Flatulent tosspottery

Umm, what?

“…the kind of water filtration system that you might expect in a Beverly Hills spa (Taylor lives in north Lancashire). It contains activated charcoal cylinders (of course), which take out “all the chemicals, all the gross hormones, and then I put it [the water] in there” – at this she points to a machine that resembles a particularly glossy food processor – “which will infuse the water with hydrogen molecules and enable me to become my best self.”

I’m sorry? Infusing water with hydrogen molecules?

‘Being sober wasn’t a thing in the Nineties’
The first of the Primrose Hill set to clean up, Davinia Taylor reveals how she gave up alcohol and sugar to become a wellbeing ‘bio-hacker’

You might not quite be yet sobered up, Love.

Giving money to poor people is now colonialist

The controversy has reignited debate over international child sponsorship schemes and whether, amid growing calls to decolonise aid, the benefits they offer can outweigh the north-south power relations they re-enforce.

Carol Sherman, an independent humanitarian consultant who has held senior director roles in international NGOs for two decades, said the schemes perpetuate “racist and paternalistic thinking” similar to the “poverty porn” images of poor black children used by charities in the past.

“For years, we didn’t talk about the white gaze, myself included,” said Sherman. “Child sponsorship is a small part of decolonising aid, but it’s a part NGOs need to change. It is a relic of the past.”

Sherman acknowledges that many large schemes have evolved in recent years to provide benefits to communities, not individuals, while others, such as World Vision, allow the child involvement in choosing a donor. But “tweaking” the model is not enough, she said.

“Many agencies have moved away from sponsors of individual children to sponsors of communities, but they are still using individual children to ‘sell’ to donors,” said Sherman.

“Donors stick a picture of a child on their fridge and think of them as ‘our child’. They are well intentioned, but the parents of that child can’t refuse the money because they are living in poverty.”

This is a woman who can righteously be told to go boil her head.

Is this woo or wokenist hype?

It’s clearly terribly stupid:

Federal authorities have ordered a complete recall of the Las Vegas-based bottled water brand Real Water and ordered the company to surrender records in investigations of at least one death and multiple cases of liver illness among people who reported drinking it.

The product is sold as premium alkalized drinking water in distinctive boxy blue bottles touting “E2 Electron Energized Technology.” Labels say it is “infused with negative ions” and offers healthy detoxifying properties.

OK, so what the heck is it? Alkaline water apparently:

Documents say the commercial product is drawn from the Las Vegas-area municipal water supply, filtered and processed with potassium hydroxide, commonly called lye, the chemical potassium bicarbonate and a mineral salt, magnesium chloride.

They had people drinking caustic soda? Jeez.

Of course, it’s nice to boot a Miliband

But:

The former Labour MP David Miliband is facing criticism after it emerged that the charity he runs, for which he was paid more than £700,000, is offering unpaid internships at its headquarters in New York City.

The British culture is very down on unpaid internships. The American one markedly less so. The argument now being made is that an American organisation should operate by the British cultural rules.

And how colonialist is that? You know, we did try this once and it left boxes of tea floating in Boston Harbour.

Gonna be fun

Oxford University has suggested imperial measurements should be “decolonised” over links to the British Empire.

The mile, inch, yard, pound and ounce are “tied deeply to the idea of the Empire” and their presence in the curriculum could change, decolonising plans by Oxford’s maths, physics and life sciences faculty suggest.

Undergraduates have been recruited (on living wage) to conduct extensive research this summer, alongside scholars, into how Oxford’s science curricula can be made less “Eurocentric”.

Metric units being exactly as European and imperialist of course, just a different part of Europe and a different empire.

Plus, obviously, there’s not much left of the Imperial – our imperial – system left in a STEM course these days.

This is a worrying idea

It’s true that none of these projects saved Covid patients dying of respiratory failure. But in the long run, the pandemic may give proponents of the humanities an unexpected opening to change the way we train doctors and think about health care.

So the same tossery – post-modernism and critical studies essentially – that has destroyed the humanities should now be extended to technical fields.

Oh Joy.

On the subject of Alex Cobham

Alex Cobham, the chief executive of the Tax Justice Network, pointed out that under the Companies Act it was an offence for a person “knowingly or recklessly to make a statement that is misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular”, with potential penalties including imprisonment.

He said: “Mis-registering companies with sometimes very substantial assets or transactions as ‘dormant’ would certainly appear to be material. For an outside observer, it is difficult to see how this error could have been made for multiple companies and over the course of so many years, in a way that was neither knowing nor reckless – so an explanation from Mr Drax is badly needed.”

The explanation being that they were unlimited companies which don’t need to file accounts except when they’re subsidiaries of a limited company in which they do. Once drawn to attention the accounts were filed within a week or two. No doubt very naughty.

Also, yes, pretentious git.

