1385 posts • joined Monday 5th March 2007 21:42 GMT
See this is what happens...
We're in a horrible half-way house. Huge rafts of legislative power are handed over to the EU already, so the provincial government (for that is what it is), not wanting people to realise that it is effectively no longer the de-facto or even de-jure government of this country, makes lots of big noises in the few areas it can still control by pushing through more and wide-ranging new legislation in those tiny, tiny areas and micromanaging everything where it still has the power to legislate. Why else the obsession with targets, with increasingly meddling in what were once personal, private matters and so on? It's because that's all they have left, and to satisfy the ego, the delusion of influence, or to simply con people into believing that they are still relevant, the entire political class goes along with it, because to admit otherwise would make people realise that there's simply no point in the Westminster parliament any more.
Laws like this are the result of all that. They criminalise what was once the domain of individual discretion, because that's pretty much all our political class can meddle with these days.
In theory we are, but DEFRA or MAFF or whatever it's called this week has cocked up the payments to our farmers. We're paying the French to do it, but our lot are having to set aside land - o comply with the rules requiring them to do so - and aren't getting paid for it. It's all disappearing into the pockets of consultants somewhere in Westminster.
So, they've done what any sensible person would do in that situation and started farming industrial crops instead. Oilseed rape and flax don't count under set-aside. Which, incidentally, is why set-aside can't be used to boost biofuel production. it's already being used.
Then of course there's the problem that the EU's requirement for 10% of our fuel to come from biofuels by 2020 (or 2015? I forget...). To produce that amount of biofuel we'd need to use all of our arable land - set-aside *and* the stuff currently used for food production. So we'd be entirely dependent on imports, at a time when food production has dipped due to the unusually cold weather, and pressure is being added from biofuels.
There are many reasons for this happening, not least the weather, which saw China's crops devastated recently...
Forget the morality of the war for a moment (since when was war ever moral anyway?). It's not the number of ships, or their position (though we should probably follow the American line and have the damn destroyer in a close support role rather than nearly 30 miles away) but the fact that RN training for boarding ships is apparently up the duff.
Lets put it this way. In any sort of situation where you hold the tactical high-ground and are approached by an apparently hostile enemy, do you:
a) stay where you are, call for support and get ready to shoot?
b) climb down and drive toward the bad guys?
If you answered B you're probably one of the members of that boarding party. They had the tactical high-ground - they were on-board a ship giving them an immensely superior field of fire and *cover*. They could have sat there, called in the marines (as it were) and simply shot at the Iranians if they made any threatening moves. Instead, the duffers got off the tactical high-ground and into their boats, and went for a fishing trip or something.
that used to be standard naval doctrine when boarding a boat. Apparently this lot were too busy listening to their iPods during that part of the training lectures...
"Hopefully the engineering culture at the ex-Soviets has not fallen prey to the same "normalization of deviance""
landing off-course and other "deviances" were planned for from a very early point in the Soyuz program. It's why they still carry pistols.
Well I don't know what you would call taking one of the most productive and efficient oil companies in South America and running it into the ground if not "being a tit"...
Futures are based on a lot of factors, not least being predicted future productivity. When a producer suddenly starts to drive its productivity down, as Venezuela is doing right now, it will cause the futures market to react by putting up the price of oil, expecting scarcity in the future.
@Heard of peak oil?
Heard of the massive new strike off the coast of Brazil? Third largest field in the world, I hear, and that's just the start. There are predicted oil reserves off most of south america and under the south atlantic that have yet to be tested because the technology to drill that deep under water was only recently perfected. New technologies are also allowing previously ignored 'less than idea' fields to be re-assessed for production.
The high price of crude is partly due to Chavez and other oil producers being tits and - mainly - increased demand from India, China and other emerging economies. If peak oil were the sole cause of rising prices we wouldn't see the current massive, demand-driven rise in primary commodities like cobalt, aluminium, iron and copper, caused by the same growing economies.
Sure, we'll run out of oil one day, but not *just* yet.
<-- not angry, just flaring off excess gas... :)
"then there is some proxy between you and the (non-existent) website."
