So, we’re in the New Zealand Parliament, see?

And one MP gets a bit miffed and mutters, sotto voce, Ah, c’mon “shut the fuck up”. There is a reason they’re called rude colonials you know: but it wasn’t announced loudly to the House or anything. If you really squinted at the tape and could lip read then you’d get it but the Speaker didn’t hear it, no one actually in the House did either.

Except, well, it was Sign Language Awareness Week. So there’s our nice respectable lady who’s doing the sign language translation for the House and the camera leaping around and flipping the bird at everyone.

At which point people start to notice you understand.

Many thanks to Dr. Rodgers of that fine country for the tip.

Well, yes George

The dust such operations raises is an exquisite compound of aerialised faeces, chicken dander (dead skin), mites, bacteria, fungal spores, mycotoxins, endotoxins, veterinary medicines, pesticides, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. It is listed as a substance hazardous to health, and helps explain why 15% of poultry workers suffer from chronic bronchitis.

Animals are messy beings. Source of most of the infectious diseases that have lagued mankind over the millennia too.

And?

And, that’s why we farm them in farms, not have them around us like our forefathers did so that we don’t catch those diseases like our forefathers did.

As ever, Owen Jones is wrong

What needs to be exposed is the self-evident hypocrisy of the “free market”, which all too often in practice means the state propping up private interests while leaving those at the bottom to fend for themselves. Globally, fossil fuel industries can receive subsidies worth $10m a minute, while the poorest are compelled to scrabble in the dirt to eat.

Nope, that’s not what the IMF report said.

Rather, it said that consumers of fossil fuels get $10 million a minute of subsidies.

Bit harsh

A man convicted of raping a six-year-old had his sentence reduced because the victim was described as being gay and had already suffered abuse at the hands of his own father.

The child had a “homosexual orientation”, Argentinian appeal court judges said in their ruling as they reduced the rapist’s prison sentence from six years to three.

Hmm.

Yes, I know, we’re told that being gay is innate but this really isn’t quite what people mean by that, is it?

Bad, bad idea

Landowners’ rights to use their property as they wish are to be watered down for the public good, a senior SNP minister has warned as she unveiled a Left-wing agenda to create a socialist society over the next century.

Aileen McLeod, the Scottish Land Reform Minister, told a conference in Edinburgh that the “core of my approach” is to shift the balance of the law so that the “public interest” is given greater precedence at the expense of “individual’s rights.”

Property rights are the foundation of a functioning economy. No, this isn’t the beginning of a classically liberal diatribe: rather, an observation from some history I’ve been reading. We have had societies where ownership was vested, sa a perk of the job, only for a generation and not then inherited. This isn’t exactly what is being said here but it’s closer to it than the current situation.

And those societies failed. Badly.

Yah, Ritchie again

So, he’s found out that most of the world doesn’t have a secure job. There’s an awful lot of people out there self employed. So, therefore:

But third, and perhaps most significantly, this perception changes the whole rhetoric about wealth creation. How can the wealth creators be those working on very highly paid employed contracts with guaranteed bonuses when they are the most removed from risk? Surely they are the furthest removed from being described as business people in this world view? Where is their down side? For all practical purposes there is none: even their futures are guaranteed through pensions that provide security to them and their families, come what may.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying these people do not have abilities: they do. But so too does the person who has to provide for a family with no security at all where all their ingenuity has to be brought into play precisely because there is no guaranteed outcome, whatsoever.

If business is characterised by risk taking (and by and large it is) who are the real business people? And who are the wealth extractors? The question is genuine because the answer is so important to our economies, our politics and our tax systems, where the taxation of rents has traditionally been accepted at higher rates. And I think we have that answer wrong. It is the self employed and the temporary workers who are the real wealth creators almost precisely because they are the main repository of risk within the world economy.

And guess what he’s missed? Yah, the distribution of those self employed. it’s the poor countries that have the majority of the population as self employed. It’s the rich countries that have a majority of the population as employed. Whgat is the definition of the difference between being a rich country and a poor one? That lots of value is being added in a rich country.

