March 31, 2006


Council workers are planning for more strikes over their pension provision, being reduced because it is simply unaffordble. So what about Parliamentary pensions? This being a Labour government you would expect solidarity with the workers and their unions. Perhaps they are going to reduce their own, even more generous and unaffordable, pensions.

Not a bit of it. They are keeping their extremely generous pension provision and have decided to plug the hole in the fund with tax payers money. Yes thats right they are using our money, including some of the £5 billion a year taken from our pension funds to subsidise their own. Because the pension scheme they gave themselves is unafforable.

Not that MPs raiding tax payers to prop up their own lifestyles should really come as a suprise. The Home Office has a "casual disregard for taxpayers' money", pushing for huge, liberty destroying, white elephants like the resently passed compulory ID cards. And should we really expect any difference between it and the political masters that set how it runs.

The need for the rise in the funding for MPs pensions is apparently because, like everybody else, MPs are living longer. Well there is an obvious solution for that. Perhaps we can start with Charles Clarke.

March 29, 2006

A Battle Lost

I thought that the lords would eventually give in after the 5th defeat of ID Cards was by only 28 votes. Unfortunately Longrider has just informed me that I was right, but I had hoped it would take a little longer.

Islam and Education

Stumbling and mumbling has some data on education. It turns out the the less kids are exposed to Islamic culture the better that they do educationally:
in Bradford, students of Pakistani origin do best in white-dominated schools, and worst in Pakistani-dominated schools. Whites also do better in white-dominated schools.
This could just be a statistical anomaly, but it also fits in with the global trend that Islamic culture is currently pretty well the least inventive out there. It produces an order of magnitude less inventions than Judaism even though it has three orders of magnitude more people, and the only Jewish state is under constant terrorist attack from Islamists.

ReligionTotal Patents 2000 - 2004Population
indigenous beliefs124494314589
*Excludes the USA as that would have been both domestic and international patents whereas everywhere else is purely international.

Population data from CIA World Factbook
Patent data from US Patent Office

banned books

A quick list of a few books that have been banned around the world.

March 28, 2006

National database of 12 million children and their parents

New Labour does love a good database, or a bad database, or a database that keeps crashing and never works properly. Databases are modern, and New Labour likes modern. Databases are the way of the future, and new Labour is all for going forward not back. Databases lets the fascists keep a closer eye on more people than any government before, and for a bunch of power obsessed control freaks there can be no greater purposed served than to monitor their subjects in ways that have never been possible before. Even, or possibly especially, when said database overrules the Common Law duty of confidentiality, for no reason, and in an all encompassing way so that every single child in the country and their parents are going on it.

Fifth defeat for ID cards plans

It appears that the unelected toffs and cronies are still sticking to their guns and have voted against ID Cards. They appear to be trying to force New Labour to abide by it's manifesto commitment for voluntary ID Cards and have been unaffected by the New Labour attempt to redefine voluntary to mean compulsory. Unfortunately the majority this time was only 28 so I have my doubts that they will continue to be able to hold the line much longer when it inevitably comes back for a 6th time, unless New Labour decides to use the Parliament Act to bypass them and catapult this fascist legislation onto the statute books.

The public sector 'workers' strike

Well that is strike day over, so what horrors did a day without public sector 'workers' unleash? Err, not many. Some traffic congestion up north as the Mersey Tunnels in Liverpool, the Metro on Tyneside and Glasgow's subway network all closed plus buses and rail in Northern Ireland. A few libraries and swimming pools didn't open and that was about it. Nothing spectacular. My personal interaction with government was actually higher than normal as I had to pay the protection money tax on my car today, an unpleasantness which was completely unaffected by this walkout.

Prohibition of Abortion Bill

Showing that Liberty Central isn't just Anyone But Labour (even if Anyone But Labour has to be a large feature for anyone that loves freedom) here is a post about a stupid and illiberal bill that isn't Labour in it's origins. A conservative MP has set forth a private members bill to prohibit of abortion. I wonder if he has any shares in companies that manufacture knitting needles or coat hangers?

Legalize Methamphetamine!

An interesting essay on why we should legalize Methamphetamine. The argument has several strands; freedom, finance, and that prohibition simply does not work. The freedom argument he sums up as:
In a free society, the owner of the property gets to decide how the property is used. Because you own your body, I assert that you should decide how your body is used or abused.
which is enough for me on it's own. But that is on it's own, it is just the start. Having defended many drug users dealers in court (and would therefore be out of work if drugs where legalised) he has many other points such as:
We know certain things for sure. If meth was no longer illegal:

1. All dangerous clandestine meth labs in residential neighborhoods would close;
2. All dangerous street gangs would be out of the meth business;
3. Every dime currently spent on meth prohibition could be spent on real crime;
4. Meth addicts would have no legal disincentive to seek help;
5. The manufacture of meth would be safe and produce a consistent product; and
6. Toxic waste from meth production would be safely disposed.

Why religions become toxic

An interesting interview with an ordained Baptist Minister as to why religions become toxic and start killing. Basically it is that religions consider that they have the absolute truth,that they know all the answers. When combined with the power to try and implement this absolute truth you get a toxic brew that ends up killing people.

Israeli rabbi orders maiming of dolls

When religion pushes everything else out of your brain bad things happen, often involving many deaths. This is clearly seen in Christianity and Islam, but all religions can have this effect, including Judaism. Not killing in the name of God this time, which makes a change, but still stupid and nasty. Apparently in order to stave off the evils of idolatry all children's teddies and dolls must be maimed. I guess that this Rabbi's teddy must have been telling him to do the bad things again.

Christian convert released

The Afgan that faced the death penalty for converting to Christianity has been freed, good. From Reuters
"I can confirm that he was released," said Justice Minister Sarwar Danish. "He is not in detention. I do not know if he is with his family or where, but he has been acquitted."
No details of his present location where released to prtoect him and his family. However it looks like the judge might have taken the easy way out by claiming he was mad:
Judicial officials had raised questions about his mental state and said he had to undergo psychiatric tests.
Anyone wanting to leave a backward mesogenistic, homophobic, and utterly without sense of humour death cult of course being mad.

