Sunday, June 07, 2009

[water] procession down the thames

I really wanted to run the one where they were on the barge or else the orchestra or chamber ensemble but unfortunately this was the best youtube for sound. Sorry it's so static visually.

[flint] would you trust this woman?

You know, when one comes to think it through, as The Nameless Libertarian has, Caroline Flint comes out of this not smelling of roses.

TNL points out that it's not the first time Labour's pulled this trick of using women as a PC smokescreen so in that respect she may be right. What she fails to mention is that she was imported wholesale in the Blair Babe rush, irrespective of talent.

One doesn't expect that loyalty would be a quality highly sought after among pollies and yet her petulant and childish display, not unlike Segolene's in France, makes one really wonder about the temperamental suitability of such people for high office.

In the end, how much respect do you have for Flint, Purnell and Blears? Was Flint's stab in the back motivated by the good of the country or by her own thwarted ambitions?

Similarities in temperament although Segie is maybe nicer.

[thought for the day] sunday evening

Liberty is not licence.

[James Higham, 2009]

[blogroll day] can't put it off any longer

Groan! Aaaaagh!

Don't get me wrong - I love getting round to the blogs but 'doing the blogrolls' is a pain in the butt. Have a quick look at mine and you'll see what I mean. Some of you have pretty large ones too [rolls, I mean] and I wouldn't want you revamping them because you might just drop me off yours.

They do need reworking though. Mutual visitors, those I visit but they never visit me, the deceased and dormant, the active - the thing I don't like is being unfair. The majority of my visitors read the blog in RSS anyway so how can we know?

Also, it shouldn't be a tit-for-tat thing. A person should be blogrolled because he/she is interesting, except for Bloghounds where I'm duty bound to carry the whole roll.

Also, I made a decision some time back that I don't like using the RSS because it doesn't give that blogger a hit. Only visiting does that. So though it takes some time, that's what I prefer to do and have a look round while I'm there.

How do you handle yours [blogrolls, I mean]?

UPDATE 13:27 - Gee, it's a big job, isn't it? Have to do the bookmarks too and the RSS feeds.
UPDATE 15:31 - Blogs done on Word, news sources now being HTMLed - don't trust Blogrollingdotcom any more.
UPDATE 17:24 - Have created a new blog to house the Guest Posters - going crosseyed here with the html.
UPDATE 19:04 - Time for breakfast - guest posters done on Word and now need to be put on the new blog.

[halls of power] something rotten at the head

Both sides of the pond and probably downunder as well:

... the complicated political maneuvers of these thin-skinned politicians induces a tedium in those of us who are forced to watch their petty chess games ...

Sigh. Yes, Dymphna's right.

Like Ann Elk, I have a theory, which is probably your theory too. It does seem that the moment anyone, even someone idealistic gets up to Capitol Hill or Westminster, there's a totally corrupting force in place. I don't believe all those pollies would have cheated on the taxpayers with their expenses in 'real life'. Everyone pushes it and maximizes to an extent but not to this extent. There really is a culture in place which induces a person to lose reason.

Perhaps you're with this view up to this point but you'll doubtless think the next bit OTT, as is my wont.

I really believe that there is a malignant force at the top, possibly connected with the great houses and families, which themselves, in their connections, go back millennia. The old evil on the plains of Babylon did not go away, why should it? It just went out of sight except when it popped up from time to time - usury, the Templars, the Scottish Rite, Hitler, many manifestations. The Fed.

I say this because I was tangentially connected to it for a while, as a blog post long ago mentioned and though it was seductive, it was also repellent. I'll never forget that time and there was a very real mood of 'we are little gods' in our own right. Some might say I've never lost that arrogance but I'm trying to.

[constitutional reform] the eu quietly waits to pounce

The monstrous regiment of women - not looking so good today

When the demographics of power were so summarily destabilized in the form of the construct of Blair's babes, all he was doing was following the Euro-pattern already well underway, e.g. in Switzerland. Though the date is later, the process was begun long before that.

By doing so, it has come back to bite his deposer on the bum - the naked greed and opportunistic ambition of Blears/Flint is an eye-opener for those not closely watching these suddenly promoted people of a bygone era whose cause has now served its destabilizing purpose.

Everyone and his dog has his opinion on the ills of this country and its tottering government but you cannot view the British scene without taking into account the machinations of the EU Monster, a slavering, wasteful but greedy entity breathing down the indigenous people's necks.