So, who adds value? Sure, could be those who go and create employment but at the level Ritchie’s talking about it’s obviously employment that does, not self-employment.

And if that’s right then when someone wants to talk to business people the self employed have to be at the table.

Who in buggery is he pitching for a job from now? Federation of Small Businesses or summat?

Is that JRF grant about to run out?

Ritchie thinks this is a bad thing

The UK is remarkable for its polarisation: it accounts for a very significant portion (nearly half) of the top 1% of wage earners in the EU, and yet it also has a substantial presence in the bottom two quintiles.

Well, yes. That’s because in The City we’ve got one of the great global centres of specialisation, equal to Silicon Valley in its global impact, and we’ve got the incredibly high productivity jobs that go with that. Don’t think of The City as really being part of the UK economy: it just happens to be here.

The rest of the UK economy is a rather dreary and not very rich northern European country.

And yet this is what Ritchie complains about. Just think how poor the Curajus State would be without that centre of global excellence?

And this is pure bollocks:

According to the analysis, the level of wage inequality in the EU as a whole is below that of the US and the three most unequal countries in the EU – Latvia, Portugal and the UK – when wages are measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). The Gini index for wages in the EU as a whole is 0.346 (for full-time equivalent wages measured in PPP), while the comparable measure for the US is around 0.4, and in the UK, the most unequal EU country, it is 0.404. The majority of EU countries have Gini values for full-time equivalent wages well below the overall EU figure.

They’re not measuring inequality as a whole. Can’t possibly be. They’re measuring national inequality then averaging it. Somewhere that contains Romania and The City does not have a lower gini than the UK.

Hmm, actually, reading the report, perhaps not. PPP makes a helluva difference. At which point, of course, we need to start applying regional PPP to see the regional ginis in the UK. Which will be rather lower than the nationally reported one of course.

Jeebus, now we’re sexists for not reading the feminist harpies?

Director and screenwriter John Waters once said: “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!” Wise words, but I’d add: Especially if they don’t have books by women.

When you live in a world with outrageous, explicit misogyny – domestic violence, sexual assault and attacks on reproductive rights, to name a few – it’s easy to breeze by the small stuff. After all, there are issues more pressing than whether or not the culture someone consumes is too homogenous.

But passive bias is still bias – and it has ripple effects into the broader culture. Is it really so much to ask that we pay attention to what shapes our tastes?

For example, I was riding the subway recently when I noticed my seatmate scrolling through a Twitter feed that looked remarkably like mine. I was tickled to be sitting next to a like-minded person, but as I looked on I noticed there was one thing that seemed to be missing from his newsfeed: women. He was following fantastic and smart men, but still – as far as I could tell, all men.

I got the same uneasy feeling when I listened to a podcast interview with a TV showrunner and writer that I admire. He spoke eloquently about his passions and mentors – and the people whose work he liked most. All men.

I’m sure both of these people are smart, engaged and not deliberately or actively sexist – but when your worldview is solely shaped by men, you are missing out. And like it or not, your taste in music, books, television or art says something about you: it sends a message about what you think is worth your time, what you think is interesting and who you think is smart. So if the only culture you pay attention to is created by men, or created by white people, you are making an explicit statement about who and what is important.

Look, what the dozy birds want to whine about as they hand knit their tampons is up to them. But it’s a bit much to expect us all to take any notice, to actually read this tripe, isn’t it?

Or is it that Valenti has a book coming up and wants to guilt us all into reading it?

While I normally like Tim Collins he can fuck off here

Those first five weeks involve spartan living, extreme cleanliness of accommodation, equipment and individuals. Figuring out the need for mutual support is left to the recruits, but they learn fast. The reward is sleep – precious oblivion between the frenzy. Sandhurst reckon that they squeeze 11 days of extra consciousness out of the Officer Cadets in the first 35 days.

