[syndicated profile] badastronomy_feed

Posted by Phil Plait

I’m fascinated by tides. Not so much the movement of the ocean, as you might think. That’s a product of tides; what I mean is the change of gravity over distance stretching things.

Say what?

Let me explain. In fact, let me explain in the latest episode of Crash Course Astronomy: Tides!

This episode was one I was looking forward to writing ever since Hank Green asked me to do the series. Tides affect everything! The length of the day, the Moon always showing one face to us, the Moon’s recession from the Earth, and yes, even the oceans’ rise and fall. These are all due to a series of interlocked steps in physical logic that starts with the simple fact that gravity gets weaker with distance. Start with that, and the rest is inevitable.

Tides affect stars orbiting each other, galaxies when they collide, and even black holes as they gobble down matter. That’s so cool!

I know the idea that the Earth has two tidal bulges confuses a lot of people, so hopefully my explanation in the video makes it clear why they both exist, and not just one bulge pointing toward the Moon. There are a lot of ways to explain this; the actual vector analysis in a non-rotating frame is the best way, but I opted not to get into that in this short, basic video. Duh.

Also? I love the graphics Thought Café did for this episode, especially the one at the very very end. This article I wrote may help you get that joke. There is, after all, a tide in the affairs of men.

P.S. Yes, of course I’ve read Shakespeare. His work has a lot of astronomical overlap.

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Catherine Bearder MEP

Wildlife crime is a major threat to international security. This trade is now worth an estimated $20 billion a year and has become the fourth largest illegal activity in the world after drugs, arms and people-trafficking. From Al Shabab in Somalia to Boko Haram in Nigeria, armed groups and criminal gangs are making huge profits from the illegal wildlife trade, fuelling instability and conflict.

We need to act now to stop them.

Last November, 82 MEPs co-signed my letter to the European Commission calling for an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Crime. To follow up on this, yesterday I launched the MEPs for Wildlife Interest Group, led by one MEP from each of the European Parliament’s seven political groups. This will keep the pressure on the Commission to propose a comprehensive EU Action Plan with measures proposed across all areas, from development aid to justice and home affairs.

Any EU plan should include three elements: a permanent fund to boost anti-poaching efforts, tougher minimum sanctions for wildlife criminals and a dedicated new Wildlife Crime Unit in the EU’s crime-fighting agency Europol. Anti-poaching patrols and customs officers in Africa are increasingly finding themselves outmanned and outgunned. Europe is still used as a major transit for the illegal wildlife trade and in some EU member states wildlife traffickers continue to be let off with a mere fine and a slap on the wrist. We need a proper strategy that addresses these problems in every area that the EU operates.

Time is against us. The illegal ivory trade has led to the slaughter of 100,000 elephants in the past two years. At this rate, African elephants in the wild could be wiped out within 10 years. I was pleased to see China has bowed to international pressure and announced a year-long ban on carved ivory imports ahead of this week’s visit by Prince William. But much more needs to be done. The fight against wildlife-trafficking will not be easy. But future generations would not forgive us if we failed to put a stop to this despicable trade.

* Catherine Bearder is the Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East

The Big Idea: Carrie Patel

Mar. 6th, 2015 01:30 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

When you build on secrets you never know what you’ll find. Just ask Carrie Patel, whose novel, The Buried Life, includes secrets literally built upon. What’s going on there?


The Buried Life is about lost history, a forgotten catastrophe, and the city that springs up in its wake.

It started with the city: an underground metropolis where squalid, smoke-choked burrows nestle next to magnificent caverns framed with fire and stained glass. It was a place of glamor and grime.

I suspect that lots of speculative fiction begins with a setting. You take a mental snapshot of a new world that captures the atmosphere and the highlights. It’s a start, but it’s not enough. You need something you can walk around in.

So, you sketch the landmarks that exist just outside the frame—historical context and regional conditions. Things that anchor your new city and prevent it from drifting off into the stratosphere. Next, you sharpen the image to bring out the colors and details so that your snapshot will look just as bright and vivid to everyone else when you finally share it.

That leaves you with a fabulous backdrop, which isn’t the same thing as a story.

However, it’s the process of building the city up and out that can turn a Nifty Idea into a Big Idea. The Big Idea is what gives logic and context to the details that make up a vibrant, unique world. At some point, when you’re rooting around in the bones of your city, stringing all those tendons together and trying to get the blood flowing from one end to the other, you stumble upon its DNA.