Yeah. The ISP.
"Just cover one in solar cells for powering the steering and propulsion etc and yer laffin."
Well, no. Helium has a nasty tendency to leak out of an airship's envelope over time, and with the changing temperatures over a 24 hour period it'll be venting gas and dropping ballast to try and maintain a constant altitude. You'd have to bring it back every few days for a refill or it'll be bobbing around the valleys of the Kush half a year into it's mission, looking slightly wrinkly, until some Tuareg pops it so he can do chipmunk impressions.
Nobody's asking the question: why are we trying to sell the eurofighter?
Ok, so at one level the answer is simple: the saudis want it.
But it's not that simple...
You see, the MoD is looking at a way to get out of its obligation for the Tranche 2 eurofighter because it massively underestimated the final cost of paying for all these planes, and has realised - a little too late - that the Eurofighter is designed to dogfight over europe in a war with the soviets, as a stopgap until the Americans can launch their nukes. We don't need that capability anymore. We haven't done for nearly 20 years.
So they're trying to get out of buying, and if they can't get out of buying they're trying to recoup the cost of tranche 2 by selling it off to the saudis. That's why they've tried so hard to fight repeated investigations into the sales; they're going to be billions out of pocket if they can't, which threatens Brown's Hero Proj... um... defence initiative in the new carrier for the F22s. One or the other will have to be canned. Imagine having a carrier without planes... of course Tranche 3 of the Eurofighter is expected to be retrofitted for carrier operations, but we aren't buying those as far as I'm aware.
Don't worry. The government you elect actually has very little power these days. The real government is in Brussels.
Of course, you don't get to vote for *them*...
@JonB, Ethiopia has one other problem...
War. The country has been at war, with itself or Eritrea or Somalia, on and off, for the best part of thirty years. Most of the famines there were caused by people being driven off their land, armies stealing all the food or the work-age population getting slaughtered. And not down the pub, either. My dictum tends to be, when there's a problem, look for the man from the government. In this case the men from the government are carrying guns and stealing your son, but in other cases...
Of course Ethiopia might be in a much better position if it weren't for the protectionism of the US and the EU, both of whom prefer to see third-world farmers starve so they can protect their own farmers from having to actually compete in the world marketplace - and of course CAP finally achieved its stated goals and reduced our surpluses just at a time when we *really* need them. Ohio is 100% behind biofuels in the US, and France is pushing it here. Both are demanding more subsidies. There's that government interference again. C'est la vie.
The Biofuel boondoggle is just the icing on the cake, coming at a time when world food production has actually taken a slight dip (largely because of rising fuel costs, consequently causing a double pressure on food prices). I mean, who thought it would be a good idea to use *food* as *fuel*? What *idiot* came up with that? Oh wait, it was the government. How silly of me. And there's that man from the government again...
Paris, because even she's smart enough to know that you don't use bread to heat your home and you never, ever trust the government to feed you.
Not new, of course...
But under this government, particularly with Martin in the speaker's chair (and on the committee that oversees the handling of the transcripts), Hansard has reached Pravda-levels of "truthiness".
This is what happens when you put people into positions of apparent power with very few actual responsibilities and little consequent oversight, as is the case with most of the national legislatures within the EU. They become corrupt. They focus on the few areas where they do have power and they micromanage them to death, they project their "power" onto everything they can and they become completely, utterly corrupt. It's no wonder Private Eye nicknamed this lot Zanu Labour... but, then, even the Zanu PF are probably less corrupt at this point. At least they have to run a country. Our lot just sit back and pretend they're running it whilst padding out their wages and pensions and waiting for their retirement.
And, consequently, uninformed idiots become the norm rather than the exception.
The irony of your comment is that they don't run the country. The European Union runs the country, these people we vote for just fiddle around the edges, micromanaging the few areas of policy they have left. Schools, hospitals, defence, some parts of criminal law and a few bits of environmental policy. That's about all they have now. Ever wondered why they're so obsessed with the NHS? Why they can't stop coming up with new "initiatives" that are so narrow in scope and so invasive into every day life? They're trying to justify their existence to themselves, as much as anyone, and do so by meddling and micromanaging the few things they actually have any power over.
