Sunday, July 16, 2006

But what if pissing off greenies make me happy?

Let's say you want to find out who are the happiest (and unhappiest) people are in the world. Let's say your a envirofundamentalist group with an agenda. How do you go about it?

Well for starters you can ask them how happy they are. It's not bad place to start, but it's subjective. It also doesn't give you an answer that suits your agenda. The last thing you want is to produce a report that says that people who have plasma tv's and digital wristwatches are pretty chuffed with them, and are enjoying life in general.

So how else can you measure how happy people are? Well you can look at how long people live. With the exception of followers of fanatical death cults, most people don't find dying a happy experience. It also has the advantage that most governments try to keep track of these sorts of things, meaning it doesn't take much effort to collect the data. Sure some lie about it, especially when they are the ones responsible for the dying, but it's mostly correct. Unfortunately, it also doesn't fit your agenda. See the problem is that all these highly developed countries have highly developed medical services, and tend to keep people alive and healthy longer.

So to get the result you want, you need some other criteria. Something that guarantees you the "correct" result. Luckily, the answer is right under your nose. Just assume that what makes people the happiest is knowing they aren't using more than their share of the worlds resources, and that anyone who is using more than their fair share is inherently unhappy, whether they realise it or not. So now you can declare that all of usliving in consumerist societies are miserable, and we'd all be much happier if we lived in a tree and worshipped almighty gaia.

Only problem is when people actually read your report. See your report comes up with some strange results. By your calculations, people living in some of the repressive dictatorships are much happier than anyone living in a western country. Apparently Cuba(6), Syria(86), Burma(77), Iran(67) and Libya(107) are happier places to live than Australia(139). War and famine ravaged Ethiopia(144), Eritrea(137), Ivory Coast(151) and Sierra Leone(153) are just as happy place to live as the US(150). Despite not actually being a country, Palestine(45) manages to come in well ahead of Israel(117).

Even better, they let you calculate personally how unhappy you are. According to them my happiness index is 15.5, compared to a world average of 46 and Australia's average of 34.1. Now it's dragged down a bit by my estimated life expectancy of 57.8 (mostly due to family history), but of course what makes me "unhappiest" is my ecological footprint of 20.83 global hectares, or 11.57 planets, which is apparently higher than the national averages for every country in the world, and more than five times my "share". It's even so much that there results page has a scaling problem drawing the bar chart.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"But I thought they had vitamins in them and stuff!"

Nanny is not pleased. Putting warnings on cigarette packets failed to make everyone quit. putting bigger warnings on them also failed to make everyone quit. Now putting graphic pictures on them is working just as well. Can anyone find me a smoker who doesn't know cigarettes are bad for you?

Well apparently some people don't want to be told over and over again something they already know, and as often happens in capitalist societies, someone decides to sell them what they want. In this case a cover to put your pack of cigarettes in. According to Nanny, this is bad, because you need to be nagged, and you shouldn't have the option of not listening to Nanny nag you.

Despite the fact I'm not a smoker, these people make me want to light up and blow smoke in their faces.

Does this thing still work?

Well, that took longer than planned.

The good news is that I'm now no longer working three jobs, and might actually have some time to pay attention to what's happening in the world, and perhaps even blog about it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tis the season

Posting will likely be infrequent around here for a while as I intend to spend most of my holiday out fishing.

So in case I get lost at sea, just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas now.

Say it isn't so!

You mean to tell that the claims of anti-nuclear groups are unscientific fearmongering?. I mean, would they lie about something like that (oh, that's right, they would).

The good prof is wrong about one thing though, it won't help "dispel many environmentalists' fears". Their fear isn't nuclear power, it's human development. They don't care how little pollution it creates, they want everyone living in caves.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hircinous Hicks

The UK government has announced that they will appeal this weeks court ruling that David Hicks is eligible for British citizenship. Although it seems unlikely that their appeal will succeed. I guess at worst they can demand he applies in person at the nearest embassy.

However I doubt that they appreciate their laws being used by someone trying to evade justice, so I would imagine they won't be too eager to demand his release.

Catch of the Day

Well done sir!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Remorsefully taking to his feet he beat a very remorseful retreat

Remorseful for the killing, or just the fact he was arrested for it?

Ok lets see, runs down and kills 82 year old woman. Apparently was doing 54km/h, and while the article doesn't mention what the speed limit was, I doubt it was much less than that. Maybe he just wasn't paying attention, or perhaps she ran out in front of him.

