Murder for fat: The Day Today

Every day, the day today:

The New Freedom of Information

I am no scientist, and I have little knowledge of the science behind climate measurement and modelling. But at the same time, I've had no particular reason to doubt the "consensus" of man-made global warming.

Nonetheless, I know a little about coercion and bullying, and this is has shaped my perception of the discussion surrounding climate change. When a dissenting opinion is branded "denialism" and when the mainstream media unite to eulogise science that it has consistently failed to analyse with even a modicum of scientific training, I begin to have doubts.

When the global temperature - once again - fails to follow even the direction of consensus climate models, I begin to feel uncomfortable that mankind is capable of accurately determining what is going to happen to the temperature of the planet in the foreseeable future.

When French A level exams contain substantial sections in how to converse about climate change, I begin to suspect propaganda.

But of course, this is science we're talking about. If anything, the scientific mind demands to be challenged, and invites contrary opinion - however unqualified - in order to test its theories, and thus provide a key means to improve upon those theories.

The hacking of Norwich CRU, which unearthed files revealing concerted efforts to avoid requests for data from those with opposing opinions (including those made via the Freedom of Information Act and subject to criminal penalties for abuse) shows just how little interest in scientific rigour and the dissemination of information one of the four key suppliers of climate analysis to the IPCC has.

But it also shows that in an age where the speed of advance in technology has far exceeded the ability of most to understand it, that attempts to hide, distort and conceal information are subject to a new kind of freedom. One that the state is far from being able to control, and one that threatens to bring one of the defining issues of a generation crashing back down to earth.

ContactPoint: Massive government database projects always work out brilliantly well

What's in a name? ContactPoint sounds kinda nice. Perhaps it's a telephone box or some kind of new technology that makes it easier for us to talk to each other and give strangers and trees hugs.

Well it's not. It's another fucking government database - of every new person in the UK, or "every child" as the government puts it. It's received scant attention despite it's constant growth, because it's all warm and fuzzy and nice. It was recently announced that up to 390,000 people have access to the database (authorised access, that is) and "From late October, local authorities will start training users across England" so the number is going to get much higher.

Of course, those 400 thousand people are all vetted by the government (i.e. vetted by other people within the same group) and it isn't like the government already "lost" the details (including bank account information) of 25 million people. or misplaced a USB stick with 4 million criminal records. There aren't dozens of other examples of lost data.

But don't worry. If they lose the data again, our humble politicians have processes and procedures in place should anything go wrong. They will say sorry to other MPs and add in a lot of reasons why they shouldn't really have to apologise. And thus, justice will be done. And seen to be done, no less.

Have you ever seen the systems that will monitor a person's movements via their mobile phone. If I ever felt the need to monitor my child with such a thing, I would know that I was an utter failure as a parent. Just as our fearless leaders are an utter failure as a governing force. I look forward to someone picking up the data, unencrypted lying around on public transport somewhere.

Shut the fuck up about your favourite website

The internet world is aflame in the past few days with the very welcome news that bunches of money-hoarding bastards continuing to fuck over the poor have failed in their attempt to conceal their poor-fucking behaviour. Hearty congratulations all round, and particularly to Guido Fawkes and Wikileaks for fighting the good fight, prompted by The Guardian's well-aimed article advising us that they couldn't talk to us about anything any more.

But what is utterly pointless, narcissistic and just plain wrong, is the usual horde of internet fanboys who queue up to take the credit for anything online. Apparently the whole thing was the combined effort of the absurdly-named blogosphere. "A little bit of web 2.0 history in the making methinks" says one anonymous commenter, who is obviously a complete cunt. I mean a complete "chump". But no it wasn't, it was fucking Twitter wot won it. "Within hours [of being posted by the noisy but minority audience on Twitter], the gagging order had been dropped". A clear demonstration of cause and effect by the professors over at Times Online.

News and information is online now. It doesn't make you special that you posted the same thing as everyone else on your favourite website.

Next, I assume, the faddish and temporarily-popular private website Facebook will be jockeying for position as the saviour of freedom of speech and faux-democractic values. Or Myspace perhaps. Actually, no, Myspace isn't fashionable any more, isn't? If you fuckers stopped preening your feathers in the endless pursuit of self-promotion, maybe you'd actually be able to achieve something approaching your unfounded and ridiculous claims. Pipe dreams, I know.

Learn how to pick fights: know your enemy

It's a good moment for a break from political ranting for a video series. This week: how to pick your fight.

For starters, don't assume that because someone looks like an easy target, they aren't going to knock your teeth out. Like these drunken idiots who pick on two men in drag. Unfortunately for them, they were two cage fighters on a fancy dress night. Cue thugs hitting the floor:

And don't assume that because you have numbers on your side, you're going to win. And road rage is dumb. Something like 6 guys take a pop at this fellah, and they all end up on the ground:

You may hate shows like Cops, but you gotta love dramatic voice-over guy. Anyhow, this is a nice demonstration of why you need to think before you start mouthing off at people:

But of course, the best thing to do is avoid a fight altogether. Particularly if you're calling out a kickboxing champion. And one with a classy way with words:

Politicians are a superior race of people

It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry at some of the antics of the current government. The latest is man-hating lunatic Harriet Harman, who allegedly "crashed [her] car while on mobile and drove off without leaving details". Bad enough, of course, but the ever-charming Harman is accused of winding down her window and saying to the victim "I’m Harriet Harman- you know where you can get hold of me". Presumably the political equivalent of "don't you know who I am?". Although personally, I find it closer to "I'm the Bishop of Southwark. It's what I do".

