she isn’t and she won’t be.  Not now you have sold out your school rules.  You should have told Tariq to go up himself.  Instead you have let an Islamic genie out of the bottle that will be used against other schools now that you have set a precedent.

We would always consider exemptions on the basis of religious principles.

Then why bother having a school policy at all if any Tom, Dick or Tariq can come along and bend it to suit their own religious prejudices?

Indeed, in Saniya’s case, we were able to reach a compromise with Mr Tariq.’

So the child can remove the necklace but only when the father dictates to the school she can?  And this is called “compromise” is it?

Other parents gathered at the school gates gave mixed opinions on the incident.

One mum, whose son goes to the school, but did not wish to be named, accused the head of caving in and bending the rules.

Bending the rules in this way is a smack in the face to everyone who abides by the rules.  I wouldn’t want to send my kids to any school that prefers to undermine its own staff and policy to suit the unreasonable demands of one religiously intolerant individual.

She said: ‘It is ridiculous that they felt threatened enough to change the rules like this.

If it was a lad with a Christian cross and he was messing with it then I am almost certain the rules wouldn’t have been bent to let him wear it.

And, quite probably, would have been told not to misbehave in class if he went home and whinged to his parents about it.

At the end of the day if the girl is messing with the chain and it is distracting her or others from working then that’s why the rules are there.

Quite.  If this lady gets it why didn’t the school?

Another father said: ‘I agree it was wrong as it does mean that much to them as a religion.

Actually it doesn’t mean any such thing.  If it did the Muslim professionally aggrieved posse would have potted this supposed “insult” by challenging school policies regarding “sacred” necklaces long ago.   I suspect the Nottingham outbreak was down to a one man band.  Expect this “sacred necklace” crap to go viral.

However, they have said she can wear it in class now – so surely that should be the problem resolved.

I have a sign that says Beware Low Flying Pigs he can stick at the bottom of his garden.

The New Shadow

JRR Tolkien started writing a sequel to the Lord of the Rings.

I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall [of Sauron], but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless – while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors – like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going round doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow – but it would be just that. Not worth doing.

I think that says as much about our World as Middle Earth. No moment of triumph ever lasts. It’s a second law of thermodynamics for societies.

Welcome to Brigadoon…

Get your comments in quick folks… It may be another hundred fuckin years before we appear again!

I hope a profuse and detailed apology from Cat’s will be forthcoming for this fiasco, but frankly I’m a bit pissed off myself. We cannot carry on like this. The friggin Difference engine has to go. I will contribute to the cost of a proper professional Server, and others here have indicated to me that they are prepared to do so too.

I have had at least half a dozen posts I wanted to put up in the last bastard ten days of invisibility, but all past their sell buy date now. Not fuckin good enough, not fuckin good enough at all.

Why the Planned Society Doesn’t Work

The Planners are idiots.

The use of OxyContin has dropped precipitously, but none of us anticipated that people who were addicted to oxycodone would leave it and select another drug to take its place

None of us, or none of you, the omniscient supermen who would regulate us all?

People are going from an essentially safe medication with known, specified doses to a powder that their dealer is telling them is heroin [...] There’s no way to know if that’s true, and the purity is uncertain [because heroin can be cut with other substances]. People who are switching suddenly aren’t sure what they’re getting, and overdose is likely to occur.

Well, you don’t say. Well done, everyone!

Alan Turing

Today would be Alan Turing’s 100th birthday. Alas it never transpired. He died in still debatable circumstances when he was in his prime. Was he a great pure mathematician? Yes, I’d put him almost as high as Gödel and that is like comparing a footballer to Pele. Both of course were not normal men. Turing had some fairly odd ideas and Kurt Gödel starved to death. Gödel was paranoid and refused to eat any food not prepared by his wife, then his wife died. Now Gödel was a nutter. Perhaps everyone who scales such (literally) infinite heights is going to be a bit unusual. It is hard to say what killed Turing. It has entered the popular consciousness that he was a sort of gay martyr (the statue of him in Manchester is in the gay village and not where it ought to be – in front of the University) and this is possibly true. He was convicted of “gross indecency” for having sex with another man. If there is a great villain here it is the law. My understanding is Turing had sex with Arnold Murray in his own home in Wilmslow and it all came out when he reported a burglary by his shagging partner. I fail to see how anyone can be “indecent” in their own home.

