Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Factchecking Johann Hari: Junichiro battles the robots

Author's note: I am not the Devil's Kitchen.

This blog post originally appeared on my now-defunct "Mr Eugenides" blog on 22nd January 2010. In view of Mr Hari's current travails, I thought it worth reposting in full this hilarious example of his loose relationship with truthiness.

- Mr Eugenides


Two weeks ago it was a lament about our "culture of overwork", despite the overwhelming body of evidence that says the exact opposite. Today, Johann Hari is writing about, er, the increasing use of robots on the battlefield, together with the technological and ethical risks it poses, when he comes out with this corker (my emphasis):

We know the programming of robots will regularly go wrong – because all technological programming regularly goes wrong. Look at the place where robots are used most frequently today: factories. Some 4 per cent of US factories have "major robotics accidents" every year – a man having molten aluminium poured over him, or a woman picked up and placed on a conveyor belt to be smashed into the shape of a car. The former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was nearly killed a few years ago after a robot attacked him on a tour of a factory.

You what? A robot nearly killed the Japanese Prime Minister? I would have thought I would have remembered that, wouldn't you? So I did a Google search, and found footage of the incident in question:

That's it? That's your definition of "nearly killed"? I've got a fucking iron that is more deadly.

It took me three seconds to Google this, and one minute fifteen to establish that Hari is talking out of his capacious arse. Did someone tell Johann this when he was down the pub? Really, did he not think, y'know, um, I wonder if that drunk guy last night was making that robot shit up? What's your scoop next week, Johann, a world exclusive with Bigfoot?

Of course this is the most trivial howler imaginable, but it does make you wonder why the hell you should believe a word this man types. No wonder the Independent is dying on its arse when they print tripe like this.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moron of the Week: Edward Leigh MP

Via Dick Puddlecote, I find this discussion on the proposed Employment Opportunities Bill in which we see Philip Davies MP questioning the wisdom of the National Minimum Wage*.

Surely one of the most outrageous interventions ever sees some fuckwit arsehole Conservative named Edward Leigh spouting the following offensive crap.
My hon. Friend is making an important contribution and it is important that we have this debate, but let me ask him a question as a critical friend. Let us forget the fact that there is a minimum wage at the moment. Why should a disabled person work for less than £5.93 an hour? It is not a lot of money, is it?

First, no, £5.93 per hour is not a lot of money—so why the bloody hell does your government tax those earning that small amount of cash?

Second, someone has to create that job for that person—disabled or otherwise. And that "employer" (as we call them, Edward), actually has to pay 13.8% on top of the £5.93, bringing the rate of pay up to £6.75 (plus, of course, sundry other costs—most of which carry other large taxes).

Third, who the hell are you to decide what wage someone is willing to work for? If a disabled person wishes to work for less than the minimum wage (because the alternative is no work at all) then why the fuck should you be able to intervene in a mutually-agreed, private contract?

And, fourth, the real point is that a great many disabled people—and, indeed, a great many non-disabled people—do not work because of that minimum wage, and they never will.


Because their labour is worth less than £6.75 per hour: and these people will never, ever get a job (not, I'll grant you, that someone of your background will appreciate). And, as Jackart so rightly points out (in a detailed post on this subject), that means that they will never get the training or the experience that might lead to them ever earning more than a pittance.

So, with all due respect**, Edward (and with reference to your attitude on gays), why don't you take your "question as a critical friend" and shove it up your arse?

* It's national. That makes it completely fucking stupid before we even consider its other iniquities.

** Inevitably, none.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Quote of the day...

... comes from the wife's article on Ann Coulter.
Libertarians don’t fight with left-wingers, they fight with each other. It’s the only ‘mob’ you’ll ever see where the crowd hears a rousing speech and says to one another, ‘You know, I’m not sure I agree with him. He misses Friedman’s point about the fact that…’ and then argues all the way to the pub, where they’d all much rather be anyway.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Energy generation begins at home

A few days ago, this excellent article by Charles Moore contained a rather significant anecdote...
The other day, I heard that a top executive of one of our biggest power companies has had an emergency generator installed in his large house. One must assume that he knows something we don't.

Well, yes: he knows that this country is facing an energy shortfall from about 2014 onwards and we are, in fact, facing the prospect of rolling back-outs.

