Thursday, December 31, 2009

how to make flying safe and pleasant again

I think we just need to remove the USA as a flight destination, and everything will be fine - or else route ALL USA flights via Israel...

you could have a fleet of giant aircraft carriers 12 miles off shore (with gambling, prostitutuin and other legal off shore activities) and fast connecting boats to the shore in LA, NY, Boston etc....then a network of TGV/Bullet trains across the US - after all, the fear is the plane as weapons - so make the flyover country a no-fly country and problem solved - or alternatively franchise the israel hub idea as an economic regeneration for Gaza - the Gaza landing strip....

some sense from schneier on the topic

Monday, December 14, 2009

ethics - half way between Essex and Airfix

sounds like it anyhow - having just submitted my first application for an experimental protocol, for approval by an Ethics Committee, I am feelin like I glued it together with Airfix cement, and drove through the lowlands of Essex to get it there.

Now we await with a bated breath...

Friday, December 11, 2009

climategate - how to tell what is science?

so the discourse of scientists in public and private is different - just like anyones.
So when you see a bunch of leaked emails of discussions between people about writing, presenting and reporting results and about reviewers and editors, necessarily, you see a very different side to people than when they are finally reporting things in a formal publication - this is because scientists like to suppot the myhtology aboiut how science is done...

how can you then tell (as a lay person in a given subject) what stuff on the net that you find is sensible or not?
well, I don;t have a perfect answer - crowdsourced wisdom (what used to be called Delphi)
is nt necessarily sense (c.f. the fear of MMR vaccine in uk( - on the other hand, when you see the invective in an article like
this one, then it does make you think

If the CRU were like the Chiropractors or Homeopaths they could sue these folks for libel:)

Monday, December 07, 2009

let he bankers go

there seems to be an inordinate fear of taxing people that earn silly money based in the theory that when you have a higher tax bracket for bigger earners, they will go elsewhere and take their money and skills with them.

Firstly, there isn't a lot of evidence for this - we've had different tax rates in different countries at different times - I dont see any correlation between GDP or quality of life of a nation and whether it has high tax for high earners - people choose to stay or go based on many factors. secondly, there's plenty of evidence that countries like Ireland and the UK (and probably the US) that give huge tax breaks to the ultra rich, actually end up in a state of hopeless corruptin in the financial services area with government implicated alongside it (see Fintan O'Toole's excellent "Ship of Fools" recent book about the Celtic Tiger trainwreck).

Of course, there's a risk of losing businesses, if you tax an industry significantly more than elsewhere, if the industry isn't just geo-politically tied to an area (i.e. isn't goods, services, housing, transport, energy, food, for the local people). Of course things like financial services are about as virtualised and non-local as you can get - so in this global economy, we want the services here, but do we care who runs them? do we really believe that if we tax bankers (see
bbc report) then all the "talent" will leave the sector?
1/ what talent?
2/ where are they going to go if the services stay "here"?
3/ lets try it and see :-)