Muster at 05:30 expects that you arrive on parade having washed, shaved, dressed in immaculately ironed clothes and parade-shined boots, with the correct gear – and that you have made your bed, complete with ironed fold-downs and pillow cases. Those below the standard may find their beds and gear fired out of a window and represented that evening in a more acceptable state at a grid reference on Barossa common, the military training ground near Sandhurst. Breakfast follows, then duties, then physical training – with a run across the training area, through streams and bogs, before another shower – gear into the wash to be dried, ironed and ready for inspection for the next day – those chores to be completed in the short periods between normal training. The training in the first five weeks requires one to master military skills, first aid and theory, including military history. It takes a lot to stay awake, and falling asleep in a lecture is normally rewarded with another run for all 30 men and women of the platoon.

Riiight.

Yes, I can see the value to the military of people working as a team. What I can’t see is the value to society as a whole of everyone submerging their individuality in said team.

So how do you cope? Well, you can’t. That’s the point. Only by dividing the work between teams can it ever be done. A team does the wash, a team irons – and everybody keeps everybody awake in lectures. In the field, a team makes the tea and cooks the scoff while others put up the shelters. If anybody is unlucky enough to be summoned to Barossa in the evening with their bed and locker to be presented immaculately, then it takes a whole section of eight to get the bed, locker gear and victim there on time and acceptably dressed. A ratio of eight or 10 to assist one, normally, for a pass. Oh, and then there is the foot drill – hours of it, learning to move as a squad in pace and in time.

The point is that by minimising the extra runs and visits to the common you get to sleep. Those who get to sleep a little do so by helping each other. By week five the exhausted recruits can deliver themselves and gear to the right place at the right time, like clockwork. They are a team – and that is when the military starts to train them for real.

And this also doesn’t work. Because that societal pressure only works upon people who wish to remain within the society. Or, as the economist would point out, free riding is all too easy. Simply don’t shave, or even fake falling asleep in a lecture. Everyone gets that run. Do it again that afternoon, again the next day. You are now hated….which is the point of doing so. You’ve destroyed the very team that the process is trying to build. You will, of course, be thrown out.

Which is the point and purpose of doing it. And what’s the point of compulsory basic training if it’s easy enough to get thrown out by day three? Hardly compulsory then, is it?

And what rate do you need of that sort of bolshieness for the whole system to come falling down? 2%? 10%? 20%?

You think current day society doesn’t contain 20% of the people who would simply tell the Army to fuck off? What’s the current fall out rate among volunteers?

If someone tried this with me I do know what I would do. Not that they are at my age but still. So, once I’ve worked out the game, collective punishment for my individual falings, then I fail at each and every possible opportunity. Everyone gets punished for those failings: until either I’m a complete free rider on their efforts, the entire team does nothing but the punishments, someone murders me or I’m thrown out.

But I’ll tell you the things I won’t be doing: shaving, polishing boots, ironing creases in blankets and all that malarkey. Because I’ll be aiming to get thrown out. And that’s the thing Collins has forgotten here. All the people this is currently being done to want to be there. And those sorts of collective punishments just won’t work when some goodly proportion are willing to tell everyone to fuck off.

As I would.

And let’s be honest about this, say we did bring basic training back. We going to have jail sentences for those who don’t complete it? Shoot people who take the piss? Jail them?

No, not going to happen is it: so what power does the Army have?

And this is old, old news

Feminists have debated it for decades, but scientists have finally got to the bottom of why men still exist.

Biologists have always puzzled over why males have survived given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

It makes far more sense in evolutionary terms to have an all-female asexual population which creates daughters who can reproduce rather than sons who cannot, such as the Mexican whiptail lizard.

But new research suggests that sexual competition for mates keeps populations healthy, free of disease and genetically diverse.

“Almost all multicellular species on earth reproduce using sex, but its existence isn’t easy to explain because sex carries big burdens, the most obvious of which is that only half of your offspring – daughters – will actually produce offspring,” said lead researcher Prof Matt Gage, from the University of East Anglia School of Biological Sciences.