The public sector 'workers' strike

Today public sector 'workers' are on strike. The poor dears have thrown a hissy fit over the prospect of having to retire at the same age as everybody else, well fuck them. Everybody else, that is the people that are forced to pay for these 'workers', has to retire at 65 or more. That is if they can retire at all thanks to Gordon Brown's £5 billion a year raid on private pension funds pushing many to near insolvency, and his twisting the financial rules to force them to pay for his debt by buying his bonds even though they have a much lower return and therefore lower pensions. Then if the pension is enough to live on today you can be fairly sure it will not be in a few years time as taxes, especially council tax, carry on their inevitable rise. Council Tax, a very large chunk of which goes into these pensions schemes, going up each year not only above inflation but above the growth rate of the economy.

Public sector 'workers' get better pay, both median and mean. Public sector 'workers' get better pensions. Public sector 'workers' get more secure pensions. But they throw a tantrum just because they can no longer take these richer, more secure, tax payer funded pensions earlier retirement than everybody else. Fuck them.

March 27, 2006

Chef's death cooks up big audience for South Park

After being condemned by Scientology, who used Scientolgist Isaac Hayes' stroke as a cover, South Park's response gets a much higher than normal audience figure. I would say higher than expected, but it isn't since whenever a religion critises a show that show will almost inevitably get a higher than rating.

Islamist Terror

Over the centuries hundreds of thousands of men and women have been tortured and killed because there is a passage in the Old Testimate (and therefore shared by Christianity and Islam) that says "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live". It is as I am sure most people know a mistranslation from the original ancient Hebrew which better translates as "thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live". So wonder what a fundamentalist Muslim would think the appropriate punishment for a group of people planning to indiscriminately poison people. However you would not know that they where Islamists if you relied on the BBC for your coverage as pointed out by the Devil (via The Rottweiler Puppy) which has excised all mention of the Islamic motivation behind the proposed attacks. Extremely predictable, so predictable that it can almost be used as a sign in it's own right. If there are some alleged terrorists on trial and the BBC does not mention their motivation you can bet that that motivation is Islamism.

March 26, 2006

Muslims Against Melons

As the artifical outrage at the Motoons, and the much realer outrage at the Islamofacsists attempts to limit free speach, continue to bubble away you have to wonder if Islamists are next to boycott Beans, Aubergine, and Melons where Allahs has been mysteriously found. But then there is the old Turkish proverb:
A woman for duty,
A boy for pleasure,
But a melon for ecstasy.

March 22, 2006

Civil war in Palestine?

According to the Jerusalem Post fighting between Fatah and the government controlled by Hamas (formerly controlled by Fatah) has got so intese that it could be described as a civil war. What struck me was not that there where armed private armies fighting each other, but the reasons that they gave for fighting:
Fatah gunmen also blocked the road leading to the government compound, which includes the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City. They surrounded the compound for several hours, claiming that they had not received their salaries for several months.
The electricity plant has come under several attacks by armed Fatah militiamen over the past few months. The last attack was last week, when a number of gunmen raided the facility, requesting jobs.

a number of gunmen from the Abu Draz family closed the gate of al-Karma Military Hospital in Abasan village, east of Khan Younis and ordered the medical crew to suspend their work.

The attackers announced that the hospital would remain closed until the PA agrees to hire five of their relatives.
The palestinian economy has got so bad that people are litterally willing to kill to get a job. While over the border in Isreal there is high employment and good wages in one of the most inventive countries in the world. Many Palestinians once had access to these Isreali jobs, but not anymore because of the actions of the terrorists that they have elected to rule them.

Madrid aftermath

It looks like one good thing has come out of the 7/11 tragedy in Madrid, it has made the atmosphere so hostile to terrorism that ETA has given up the gun and declared a permanent ceasefire.

Abolision of the judiciary suggested

New Labour has a bill going through parliament at the moment to effectively abolish the legislature, so it comes as no surprise that they also want to abolish the judiciary as well leaving the power of the executive in Downing street completely unchallenged. New Labour is rapidly assembling a legal framework for turning this country into a dictatorship. If simply because of the urgency with which they are putting everything in place is it really safe to assume that they do not really want to use it, but just want to look tough?

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

The authoritarians always like to claim that if you have nothing to hide you have nothign to fear. Well when 1500 people assembled on the banks of the River Tyne who where hiding absolutely nothing as part of a work of art by American artist Spencer Tunick they probably thought that they had nothing to fear either. They where wrong. Mr Tunick wasn't the only person with a camera focused at them, there was also the operators of the local CCTV system. Who zoomed in on individuals, and then tried to sell the naked photos at their local pub.

March 21, 2006

Islamists on Trial

The trial of 7 men accused of planning to stage a series of bombings around Britain has begun.
The accused are: Omar Khyam, 24, Waheed Mahmood, 34, Shujah Mahmood, 19, and Jawad Akbar, 22, all from Crawley, West Sussex; Anthony Garcia (also known as Rahman Adam), 23, of Ilford, East London; Nabeel Hussain, 20, of Horley, Surrey, and Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire. They deny the charges.
Their religion isn't mentioned, but it doesn't take a genius to work it out, especially as one of the prosecution witnesses is a member of al-Muhajiroun that has turned Queen's evidence. The trial is expected to last several months.

African Kleptocracy

An article by Reason magazine of the economics of an african kleptocracy, and why so many african countries are so poor despite all the aid money and their obvious potential.
[The economist Mancur] Olson supposed that governments are simply bandits, people with the biggest guns who will turn up and take everything. That’s the starting point of his analysis—a starting point you will have no trouble accepting if you spend five minutes looking around you in Cameroon. ...

