Saturday, April 27, 2002
PS pushing "quote of the day" is this guy: ""This is the closest ally of the United States from the Arab world, who has communicated to the president that Arab-American relations are on the brink of instability," said Clovis Maksoud, former Arab League ambassador to the United States and the United Nations "
Gee, I know Bush is dumb, but you don't have to be that smart to see that when a region's run by deranged kelptocratic misogynistic reactionary homophobic anti-Semitic zealots, your relations with them might be a bit "minute to minute"...
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Of course, the thing that such a readjustment doesn't indicate, and the per capita figure does, is that if everyone reached US GDP levels then emissions would be much higher (though each $ of that GDP would have less impact on the environment). Still, I doubt the environmental lobby will be calling for US-style efficiency any time soon...
A suggested pattern to the data, relating to the India emissions-per-dollar figure in relation to Europe (it's lower than that of Germany). I suspect there are plateaus of emissions efficiency per $. I.e. if you're poor enough, you'll use some pretty dirty fuels, but not much of them. If you're somewhat richer, you'll be driving cars, etc, but not for many dollars more GDP. Hence concrens about when China hits $2000 per capita (or whatever) and everyone buys a car: one dollar more, for a huge emissions jump.
In any case, go look at the data (and the other stuff on his site): it's a great read at the moment, and I'm glad he's back.
Wow, mail from a reader that I've got round to addressing (that's not to suggest there's a flood, of course):
From: Frank Helderman
"In your Sunday 21 April post, you say that the British Mandate in Palestine was not a failure, and make some statistical comparisons to support your point. I respectfully submit that you could have chosen better subjects for comparison figures. My relevant textbooks are in the attic (and they’re staying there), but I seem to recall that Kuwait and Qatar were British protectorates, and that Brunei is a close neighbor of Indonesia and the Philippines. More suitable comparisons would be between the countries that arose from the British Mandate in Palestine and other Middle Eastern countries that were not somebody’s Mandate or Protectorate between the World Wars."
"I plucked those ones out of the hat because they were the closest to Israel. If the closest ones were British Protectorates, that's the way things work out. My justification, if I had to pick one, would be that in Israel Britain changed the culture of the region into one that became rich without oil: elsewhere, we were more "sensitive" (or so I'd claim), and look at how that worked out.
Basically, I put the thing together quickly (I'm busy at the moment), and didn't pick a legitimate sample (though that would be hard given the level of colonial involvement in the Middle East in the first half of the C20th."
The thing is, if you examine the tables the difference is striking: Israel has spent its life at war and lack natural resources but is richer than monopolists in the life blood of international capitalism.
If that isn't an argument for the Western way of doing things, I don't know what is. And it (and Hong Kong or Singapore, e.g., totally "unviable" states if ever there were any) is a pretty good argument for what the Palestinians should have spent their time doing.
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
For those who like that kind of thing, it's the kind of thing you'll like: gentle rom-com with a British sensibility and drawing upon our own racial mix for much of the humour. Personally, I'd liked to have seen some scenes stretched and others compressed, but that probably says more about my heartless nature than about the film's ability to affect its target audience.
Not too many years ago, films like this wouldn't have gotten anywhere near being made. Now, with able assistance from series like "Goodness Gracious Me", it seems that Indian mothers are becoming our own "Jewish mothers". A strange pass, to be sure.
PS: if you're looking for an entirely different kind of ethnic humour, buy "Aberystwyth, mon amour", a noir thriller set in 1980s (?) Wales. Some liberties with history for humour value, but wonderfully written and I've no idea how it'll end. Partial warning: sufficient familiarity with Welsh mores and humour will make some twists telegraph themselves a few pages out.
*yes, yes, the star is cute. But I'm a ghouri (and not Irish).
Anyway, here's a pretty enough on-set picture of the lass, together with (why?) Shaznay Lewis (ex of All Saints).
Only comment: she scrubs up terribly...
This all makes sense.
Postulate 1 : per German suggestions, the German army will soon be "peace-keeping" in Israel.
Postulate 2: per the Berlin police's advice, Israelis will soon stop "dressing Jewish".
Axiom 1: the ludicrously one-sided stance of the European political elite means they only care about protecting Palestinians.
Postulate 1 + Postulate 2 + Axiom 1: the ludicrously one-sided stance of the European political elite means that they only care about protecting people who look Palestinian, who will be everyone in Israel, so the German Army will protect everyone.
Alternative line of reasoning: tommorrow the Germans will be suggesting to the Palestinians that they'd be safe if they stopped dressing and acting in a "terrorist" fashion...
Post-modern-script: if the Germans would stop talking in Herr Flick accents, then no-one would know who to mention the war to. Problem solved...