And the rest is the fault of the union...
The irony of it is, if we left the union we'd still be stuck with this lot and they'd have all that much more power over us. Makes an independence-minded fellow like myself very confused...
Worth pointing out again...
All the film does is show quotes from the koran that islamists use to justify their attacks, and actual film of these same people quoting these quotes, waving swords and talking about killing kufrs. Basically demonstrating that they're a bunch of murderous thugs...
And they respond with death threats. Yeah. That really showed he's wrong. Great job guys!
The funny thing is, at least two high profile terrorists have said that, without opening speil and the scrolling blurb at the end, it's actually the sort of film "they" - the terrorists themselves - would make to propagandise their own people. That being the case, can it be called "anti muslim" if they themselves are making exactly the same films?
Most of the world managed to survive quite nicely for quite a few thousand years of civilisation without any form of ID card. All an ID card does is prove that it belongs to the person holding the ID card, it doesn't prove that person exists (pretty obvious) or who they actually are. It doesn't provide "identity". Identity is innate.
You can tell who's watched it...
They mouth off about hate. Stupid. The only hate in the film comes from the mouths of supposedly moderate muslims. It's worth watching just to see the kind of people our governments are cosying up to.
There are muslims out there who just want to live their lives in peace but they don't get a voice. The murderers and hypocrites get the voice, because they're the ones who worm their way into positions of influence. They're the ones who wave swords and knives, blow stuff up and get all the attention. I mean, look at Ken Livingstone's muslim associates. Are they the sort of people muslims want representing them? I doubt they are, but they're the ones that he bends over backwards to accommodate. And so it goes throughout the western world. Wherever muslims become a significant minority, governments seem determined to seek out the most hateful representatives they can find and lavish them with attention. Meanwhile we plebs, and the muslims who just want to live in peace, get shafted.
"Only in america?"
Yeah. Only in america does stupid stuff happen, except when it happens somewhere else, like right here in old blighty where I've seen or heard about contractors taking pot-shots at each other with nailguns, idiots knifing their friends to death by accident and more idiots deciding it would be a splendid idea to walk along in front of a high-speed train. But crap like that only happens in america, right, because Americans are Stupid. Everyone knows that...
Blame the parents!
The problem seems to be that nobody bothers to teach kids to at least pretend to respect their elders, or any sort of manners whatsoever. The first place they should be leaning this is at home. Unfortunately a lot of parents seem to think that they can just abandon their sprogs to a series of educational institutions without actually putting any effort into them... except when the institutions try to discipline their children, then suddenly it's their right to demand people be sacked for speaking mean to their little johnny or whatever.
Then we have the well-meaning morons who start trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone regardless of how adept they are... bright pupils get under-served, slow pupils get put in classes they can't handle, and the ones in the middle suffer because they're being beaten up by the bright ones and the slow ones. Standards are lowered so the kids at the bottom run don't feel "left out" by not achieving the highest possible mark.
At some people people will realise that not everyone can get an A*, and that different pupils need different kinds of attention. Suddenly we'll have some sort of new super-school where the brightest kids go, and motivational schools for the less able kids. They won't be called grammars and secondary moderns, though. oh no. They'll probably be called "excellence centres" or something equally trite.
Madison stood somewhat at odds with most of the framers of the US constitution in believing that the government should by necessity control the governed. This is a flawed premise to start from, as it assumes that the government allows the governed to remain at its behest, when the opposite is and should be the case. The majority of the US founding fathers were of the opinion that the government should be subservient to the people, who would exert the necessary control over that government, removing the need for the government to control itself. This attitude works as long as your government is composed of people who believe that the government should serve the governed rather than control them.
The last century has seen a progressive move toward the Madison way of seeing things, placing the governed in a subservient position to the government. The end result is that people go into government believing they have the right to do whatever they want, and the consequence is Dubya (whom I once supported unconditionally), Clinton, Nixon, Blair, Brown, the EU... Stalin hitler pol pot mao the japanese empire and god knows what else.