But it is possible the cyanide coated apple was a mere mistake. It has been mooted. Certainly Turing (a pure mathematician not schooled in lab discipline) was new to the game. And trust me as a physicist I have worked with lethal things and I wouldn’t trust a mathematician in my lab. Mainly those lethalities were in the sense of serious voltages and radioactive stuff and not any biohazard or poison*. So maybe? Who knows! Who cares! I am typing this on a Lenovo S205. That is what matters. It is certainly possible that the female hormones Turing was ordered to take after his conviction that caused him to grow breasts outraged him because he was also verging on being a world-class long-distance runner or following his conviction (not unrelated to the Cambridge spies) he lost his security clearance (for being gay – unlike the Cambridge spies he was not a KGB agent, just gay) or even the fact he was only a reader at Manchester because the security about Enigma/Lorenz had left a “black-hole” in his career. A fundamental thing here is that we were moving from Empire at the time and gave as a parting gift Enigma machines we’d snicked from the Germans but we didn’t want them to know we could break the code. Sneaky? Brilliant! But it meant nobody involved with Station X or Ultra got the credit. You can compare and contrast with Manhattan. Of course that was for obvious reasons much harder to keep on the QT.

There are people who define centuries. Roughly the Stephensons defined the C19. The C20th was invented by Nikola Tesla. Our time belongs to Turing. If you are reading this you are reading this on a Turing Machine. Much the same as the Turing machine I am writing this on. I got my first Turing machine (a 48K Speccie) in 1984. I felt like a king – I had a computer and they had been huge things maintained by fit librarian-type birds in lab-coats with clip-boards and owned by Bond villains in Mao suits and cats. I wrote a game even – it was very poor – but hell’s buggery – I wrote a game! I learned maths and drew fractals from outlines of programs from Scientific American my Dad nabbed from work. Alan Turing made it so. The game BTW was called “Orc Fighter” and was truly dreadful.

So fill your cups for Alan Turing. He made us. We have a category here called “Transformative Technologies”. Turing is certainly up there. He is up there with George Stephenson and the Wright Brothers. He is there in the pantheon with Tesla and Newton. And I don’t say that about many folks.

*My final university experimental project was… Well I built a magnetometer out of bits. It worked down to very few fractions of a Tesla. Nano Tesla I think. It annoyed some profs because I had proven data of car movements in the car park… Not everyone was actually clocking in or out at time. But that was not my original scheme. Oh, no I wanted to play with magnetotactic bacteria as a model for certain solid state systems. Three problems. A budget of GBP35, the fact these buggers come from New England swamps and thirdly nobody in the physics department having the slightest idea on the H&S issues. The magnetometer was built in the end with scavenged parts for about a tenner. God knows what happened to it.

Bahrain

Update: Joe Saward has published his summary of the weekend, including an account of a meeting with some of his Bahraini readers. It’s a long post, and too good to rip quotes out of, but gives a side of things that just wasn’t shown by the mainstream media. It’s well worth reading it all.

Well, it looks like the Grand Prix will go ahead, despite Ed Millipede joining the chorus calling for it to be cancelled.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think they should be there. I don’t think they should go to China either. Malaysia’s a bit dodgy, too. And I’ve never liked Singapore: they’ve almost as many surveillance cameras as we do.

But seriously, I don’t. The situation there is little better, if at all, than it was last year, when the race was cancelled. Indeed, not long after last year’s non-race, some of the Bahrain International Circuit staff themselves were “arrested”, and, well… who knows? It’s all rather murky.

