Here I sit in a Bavarian gelateria watching the cricket on their TV. I daren’t ask if they have anything better than the IPL. I don’t everything know how say “Test Match” in German.
It seems London’s rioters like to nick trainers. Their apologists (on TV because the crowd loves a villain) often blame the Evils of the Consumerism. This is self-righteous, illiberal and almost painfully pompus. It’s better to point out that many status symbols aren’t really worth a polished ball of sheit.
I recently went to crowded shop selling ugly sports shoes, accosted a salesman and explained that I wanted shoes for running. He smiled smugly and then, to his credit, explained that his shop didn’t sell shoes approprate for any kind of sporting activity. So some shops sell ugly shoes that are good for sport. Other shops sell nice shoes that are bad for sport. But kids these days like their shoes both useless and ugly.
I regret that I did not hear more of Amy Winehouse’ songs earlier; last night I heard several, played on a BBC tribute to her. This confirmed what I already knew of her enormous talent; what a pity she pissed it away. Nonetheless, it was hers to piss away and we had no right to it, no right at all that she stay here and sing for us.
And yet, somehow, I’m angry at her, even as I mourn her. Even if she owed nothing to us, could she not have owed something to herself? Blogger Grover Clevand says her actions were morally wrong even though they ought have been perfectly within her rights. Perhaps that explains why even random internet Aussies like me can feel emotions that by rights are the business of her parents, her brother and those others who loved her.
The riots in London have spread and people are puzzled over the cause. I don’t know any deep causes either – but I do know the proximate one. Individual troublemakers don’t dare start up without safety in numbers; usually, they can’t coordinate the provide those numbers. This week they can, because everyone knows there’s going to be trouble. That is: the riots are the reason for the riots.
That doesn’t explain why there are so many would be looters in London. I’ll keep my half-informed guesses to myself, but I invite y’all to have your say in the comments.
This weekend, Londoners have been rioting, and the police were unable to control several streets. Why? This is not a rhetorical question, and I am not asking about tricky issues like the best way to calm down angry mobs. I’m talking about force. When the Met knows where to expect trouble, it can put down a riot. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, around the Israeli embassy and Chelsea FC. In fact, people usually don’t start trouble at all when they are surrounded by horses and vanloads of cops in armour. But if they do, those cops can charge in like a medieval army.
Around the city this weekend, the trouble arrived before the police. Was that why it could not be controlled? Or were the police too polite to treat looters as they would football hooligans? My guess is the former, but I just don’t know.
Robin Hanson invites us to consider whether ghosties really exist, and are made of dark matter. He makes a good point – though neither he nor I believe in ghosts. I don’t even know about dark matter.
Justice Howard Riddle has warned he will allow extradition of the famed WikiLeaker Julian Assange to Sweden, unless prosecutors provide evidence for claims of sexual abuse. Fair enough. However the Swedes claim that evidence is not relevant – and just they might have a point.
The prosecutors are seeking a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), which “makes extradition to a country in the European Union that requests it all but automatic”. Happily Britain seems to want to reign in the EAWs, and Justice Riddle is apparently taking the lead. I just hope that he is not being swayed by Assange’s fame, and that future Lithuanian piglet-rustlers will receive similar treatment in his court.
On the 9th of October, US and NATO officials reported a failed rescue by US Navy SEALs of Linda Norgrove, a British aid worker held in Afghanistan. They claimed one of Dr. Norgrove’s captors killed himself and her by detonating suicide bomber’s vest. This report was false. In fact the US worries that its own grenades killed her.
Nothing suggests that the SEALs were reckless, incompetent, or dishonest. Indeed the new story apparently stems from the report by the commander of the rescue team. Yet according to the Times, even before that report was written, journalists were being spun a tale unrelated to any facts. Contrast this to the careful approach of the SEALs themselves, who seem, admirably to be over video footage and the reports of commandos, carefully picking up pieces of harsh truth. They – and Dr. Norgrove, have been shamefully let down by those military spinmeisters who didn’t let good story wait around for the facts.
Computer zealots are told to cool down about lots of stuff. For example: practical, rational people just roll their eyes knowingly and just accept it when patent trolls win ill gotten riches by making companies settle silly patents suits without a fight. Julian Sanchez points out that fighting rather than settling is for good of all, but not of any one victim. He forlornly suggests a solution:
If the companies together can credibly commit to fight such suits, then assuming sufficient transparency, the existence of the mechanism should create enough of a deterrent threat that they’d seldom actually have to. But …
Let me point out that a time tested way to “credibly commit to fight” is to be well known as an irrational zealot.
I had launched Internet Explorer 7 determined to find some higher purpose than downloading Firefox. If found it in 30 seconds – and downloaded Google Chrome. My reason is expunged from memory. Later, for fairness’ sake, I used IE8 for hundreds of hours.
And it wasn’t bad at all.
The interface is fine. Most features I use come via well known keyboard and mouse magic. RSS easy easy. Tabs are coloured pastel by some almost scruitable temporal principle. This should make them easy to find. It does make them pretty. Best of all, zooming just expands the whole page about the mouse cursor. No more getting lost in text reflow.
Firefoxers and Operagoers be warned: I couldn’t rescue a closed tab. Worse yet, IE8 is Microsoftishly slow. I feel it when I scale and I feel it when I scroll; even my beautiful beast box fights to keep up.
IE8 is good, but I won’t keep it. Lacking Chrome’s grace, it gives me no thrill.