And we need to recall the story about Zambia and copper. Alex Cobham, when working at CGD, released a report insisting that Glencore was ripping off Zambia over copper prices. He’d done this by comparing the customs price of copper leaving Zambia in tens of thousands of tonnes lots, by railroad, with the price of copper in 10 and 20 kg lots leaving Switzerland by courier. His result was that Glencore was ripping off Zambia to the tune of multiples of GDP or some such.

The problem with this being that customs prices are, by definition, inclusive of transport costs. So, a $3 kg of copper (about right, right order of magnitude at least) leaving Zambia might have 14 cents of transport costs (again, about right, $5,000 per 40 foot container from anywhere to everywhere for 36 tonnes) and a $3 kg of copper leaving Switzerland might have $10 (a DHL package of 10 kg of copper at $100 say) of transport costs.

On that and that alone was his accusation of massive fraud based. Of course, this was not due to malevolence nor the desire to construct some fatuous claim, it was just massive, gross, ignorance.

I think we should, every time we see Alex Cobham pronouncing upon this or that remind ourselves – and others – of that CGD report. Seems only fair. Especially here – people can get into the most lovely fuss over financial numbers, can’t they?

Aye up

Playgroup teachers need an “understanding about white privilege” so toddlers can learn to “recognise racist behaviours and develop anti-racist views”, according to new guidance.

The new advice, drawn up as an alternative to the Government’s statutory guidance by representatives from unions and charities, said it was “time to challenge the widespread notion that ‘children do not see race’ and are colour blind to difference”.

That march through the institutions is long, innit?

Upton Sinclair comes to mind

Broadcaster David Olusoga, professor of public history at Manchester University, made the comments in an article for the Guardian, as hundreds of experts on race, education, health and economics joined the criticism of the report for brazenly misrepresenting evidence of racism.

Of course, a truly institutionally racist society would not have a mixed race man as a professor now, would it? Actually, it would not have someone mixed race if the racism was being truly enforced……

They’re lying about this already

I can imagine the reaction of people of colour to the publication of the government’s race disparity commission. Many will either have screamed with anger or cried with sadness.

The commission’s chair, Dr Tony Sewell, told the BBC: “This is a truly historic report.” On that we agree: it is a truly historic denial of the scale of race inequality in Britain, delivered precisely at a moment in our national history when the opposite is required.

No, it’s not. It’s a discussion of the causes of the inequality that exists. And the claim is – whether you agree with it or not – that it isn’t racism causing the inequality.

There is a point of idiocy at which we tell ’em to bugger off

The last half-century may be considered the age of fitness, and it is no accident that it coincides with the age of neoliberalism,” Martschukat writes. “Rather than a generalizing call to arms, here neoliberalism denotes an epoch that has modeled itself on the market, interprets every situation as a competitive struggle and enjoins people to make productive use of their freedom.”

Umm, yeah, right. It’s the classical liberals – not, in any manner, the socialists, at all – who have had the population out in the streets doing physical jerks, right?

One doughnut per person per year

That’s the gain to be had from shredding civil liberty:

Ban on online junk food ads will see equivalent of 62m fewer doughnuts eaten each year, say campaigners

One doughnut per person per year. That’s the gain for which we should give up on that civil liberty.

OK, OK, that’s extremist rhetoric for:

A total ban on online adverts for junk food would see children eat the equivalent of 62 million fewer doughnuts a year, researchers have said.

It’s just the kiddies that would eat less. At 700,000 births a year, wastage through disease is pretty low these days, call that 13 million under 18s then. So, that’s a reduction in consumption of less than one doughnut per child every two months then.

Hmm. No. They can fuck off then, can’t they?

This is a spectacular level of self-abasement

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new strategist has claimed all white people are “rife with internalised racism and unconscious bias.”

Genevieve Roth said she realised she was “racist” after marrying her black husband.

“Race is an issue in our marriage because as a white woman of privilege, I have racist tendencies written in at a cellular level,” she said.

It also rather doesn’t work. If the racism is written in at the cellular level then it’s as with sexual attraction, innate. So, just as the gays were – righteously – told to get on with it without societal limitation or even disapproval then so must racists.

It’s only if the racism – as with the gay bit – is a choice that behaviour should righteously be moderated, no?

Oh, right

It is a disquietingly existential exhibition, big on abstract ideas but with little by way of actual buildings to show. The organizers contend: “We take up the question of what architecture can be – not a tool for imperialism and subjugation, not a means for aggrandizing the self, but a vehicle for liberation and joy.”

We all thought it was a manner of making buildings that don’t suck. But then architects did leave that behind long ago….

Again with the Anti-Asian violence thing

On Tuesday night, a 21-year-old man named Robert Aaron Long allegedly went on a deadly rampage at three Atlanta spas, killing eight people, including six Asian women. Long’s shooting spree, police say, began at Youngs Asian Massage Parlor on the city’s outskirts, where he killed four people, two of whom were Asian, and injured one; he then allegedly fled the scene and proceeded to Gold Spa, killing three more people, all Asian women; and then he entered a spa right across the street, Aromatherapy Spa, where he killed his final victim.