Suddenly, you know what it’s really made of and where it’s really going.

That’s when you find your story.

For me, the “aha!” moment came when I saw Recoletta, my new city, for what it was: one civilization built in the hollowed-out corpse of another.

At that point, all of the cool flourishes and atmospheric touches were tied together by the inextricable bonds of context. Recoletta was built underground because it had started out as a city-sized bunker in more desperate times. A strict social hierarchy developed because, in the early days, people handed the reins over to individuals with practical skills—engineers, doctors, miners, and so on—and left the grunt work to the lawyers and politicians.

By the time events in The Buried Life roll around, people have stuck to their underground homes because old habits die hard. And the “whitenails,” the people with enough clout to keep their hands clean, are still at the top of the food chain. It’s the post-post-apocalypse.

But the most interesting detail for me was how these fictional citizens related to their troubled history. In the world of The Buried Life, they don’t reconstruct it. They hide it.

The widespread fear of history becomes a superstition. Ideas of the past are seen as dangerous and virulent—after all, didn’t they drive humanity to mass destruction centuries before?

And that’s where the story came from—the tension between a history that almost no one wants to face and the intrepid few who are trying to uncover it. The Big Idea is about constructing a city built on secrets and leading the heroes to its heart.


The Buried Life: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.

Libriomancer is a Kindle Daily Deal

Mar. 6th, 2015 08:00 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Today only, Libriomancer is a Kindle Daily Deal, meaning you can head over to Amazon and pick it up for Kindle for only $1.99. This is the first time one of my books has been spotlighted as a KDD, and it’s both awesome and a pretty big deal :-)

ETA: It looks like several other ebook vendors have jumped on board as well. The book is $1.99 at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks!

Libriomancer is the first book in the Magic ex Libris series, and remains the bestselling of all of my books. Io9 called it a “love letter to science fiction and fantasy, with real emotional weight at the center of it — except this version is a rollicking adventure story full of ridiculous little touches … a seriously fun ride for anyone who’s loved geeky books their whole life.”

The book includes:

  • A magic-using librarian from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • A motorcycle-riding dryad
  • An enchanted convertible
  • Smudge the fire-spider
  • Johannes Gutenberg

For those who haven’t read it, here’s the synopsis:

Isaac Vainio has spent the past two years working at the Copper River Library in northern Michigan, secretly cataloguing books for their magical potential, but forbidden from using that magic himself…except for emergencies. Emergencies like a trio of young vampires who believe Isaac has been killing their kind, and intend to return the favor.

Isaac is a libriomancer, brilliant but undisciplined, with the ability to reach into books and create objects from their pages. And attacking a libriomancer in his own library is never a good idea.

But vampires are only the beginning. This was merely the latest in a series of attacks against members of Die Zwelf Portenære, a secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg to protect the world from supernatural threats. Among the casualties is Ray Walker, Isaac’s friend and mentor in magic.

Complicating matters further is the arrival of a dryad named Lena Greenwood. Along with a neurotic fire-spider named Smudge, Isaac and Lena set out to find and stop whoever is behind the attacks. But things are worse than Isaac imagined. An unknown killer of unimaginable power has been torturing and murdering humans and vampires alike. And Gutenberg, now more than six hundred years old, has disappeared. If Isaac is to have any hope of preventing all-out war, he will have to truly master the magic of libriomancy.

Assuming he doesn’t lose control and wipe himself from existence first.

The first three Magic ex Libris books are out. I’m working on #4, Revisionary, but the first three form a pretty complete trilogy arc. Just in case you were worried about cliffhangers or anything.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still pick up the book and download an app to read it on your computer or smart device.

If you’ve read and enjoyed this series and felt like signal-boosting, I’d be very grateful. If you’ve been thinking of checking out my work, today could be a very good day to pick up the e-book.

My thanks to DAW for continuing to believe in and support Isaac, Lena, Nidhi, and Smudge!


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Opinion: On The Buses? Not anymore

Mar. 6th, 2015 11:34 am
[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Jack Davies

One of my first memories of my childhood was catching the number 119 bus from the corner of Efford Way, where I lived. It would take us into Lymington High Street, passing through Howards Mead, Bays Road and other roads that made up Pennington Village.

I never thought of how important that bus service was to those elderly, young and infirm people perched on the edge of their seats around me. It was only as I grew older that I began to appreciate the bus service more. Whenever I needed to quickly nip into Lymington, it was there. There was never any thought of funding or the possibility that the service might not be run on Saturday (market day).