The current call for 'constitutional reform' is music to the EU's ears because they already have the alternative in place - this is an old word of warning and this a more recent. Funding is the method for bending the agenda one's way. The nitty gritty of the regions is already a reality in the dismantling of England and implementation of the EU regions.

On his website, Peter Davidson who sat on the governing body of Unlock Democracy explained:

I would also endorse the proposal that the Committee of the Regions should be elevated in stature from the toothless body it currently represents to become the second legislative chamber of Europe.

When will the UK awake from its slumber, especially the political bloggers, including people like Iain Dale and realize that Westminster is not a chamber of power but the penultimate albeit temporary chamber for the appearance of democracy in the eyes of the populace?

When will the UK pundits start taking into account, in their blogposts, the things EU Serf used to warn of? Why do UK pundits insist on narrowly focusing on internal party politics to the exclusion of the big picture? Surely they're aware of Common Purpose and the infrastructure being in place and ready to go? Even DK, when quizzed about his silence on CP, said he was aware of it. Just that?

The promulgated year for this thing to happen was 2009. It's already started in America in a different form, where Obama has let the NAAC dictate to him on policy, Blair and Brown gave certain undertakings at Bilderberg conferences in 1991 and 1993 and then Blair lied about having even attended, Millipede and Balls are two others involved.

The short answer is that a Flint resigning is immediate and visible. The EU moves have all been by stealth and require a certain degree of ferreting to pin anything down to them. But it is there if you look.

The long and the short of it and it sticks out a mile is that this EU agenda is currently in mid-stream:

1. Nationalism and adherence to the Judaeo-Christian ethic are obstacles to progress. Education and the Church are easy to nobble but the others take time. The other thing necessary is a climate of change which the people will see as necessary. To do that, one needs a stool pigeon - Brown.

2. One of the major barriers to an EU state is England. Solution? Secure for yourself a tame legislature, executive and judiciary by grooming certain ambitious up-and-comers who are prepared to make a Faustian bargain with us in return for kudos and a bunk-up in the preselection battles.

3. Fill every part of British public life with agents of your own, people who believe in the concept of Beyond Authority or the extremely dangerous idea that the people can seize power themselves in some sort of ochlocracy, then add the authority and legitimacy of the ODPM to quieten their concerns about treason to their nation. This was the bolshevist lie - that the dictatorship of the proletariat meant that people would actually have a say.

4. Wait for the banking collapse which our brothers in New York are working hard on [we'll blame them for everything], count on our tame kitty's total criminal ineptitude in Britain and let the whole thing fester. Meanwhile, continue the surveillance society and the development of vast, insecure databases.

5. The Brit is a patient creature but one day he'll rebel and savage the ruling party at irrelevant council elections [remember the regional govenments ready to take over] and feel that in so doing, he has spoken and democracy is alive and well.

6. Allow the outrage to foment across the country as the nation collapses, with learned people and bloggers crying out for constitutional reform, allow our groomed man to arise and concede that all this could have been avoided - the debt, the ineptitude and so on - by passing Lisbon and letting us get on with the good work.

7. Hey presto, the CP grads are activated to take over in the crisis and we have our socialist panacea underway. Detractors are mopped up fairly quickly afterwards and the internet is now 'responsibly administered'.

8. Sugar-coat the real pill with massive fund injections into the regions, even more so than now, take care of the rubbish bins and all the things which grate on the British psyche, measurably improve the Brits' quality of life, especially with near-full employment, align our rhetoric with the way many Brits feel, e.g. to get the dole bludgers back to work and to educate our children with 'proper teachers', do good works for the next few years until the infra-structure is in place and then one day they wake up and find thy're in a totalitarian golden cage.

Watch and see how this constitutional reform debate proceeds and the way it is framed. Will anyone heed this warning? Well, as the august Sackerson wrote, in October, 2007:

I suppose there always have been networks of some kind, but you are hinting at something more clandestine. How and why were you approached? Is it anything to take very seriously, or are we getting lost in the wild forest of conspiracy theory?