Start from the correct premise, that the government stands and falls only by the will of the governed, STICK to that premise, and you will have a truly representative and just government. The mistake came in listening to people like Madison rather than reading the words of the US declaration of independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
A government should make no assumption of an implicit right to control the governed. The reason we're facing all these intrusions into our private life is precisely because people listened to people like Madison and his assumption that the government should have that control.
Quite possibly the stupidest idea I've ever heard!
Putting international and domestic flights through the same departure lounge? WHAT?!? What bright spark thought that would be a good idea? Bet it was the architect, you know; he probably thought "open and airy! Security? Who cares? It's art!"
"Spitzer infrared showcases"
The things people will do for a bit more exposure...
Mine's the dirty brown mac with the camera in the buttonhole...
If climate change is indeed a natural phenomenon, why should we be trying to stop it? If we caused it then I would expect we would need to do something to reverse our changes, but if it has absolutely nothing to do with us, if our effect is immeasurable, why should we presume to stop it? Are you going to claim that we know the ideal temperature of the planet?
Two things to be aware of regarding plastic bags:
Their durability makes them recyclable - in that they get used again and again. Real recycling that is. I keep hold of bags and use them for all sorts of things that would otherwise require me to go out and buy much thicker purpose-made bin-bags.
They're made using byproducts from petroleum distillation that would otherwise end up being dumped somewhere. Stop producing plastic bags and that stuff will have to go into something else.
I mean, sure, they make a mess, but wouldn't a campaign of getting people to actually put their rubbish in the bin be a better solution?
... I'm the one with the beard, shouldn't I be the evil one?
Anyway I think the preferred term is "rustic", and possibly "characterful", as this allows the inhabitants to pretend they aren't living like a 15th century peasant. Granted, a 15th century peasant with double glazing and a computer, but still...
There are always exceptions
The last place I worked before going freelance managed to finagle 50% of its permanent development team as women. Of course the fact that the permanent development team consisted of two people (I was contracting) might have had something to do with it. And the fact that both of them had brains so big they wouldn't even fit inside my skull is probably why they were hired...
I don't miss the place. They made me feel inadequate. :) But I think that should prove the point, in that both these people were the most suitable for the job and were hired because of that, not because of the shape of their genitalia.
You just described The McInternet!
The yellow one with the red and white stripes please.
"dark from 15.30-ish to all intents and purposes (especially on dank, overcast days) till 08.30-ish. Bad weather made much of the "daylight" questionable."
SO, by assuming that people tend to turn their lights on by themselves when it gets dark and by assuming that most people would not be so bloody stupid as to completely fail to see a hulking great chelsea tractor cruising along a well-lit or broad-daylight street somewhere in manchester, I'm the one that loses credibility?
By assuming that most people are smart enough to know when to turn their lights on, I lose credibility? (all right, I know that one's pushing it but be serious for a moment...)
Frankly mate, you don't seem to have read what I was writing anyway. I know exactly where my MP comes from. Who gives a damn? We aren't talking about my MP. My MP cannot change these policies; his party cannot change these policies; the executive in this country CANNOT change these policies. The point I was making was that the EU does not have a democratic mandate by any measure of the meaning of "democracy". That is it. The fact that I vote for my MP makes bugger all difference to that because the national legislature no longer legislates in the majority of cases; the legislation they pretend to pass is generated by the European Council(s), by the Commission, neither of which is elected, neither of which operate under a democratic mandate. Much of that legislation is never even seen by our national legislature.
THAT is the point I was making, but you'd rather try and prove that I lack credibility with an example that is very, very stupid. Why do we need DAYLIGHT running lights? The assumption that people are too ruddy stupid to turn on their headlights when it gets dark is not enough reason to mandate DAYLIGHT running lights. Nevertheless, because we have no recourse to a democratic institution to prevent it, we have had these things mandated and they WILL kill people.
In a sense you've made part of my point for me anyway. Southern Europe doesn't need running lights at all, but they'll be forced to have them because the EU says it must be so. Why? Because! Who cares whether it's actually a sensible idea, they will have them because the EU demands they have them, and tough titties if you complain.
