Intelligent Life

Well, yes, it would be interesting to find it here first….

But this calculation isn\’t as bleak as you might think:

The chances of finding intelligent alien beings on other Earth-like planets are tiny new research has concluded.

The likelihood were are not alone and intelligent life has evolved is just 0.01 per cent on each suitable planet according to calculations by one scientist.

Assume that his calculations are correct: does that mean the possibility of intelligent life out there is low? It really rather depends upon how many planets there are out there….and with billions of stars, I\’d say that the probability is really rather close to unity.

That is, the probability on any one planet is low, but the presumed number of planets makes it almost a certainty. After all, we\’re here, so we know that it can happen, don\’t we?


Umm, No

Hi, we thought you might be interested in checking out these interviews with Richard Geer and Robert Thurman … In a new XXXXXX interview, Richard Geer shares thoughts on autonomy and religious freedom for Tibet.

Umm, you mean Richad Gere?

Not the most appealing or incentivising of emails….


The Bearded Wonder announces that he\’s emigrating to Mars:

In the years to come, we\’ll be sending up a series of spaceships carrying (along with the supplies and tools needed to build the new colony) what eventually will be hundreds of Mars colonists, or Virgle Pioneers — myself among them.

Sadly, this joke expires at 12 noon in your time zone.

Richie, Richie….

Or should it be Dick Murphy?

Unlike the TPA, the TJN works in the real world. We talk to real politicians, from the Conservatives, Lib Dems and across the Labour perspective. We do not deal outside the limits of credibility. But facing real issues makes it so much harder to get coverage.

But I’ll trade fewer press reports for credibility any day, and there is no one of any credibility in government or opposition in our parliament who takes the TPA seriously. Thankfully.

So the Tax Justice Network is a very serious and sober organisation with great credibility while the Taxpayers\’ Alliance are shills, working outside the limits of credibility.

This is the sober judgement of a man who makes the following statement, in the same piece:

Put it another way: he moved further Right than the right wing of the Tories. He moved out of the political mainstream and into the Neo-Con, libertarian hinterlands.

Er,. Neo-Cons and Libertarians the same thing, the same people? Really?

Rather missing the bitterest division on the right aren\’t we?


Polly Today

I must say this is an excellent phrase:

All powerful aspirants to 24/7 silverback jobs do it at the expense of their family.

Quite excellent.

However, it does rather make a mockery of those claims that women are unfairly done by in the system in that they don\’t get their "fair share" of those 24/ silverback jobs. We need to make only one postulate to explain it: women prefer, at the margin, their families to such jobs. Well, other than Tessa Jowell of course, who famously resigned from her family to spend more time with her job.

And thus we have explained the glass ceiling, the gender pay gap (note, please, that that is calculated using mean, not median, wages), the dearth of "high quality part time jobs" and so on. Pretty good for one elegant phrase, isn\’t it?


School Lotteries

The use of lotteries to award school places has been criticised as it emerged the first random selection scheme resulted in fewer children getting places at their preferred secondary this year.


That, of course, is the point, For some of those children might be the evil spawn of the middle class, attempting to choose the education they desire to receive, rather than the one the State wishes to provide.

And we can\’t have that happening now, can we?



Whatever this browser is doing(this is a post from the laptop) it insists on zooming in and out and it will not show me the url line.

Sigh, money wasted once again. The hardware seems fine.

Bleedin awful software.

Update. On reflection that\’s all a bit harsh. There may or may not be anything wrong with the software: the problem is that it\’s different. I don\’t find it easy or simple to work out what software does….and the use of symbols rather than words confuses me even further. So whatever I\’ve invested in trying to understand the current software I use (eg Firefox, Windoze) is now worthless, and I\’ve got to start all over again.

Which is, I think, an investment I\’m not prepared to make. Maybe.

All of which rather goes to show why Bill Gates is as rich as he is, doesn\’t it?

Guido Does Get Respect

Peter Hain has made history: his is the first British ministerial scalp to have been claimed by a blogger. Kudos, as the Americans say, to Guido Fawkes, who first sighted his tomahawk at the Hain campaign 12 months ago when he posted Hain\’s campaign strategy.

Dan Hannan: Telegraph comment pages.

Could be Interesting, Eh?

Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have been ordered by the information watchdog to disclose details of their expenses in a move which could lead to nearly all MPs\’ spending broken down for publication.

These are test cases: as we know this information is not routinely released, but someone has asked under an FoI request, for the details of six MPs, and the Information Commissioner has said that they should be released. Thus the details of all MPs can be found by asking fo such FoI information.

Tee Hee

Naughty boy Willem, naughty boy:

P.S. For those who have noticed, I am indeed trying out \’yo\’ as a replacement for he/she/it, him, her, and \’yo\’s\’ for his/her/its.  It\’s the only hope for George W. Bush to leave a positive legacy in any area of life.

Really Not a Surprise

Only a fifth of doctors believe that a national electronic system for storing patients’ records will be secure, a poll for The Times has shown.

More than three quarters are either “not confident” that data will be safe or “very worried” that data will leak once the £20 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is running. Asked how well they thought that local NHS organisations would be able to maintain the privacy of data, only 4 per cent said very well. The majority, 57 per cent, said quite or very poorly.

The poll was carried out online over Christmas. In general, the GPs, who have the greater experience of IT systems, are more sceptical than the consultants.

As some hundreds of thousands of people will have access to such records the doubts over security seem logical enough, don\’t you think?

Gosh, Really?

So they lose more data:

Miss Kelly was informed about the latest data loss – which experts say could expose millions to the threat of identity fraud – on Nov 28.

Yet she admitted the fiasco only last night, on the eve of MPs\’ Christmas break.

Amazing that, isn\’t it? The timing of the admission? Perhaps they don\’t have enough spin doctors? 20 days to write a press release might be a symptom of that you know.

Nice Line

Speaking of embarrassments, the Spice Girls have managed to imbue their long-awaited comeback with all the glamour and class of a hurried crap in a service station toilet by whoring themselves out to Tesco. The first instalment, in which the Girl Power quartet try to hide from each other while shopping for presents, represents a important landmark for the performing arts: Posh Spice becomes the first human being in history to be out-acted by a shopping trolley.

Good Luck With That, Gwyneth

Gwyneth Dunwoody, the chairman of the committee, said: "The Government must stop this folly and endeavour to bring the European Commission to its senses.

"The EU now appears to be sleep-walking into a further vast financial commitment to Galileo which is likely to take the public funding for the project to £10 billion, without any realistic assessment of its costs and benefits.

"We must have independent and up-to-date evidence that proceeding with Galileo is worthwhile, and if it can be demonstrated that Galileo offers good value for tax-payers\’ money. Any decision on funding must be based on sound management of European Union budgets."

It\’s a political project dear: it\’s not amenable to standard cost benefit analysis. Big important people have their own GPS systems. The EU is big and important, thus it will have a GPS system. It\’s dick waving, not rational.