Thursday, March 23, 2017

False equivalences

There's a lot of meme's flying around at the moment (after the horrific attack in London yesterday). 

From the Right we have statements about travel bans, curtailments of freedom and general downers on Muslims. From the Left we have relativist statements, comparing the attack to the IRA bomb in the City in 1993 as well as various lame attempts to divert attention from ethnic and religious elements of this crime under the usual cover of "it's only a few bad apples". Both positions are inadequate of course. The Right is daft if it thinks a travel ban would have made a difference, the murderer came from Kent! The Left is wrong about the IRA, the IRA did not represent an ideology that wished to fundamentally change our "secular-liberal" way of life as Islamism does. This country is no more permeable to theocracy than it is to fascism; our ancestors have been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, doesn't work, move along.

The Right need to get used to the fact that the world is on a path to 10 billion Human beings; people that are different from us are going to get a whole lot closer a whole lot quicker in the decades to come. Especially as the planet heats up and the crops start failing. We have much bigger fish to fry than petty parochial squabbles about the shape of bananas and whose invisible friend is bigger. It's blindingly obvious that we are much stronger acting together than when divided; this is true about Europe as it is about the rest of the world. There will come a time when we will need their natural resources and them our technology know-how, we had better start laying the foundations for that cooperation before it's too late. 

The Left need to get over this childish notion they seem to have that all ideas are equal; they are not. Taken literally, Islam is a harmful and ridiculous set of beliefs, just as Christianity and Judaism are and some "cultures" just suck. If you are pro-gender equality then you are by definition anti-Sharia law (as practiced in Islamabad or Solihull, regardless) If you support free-speech then you are by definition anti-blasphemy (see picture above) and so on. When people criticize religion and in particular Islam they are not automatically racist or "Islamophobic". Not speaking out about the oppression of Women and minorities in Islamic countries (or any country) IS however bigoted, it's tantamount to saying we demand equality and freedom for ourselves but the same Human rights don't matter for those "others".

Thinking of the herd.

Seems hard to believe doesn't it, that some people in this day and age are so ignorant that they would rather let their children die of entirely preventable diseases than accept the fact that vaccines work; some people prefer conspiracy theory to reason. 

I hear Australia has recently passed a law that prevents parents obtaining child care benefits for un-vaccinated children (except in cases of medical exemption) At first glance this may seem harsh, but if you think about the havoc a child infected with Measles has in a crowded emergency room or doctors surgery and the number of innocent (unrelated) lives that could be affected in serious ways, then it seems more like a reasonable incentive. Many will say that you cannot legislate for things like this; i.e. that governments shouldn't be able to tell people what to do. This is certainly one way of looking at things. However, I prefer to think about it in terms such as, it's the duty of my Government to protect me (and my kids) Preventing the collapse of herd immunity to these killer diseases sure sounds more like a protective than oppressive measure to me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An age for everything..

Apparently these are the ages (in Human life) when people tend to excel at things (not sure according to who though). Personally I'm still looking forward to the Nobel prize winning discovery peak, one of these days I really should start looking for something..

I wonder when peak dislike of "TV light entertainment" is?

Love is a four letter word..

Something to ponder for all those Christian apologists whose argument is nothing more than "science can't explain love".. (as if their explanation that it emanates from a 2000 year old Jewish zombie is in someway compelling)

Third normal form..

Here's something for the software geeks. This is what happens when software developers attempt to reduce the universe to 3NF - or what we used to call "disappearing up your own ying-yang"...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not the sharpest knives in the draw...

There seems to be a rush of celebrities (mainly US sports people) who claim that they believe the Earth is flat. The latest member of this delusional family is ex LA Lakers basketball player Shaquille O'Neal who said on a recent podcast that he was sympathetic to the idea that the Earth may not be a sphere after all, apparently it's all a big conspiracy (of course it is...) There are quite a few "famous" people now who are making these claims, you would have thought that after Sputnik was launched in the 50's that any flat-earthers would have given up the ghost but apparently not!

Interestingly Humans knew that the Earth wasn't flat much further back in time that the swinging sixties. The ancient Greeks had already figured this out long before planets, orbits or even space were even vague concepts, some 3000+ years ago. It's embarrassing to think that there are people alive today who are so educationally stunted that they are unable to evaluate the ample evidence themselves and reach the blindingly obvious conclusion that we live on a globe (unsupported by turtles, just in case you were wondering).

Chance of death...

Something cheerful for you on a rainy Tuesday evening... Basically, overweight base-jumping mountaineers who smoke are screwed, but then they probably knew that anyway.. What alarmed me most was that the probability of dying in any given year doubles every eight years, better make the most of it (only get one folks!)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Brexit Metaphors

TBH it's hard to think of a roadrunner episode that isn't a metaphor for Brexit...

Best comic strip since The Far Side..

This would explain a few things...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blasphemy, LOL

So I see that Pakistan is trying to use Facebook machinery to implement it's own Islamofascist and medieval freedom of speech/thought laws. Facebook has agreed to send a team to Pakistan (according to the Pakistani interior ministry) to look into "blasphemous content" (written by Pakistanis) What this team will actually do is not clear, but in my view any capitulation on freedom of speech/thought and privacy protocols by any social media platform would be tantamount to aiding and abetting a repressive regime. Facebook needs to tread carefully here; if they are seen to be colluding with "the man" (from whatever country) it will mark the beginning of the end for that kind of system in my view. Better to be blocked or banned in Pakistan than to capitulate to Islamic fascism and have the "blood" of countless liberal bloggers and activists on your hands.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Summary of the Trump budget..

  • NASA granted $350 to fund upcoming manned mission to Mars
  • Greatly expands State Department’s available office space
  • Allocates $1 billion for across-the-board revitalization of nation’s under-performing prisons
  • Defense budget raised to achieve long-standing goal of removing ballistic missiles from endangered weaponry list
  • Sea level increased by 4 percent
  • Unconscionable amount slashed from costume budget for Cincinnati Ballet’s spring production of Petrushka
  • Larger Department of Veterans Affairs budget to accommodate upcoming spike in cases of PTSD
  • Pretty much in line with everyday Americans’ demand for more guns and fewer books, paintings, parks, doctors, schools, corruption investigations, scientists, and animals


For all those people who've done startup companies and had those awkward moments during interviews with people coming from large corporations, who just expect stuff like health insurance and pension schemes to simply "be there"...