So no - no one will heed this.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

[thought for the day] saturday evening

Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

[George Orwell, 1949]

[yesterday's men] when your race is run

Because when you're told to start
How far can you go
When your race is won
And you already know

Because when you're told to stop
How far will you go
When your race is run
And you already know

Yesterday's men hang on to today,
To sing in any old way,
It must get better in the long run
Has to get better in the long run

Will it get better in the long run
Will we be here in the long run

[d day] the german perspective

It's difficult to get good source material from the German perspective due to the lack of English language German accounts and the Nazi and Allied propaganda of the time.


German students' perspective is one of liberation, not defeat.

The German Army from D-day to Villers-Bocage

The Allied landings on the Normandy beaches in June 1944 were brilliantly executed but proved to be just the opening phase of a desperately-fought campaign. The German Army responded to the invasion with as much ferocity and force as it could muster, showed tenacity and determination and turned the struggle for Normandy into a brutal and prolonged campaign.

Here is an account of the U.S. Exercise Tiger which went wrong:

Lured across the English Channel by an unexpected frenzy of radio chatter, the Nazi predators sliced through the waves toward an unknown enemy. It was shortly after midnight on April 28, 1944. Within a matter of 2-1/2 hours, an ambush by a German E-boat flotilla had brought misery to hundreds of American families.

A secret dress rehearsal for D-Day had been interrupted with deadly consequences. As hundreds of American servicemen floundered amid the burning oil and cold water off England's southern coast, futile cries of "help" and "mom" echoed across the darkness. At least 749 U.S. sailors and soldiers would be dead by dawn.

Code-named Exercise Tiger, the ill-fated D-Day dry run was at the time America's costliest incident of the war (only Pearl Harbor was worse). The attack claimed more than three times as many lives as the amphibious landing at Utah Beach in France, the assault they had been practicing for at Slapton Sands in picturesque Devon county.

Steve Sadlon, who was a radio operator aboard the first landing craft struck by the German E-boats that night, recalls being awakened by the "scraping" sound of a torpedo that failed to detonate. Moments later, an explosion ripped through LST 507, which was fully loaded with trucks, military equipment and soldiers. (LST is an acronym for Landing Ship, Tank.)

"It was an inferno," said Sadlon, speaking from his home in Ilion in upstate New York. "The fire was circling the ship. It was terrible.

"Guys were burning to death and screaming. Even to this day I remember it. Every time I go to bed, it pops into my head. I can't forget it."

This disaster may have helped the D Day invasion and the subsequent campaign.

The enemy on D Day:

Opposed to the Allies was the so-called Army Group B of the German Army, consisting of the Seventh Army in Normandy and Brittany, the Fifteenth Army in the Pas de Calais and Flanders, and the LXXXVIII Corps in Holland -- all under command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

Commander of all German forces in western Europe was Field Marshal von Rundstedt who, in addition to Group B, also had at his disposal Group G composed of the First and Nineteenth Armies. In all, Von Rundstedt commanded approximately fifty infantry and ten Panzer divisions in France and the Low Countries.

[airbus faulty again] monotonous regularity

Faulty speed meters

Speaking at a press conference in Paris, the director of France's air accident investigation agency, Paul-Louis Arslanian ... confirmed that the missing jet had had a problem calculating its speed, adding that it was a recurring problem on the A330s and that Airbus was undertaking a replacement programme. "We have seen a certain number of these types of faults on the A330," Mr Arslanian said. "There is a programme of replacement, of improvement." But he insisted the planes were safe in the meantime.

AIRBUS: One, two, three, four, five.

[key stages 1-10] in becoming a worker bee

1. In this pluralistic, all inclusive society, anyone will be given a chance to belong:

I believe passionately in the definition of civil society of Mr Mandela, who says that civil society is anyone who stands up.

2. Only the brightest and best will be accepted into this exclusive group:

Common Purpose are looking for candidates who are:

*senior decision-makers within the area covered by the programme
*interested in contributing to the future of their area.

3. Applicants will be considered according to their:

*current responsibility as a leader through work or community activity
*involvement within the area covered by the programme
*likely contribution to the perspectives and dynamics of the group
*ability to participate fully in the Common Purpose programme.

4. You're expected, when you first hear the gobbledegook spoken, not to question or ask for a translation but to adopt the new mode of speech as is; most likely you will already be adept in Bureaubamboozle:

Multi-organisational working, cross-boundary working and the global-national-local interface each raise their own set of organisational dynamics which must be surfaced and worked with if collaboration is to be effective.