However, (more…)

“Darwin Award” Is Barely Adequate

Down below, Paul has written a post about the “fall of the Moron civilisation”, and a very good post it is too. It describes how a certain South American civilisation, facing the invasion of the Conquistadores, responded by, er, killing their own people and setting fire to their pyramids, which turned out not to be the optimal strategy. That however was a form of organised moronism. Our society increasingly specialises in the individual form, largely it appears because it has now so regulated everything that individuals have entirely lost the capacity to take the most simple care of themselves. Which brings us to 46 year old Diane Hill, who set herself on fire with petrol.

Now burning yourself isn’t automatically moronic. Petrol is flammable. Under certain circumstances it can spontaneously combust (if you soak a heap of rags in it, then something to do with latent heat that our Physics expert Nick can no doubt explain). Or, more likely you can have a stray spark if there is a sufficient concentration of vapour, or…

She was using her cooker at the same time as pouring petrol from one container to another using a jug after her daughter had asked for some petrol.

Oh.

The woman was cooking dinner while decanting the fuel from an “appropriate petrol container” into a glass jug when the vapours ignited [...] that “created panic,” causing the woman to spill the petrol, which “resulted in spillage on the lady’s clothes which ignited as well”.

Ah.

Lee Smith, one of the fire officers called to the scene, told BBC Radio 5 Live that firefighters did not need to extinguish any flames but had to deal with “a lot of smoke”.

I bet they did.

So here we have a woman so stupid that she decanted petrol into a jug next to a cooker (this was a gas cooker wasn’t it, Mrs Hill? The one with the naked flames?) and who gets the blame for this? The government.

Now come on. I’m no fan of the Coalition, but we can hardly blame the government for presiding over people so stupid that the advice to keep a bit of extra petrol in results in them pouring it from jug to jug while stir frying dinner, can we?

Labour peer Lord Harris called for Francis Maude to resign after the woman, named locally as Diane Hill, suffered 40 per cent burns when she tried to pour petrol into a jug in her kitchen after her daughter’s car needed refuelling.

Because Francis Maude didn’t take into account how close to the fall of the Moron civilisation we actually are. Presumably if he’d advised people to buy cutlery, he’d be responsible for some woman deliberately stabbing herself in the eyes with a fork, because he hadn’t actually specified she shouldn’t do that.

I think we may as well give up on this “libertarian” thing, guys. With raw material like this, hoping for a society of self-reliant individuals is really asking too much, isn’t it?

Save us from the big bad Google we keep voluntarily using, European Union, save us!

This was started as a comment to this Commentator article, which didn’t seem to get through for some reason. Possibly because of one of the domains I’ve blocked, which would be ironic.)

Do you own a smartphone, tablet or computer? If yes then the chances are that you have downloaded free apps or use free services from the likes of Facebook, Google or i-tunes. Have you ever stopped to wonder why these services are able to remain free?

Once again, the loose definition of “free” in software comes back to haunt us. There are plenty of free Android apps, voluntarily released by their authors under open licences. Recently, I found I was even able to replace the Google dialer with an Apache-licenced one. Personally, I’m well aware whether an app is free or “free”.

Big Brother Watch highlighted the way in which some mobile phone apps have been gaining access to you text messages, phone calls, phone book, location and even have the ability to turn your camera on and off without your knowledge. Granted, this information is buried within the terms and conditions that the consumer accepted when downloading the app, but…

Woah, waaaaait a minute. “Buried within the terms and conditions”? I don’t know about Tw@face or iTunes (I don’t use them – more on that bizarre new idea later), but on Android they’re right there, on a screen of their own, that you have to actively accept before installing the app. What more do you want? A voice booming from the speaker, “Danger, danger! This mapping app will access your location! Danger!”? I’ve always been of the opinion that Android actually handles this really well. But if people can’t be bothered to read what it says on the screen…

A poll carried out by BBW and You Gov showed that nine out of ten adults had not read the new privacy policy despite 92 percent of adults using Google services on a regular basis (at least once a week). The concern is that consumers were unaware that their private information was about to become a lot more valuable to Google and as such had no opportunity to decide whether they were comfortable with this.

