April 2019

Anyone want a free 3D printer?

A manufacturer is asking if I’d organise a review of a 3 D printer. This one.

If I can organise it the deal would be they send the printer and you get to keep it. In return we’d want a proper – ie, not just “looks nice, ta” – review of it for Cont Tel.

Can’t be me of course I’ve no friggin’ clue but perhaps among our more technically minded?

OK, we’re two willing to do this now. We’ll see if the manufacturer is willing to part with actual equipment.

Isn’t there a blocking function?

A transgender lawyer is trying to stop a Catholic journalist sending tweets to her by seeking an anti-harrassment injunction through the High Court.

Stephanie Hayden, a commentator and activist who is legally female, alleges that Caroline Farrow sent her hundreds of tweets over the course of several days.

Mrs Farrow is a mother of five with strong religious views who has previously made headlines for a separate clash with the transgender community.

I know you can stop someone from seeing your tweets. Can’t you stop someone from sending to you?

Amazingly, the Senior Lecturer doesn’t understand Coase on the Firm

We’d all rather hope that someone trying to teach economics in he UK is up to date with one of the foundational pieces of the subject. Ronald Coase on why the firm exists.

The essential answer being that there are costs – and benefits – to doing everything within one organisation, costs and benefits to contracting out functions. The line we draw around the firm depends upon the specific costs and benefits of the specific activity at that specific time.

Ford uses steel. For uses headlights. Ford uses seat covers. Ford uses engines. Which of the four should Ford be making inside the firm of Ford and which should is subcontract out? Where should the line be between Ford and not-Ford?

Depends really. As far as I know the first is definitely subbed out, the second is too. The third didn’t used to be at least – there was a strike by the lady seat cover makers which is a milestone in equal pay gubbins. And engines are made by Ford.

This is the background. So, the Senior Lecturer:

The fact is that outsourced models only save by doing one of three things. Those are providing a worse service; cutting staff costs; or reducing commitment to service renewal (R&D, training, etc). All are fatal to the quality of outcomes over anything but the very short  term. And that’s precisely why this model has to come to an end.


Presumably the NHS is now going to start making its own mops – hey, hospital floors must be cleaned and contracting out doesn’t work. The sausages in the canteens will be made by the NHS. Because contracting out doesn’t work.

Yes, you’re right, Ritchie’s an idiot.

The question about outsourcing is only when is it better and when isn’t it? And it really was Coase who pointed out the basics here.

Well, yes, obviously

The FT has noted this morning just how out of line US banks are on fossil fuel investment when compared with other banks and the fact that fossil fuels are now known to be threatening the future of life on earth (and I stress: that’s a fact, not an opinion).

The US is the only place that allows fracking – for oil as well as gas – on a large scale. It’s also one of the few places that has been reducing emissions in recent years.

Funny that, isn’t it? That the banks in a country finance the activity in that country?

Anyone know ResponseSource?

Seem to be listed in one of those books of journalists around and about. And they tell me that I can use their “ResponseSource” system to ask for review stuff.

So, what sorta stuff is given to journos to review? Sadly, expansive TV and phone stuff is only lent, not given.

So, any thoughts?

An important question I don’t know the answer to

This climate emergency by Labour thing. Is that an emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act?

Basically, they can do absolutely anything they damn well want to.

So, to the interesting question. This climate emergency that Labour wants to declare. Is it an emergency as defined under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004? And thus the end to democracy, liberty, freedom and our delivery into the clutches of the eco-fascists? Or it it a bit of blow hard puffery of no real meaning at all?

Inquiring minds would like to know, eh?

Life and career choices

Mandu Reid, the new leader of the Women’s Equality party (WEP), has spoken publicly about the impact of her abortion and why it compelled her to enter politics.

In an interview with the Observer, Reid said her decision to have a termination at 33 had not been “an easy choice” but one made because she “couldn’t balance being a single mother and hold on to my career aspirations”.

Reid, now 38, became the first black leader of a British political party last month. Now she also becomes the first to speak publicly about her decision to have an abortion.

“I always imagined myself as somebody who would have a busy, productive, fulfilling career and that I’d become a mother. I imagined those dual things existing and it was what I wanted,” she said. But, she recalled, after becoming pregnant while working for the mayor of London, she was unable to work out how she could have had the baby and continued in her career.

