Archives for February 2009

The Mathematics of Truth

It’s now become clear that the government knew about, but repeatedly denied knowing about, the transport of prisoners from one country to another for interrogation in countries where torture is not illegal. A practice known as ‘extraordinary rendition‘. If it wasn’t such an appalling definition it would be quite funny. It sounds like some sort of overdone amateur dramatics.

The action itself, apart being from morally wrong could also be unlawful under the 1949 Geneva convention on protecting civilians in times of war which prohibits deportations of individuals to any other country.

The case in point was when Iraqi prisoners were held by UK forces, handed over to US forces who transferred them to Afghanistan in 2004 where they remain to this day.

John Hutton described the catalogue of events as receiving and relaying ‘inaccurate’ information.

Lying basically.

It reminds me of my school maths lessons where if you multiply two negatives you get a positive.

Perhaps they are adopting the same approach to the way they present their information.
If you combine more than one lie you get a truth.

I bet we wish that we could all do that.

They always say the first casualty of war is the truth. It seems like the first action of Government these days is not to tell the truth at all.

Or to wait 5 years and then tell it.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian.

Nasa’s early bonfire party

Failure is Not an Option - but it is a distinct possibility

Failure is Not an Option - but it is a distinct possibility

Bonfire night has come 8 months early courtesy of NASA.

Apparently they lit the blue touch paper, stood well back and let off a huge firework. Not the kind that you can usually pick up at the corner newsagent I might add, probably one you have to get mail order.

This mother of all whizz bangs which cost $270m (£190m) had a fantastic flight. It impressed everyone who proudly waved their sparklers at it and then off it went and crashed into the sea near Antarctica.

Personally I think this is a tad excessive. I think it’s great making a firework show for people to enjoy and of course if you’re the US then it has to be the biggest but I feel they have gone a bit too far this time. Do you have to have a firework that goes halfway round the globe?

If this is their idea of Guy Fawkes night I’m just wondering what they have in mind when the potatoes go in the fire.

But it appears it was not a large firework at all but Nasa’s first dedicated mission to measure carbon dioxide from space.

Oh dear.

NASA called the disaster a ‘contingency’ and the operators at mission control were instructed to enact a ‘mishap plan’. Yep you can’t fail to give them boys full marks for understatement.

I suppose measuring Carbon Dioxide will have to wait but I’m sure they’ll be plenty left when they have another go.

I guess for now they’ll just have to console themselves with some bonfire toffee instead.

Welcome to Spamabit!

Well I really feel that I have arrived.

“Why is that ?” You may ask. Other people mentioning your site on their blogs? BBC talking about an in depth article (Ha Ha) you wrote on their website?

Nah don’t be daft. I’ve just started receiving spam!

Good old spam. You always know that someone or something has noticed you when those little spambots come a’ callin’. Up to now I’ve received two spam comments for my posts. I know, I know that’s nothing but one has to start somewhere.

One of them is reasonably clever. It quotes part of the post and makes it appear that it is being talked about on the particular forum that the website leads to.

The other one is just spammy, consisting of a load of links to crappy websites.

The overall intention is clear. To get me to post the comment which contains outbound links to their sites so that google will think better of them and rank them higher in search requests.

Thankfully I’ve got a spam blocker to bar those bots (sounds like an advert for toilet fresheners), so we hopefully won’t be seeing any meaty antics on this site anytime soon.

Still that could be famous last words!

Slip Slidin’ Away …

Now that Lloyds Banking Group shares are literally cheaper than chips (53.80 pence as I write) you might find ‘The Daily Mail‘ giving them away free on a Saturday like they do with DVDs.

No doubt someone will be making money out of all this share price slaughter, namely the hedge funds who’ve ‘shorted’ the stock. But for most of us it seems to be pointing the way to the fact that share ownership is a poisoned chalice.

Surely anyone owning shares these days must have a bit of a screw loose? Buying premium bonds, lottery tickets, horse-racing bets or land on the moon probably provides a better investment opportunity at the moment.

Perhaps one day admitting to owning shares might have the same stigma as admitting to owning porn. People have it, they just don’t advertise the fact. Definitely a subject changing moment at parties:-

“Actually I like to dabble in SM, the stock market.”
“Really? Nice weather we’re having at the moment …”

Share prices on Bloomberg may become something you won’t want to get caught watching by the wife.
Or you’ll be approached by a shady looking gentleman in a pub who sidles up to you and asks, “Psst, wanna’ buy some shares? It’s good stuff. Ex-Blue chip.”