“Why should any species waste all that effort on sons? An all-female asexual population would be a far more effective route to reproduce greater numbers of offspring.

“Our research shows that competition among males for reproduction provides a really important benefit, because it improves the genetic health of populations.”

How many decades is it since Matt Ridley’s Red Queen?

Doesn’t bode well really

SNP ministers have admitted they do not know if their controversial land reform plans will damage food production despite warnings they risk breaking up family farms.

The Scottish Government confirmed it has conducted no analysis of the impact of their radical proposals on the output of the country’s food sector despite stating it is worth £790 million per year.

In the long term who holds land, who can inherit it (by right that is, not choice) is one of the most important determinants of whether land holdings are of an economic size.

Critics have also warned that the SNP’s plans to overhaul the law of succession, giving a greater number of relatives a right to inherit a share of family farm, would cause some to be broken up into holdings too small to be economically viable.

Yep. One can argue, sa Napoleon did, that offering all children an equal right to real property will break up the vast estates. And if that’s what you want to do it will. But the same rights will lead, over time, to the smaller holdings being broken up as well until everyone’s got a half acre and the only possible crop is potatoes. As happened in Ireland early 1800s. And it was the British that imposed those inheritance laws in order to break up the Catholic estates too.

The SNP might have some romantic idea of crofters everywhere. Or an anti-elistist idea of breaking up Buccleugh’s estate or summat. But farming’s really not going to be more efficient if a few generations down the line everyone ends up with a veg patch and room for a pig.

Eh?

David Cameron will pledge to deliver the world’s first seven day-a-week universal health service that will guarantee care to patients “wherever they are and whenever they need it”.

Umm, are we really trying to claim that every other health service in hte world closes down on he weekends?

I don’t think this is true somehow….

But Len McCluskey is actually right here

Len McCluskey has warned Unite could disaffiliate from the Labour Party if it does not elect the “correct leader”.

The union’s general secretary said its multi-million pound funding could be severed unless the party proves it is the “voice of organised labour”.

The Labour Party was set up to be the voice of organised labour. And the unions, Unite especially, are largely funding it. And yes, those union members should indeed get the party they’re paying for.

Now, that the unions are largely, today, the public sector workers doesn’t change that in the least. That most of the Labour Party (in the sense of the national party, not the voters) are the metropolitan social justice workers along with the usual careerists doesn’t change that either. Nor even that it’s “the left” in this country.

Labour just isn’t today doing what it was either set up to do nor what he unions are paying it to do. So, McCluskey’s quite right to say that we’re going to take our money elsewhere unless we do get what we think we ought to be paying for.

That that would also be the death of the Labour Party (whatever they moved the money off to would fizzle out like Tommy Sheridan and the various “socialist” parties from people like Scargill etc) is just icing on hte cake. In his basic analysis the paymaster is correct.

I find this difficult to believe

A prominent hacker has told the FBI that he managed to make an airliner “climb” and move “sideways” after infiltrating its in-flight entertainment system.

The claim was made by Chris Roberts, the founder of the cybersecurity firm One World Labs, who was escorted from a United Airlines flight last month after sending in-air tweets bragging that he could deploy the oxygen masks.

Seriously?

The plane designers aren’t going to connect the flight control systems to the entertainment wifi systems are they?

Really?

Oh, well done Ritchie!

Switzerland has an artificially inflated GDP by the allocation of profits not really earned there: this is data distortion

This may also be a factor in HK and Singapore too. Compare with GNP in these cases or better GVA

Switzerland GNI: places it fourth, either at nominal or PPP rates.

GNP it appears to be third.
Rather than fourth and ninth for GDP per capita.
And of course we can’t use GVA because, by definition, we calculate that for less than national economies (because we can only measure taxes and subsidies at the national economy level).
I think we’ll claim that as another victory for Ritchie’s deep and sophisticated knowledge of economics, shall we?