I'd have a lot easier time believing how remorseful he was, if he hadn't gone to such lengths to conceal his crime. First took off after the accident. Then lied to the police when questioned about his whereabouts. Then presented fake ownership transfer papers to police, to try and claim they had sold the car. Then had the car repaired and altered. Then claims remorse when arrested. Seems to me his arrest is about his only regret.

As for his parents, if they represent the moral guidance he was raised with, it explains a lot about his actions.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mob behaving like a mob

There's a reason why we rely on our police forces to enforce the law, rather than just letting mobs of vigilante's roam around meting out punishment as they see fit, to who they see fit. It's because mob behaviour is prone to punishing the nearest available target, rather than going to the trouble of finding the culprit of the original offence. They also have a tendency to mete out punishment far in excess of what we'd consider appropriate to the offence.

But what happens when a large enough number of people feel that the police either aren't willing or aren't able to enforce the law? We then you get scenes like were seen in Cronulla, where people will take the law into their own hands, without much regard for the letter of the law. Whatever the realities of police efforts against the lebanese muslim gangs, there is undeniably a feeling within sections of the community that the law isn't being applied the same to everyone, and that the police aren't making the same effort to protect some sections of the community as they are others. I doubt this was helped when the police stated during the week that they would crack down those who were planning on "taking back the beach", despite not being seen to be making an effort to crack down on the gangs that had committed the earlier attacks.

If the media has any blame it's not for reporting stories that may have fuelled anger, but for not reporting stories, and for only partially reporting the details. Maybe they reduce the chance of payback attacks by report offenders as "person of middle eastern appearance" or "youths of specific ethnic origin" (or as they most often do, make no mention at all), but in doing so they help to hide the problem, rather than exposing it so that something might get done. When enough people have been on the receiving end, media reports that deliberately avoid naming the perpetrators make things worse.

Link of the day

How to look stylish, while wasting ammo.

My favourite is the guy in the life-jacket. While it might save your life if you are drowning, it probably won't stop a bullet. I'd have thought that if you were in a war zone, the last thing you'd want to do is wear something really bright which will make you easy to spot.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Compulsory contributions canned by Christian

In the best news I've heard all week, Family First Senator Stephen Fielding has passed the VSU bill after Barnaby Joyce crossed the floor to block it.

Hating hircinous Hicks humectates holothurians

Apparently today is not only the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's shooting, but also the 4th anniversary of David Hicks caribbean holiday, so his supporters are having a party in his honor. Not that I totally object to that, I support parties for just about any reason, with the possible except of political ones.

As usual, they moan that he must be tried in a civil court. That would be true if he was arrested by the police in a law enforcement operation. But he wasn't, he was detained in a military operation while fighting for the other side.

The problem for the left in championing his case is right there in the opening few words of the article "SUPPORTERS of Australian terror suspect". I'm astounded that they think that they can get anyone to give a rats arse about what happens to him. To quote one from Kev's comments:

The problem for the right (which you’d have to agree with) is that with the Government ignoring this bong smoker from Adelaide, and letting him rot in a Cuban gaol without justice, one has a rallying point for the left which might just come back to haunt Howard, especially should the trail process be found illegitimate.

Rally around Hicks all you want, as long as your intention is to keep Howard in power. If you want the support of the australian people, I'd suggest not deliberately associating yourself with someone who'd like to see their way of life destroyed.

Mad mullah Mahmoud mulls massive move

Iran's hardline* President has softened his stance on Israel. Now instead of wiping them out, he says he'd be happy for them to simply be forced to move from the middle east. See, he can be reasonable, we just need to be more understanding of his point of view.

Kofi it seems is shocked by this. I'm sure he'd be just as shocked to find out what Iran would like to use it's long range missiles with "Death to Israel" painted on the side for as soon as it acquires nuclear technology.

*I seem to remember him being refered to as a "moderate" when he was elected. In fairness he probably was the most moderate of the candidates who where allowed to run. And for his involvement in the Embassy hostage crisis he gets described as "a straight-talking former commando". Lovely.

Prancing protesters pester Pine Gap.

Who needs Scott Parkin, when we've got our own Serial Pests.

I hope they feel a little better about themselves, for having bravely stood up to "the man". Can we cut their dole cheques yet?