Now? You want to do this now?
I have a right to know! I'm getting married in four hundred and thirty years!

Friday, June 18

Rant

The Politics of Sense and Nonsense

I'd love to read a book with that title - assuming it lived up to the title. Or even to write one, though it would take me a full year of work, because I'm not nearly well-enough informed on the subject to even consider writing it now. Either way, though, we need such a book, because the current issue of New Scientist* has a headline
Conspiracy threat to anti-nuke treaty
Who? China selling secrets to Pakistan? Pakistan dealing with Iran? North Korea and Syria?

Read the sub-head:

Secret swapping between the US and UK is undermining global stability
And ask yourself: What the hell kind of planet do these lunatics live on, anyway? The US-UK alliance has been the underpinning of whatever peace we've enjoyed here on Earth this past century - flawed though it has been. Remember World War I? World War II? The Cold War? The Current Unpleasantness? Hello? Mr Functioning Brain Cell? Hello?

They are allies, and more than that, they are the core of The Allies. And they both already have nuclear weapons, and they aren't sharing the information with anyone else, so it's unclear exactly how this is supposed to lead to proliferation.

The only bright point of the article is the reference to the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. No, really, that's what it's called.

* Yeah, them again.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:27 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, June 17

Rant

Moderate! Moderate!

Ooh, I have moderator points at Slashdot. Where's some idiot lefties for me to moderate down? Oh, here they are!

I'm not sure why I keep getting moderator points, but I guess it's because they pretty much give them away like candy. Of course, I violate the Moderation Guidelines every chance I get:

Concentrate more on promoting than on demoting. The real goal here is to find the juicy good stuff and let others read it. Do not promote personal agendas. Do not let your opinions factor in. Try to be impartial about this. Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. Likewise, agreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it up. The goal here is to share ideas. To sift through the haystack and find needles. And to keep the children who like to spam Slashdot in check.
Whenever I get mod points, my first thought is to chop down some of the idiots that plague the place. The fact that many of the idiots are also lefties simply makes the task more enjoyable.

Since the place is full of lefty idiots with mod points, lefty idiot posts tend to get moderated up to the maximum rating of 5 rather often. If you take a look at the details, though, you'll often see a post rated at 5 with +11 positive and -7 negative - so there's clearly more than just me battling the lunacy. Unfortunately, they don't have the moderation flags they really need, like +1 Right, -1 Wrong, and -∞ Stupid.

Anyway, there's something interesting coming out of this hotbed of Crypto-Communism - oops, that's Kuro5hin - this hotbed of political naïveté:

Why Will You Vote In The Next Election?
Displaying poll results.
No reason, really.   5% 1459 / 5%
Hate the incumbent.   44% 12990 / 44%
Love the incumbent.   6% 1866 / 6%
Hate the challenger.   5% 1711 / 5%
Love the challenger.   1% 378 / 1%
Civic duty.   24% 7035 / 24%
Pride.   2% 685 / 2%
Just want to get 'I Voted' sticker.   9% 2821 / 9%
28945 total votes.

  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

  • In a forum with a strongly liberal readership, just 1% are voting because they favour Kerry. (Or whoever they think the challenger is; there's at least one commenter voting Libertarian.) That's gotta hurt.

    (Though it just provides another datapoint for the thesis that the current Democratic Party is not for anything, only against things. As if we needed another such datapoint.)

    Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:24 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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    Wednesday, June 16

    Rant

    Just On The Other Side

    From The Globe and Mail:
    Iraqis dance around victim's body
    'Down with USA' Baghdad bomb another blow to reconstruction

    By ORLY HALPERN
    Special to The Globe and Mail
    Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - Page A1

    BAGHDAD -- Baghdad's second major car bombing in 24 hours killed at least 13 people yesterday, including five foreigners working to rebuild critical power plants -- the latest blow to U.S. reconstruction efforts just two weeks before sovereignty is handed back to Iraqis.

    Of course, having Arabs dancing around the bodies of their victims is nothing new, but it never seems to get reported unless it can somehow be spun into a broader defeat for America and her allies.

    Think I'm reading too much into it? Read a little further:

    While the insurgent attacks set back reconstruction efforts, Iraqis hold the Americans responsible for the lack of improvement.
    Not "some Iraqis". Not even "many Iraqis". All twenty-some million of them, one assumes.

    And here's the Arizona Republic:

    Arizona Republic - 10 minutes ago
    BAGHDAD - Iraqi insurgents struck at the heart of downtown Baghdad on Monday, setting off a huge bomb as a Western convoy passed, an attack that killed at least 13 people, wounded dozens and triggered a firestorm of rage against America's presence.
    Ah, the good old firestorm of rage! Nothing quite like it for cleaning up after the party.

    Google News is a wonderful tool for finding examples of outrageous bias in the media. Of course, all it's doing is throwing up articles at random from a broad spectrum of the media - but that's all it takes.