Imagine a dictator with a tenure of one week—in effect, a bandit with a roving army who sweeps in, takes whatever he wishes, and leaves. Assuming he’s neither malevolent nor kindhearted, but purely self-interested, he has no incentive to leave anything, unless he plans on coming back next year. But imagine that the roaming bandit likes the climate of a certain spot and decides to settle down, building a palace and encouraging his army to avail themselves of the locals. Desperately unfair though it is, the locals are probably better off now that the dictator has decided to stay. A purely self-
interested dictator will realize he cannot destroy the economy and starve the people if he plans on sticking around, because then he would exhaust all the resources and have nothing to steal the following year. So a dictator who lays claim to a land is a preferable to one who moves around constantly in search of new victims to plunder.

Single Transferable Vote and the Party System

MatGB has a post on how Single Transferable Vote gets around most of the problems with the current party structures used in our elections, includign a point about this system that I did not know
safe seats do not exist in STV
If this is the case then it is a very good thing, and certainly better than Party List systems of Proportional Representation which are what many people think of when if comes to PR where almost all of the seats are safe.

March 20, 2006

Do we need parties?

Stumbling and Mumbling has a really good post on political parties. While people are arguing that differing forms of election will give more representative and responsive government from the political parties do we need such rigid parties at all? If I remember my parliamentary history correctly the current party system is quite a new idea, for most of it's existence each MP was a law unto himself and only really accountable to his electors (if that) with parties only coming together for electoral purposes, which is why First Past the Post worked since you where not voting for a party (if you could vote) but for an individual. Sometimes the individual that bribed the most, but certainly not a particular party.

Religon, it keeps the family together

It is often claimed that religion is good for social cohesion and helps to keep families together. Perhaps true, thanks to Hindu superstitions from the more backwards parts of India one family of 5 will always be together. Collectively together that is, individually they are each in a couple of pieces having been beheaded after being accused of witchcraft.

perhaps denial is better

I mentioned before that the commonest response by a religion to an uncomforatble truth (such as their basic doctrines are simply wrong) is denial, followed by airbrushing the offending doctrine from the corpus. Perhaps it is better that way, since the alternative of have faith shaken can be very disturbing, for some even a not very good or well researched novel is able to shake their beliefs so much that it becomes unbearable.


There is a split in the Eurosceptic community. Yes I know that that is not exactly anything out of the ordinary, most of it seems to enjoy attacking itself even more than attacking the EU. But this one has shown up a few more interesting things.

Eurosceptic Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan writes in the Telegraph about the continuing implementation of the EU Constitution despite being rejected by referendums in both France and Holland, and by substantial amounts. He then goes on to point out how this is utterly predictable from the EU (and it's predecessor organisations) actions, such as forcing Denmark and Ireland to continue having referenda until the 'correct' answer was supplied.

Unable to argue with any of that Dr Richard North of EU Referendum was forced to have a go at why Mr Hannan thinks the EU is anti-democratic. Mr Hannan was saying that the project that became the EU was formed as a rejection of the plebiscitary democracies that gave rise to Fascism and plunged Europe into World War 2. Dr North however pushes the birth of the ideas that formed the EU back even further to Monnet's experiences as a bureaucrat in World War 1. The anti-democratic elements coming because he knew, correctly, that where the populations actually given a say then inevitably some would refuse and the single polity he wanted would never be completed.

He also goes on to argue about who is currently running the show, Mr Hannan implies that it is the Commission as before, but Dr North has other ideas:
with the rejection of the constitution by the Dutch and the French, the "pillars" stand intact. While policies named in the constitution are being added to the Union’s brief, the power is not going to the commission, but the European Council, with the council of ministers increasingly acting as subordinate structures to the Council.

In other words, there has been a fundamental shift in the nature of the EU, with member state governments re-asserting their authority, giving the Council more power. On the other hand, the political power and the authority of the commission is ebbing away. What we are seeing, therefore, is the antithesis of Monnet's supranational integration and a reversion to intergovernmentalism.
The Council being even less transparent than the Commission, but also potentially less structurally stable, which is why Monnet rejected inter-govermentalism in the first place.
As Monnet observed, the rule of unanimity does not work on the serious decisions, when national priorities reassert themselves. Already, as we have seen this with the Lisbon process, and much else besides, so that little constructive can be expected from the new intergovernmentalism. More likely, the friction engendered by high expectations combined with the inability to deliver, will hasten the demise of the Union.
So will it be able to react to large shocks in this new form? Well with the Commission at the heart of thing it was not, and so if the new structures are even less responsive then certainly not. Since another major economic shock will come eventually, this could well mark the beginning of the end of the EU.

Akbar Ganji freed

Journalist Akbar Ganji has been released by the Iranian regime, good.


It begins with an analysis and goes on to draw conclusions from the facts. For too long we have fought against inequality and disadvantage as if huge swaths of society - identified by race, gender, disability or sexual proclivity - suffer identical levels of discrimination. In fact "in some instances the variation within the group is much more than the average difference with the rest of society".
And within each subgroup there will again be groupings that suffer more discrimination than others, with the differences in discrimination levels getting larger and larger as the groupings get smaller and smaller. However by trying to stop discriniation on a group basis you create more of it. Such as positive discrimination, which is in the words of the report:
"the reserving of jobs and places in universities for women and black people."
Not that it always the commonly assumed groups that always face discrimination at all. According to a study by the Rand Corporation on health care in the USA
* Overall quality scores for blacks were 3.5 percentage points higher than for whites.
* Overall quality scores for Hispanics were 3.4 percentage points higher than for whites.
* Blacks had higher scores than whites for chronic care (61 percent vs. 55 percent).
* Blacks had higher scores for treatment than whites (64 percent vs. 56 percent).
* Hispanics were more likely to receive screening than whites (56 percent vs. 52 percent).
So you cannot even claim that because one group is discriminated against in one area they will be discrimated in all areas.

Tim Worstall points out that thinking about groups it the wrong way to go anyway:
we should ignore the group differences and only consider the individual. Rather the basis of whatever is left of western civilization actually, that it is the individual that counts. Just as with our legal system, it may indeed be good for society as a whole that the occasional mugger tap dances from a lamp post, would certainly discourage many others. But we do not allow the interests of the group to over ride the interests of the individual in that manner.