Or just go here...
In any case, remember:
No real reapers were hurt during the making of this film.
Monday, April 22, 2002
Step by step directions:
1.) Sit down and write down the sentence. Would you like to go with me to see _______ on Friday night at ___(whatever time movie starts?
By asking the girl to see a specific movie on a specific night, you give her the chance to say "no" to the movie or the night. That way, if she says 'no', she can do so to the movie or the night.
2.) Find a girl who you would like to go see a movie with.
3.) Introduce yourself (if she doesn't already know you) and say your line, including the name of the movie and the time.
4.) If she says 'no', then approach her on a different day and ask her again to see a different movie, if she says 'no' to this one also, she doesn't want to go out with you.
5.) If she says 'yes', ask her to write down her name and address, so you know where to pick her up." Etc
I suspect it would have a monumental failure rate on the streets of a big city, but it has a certain simple charm. Question: is it right or wrong for your cue-card to be visible?
[serious comment - glad there are some folk out there helping the kids my bit of research way back was based on. Good on ya, explicit instructions fella!)
Considering how much hassle France gives us about our social model, etc, it's hard to supress a certain degree of mirth (and/or condescension). Especially in light of nonsense like this: "The Socialists said that they expected to benefit from a “revenge vote” by sympathisers who were outraged that the Left had been eliminated from the field."
Or, indeed, like another story where the right was blamed for all this coming to pass. Surely France's inability to advance socially or politically is to blame?
The Anglosphere is frequently criticised for its economic liberalism. But with effectively more than 50% of the French electorate (slightly "guesstimated" number) opting for pseudo-totalitarian policies (or, at least, the morally repugnant detritus of the 1930s), who's worse on that count?
Indeed, if the social dislocation of the US and UK are inevitable outcomes of our lack of "cohesive" social policies, how come we're not voting for Vichy's heirs or Stalin's step-children? (an obvious suggestion: if you go part way down the road to a corpratist state, it's far easier to persuade people to visist Serfsville.) Isn't it time that the countries of Europe with neo-fascist parties in power in town-halls or the hearts of men consider listening to countries without that sort of problem?
In other words: shouldn't France adopt a more sophisticated approach to the notion of human liberty, brotherhood and equality?
Sunday, April 21, 2002
The rest of the article makes interesting reading, proposing a bonfire of regulations because of the moral hazard they engender. Basically, you're more likely to ignore warning signs if you're given a false sense of security by the state (shocking that samizdata pointed me to this...).
Non-employer sanctioned view - one of the big differences between US and UK regulatory regimes for accounting, auditing, etc, is that the US is far more prescriptive, providing perhaps more illusory comfort. Over here, everything works around principles (sometimes broken down finely), with the over-riding impetus being to provide a "true and fair" view of the accounts. It's explicitly permitted to ignore the relevant governing statutes if that's incompatible with giving such a view, though there's a heavy disclosure burden to comply with if you do so.
This makes it easier to miss things, perhaps, as there's probably less emphasis on rigorous checklists and so forth (though they exist). But there's far less room to hide behind a regulation that's being twisted to a company's advantage (though also almost no hard and fast rules to point to say "this is wrong").
Which way of doing things is better? Who knows?
1) Copyrights are granted as a compromise between supplier and purchaser, whereby the supplier's rights are protected for a period of time in return for protection of certain "fair use" provisions.
2) Copy-protection automatically prevents exercise of "fair use" rights over purchased IP goods.
3) Ergo, corporations that put copy-protection on CDs are breaking the "contract" with their customers (more a three-way deal between state, supplier and customer).
[4) Ergo someone should file suit, alledging that a company involve in copy-protection has just vitiated its copyright over the music involved]
warning - not backed up by any known case law...
GDP per capita was $18,100 in 1999 (27th in the world, not too far behind oil-rich Kuwait's $22,700, and ahead of U.A.E ($17,400), Qatar ($17,100) or the uber-rich Brunei ($17,000), and more than double Arabia's $9,000.).
Israel had a "economic freedom ranking" of 43rd in the world in 2002, which wasn't bad considering its semi-socialist nature.
Israel was 16th in the Transparency International rankings in 2001, level with the USA. That's 21 places above Jordan (which we can take some credit for), and way above Egypt (54). Arabia doesn't seem to poll.
And that's not to forget the semi-functional democracy there (I'll grant critics some limitations on the rights of Israeli Arabs), or the existence of the rule of law within its territories, or that, for all its failings, the legal system does occassionally look into abuse of prisoners or procedure or of human rights by future premiers.
Things aren't perfect, but at least you don't get beheaded for your sexuality or put to death in some other gruesome fashion for changing religion. Stop bagging the brits...