Following an interview with authorities, the Cherokee county sheriff, Frank Reynolds, maintained that Long “gave no indicators” that his crimes were racially motivated. “We asked him that specifically and the answer was no,” Reynolds said on Wednesday.

The bloke who – allegedly – did it says it weren’t about race.

This idea is ludicrous to many who have observed the surge in racist violence against Asian Americans during the pandemic: in the past year, there have been 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian violence, roughly 503 of which took place during 2021 alone, according to the group Stop AAPI Hate. Women make up the vast majority of those attacked. And some argue that it is equally absurd to exclude discussion of anti-sex-work sentiment from the conversation about these most recent attacks on the Asian community.

But of course the race hustlers know better.

As Admiral Hopper has been pointing out the race thing is rather different. It’s not white boys killing toms, it’s about black lads beating up old folks.

So, what’s a race hustler to do? Obviously, combine the two so that it can be white boys blamed for what the black lads are doing….

Well, quite

That inauguration poem, apparently a Catalan speaking bloke isn’t the right person to translate it into Catalan:

“It is a very complicated subject that cannot be treated with frivolity,” said Obiols, a resident of Barcelona.

“But if I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC. Or could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman.”

Having a black who did speak Catalan would, of course, be cultural appropriation….

Logic

In July 2019, Cori Crider, a lawyer, investigator and activist, was introduced to a former Facebook employee whose work monitoring graphic content on the world’s largest social media platform had left deep psychological scars. As the moderator described the fallout of spending each day watching gruesome footage, Crider was first struck by the depth of their pain, and then by a creeping sense of recognition.

After a 15-year career defending detainees of Guantanamo Bay, Crider had learned the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder. But unlike Crider’s previous clients, the moderator had not been tortured, extradited or detained. They had simply watched videos to decide if they were appropriate for public consumption.

Well, yes, OK.

The people who have to watch what the rest of us can’t see might well suffer from having done so. An argument against the death penalty is what it does to those who must execute. Lord knows what the sex lives of film censors are like.

So, having diagnosed this problem what should we do?

A month earlier, Crider co-founded Foxglove, now a four-woman team of lawyers, community activists and tech experts dedicated to fighting for “tech justice”. It wages legal battles against the increasing use of opaque and discriminatory algorithms in government decision-making; the spread of harmful technologies, such as facial recognition software; and the vast accumulation of power by tech giants.

Campaigning against the use of AI doesn’t quite sound like the logical solution.

Logic

In July 2019, Cori Crider, a lawyer, investigator and activist, was introduced to a former Facebook employee whose work monitoring graphic content on the world’s largest social media platform had left deep psychological scars. As the moderator described the fallout of spending each day watching gruesome footage, Crider was first struck by the depth of their pain, and then by a creeping sense of recognition.

After a 15-year career defending detainees of Guantanamo Bay, Crider had learned the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder. But unlike Crider’s previous clients, the moderator had not been tortured, extradited or detained. They had simply watched videos to decide if they were appropriate for public consumption.

Well, yes, OK.

The people who have to watch what the rest of us can’t see might well suffer from having done so. An argument against the death penalty is what it does to those who must execute. Lord knows what the sex lives of film censors are like.

So, having diagnosed this problem what should we do?

A month earlier, Crider co-founded Foxglove, now a four-woman team of lawyers, community activists and tech experts dedicated to fighting for “tech justice”. It wages legal battles against the increasing use of opaque and discriminatory algorithms in government decision-making; the spread of harmful technologies, such as facial recognition software; and the vast accumulation of power by tech giants.

Campaigning against the use of AI doesn’t quite sound like the logical solution.

Logic

In July 2019, Cori Crider, a lawyer, investigator and activist, was introduced to a former Facebook employee whose work monitoring graphic content on the world’s largest social media platform had left deep psychological scars. As the moderator described the fallout of spending each day watching gruesome footage, Crider was first struck by the depth of their pain, and then by a creeping sense of recognition.

After a 15-year career defending detainees of Guantanamo Bay, Crider had learned the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder. But unlike Crider’s previous clients, the moderator had not been tortured, extradited or detained. They had simply watched videos to decide if they were appropriate for public consumption.

Well, yes, OK.

The people who have to watch what the rest of us can’t see might well suffer from having done so. An argument against the death penalty is what it does to those who must execute. Lord knows what the sex lives of film censors are like.

So, having diagnosed this problem what should we do?

A month earlier, Crider co-founded Foxglove, now a four-woman team of lawyers, community activists and tech experts dedicated to fighting for “tech justice”. It wages legal battles against the increasing use of opaque and discriminatory algorithms in government decision-making; the spread of harmful technologies, such as facial recognition software; and the vast accumulation of power by tech giants.

Campaigning against the use of AI doesn’t quite sound like the logical solution.