No it bloody isn’t

The Clotilda was a slave ship similar to the one on the left”


Nonsense. Bugger all chance that something rigged like that did a fast passage of the Atlantic in 1860. To say nothing of running the trading blockade off the African coast.

The BBC has amended the image to this:

That looks rather more believable.

Very twisted reasoning here

Trans people need to fight to protect abortion, this ban impacts us too


….but we face our own particular set of challenges on top of access to abortion. This includes access to sperm banks and freezing eggs to be able to pro-create, as hormone therapy and especially genital surgery can render people unable to conceive or get pregnant. Making sure trans people have access to this is therefore a reproductive rights issue.

So artificial conception is the same thing and cause as unconception?

On that Curajus State

As a rule, the people who became commissars were the ones who couldn’t find another job. They were not very smart but were very conceited, self important individuals, especially after they had been given a taste of power, and especially over other people. Those who were thinking about a career in the party system, who could speak loudly and authoritatively from a podium, and who curried favor with the boss, these people could climb the party ladder quickly, and high up.

This doesn’t sound like little clue

By the 1970s he was a self-employed painter-decorator in London, but had little clue what he was doing. On one occasion he was redecorating a large house in Clapham where the owner wanted a downstairs lavatory painted in a terracotta colour. Having run out of money, Arthur whitewashed the walls, installed an orange lightbulb and after dark showed off his handiwork to the owner, disappearing before daylight revealed the truth.

That sounds very clued in indeed actually.

Dear Lord Above

Alexa, why does the brave new world of AI have all the sexism of the old one?
Yomi Adegoke

Because we’re dealing with human beings love. A sexually dimorphic species.

For years, we have looked forward to a future in which our lives are made easier by technology, but in it women (or rather, robots anthropomorphised as women) are still not free from the gender binary. And that is because real women aren’t either. It seems we envisage sexism even in society at its most advanced and progressive. We imagine our eventual overlords as male, but our helpers as aproned females – like the Jetsons’ maid, Rosie. A true technological utopia for women would be one where the future of AI isn’t female, but genderless, as all work should be.

We can – and we do – change the societal manifestations of that dimorphism. But eradicating it is only going to come when we’re a different species…..

I get very confused by the American word “dating”

For I don’t actually know what it means.

Sure, I know what “a date” is. I can think of a range of meanings for “dating”. But what is it taken to mean generally?

Moby has insisted that he and Natalie Portman did date, a day after the Oscar-winning actress denied they had been in a relationship and described him as “creepy”.

Portman, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, dismissed claims in Moby’s book that the pair had been romantically involved.

“I was surprised to hear that he characterised the very short time that I knew him as dating because my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school,” she said.

The American singer responded on Wednesday, and swore that he was telling the truth, posting a photograph of the pair together on Instagram.

Does “dating” mean they went for ice cream together? In which case, so what? Or does it mean they bonked? In which case Moby should be horsewhipped for bringing the subject up of course.

What bastards!

BBC pays experienced bid more than inexperienced.

In an email to staff, Allen said: “I regret that Karen has decided not to take this opportunity. I think it important to explain what has happened in this instance.

“As you know, we don’t have fixed rates for jobs. Instead we have pay ranges as agreed with our unions.

“In setting pay for this particular role we have taken the view that Roger and Karen would be doing roles of equal weight as Deputy Editors of the Radio Newsroom.

“We also took into account the fact that Roger has worked at or above this level for several years whereas Karen was offered this role as a promotion, with a significant pay increase.

“We think most people would understand that these factors would result in some difference between their individual pay.

That’s the entire NHS pay system entirely borked then, eh? What with annual increments ?

How unlike feminists to ignore facts

This is just wondrous:

AI assistants with female voices are fuelling gender bias and reinforcing the patriarchy with submissive and coquettish responses to men, the UN has said.

Services such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri suggest that women are “docile helpers, available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command like ‘hey’”, the organisation said.

Feminists have previously criticised the technology companies for perpetuating Victorian stereotypes of women as subservient and men as masterful by casting digital assistants as female.

Now the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, has said in a report that the assistants “replicate patriarchal ideas”. “In many communities this reinforces commonly held gender biases that women are subservient and tolerant of poor treatment,” the authors wrote.

The female version of Siri in particular provided the illusion of “a heterosexual female, tolerant and occasionally inviting of male sexual advances and even harassment”. The report highlighted Siri’s response when told by a reporter: “You’re a slut.” On different occasions, the reply was: “I’d blush if I could,” “Well, I never!” and “Now, now.”

Such design was the result of tech companies’ “overwhelmingly male engineering teams”, the researchers said. They noted that there had been no mention in multiple testimonials of a man changing a female voice to male.

Among recommended changes is a requirement that digital assistants “announce” they are not human at the start of interactions with people. Tech companies should stop giving the assistants female voices by default and users should have a choice on sign-up, including a gender-neutral option, the team said.

We can write the rest of the whine on autopilot, can’t we? Except the next sentence is just delicious:

Siri has a male voice by default in the UK.

Letter in The Times

Chris Miller of this parish brought my attention to the piece itself which led to this:

Sir, Brian Cox says that rapid depletion of resources will make the Earth uninhabitable and thus we must colonise Mars (“Our future is as Martians, says Cox”, May 21). As the author of “The No Breakfast Fallacy: why the Club of Rome was wrong about us running out of resources”, I must point out that there is no shortage of mineral resources. The usual mistake is to measure mineral reserves as what is available for us to use.

