Print Story Wibble
Diary
By Herring (Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:45:58 AM EST) (all tags)
Yes, wibble again.

Today's Ohrworm is the theme from the children's TV programme Rainbow.



Article on the Grauniad website by Monbiot about biofuels. I knew that biofuels were dodgy, but I was surprised by the statement "Biodiesel from palm oil causes 10 times as much climate change as ordinary diesel". That's to say nothing of the morality of using food to power your SUV.

I find it a bit odd that everyone (well, government, car manufacturers) are so against more stringent fuel enconomy. Surely if you spend less money on fuel/energy, then that's a good thing? It strikes me that using less power for transport, heating, cooling etc. is a win-win for businesses. Oh well.

Incidentally, someone here without a proper job got a bee in her bonnet about the number of plastic cups we get through. I did try to advance the argument that petrochemicals tied up in plastic cups weren't being burnt and contributing to global warming.

At last, a new holiday year. And a four-day weekend coming up to celebrate capital punishment.

Was reading something somewhere. In a commentary on modern UKian TV, this guy pointed out that a few years ago, we had programmes that mocked Japanese TV programmes where contestants had to eat live insects etc. Now we're making these programmes ourselves. Hmm.

I think something almost happened in yesterday's Heroes.

I have what I think is a great political idea: people are really hacked off with the current political parties. So, encourage more people to stand for parliament. Things could get interesting if you had a couple of hundred independents. I also think the deposit for a parliamentary election should be lowered again. IIRC, Thatcher put it up to £1,000.

< 2007.03.26: Like sand through an hourglass, so ... | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Wibble | 43 comments (43 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
No need! by gpig (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:57:19 AM EST
Tea is better from a mug, and water is better from a glass.

I agree with your stroppy colleague.
---
(,   ,') -- eep

It's quite likely by Herring (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:29:02 AM EST
that the plastic cups are incinerated anyway. But nobody picked up on that.

Don't get very good arguments here. I try.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Paper cups by Phage (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:35:33 AM EST
Just my 0.02

[ Parent ]
What about cold tea? [nt] by debacle (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:05:33 AM EST


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Pour it down the sink and make a fresh pot by Vulch (4.00 / 4) #14 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:30:07 AM EST

Natural act

[ Parent ]
Palm oil. by ambrosen (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:24:08 AM EST
Is often grown on cleared mangrove swamps. Although palm oil is an extremely efficient source of oil energy, what with producing easier-to-make saturated fats, and very little protein or carbohydrate overburden, the clearing of mangrove swamps releases huge amounts of semi sequestered carbon that's in the swamp soil.

Incidentally, carbon sequestration in soil is one of the most misunderstood aspects of CO&2082; control.

That by debacle (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:07:31 AM EST
And mangrove swamps are one of the few things I find really cool Florida.

The next time I get down there the everglades may be closed.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Definitely. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:50:23 AM EST
They're tremendously important, and being destroyed at quite a rate (also for prawn/shrimp farming.)

[ Parent ]
Also, I believe by Herring (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:55:49 AM EST
Mangroves can take the edge off an incoming hurricane/tidal wave. Which might matter in Florida.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
I remember Zippy and Bungo by Phage (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:34:51 AM EST
But the tune escapes me. Bring back the Heath Robinson inventor from Vision On.

Can you recommend a band recommendation site where you feed in what you like, and gives a range of alternative new bands that you may not have heard of.

Oh, it should be a free service naturally.

Last FM? by Herring (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:44:51 AM EST
I signed up, but haven't really used it. Might do the job though.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
I'll give it a whirl by Phage (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:46:09 AM EST
I wonder how good the predictive model is.

[ Parent ]
Pandora, also by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:41:45 AM EST
here. I quite like it, and it seems to do a good job of finding stuff that I like but have never heard of.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
Pandora looks interesting by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:17:46 PM EST
But is US-only, and while they are "are working as fast we can to make Pandora available internationally", it's been that way for a long time.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Ah. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:44:46 PM EST
Bummer, that. Sorry I was inadvertently US-centric.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
No worries by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #43 Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 12:06:45 AM EST
Like I said, it does look like a pretty neat service, and there are ways and means for non-USians to use it, but it's a bit of a hassle.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
It's good by TurboThy (2.00 / 0) #30 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:11:44 AM EST
once you get past about 10,000 scrobbled tracks. But then again I have a broad musical taste, so take this with a pinch of salt.
__
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.
[ Parent ]
Rainbow by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 1) #42 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 11:55:09 PM EST
Still on one of the UK cable channels around 7pm.
Here's a reminder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzxdulMGN4

[ Parent ]
Environment by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:48:10 AM EST
It's like losing weight, isn't it? The only thing that will work is cutting consumption.

--------
It's political correctness gone mad!