However, on the 4th of January this year, that’s exactly what happened. There had been speculation for months, but nobody expected it to come so soon; nor so hard. Hampshire County Council announced a 70% cut in the subsidies to the bus company to £500,000. Another £600,000 in cuts were directed at supported services. All 119 buses, the main form of transport for Pennington residents to the market on Saturday, were ended on the weekends. Only five 119 services would be run between Lymington Bus Depot and New Milton.

Predictably, there was outrage.

Hundreds of angry residents confronted bosses of the bus companies to call for the reinstatement of the 119 bus service and for more services on the weekends and in the evening.

Having been in contact with the South Coast director for one of the affected bus companies, I know that they are devastated at the loss of funding for vital bus routes in the New Forest. It is catastrophic that the Conservative-run Hampshire County Council could cut such a vital and public funded bus service.

I have lobbied the Executive Member of Hampshire County Council for Economy, Transport and Environment and will meet with the South Coast Director of the bus company at the end of March. Hopefully, I might be able to make some progress in getting the 119 route reinstated on Saturdays with more evening services running. However, if the County Council cannot be convinced of the need for such a bus service in Pennington then I fear for residents living in other Conservative-run jurisdictions who will most likely suffer the same fate.

* Jack Davies is a Liberal Democrat activist and district council candidate for New Forest District council. He lives in Pennington, Hampshire and is 19 years old.

Interesting Links for 06-03-2015

Mar. 6th, 2015 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_forbes_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

If we look at the total universe of government bonds in the eurozone then of course there’s enough bonds for the European Central Bank to do the quantitative easing which they announced the details of yesterday. They’re launching €1.1 trillion of that QE and the profligate governments of Europe most definitely have that much debt out there: and rather more in fact. However, the ECB has hedged its program around with several restrictions. And it’s not entirely obvious that there’s enough qualifying debt for them to be able to actually complete the program as planned. Perhaps the biggest difficulty is in German Bunds (the equivalent of Treasuries in the US, Gilts in the UK) but that’s not the only one that we might want to ponder over.

The difficulty is those very rules that the ECB has put around the purchases.

OK, as background, of course it’s good that they are starting QE. As a matter of public policy we now know (from the examples of the Fed and BoE, if no one else) that unconventional monetary policy really does help at the zero lower bound. So as a basic point we’re really only wondering why it has taken the ECB six years to start this obvious and beneficial policy (don’t wonder too much. The answer is that good economics was stymied by bad politics).

OK, that’s good so far. However, there’s still a massive fear of “mutualising” the debt. That is, that the taxpayers of one eurozone country might end up on the hook for the losses that come about if some other eurozone country defaults on its bonds. Or even the losses that come from price changes. So 80% of the purchases are going to be by the local branch of the ECB (Bundesbank for Germany, Bank of France for France and so on) and the credit and price risks remain on the books of those local branches. Further, that 80% of purchases is only going to be in the local bonds of those national branches. So, the Bank of France buys French debt, the Bundesbank German and so on. Only the other 20% is spread out across the zone as a whole and done by the ECB centrally (and Greece ain’t in the program, not until the deal gets signed off in a few months).

And then there’s this:

The rate on securities from Spanish two-year notes to Belgian 30-year bonds dropped to all-time lows after ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday the euro-area’s national central banks will start buying the bonds of their home markets from March 9. Germany’s two-year debt underperformed its peers after the ECB said it wouldn’t include securities with yields below its minus 0.2 percent deposit rate.

Hmm. If we have a look at Germany’s debt then we see that the rate on short term paper is well below that 0.2% rate. So that can’t be included. 10 year Bunds are just above that rate but how long will that last? And 30 year bunds, well, there’s also something of a problem there:

EMU bond yields are already at unprecedented lows, with two-year rates below zero in seven countries. German, Austrian, Dutch and Finnish yields are negative even at five-year maturities. There is a chronic shortage of assets to buy as budget deficits keeping falling.

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_forbes_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

They’re certainly coming thick and fast, aren’t they, accusations and findings of rate and market rigging in the financial markets? We’ve had foreign exchange, precious metals, at least two rigging scandals about Libor and here comes the next one. An investigation into whether the banks rigged the liquidity auctions back at the heart of the financial crisis itself.

