Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Things that don't make the news

So basically all of today, youtube has been super slow.  When I was at uni, I thought that maybe it was just at uni, but then I get home and its just as bad.  Try speedtest - all is good.  But youtube slow as all hell.  They have this little pop-up which has suggestions for slow loading videos.

Anyway, why isn't this on the news?  Its really annoying, and affects a lot of people.  But for some reason is not newsworthy.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Car accidents


How long are we going to persist in allowing highly fallible humans to control cars?  The technology already exists for cars to drive themselves.

You might think that such technology is too expensive.  I'm not sure.  You need to weigh the cost of cars fitted with self-drive technology against the cost of destroyed vehicles, traffic delays, and the health care needed for the thousands injured every year.  My bet is that even now it will be cheaper to use the technology than it is to continue as we are.

Self-drive cars have a lot of other things going for them.  The end of taxis for one.  Mobility for the elderly.  Driverless deliveries would save a lot of money.  The kids can get taken places if Mum or Dad are too busy.  You won't even have to own a car or have a garage.  There will be car depots, and you just order one over the internet or by your phone app, and there it is.  When you want to go to work, you can have a car to yourself, or for less money, you can share one.  Less congestion.  And you don't need car parks, because the car goes off and parks itself at a depot after it drops you off.

They could even be electric, and they re-charge at depots.  After all, most trips are pretty short.

Of course, for me the big, big benefit is that I could ride my bike without the fear that some drunk moron or some macho dickhead or some doddery incompetent motorist will kill me.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How much to pay the unemployed?

Classical economics would assert that the rate of pay for a particular occupation is set by supply and demand.  That if you want someone to teach primary school children, you'll have to pay around $50,000 per year.  So why do we pay people to do nothing?  You know, the lazy unemployed.

There would be a wrong assumption there.  The bit about paying them to do nothing.  You are actually paying them to not steal, to not beg, to not annoy people by standing on street corners selling bananas.

Of course we'd all prefer it if there were no unemployed, and no poor.  But given that they exist, and that at least some of the things that cause their unemployment and poverty are deliberate choices in the organisation of our society, we have to do something about them.

One way of approaching the problem is to have gated communities that are secure against the great armies of unwashed.  And in the cities and shopping centres, to have police and security guards who move on any offending individuals.  Basically, we are all enjoying the footy game of life, and somebody should keep them off the oval so we can have our fun.

Or you can just pay them to stay out of the way.  Sort of humane, but pretty uninspired.

But really, shouldn't we just figure out how to construct a footy game so that they are of some use on the field of play?  Any self respecting group of 10 year olds can figure this sort of thing out in the playground.  How to make the game fun for everyone.  Its not that hard.

So are the Liberal government up the the challenge?  Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Racist misogynist professors...

So basically this guy, Barry Spurr appears on the basis of a selection of his emails published in New Matilda to be racist, misogynist,  and worst of all, up himself.  His views reflect another time, one that Barry obviously misses, even though it seems that this time was long gone, even when Barry was a boy.

Somebody also thought he was a good choice to review our national school curriculum.  And I have a problem with that.  I want a curriculum driven by people looking forward at the new world, not hankering after a view rapidly disappearing in the rear view mirror.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Smoking madness

I hate smoking.  A lot.  There are people who hate it more than me, but not that many.

None the less, there are some anti-smoking decisions I can't understand.  Apparently the West Australian Opera has decided not to perform Carmen.  Why?  Because Carmen works in a tobacco factory, and the West Australian Government's health promotion arm, Healthway, sponsors WA Opera.  And they see an opera featuring tobacco as undermining the anti-smoking message.

Now Carmen also features jealousy, murder, suicide and bullfighting.  And I'm guessing that Healthway is happy with that.  Just as long as no one smokes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014