Yeah. That same poll found that 47% of respondents weren’t even aware that Google had a new privacy policy, despite it being splashed all over Google’s sites since the beginning of the year with the tagline “This stuff matters!”. So this isn’t about understanding or complication; it’s about apathy. I would have some sympathy if Google et al. were making it actively difficult for people to find out what was happening to their data, but they had every “opportunity to to decide whether they were comfortable” with the new policy and they simply didn’t bother.

So we get more guff like this, moaning for a few more paragraphs about “clarity” and “engagement”. How do you engage people who actively seem to resist? BBW’s heart is undoubtedly in the right place and the new policy is a bit grim in parts, but this is pathetic, weak-willed, spineless, statist claptrap.

Sure, there are EULAs that are too complicated to understand. So decline, for Pete’s sake. Nobody has a gun to your head. You wouldn’t sign a contract you hadn’t at least skimmed over, and you certainly wouldn’t agree to one that you weren’t sure about, so what makes software so different? We don’t need “protection” from this; we just need to stand up for ourselves like grown adults and take a bloody interest in what we’re getting ourselves into. I do it all the time. “Dolphin is teh bestest browser on Android!!!1!”, I keep hearing. Well, I read the EULA. Didn’t like it. I’ll stick to Zirco (GPL3). It’s a bit slow, but I prefer the cut of its jib.

And that’s the trouble: one of the main protests I hear when advocating Free software is that “X” program doesn’t have a certain feature that “Y” proprietary program does, or that the interface is slightly unfamililar, or it’s a bit slow, or some other minor functional issue. Proprietary software, with all its concomitant restrictive licencing, is just more convenient, they say. And, I admit, sometimes they have a point (hell, I have an XBox and its EULAs are nasty). But if that’s more important to them than their rights and privacy, then that’s their lookout, not their fellow taxpayers.

I myself will remain an avid Google user.

See what I mean?

Edit: Stupid WP visual mode.

Telegraph Comments and Cultural Defeatism.

I wrote this a while back and left it for some reason. But reading this has made me dust it down…

This story in the Telegraph isn’t very interesting (way to blog Nick!) but the comments are astonishing. They read like something from the Third Reich.

vonmises (yeah right!)

Chips in with this…

Fascinating report. It gives the true feelings of the Norwegian people about the culture-destroying immigration to their country.

But the same report could be made about Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland. The whole of Western Europe has experienced welfare-driven, Third World immigration that is, predictably, turning our European continent into a Third World, largely Islamic state.

It goes on…

Now my view here is almost Darwinian. If a culture is vibrant enough to count it can assimilate anyone without force. If a culture deserves to continue then it is strong enough to stand on it’s own feet without draconian measures to “protect it” (I believe in free markets in all things). For example in Britain we have no official body to maintain the “purity” of the English language.The French do. One of these actions is a statement of self-confidence and the other is culturally defeatist. One is bold and optimistic and the other is a “managed decline”. That is why English is a global “lingua franca” (and of course even that is a loan word with a curious etymology) and French is a cultural back-water fighting a rearguard action via ever more state intervention (hence they have the Académie Française and we own the field of popular music. It is the cultural equivalent to trade protectionism and just as dismal. It is an admission of defeat. It is going three goals down in a footy match and then taking the ball home in a strop.

But what if it isn’t culture. What if it is coded in the DNA?

John Piggott says…

First, race-replacement immigration is an issue of genes, not culture. In its action, the genetic dissimilarity of the colonising peoples constitutes a gene-killing event – a genocide – for the Norwegian people, as it does for all European peoples.

Second, “the answer” is a total removal of the colonising peoples, and their seed.

We must be clear what our racial objective – to remain who we are – and its moral primacy, and we must be clear about what is required – total removal – so that is delivered.

And “their seed”. Bloody hell! And that is a comment in the Telegraph. That’s verging on the Biblical! What a depressing outlook – see what I mean about cultural defeatism here? This assumes people are hard-coded to be Muslims, Christians or Hindus or whatever. It is a total denial of one of my fundamental beliefs – human free-will. It is outrageous.