Pay per view choices in hotels may never be the same again.

The Naked Trader: How Anyone Can Make Money Trading Shares

The future image of share buying?

It’s NOT cricket. Hurrah!

I heard with some interest (always a revelation to me) about the Second Test between England and the West Indies in Antigua being abandoned.

The match, held at the ‘Sir Vivian Richards Stadium’ was curtailed because of a ‘poor outfield’ which means that basically the pitch has been built on a beach.

Personally I think this is a great idea. What better way to keep the kids amused than to let them use a little strip of the boundary to build sandcastles. During lunch they could have donkey rides and sunbathers could stretch out their towels and catch a few rays before the tedium of ball watching continues.

They could do a roaring trade in deckchair hire and windbreakers for the Brit supporters. Dad could roll his socks up and put a hankie on his head and proudly watch the kids going pink and blotchy while the missus gets out the flask and sandwiches. Sounds like halcyon days to me.

I imagine that the world famous player who gave the ground its name is not a happy bunny. But then he could always say it’s actually not a cricket pitch but a golf course.

It just has very large bunkers that’s all.

Sorry seems to be the easiest word

Does Anything Eat Bankers?: And 53 Other Indispensable Questions for the Credit Crunched

Sorry ...

Well the four bankers have said sorry so can we move along now and get on with our lives please?

What!” I hear you cry. You want your pound of flesh?

Well you may have to wait awhile longer. I doubt whether they are going to be thrown to the lions just yet and I seriously doubt they are going to fall on their swords.

After all they did say they were sorry, maybe even very sorry. So that should be hunky dory then shouldn’t it? Forgive and forget. Everyone can make a mistake can’t they? Live and let live. More like live and let die.

Amazingly I still get the impression that they feel that they haven’t really done anything wrong. That the decisions they made were ruined by the cruel hand of fate. That circumstances beyond their control contrived to make a good plan bad.

I don’t think they were hiding their head in the sand and couldn’t see the storm that was about to break. More likely they couldn’t see because they had their collective heads too deeply into the trough. You tend not to worry too much about starving when you are attending a perpetual banquet.

They are apologizing because they have to. Not because they want to. There is a difference.

There’s a lesson to be learnt here and I don’t think they are good pupils. Probably because not so long ago they were the teachers.

So next time to you are unable to pay your credit card bill or miss a payment on the mortgage why not take a leaf out of these financial geniuses notebooks?
Just utter that little five letter word, look chastened (but not overly chastened) and everything will be okay.

It will be okay, won’t it?

Todd Carty slips out

So Todd ‘Tucker Jenkins‘ Carty is out of ‘Dancing on Ice.’ It was obviously going to happen sooner rather than later or they would have had to rename the show ‘Sack of Potatoes on Ice.’

To say he was of a lower standard than the other competitors would be an understatement. As one of the judges Jason said, his solo basically consisted of him standing still and smiling at the camera.

Which means that the Charlie Chaplin of ice has finally made his last bow but we all knew that this lovable, slightly roguish figure only had a limited shelf life. He certainly had his share of second chances but these could only be sustained as long as Joe public was willing to cough up and pay to vote for him.

If it had been up to the judges he’d have been out week 1.

I think Todd’s performances (and I’m using the term generously) have actually been outdone by the commuters of Great Britain this last week as they’ve ‘Triple Salchowed‘, ‘Double Axeled‘ and ‘Headbanged‘ their way up and down the UK.

No-one can deny though that he’s been entertaining. I watched his performance to the song ‘Help!’ a number of times on YouTube and couldn’t help laughing each time when he whizzed off stage and re-appeared a few moments later with a sheepish grin on his face. But you can only do this so many times before the joke wears as thin as the ice he was skating on.

But he is a natural comedian and I hope to see him on the box in the near future. As is the case with these programmes they are usually undertaken to revive or kick-start a flagging career. It would be a shame to lose him to out-of-work-TV-hell.

But for Dancing on Ice, this particular sack of spuds has had his chips.

Figure Skating for Dummies

Todd - you were a star!