The basic thought is that the banks weren’t paying enough in interest costs for the emergency liquidity they were getting from the Bank of England. This happened because they were colluding over the prices they offered to pay for that very liquidity. All of which, if true, looks at the very least to be most ungrateful. Here’s the State willing to bail you out (and the banks would have gone under without this liquidity) and you’re going to cheat said State over the price you pay for the help?

It does have to be said though that this is the beginning: nothing has been proven as yet. And it’s also going to be very interesting indeed to see the end result. Was this like one instance of the Libor rigging, something we might largely approve of, or is it going to be like the other Libor rigging incident in which case people should probably be going to jail?

Here’s the basic announcement:

The Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into the Bank of England’s crisis-era liquidity auctions is believed to relate to a £180bn funding scheme that was ended by the BoE in 2010.

The SFO confirmed on Wednesday night that it had launched an investigation after the Bank handed it the results of an inquiry launched in the summer and conducted by City barrister Lord Grabiner

The fraud office said the investigation concerned “liquidity auctions during the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008”.

Here’s a bit more detail:

The process was simple: the Bank would telephone banks, asking them to say what rate of interest they were willing to pay. Those who offered the highest were deemed to have the greatest need for funding, and thus would receive the loans. To ensure fair prices, each bank was contacted individually. If someone attempted to get funding on the cheap, they would miss out.

Or so the theory goes. Of course, if banks were sharing their bids with each other, this wouldn’t be the case. Theoretically, it would have been possible to lowball the auction, allowing banks to access liquidity cheaper than they should have, at the expense of the Bank.

Let’s just take a spin around the Libor riggings first. There’s two different stories there. The first is that certain banks, certain teams within banks, rigged the markets so as to produce a profit for their own trading books. This is horrible, illegal, and is being dealt with harshly, as it should be. But there’s the second Libor rigging scandal as well. To understand this consider what Libor is. It’s the rate at which a bank says it can borrow on the market. It’s not the rate at which the bank says it would lend, nor is it a record of actual loans taking place (and nor does anyone have to lend or borrow at the stated rates).

OK, also consider what happened in the depth of that crisis. The interbank market for loans entirely dried up. And Libor is the London Interbank Bid Offer Rate. That is, Libor was measuring, in the depths of that crisis, the rates in a market that effectively didn’t exist: the rates at which London banks would lend to each other when no London bank was willing to lend to another one. The actual Libor rate there was therefore something like infinity. And no one at all would have been happy if the banks had been filing Libor rates of infinity. That really, really, would not have been helpful at that time.

[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

Stop sign. On a road. In a field. Because roads and fields and the cliches of this election season
There are two reasons for the Liberal Democrats being in government – one is to get Liberal Democrats policies put into action, the other is to stop Tory policies. With less than one in ten MPs in Parliament being Lib Dem, both lists are impressively long given that basic Parliamentary reality.

I’ve written before about what the Lib Dems have done, so this time here’s a list of extreme Tory policies stopped:

  • Inheritance tax cuts for millionaires
  • Scrapping help with housing costs for young people
  • Weakening arrest warrants for people who have fled overseas
  • Firing workers at will, without any reasons given
  • Regional pay penalising public sector workers outside London and the South East
  • The Snoopers’ Charter
  • Bringing back the old O-level / CSE divide
  • Profit-making in state schools
  • Cutting the time childminders can give to each child
  • Cutting new nursery buildings
  • Stopping geography teachers telling children about how we can tackle climate change
  • Axing human rights from national curriculum
  • Ditching the Human Rights Act
  • Weakening the protections in the Equalities Act
  • Renewing Trident in this Parliament
  • Scrapping Natural England
  • Cutting investment in green energy
  • Nation-wide immigration checks on all new tenants and lodgers

As for what the Liberal Democrats have positively achieved, take a look at the long list of policies from the 2010 Lib Dem manifesto that have been implemented, or this poster.

If you are interested in more news about the Liberal Democrats, sign up for my monthly Liberal Democrat Newswire.

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_forbes_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

This looks like a very sensible move by India, to trial a change in the way that food subsidies are provided in that country. Currently there’s something of a nightmare system whereby the government buys up grains and pulses at set rates, then distributes them through special warehouses and shops to the poor. This covers as much as 67% of the population (there is a very large hinterland of absolute poverty in India) and it works about as well as you would expect a government subsidised physical food distribution program of this size to work. That is, not all that well. The waste and rot, to say nothing of the corruption, within the scheme is a byword.