5. On the grounds that you are now 'one of us' on probation, when we present you with questionable programmes we're involved in, you are expected to go along with and even embrace these:

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence …

Robert S. Mueller, III, Director Federal Bureau of Investigation:

I want to turn for a moment to counterintelligence intrusions and economic espionage. There is no shortage of countries that seek our information technology, our innovation, and our intelligence—information we have spent years and billions of dollars developing. The simple truth is we do not protect cyber space to the same degree we protect our physical space. We have in large part left the doors open to our business practices, our sensitive data, and our intellectual property.

We understand that we must continue to work closely with all of you—members of the private sector and the academic community. Think of the fusion center as a hub, with spokes that range from federal agencies, software companies, and ISPs, to merchants and members of the financial sector.

Industry experts from companies such as Cisco, Bank of America, and Target sit side-by-side with the FBI, postal inspectors, the Federal Trade Commission, and many others, sharing information and ideas. Together, we have created a neutral space where cyber experts and competitors, who might not otherwise collaborate, can talk about cyber threats and security breaches.

Members from a host of industries, from computer security to the chemical sector, share information about threats to their own companies, in their own communities, through a secure computer server. We are also reaching out to academia. In 2005, we created the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board. We asked your president, Graham Spanier, to lead the group. We knew it wouldn't be an easy sell, because of the perceived tension between law enforcement and academia.

Therefore, as we've dropped big names and painted a picture of an ongoing grand work in progress which ants like yourself are now privileged to contribute towards, it is expected you'll be in awe and won't draw attention to anomalies such as why exactly ' we must continue to work closely with all of you', wshen there is no necessity whatsoever. This is above you, so stop analysing and get on-board.

6. There are assumed collective mental positions which, if you're to work under this roof, you will subscribe to.

‘A “slide” is a prefabricated, politically correct, blanket pop opinion, “view” or “take” upon a particular issue of general interest which is designed to preclude further consideration, analysis or investigation of the issue in question.

This paper seeks to fill this gap, by drawing both upon theoretical literature and experience with successful change facilitation practices from Europe and the US. Its focus is on the cognitive aspects of strategic orientation and provides a practical guide to those who use this process.

7. You are expected to contribute to discussions by parroting the gobbledegook of the adepts and following the 'paint by numbers' easy guide on how to think, in order to arrive at your position, which will inevitably lead to group acceptance and a sense of well-being.

Beyond Bullets, addressing Groupthink, wrote:

It's fine to assume these things, as long as we're aware that our default mode of presenting and informing also means that there is little room for thinking, challenging, dialogue and debate -- a fertile breeding ground for groupthink. The way we use PowerPoint only adds fertilizer to this stagnant pool, because a slide filled with bulleted text only increases the illusion of certainty for presenters and the feeling of passivity for audiences.

8. You must develop a vocabulary of ad hominem, e.g. 'pseudo', 'shill', in order to tear down any diverse opinion and to ridicule the one[s] from whom it emanated.

Lest anyone be confused, this is quite the opposite situation from when former NYT pseudo-reporter/White House shill, Judy Miller, was subpoenaed and went to jail for failing to reveal her sources in the CIA leak case. In her case she was refusing to name White House officials who were involved in government wrongdoing in which she had a role.

9. On a mock-scientific basis, your 'irrational' beliefs will be challenged and reframed.

The NLP Milton model uses non-specific and metaphoric language allowing the listener to fill in the gaps, making their own meaning from what is being said, finding their own solutions and inner resources, challenging and reframing irrational beliefs.

Grinder and Bandler stated that there were a few common traits expert communicators – whether top therapists, top executives or top salespeople – all seemed to share:

Everything they did in their work, was pro-active (rather than reactive), directed moment to moment by well-formed outcomes rather than formalized fixed beliefs.

A Well-formed outcome is a term originating in neuro-linguistic programming for an outcome one wishes to achieve, that meets certain conditions designed to avoid (1) unintended costs or consequences and (2) resistance to achieving the goal resulting from internal conflicting feelings or thoughts about the outcome.

If the Little Red Book says your view is irrational, please believe that your view is irrational and will need to be corrected.

10. You are now ready to take your place as a worker bee in the hive, contributing your small part to the Great Work of Ages. By the way, you are forbidden to view such degenerate films as 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' or to suggest that we'll all soon be subject to Nurse Ratched.