Now let me explain something. On the palm of my left hand I have a benign growth. It’s called a jupitron. It is indicative of Scandinavian ancestry. And indeed most of my family (on both sides) derives from the North West Coast of Ireland that was heavily Vikinged. So I’m an immigrant of largely non “Angle-folc”ishness. More to the point my Dad was born in Donegal. But I am English. Not Irish, not Norwegian. I can’t stand Guinness and I have never pickled herrings or hit anyone with a battle-axe or Shillelagh. But I is considered OK here by he racial and cultural loons. Is it because I is white? I once dated an American who was DAR on her Dad’s side but her mother was of Russian/Romanian Jewish descent and her family pitched up at Ellis Island in 1900. Who was more American between her parents? It’s meaningless*. My ex’s great grand-parents turned up in New York not speaking a word of English but according to family-lore were quick studies and did well (clearly well) and celebrated their first Christmas in the New World with a hog-roast which caused some family history controversy of the “Are we actually Jewish?” variety. I can kind of see why because a family hog-roast for Christmas is not exactly kosher is it?

Or take a lad my wife (who has a Danish great grandparent) shared a flat with as a student. Rahul was a lovely bloke from India doing an MBA. He was already from everywhere having Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian branches to his family and had been educated at an Indian Public School (modeled on the old English system) and spoke with an accent that could cut glass. He, despite being an Indian national, was arguably the most “traditionally English” person I have ever met. He understood the minutiae of cricket in a way that stunned me. I mean it makes quantum mechanics look simple! Oddly enough despite having a job-offer here and qualifications up the kazzoo and liking London he was denied a work-permit. The Home Office’s ludicrous decision is presumably Britain’s loss and India’s gain. But banally vile incompetence from the Home Office is what they do..

Now I mentioned cricket (a sport I know very little about) so I ought to mention Norman Tebbit’s infamous “cricket test”. Now I sort of understand where Tebbit was coming from but in a larger sense is it not self defeating? The real point is not that immigrants to the UK retain a loyalty to the Indian or Bangladeshi team but that they are fanatical about a game that was invented in England? Who are the cultural “imperialists” here. And yes, obviously I mean that in scare quotes. Try telling the average Pakistani they have to stop playing cricket because it’s culturally inauthentic”. Or telling me if I moved to the USA (I nearly did) that I’ve got to stop watching “soccer” and supporting England.

Well not until last year’s World Cup and England’s gutless and shambolic performance (I watched the Germany game in the pub at the end of my mate’s stag weekend – dreadful – all us lads wound-up staring disconsolately into our pint pots). You see my point? It is not who you support but that these English games have conquered the World. That’s what really matters and on my travels – which range from the USA to Turkey getting a taxi from airports this always happens. “So you were on the Manchester flight?” “Yes”. There then follows a conversation about football (because of Manchester United and now I guess City – Stockport County is never mentioned because they’re dreadful). That’s what matters. Anyway for various perverse reasons the English FA didn’t bother entering the World Cup until 1950 (we thought because we’d invented the game we had a right to win so it was unsporting to embarrass the natives). And then in 1950 we get knocked-out by rank outsiders (500-1 in betting circles) – the USA. The point is not that we’d lost the cultural plot but we’d been staggeringly successful culturally to the extent to which we had exported a key point of British culture so well that we could be beaten at our own game.

You can view that in a dull and misererablist Frazer-ish “We’re doomed!” sense and (as I hinted before but now mean quite literally) take our ball back and harrumph from the sidelines or we can celebrate the fact this little set of islands gave the World football, or rugby or cricket or Shakespeare or the Beatles or the Mini or…

I guess what I’m saying is that cultural protectionism is utterly self-defeating and the fundamental reason some people play les buggeurs risible is that we are being protectionist when we ought to feel triumphant. Our language, sports, drama, literature and music dominate the globe. The global standard for male formal wear is based upon a British design for hunting. Even Mr Dinnerjacket of Iran wears it though without a tie because he is a cad and bounder. Those people commentating on the Telegraph are worried about a cultural swamping of us? Do they have any idea how big the global TEFL trade is? Do they not see that their argument is not just wrong but a self-fulling prophecy. Do they not see that the worst blow we can suffer is a lack of self-confidence in the fact that Newton, Donne, Darwin, Kipling, Christie and Ringo Starr are global figures. That is something to be truly proud about.