It is less a case of vote Blue, go Green than a case of vote how you like, the lights are still going to go out.

And all because our politicians are in thrall to an insane Green religion and they give more of a shit about some unproven Doomsday phantasm than they do about grannies freezing to death in their homes.

God, but I hate these bastards.

A "horrifying figure"

Neil Clark's bullshit encomium to a "less greedy" Britain is ripped to shreds by Timmy in typically terse fashion.

What interested me—in the context of Scottish Power raising their prices by 19% for gas and 10% for electricity—was the figure for the rise in electricity prices under the nationalised company, as recorded in Hansard.
Gas and Electricity Prices

HC Deb 22 March 1976 vol 908 cc11-3

Mr. Peter Morrison asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the percentage increase in the cost of electricity since 28th February 1974.

Mr. Eadie: I am informed by the Electricity Council that it is about 86 per cent. overall in England and Wales.

Mr. Morrison: Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is a horrifying figure? Perhaps he will explain why the prices of the goods and services supplied by nationalised industries seem to rise much faster than the prices of those supplied by the private sector.

Yes, that figure is correct: under the benign state management of the national electricity company, over two years the price of electricity rose by 86%! Eighty-six percent!

No doubt that arsehole Huhne would say that this was because people just weren't shopping around enough.
As concern grows that the other five major energy companies are preparing to follow Scottish Power and announce big rises within weeks, the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer that consumers should not accept the increases "lying down" but "hurt" their supplier by finding cheaper alternatives.

"Consumers don't have to take price increases lying down," he said. "If an energy company hits you with a price increase, you can hit them back where it hurts—by shopping around and voting with your feet."

Given that a great part of these price rises are caused by the fucking government—both the EU and our pretendy local government in Westminster—slapping taxes and alternative fuel contributions onto the energy companies, I think that Chris Huhne's witterings are somewhat cunting cheeky, frankly.
"Right now, only one in five people switch suppliers. I want to see more switching, more competition and more companies in the market," Huhne said. "The big six only have a few minnows snapping at them, who are kept artificially small. By scrapping red tape for small players they can become serious challengers and help keep bills down."

Yeah? And what will happen when those companies start getting big? We all know—you'll slap a massive fucking windfall tax on them, or just put more taxes onto their suppliers* so that the "minnows" cannot even compete on price.

Seriously, why don't you fuck off, you total fucking Huhne.

* In fact, they'll probably do something really fucking stupid like linking both gas and oil taxes to the oil price. Oh, wait, that's precisely what Osborne did, the stupid fucknuts.

Black racist decries racism laws shock!

Shirley Brown: former LimpDumb councillor and racist.

The Daily Mail today carries a heart-wrenching puff-piece for a LimpDumb councillor—the appropriately named Shirley Brown—who called a Conservative councillor* a coconut and was then prosecuted for racially aggravated harrassment (whatever the fuck that is supposed to be).
Last July, magistrates in Bristol found her guilty of racially aggravated harassment under the Public Order Act for using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words, with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress’. In March, she lost her appeal against the conviction.

The court case followed a heated city council debate that Shirley, who was then a Liberal Democrat councillor, had with an Asian Conservative opponent. The public row culminated in Shirley calling the other councillor, Jay Jethwa, a ‘coconut’.

The word is used as slang to describe someone who is believed to be betraying their ethnic roots by pandering to white opinion – referring to a coconut being brown on the outside but white on the inside.

It is, without doubt, a crude term that many would find offensive, and one Shirley regrets using. Although she insists the remark was not intended to be taken in the way it was, she now realises it was unacceptable.

But what she still cannot comprehend is the lengths to which the legal system was prepared to go to ensure that she was punished.

Jay Jethwa: poe-faced, miserable old baggage.

Well, cry me a fucking river. Shirley Brown is precisely the kind of person who wanted these disgusting Though Police style laws brought in—and now she really has been hoisted by own petard. Or, as MummyLongLegs put it so superbly...
Funny old thing, Law. It applies to everyone. If you need a law to stop your feelings from being hurt you should be aware that others are entitled to use that very same law if you hurt theirs. It's called equality.

