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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Streets and shame

So the public sector are going to "take to the streets" we're told, over efforts to keep their pension bill from bankrupting the nation. Well screw them. We should be taking to the streets to complain about the public sector.

A council which paid out more than £500,000 making 12 human resources staff redundant hired 11 new employees to replace them

[From £500,000 pay-off to staff then council hires 11 new people | News]

I happened to go to a meeting today near Parliament and there was some sort of demonstration going, with a lot of Unison banners going on about education.

The average gap in achievement in science, mathematics and reading between those attending state and independent schools is indeed larger in Britain than in any of its allies in the OECD.

[From Article | Full Fact -]

I didn't have the time, but I would have enjoyed making my own banner calling for all schools to be privatised immediately as the only way to stop us from sliding into a new dark age.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Monday, October 11, 2010

And the emma goes to...

Hereditary celebrity and Cambridge footlight millionairess Emma Thompson is upset by the way the young people speak.

She says people who speak improperly make her feel "insane"

[From BBC News - Teen slang: What's, like, so wrong with like?]

This is down to our education system I imagine. Emma, as a prominent supporter of the Labour Party all her life, has contributed in no small way to the current state of Britain's schools after more than a decade of Edukashun Edukashun Edukashun. Don't believe me? I would have thought that the poor level of education in the UK was evident from the success of Emma's "Nanny McPhee" films. Having seen the trailer at the cinema, and immediately having resolved to never even accidentally watch one second of it, I was astonished to discover that people had paid good money to go and see it. You can't have it both ways Emma: either people are uneducated enough to go to your movie or they're educated enough to talk properly.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Monday, October 04, 2010


Our local Waitrose has a self-scanning system (in fact, has done for years), so you have your own barcode reader and as you go around the shop you pick up the things you want, scan them yourself and then put them in your shopping bag. It's a good system, and it save time and queues because when you have finished shopping you just put your chip and PIN card in to pay and then go. Since your shopping is already in shopping bags, you're off.

Occasionally, the computer will ask an assistant to take a couple of random things out of your shopping bag and scan them to check that you're scanned them in properly. This doesn't happen that often, maybe once a year or something, so it's no inconvenience. Today, though, when I went to check out, the computer called for a "rescan". This was tedious, because it meant that I had to take everything out of my shopping bags and have the assistant re-scan all of them, It's presumably a random anti-fraud check.

What stress! As far as I knew I'd scanned everything properly. But as I stood there waiting for the assistant to finish, I began to panic. What if there was something in the bad that I hadn't scanned. What if I'd forgotten something? What if my impending senility had led me to completely forget to scan something? I would be forever branded a criminal by the John Lewis supercomputer and I would never be able to hold my head up in middle-class Britain again.

Why does this happen? What is it in our brains that triggers the sensations of guilt in these circumstances?

Everything in the bag had been scanned correctly, of course, since it's second nature now. But when I left, I definitely had an increased heart rate and sweaty palms.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Friday, October 01, 2010

If there's a gene for stupdity, the UK is carrying it

I was listening to the Radio 5 Live phone-in programme while I was working the other day. There had been a news report in the morning about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), otherwise known by its proper name of "bad parent syndrome". Some researchers at Cardiff had discovered a statistically-significant variation.

They found that 15% of the ADHD group had large and rare variations in their DNA - compared with 7% in the control group.

[From BBC News - New study claims ADHD 'has a genetic link']

Who knows what this actually means. But the BBC had a phone-in on the topic, always risky in our innumerate and semi-literate society. A female member of the underclass called in, to support the Cardiff research.

Her reasoning was impeccable.

She said, essentially...

1. I have eight children by three different fathers (at least one of whom is currently in jail, as are some of the children).

2. Seven of the eight children have been diagnosed with ADHD, so that suggests a genetic factor.

3. Because they have different fathers, I must be carrying the gene for ADHD.

4. Since it is a genetic problem, just like cystic fibrosis or whatever, it's not my fault.

Brilliant, just brilliant, and a shining example of what New Labour's Edukashun Edukashun Edukashun policy has done for the country: that is, having failed to impart any scientific or mathematical knowledge, it has filled the void with a culture of irresponsibility. Instead of this woman apologising to citizens and taxpayers for having eight children that neither she or nor any of the fathers could look after properly and then throwing herself on the mercy of the public, she was able to lay the entire problem at the door of her unfortunate genes and therefore shake off the last vestigial, submerged feelings of responsibility. I think they call this "socialism: I wonder if that has a genetic cause as well? I will scour the BBC's web site to find out.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]