Monopoly of civil liberties

An American graphic designer has created a version of Monopoly to ridicule the PATRIOT Act in all of it's civil Liberty destroying glory.
The object of the game is not to amass the most money or real estate, but to be the last player to retain civil liberties.

"I've had people complain to me that when they play, nobody wins. They say `We're all in Guantanamo and nobody has any civil liberties left,'" he said. "I'm like `Yeah, that's the point.'"
Perhaps somebody could come up with a British version? Something to while away the hours with in Belmarsh, or when the government eventually puts everybody under house arrest.

Euro P0rn

There are some fake Euro notes in circulation with with a more ... erm ... interesting design than the standard set of entrances and arches, and they are being excepted as legal tender!

March 19, 2006

Not being Evil

Google have resisted a massive request for a huge number of the search queries submitted through it, it is still going to have to hand over data but less than the United States department of Justice wanted. Googles blog has this statement:
"The government's original request demanded billions of URLs and two month's worth of users' search queries. Google resisted the subpoena, prompting the judge's order today. In addition to excluding search queries from the subpoena, Judge James Ware also required the government to limit its demand for URLs to 50,000. We will fully comply with the judge's order."

Afghan Man Faces Execution After Converting to Christianity

Afghan Man Faces Execution After Converting to Christianity. Though the problem isn't that he converted to Christianity but that he renounced Islam, hence the death sentence. Could be an interesting story to follow.

ID Cards and Leg/Reg breaking into the mainstream

Tim Worstall has a reproduction of an email that has been going around showing the extent of the 'mission creep' set for ID Cards once they come in. Luckily it is not just Hte Interweb that is now talking about them, these issues are beginning to break out into the Mainstream media according to Longrider, I cannot confirm this not owning a Television but Rory Bremner publicizing the issues is going to bring them to a much wider audience than ever knew about them before. Just a shame it has taken so long as I doubt that it is going to be enough to stop it, having already passed it's second reading.

This Essay Breaks the Law

New York Times has an article that Breaks the Law, why because it includes this fact:
Elevated homocysteine is linked to B-12 deficiency, so doctors should test homocysteine levels to see whether the patient needs vitamins.
Yes this is more of the stupid shape that the American Patents system has gotten itself into, a company has patented a scientific fact and is now trying to get this nonsense upheld in the US Supreme Court.

Even small religions can be stupid

Whilst Scientology is currently flaunting it's lack of credibility lets not forget that there are plenty of other religions out there just as deluded.

Moronism holds that certain Native American tribes are actually decedents of a lost Jewish tribe, the tribe coming to America around 600BC and bringing with it the Book of Mormon. This is actually rather crucial to their faith as had the Native Americans not come across the atlantic carrying the Book of Mormon then it could not be a lost book of the bible and would be in fact something that Joseph Smith just made up. (I could say something about the fact that the Angel that supposedly showed Smith to the Book was called Moroni, but you can make up your own joke here).

Unfortunately they have a small problem, Native Americans did not come across the Atlantic. The migrated from Asia crossing the Pacffic probably via the pack ice of the Bering Straits sometime probably around 10,000 years ago. And DNA analysis backs this up. So what is The Church of the Latter-Day Saints to do when a key part of it's beliefs get blown away? Well there are tried and tested ways around with they are already putting into place as can be seen by this statement on the issue:
The Mormon Church says that nothing in the Mormon scriptures is incompatible with DNA evidence and that the genetic studies are being twisted to attack the church.
So they are going to ignore it and then subtly change their eternal truths to fit better with reality.

March 16, 2006

Minutes PHP Developers Meeting

If PHP didn't already have enough of a tendency to end up as a complete mess teh developers have decided to add GOTO to php!

The end of the world is ... delayed

Mexico discovers 'huge' oil field, even if it is not in the easiest location to get to:
The oil is under 930 metres (0.6 miles) of water and a further 4,000 metres (2.5 miles) underground.
But still it shows that significant oil finds are still being made and as the price increases such hard to get to fields will become increasingly attractive meaning that people are going to be looking in these hard to reach places.

Cash for peerages

There is a saying that you should never believe anything until it has been officially denied:
Tony Blair has denied he nominated people for the House of Lords in return for large loans they gave to Labour.

Lies And The Psychology of Leftist Politics

An interesting article on what the author considers to be the psychological roots of Leftism, by which he means Left-Authoritarianism, and the useful idiots and fellow travellers attracted to it. Felt a bit ranty to me, in an accidemic way. I didn't like the way he raised his points over race either, as he seemed to be implying that somehow race was a useful way of categorising people. It isn't, the differences between individuals will always completely swamp any general trends between races that there might be.

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine vs. Religion

An update on the attempts to block the Human papillomavirus vaccine by the Religious Right in America from Sex Drive Daily
To withhold a medicine like this because you think teens will postpone sex if they know they're immune to HPV is appalling. First of all, they won't. Second of all, what if a girl remains virgin 'til her wedding night but her husband was wild and though he's now found Jesus and reformed, he has HPV ... does she "deserve" to contract it as well because some blithering idiots completely out of touch with sexuality, teenagers and the modern world have a religious objection to a vaccine? You don't want your daughter protected from HPV, fine, no one *requires* you to innoculate her.

It smacks of the old-school thinking that a girl's hymen was the most, almost the total, worth of her existence ... and that death was preferable to breaking that fragile membrane before her parents and the law said it was time.

The earth moved

There is a new sea opening up beneith Ethiopia, the ground level is dropping and already large areas are more than 100 meters (328 feet) below sea level. Now only the highlands surrounding the Denakil Depression prevent the Red Sea from flooding these areas and as techtonic movements and errorsion slowly reduce their height one day the red sea will pour though and a new sea will form splitting off the Horn of Africa. An amazing geological phenomina, and unlike most geological processes this one is having dramatic effects on a human timescale for geologists to view with in recent months hundreds of crevices splitting the desert floor.
They had only just stepped out of their helicopter onto the desert plains of central Ethiopia when the ground began to shake under their feet. The pilot shouted for the scientists to get back to the helicopter. And then it happened: the Earth split open. Crevices began racing toward the researchers like a zipper opening up.