The possibility of the EU imposing these charges on mobile phone calls wouldn't necessarily cause any deaths (with a few exceptions for Ms Campbell's staff perhaps) but it's potentially another example of the same thing. In any case, if the EU decide against the wish of the majority, well, the majority can screw themselves as far as the EU is concerned. That's what I mean by "no democratic mandate".
"The European civil service though is like every other national civil service, so not elected, but is answerable to the elected government."
Bollocks. The euro elections are meaningless and the parliament, by its own admission, is merely an oversight body - and in reality it can't even perform that function as it has no means to prevent legislation, merely "amend" it. It can't create legislation either. It has no executive powers. It's a useless talking shop, little more. It can be ignored by the commission and indeed has been many, many times. The real power lies in the hands of the European Councils, made up of appointed representatives of the various ministries of the member states, and the commission, which is also unelected. These councils tend to operate in secret and rarely produce minutes. They create drafts for the commission to turn into directives, which are then handed out to the member states to implement into their own legislation, often with less than a day's oversight by the national parliaments. In the case of technical and regulatory directives the national legislatures are bypassed completely.
The crazy thing is, these councils are, most of the time, simply re-drafting the output of various United Nations councils and technical committees which, under our UN treaty obligations, we would examine and implement into our own law anyway. Most of the legislation emanating from the EU consists of redrafted UN recommendations. Were the EU not there we would have the option of implementing these recommendations at our own pace, without the drag of the EU taking years to redraft them and without the compulsory element. We would be able to amend them as we saw fit, or even ignore them entirely if we felt they were not in our best interests. Two examples that spring to mind are running lights on cars and high-visibility reflectors on trucks. In the former case, we don't need them - we are not a country with long, dark winter days - and in the latter case we had two government committees recommend the use of high-vis reflectors on trucks a full year before the EU even considered it but we were unable to create legislation to that effect because road safety is an EU competence, meaning that the national legislature cannot act unless the EU provides it with something to act with.
And, again, the parliamentary committee recommendations were based on technical documents provided by a United Nations committee. So what use is the EU? It slows things down, it prevents us acting in our own best interests and - crucially - is not elected at any meaningful level.
So yes, the EU operates without a popular mandate. The only tangible benefit we actually have from it is being in a free trade zone, but we could do that without the ruddy toy parliament and the bureaucracy associated with the EU as a whole, implementing the various bits of ideas that come from the UN or from standards bodies and merrily subsidising our own farmers, schools and hospitals with our own money rather than giving it to the EU so we can have some fraction of it back to be mis-spent on stupid "culture" projects and bits of paper telling us why the EU is so bloody brilliant. We simply don't need it. Why not simply be in the EFTA, like Switzerland or Norway? They get all the benefits of free trade and open borders without any of the stupidities and economic drags.
Call me stupid, but...
... if you're going to put a fence on the border, why not use... I don't know... a FENCE. For the cost of this they could build a triple layered concrete barrier along the entire border *and* man it with 24 hour patrols *and* have enough left over to do it again at the canadian border. Gotta stop all those "cheap meds" daytrippers getting across somehow...
Part of the point of researching this is to see if we can then spot it happening to other stars "now" (or then, as it were) which then allows us to start working out other stuff. What that other stuff might be is anyone's guess, but something will come of it sooner or later. I mean, lets face it, back when Newton finalised the theory of gravity it was great... in principle, but what practical application was there for knowing how fast something would accelerate toward the earth? At that point, very little. It was information for information's sake. Now it's an absolute necessity in physics. Or if you want to be more abstract, why bother finding out that the earth moves around the sun? There was no particular reason for knowing it; seasons were already predictable, the sun rose and set like it always did, so why spend the effort when it doesn't actually make any difference?
@ac's cow pat
Read the article again. It definitely doesn't say that the bullet was discharged directly into the disc. It says the bullet ricocheted off something and back into his abdomen, which means it probably hit the dvd at a shallow angle and bounced away again, shattering the disc in the process. If it had just been soft squishy flesh there it would have dug in and made a nasty hole but since the disc is made of a flexible material it would be able to absorb a lot of energy and disperse it by shattering under the stress, a teeny bit like ablative armour. I don't think anyone is suggesting that a DVD could stop a bullet travelling straight at it...