“I wasn’t properly together with the guy, he was quite a bit younger than me, and we had a lot of conversations about what to do,” she said. “It is strange to me, when I reflect on it now, that neither of us could imagine a scenario where I wasn’t the sole caregiver of the child and the main breadwinner.”

The solution being the vastly more progressive policies her party is pushing.

Or, as we might put it, all of us should pay more in taxes so that she can have all that she wants.

She added: “I crunched the numbers and realised at that point in time, I couldn’t balance being a single mother and hold on to my career aspirations. He was young, I couldn’t twist his arm and make him do this with me, so I had a termination. It wasn’t an easy choice.”

Given the inability to get one bloke to pay she wants all to.

The Telegraph never heard of Salic Law?

As a self-proclaimed feminist the Duchess of Sussex would no doubt wish her children to enjoy the same benefits and opportunities as each other, regardless of gender.

But the Government has placed a major obstacle in her way by failing to back a move that would have meant first born daughters inheriting their parents’ titles.

That means that if in the coming weeks Meghan Markle gives birth to a daughter the title of Earl of Dumbarton, bestowed on Prince Harry when they married, will not be passed on to their first child.

Under Britain’s unique hereditary laws the first born daughters of the nobility do not enjoy the same right as their first born sons to inherit their titles, which in some cases…

Umm, unique?

Amazing, eh?

When Tony Juniper was interviewed for the job of Natural England chairman, he vowed to leave decades of eco-activism “in the past”.

The former Green Party candidate is now facing questions, however, over whether he may have broken that promise on his very first day.

MPs and campaigners have raised concerns over the timing of a controversial decision to ban the shooting of a number of birds widely acknowledged as pests, including pigeons and crows.

The announcement was made without warning last month only hours after Mr Juniper, the former head of Friends of the Earth and self-described “eco warrior”, took up his post.

Who could have guessed that Tony Juniper would do something stupid?


we should not be using shares as a savings medium, for which task they are wholly unsuited precisely because capitalism has a short term view,

Anyone care to offer an organisation or section of society with a longer term view than a capitalist company?

No, not one that should, not one that might, but one that does?

An Oxbridge college maybe? A Livery Company?


Interesting cause of death

Well, actually, rather common I expect. But to see it listed:

She died of frailty of old age on April 11, 2019, aged 83

I just wonder, is that actually a diagnosis? Something that would appear on a death certificate?

I mean, sure, I can well believe that this happens to some/a lot. Just generally stuff gives out. But is modern medicine willing to say so?

How doth the story change

Why Sri Lanka attackers’ wealthy backgrounds shouldn’t surprise us

Lots of terrorists with lots of causes have come from educated/wealthy backgrounds. Therefore:

Taken together, this teaches us that neither education nor economics can help explain any one individual’s violent activism.

But back when we didn’t know that they came from educated and wealthy backgrounds it was said that economics explained it all. The righteous anger of the proletariat at the capitalist and bourgeois classes.

Is it that we iz learnin’? Or we’ve changed the story when it became inconvenient?


Of all the abominations against women, forcing them to bear a child against their will is one of the most life-changing cruelties.

It’s certainly life changing. Possibly even life saving or life creating dependent upon your view of the vivacity of the foetus. But cruel? That’s to be argued, isn’t it?

In the UK, one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime – neither shame nor tragedy, just a common medical procedure.

It’s a tragedy for at least one of the life forms involved Polly.

Brands, eh?

Serruya previously blamed any instances of overlap on a ghostwriter she said she had hired from freelance services marketplace Fiverr. In an interview with the AP, she denied copying Roberts’ work, and said she had not been notified about the lawsuit, but added that she “could not guarantee” that the ghostwriters she used had not copied anything.

“My books are big. In a book of 120,000 words it’s difficult to know how many supposedly came from a work of Nora Roberts,” said Serruya, who claimed she was using software to analyse her books.

The quality of what you get off Fivver isn’t going to be high. But then it’s the brand – a la Katie Price novels, Naomi Campbell ones – that sells, isn’t it?

Now this is trans-hate

Armenian MPs call for trans activist to be burned alive after historic speech

Not that the article gives us any examples of Armenian MPs calling for the bonfire. Still, can we agree that this is actually trans-hate. Trasnphobia even? And thus we’ve a benchmark.

Failing to use your desired pronoun might be impolite, might be many things, but it’s not hate by this standard, is it?

Good, a sense of proportion in these things would be helpful.