The Suleimani calculation

Doubts grow over US case for Suleimani assassination as Iran urges revenge
Rockets crash close to US embassy compound in Baghdad while huge crowds mourn Iranian general

Will people die as a result of his killing?


But that’s not the correct calculation. He was killing tens of thousands anyway. The correct calculation therefore is whether fewer will die now he’s dead than would have had he lived.

Sure, there are also other relevant things like the morality of killing an enemy and all that. But the base and utilitarian working out is not how many now, but how many now minus those who won’t.

Fun numbers

When Cyril joined France’s state rail operator, the SNCF, he looked forward to stable employment until his retirement at the age of 50.

A few years ago the rules changed and he discovered that he would have to work until he is 57 to get a state pension that he reckons will be about €30,000 a year.

OK. His current pay?

The prospect is intolerable to Cyril, 46, who declined to give his last name. He got his first job at the SNCF at the age of 16 and now earns €36,000 a year as a high-speed train driver.

He wants a pension of 80% of pay for 30 years – actuarially at least?

You can see the incentive to change this, no?

Isn’t Argentina lucky?

‘We’re back’: Alberto Fernández sworn in as Argentina shifts to the left

It’s not so much the left though, is it? Peronism is rather more Latin American fascism. Certainly, it’s populist corporatism and the corporatism occupies the same economic space as fascism.

The more important point though being that it’s going to work as well this time as it did last. Not that is.

A truly weird change

What’s wrong are the regulations. Over the last several decades, through hundreds and thousands of tiny edicts, Americans have had terrible experiences in the bathroom and with water use generally imposed on them by bureaucrats who think they know things like:

A showerhead flow can’t exceed more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi)

I’m old enough that one of the reasons to visit America in that dim and distant past was to enjoy a shower that actually worked, had some water in it.

It actually was a thing – “their showers are different your know” went along with the wonders of soft toilet paper as proof of the wealth of that society.

Does this mean what I think it does?

is stirring the energy world with its huge Vaca Muerta shale field

Vaca – cow. Muerta – dead.

Argentina doesn’t have a shale field called “Dead Cow” does it?

Or am I putting Portuguese meanings to Spanish words?

And if they have called it that then we need to up our game. Howabout renaming the Bowland Shale “Toasted hamster”?

Umm, how?

In the film, we see Carle out with members from the Active Resistance to Metrication, whose undercover late-night operations involve changing road signs from metres and kilometres to yards and miles.

“They were mostly older men, Brexiters who said the English had used their own system for ever and they didn’t see why it had to change. They were real rebels, but ultra-polite and correct and very precise about how they pasted their stickers,” he says.

Road signs in Britain are in miles. By law they’re in miles.

Americans never do quite get English, do they?

Johnson, whose full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, was born in New York City (he gave up his US citizenship in 2016) and was educated at the prestigious English prep school Eton, and later at Oxford University.

Eton’s not a prep school love. It’s a public school.

The pitch worked. Johnson easily defeated Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt to become the next party leader and future prime minister.

Foreign Secretary. The Foreign Minister was that short arse Duncan chappie wasn’t it?

Simple economics

Analysts say the government is making strenuous efforts to stabilise the economy, running a budget surplus for the first time in years and refraining from printing money, a key cause of the hyperinflation of 2008.

Last month, the central bank raised interest rates to 50% to protect the local currency and has made transactions using the US dollar illegal.

Why not drop the local currency and use the US$ instead? Inflation would stop immediately.

The answer is of course:

“The trouble with Zimbabwe is a predatory elite that prioritises personal accumulation over public interest and service. Comprised of top ruling party officials, their relatives and friends”

Olson’s stationary bandits don’t always farm the population effectively…..

This is fun

The far northwestern region of Xinjiang is an “inseparable” part of China despite efforts by extremists to distort history and facts in a bid to split the country, the Chinese government said in a document published late on Sunday.

The government said in a white paper published by the State Council Information Office it was wrong to suggest members of Xinjiang’s minority Uighur Muslim community were descended from Turks, noting they had become the political tool of pan-Turkic and pan-Islamic groups.

They’re not exactly Han now, are they?

Foreign countries are different places

They do things differently there:

Parisian parents are outraged that a school lunch consisting of “industrial triangular sandwiches” was served to their children instead of a balanced, cooked meal this week.

Imagine, a sarnie?

Some things are of course the same, bureaucratic lying:

Parents were aghast when their children told them they had been given “an industrial, pre-packed triangular sandwich of the kind sold at motorway service stations,” said one mother, Anne.

“The children had been promised what was described as a special picnic meal, but this is verging on a scandal.”

“Special picnic meal” is good.

“Magnificent wildlife safari ” – camping in the cow field. Other similar invited.

I’m just wondering

National Thowheed Jamath

Currently identified as responsible for the Sri Lanka bombings. Local offshoot of Isis or Al-Quaeda sorta thing.


Sinhalese tend to be Buddhist. Tamils Muslim. There’s that decent leavening of Christians who were the targets here. Or Christians plus foreigners in posh hotels.

What’s the overlap between Muslims in NTJ and Tamils? For the island has had a ghastly civil war based on those racial lines – well, OK, varied groups exploiting those racial groupings perhaps – in recent memory.

Another way to ask the same thing, is NTJ really just Tamil extremists under another guise? Or, perhaps, a new banner for the old grievances?

One thing I’ve noted – and I haven’t gone looking, so it might be that I’ve just not seen – is that no names have been released even while 24 people or whatever are arrested. In this environment a name being near perfect identification of Tamil or Sinhala.

Jus’ wondrin’ really.

French organisation

If France’s record-breaking capitulation in the Guinness Six Nations opener seemed shambolic at the time, then it appears even more of a bungle-fest with the revelation that Sebastien Vahaamahina had no idea he was captain in the second half.

The lock, who threw the wild pass that George North intercepted for the late, winning try, explained that, after Guilhem Guirado’s withdrawal in the 58th minute, he was bemused when English referee Wayne Barnes asked which penalty option he preferred.

“I told him to address the captain,” Vahaamahina said. “He replied, ‘you are the captain’. I did not even know I was a captain. The staff did not warn me.”

Parisian lunchtimes

Somehow I’d believe this more of Rome really:

Armed robbers pulled off a brazen bank robbery off Paris’ Champs-Elysées on Tuesday morning, locking staff and customers in for hours while they rifled through dozens of deposit boxes.

The masked suspects, some reports say at least four, burst into the Milleis bank – formerly Barclays – at around 8.30am local time on the Champs-Elysées roundabout.

They proceeded to tie up staff and customers with plastic tape and sprayed them with an unidentified liquid smelling of bleach, according to French reports.

According to Eddy Sid of the police union SGP Police FO, the suspects “placed a placard on the front door saying that the bank was shut”.

The gang calmly searched around 30 deposit boxes for three and a half hours before making their getaway at midday with an unknown quantity of valuables.

Yes, OK, it wasn’t lunchtime etc. But just a “Closed” sign makes more sense to me a little further south than Paris.


A teenager managed to lose his driver’s licence just 49 minutes after getting it, German police said.

The 18-year-old was returning from his successful driving test when officers in the town of Hemer checked his car with a laser speed gun.

He was clocked travelling almost twice the speed limit – at 95km/h (60mph) in a 50km/h (30mph) zone.