Wednesday, July 11, 2012

About this site

By "this site" is meant two sites which form a continuum:

1.  The original blog which ran from 2006 to 2009;
2.  The current blog which has run from 2009 until now.

Both are active - the original blog still gets quite a deal of traffic but posts are generally on the current one.

It began as a political outlet concerned with a third force in politics - the oligarchical "them", which in 2006 most people hadn't researched and didn't fully understand the extent of.  Quickly the blog became a sort of magazine because there were just too many other interesting things to write about as well in many fields, from technology to cuisine.

The name came from an article on China, written in 2006, which refers to Deng Ziaoping:
According to Deng Xiaoping, in order to eventually overcome, China should adopt the ancient maxim of "hiding brightness and nourishing obscurity," and Beijing adds: "to bide our time and build up our capabilities" and again: "to yield on small issues with the long term in mind."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What sort of mind does these things?

AK Haart wrote, on the topic of electric cars:
We run into difficulties when people say things of such mind-boggling stupidity that we almost wonder at their sanity. Why does he/she say such things? It's nonsense.  I’m not speaking of specific slogans here, but conceptual frameworks which may just about make sense internally, but which are obviously in wild conflict with other, more rational frameworks. Examples are not difficult to find.
Let's open with this one from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, via This is True, via email:

Monday, September 28, 2009

[think big] but don't hold your breath

A man who doesn't do things by halves:

Dalton Chiscolm is unhappy about Bank of America's customer service - really, really unhappy. Chiscolm in August sued the largest US bank and its board, demanding that "1,784 billion, trillion dollars" be deposited into his account the next day. He also demanded an additional $US200,164,000, court papers show.

Attempts to reach Chiscolm were unsuccessful. A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment.

"Incomprehensible," US District Judge Denny Chin said in a brief order released in Manhattan federal court. "He seems to be complaining that he placed a series of calls to the bank in New York and received inconsistent information from a 'Spanish woman,'" the judge wrote. "He apparently alleges that checks have been rejected because of incomplete routing numbers."

Would you be able to write that amount in numeral form?

[late evening listening] dearieme presents tiny and truck parham

[devices] with one function only

Mark Fu has an amusing post. Do you know what those devices are in the photo above? They are sleeves for the bar to hold the weights in and I'd guess 'd one kilo each. They used to in Russia. Mark asks:

Some things have just one function that justifies their existence; an umbrella for instance. Scuba gear is another that comes to mind. Since most of us are weight lifters in one manner or another, we have all run into barbell collars.

They have no other apparent use. Sure, you could use the ones pictured above at the dinner table to hold nice linen napkins, but I doubt any of us would actually do that.

So are we in agreement that barbell collars have only one function?

He then points us to an article here. Now my two observations are:

1. Was the guy so small that he could do that?

2. Did the guy have a brain in the first place?

All lifters have run into the newbie who wanders around like a lost sheep or the guy who spends half his time in front of the mirror, seeing if his biceps have grown any since he did a set of exercises. I've never run into anyone like this though. :)

[shapes] and their logic

Which of the shapes below completes the lower line?

triangle: pentagon square
square: hexagon hexagon square
pentagon: hexagon hexagon hexagon square triangle
hexagon: octagon octagon octagon octagon ______ ?

The choice of the shape which goes before the question mark depends on the value each shape caries and how it relates to the others in a mathematical relationship.

The will be up late this evening.

[airbus] here we go yet again

This blog has many articles on Airbus safety - that it is inherently and for quite valid reasons, unsafe. The last post is here and if you enter "Airbus" in the Blogger site search, you can see the other posts too.

Anonymous [appropriate, yes, for one throwing in the ad hominem] commented on the last post, on 25 September 2009:

Following your childish trend:

Maybe, the US corp. Goodrich has yet to learn how to make proper pitot tubes? "The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a safety warning for air speed sensors that are made by Goodrich Corp. and fitted on many Airbus jets — just two weeks after advising airlines to use them instead of instruments made by Thales SA".

[the quality of intellectual debate] emotions v facts

The quality of debate, of research and analysis drives one to despair. Sonus [or was it Anon?] made the point that he was frantic that no one seemed to be listening. Simon & Garfunkel said it, years ago:

People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening

Now, from Charles Crawford:

Are we replacing the intellect with 'emotions'? Thus:

... we are essentially being invited to empathise, not intellectualise, and that is something I find astonishing. Not only does this kind of emotional discourse have an infantilising effect on the public - the assumption being that we are incapable of grasping complex strategic arguments - the failure to develop the argument beyond these basic moral categories is hopelessly counterproductive.

This blog is forever banging on about it.

[samantha geimer] why is no one listening to her

To blog on the Polanski thing is fraught because the vultures are waiting to construe any sort of interest in it in a certain way. Nevertheless, strategically, it is of real interest and it seems to be for others too who've been looking at what the tactics were in his move:

But it could also elevate his case into an international ordeal -- involving the governments of Switzerland, France, Poland and the United States -- and potentially complicate his possible extradition.