The underlying feeling is clear: Harman is not going to waste her time dealing with some prole who stupidly parked their car in her way. Because she has important business to do. The business of fucking over anyone who doesn't share her misguided moral and social values.

It speaks volumes about the social attitudes of the UK government that a minister could have published these words on family roles:
" cannot be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social cohesion"

Why not do away with the women and children too? But of course, Harman is a special breed of woman; one that wears a kevlar vest to tour her own constituency and an architect of the Equality Bill which takes the staggeringly stupid approach of promoting inequality in order to achieve...well, equality.

And let's not forget Harman's role in attempting a blatant cover-up of the MP's expenses scandal. She advocated exempting expenses from Freedom of Information requests, instead proving a summary under 26 headings. She was quite specific about the number of headings. If she'd thrown in a pie chart or two, maybe I could have been persuaded.

Of course, Harman's day to day rule is more prosaic; lying about statistics to support her personal views (with the aim of turning those views into policies) and taking dodgy "donations".

Yeah, Ms Harman is a different breed, alright.

It's about time only government-approved adults had contact with children

Or, so, apparently, the current government believe.
Not content with treating the adult population like children, in their infinite wisdom, our fearless leaders have decided that we need something called the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Independent as in "politically motivated", safeguarding as in "conducting expensive and pointless administration" and authority as in "self-appointed". From their website:

"We will assess every person who wants to work or volunteer with vulnerable people. Potential employees and volunteers will need to apply to register with the ISA."

They'll have to pay too - £64 for the privilege of proving that they are not a dangerous criminal or paedophile. And we aren't talking small numbers. Apparently, something like 11 million people will have to register.

In situations like this, I find it difficult not to look for some other motivation than the stated object of the ISA. Because let's face it, it isn't going to work at all. The government's old boys network of incompetent IT contractors wouldn't know a secure database if they found one on a USB stick in the back of a taxi. And even if they did, this would do absolutely nothing to stop first time offenders, or those who have otherwise steered clear of the grasping arm of the law.

It reminds me of an endearing quote regarding the banning of parents from their children's school sports day:

"If we let parents into the school they would have been free to roam the grounds.

All unsupervised adults must be kept away from children."

That's unsupervised adults as in, the kids' parents. They have not been appointed by the state, and hence, are suspect. These days, suspects too, as the concept of being innocent until proven guilty is something neither the government or police seem to be able to tolerate.

The natural end would seem to be that only the state appointed and approved can be part of the normal upbringing of a child. We already have disturbing stories of children being forcibly seized from seemingly adequate parents.

And if the fact that the idea that the state - any state - is best placed to raise children is distasteful (who cares if Plato thought it would be great?) is less concerning than the moral values espoused and then broken in equal measure by an odious succession of British governments. I wouldn't turn to them for advice in a pub; much less entrust them as the caretakers of the nation's future generations.

Are there any parents amongst this retarded goverment of ours?

So, our loyal servants in the UK government continue their seemingly unstoppable campaign to, well, stop us doing anything that doesn't fit with their idea of a model society and their religious, cultural and ethical values. Most recently lying through their teeth to "denormalise" (shudder) drinking, which follows hot on the heels of a successful campaign to make smokers demeaned and despised (yes, lies featured heavily in that process too), yes, our misguidedly paternalistic governing fathers are coming for your vice next. What was it Doug Stanhope said about vice cops in the USA? Oh yeah:
But then you think about it vice cops don't fight real crime; that's not their job. Real cops fight real crime. A vice cop's only job is to fuck up the party...

Make no mistake, if you aren't silently queueing for your latest slice of government propaganda, punctuated infrequently by words of praise for our fearless leaders, our puritanical overlords are coming for you, and your chosen vice, whether that is a type of food, or a social, religious or political idea.

But what I don't get is, are there any parents amongst this retarded government of ours? Would they seriously use the same tactics when raising their own children?

I see my job as a parent to prepare my child for the world ahead; to equip him with the necessary skills and experience to make his own decisions, which will hopefully be the right ones. But he's going to do things I don't want him to, and make mistakes. I know I did, and it's pretty likely he'll do the same. As a teenager, he'll get drunk underage, and probably experiment with drugs. He'll sleep with girls he has do desire to be in a long term relationship with and may even commit some petty crime like shoplifting.

And then, he'll learn in the only way a child truly can - by experiencing things and then deciding for himself whether it's something to pursue. Does anyone really believe that they can tell a child to do something, and they will blindly follow along? This is why not everyone smokes, and not everyone who's tried crack is a crackhead. People exercise their freedom to choose, and hey, most of the time they seem to choose pretty well. If you deny your child experience, then you will create a child without the ability to learn from their experience. A child doomed to constantly making the wrong choices.

Now, there's a cut-off point. At various points (depending on what is being chosen) a child is too young to genuinely exercise free will. They can't be allowed to experience some things, and have to be physically made to do others because do not have the experience or skills to choose themselves. A baby doesn't really have free will at all, and a toddler is on the path to learning it. By degrees, we give our children the freedom appropriate to their knowledge and experience. At a certain age (our society seems confused as to whether this is 16 or 18) a child is considered to have complete free will, and is then able to make their own decisions.

Clearly our government either believes us to be akin to babies or toddlers, or has a very different approach to parenting to me. One that will undoubtedly lead to a generation that does not know how to exercise free will; one that does not have the equipment to make the right choices based on new experiences. One that has been denied something that is essential to them as a human being able to stand alone and exercise freedom.

Perhaps I'm developing alzheimers. How could I forget? That's the intention of this government, isn't it?