    For example:

    President Mohammad Khatami has warned Europe's three big powers [Three big powers? That would be, uh, Britain, okay, I guess they can be counted as part of Europe, and then there's... Um....] that Iran's future cooperation with UN nuclear inspectors may be at risk if criticism of Tehran's nuclear program persists, newspapers said on Tuesday.
    You can tell it's Reuters, because they said that with a straight face.
    Iran: If you don't stop criticising us, we'll stop co-operating!
    World: But you aren't co-operating now.
    Iran: Right, that's it! Down tools! Everybody out!!
    Reuters, Tuesday: Terrorists around the world walked off the job today in a protest against unfair treatment, demanding better working conditions and free dental care.

    (Though there remains the question of why Reuters is reporting what the newspapers reported. Slow day down the salt mines?)

    Heck, even Xinhua is less biased, and they're a mouthpiece of the Evil Chicoms™:

    Car bomb explodes near Jewish settlement in Gaza

    GAZA, June 15 (Xinhuanet) -- A car bomb exploded on Tuesday near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip as a Palestinian militant drove his explosive-laden car and tried to approach one of the lookout posts, Palestinian witnesses and sources said.

    The militant, whose identity was not known, was killed after his car was showered by the gunfire of the Israeli troops stationed on the outskirts of the settlement, Palestinian security sources said.

    Palestinian witnesses said that as soon as the car approached the post, soldiers rained the explosive-laden car with gunshots until it blew up. The militant in the car was killed as flames and black smoke were seen coming out from the vehicle, they said.

    Well, apart from the near-universal use of the euphemism "militant" and the "showers" and "rain" of gunfire from the Israelis, it's pretty straightforward: Terrorist tries to blow up checkpoint; IDF, not being stupid, fire on car; bomb blows up killing zero infidels, no virgins for you.

    Mind you, The Australian - possibly Australia's least worst paper - actually manages to report the news on the same incident:

    Car explodes near Israeli troops
    From correspondents in Gaza
    June 15, 2004

    A VEHICLE blew up near Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip today after soldiers fired on it, the army said.

    There were no reports of Israeli or Palestinian casualties.

    The vehicle apparently was rigged with explosives, the army said. Palestinian witnesses said no one was inside when it blew up.

    The blast went off on a road closed to Palestinian traffic. Black smoke was seen in the area, and Palestinian witnesses said they heard gunfire.

    Light on detail, perhaps, but pretty light on the bias too.

    Is it so hard? Really, is it so hard? You report the facts. If all you have is statements from opposing parties, you report the statements with attribution. He said. She said. This is third-grade composition class stuff; surely at least some journalism graduates know how to do this.

    Or maybe their writing skills were all consumed by the firestorm of rage.

    Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:17 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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    Sunday, June 13

    Rant

    And The Little Dog You Rode In On

    There's a protest being held here in Sydney on the 30th of June calling for an end to the War and for our soldiers to be brought home.

    I have a few difficulties with this.

    First, the 30th of June is a Wednesday. You know, in the middle of the week? When people who have actual jobs have to work?

    Second, the war is already over. If you have been following the news on TV or in the papers, you may have missed this, but we won.

    Third, the 30th of June is the day that Iraqi sovereignty is to be officially handed back to the Iraqis. Of course, this has already happened, but we'll let that slide for now. So I assume the date was chosen to make some sort of point, but I can't work out quite what.

    Fourth, the Australian troops in Iraq are involved in the training of the new Iraqi Army and Police Force. You know, so Iraq will actually have an Army and a Police Force (as opposed to undifferentiated uniformed thugs) and won't, you know, need foreign soldiers to protect Iraqi citizens from attack.

    So you want them brought back... Why, exactly?

    Go on, tell me it's all about the oil. For old times' sake.

    Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:42 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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    Saturday, June 12

    Rant

    There Are Some Magazines Man Is Not Meant To Buy

    I've mentioned here before that New Scientist is the only magazine I still buy (or indeed, read) regularly. Back in the 80s and early 90s I bought and saved three magazines every month: Byte, Dragon, and Scientific American. I still have boxes full of each at home.

    I still buy New Scientist because, although the information is available online, I'd have to spend a great deal of time digging it out. It's worth the few dollars I spend to have the staff of New Scientist to seek out the latest news and compile the magazine for me. I pay them to be editors, really, rather than writers.

    Which is why it's particularly galling when their editors run off the rails. They're generally pretty good with science, a little weaker on environmental matters - there's a clear bias there that assumes that bad news is intrinsically more reliable than good news, and pretty much hopeless on politics, being a bunch of unreconstructed lefties.

    But I still don't expect them to be pushing the hokey old line from Frankenstein that there are some things Man is not meant to know. And yet, this weeks editorial on choosing the gender of your baby, titled Boy or girl? Best leave it to chance, sums up as follows:

    Increasingly, reproductive science is taking us beyond the limits of nature. On the grounds of safetey and the unknown societal impact such novel technologies could have, governments surely have a responsibility to regulate. Needless meddling is never good, but in this case drawing the line as to who can use the technology might be the least intrusive move of all.
    So, when exactly did the secular European left align themselves with the reactionary Christian right? These people make the old Count Vorkosigan look enlightened.

    Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:10 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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