Wonder if this will ever break through into his consciousness

Let’s be clear that I am not excusing either party for its haplessness: incompetence is unappealing from wherever it comes and right now it is being offered by the two major party leaderships in Westminster. But if that is the case and continues, as seems likely, what are the prospects?

We’re ruled by idiots and yet obviously politicians should have more power over our lives.

What point the Curajus State if they’re all cack handed morons?

The demand that GPs provide a seven day a week service is one they simply cannot meet: there are not enough GPs to do it. And unlike the junior doctor dispute, no one will die if a GP is not open on a Sunday. Emergency health care of a very high quality is already available seven days a week in the UK. This demand from the government is simply about consumer choice, not medical need. So GPs need to say no.

Which is all you need to know about what the populace wants in said Curajus State really, isn’t it? “Simply” consumer choice?

Timmy’s far Asian tour

Would appear to be on. Business class flight, reasonable per diem, not exactly looking forward to 12-18 hours on a plane each way but, you know, per diem.

Hmm. Vaccinations, eh? And health insurance. Plus, looking at the list of available airlines ….biman looks a little too exciting really, but anyone flown Turkish long distance? Etihad is of course just fine. Any other tips?

Only been doing short haul for the past couple of decades so which airlines to use and which to miss tips welcomed.

Blimey, this is a bit dangerous

The Supreme Court has sought responses from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a PIL alleging that journalists were paid Rs 50 crore for writing in favour of the AgustaWestland deal.

Journos can be prosecuted for taking kickbacks?

Quick, alert the media!

That their bosses could get a bit pissed off and fire them seems fair enough. But the government?

Oh well done to The Guardian here

Indian firm makes carbon capture breakthrough
Carbonclean is turning planet-heating emissions into profit by converting CO2 into baking powder – and could lock up 60,000 tonnes of CO2 a year

The slight problem being:

A breakthrough in the race to make useful products out of planet-heating CO2 emissions has been made in southern India.

A plant at the industrial port of Tuticorin is capturing CO2 from its own coal-powered boiler and using it to make soda ash – aka baking powder.

No, soda ash is sodium carbonate. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

Sigh.

Isn’t Roger Harrabin supposed to be a science reporter?

This is what happens when the anal retentives gain power

Office “cake culture” in which staff bring in treats for birthdays and celebrations is becoming a daily health hazard and should be stopped, experts have advised.

Horrors, eh? Someone might enjoy themselves with a sweetie and a bit of human contact through gift giving. Haven’t they ever read Polanyi?

Can’t have that, ban it!

There’s a certain hankering for the old days really. Even for the times that some chinless wonder on a horse rode up to take all the young men away to kill the Frenchies. Even that was better than this, wasn’t it?

Can have that effect on me too

His second cousin was Ann Romney, whose husband, Mitt, was the Republican nominee in 2012. When the US TV show 60 Minutes came to the valleys to examine the roots of the Romney family, they visited Llangynoed Church, where several of Ann Romney’s antecedents are buried, and found that Evans had laid on a full Welsh choir whose singing left Ann in tears.

Not the good sort of tears though. Welsh choirs, too loud, too often and flat.

Luke Dormehl is an idiot

Artificial intelligence achieved a lot in 2016. One of the goals in 2017 should be to make its workings more transparent. With plenty riding on it, this could be the year when, to coin a phrase, we begin to take back control.

Right, so we should all have a look at those algos and see how they work. Right on, accountability!

Today, AI and algorithms dominate our lives – from the way financial markets carry out trades to the discovery of new pharmaceutical drugs and the means by which we discover and consume our news.

But, like any invisible authority, such systems should be open to scrutiny.

Right!

Some of today’s most impressive advances in fields such as machine learning (the goal of getting a machine to, well, learn) rely on tools such as “deep learning neural networks”. These are systems patterned after the way the human brain works but which, ironically, are almost entirely inscrutable to humans. Trained with only inputs and outputs, and tweaking one or the other until the middle part “just works”, human creators have long since sacrificed understanding in favour of results.

Absolutely no one knows how they work which is going to make scrutiny a little difficult, no?

Luke Dormehl is an idiot.

Well, he’s right too

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned whether critical computer networks can ever be protected from intruders, alarming cybersecurity experts who say his comments could upend more than a decade of national cybersecurity policy and put both government and private data at risk.

Asked late Saturday about Russian hacking allegations and his cybersecurity plans, Trump told reporters that “no computer is safe” and that, for intelligence officials, “hacking is a very hard thing to prove.”

“You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier,” he said as he entered a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.

Step one in making your computer more secure is to disconnect it from the internet.

Step two is to disconnect it from any network at all, especially any that might have even the most vague and multi-step connection to the internet.

Then remove all floppy drives, USB ports, pen drives and etc.

Then watch as your sys admin loots it a la Ed Snowden.

So why is Trump’s simple statement of the obvious truth alarming experts?