So, India is going to trial replacing that physical food distribution with the distribution instead of cash. That cash can then be used to purchase food in the normal private markets. It all sounds like an excellent idea:

Government will launch direct cash transfer of food subsidy to beneficiaries in Chandigarh and Puducherry on pilot basis. While stating that the ministry is keen to do this to stop leakage of PDS grain, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan reiterated they have “outrightly” rejected the PM-appointed committee’s recommendation to reduce food security coverage from 67% to 40%.

The panel on restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI) in its report submitted to PM had recommended these measures besides others. The ministry has proposed the two Union Territories for direct cash transfer since these are urban areas and the will be better monitoring.

Of course, there’s a number of questions about the idea of running this out nationally:

On direct cash transfer, Paswan said, “This suggestion is good for curbing leakages in PDS. We are in support of this on principle but there are 3-4 problems.”

“If we transfer cash, beneficiary can buy foodgrains from open market. Then what will happen to our procurement operation and what will we do with procured foodgrains and our storage facilities. We need to seriously think about this before implementing it on larger scale,” he said.

All very C. Northcote Parkinson there: when did a bureaucracy not complain about the idea that change might leave it with nothing to do?

There’s been a very interesting recent book on exactly this subject. This has in fact been trialed on a smaller (and largely private) scale just recently. And the results seem to be very impressive. There’s a very definite improvement in efficiency: more of the aid actually gets to the intended recipients of said aid. Which, given that the intended recipients are the poorest of the poor is a very good idea indeed.

However, there’s always an argument against substituting cash for goods and benefits in kind. Which is that the recipients may not spend that cash on what they’re “supposed” to spend it upon. It’s this which means that food aid in the United States is in food stamps, not simple cash for example. People are worried that instead of the aid feeding (say) poor children some parents might just take that cash off and spend it on (say) booze.

However, the response to this is that the recipients obviously prefer to have the cash and the choice. This is why, when we do hear about people selling food stamps for cash they sell at a discount. Because people value the cash more than the food stamps. It’s thus an increase in wealth in general to proffer that cash rather than the more limited food stamps and or food itself. We the taxpayers are paying out the same amount, the recipients value the cash more than the goods in kind, thus we’re all, collectively, richer.

So the earlier experiments found with the substitution of cash for the food rations in India. The recipients valued being able to save some of the money, having a choice as to what food to buy and where and so on. Even if the handout was the same in absolute terms, having it in cash made the recipients richer than having it in kind.

As a matter of public policy then it would seem sensible to convert all such welfare schemes that deliver goods and services in kind into simple cash transfers. That would cost us, the taxpayers, the same amount of money as presently but would increase the value of the transfers to those poor. We all become richer. It’s worth noting that near all of the welfare states of Europe do it this way (with the exception of education in most and health care in many). This just is the more efficient manner to organise these things.

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Nick Tyrone

David BoyleIn a series of essays that CentreForum will be releasing over the next few months in anticipation of the book, The Challenges Facing Contemporary Liberalism: 2015 -2025, the liberal think tank has today released “How to save public service choice for liberalism?” by David Boyle, which can be read here.

It is the fourth in the series; the first, On Blasphemy by Maajid Nawaz, can be read here; the second, an essay by Tim Farron, Neil Stockley and Duncan Brack on green growth and climate change, can be read here; the third, “Bold liberal tax reforms for a stronger economy and fairer society” by Adam Corlett, can be read here.

David begins by stating that never has one word caused as many problems as “choice”. The word has become nebulous, and different political parties use it in very different ways. What the paper focuses on is what the word means for liberals.

It looks at choice and its meaning through the prism of public service provision. David asserts that neither the Right’s response to poor choice in regards to public services (let bad providers go bust) nor the Left’s (grin and bear bad services for the overall common good) is really good enough. “Quality” is another word that has lost a great deal of meaning dependent on which political party stripes it’s being uttered under. What counts as quality in public service provision will inevitably cover a huge number of factors.

Flexibility is singled out in the paper in terms of importance when looking at public services within a liberal framework. David tells of a muscular dystrophy patient who saw her consultant every six months, always to simply tell her doctor she was doing fine. What she really needed was the ability to call him on the occasions when she was not fine. In other words, the Left’s guarantee of provision being available should be combined with the Right’s sense of choice being provided.

A more flexible system would mean less certainty but more human connection. This would not come without problems: up-front investment would be required, and there is the very real possibility that some patients may very well choose their care poorly. But as liberals, we should want the system that works the best, regardless of ideological hang-ups; we should also trust in individuals to know what’s best for them.