The reason you were so roundly turned upon Shirley is that, in your career working to help ethnic communities in Bristol, you will have used those very same laws to punish, silence or force into submission any who stood in your way. No one likes a fucking hypocrite.
‘When I think of all the time and money spent on my case, which could have been spent elsewhere, I just feel so sad. I’ve always been proud to be British but I feel that something has gone very wrong in this country when political correctness comes ahead of basic common sense.’

You wouldn't have given a tuppenny fuck how much it cost the taxpayer if it had been a white person in the dock, you know that and we know that. You care not a fig if political correctness overrides common sense, only that it does so when you want it to. You're pissed because you got called out for the racist you are, and the laws you can use to intimidate others bit you roundly on the arse.

Well them's the breaks Shirley. There's not a person in the world that would have taken your comment as anything other than racist. The law may be an ass but grab it by the tail and it can still kick you in the teeth.

Indeed. And I think that "tuppenny fuck" might be my new favourite phrase.

JuliaM also comments pithily on this case.
It's the Britain you and your ilk in the left-wing progressive movement created. It's a wee bit late to turn around and say 'What? Me? No, no, it's not supposed to be me...!'
‘I was proud to be a member of the council because I wanted to be a role model to young people from minority backgrounds,’ she says.

You were, love. That's just the problem, though; you were a role model for how chippiness, grudge-holding and waving your supposed trump card in Victimhood Poker was the way to win.

And you relished it right up until the time someone else laid down their own hand and said 'That beats yours, doesn't it?'

Don't get me wrong—I think that these race laws are absolutely abysmal. However, it is absolutely fucking hilarious to see a woman like Shirley Brown get kicked in the teeth—and even funnier to see her whinging about how she has been "publicly humiliated and [her] reputation has been ruined".

You see, that's what happens when you bring in these kinds of laws: as Shirley puts it...
It was a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes though...

Yes, they do. But thanks to people like you, they can now be prosecuted for those mistakes. As you have—hilariously—found out. Will you be campaigning to have these laws repealed now? No?

Well, fuck off then.

UPDATE: thanks to Anonymous in the comments, who points out that I may have been a little harsh on Ms Jethwa: this little nugget comes from the Mail article...
The row happened on February 24, 2009, during a Bristol City Council budget debate. Top of the agenda was the city’s Legacy Commission that had been granted £750,000 of taxpayers’ money to fund ethnic minority projects and was created in part to atone for Bristol’s historic role in the slave trade.

Shirley, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, believed passionately in the initiative.

During the debate, Mrs Jethwa, who moved to Britain from India 24 years ago and whose husband Nick is of Ugandan origin, stood up to say she did not agree with spending public money ‘righting the wrongs’ of past centuries.

I would like to apologise to Ms Jethwa who is, quite obviously, an excellent councillor and a decent councillor. On the other hand, Shirley Brown comes off as being even more of a desperate, ghastly racist crap-bag.

* No, I don't support that miserable, whining cow either. I mean, for fuck's sake, look at her.

Withnail & O


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

How appropriate

According to Hugh Muir at The Guardian, the reason that Santre Sanchez Gayle agreed to shoot a woman he'd never met for £200 was because he lived in poverty.


To make his case, Muir drafts in some professional bleeding heart... [Emphasis mine.]
The core problem is poverty, says India, chair of the charity Leap, which works to help people out of poverty. "These are two disadvantaged, vulnerable groups, one leveraging the other. But the issue is deprivation. That £200 to him was same as £2m to someone else."

Which is a coincidence, really, because people appear to value their own lives at roughly £2 million.

Gayle, on the other hand, viewed other people's lives as being worth a mere £200.

It seems to me that the "core problem" is that Santre "Riot"* Gayle is an unpleasant little bastard who—in valuing the lives of others so low—reveals that he is a severe danger to society and should never be let out of prison.

So, you know what?

Fuck him.

* You would have thought that his nickname might have given people a clue here...

Monday, June 06, 2011

Race to our doom!

I'm not sure that your humble Devil could possibly beat Chris Snowdon's fantastically sarcastic Tweet on hearing the news that staff at the Equality and Human Rights Commission are to strike...
Quick. Buy some candles and canned goods. The Equality and Human Rights Commission are going on strike.

Nevertheless, the BBC breathlessly reports this truly massive disaster—surely the Coalition will not be able to ride this one out.
Staff at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) are to strike next week in protest at planned job cuts.