Today’s offer that can be refused

Asked to go off to deepest Asia to give a rousing speech on the value of sweatshops in economic development. Crib some from Krugman, bit more from Hans Roslin and Max Roser, add some Timmy-type rhetoric and we’re done.

So, why not?

Ah, yes, 35 hours odd flying time and to be done on my own dime. Ah…..

Update—-so, we’re up to economy class ticket plus hotel room now.

Still no.

Very efficient, eh?

A council is facing ridicule after advising residents to put their rubbish in the freezer to stop it smelling after it cancelled collections over Christmas and New Year.

Derby City Council issued a list of Christmas waste and recycling tips to get them through a 10-day period without any refuse rounds which included a call for people to bag up food waste and store it in the freezer until the next collection.

The reason for fewer collections is to encourage recycling, in order to save resources. And freezing your rubbish saves resources, does it?

So he’s actually playing it for laughs then this year is he?

Amazon has apparently patented a floating warehouse system to be located in what are effectively airships floating at 45,000 feet above high density delivery areas. The warehouses are to be replenished with stock by associated ballon or airship systems and staff working at 45,000 feet would arrive and depart in these same way.

I suspect that technically the system has a long way to go before it might work, but let me assume Amazon has reason for thinking this way. Suppose, just for a moment, that the airship warehouse was replenished with stock from another warehouse anchored in international waters. There, is surely, no reason why this is not my possible? Where then is tax paid on the transaction? Might this be the reason for Amazon’s interest? And if so what is the appropriate tax response?

Amazon’s released a bit of PR flummery and he wants to know what the tax implications are?

I am, in general, deeply cynical of destination based sales taxes. Does such a situation require it though, maybe as an exceptional charging basis?

Can’t see why VAT, a destination based sales tax, wouldn’t be charged in the normal manner.

Let alone the fact that any company using such a system might be wholly avoiding the contribution retailers with stores make to the societies in which they work through the local taxes that they pay that Amazon will claim are, quite literally, beneath them?

Local taxation being based upon the use of land, something they’re not using.

I am not saying Amazon cannot develop their ideas. But I do think we need to presume their goal is to subvert tax systems to secure competitive advantage when doing so and make sure we are ready to counter that.

No, their goal is to get every idiot to plaster “Amazon” across their pages.

Sayonara to the round pound

Fiat Money Problems – Goodbye To The Round Pound And Welcome The More Difficult To Forge One

Thus the reason for this new pound is simply that there’s an arms race going on between the coin makers and the coin forgers. And it’s central to a basic problem about fiat money. As soon as the government declares that this, this thing here, is worth money then there will be people trying to make more of that thing. It is never possible to make something which is impossible to forge. But it is possible to make something difficult to fake and that’s what is being done. Perhaps difficult enough to fake that no one will ever try or more likely so difficult that it will be a couple of decades before it becomes cheap enough to try. But a world of fiat money is just always going to end up with changes in the design of that money. Just because it’s too tempting to just go and make money rather than go earn it.

How delightfully impartial of them

The Zionists are firmly in control of American policies towards Palestine and Israel, and that the recent UN condemnation of the Tel Aviv regime will not be repeated during the Donald Trump presidency, according to American writer and political analyst James Petras.

Petras, a professor emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University in New York, and adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday.

Fortunately there is no anti-semitism at all in American academia.

Erm, no luvvie, you’ve got this the wrong way around

Once again gay people, single women, the non-monogamous, the kinky, and many other people whose sexuality does not conform to the heterosexual, child-producing marital bedroom, will be forced to articulate their right to sexual freedom. For many adults, merely having sex, and being sexual, will become a political act. Welcome to the year of assertive sexuality.

98% of the human race just doesn’t give a damn who you have sex with nor how. The other 2% are morons of course.

However, there is a more general complaint out here. Which is that you do indeed make your preferred method of rubbing uglies into a political act. And no, really, we just don’t care whether the preference is for playing the pink oboe or rug munching, upside down from a trapeze or while wearing a squirrel suit.

We really, really, don’t care. Good luck to you, have fun and all that, but could you stop with this insistence that your preference is a political act? It ain’t.

It’s a sexual preference of no greater import than my stirrings for redheads or her over there’s to be ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.

It’s all tremendous fun, it’s a basic driving urge of humans and it’s also intensely personal, not a societal and thus not a political matter.

By all means get on with your preferred method of getting flushed and sticky. But it’s got absolutely bugger all to do with the public square now, has it? It’s a bedroom matter, not something to be done in front of the horses for fear of frightening them.

Not quite Willy, not quite

In large parts of the country there is no more than a “foundation economy” providing subsistence – supermarkets, petrol stations, schools, hospitals and local administration – with virtually no economic activity adding value.

What you mean is something different. Supermarkets are economic activity which add value, schools are, hospitals are.

What you mean is manufacturing activity, private sector export business activity, that sort of thing. And it is true, there are areas of Britain where the State is up at, even over, Soviet Bloc levels of the proportion of the economy.

Not something that’s going to be solved by more government though, is it?