The minute we circle the wagons we lose and I would argue we lose not just actually but morally. And not just internationally but domestically. Europe does suffer from a cultural invasion but it is not down to immigrants but a lack of self-confidence which arguably can be traced back to The Great War. We don’t need to be afraid. We just need to believe that Western, liberal, free-market democracy is the way ahead and can win on it’s own merits rather than being state imposed. Because if it is state imposed we have lost.

*My ex and her mother were extremely proud to be American and grateful for the opportunities it had given them. Most notably not having most of their family gassed.

Miss World

The most enduring image of the last Miss World pageant held in London 40 years ago is of angry feminists storming the venue and pelting the celebrity guests with eggs and rotten tomatoes.

Forty years on, the protest was more muted as Venezuela’s Ivian Sarcos, a 21-year-old human resource graduate and wannabe social activist, was crowned Miss World on Sunday amid the usual razzmatazz at a song-and-dance event here.

Wow! I’ll lay odds Sir Bruce Forsyth was at both. Some things never change.

A group of women gathered outside Earl’s Court in West London to protest against the “objectification” of the female body, They raised slogans and waved banners, one of which read “We’re not ugly, We’re not beautiful, We’re angry.” Another said “Miss World is the jewel in the crown of rape culture.

Emphasis mine.

Among them were some from the famous 1970 protest — now much mellowed but still angry that women should be judged by their looks alone.

Some things never change do they? I read somewhere recently that young women in Britain are more likely to have university degrees and on average earn more than their male counterparts. Indeed I believe Michael Gove or some such numpty was predicting dire but unspecified consequences from this. What amuses me about the Miss World protests – well there is quite a lot, but we’ll go with this first – is that I know a lot of women with professional jobs who are not judged on their looks in that sphere but in the context of a beauty pageant of course that’s what they’re judged on! Now Usain Bolt might, for example, tell extraordinarily witty anecdotes after dinner over the brandy and cigars but that’s not what Nike (or whoever) bung him cash for. Indeed I suspect Miss World herself wasn’t judged on her looks whilst doing her human resources degree. Whatever that is anyway. I’ve always found the staff of personnel departments to be selected for the job on the basis of their undiluted misanthropy.

But what really amuses me is it’s flogging a dead horse. Both ways. The whole beauty pageant and “I want to work with animals and children” schtick is tired beyond belief. As is the hyperbolic “feminist” attacks on the show. “Miss World is the jewel in the crown of rape culture.” recall. It is the unspeakable (and yes, they may well have been angry but they were also certainly ugly) protesting the irrelevant. If they can be utterly hyperbolic and stuck in the early ’70s being goosed by Sid James then I can regard them as such throwbacks. We live in a world which in many regions or cultures is profoundly sexist. There are forced marriages, bride burnings (if the dowry ain’t up to scratch – India, largely), female genital mutilation, lack of access to healthcare and education yet this collection of alleged feminists turns up to protest something that is almost quaint and moreover not broadcast on any UK TV channel and hasn’t been for years. It can apparently be viewed via the internet but really! I mean seeing as the internet is real pornography’s home objecting to Miss World seems to somewhat miss the point. Moreover I for one wouldn’t have known anything about the show if it hadn’t been for the protests – I had completely forgot the whole sorry spectacle still crawled on – in much the same way the BBC’s “Children in Need” telethon always ambushes me. Indeed the protests seemed quaint and from another era. Some things never change. It really was “Carry On Girls”. I’m thinking of getting into quaint protesting myself. Me, Manchester Town Hall, a placard and a megaphone and, “Repeal the Corn Laws Now!”