Oh noes!
Trade union Unite said its members would walk out for an hour on Monday at EHRC offices in London and Birmingham, with more strikes possible on 30 June.

Wow—a whole hour! These people are really confident in their strike, eh? I don't suppose you could make it longer, could you?
[Richard Munn, of Unite] accused senior management of being wary of discussing plans with trade unions in a "constructive fashion", adding that the public "should be worried about the direction the EHRC is taking".

I was worried about the direction it was taking some years ago—when it was formed. As far as I can see, the EHRC is being managed out of existence and, far from being worried, I am delighted that this prissy, divisive and racist organisation seems to be being put out to pasture.

More, please!

Guido welcomes Huffington

Guido has put out something of a challenge to the Huffington Post—due to hit British shores imminently.
Far from being daunted Guido welcomes the competition convinced it will spur us to work harder to break more stories first. She’ll find us a bit tougher than her past rivals. And it won’t be just Guido, in politics she’ll be up against Ashcroft’s growing online political media empire; ConservativeHome, PoliticsHome (a fellow aggregator), ePolitix, Dods, BiteBack, and TotalPolitics. Aside from the billionaire’s stable the NewStatesman’s Staggers and the Spectator’s soon to be ramped-up CoffeeHouse will not cede ground without a fight. Iain Dale’s return with his The Daley posse[*] will give her a run for her money on political comment and he is her match when it comes to grabbing media attention. On the user generated commentary front she is up against the well-established Guardian’s Comment is Free and the newer rival right-of-centre The Commentator.

Of course, having sold the Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, Arianna Huffington is quite rightly being sued by her writers who have never been paid—let alone seen any of AOL's largesse. For fuck's sake, even Guido pays his minions...

* Yawn.

Are state-run services better than private ones?

Tom Paine has one of my favourite quotes on this...
Even after [socialists'] ideology was tested to destruction on more than half of humanity in the 20th Century; killing millions and impoverishing hundreds of millions, there are still idiots who believe in the intrinsic moral superiority of state-run services. Even, can you believe, in a part of the world where childrens homes were run for twenty years by local authority-employed paedophiles (as I have posted before)? The social workers in question were not motivated by profit, so presumably that's all right then?

Yes, indeed: why not ask Margaret "I cannot hear my employees fucking the kids" Hodge—once, disgustingly (and in a general "fuck you" to the British public, courtesy of Tony Blair), Minister for Children...

These people make me want to vomit.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

So, are the Red Tories...

... incompetent or corrupt?

Let's face it, any organisation that identifies itself with the Left is going to be one or the other. And, of course, whilst they are busy raping your arse for every last quid, they will be telling you to be grateful—whilst one of their mates shows you by which gate you should enter the gulag.

Why does anyone still believe that these fuckers have your best interests at heart...?

Let's sue academics

When a private company makes a claim that cannot be proven, then we are allowed to censure them: where they make a claim that can be absolutely proven to be a lie, then we can sue the fuckers.

So, why can we not sue academics—and the institutions that sponsor them—when they needlessly scaremonger and, yes, lie like sons of bitches?

This question—found via Bishop Hill—is one that Professor Mike Kelly ponders in a letter to the Taranaki Daily News...
Can I plead for temperate language in this debate as trillions of dollars are at risk of being misinvested?

I am involved in another area of controversy, namely nanotechnology, and when you add in controversies in biomedicine, there is enough around to suggest that the scientific process is being corrupted, and is in need of reining in. You will see my views on this when the Royal Society publishes the evidence it receives in its study of ‘Science as a Public Enterprise‘.

Engineers take legal liability for their work, and can be sued if they are wrong. This should also apply more widely to those who pronounce in the public domain on matters of policy. This would then confine statements to a more measured and nuanced standard.

I would like to make this absolutely clear: I believe in the rule of law, and that means that the law applies to everyone—including academics. If they back certain public policy decisions that have a cost, they should be sued when those benefits do not arise.

Take, for instance, the BSE scare: scientists predicted death tolls in the tens—maybe hundreds—of thousands. The measures taken in respect of this advice cost the farmers of this country many millions of pounds.

The estimated deaths failed to materialise—unsurprisingly, since the consensus science had (and still has) the vector wrong—and so the farmers and everyone else harmed in any way from this scare should be able to sue the scientists involved.