The dramatic event that Ayalew and his colleagues witnessed in the Afar Desert on Sept. 26, 2005 was the first visual proof of this process -- and it was followed by a week-long series of earthquakes. During the months that followed, hundreds of further crevices opened up in the ground, spreading across an area of 345 square miles. "The earth has not stopped moving since," geophysicist Tim Wright of the University of Oxford says. The ground is still splitting open and sinking, he says; small earthquakes are constantly shaking the region.
An amazing force of geology demonstrating the power of nature. But some people seem to think that this must somehow be all the work of George Bush. People such as:
Dr. Rosalie Bertell, huckster extraordinaire (and 1993 UN Global 500 Laureate). She maintains that the U.S. military's various high pulse experiments, and nuclear experiments have set off earthquakes, tsunamis -- the result being that the earth itself is being utilized as a gigantic military weapon.
Now since the fighting is going on or likely to take place around the Persian Gulf while this is actually happening in Ethiopia it would seem like 'they' have missed, and by serveral thousand miles. Which given the general levels of incompetence normally associated with a government project does not sound totally impossible, even if the technology is.

Slipping through the .NET

Back in 2001 Microsoft announced a new devopment platform call .NET which looked an aweful lot like Java. It would lead to more secure code with fewer of the buffer overrun errors that where proving to be such a security nightmare at the time. The marketing people got hold of the .NET brand and stuck it onto everything diluting it to the point where it was completely meaningless. Since which time Microsoft's marketing have backed off leaving just the development platform, but it seems that Microsoft's developers might now be backing off .NET as well
Microsoft appears to have concentrated their development effort in Vista on native code development. In contrast to PDC03LH, Vista has no services implemented in .NET and Windows Explorer does not host the runtime, which means that the Vista desktop shell is not based on the .NET runtime. The only conclusion that can be made from these results is that between PDC 2003 and the release of Vista Beta 1 Microsoft has decided that it is better to use native code for the operating system, than to use the .NET framework.

March 15, 2006

Charles Clarke ... Die, Die, Die!

The Devils Kitchen has a most satisfying outpouring of bile about Charles Clarke. The only problem that I have with it is that is suggests shooting him in the face. This is far too quick and painless for the fat fascist fuck. The genitals would be far more appropriate, if they can be found, and if not then you cannot miss the vast expanse of gut.

Choking on his chocolate salty balls

PooterGeek notes that Isaac Hayes that voices Chief in South Park has quit the show after it ridiculed the ridiculous superstition that he happens to believe in, namely Scientology. Scientology is, as PooterGeek points out, is total rubbish made up by a second rate author to make money of stupid people. Rather like most other religions.

Buy a Virtual Peerage

VIa Liberty Central this is a great idea. Instead of having to hand over cash to New Labour (and pretend you agree with their policies) why not buy a Virtual Peerage from the Elect the Lords Campaign? New Labour may pile 'em high
Tony Blair has appointed more than 300 life peers - 50% more than any other Prime Minister in history.
but they don't sell 'em cheap needing £100,000 for that peerage you have always wanted. Elect the Lords is far cheaper, £100 gets you an Earldom. I'd like an Duchy to go with my virtual country The Grand Duchy of The Ore Stone but at £1000 it is a little out of my price range.

Facing Down the Bullies

A few weeks ago I blogged about a manifesto by a group of muslims and former muslims against Islamofascism. At the time I wondered privately how long it would take before the death threats started coming. I didn't have to wait long, since there are now credible death threats against the signers. For some of the people with their names appended to the manifesto death threats by Islamists will not be a new experience, but once again the followers of the supposed Religion of Peace have shown their true colours.

The euro gone by 2007?

According to this posting on The Internet Forum Sir Alan Walters, Margret Thatchers personal economic adviser, has predicted that the Euro might collapse by as soon as 2007. I hope not, I don't like the Euro (or EU) but a sudden collapse will have serious economic consequences that will spread far beyond the Eurozone. It would be better for everybody that the Euro simply fades into irrelevance.

Political financing

During the beginning of it's reign New Labour did some good things, one of them was to try and reform the way that political parties finance themselves. Subseqquently when, hit by reality, they have turned to all sorts of clever tricks to get around the limitations that they themselves set in place such as multi-million pound loans at unknown rates of interest. Like in so many other areas they tried to regulate without changing the basic incentives, and where so doomed to fail. People are smart, put up a barrier and they will find a way around it if the incentive is strong enough. To change behaviour you need to change the incentives rather than just commanding the tide of dodgy money to retreat. As Daniel Finkelstein says today in the time:
The only way to clean up the political system is to ensure that the price of underhand behaviour is too great to make the risk worthwhile. This means doing everything to make the system more open and competitive, rather than more regulated and restrictive.
Of course some will use this as a way of pushing the idea that political parties should be funded out of general taxation via central government, even more than they are at the moment, this might sound like a simple solution the problem is that it will not work. Any political party burns money at a high rate, and there is always more research that they can do, more pamphlets that they can publish. Giving more money from central government will to satisfie the appetites of political parties for money it will just allow them to subsidise other areas of their operation. Again as Mr Finkelstein says:
Yet there is another strong argument against state funding — it wouldn’t work. In order to attempt to prevent any further sleaze scandals, it would not be enough simply to give parties state cash. They are in a competitive business and would want more. In fact, this already happens. Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money goes to the parties to fund essential parliamentary work, but all it does is free up cash for discretionary spending. The fundraising continues. So what state funding of parties really means is preventing them from receiving private funds at all.