It’s like a few years back when the Afghan/Pakistan “tribal areas” were hit by an earthquake and everyone rallied round to help with the rescue and rebuilding (not that there was much in the first place to rebuild) there was an interview with a twinkly tribal elder. It quite stunned me. He said something like, “We are good Muslims so we welcome this help and will be most hospitable [good start - I said he was twinkly] but when they rebuild the primary school it must only teach what is needed which is the recitation of the Qu’ran and then only to boys otherwise we’ll kill the teachers and burn it down”. I think it was about that time that “nation building” in Afghanistan was a doomed enterprise. Or was it the point were some warlord abducted and kept a teenage girl as a sex-slave as a reprisal for the theft of the best fighting dog in the province? Or was it the cartoon in The Times around 2001 which riffed on the ‘Nam-era “bomb them back to the stone age” with “Bomb them forward into the renaissance”.

So, I dunno but I suspect. Almost every campaigning group I suspect if it doesn’t get disbanded at the right time drifts into bizarre pointlessness. Yes, there are many (I mentioned a few) feminist issues around the globe left to fight. Actually quite a lot but this self-parody does nothing to the purpose. One has to wonder why feminists still frequently attack “sexism” in the least sexist nations on the planet and the anglosphere nations and much of Europe certainly aren’t the “high value targets” they ought to go for. Why target an utter irrelevance like Miss World in London when Saudi Arabia has an active protest movement of women who just want to drive cars? I mean that is where the real fight surely is now? Not here. Feminism to a large extent won here and that’s a good thing. I mention the Saudi driving thing because… I first heard of it because a Saudi Prince set-up an airline and he was rather liberal and had a female pilot working for him. She had to be taxied to the airport where she’d get behind the yoke of a Boeing. The Saudis had thought to ban women driving but not flying 200 tonne airliners. Is that not utterly ridiculous?

I couldn’t join the RAF for pilot training and that had nothing to do with a womb but with a view. I suffer from astigmatism, short-sight and RG colour blindness. None of that is located in my pelvis. I mention this now because like good looks it is something outside of my control in much the same way some women (and indeed men) are better looking than others. Get over it sisters! Everyone else has. OK, not in the context of a hot date (but does not the looks criterion apply across the board – gay, straight, lesbian, whatever?) but you see a doctor or an accountant then looks don’t matter – not when one cures your illness or does something cunning with your tax-return. And is not good looks just the same, essentially random, stuff as my eyes keeping me from flying a Tiffy (undoubetdly there might be probs which would be other reasons for turning me down but that was an absolute “no”) in much the same way looking like a right hound prevents you being the face of Chanel? No, it ain’t fair but it’s life.

Life isn’t fair.

And it isn’t even feminist is it? I do not believe for a millisecond that men are less “objectified” than women. As I said I know quite few women with professional jobs. You ought to hear my wife and her sisters talk about George Clooney or Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt or Gabriel Byrne. If women are stereotyped and have to look a certain way to be attractive I would argue it’s even worse for the blokes. Yeah, actually it is. I mean I can go for the slyph-like “elven thing” and the voluptuous Marilyn thing also lights my wires. I guess I’m saying there is no stereotype for me when Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet both do it for me. Winslet because you just know she’d be right dirty. And if Halle Berry joins us in the hot-tub…

Note what I have done there. Without thinking too hard I have mentioned actors who are (a) about my age and (b) people I respect not just for their looks but their talent. That they are also good-looking is a bonus. I also have a thing for Helena Bonham-Carter and obviously for Uma Thurman.

So what am I playing at?