They are not: mineral reserves are what we have prepared for us to use. Given the way that capitalism works we spend only the money to prepare for the next few decades. Thus mineral reserves of everything always run out a few decades after any one observation. Our actual supply is what we can prepare to be mineral reserves, this being somewhere between several million and several billion years’ supply, dependent upon the element. Colonising Mars is an excellent idea, as there’s an asteroid out there with Earth’s name on it, just as there was for the dinosaurs. But running out of resources isn’t a reason for going there.
Tim Worstall
Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute

The necessity for green bonds

My recent suggestion that fund managers wanted the government to issue green bonds in response to investor demand received short shrift from someone who, I think, thought he knew how markets worked. His claim was that such bond issues were not necessary, or desirable, despite my agreeing that they were.

I am, then, slightly pleased to note that the FT is firmly on my side,


Michael says:
May 21 2019 at 1:41 pm
These aren’t “Green” bonds as such. They are issued by the Dutch government, and repaid by the Dutch government – not through the proceeds of “Green” investments.

The only thing that makes these bonds “Green” is that the money raised will be used for environmentally friendly projects.

Which is fine, but they are just like any other government bond, where the proceeds could also be used for similar things. The only difference is in the name.

Richard Murphy says:
May 21 2019 at 2:03 pm
And the monitoring

That is quite emphatically not the same

Tee Hee.


Because I masturbate while prone, coitus is not pleasurable.

I think this bird’s problems are a little different from whether she lies down to play with herself or not, no?

The “because” there being the bit to question.

Like, you know, getting stonkingly rich?

Top graduates are no longer flocking to the City of London as banks and finance firms are losing out to trendier businesses in technology and other more fashionable industries, bosses fear.

Dame Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at Legal and General Investment Management, said her son’s generation did not see the City as an attractive destination with financial services “the 12th choice for graduates” by industry.

At a time of high employment and a growing skills shortage, workers have an increasing choice of jobs and careers. For younger workers in particular this means they can choose companies that match their values….

And thus the rush to tech companies and their stock awards…..

And wouldn’t it be fun if the standardisation of workers equity came from that free market competition for these bright young things? Spread across the economy as a result of peeps trying to compete with tech?

A case of overclaiming perhaps?

Freeze-dried bacteria from the guts of healthy people could be the key to tackling asthma, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and even cancer, experts believe.

British scientists have isolated several strains of friendly bugs which appear to have significant effects on the immune system, and hope they could replace harsh chemotherapy drugs or steroids.

The first trials have now begun to see if introducing just a single species of bacteria in pill form could benefit a huge range of diseases.

The human gut contains trillions of bacteria – known collectively as the microbiome, which has evolved with us over millions of years. But the overuse of antibiotics and hyper-cleanliness in everyday life can kill off helpful bugs, contributing to the rise of disease.

A recent study by University College London (UCL) found that a single course of antibiotics can alter the microbiome for at least a year, and poor gut health is now linked to the development of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Crohn’s disease, asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disorder (IBS), diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autism, cancer, and even HIV.

Duncan Peyton, founder and CEO of British company 4D pharma, which is launching the first trials into a new era of biotherapeutics, believes that replacing the missing bacteria could restore good health.

Perfectly willing to believe some of that. Asthma perhaps, it being an allergic reaction I think? Allergies. But HIV? Autism? Isn’t that last getting a little close to Wakefield’s silliness?

People with actual knowledge here are invited to inform the rest of us.

Fairly damning indictment

After Ms Klavina’s disappearance was reported, the police interviewed a Brazilian prostitute who said she had been in the same group but had declined Capper’s suggestion of going back to his house as “she did not like his attitude”.

So, BiS, this is your are, isn’t it?

Two British men have been found guilty of coercion after they forced a waitress who was never seen again into their car outside a Costa del Sol nightclub.

A Malaga court on Monday sentenced Westley Capper, the 41-year-old son of a British millionaire property developer, to two years for bundling Agnese Klavina into his Mercedes. Capper’s friend, 37-year-old Craig Porter, received a six-month sentence as an accomplice to the incident in the luxury resort of Puerto Banus.

Neither man is expected to serve time in prison as Spain’s judicial system routinely suspends the sentences of first-time offenders with terms under two-years.

Ms Klavina, 31, worked as a waitress in the Marbella area and has not been seen by friends or family since the early morning of September 6, 2014. Her bank accounts have also remained untouched, the sentence noted.

When a working girl doesn’t like your attitude that’s a fairly damning verdict. Or is it a case of having better radar for these things?

Slightly dangerous treason law maybe?

In a major speech on counter-terrorism, he said: “Our definition of terrorism is probably broad enough to cover those who betray our country by supporting terror abroad.

“But if updating the old offence of treason would help us counter hostile state activity, then there is merit in considering that too.”

His proposal follows a report by the think tank Policy Exchange which recommended Parliament legislate to make clear that any British citizen or person settled in the UK would be liable for life imprisonment if he or she helped a group which UK forces are fighting.

It cited Choudary, who was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment for encouraging support for ISIS but who could have been sentenced to life under a new treason law.

Encouraging support for Isis shouldn’t be a crime in the first place. Incitement to violence should be.

But, think this through. British troops definitely fought the IRA. Jezza should do life for treason? The Navy fights cocaine smugglers, Life for treason for aiding and abetting cocaine smugglers?

It’s giving them a hell of a lot of latitude, isn’t it?

If you want to say “has declared war upon” then maybe….