Would this do the trick? Of course not. The Conservative Research Department would simply become an independent think-tank, providing data that just happens to be of use to Tory MPs. The unions would increase their advertising budget just as the local elections come round. Politicians would be, how shall I put this, grateful to those donating to the new organisations. And given the independence of these bodies, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect them to reveal the source of their money, would it? A layer will have been inserted, allowing deni- ability without cleaning up politics at all.
So the only solution is to try and change the incentives. Make dodgy financing so politically dangerous that it is not worth the risk.

March 14, 2006

The Abolition of Parliament Bill

Liberty Central has a good post on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, also known as the Abolition of Parliament Bill. The post details an amendment that would have exempted certain other acts form it's wide ranging power to allow any minster to change any law they choose. The amendment covers just about every major constitutional act that has ever been passed, and yet the government rejected it. Proof positive that this bill isn't to do with letting ministers cut back on red tape (ha ha, like they where ever going to do that) and has everything to do with letting the government change the constitution on a whim.

Bottom-up government

a very interesting post about a possible constitutional settlement that could help to ensure that any liberties that any constitution enshrines can be preserved for as long as possible. Give as much power back to individuals and to the levels of government closest to them. Not the current way that responsibility is devolved, giving councils more and more duties with no real say over them, but real power since tax raising to pay for everything would also go on at the lowest level rather than, as happens now, almost all being collected by central government and then re-dispersed on the projects that central government wants done and with any restrictions central government think required.

March 13, 2006

Bubble Fusion Implodes

Bad news for bubble Fusion. Looks like it was all a flash in the pan (or jar of acetone). One of the scientists involved was unable to get anyone to replicate his results. Then took his equipment home in a huff.

British Rail's fusion flying saucer

There is an interesting idea that has come to surface in several new outlets (such as The Register) about a proposal for a Nuclear powered spacecraft designed by somebody at British Rail. From the proposal it is rather similar in concept to Orion, that is a series of small nuclear explosions are triggered beneath the craft to propel it upwards. In Orion (or with pictures here) the huge mass of the craft and a large shock absorption system was used to cushion the shocks that this would entail. This device seems to be proposing much smaller explosions so that less mass and shock absorption would be needed.

The Telegraph also covers it, unfortunately they get things rather badly wrong since they claim:
The patent describes how the ship would have been fired by a controlled thermonuclear fusion reaction ignited by laser beams, but experts have rubbished the idea, saying that this bizarre fusion process does not exist.
I don't know which 'experts' they consulted by whomever they where there where not expert enough. This form of Fusion is known as Inertial Confinement, it can use either a set of very powerful lasers or particle beams. Like all known methods of fusion the current systems do not produce more energy than they consume. But devices have been built, such as the Shiva system in the USA from the 1970's, and they certainly do produce some Fusion.

March 12, 2006

Schneier on Security: Blowing Up ATM Machines

I guess that you would call this a brute force attack, if you cannot use clever skimming techniques to get money out of an ATM machine simply blow it up and extract the money!

Police Used Extreme Brutality Against Hundreds of Iranian Women (Iran Press Service)

Police used extreme brutality against hundreds of Iranian women trying to peacefully mark International Women’s Day. So violent protests against some pretty inoffensive cartoons are fine, but peaceful protests for equality for women require a brutal crackdown.

The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion

A selection of anecdotes about what happens when people firmly against allowing other people the choice of having an abortion are faced with it themselves. Do they always stick to their espoused principles that all abortion in murder and must never be contemplated? Er, no.
We too have seen our share of anti-choice women, ones the counselors usually grit their teeth over. Just last week a woman announced loudly enough for all to hear in the recovery room, that she thought abortion should be illegal. Amazingly, this was her second abortion within the last few months, having gotten pregnant again within a month of the first abortion. The nurse handled it by talking about all the carnage that went on before abortion was legalized and how fortunate she was to be receiving safe, professional care. However, this young woman continued to insist it was wrong and should be made illegal. Finally the nurse said, 'Well, I guess we won't be seeing you here again, not that you're not welcome.' Later on, another patient who had overheard this exchange thanked the nurse for her remarks.
So some actually find that abortion is sometimes a useful option to choose, even when they would deny that choice to anyone else. Which is the problem with so many blanket bans, the people imposing the ban can never know that it is right in all circumstances of all the cases. Only when they themselves are in the situation can they really understand it, and all of the conflicting factors involved. At which point choice is important as it allow them to pick the correct response for that particular set of circumstances, rather than having to follow the single government proscribed path.

Tax credits insanity

while pensioners are not claiming what the the law entitles them to,
These figures should deeply concern the government," said Gordon Lishman, Age Concern England director-general.

"It's shocking that up to £4.1bn in money benefits is failing to reach the pockets of pensioners while one in five live in poverty.

"Despite the spiralling levels of Council Tax, around two million older people are missing out on Council Tax Benefit, as £1.1bn lies unclaimed.
Not that this isn't understandable that they do not know what the law lets them get, the fiendishly complex nature of the Tax Credit system means that even the people supposed to administer it cannot understand it. But saying that the people supposed to administer tax credits cannot even count the number of people that they are supposed to be paying out to
The Institute for Fiscal Studies says there are 1.9m lone parents in the country, yet 2.1m get government money.

Prescott accountant sent to jail

An accountant, well not actually a qualified accountant but a man claiming he was one, has been sent to jail over defrauding John Prescott's department for £867,200.
The gambling addict used a fictitious firm and imaginary colleague to siphon off up to £133,000 at a time.
He had only passed one of the 14 exams needed to become a qualified accountant, but nobody would have noticed a little thing like being massively overpaid and unable to do your job in a place like Whitehall.

March 11, 2006

Ding dong the witch is dead.

The man most responsible for fermenting the civil war that wrecked the states that had once been Yugoslavia is dead. Good. I am not alone in being pleased with this, people from both the 'left' in the form of Harry's Place, and the 'right' in the form of Samizdata are in agreement on this. However there are some out there desperate to turn this into a giant conspiracy conspiracy of the evil West.

March 10, 2006

Atheist's Soul: $504

The market has spoken, the current price for one Atheist's Soul: $504.