Well, obviously, looks are a factor (but not the whole nine yards). But so is brains. Why should one be like “OK” and the other “shallow” when neither are a choice? Indeed who defines “brains”. My wife is a professional linguist. I’m a linguistic dunce (The only Bs I got for GCSE were in French and German) but unlike her I can solve partial differential equations. She does gerunds and I did matrix mechanics. I have no idea what a gerund actually is. I can do covariant differentiation and Fourier analysis. Both of us could have a reasonable go at calling the other thick but we don’t. Everyone is different. I once dated a woman who could hardly be called physically gorgeous but that’s life and she was fun to be with. Life is like that. It is the deranged “pseudo feminist” harridans who don’t see that and not me. I can appreciate beauty and smarts and fortunately by and large I’ve managed both but I’m prepared to trade. Or in short I’m not as shallow as those protesters at Miss World who ridiculously see it as an either/or and think (know) that men always want their idea of a stereotypical beauty rather than anything else. They only think that because they don’t really know men or themselves.

Classic cars are history?

This morning I saw a very old (black and white number plates) VW minibus parked down the road. A real hippy transportation device (it would have been quite old already parked outside some stoner’s gaff in Berkeley in ’68). Of course then it would have been adorned with flowers and bad psychedelia and the CND emblem but this motor wasn’t like that. It was in a neat two-tone paint scheme of cream and pale green and looked like it had just rolled off the line at Würzburg. Clearly it was the pride and joy of it’s owner. Quite put a smile on my face.

It got me thinking about the other cars I could see parked nearby. I wonder how many of them will or indeed even can last that long. That VW was from the days when your Dad would “tinker” under the bonnet of a Sunday morning and when your mum called him in for the roast she’d look disapproving as he got oil all over a hand towel… Now I know that is an idealised view of the ’50s but that is not really my point. My point was the ease in terms of equipment of mending things back then. I mean there is a profound difference between gapping sparking plugs and fixing an electronic engine management system. Will anyone be driving a Ford Focus in 2050? Is classic motoring coming to an end? I just can’t imagine the parts being available.

More generally what antiques of this age will there be?

Update: The VW wasn’t just parked there. It “lives” there. It (he?) is called Tyler and is mint condition (won shows and all). It’s a 1964 and originally from Oregon (so it’s LHD). I know this because I spoke to the owners at their launch party (got a free beer too!). They’ve taken a small unit on the high street and are planning on adding a new interior (fully bespoke, horseshoe seating for 7, DVD, champagne on ice etc) to the VW to turn it into a hire-motor for weddings, proms and such. I think that is pretty cool. They also run a sort of clothing boutique and deal in bits and bobs for classic VWs.

Their website is cremecaravelle.co.uk though it isn’t live yet (scheduled September 1st). So if you live in the North West of England and want to arrive at a function in quirky style that’s the place to go.

Anyway, here’s Tyler…

dsc01397

Britain* 2011, a few snapshots

… from the Telegraph’s live blog:

16.37 The government’s epetitions website has crashed under the weight of people rushing to sign up to a petition calling for looters to “loose” their benefits.

Educashun, eddycation, edumacation, eh, Tony? At least all that government borrowing hasn’t been in vain.

Also, Britain’s leading “right-wing” paper gives us this (note the scare quotes):

16.14 For a “fair and balanced” perspective on the riots from Fox News, have a look at this offering from Bill O’Reilly.

The link leads not to Fox itself, but the lefty site Gawker.com‘s sneering commentary.

Still,

15.37 A blog set up in support of Aron Biber, an 89-year-old barber whose shop was smashed in Tottenham, has raised £13,500.

Excellent. But, per Bastiat, think of what that £13,500 might have done if it wasn’t needed to fix up a barber’s shop. This stuff (and spelling) seriously needs to be taught in schools. It’s hardly advanced economics; ten-year-olds would get it.

*Yes, Alec, Britain. The only reason we haven’t had anything kicking off in Glasgow is that they knocked all the slums down in the ’50s and built new ones miles from anywhere, with no shops to smash up. Plus it’s been pissing down. (Proper stair-rods, all day, non-stop. I haven’t seen rain like it since… well, since last month, actually. Worst. Summer. Ever.) “Different society”? Part of me almost hopes something does happen, if only to wipe the grin off your fat face, you smug, pompous, not-so-little twat.

Update, 30 seconds later: Spelling. Tsk. Always the way, isn’t it? There’s probably another one lurking somewhere, too. My finger slipped, honest.

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