Friday, November 27, 2009

falconer on question time....

last nite on bbc 1 on questiontime, falcolner defended tony blair about the decision to invade iraq

why doesn't anyone actually ask the question
"Since invading Iraq, we've had 7/7/ and we've had shoe bombers and liquid bomber plots in the UK and this has been caused by this deciison - aren't the people who made the decision going to admit they are not only probably guilty of a crime by starting an illegal, and certainly unjustified war - they also are guilty of causing otherwise loyal British citizens to become terrorists in their own country and therefore cause the death, harm and misery for many people" - i.e. even if tone wont atone for the deaths in Iraq, why can't he say sorry for screwing things up for his own people?

iraquriy wont help one bit, of course.


so we can't all save as much carbon emission as we'd like - maybe we have gas guzzling cars and planes - so how could we reduce our feetprint?

one way would be to turn off lights - this would obviously be quite dangerous, but it would certainly save fuel - but (a bit like going round plugging in lots of plugs to stop electricity leaks, but then unplugging all the phone chargers to stop wasting electricity) it is "in the noise" (as david mackay's excellent book explains so clearly)

A better solution (as outlined in aforementioned book) would be to stop using brakes - lots of stopping and starting is what messes up your engine efficiency (and requires you to push all that air out the way, especially when doing take offs, or pullin away with both turbos on the 5.8 liter engine spinin on max) - so we just need to drive (or fly) at crusin speed all the time

what about intersections? No problemo - all that happens is after a few days of mayhem, darwin will eliminate all the drivers and pilots with poor timeing, and then the total number of vehicles on the road (or in the air) will be far less anyhow, so then we will have succeeded globally and locally in optimising the greenicity of the world's car and air transport networks....

simple, doncha see?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

john barleycorn - subversion NOT cautionary tale

I'm definitely very slow - after 11 zillion listenings to the old standard folk tune
John Barleycord, I finally figured out it is an
instruction manual on how to make booze, NOT a warning about its risks...viz

There were three men come from the West
Their fortunes for to try,
And these three made a solemn vow:
"John Barleycorn must die."

They plowed, they sowed, they harrowed him in,
Threw clods upon his head,
'Til these three men were satisfied
John Barleycorn was dead.

They let him lie for a very long time,
'Til the rains from heaven did fall,
When little Sir John raised up his head
And so amazed them all.

They let him stand 'til Mid-Summer's Day
When he looked both pale and wan;
Then little Sir John grew a long, long beard
And so became a man.

They hired men with their scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee;
They rolled him and tied him around the waist,
And served him barbarously.

They hired men with their sharp pitchforks
To pierce him to the heart,
But the loader did serve him worse than that,
For he bound him to the cart.

They wheeled him 'round and around the field
'Til they came unto a barn,
And there they took a solemn oath
On poor John Barleycorn.

They hired men with their crab-tree sticks
To split him skin from bone,
But the miller did serve him worse than that,
For he ground him between two stones.

There's little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl,
And there's brandy in the glass,
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last.

The huntsman cannot hunt the fox
Nor loudly blow his horn
And the tinker cannot mend his pots
Without John Barleycorn.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

jobs and houses - how to take up slack?

1st capital connect didn't run any trains this sunday- reason? no drivers wanted to work overtime!

note there are a million able bodied people looking for work in the uk

similar - there are a million empty houses and a million people looking for somewhere to live

what government intervention would fix this without "distorting the market" too much?
in these times, I am not a fan of pure Adam Smith.....gimme some new deals, and some homeless bankers

Friday, November 06, 2009

what's not to like if you are the army?

"A US major is under guard at a Texas military base as officials investigate what prompted him to shoot dead 13 people."

spunds like he was doing his job, just a bit early - he was about to be shipped to the "eastern front"....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Unversities versus Lord Mandelson

One good news measure of our economic impact -

The report is well worth reading as it puts a bottom line
(and an impressive one) on our economic impact
and explictly excludes the societal impact (which I believe
would be a trivial case to make)

On Mandelson and turning HE into a 1960s
Comprehensive System....
as part of his higher ambitions (viz
if you were having a hard time finding it)

I really think we dont handle these guys very well - obviously
we don't "just rely on A levels" when doing admissions -
that would be stupid -
its the government that are stupid to say so,

Why don't we have a Alastair Campbell type press person
to fight our corner in the public eye -
the government press office gets away with
repeatedly reporting complete and utter balderdash
(witness their attempts to trash the Cambridge report on primary education,
let alone their wilful ignorance in attempting to
supress other science advice recently).

Why do we listen to politicians when they don't listen to us?

We should take our case direct to the public more.

For example,
fundamentally, if someone is disadvantaged by a
state education in getting to university the
solution is not to disadvantage children of wealthy parents
by displacing them from university by people with lower achievements
which would be obviously 100% unethical,
reducing the quality of education for everyone,
but to put the resources into fixing
secondary schools.

every time some good university
catches "criticism" from Mandelson,
for a low %age of state school kids
(e.g. UCL, Imperial, Cambridge, Oxford)
we should look at the list of
schools where we rejected people from
and say
"so what are you doing
about these useless schools,
Lord M?"

and pass this on to the applicants and their parents to
go to their LEA and ask what they are doing with the tax money...
and the subsidy they are getting from people who send their kids
to private school and still pay tax but don't put load on the system
(oh, ok so the private school gets teachers....well if the state school was god, and more state schools are getting people in to uni than private, so more are, by this definition good) then they will attract good teachers - and they do - its just naff schools that don

comprehensivising the universities will screw them up just the way
it did to english 2ndary schools for a couple of decades - solution is
let the teachers do their job and resource it properly (like pretty much any where else in europe(including scotland for example) except england)

and lay off -if you cut university income, you are cutting a profit center - no-one who has "business" in their job title, vuts
profit centers.