The church historically demands a tithe for maintaining the souls it owns for their users. Now the national average income for a couple is roughly £15000 (I got this going backwards from the current poverty threshold).

A tithe is 10% of your income or £750 each for this average couple. So when a church gains your soul they stand to gain £250 in the first year from the maintenance charges less the purchase price and £750 every year after. No wonder everybody seems to be after them!

Liquid water discovered on Enceladus

It is believed that one of the prerequisites for the creation of life is liquid water. There are now two places where liquid water is known to exist in the solar system, with two others that are highly probable.

The two known places are Earth and now Saturn's moon Enceladus.

The two almost definitely are Mars and Europa.

Regular Expressions

A little article on Regular Expressions. After reading it I still hate them, since they always end up looking like a cartoon character swearing and are basically unreadable.

Fusion reactors may never work

journal Science has run an article arguing that a power-producing fusion plant might never be practical. He is not saying they won't produce fusion, since they already do, nor that getting over breakeven is impossible. Just that it will probably never be economic to build a fusion power plant.
"The history of this dream is as discouraging as it is expensive," wrote William Parkins, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project during the second world war, who later became the chief scientist at US engineering firm Rockwell International.

Sadly, Parkins passed away while his lengthy paper, which makes its case on engineering grounds, was being edited. But Donald Kennedy, Science's editor considered the paper important enough to run the piece posthumously, in a condensed form, and to stand behind its conclusions personally.
He appears to be mainly critising the large Tokomac style reactors such as JET and Iter, and you can see his point all magnetic confinement devices are limited to neutron producing fuels so do have a problem with their components becoming radioactive. Haft lives tend to be short so often the life cycle of one of these devices is seen as run for twenty years, leave for another twenty for radiation levels to drop to background, then dismantle and rebuild. Which would be expensive, but until we actually do build one nobody will really know quite how expensive.

March 09, 2006

Religion and Death

There is a vacine that can dramatically reduce the levels of cervix cancer. One injection in childhood and you get protection from this form of cancer for life. So who could possibly object to that? Well the religous of course.

You see cervix cancer is often prompted by a viral infection, Human Papillomavirus or HPV, that is transmitted sexually. The vacine works by providing an immunity against this. So it removes a disincentive for having sex, and sex is fun. So to devotes of the slave morality sex is bad. So by preventing something that makes sex less risky they think they do God's work, and so what if many women die as a result.

Christianity is not the only religion that considers death as a good way of getting its moral point across. Take Mohammed Arshad, 51, who served 6 months of a seven year sentence for hiring somebody to kill his daughters husband as the marriage violated the customs of his culture. He is currently on the run after skipping bail having been released pending an appeal.

Another example of the love of death often found in religion are the palestinian children manipulated into wanting martyrdom, and wanting it more than peace with full rights for the palestinian people. Which says alot about why that conflict is never going to go away. Strangely it is normally the young that become suicide bombers, and never the clerics. They just convince them to do it and send them on their missions.

March 08, 2006

How not to protest, and how to protest

More attacks on free speach by Islamists. Luckily this time there is for once no danger of the author being killed or forced into hiding having already died 200 years ago. However on the other side of the world there is much better sign as 2000 Muslim men and women stage a peaceful protest against the spait of acid attacks on women in Bangladesh.

March 06, 2006

ID Cards Bill Trounced in the Lords

Once again there is the slightly strange spectacle of democracy and Civil Liberties being protected by the part of the legislature that is logically indefensible in a free and democratic society. The unelected toffs and cronies have once again trounced the ID Cards Bill. This means that they are blocking a manifesto pledge, but apparently they consider this reasonable as they have this strange idea that voluntary does not mean compulsory.

The shame of the invertebrate liberals

I don't often agree with Marxists. OK actually I basically never agree with Marxists. But this appears to be one of the times. Via Harry's Place comes this piece from Workers Liberty that shows that some still hold to the enlightenment values that where twisted to form Marxism rather than simply latching on, Remora like, to whatever anti-American movement seems to be currently popular.
The craven surrender of the liberals and the liberal left therefore betrays not only themselves, and what people like them used to stand for. It betrays those fighting the bigots in their heartlands - the enemies and too often the victims of the religio-fascists in the Islamic world.

The issue is free speech, but it is not just that. It is not just a matter of finding and adhering to general and universal principles. The right to criticise and mock and denounce religion is not just one right among many similar rights. The freedom to criticise religion is, in history, the root out of which all other such freedoms have developed.

Good News against Islamofascism

Finally moderate muslims are beginning to stir and start to reclaim their religion from the nutters. The bombing of the Samarra mosque has triggered this rally for solidarity between Sunni and Shia rejecting terrorism. Maybe someday there will be protests against terrorist acts against non-Muslims.

The wonders of religion

This being Lent, it is a time when some Christians to sacrifice some small indulgence to remember the way that the founder of their religion fasted and was tempted in the desert at the start of his ministry which ended with the ultimate act of self sacrifice. Unfortunately not all religions like self sacrifice, some religions prefer the sacrifice of other people.

Bye bye Tessa

Prime Minister Tony Blair has given his backing to Tessa Jowell, which means that she is very soon going to be sending more time with her family. Unfortunantly for them.

March 04, 2006

Missouri’s official religion

Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion. Nice to know that they remember the founding fathers decided to explicitly make church and state separate when they created the United States.

steam powered centipede

Not political, but extremely strange and very cool, a quicktime video of a steam powered centipede.

Bliar: God will be my judge

Tony Blair wants god to judge whether it was right or wrong to invade Iraq. Personally I hope he finds out the result sooner rather than later.

March 03, 2006

Senate Approves Patriot Act Renewal - Yahoo! News

Strange isn't it how temporary measures brought in in a hurry to give government extra power always end up as permanent? The famous example is Income Tax which was brought in to help pay to fight Napoleon. He's been dead for a very long time now but the tax is still fighting fit. In the US Senate Approved PATRIOT Act renewal making it permanent, with some minor new safeguards.