Plus by Herring (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:51:56 AM EST
People will suggest solutions that still involve consuming all the oil and dead animals you want.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:01:27 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



It's an interesting idea by Herring (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:13:12 AM EST
Personally, I strongly suspect that people care enough about politics to whine, but not enough to do something. The disparity between the views of the major political parties (in the US and the UK) and the public is quite extraordinary. It's a bit like the situation described by Douglas Adams "The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people" "But you said it was a democracy?" "Yes" "So people vote for the lizards" "Yes - because otherwise the wrong lizard might get in".

Or something.

I like the idea of a load of independents being elected. Sure, there will be nutters and initially it will be really hard to get anything done. But I think ultimately we'd end up with more representative parties and a more engaged electorate.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #19 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:30:31 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
Hmm. by Herring (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:47:10 AM EST
"By-and-large the country is more prosperous than ever before". I take issue with that. Wages for ordinary people have been pretty stagnant for the last 10 years. Personally, in real terms, I'm considerably worse off than I was 5 years ago.

I think people should do something rather than moaning.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:37:38 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
Politicians are specialists now by cam (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:53:16 AM EST
and have become increasingly specialised in the last fifty years. We are noticing it more as media management because that is where we come in contact most with politician's message, but they are careerists and do the job full time.

One of the problems is there is an increasing complexity in laws and politicisation of all aspects of society. Bureaucracies are becoming politicised, Australia's civil service is not what it once was. Because of the power and money in government, it gets everywhere. If you were to read the papers you would think everyone belongs to a political party, yet in Au, only 80,000 people countrywide are Liberal Party members!

Because they are specialists they have their own language that is often indecipherable and complex for the sake of it. As an example I could not get through a Virginian small business tax form yesterday. I got stuck in the form because I didn't know the exact right answer and couldn't progress to the next page. The legislation in that tax code requires another specialists to interpret it. It is no longer generalist. This is the same as when software developers make ugly interfaces causing users to know their language and system before they can use it.

I think part of the disenfranchisement between population and politics is because politics is a minority (very few are members of parties) participative form of specialisation. People are estranged from it in the same way they are estranged from other highly specialised skills - like astrophysics. The difference being that astrophysicists don't dominate the media, tax or pass selfish laws that everyone has to follow.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #28 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:02:47 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
Interesting that the per capita numbers by cam (4.00 / 1) #33 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:51:50 AM EST
are similar. The Access component is part of the system design. It is intended to put some distance between the population and representative so that mob tyranny doesn't dominate. The problem is that it gives the parties permanent access to government - and they exist to gain majorities - so often tyranny and arbitrary government are just the parties acting selfishly for what their founding purpose is.

I think the specialist nature has been because of the increasing size and complexity of the state. Politicians and all their hangers on are for handling that complexity. Unfortunately it has got complex enough that elected representatives can say they didn't know. Howard and Downer used that in the AWB scandal. The political specialists are acting as an intended barrier between the representative and accountability.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Dunno if you've ever joined a political party by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #38 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:36:33 PM EST
I have both the Tories and Labour party in my misspent youth. The meetings are deathly dull which acts as screening mechanism for the truly committed. Also there's a hell of a lot of office politics of a  rather nasty kind which you wouldn't put up with voluntarily outside work.

[ Parent ]
No by cam (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:24:24 PM EST
Cant say I have ever had the pleasure. Though my parents got involved in the local Liberal Party political scene but that didn't last long. Probably as you said; the dullness and dullards scared them away.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Stats by Herring (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:04:21 AM EST
From the government. If you include taxes, house price inflation etc. it's not a lot. Also, would you say generally that anyone is under less pressure at work now than they were 10 years ago? So, we're doing more, more stressful work for no real material benefit. That's going to piss people off.

My own situation is odd ... because. And not really relevant.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:22:47 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
Leaping in at the end here... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #27 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:53:18 AM EST
One of the differences between here and France is that they've retained some institutions in society (mostly unions in this case) which are able to mount a (semi)-coherent opposition to government policies and even governing political consensuses. More to the point, those institutions have enough respect that even non-members will rally to the cause.

This country doesn't seem to have that kind of institution left, the unions here aren't respected as a body and we don't seem to have developed many new ones.

You can argue that the French are a little too willing to strike/riot, but I think we've gone too far in the opposite direction.

I won't disagree that we're probably a bit more contented than the French overall, but I do think the institutional issue is a real one too.

The three biggest protests that have occurred (in my failing memory) might be listed (in no particular order) as Fox-hunting, Fuel protests and IraqWar protests.

It's worth noting here that part of the current problem may simply be that the people who most need to express their displeasure by mass action are those whom Labour is sort of meant to represent. So that plays into the dynamics.