* Nick Tyrone is a liberal writer. He blogs at nicktyrone.com and is an associate director at CentreForum.

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_forbes_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

That there is a difference between pay for men and pay for women is true. And it’s also true that we’d like to work out why this is happening. Only once we know what is happening and why can we then try to make policy decisions over what we might do about it. It’s thus really rather important that we have the correct numbers over what is happening. That is, we have to be looking at the correct statistics so that we can analyse what is going on. That simply has to be our starting point and without that we’re entirely lost as to what policy should or even might be.

Sadly, we don’t in fact get the right statistics on this. In the US it’s a commonplace that “women earn 77 cents for each $ that men do” and that’s true as a matter of gross income. But we need to know how much of that is because of choices that people make over working hours, what job they do, the flexibility they might prefer over pay and so on, and then see what’s left which might be the result of direct discrimination (what economists refer to as “taste discrimination”). Differences that come from individual choices, well, we might, if we’re going to be very autocratic about it, be something we want to change by forcing people to make different decisions. That part, whatever it is, of the gender pay gap that comes from that direct discrimination we would obviously like to destroy.

Thus the importance of the correct statistics as our starting point. We all want to reduce inequality that comes from prejudice: so, how much of the inequality does come from prejudice? At which point we face the uncomfortable truth that we’re not being presented with the correct statistics on this subject.

In the run up to International Women’s Day (March 8th) we have the gender pay gap statistics from Eurostat (for the EU) and from the International Labor Organisation (really, a part of the United Nations). And they’re both making the same mistake, one that the UK Statistics Authority has called highly misleading. This really does not help us in trying to understand what is going on nor what we might want to do about it.

The problem is that both organisations are comparing gross incomes of men and women without taking account of those different choices that are made about employment terms and conditions.

Here’s one report on the Eurostat release:

The UK has the sixth-largest pay gap between men and women in the European Union, statistics agency Eurostat has revealed

Women earned an average of 16.4pc less than men in the European Union in 2013, with the gap even greater in many northern countries.

At 29.9pc, the biggest salary gap was in Estonia, followed by Austria at 23pc, the Czech Republic at 22.1pc and Germany at 21.6pc.

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Among a “lethal mix” of failings, the key finding of the investigation into baby deaths at Furness general hospital was a group of “over-zealous” midwives known as “the musketeers” who imposed the natural childbirth approach “at any cost”; refused to call doctors when needed; and colluded to conceal their negligence.

This finding runs counter to an orthodoxy that has governed childbirth for the past half-century. To learn that the rationale behind midwife-led units will now be scrutinised in a review of NHS England’s maternity services is to hear the screeching of brakes on the juggernaut that is childbirth ideology.

Or is this not feminism but the naturalistic fallacy?

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

To save the union, Britain will have to find its own Abraham Lincoln

Yup, Martin Kettle says so so it must be true. So who wants Sherman’s job of burning Strathclyde? All, you know, to free the Scots from their slavery to the SNP and nationalism?

Actually, on second thoughts, why bother. Place ain’t worth the bones of a single Prestonian Grenadier, is it?

Tee hee

Mar. 6th, 2015 06:18 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

The failure of the attack eventually landed Castro in prison. Naty Revuelta sustained his morale by sending him books, including a copy of Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale with its cover replaced by a picture of a portrait of her. She also posted him her favourite poem, Kipling’s If, and an envelope filled with sand to remind him of the beach. “Despite the distance,” she wrote, “you are very good company.”

In his turn, Castro penned letters to her which, though necessarily guarded as they had to undergo censorship, revealed some of his rarely seen private passions. “I am on fire,” he told her in 1954. “Write to me, for I cannot be without your letters. I love you very much.” He asked her to stop using a typewriter, so that he could see her handwritten script – “so delicate, feminine, unmistakable”.

At the same time, however, he was also writing to his wife, Mirta Diaz-Balart. One day – perhaps through mischief-making by the prison governor – she received an envelope intended for Revuelta and vice versa.


matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
Mat Bowles

August 2014

101112 13141516

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

Here's the legal text:
Printed by Dreamwidth LLC, Maryland, USA. Published and promoted by Mat Bowles (Liberal Democrat) of Brighouse, West Yorkshire.
Page generated Mar. 6th, 2015 02:05 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios