Friday, July 03, 2015

Giles Fraser :

So, to recap: corrupt German companies bribed corrupt Greek politicians to buy German weapons. And then a German chancellor presses for austerity on the Greek people to pay back the loans they took out (with Germans banks) at massive interest, for the weapons they bought off them in the first place. Is this an unfair characterisation? A bit. It wasn’t just Germany.

James Galbraith on Greek Referendum

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Legal Highs

For once, I have to agree with The Spectator(!)

We are moving ever further from common law towards the tyranny of Roman law in which everything is banned unless it is specifically permitted.
....


It is often said that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but that can only reasonably apply when the law is written in such a way as to leave no doubt as to what is permitted and what is forbidden. A law which can put you in prison for seven years for not memorising all the exemptions to a piece of legislation that amounts to an all-out war on chemistry is capricious. You’ll get no argument from me if you say that most of people who get prosecuted under this law will be lying when they claim that they ‘didn’t know it was illegal’ but for a non-trivial minority it will be the truth.

Of course, such "whitelist" laws are increasingly popular with new technology too.

Bonus : Things You Own Which Are Now Illegal

Are the police really going to come after people with air freshener or flowers in their home? Plainly not. But that's precisely the problem. This is not law as we know it. It is the aspiration of a child-like intellect cloaked in the respectability of a government bill. Trying to ascertain the effects is like trying to sit down on an imaginary chair: it does not exist. It is not there. It is just words. You might as well legislate against sub-standard sausage sandwiches made by a deli in 2018.
The really depressing thing is that, with expected Tory, Labour and SNP support, this insane bill is likely to pass with barely any opposition at all. But it will at least serve as a symbol of how deranged our debate on drugs has become.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Facebook Takes Over The World

Some depressing reading. I've been saying for a while that Facebook has basically "reinvented television", the stream fed to passive consumers, reflexively channel surfing or hitting a "like" button like pigeons in a Skinner Box.

But I hadn't realized that it's quite as bad as this. Read these excellent articles from The Awl :

Friday, January 09, 2015

Freedom of Speech

It really doesn't help, the week we're all so enthused by the virtues of freedom of speech, that we're basically putting a man in prison for life because of what he said and wrote.

Oh, I know we have some other things on him too : supplying a phone and being part of kidnapping plot. But, be honest with yourself, if that's ALL he'd done, and he'd never written or said anything else, would he really be getting put in a Supermax prison for the rest of his life?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Momus Album

I can't decide if Momus is just getting more productive or if I'm slowing down in keeping up, as it were.

But there already seems to be a new Momus album out on YouTube.

As always, it's a mixed bunch. But some tracks I'm already liking very much.

The GhostBoxish Bathyscaphe  :




System of Usher :



The Brutalist :



Catholic App is a classic Momus twisted take, satirising the end of privacy.



I probably disapprove of Unreconstructed (after unwrapping its layers of irony) but it's musically and lyrically clever.



Spore is a salacious zero-g love-song with a luscious tune.



If Thunderclown was anything to go by, I'll probably get into the rest after a couple of listens too. Even at his most antipathic or discordantly "experimental"  Momus's songs are always wriggling with little earworms.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saddam's Chemical Weapons

Status Report:

Saddam's Chemical Weapons :  Existed, sold to him by the US / European companies, covered up by Pentagon at the cost of their own soldier's health due to potential embarrassment.

My cynicism : Undiminished.

Friday, October 10, 2014

20 Years of Blogging

Dave Winer has a mixed mood contemplation of 20 years of blogging and his career.
It is a criminal waste that no institution is able to give him a context to do bigger work. Although perhaps he would end up being too constrained.  

Anyway, congratulations Dave. Happy 20th. And thank you. For the inspiration and everything you've contributed. I'm still using my software based on the Concord outliner every day. And I think more and more people are getting ready for the next reboot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Champion of Democracy

Owen Jones :
Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive regimes on earth and bans political parties, trade unions and all forms of dissent; deprives women of many of their most basic rights; kills "witches"; has recently declared atheists to be terrorists; and persecutes LGBT people. It should surely be an ostracised regime. And yet this is the biggest market for British arms, with our government approving £1.6bn worth of exports, ranging from equipment for machine guns to "components for military equipment for initiating explosives."