Category: Common Sense

Well said, that man!

Peter Sissons has been a BBC newsreader for as long as I can remember.

He’s recently retired, and in a Daily Mail article, has left a fairly damning criticism of the BBC.  While they still make some of the best documentaries in the world, bar none, the organisation has clearly been taken over by the PC brigade.

This is a sad trend that too many organisations are following.  Political Correctness is, like many good things in life, being turned into a force for bad.  It’s turning into something scarily reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984. 

We need a new word.  One that describes the context of respect for the fellow man, but allows the individual space for their own views as well.  I run into this dilemma often in my views on religion.  I genuinely can’t understand how any sensible person in the 21st century can believe in a god.  I really can’t.  But it’s hard to make this point without it being offensive – especially by today’s hyper-sensitive standards.

We need a new word.  One that allows for free thought, free expression of opinions, and respect of the opinions of others.  There’s room for all of us. 

We need to allow the Muslims to practice their religion, but fight against those who would bring down the Western society. 

We need to allow Christians to pray and to sing, but to laugh at those who fail to accept Darwinism as a factual model of how our world came to be.

No, we already have that word.  It’s called Freedom.  It comes with a price.  The price is being fired for being crap at your job.  The price is not being paid for time taken out to pray, or to smoke.  The price is being laughed at when you can’t defend your views in rational terms.

But we should all have the freedom to express our views, be they political, religious, atheist, or just plain insane.  And we should express those views without violence, intimidation, or legal threats, and without the fear of the same in retaliation.

Freedom.  It comes with a price. One we should all be prepared to pay.

Global Cooling???

No, really.

As reported here,  anecdotal evidence for global cooling has increased, and now the latest data from the main sources of global climate data backs this up: over the past year, the global temperature has dropped by between 0.65 and 0.75 degrees centigrade, the largest single drop in a year, and enough to wipe out the alleged effect of global warming in the last century.

A couple of things come to mind here.  First of all, the whole global warming debacle is over less than one degree in the last century?  Just get lost.  Go.  Desist. Leave me alone.  Stop confusing me with someone who cares.  That ain’t global warming, that’s noise.

Secondly, if the temperature can drop that suddenly in a year, the effect we’re having on the planet is tiny.  Even if the eco-nutters are right, the sum total effect of global warming in the last century has been wiped out by, oh, I don’t know, being at the bottom of the sunspot cycle?

D,oh!

Speed Cameras cause accidents

Those of us who understand road safety, rather than using it to promote anti-car claptrap, already know this.

What’s the first thing you do when you see a scamera?  Take you eyes off the road, look at the speedo, and hit the brakes just in case you’d slipped a few mph over the limit.

See what happens when people do that?

scameracrash.jpg

We’ve got to get these idiots off the roads, folks.

Thanks to Barrie from Bridgend for the photo.

Democracy? Not if you want me to run the country.

It’s intresting to look at the e-Petitions web site, set up by the British Government to allow the public to have their say on a variety of issues.

The biggest response to a petition to date has been 1.8 million votes opposing Road Charging, a scheme that the government seems determined to push forward.  With prices up to £1.50/mile being talked about, this could add £15,000 to the annual cost of running a car.  There’s no way that this can be economically viable.

But it’s interesting to look at the rest of the top 10 active petitions by number of votes:  Some of them are about freedom.  Freedom to dance, freedom to take photographs in public places, freedom to hunt.  Some of them are to reduce the tax burden, others to continue funding things.

If I were to stand for election, it would be on a simple manifesto:

  • Personal freedom and individual responsibility.  Simplify legislation, and promote a sense of ethics in all aspects of personal and professional life.
  • Financial responsibility of the government to reduce the tax impact year on year.   Transparent accounting, simplified taxation, no special interest groups.  Introduce performance related pay across the civil service and freeze hiring into the service for 10 years.
  • Remove unncessary layers of government.  For the most part this is a single layer of local government.  Abolish both the elected (Welsh, Scottish) and unelected (e.g., South East) assembles, and town and parish councils unless they become self funding with no support from taxation.
  • Stop funding anything that’s not a core government service: health, social services, emergency services, transport. This means you can privatise local government: it’s just a service industry and should be treated as such.  All housing departments become housing associations.