Friday, June 05, 2009

[death of a government] a musical tribute

So, on with the Doc Martens, boys and girls and let's help this government out of its misery ...

[By the way, top backing band, the Blockheads, didn't you think?]

[thought for the day] friday evening

Oh liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!

[Mme Roland, de Lamartine, 1847]

[caroline flint] is it true?

My favourite pollie - no, no! Is it true she's gone? All right, her mind might be stuffed with socialist maggots and she might say some amazingly stupid things but she can be looked at, let's be honest, in a George Harrison/Spice Girls sort of way.

Dear oh dear. Caroline? !


Blognor Regis on the situation.

Si salvi chi puo'!

This is the best take on it I've seen.  It shows Flint to have been at once naive and opportunistic, as well as self-centred enough to think Labour owed her a place in the inner circle.  There is also the fact that she has been one of the co-conspirators holding meetings about that very topic.

[boris] has he thinned down a bit?

[weekend poll] sexiest brit public figure

1 Anne "Hope You Die Happy" Robinson

2 Kate Middleton with best pal

3 Julia "Beyond Authority" Middleton

4 Cherie Blair [thanks Bloggerheads]

5 Harriet Harman with best pal

6 Ann Widdecombe

7 Jacqui Smith [being investigated for porn connections]

8 The Chipmunk

9 Polly Toynbee - Blogger advises that posting photos of this lady breaches its terms and conditions

10 Gordo 'I love England' Brown

[oh my goodness] the price of delusion


Defence Secretary John Hutton, another leading Blairite, said Mr Purnell had made "the wrong decision" and Mr Brown was "the right man to lead our party and our country".

[sotomayor] and subjective views of reality

Under the heading ‘Sotomayor Racist Comments Controversy Spreads Through Battle Lines’ one article says:

Sotomayor's extreme likelihood of confirmation almost makes these alleged racist comments unlikely to make a big difference. Yet it will take up a few news cycles as Sotomayor faces racist comment charges while preparing for her hearings.

Sotomayor has been vetted and considered as a Supreme Court justice before, and was the favorite to be nominated this time for weeks, so foes have had a lot of time to find something.

That's as maybe but it doesn't seem to me that the issue is really her racist comments but her record of judgements and just why she is the darling of Obama. This is a pure power game going on here with the stacking of the Supreme Court and that's why the right is up in arms.

Having said that, I thought Gingrich and Co. and the Starr Scandal brought the level of political debate to an all time low [before Obama], much as this blog holds no brief whatsoever for Clinton. There was just too much of the Andy Johnson stitch-up in that and Gingrich's credentials rightly became zero.

With that also having been said, Cassandra makes some good points about subjectivism and objectivism:

The blatant class justice and 'reverse' racism on display all over the Western hemisphere and how this is apparently the natural standard for entire cohorts of postmodernists, is reaching fever pitch! Case in point: Sonio Sotomayor, Obama's pick for the US Supreme Court.

In modern times the notion was introduced by Immanuel Kant. He stopped just short of proposing the possibility of personal 'realities'. Instead he posited social subjectivism, the collectivist idea that social groups create their own realities.

Followers carried the idea to further extremes: there is no reason why mankind should not consist of competing groups, each with their own type of consciousness, vying with others for the control of reality.

Postmodernism (now mainstream) furnished ethnic groups with their own mental constitution, a racial or cultural version of subjective 'truth,' that may be invalid for others. This is what present day multiculturalists term 'the narrative'.

A multicultural society is a socially subjective political system: an archipelago of distinct autononous cultural and racial islets (others would say, ghettos). Although politicians like to present the doctrine as synonymous with 'a society consisting of multiple cultures' this is emphatically not the case. On the contrary, it is legalized segregation and the diametrical opposite of 'melting pot.'

Now this last paragraph is the issue here and it is explained further:

As long as all groups abide by the principle that each and every culture is equally valid and autonomous in its own right, it is just the dissenters, apostates and outcasts who are thrown under the bus. But as soon as one tribe starts developing theories about its own supremacy, or becomes envious of more successful ones, or becomes predatory - to mention but a few wildly speculative possibilities - it's back to the drawing board of human civilization for the survivors (if any).

In a social or political setting the objective approach seeks to apply equal rules and treatment for all concerned, without regard of the individual involved - baron or beggar - or his particular circumstances or background: murder is murder, no matter who committed it.

