Friday, 26 February 2010

Exams in Mandarin 'must be made easier'
The same should apply to math, physics and chemistry. Make the exams so easy that all can pass. Then make the exams in social sciences, media studies and classics much, much harder. That will produce the scientists we need, won't it?

Oh, we want the students of Mandarin, math and physics to actually be able to DO math, physics or Mandarin? Sorry. Never mind.

Obama Health Care Summit: LATEST NEWS

The biggest lie told at the summit is "America has the best health system in the world."  America pays 33% more than the second most expensive developed country and gets worse outcomes.  Depending on whether one believes the CIA or the WHO, our health care system ranks 43rd or 47th n the world.
      The pernicious part of this lie, whether told by one party or the other, is that the interlocutor has a hard time refuting it. To say we do NOT have the best system in the world sounds vaguely unAmerican. 
     Put more correctly: the wealthy can buy the best health care in the world in the USA.  Everyone else gets a raw deal: bad value for money; paying a third more for no better results.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Now we can prosecute post office staff if anyone sends criminal letters through the mail and telephone company execs if anyone says anything criminal over their telephone lines.
It sounds to me as if the Helpline CEO was trying to bully the employer. I think she should be charged for it.
Making 80-year-olds take their shoes off is a threat to health 10x that of the scanner.
     Privacy? What have they got to hide? Are they so ashamed of their bodies that they will risk their life to ensure that no disinterested functionary sees it?

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

'Disorders' for the next generation
The really scary thing
Once these "disoders" have been defined, the number of people diagnosed with them grows dramatically. It's kind of a Parkinson's Law of loopiness.
Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, PTSD - the number and kinds of people included in these categories grows and widens every year.
Or is this growth limited to financially compensable loopiness and the kind of loopiness that let's folks off the hook when they do something wrong or lazy?
Patients' drugs 'were exported for profit'

Sorry?
These people bought drugs, sold them, made enough money to buy more drugs for their patients than they could have before they started. The trust gained, their patients gained.    What am I missing?
     Seems to me the only people hurt were the drug suppliers, who were not hurt badly snce the sales price gave them a profit - albeit smaller than the one they would have made had they sold overseas directly.
Ministers were told to stop endangering the health of these kids in a sub-standard facility.
Not to stop locking them up.
The problem with [Greek or Spanish] socialism is - sooner or later they run out of other people's money.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The old saw about needing two or more competition commissions in order to be true to free-market principles seems germane here: when the commission includes a key advisor to a competitor that has a direct and significant interest in the outcome, it is hard to see how a company could get a fair deal.
By all means, publish - but also publish the names of the complainants. I would especially like to know which students complain that they "were punished too severely" for cheating. As anything less than immediate expulsion is certainly too light for a cheat, I'd also be interested in what "too severe" meant.
OK, I give up. At what age are we supposed to die?
Does anyone who dies before that age "die prematurely"?
Does anyone who dies later "live beyond his allotted span"?
"hackers" & "porn"?    A story using "citizens" protesting & and the government filtering "free speech" it would be perceived slightly differently.  Not necessarily more accurately, but differently.
     Can we find someone who can write this story in a less biased fashion - Kathy Marks seems to be working above her pay grade.
Sick man of Europe seeks remedy from wary neighbours
Living on credit
Now the bill comes home and no one wants to pay. "Let someone else pay for it" seems to be the theme of all the Greeks interviewed on the subject. Since there is little chance that their government will require the public sector workers, businesses or the self-employed pay up, the tab will likely come to you, me and other EU citizens.
    This is difficult: as the debt bill gets passed around from hand to hand, the best individual strategy is to keep kiting until bankruptcy, then start over. As this strategy rises from individuals to groups to natons, I fear the result will be a global depression that will make the 30s look like a mild downturn. I'd say about 2025.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Decade of spending on health messages 'has had little effect'
Let me see  had_it wrote: Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 09:57 am
The organization Sustain says: the government has proven that food ad campaigns don't work so, the obvious conclusion is, we must be protected from food ads. Did I miss something?
Two people of no monetary value – and so aren't worth saving

Where is our compassion?
With the hundreds of other UK citizens will not be held in future because we refused to negotiate in this case. We do not negotiate precisely because we care.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I have no great problem with Mosques being required to hire Jews, synagogues Muslims, churches gays. I am positively  looking forward to anti-discrimination organizations being prohibited from discriminating against BNP members on the basis of belief.

Souvenir scans 'may harm unborn child'
May is a funny word
Shouting at cows in a field may harm their milk, unconfirmed reports say. There is no evidence that it does so, but it would be best to be careful.

MMR vaccine may cause autism - there us absolutely no evidence that it does so, but unconfirmed reports suggest.....
Two cheers for a little bit more democracy
Some reform surely better than none"
By this logic, given our need to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, raising taxes on the poor, while leaving those on the rich untouched, would be better than doing nothing.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Just outlaw the consumption of candy, cake and fizzy drinks in public places
Make them eat their way to obesity outside - regardless of weather - and not near the entrance to any building.
When people are a minority, they get persecuted. Folks use stereotypes, pseudo-science and outright lies to reinforce their prejudices. They ring in positive values like health to rationalise their abuse. What did you think? That smokers would be different from any other minority?
The Bush recession means government revenue will be down for a while.
The Retroblicans defeated a bill to establish a bipartisan commission to reduce the debt.
The Dumbocrats want more spending in their constituencies to buy votes in the coming election.
Kids under 15, who will have to pay for the deficit, can't vote.
Doesn't look good.

How to park the pension liabilities

You might
"You might see the contract as a pension industry version of a fixed-rate mortgage"

You might also see it as a Credit Default Swap.
PS: When the insurer goes bankrupt, after 20 or 30 years of profits, the pain will be broadly spread across a group with no power to do anything about it. ounds like a Wall Street wnner.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Amazon Caves To Macmillan’s eBook Pricing Demands
What a bizarre misuse of the word monopoly in this article.   I suspect that Amazon would rather deal directly with the authors, who do have a monopoly on the works they write, and doesn't like McMillan organising them into a more powerful negotiating bloc.
Demanding Homeowners Make Good on Underwater Mortgages Is the Height of Moral Hypocrisy
Yep. I only meant to buy it if it was going to go up in value - I expected to own all of the value growth that resulted from my use of your money, but I think it only fair that you wear the downside risk. After all, it was your money, not mine.
Climate emails hacked by spies
Spies like us had_it wrote:Monday, 1 February 2010 at 11:01 am (UTC)
If so, it proves that spies do good as well as evil.
The scientists may have been embarrassed, the press may have misreported the content and those with opposing beliefs may have exaggerated the significance beyond reason. Nevertheless, it gave an interesting insight into science and scientists. It showed us that science is a human activity like any other - neither a paragon of virtue nor an apotheosis of evil.
Plan to oust Saddam drawn up two years before the invasion
Well surprise, surprise had_it wrote: Monday, 1 February 2010 at 11:09 am (UTC)
I didn't think Bush/Blair were competent enough for advance planning. If this is true,  given the mess that resulted, the plan was either a really bad one or it was not followed. I trust there are similar contingency plans for other targets - hope they are better than the Iraq ones.

PS: for those still whining on about the Iraq war being about oil: Unless you can tell me how the war gained a single drop of oil that was not ready to be sold - willingly and more cheaply - for the asking, you have not a scintilla of evidence for your misguided superstition.