Unfortunately my only chance to succeed at any of that is to become a dictator.  There’s no way a democracy can actually accomodate change that drastic.

Getting fired is too good for some people

This take of woe makes me glad that I work someplace where managers have at least some clue.

Email from guy working the weekend:

“I came in today (Monday) to finish up a project I was working on before our big meeting with a potential client tomorrow, and I noticed that there were three or four large air conditioners running the entire time I was here. Since it’s a three day weekend, no one is around, why do we need to have the A/C running 24/7? With all the power that all those big computers in that room use, I doubt it is really eco-friendly to run those big units at the same time. And all computers have cooling fans anyway, so why put the A/C for the building in that room? I got a keycard from $facilitiesmanager’s desk and shut off the A/C units. I’m sure you guys can deal with it being warm for an hour or two when you come in tomorrow morning. In the future, let’s try to be a little more conscientious of our energy usage. Thanks.

RESULT:

Fatalities: Exchange Server, Domain Controllers, a few Sun boxes that I’m not sure of the usage.
Near-Fatalities: Phone Switch, Apps Servers.

Temperature of server room 7AM Tuesday Morning: 90 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Status of Employee who sent the above e-mail: Terminated.”

Knowing that people who do things this stupid get fired for it: Priceless.

The followup story tells of the sender of the e-mail hiring a lawyer to sue for unfair dismissal.  And realizing he’s not got a snowball’s.

UK kids’ table manners a national disgrace

It’s official: the UK’s children are ill-mannered and ill-disciplined brats with a shocking disregard for proper table manners, says The Register, quoting The Telegraph, quoting a poll from Pizza Express published today, which asked 1,140 people how kids should conduct themselves, “the notion of good table manners has changed”.

I disagree. The notion of good table manners hasn’t changed. The notion that parents are responsible for ensuring their children are well behaved has changed.

Even the French can beat enough sense into their children to make them sit down and behave for the duration of a mealtime, so why is it so hard for the Brits?

And you thought you were a fussy eater?

My tastes in food are pretty wide-ranging.  I’ve got typically male carnivourous tendencies, but I eat most vegetables, and get bored if I see the same kind of meal three days in a row.  I despise celery and peanut butter, and I’m not a huge lover of leafy veg, and I prefer not to eat parts of animals that started out spherical.  This is something of a contrast to certain members of my family who will remain nameless!

But BBC Three’s Freaky Eaters is a whole new world of people who are fussy about what they eat to the point that, frankly it’s a mental disorder.   And, in the two episodes we’ve seen so far it’s basically due to neurotic parents forcing their children to eat stuff they didn’t want or like.

The last episde, “Addicted to Cheese” features a 29 year old guy who ate nothing but crisps (potato chips to American readers) and cheddar cheese.   He is seriously deficient in folic acid and vitamin B-12, and is likely to be suffering from severe degeneration of his nervous system within 10 years if he doesn’t change his diet.  Yet the thought of eating plain cooked chicken had him looking like he’d been asked to eat a live snake!

Good food is such a pleasure, and such a focal point for social activity, that these people must be missing out on so much in their lives.

Death is OK at work but nudity isn’t?

This post by Pharyngula sks ‘would anyone regard that ghastly video in the Rivers of blood post to be “not safe for work”? Probably not. We get all hypersensitive about a little healthy exposed flesh, but animals getting their throats cut?’

I used to be bemused by this until I realised that America holds some kind of prudish correctness as the public standard of good behaviour, despite whatever real desires we might actually hold.

I work in IT Security.  One of my roles is helping to enforce the policy on what people can, and can’t, surf from their desks.  I get a steady stream of queries asking why some site or another is banned.   Much of the policy is dictated direct from Massachusetts, where some pretty draconian anti-harrasment legislation means that the company can get sued for allowing a threatening workplace if someone is seen with nude images on their PC.  So, we don’t allow a lot of stuff, and the reasons are often non-obvious.

But it all comes down to the same thing in the end: we’re enforcing a policy that originated with senior management who want us to keep them out of jail.  Or, in other words, some hastily written, ill-thought-out legislative knee-jerk reaction to something that legislators shouldn’t care about in the first place.  But the more laws, the more lawyers.  And I guess the lawyers think this is a good thing.