Objectivity has been the highest standard of moral judgment for a very long time.

I'm sure you've latched on to the bottom line – that Obama and similar thinking people have created urban myths of their own, each group wrapped in their own subjective idea of reality when in fact, the thing is bollocks. There are certain facts and figures – population, GDP etc., which just ARE.

We could go into the rewriting of history but it would make the post too long [and I am going to post on the revisionist redating of the gospels if I can condense all the material] but suffice it to say that:

Sotomayor was racist in her remark, however innocuous.

Whether that should exclude her or not is not really the point here. The point is – the rule should equally apply to all and, as Cassandra wrote: 'This is emphatically not the case.' There is also the question of her character and personal fitness or not to hold that office.

[truth] obama style


He cited the Koran as saying: "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth."

That's interesting. There's an element to the Christian faith [and no doubt in the Muslim too] that if you know something to be true but you deliberately lie, especially when backsliding from your faith, you're headed for the hot place:

“I’ve always been a Christian,” the Illinois Democrat responded. “I have never practiced [Islam].”Note: The newspaper editors had to add the word, “Islam.”

In his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama mentions studying the Quran. He was enrolled in two Jakarta schools as a Muslim. His teacher Tine Hahiyary said that she remembered that he had studied “mengaji” (recitation of the Quran).” Classmate Rony Amiris described Obama as being a very devout Muslim, saying, “Barry was previously quite religious in Islam.”

Another classmate,
Emirsyah Satar, now the CEO of Garuda Indonesia, was quoted as saying, “He (Obama) was often in the prayer room wearing a ’sarong.’” (See Obama’s Education.) Yet, on his official campaign website, Obama has posted this statement, “Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity.”

Is this the sort of 'speak always the truth' he's referring to?

[wind turbine] at home in your front yard

Thursday, June 04, 2009

[quick quiz] for the hell of it

1. Who quipped about recognizing old age when the policemen on the street look so young?

2. What was Richard Nixon's daughter's dog named?

3. What's the curved surface of water in a container referred to as?

4. What did Bernard Bosanquet invent - in India it's called a doosra?

5. What's a name for intricately carved wood panelling, especially a room made from this?


Seymour Hicks, Checkers, meniscus, googly or bosie, boiserie

[thought for the day] thursday evening

The condition upon which G-d hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.

[John Philpot Curran, 1790]

[cascade of failure] not a comedy of errors

So sad:

The plane's last automated messages detail a series of failures that end with its systems shutting down, suggesting the plane broke apart in the sky, according to the aviation industry official.

The pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time Sunday saying he was flying through an area of black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning.

Ten minutes later, a cascade of problems began: Automatic messages indicate the autopilot had disengaged, a key computer system switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm sounded indicating the deterioration of flight systems.

Three minutes after that, more automatic messages reported the failure of systems to monitor air speed, altitude and direction. Control of the main flight computer and wing spoilers failed as well.

The Tenerife disaster was not so much a cascading failure but a conjunction of independent circumstances or comedy of errors, equally as bad.

The former can be designed for to an extent; the latter is near-impossible to contend with.

[eu elections] conflict in terms

As this blog does not recognize the institution of the EU [as distinct from the EEC] and as Lisbon has not been ratified, then these elections are a sham and this humble blogger doesn’t intend to comment any further on them.

Thank you.

[odd one out] who doesn’t belong and why

[philosophy] sophistry and pseudo-intellectualism

Wittgenstein, in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [1922] opined:

What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

It would surprise some for an anti-philosopher to quote Wittgenstein but there we are. In that matter, he was quite right.

One of the major tasks of my students at university was to take tomes by seemingly eminent writers and to spend 70% of the available time translating them into a form of English that an educated English speaker could comprehend, thence to break down the key concepts into clear writing and the remaining 10% of the time both internalizing the points made and deciding if they were worth the effort of undertaking the exercise in the first place.

I reject utterly the thesis that in order to be labelled intellectual, one must speak or write in an unintelligible manner, coining obscure personal definitions and bamboozling the hoi-polloi with one’s erudition. There is, unfortunately, in academia, this attitude that to retain one’s chair, one must speak and write in a learned [read opaque] form and there are various assumed unassailable truisms, e.g. Voltaire had something edifying to say.