The same thing applies to climate change academics: since we have now, apparently, gone beyond the tipping point, if the promised destruction fails to arrive, can we sue the living shit out of these lying cunts? I believe that we should be able to.

Indeed, can anyone tell me why we shouldn't?

Would anyone like to join in a "class-action" suit against the scientists who promised a BSE* armageddon? And then, once we have won that, to wage war against the lying bastards perpetuating the CACC scam?

I believe that this would bring a whole new dynamic to our scientific and political lives: one of honesty. Or, to put it in the words of Professor Kelly, scientists might "confine statements to a more measured and nuanced standard".

At the very least, it would confine scientists to science, rather than making political prognostications that they bear no harm for when once they are found out. The politicians (sometimes) bear the blame when the public realises that they have been sold a pup (through the joke that is the ballot box): the evil scientists themselves simply carry on—as they increasingly so—using the media to scare us into the politicians giving scientists money.

These fuckers are charlatans—snake oil salesmen—and they should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

And, of course, this needs to be extended to politicians: if their promised goodness does not arrive out of their policies, why should we not be able to sue the cunts for making us poorer and more miserable than we were before?

Or, in the words of your humble Devil, they might stop being a bunch of lying sacks of shit with no more excuse to live of this Earth than a fucking alien weevil.

* Yes, I know that the human form is CJD: I just couldn't be bothered to explain it in the middle of a rant.

Green idiocy

Caroline Lucas, the face of evil: "look upon my works, ye people with half a brain, and despair (for the future of the human race)."

So, Dr Caroline Lucas has been wittering on about "sustainability" at the Hay Festival.
Hay Festival 2011: Caroline Lucas leads call for return to wartime austerity

Hay Festival went back in time today with a call to return to a more simple life when we made do with old clothes, shared baths and grew our own vegetables.

Lest we forget and imagine that Lucas is qualified to prognosticate on anything useful, your humble Devil would like to remind his faithful readers that Caroline earned her doctorate with a thesis entitled Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance.
Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green MP, led the call for “economics as if people mattered”.

Actually, the one thing that strikes me about Green economics is precisely that it assumes that people do not matter in the slightest; the kind of economics pushed by Caroline Lucas and her evil fellow travellers absolutely does not take account of people's wants and desires—and it doesn't even really take account of their needs.

After all, in this country we have just had one of the driest springs on record, which is playing havoc with harvests. Now, if we shut down global trade, as Lucas desires, then we will shortly be starving.
Her argument was based on the seminal work of EF Schumacher, the author of Small is Beautiful.

So, who is this guy?
Schumacher was a respected economist who worked with John Maynard Keynes and John Kenneth Galbraith...

Oh, for fuck's sake...

And here's a telling quote...
The most striking thing about modern industry is that it requires so much and accomplishes so little. Modern industry seems to be inefficient to a degree that surpasses one's ordinary powers of imagination. Its inefficiency therefore remains unnoticed.

... says the man who spent "twenty years as the Chief Economic Advisor to the National Coal Board in the United Kingdom". Yes, that's twenty years as advisor to the nationalised coal industry—no wonder he thought that industry was inefficient!

Still, let's wander back to Lucas's wibble...
Almost forty years after publication of the book she not only said “small is possible” but “small is inevitable”.

Over my dead body. But that won't be enough for you, will it, Caroline? Just one dead body is going to be insufficient for you to realise your plans: you are going to need millions of dead bodies, and many more living in a state of... well, you call it "wartime austerity"I call it "poverty".
In fact if we do not move to a more sustainable way of living then global warming is a “hideous prospect”.

Oh, do go and study some science or some history, woman, rather than feminist wank. Do you see that Doctorate that you have? It's pure fucking self-indulgance, funded through extortion—if you practiced what you preached, you'd have spent your time growing vegetables in your garden rather than using the product of other people's labour to fund your utterly pointless education.

Fuck off, you disgusting hypocrite.
Even David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has admitted Schumacher is an influence on his idea for a ‘Big Society’.

And I didn't think it was possible to hate our carved-wax-candle-faced Prime Minister any more than I already do. Every time, he manages to surprise me.

For fuck's sake, why don't all of you Malthusian bastards go and drown yourselves in a bucket of rancid horse-piss and thus leave more of those scarce resources for the rest of us...?