Programming languages and their relationship styles

A good little piece on programming languages as if they where people I particularly like the description of Ada
Ada: You are far more flexible than C++, and know how to be strict and forgiving at the same time. However, your tendency to wear the bondage and discipline gear all the time, as opposed to when your lover asks you to bring it out, frightens people off. You need to learn to stop calling people "worm" and "slave" in front of their mothers.
and then in the comments a great summation of C
I don't think C gets enough credit. Sure, C doesn't love you. C isn't about love--C is about thrills. C hangs around in the bad part of town. C knows all the gang signs. C has a motorcycle, and wears the leathers everywhere, and never wears a helmet, because that would mess up C's punked-out hair. C likes to give cops the finger and grin and speed away. Mention that you'd like something, and C will pretend to ignore you; the next day, C will bring you one, no questions asked, and toss it to you with a you-know-you-want-me smirk that makes your heart race. Where did C get it? "It fell off a truck," C says, putting away the boltcutters. You start to feel like C doesn't know the meaning of "private" or "protected": what C wants, C takes. This excites you. C knows how to get you anything but safety. C will give you anything but commitment

In the end, you'll leave C, not because you want something better, but because you can't handle the intensity. C says "I'm gonna live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse," but you know that C can never die, not so long as C is still the fastest thing on the road.

The Danish Cartoons

A quick update as this issue hasn't gone away. The artists that drew the Jyllands-Posten Cartoons are all in hiding, much like everyone else brave enough to critise Islam. Not only that because they cannot find the cartoonists Islamists have tried to "get hold of" one of their daughters at her school. Luckily she was not at school that day.

Conspiracy diagramic form

What to know where you fit into the Giant World Wide Conspiracy? Consult this handy diagram!

gay marriage/strait marriage

A little somethingfor anybody that thinks that gay marriage would somehow make stable strait marriage harder:
Now consider the charts: America's calamitous increase in out-of-wedlock childbirth starts in the 1960 and then decelerates to a much lower trend (stability, in the case of blacks) right around the time gay unions get cultural traction. And, after years of decline, the percentage of children living with two married parents stabilizes around the time gay-marriage catches on.

The religion of peace

A protest that turns into a riot and people die. Guess the religion. Yep, it's Islam.

This time a groups of Muslims wanted to protest against George Bush's visit to India, which would be completely fine. They should be free to voice their opinions.

They wanted shopkeepers to close their shops as part of their protest, which would also be completely fine. Shop keepers have the right to not sell anytime they wish.

Then things went a bit pear shaped. Not quite understanding the importance of choice they decided that it was only right to force non-Muslim shop keepers to close as well, whether they wanted to or not. So a group of armed Muslims tried to force the closure of the shops, there was resistance, and three people ended up dead.

March 02, 2006

Vladimir Bukovksy

There is an article on Brussels Journal about former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovksy and his claims that the EU is the result of a Soviet plot to carry on the ideals of Socialism. Personally I'm suspicious about any government conspiracy theories, as conspiracies always need the conspiriators operate at an almost super human level of slickness, capable of pulling the strings and Ventriloquising for their puppets all the while remaining completely hidden in the shadows. However most governments barely operate at the level of basic competence. So I was happy to see my prejudices on the issue that the EU was not a Soviet conspiracy confirmed by Helen of the EU Referendum blog.

March 01, 2006

EU Referendum

EU Referendum has been digging into the scary technical stuff of the Power Report and found that in the opinion of the authors of the report it is not just the centralisation into national government that is causing problems, the drift of power into the supra-national organisations is also a problem for exactly the same reasons.
Supranational bodies and processes of international negotiation such as the European Union have gained extra powers and influence at the expense of nationally and locally elected representatives. The direction and sometimes the detail of wide areas of policy are now heavily influenced by, or determined by, decisions taken by appointed officials working in supranational organisations or by politicians and civil servants in negotiations with their overseas counterparts.

The result of these shifts has been to make political decision-making more opaque, hidden and complex. It means that the people who take key decisions are more likely to be geographically, socially and politically distant from the people who are affected by their de-cisions. It also means that decision-makers are less directly account-able to those who are affected by their decisions and rarely engaged in dialogue with them. The Power Commissioners saw at first-hand how a lack of real influence over decision-makers has become a primary cause of alienation from formal democracy, and recognise that those processes which have produced greater distance between governed and governors are a source of deep concern.
So if you want people to feel empowered and so take an active interest in the way that power is used you really must empower them, people are not stupid they know when they are being duped. This means not only pushing power downwards away from central government and into local government, removing areas of power from government control entirely and placing them back in the hands of individuals, but also taking power back from the supra-national bodies and distributing it to central and local government, and removing it from government control as appropriate. Unfortuantly with the EU this is simply impossible because of it's current deep structures, such as the one way rachet of Aquis Communitaire and the Occupied Field principal. Only a ground up rebuild will change these.

Money laundering in the Labour Party

So one of Blair's ministers is found in a deal that looks an aweful lot like money laundering for a bribe for her husband for perjuring himself. What do you do? Well try to cover it up of course.

Isn't religion wonderful?

Isn't religion wonderful? 110 year old woman beaten till she was put into a coma, and only rescued from being beaten to death by her grandson. The attack was lead by a School proprietor, and the children from his school.
They allegedly stripped Madam Yaaya-Dam Libaar naked, beat her up and accused her of being a witch.

The woman fell into a coma and was admitted at the Holy Family Hospital where she later regained consciousness.
And the evidence that lead them to this horrible act ... well she was old and so looked like they thought a witch should look like.

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

Published in Jyllands Posten 28th of february 2006.

glorification of terrorism

From Liberty Central, the BBC has reported that the conservatives where going to let New Labour's new offence of 'glorification of terrorism' thereby letting it get into law by abstention. However the Lords themselves had different ideas, and enough voted against that this has been defeated by 4 votes. Which just goes to show how important it is that there are people in parliament willing to votes with their conciences rather than let themselves be slavishly directed by the whips.