The thing one must never do is to mock the holy cows, something I very much did in my piece on philosophy being sophistry. You’d need to be a roamer of the hallowed halls to appreciate how badly that post would have gone down in certain circles and how ‘lager loutish’ the writer of it would be viewed by his erstwhile colleagues. ‘Philistine’, ‘pseudo-intellectual’ and ‘amateur’ are just three ad hominems to be flung at such a one who would thus betray his peer group.

It’s not the philosophy itself which I take issue with but the way certain assumptions about the deist position are taken as read before the discussion even gets underway. The false syllogisms and the false first premises in philosophical discussions, as taught in university courses, can be both breathtakingly specious and horrifying at the same time, especially when ad hominem is projected back onto the detractor, never an acceptable position in a philosophical discussion in the first place.

Hence my charge of sophistry in the manner in which philosophical discussion takes place in so many instances.

Cassandra may be right to say that philosophy does not equal sophistry but the two certainly have a nodding acquaintance with one another in the halls of academia.

On Saturday there’ll be a short post showing how the use of gobbledegook to reinforce, in the initiate, the all-knowingness of the adept is a key strategy in the broader community, particularly with groups like Common Purpose.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

[thought for the day] wednesday evening

The people never give up their liberties, except under some delusion.

[Edmund Burke, 1784, attributed]

[ladies and gays] your word is my command

This blog, having come under fire lately for the vastly out of proportion representation of scantily clad females of a youngish aspect [all over 23], hereby presents twelve specimens of male hunkdom for your delectation.

May I also humbly submit that, on Friday, there’s a little post coming up to further redress the balance. After that, we’ll see what we can do for the trannies and metros.

There you go.

[bonking] an honest answer to blogger queries

Certain of you august readers did raise the question about poor Julia, so this is an attempt to fill you in with part of an article about her:
Die NPD gibt den Volkstribun als Antiglobalisierungspartei und Hüterin der völkischen Identität. Offen bekennt sie sich dabei nur zu ihrer Ablehnung der Europäischen Integration und aller Weltoffenheit. Vor dem Hintergrund vermeintlicher Standort- und Demographieargumente leben die NPD-Politiker ihre Xenophobie aus. Dabei nutzen sie die Verunsicherung der Bevölkerung in Zeiten von Sozialabbau und Arbeitsplatzunsicherheit.
Hope that makes it clear.

One needs to be careful with certain foreign names in the English sphere and certain English language names in the foreign sphere. For example, a Russian friend of mine once advised me to be careful when mentioning the British writer Minette Marrin. I was asked if it woud not be perhaps better to refer to her as Ms Marrin?

[robot logic] k.i.s.s.

Dylan Evans wrote, in Robot logic, on August 23, 2004:

Isaac Asimov’s solution to the problem of robots harming humans was to program all robots to follow these three laws:

1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence but not in conflict with the First or Second Law.

Programming dilemmas

These laws might seem like a good way to keep robots in their place but they pose more problems than they solve. Asimov was well aware of this, and many of his short stories revolve around their implicit contradictions and dilemmas.

# For a start, programming a real robot to follow the three laws would in itself, be very difficult.

# The robot would need to be able to recognise humans and not confuse them with chimpanzees, statues and other humanoid robots.

# To follow rule two, the robot would have to be capable of recognising an order and to distinguish this from a casual request — something well beyond the capability of contemporary artificial intelligence, as those working in the field of natural language processing would attest.

# To follow any of the three laws, the robot would have to determine how they applied to the current situation, involving complex reasoning about the future consequences of its own actions and of the actions of other robots, humans and other animals in the vicinity.

# A robot needs to know its geographical restrictions. Standing in the Arctic, it might reason that it could take food to Africa and thereby save a child from starvation. If it remains in the Arctic, the robot would, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm, thus contravening the first law.

# What about conflict between one law and another? The hierarchical nature of the laws solves that.

# What about conflict between multiple applications of the same law?

For example, what if a robot was guarding a terrorist who had planted a time bomb? If the robot tortured the terrorist in an attempt to find out where the bomb had been planted, it would break the first law; but if the robot didn't torture the terrorist, it would also break the first law by allowing other humans to come to harm.

Lateral solution

Lord T's solution to the dilemmas is:

# Build robots, not in the image of humans but considerably smaller and single purpose;

# Give them simplistic command and respond codes, with no capacity for independent thought.