"The big issue is whether it would have been better for him to negotiate a surrender when he had the chance," Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson said. "Now it has become an international incident and the district attorney may be under pressure not to negotiate a sweetheart deal. They've gone to all this trouble of getting Switzerland involved. It could make it harder on him."

Nevertheless, some believe the arrest of the 76-year-old Academy Award winner could lead to a resolution that will allow him to once again travel freely.

There seem, to me, two things involved here. One is the feeling that the man is a sleaze who needs to be brought to justice, no matter what it takes and whatever laws are bent to achieve it. France doesn't have an extradition treaty and the Americans were frustrated but even so, the tone the woman official adopts leaves one a bit suspicious and concerned about the motives for pursuing Polanski. This smacks awfully of another feminist vendetta:

Previous attempts to nab Polanski when he left France were thwarted because authorities didn't learn of his travel soon enough -- or Polanski didn't make the trip, said William Sorukas, chief of the U.S. Marshals Service's domestic investigations branch.

"This is not the first time we have done this over the years," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. She said warrants had been sent out whenever rumors circulated that he would be traveling to a country outside France.

In this case, the honor for Polanski's work proved to be his downfall, Gibbons said. "It was publicized on the Internet that he was going to be at the Zurich Film Festival," Gibbons said. "They were selling tickets online."

"This is not the first time we have done this over the years ..." No doubt, no doubt. You see, there are other issues involved, even the gender issue, very keenly felt by many males and obviously by females. One of the women bloggers in the Britblog Roundup even states on her site that she wants no anti-feminists there and "any anti-feminist thoughts will be deleted".

WTF? Does she want any discussion at all or just to push her agenda? If she wishes to push her agenda, who's going to read it? Other feminists? How is she going to convince the men to relinquish their oppressive power and make them feel more kindly towards her, with statements like that on her blog?

You see the problem here with this Polanski thing?

The second issue is the resentment among European nations of the Americans trying to push their agendas onto the rest of the world and this is a very great resentment, sorry to my American friends. There is a tendency for European nations to try to bloc anything the American's want, irrespective of how worthy it is and the very fact that this matter might become international shows the depth of the political feeling:

Meanwhile, Polanski’s arrest looked set to spark a diplomatic row. Frederic Mitterand, the French culture minister, said he was “deeply shocked” by the sudden arrest and had already discussed the matter with President Sarkozy.

The snubbing of Gordon Brown by Obama is a case in point. If you read my blog and any other centrist Britblog on the net, all are scathing of Brown and some want to see him hung at Tyburn Hill but ... but ... but ... there is also the contrary tendency to support Brown in this matter against the Americans.

This is why America is finding it so difficult abroad, why they can't understand why no one gets behind the Yoo Ess of Ay and backs them. Look, there's a lot of jealousy, a lot of protecting one's own patch, a lot of equal ego. Britain is a once mighty nation which is struggling to come to terms with its place and its place is not, in most Brits' minds, kowtowing to Obama.

Myself, I don't feel this. This blog is read half by Brits, half by Americans by and large and sometimes I feel quite American in my mindset. American, yes but not American government, a point made by people like Xlbrl. In this Polanski matter, there's a can of worms to be opened, far more extensive than just the incident itself, which is severely weakened by Samantha Geimer's own exhortations to leave him alone.

Sleazes shouldn't get away with it. Full stop. Period. Sleazes with moneyed connections should especially not get away with it. However, this issue has other overtones and all players in it need to recognize that.

Now, finally, let's get down to the other issue which heads up this blog. Why is no one listening to Samantha Geimer? Feminists make a big noise about the woman being heard, being listened to, her opinions being considered. OK, I'm considering Samantha Geimer's opinion, the so-called victim. I say "so-called" because she clearly doesn't see herself this way.

Geimer's opinion:

1. In a 2003 interview, Samantha Geimer said, "Straight up, what he did to me was wrong. But I wish he would return to America so the whole ordeal can be put to rest for both of us." Furthermore, "I'm sure if he could go back, he wouldn't do it again. He made a terrible mistake but he's paid for it".

2. In 2008, Geimer stated in an interview that she wishes Polanski would be forgiven, "I think he's sorry, I think he knows it was wrong. I don't think he's a danger to society. I don't think he needs to be locked up forever and no one has ever come out ever - besides me - and accused him of anything. It was 30 years ago now. It's an unpleasant memory ... (but) I can live with it."

3. That same month, [January, 2009], Samantha Geimer filed to have the charges against Polanski dismissed from court, saying that decades of publicity as well as the prosecutor's focus on lurid details continues to traumatize her and her family."

Now, the U.S. authorities, the feminists, Polansky's side and just about everyone else I've read, don't give a toss about that. They have their agenda, their slant on how things should be, that is that and to hell with any trauma for the victim, the very thing they're trying to avenge.

My stance is that a woman of 45 is competent to decide for herself and my resentment is that others seem to want to impose their own will on her.

In my opinion, the victim's wishes are paramount.