I guess the question behind these other protests is why were there no strikes or riots? French farmers (a similar constituency to the Fox hunting lobby) would have had tractors blocking up the city and burning carcasses at Downing Street. Our lot? Demographically not their style, but also they didn't have that much sympathy overall.

Fuel protests was real strike type action. Economic consequences. I don't really recall if they got what they wanted though.

Iraq? Dirty hippies, the lot of them. No natural constituency in parliament.

Actually, that's probably another point, the system in France does give them a more diverse parliament, so maybe that adds to the mix.

To me, it seems like the biggest "cultural institution" issue is that we in Britain don't trust anybody to speak for any kind of common good. [Cue rambling thoughts about that mess of a Curtis documentary: The Trap.] Thus, any discontent easily dissipates unless it has instant massive support (for example, if they had put up a draft for Iraq.) That is in part a sign of a stable, contented society. But it's also potentially the sign of a loaded political/media environment where the levers of power are so far away that only incredibly sized strikes/riots have a hope of influencing policy.

Which brings to mind, bizarrely... Jamie's School Dinners. Seemingly real change in government policy, for the general benefit of a fairly widespread bunch of children.

Does that phenomenon mean something? Not sure, but it came to mind.

Anyway that was all pretty stream of conciousness, so maybe it doesn't make sense, but to reiterate my main point. There may be more to it than general contentment (although I accept there is a reasonable level of contentment) there may be something about a decline in societal organs to amplify change.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #32 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:49:05 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
Right... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #34 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 10:22:45 AM EST
If it takes a celebrity even to get a middle-class friendly concern into action, that suggests the system is quite resistant overall.

I think The Trap suffered from a number of problems (this is not an exhaustive list):

  1. It tried to address too much at once within 3 episodes. There are a bunch of phenomena which have some cultural linkages (e.g. the psychology profession's move to "objective testing" and the associated rise of "apparently objective psychological normalcy" does link to the "rational-agent/libertarian/Hayek approach to economics") but... each of them actually evolved in different ways, which he glosses over, trying to make them all fit the same path. That just didn't work. And in the glossing over, he lost some of the thread of how they actually might have influenced each other.
  2. Blatant inaccuracies about things like the history of game theory and it's uses was bound to put certain people off.
  3. Further, he really didn't work at explaining some of the distinctions he was drawing. In that, to me, there has been a considerable abuse of game theory within government/thinktank/economist circles to explain things it's not ready to explain. And other times just used incredibly incompetently. But that's not a fault of the theory and all that blather about "invented by psychopaths" is rather misplaced and distracts from a genuine issue about the ends to which the tool has been put.
  4. He tried to weld together a narrative across historical episodes which have some different impulses buried in them, hence lots of those logical contortions I think. I found the last episode particularly bad that way in that the whole "War on Terror" rollback of "civil liberties" was just sort of bolted on the end with a backflip. Really to me, it's another example of the lack/decline of "cultural institutions" which does kind of follow from the rise of Hayek-ism, but it was all just not put together by Curtis coherently or persuasively to me.
  5. As you note, there are counter-conclusions which need addressing which he just didn't. The decline of the "psychiatrists" was an improvement in freedom, they used to put cheating housewives in looney bins for crying out loud. Freedom for women/gays/coloureds/other fringe groups is a lot higher than it was and it's not clear that you could get there without at least disrupting the myth of the "benign state" somewhat.
(Of course, you already know I'm of the idea that maybe we went too far in the other direction, so my comments won't surprise.)

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #36 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 11:22:49 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
No... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:29:21 PM EST
I hadn't seen it.

My first reaction is that it is a bit cynical. Curtis is far from coherent/correct/unbiased, but he's showing more ambition than 95% of programme makers and that's something.

But, OTOH, it's probably deserved.

[ Parent ]
Well above? by Herring (2.00 / 0) #35 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 10:39:37 AM EST
They are slightly above (1-3%) a measure of inflation that doesn't include council tax or house prices (amongst other things).

The relative measure of child poverty isn't a brilliant one. There may or may not be an actual problem with child poverty, but it's difficult to tell from that.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
V2FP by garlic (2.00 / 0) #31 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:39:03 AM EST


[ Parent ]
Candidates by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:08:07 AM EST
Having voted in election with 135 candidates, I think the concern of "too many candidates" is overblown.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #29 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:08:03 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky



[ Parent ]
Business by MrPlough (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:31:09 AM EST
"Surely if you spend less money on fuel/energy, then
that's a good thing? It strikes me that using less power for transport, heating, cooling etc. is a win-win for businesses. Oh well."

Not for the fuel business! And their associated chemical industry.
No work.

We don't care about them by Herring (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:41:01 AM EST
They're evil.

Also, everyone has to admit that oil is a finite resource. When it's $500 a barrel, they'll be doing fine.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Wibble | 43 comments (43 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback