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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Age and beauty

I was listening to the radio the other day, and the government's age commissar Joan Bakewell was making some point about impending legislation to end age discrimination. At first, I thought this might be a good idea, as I could use a free bus pass and I've often been tempted to order the pensioners' half-price lunchtime special at the fish and chip shop round the corner. I shall do this, and when they say no, I'll sue the for the mental distress they cause me because of their blatant age discrimination. That goodness for the new approach.

You should check that your recruitment process is non-discriminatory, eg aim to place advertisements in publications read by a range of age groups, and avoid using terms which imply a particular age group, such as 'mature', 'enthusiastic', 'highly experienced' or 'recent graduate'. See our guide on employing older workers.

[From Age discrimination | Business Link]

Enthusiastic? Oh well, I'm sure businesses will get used to advertising for people who are disinterested, I must mention that to our HR people. But there's something else that started to bother me about the automatic assumption that getting older persons to stay at work is a good thing. Isn't it better for society if they move over to provide more jobs for young people? Unemployed young persons are quite likely to beat me to death in the street (this happens about once a week in the UK as far as I can see) whereas unemployed old people will go and join a bridge four (which is one of things I look forward to about being old, frankly).

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Healthty scepticism

I see things are going well over at the NHS Supercomputer (for £20 billion, it better be pretty bloody super) and having spent god knows what on new software for the NHS' million staff, virtually none of them are using it.

here are only 174 clinicians using Lorenzo patient software across the five early adopter trusts, according to Mike O'Brien, minister for the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

[From Only 175 people using flagship NHS software, says minister - 30 Oct 2009 - Computing]

The acumen of those in charge continues to stagger.

the recently signed contracts with BT to deploy Cerner Millennium at hospitals in the south require BT to be paid even if the hospitals refuse the systems – a possibility if they think they will not work... Junior Treasury minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry defended The NPfIT in the debate.

[From Only 175 people using flagship NHS software, says minister - 30 Oct 2009 - Computing]

I have a memory of the head of Westminster council (was it the Tesco woman, Porter?) being prosecuted for wasting public money on stupid schemes for party political reasons, and that was only a few million. Shouldn't some of the NHS IT people be in jail by now?

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The other tsunami

How do you get to be an MP? And where are all of the prostitutes? I started wondering about this because I read that

On Monday, Labour MP Fiona McTaggart asked Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics whether she had commissioned any research on the effect of increased visitor numbers for the London 2012 Olympics on demand for the sex industry.

[From MPs prepare to beat off phantom Olympic hooker invasion • The Register]

I was wondering when this tidal wave of prostitutes would arrive. When I was last in Woking town centre after 10pm (last week) I did notice a number of very scantily glad young woman (all wearing mini skirts and shoulderless dresses despite a wind chill of -12) simultaneously shivering and smoking. But they were hardly of normal build, let alone size zero, and too badly-dressed to be Eastern European prostitutes. But then the name, and topic, rang a bell. I had a vague memory of reading a newspaper report that all of this stuff about sporting event-related tart tsunamis had been completely made up, and sure enough, it had been. When even The Guardian says that it's a "moral panic", you know they must be on shaky ground. In fact that august body came up with a rather nice phrase for ill-informed, evidence-free government lunatics egging each other on in order to waste public money:

The cacophony of voices has created the illusion of confirmation.

[From Prostitution and trafficking – the anatomy of a moral panic | UK news | The Guardian]

That's rather a good way to put it, and I will certainly use it again! But it led me to think: how do you get to be an MP? Surely, you'd think, you must have a certain amount of intelligence. Surely you would know when you are parroting made-up rubbish? So much for evidence-based policy.

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

Monday, November 02, 2009

Chip the lot of them

Isn't it typical of us British that we love our pets so much that we will hapily go along with a law to help us manage them better. If we've lost our dog, or it's been injured in accident, or whatever, then we want the vet to be able to contact us and get hold of their records. And, of course, we want to be able to track miscreants.

Owners will be forced to install the microchip containing a barcode that can store their pet's name, breed, age and health along with their own address and phone number.

[From All dogs to be microchipped with owner's details to 'help track pets' - Telegraph]

Surely it would make more sense to insist that these chips are installed in the feral children of the underclass that roam freely along our highways and byways. We could put detectors in all public places and then we could easily solve crimes like this. I doubt we would go so far as to actually punish the offenders, but at least we would know who they are.

This is important because one of the government's newest mental schemes is to set up public league tables of yobs. Their idiotic notion is that the underclass would somehow be shamed by having their names published.

Every yob handed an Asbo will be named and shamed online under radical plans outlined last night. All local councils will be told to publish names and photographs of louts.

[From - Asbo yobs shamed in web move]

They won't, of course, since in our new responsibility-free Britain they will only be interested in getting themselves to the top of the league. I bet they'll link their Facebook pages to the councils' online hall of shame, and firmly predict an immediate rise in anti-social behaviour once the system goes live.

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