@AC re: pie
mysle = Male, geek and can cook better meals than most people. Projecting, a little?
I can't spell "myself". Whoops.
@Paul Smith et al
What's the harm in telling a lie to get people to change their ways?
That's the essence of what a few people have said here, asking what the harm would be if the AGW hypothesis is false, if it gets people to be more efficient. It's an issue of trust; if or when AGW is falsified, all these people who you convinced to tighten their belts in its name will decide that you were lying to their faces, and will in future be much less likely to listen when the call goes out. You do not, not ever, try to convince people with lies because they will cease to trust you.
Let me put it another way. So what if the dodgy dossier was a load of bollocks? It got Saddam out of the way, didn't it?
See the point now? You can't tell people lies to get them to do the right thing; when the lie is exposed they will assume that your right thing is wrong because they no longer trust you.
The world-wide agreements on AGW might well cause the west to take a hit in its standard of living but the biggest losers are, as always, the third world nations. They will be forced to stay in a state of poverty in order to preserve the current level of atmospheric CO2 whilst the big green proponents are still swanning around in their private jets. This position has been stated repeatedly and is proven by the reaction of various environmental groups to Indian's new teeny tiny and highly efficient car - which, incidentally, woud be winning all sorts of plaudits and awards if it had been manufactured in California. This whole scam ultimately results in making poor people poorer and preventing them from improving their lives. In the case of India it actually endangers lives; the car is aimed at people who would otherwise be teetering around on mopeds and getting squished. That's people who *will* die if Greenpeace get their way, as opposed to people who *might* die if they don't.
It may be different in detail but it's fundamentally still the same. Yes, people have a choice to remove the toolbar. They have a choice to change ISP; there's a lot of hassle involved in the latter but the choice is there most of the time. The problem isn't whether there's a choice or not, the problem is Google assuming that they have the right to alter what the user is seeing without informing them of what they're doing. Without information there is no way to presume consent. It's as simple as that.
A little sense...
This can only be good. Food prices are already suffering huge inflation because of the pressure from biofuel production and as things ramp up it's only going to get worse. The EU has already demanded that some arbitrary percentage of local fuel consumption be met from biofuels - 10%, I think... of course to meet 10% of the UK's fuel consumption from biofuels would require every acre (or hectare if you want to be metric about it) of land currently used for food production in this country, plus every acre of land current assigned as "set-aside". We'd be completely reliant on imports at a time when many countries are dropping all their import tarrifs in order to get enough food in to feed their populations. Biofuels are madness. Any idiot could tell you that using food to produce fuel is beyond stupid.
And the EU's answer to this problem? Well of course they're going to carefully monitor imported biofuels and place tarrifs and penalties on imports from countries that are exceeding some arbitrary CO2 output limit or chopping down too much forest. Lets not think about scrapping the idea of producing fuel from food just when we're running out of the edible stuff, lets just add yet another layer of taxation and bureaucracy and pretend that will solve all the world's ills. That's the European way!
Satire? AmanfromMars posting as an AC? I dunno, but it seems that you obviously missed the little joke in Spaceballs about Hollywood's obsession with producing sequels to big hitters in the hopes of making more money from the same idea.
Did you even *watch* the film?
Is Paris going to be voice-acting in this one?
A pedantic tit speaks (and if you don't get it, tough, um, noodles)
"And I wonder what the 'leccy bill will be for it? Powerful magnets usually require powerful power supplies to generate the magnetism."
A few people mentioned electricity bills and apparently haven't read the definition of "permanent magnet".
Paris, cos if I sit in front of her you might start thinking of Total Recall.
Farenheit is not an imperial measurement. Never was. The whole farenheit vs celcius thing is completely independent to metric vs imperial. I mean, at least imperial measures are based on things that matter (Elizabeth the first and her new miles notwithstanding) and have a logical progression of sorts. Farenheit is just *weird*.
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