Today is one of those birthday things. I knew it was coming up, because the BHA invited me to their annual event but a) I'd have had to pay and b) it was in London, so have fun all that do go, I'm sure it'll be good. Fortunately, [ profile] bagrec reminded me this morning, so I half inched this image from him Charles Darwin. Evolution was, I used to think, something that we generally all just accepted, sure, there were a few minority extremists that thought otherwise, but anyone with a decent education, including the entire Catholic Church, just know it to be real, right? Unfortunately the internet reveals this to be untrue, and that someone who is an avowed Creationist has a good chance at the Republican nomination (although no chance at the actual Presidency) is something that really does bother me. Fortunately, there are voices of reason out there, including my better half, and we all know what Theory means, etc, right? Ah well, if you need a bit more explanation, ask a skientist, I recommend Debi the evolutionary morphologist if you don't have another one handy. I'm sure her hangover will allow her to answer questions in her comments ;-)

In other news, Anonymous vs Scientology had a good weekend of protests it seems, [ profile] deathboy went to the London protest and has a good report, and the Phoenix protest got /.ed. There's a little bit of me that dislikes the thing as a whole bunch of people, including people that have their own personal different brand of sky fairy, are ganging up on the Scientologists—I'm all for mocking all religions, but a dog pile seems a bit off when your allies are also batshit. Then I remember that they're Scientologists and that it's therefore OK anyway, right?

Last up, I've been promising various people for ages a post on markets, economics, and why I like them despite being a lot of a lefty, but while that's still on the planned list with a bunch of other stuff, Tim Harford continues his climb up my "top people" list by writing a post about why markets can at times fail, and how analysis of these "externalities" can help them get back on track and do a lot of good; "Green taxes" and similar are a method of dealing with externalities, and are generally much better than simply banning stuff.

Right, that's it for now, I have a fiancée to go snuggle for a bit before [ profile] shrublette gets home...
The ever excellent [ profile] chris_dillow_fd has an excellent summary of the banks reaction to Northern Rock at Stumbling and Mumbling, and naturally I concur completely:
This episode shows that many bosses don't really believe in free markets. Instead, they are like the slaggiest single parent. They pretend to be victims, and expect the state to save people from the consequences of their own stupidity and promiscuity. Indeed, they are worse
A large number of capitalist managers and owners pay lip service to markets, but when it comes down to it would rather not worry about that dangerous 'competition' stuff.

Which is why calling markets 'right wing' is both blinkered and stupid--markets are a tool, a means to an end, and are neutral on left/right alignment. But they are a fundamental tenet of a modern free society.
My belief in markets isn't really equivocated. Free (and fair) markets require free movement in goods, services, people, whatever. In order for that to happen, border controls are something to be done away with--it's one of the reasons I love the principles behind the EU, if not the bureaucratic monstrosity it's becoming. But today, James linked to an article that I agreed with. Hyberbole, a few missed shots, a little bit of innacuracy, but the point he makes is 100% sound, and applies just as well over here as it does in the US. The problem is the author.

Orson Scott Card, bigot extraordinaire.

A case of stopped clocks, or does his religious fueled fundamentalism have an underlying streak of rationalism in some areas?
Hmm, good news for a change, Masterfoods no longer evil:
Mars said it became "very clear, very quickly" that it had made a mistake.
Merely very very stupid. Was going to post about the sheer idiocy when [ profile] mooism first posted on the 8th (note, that was 6 days before the BBC caught up), but things got lost in the shuffle. They were using the excuse that "only strict vegetarians" would be affected, and in a way, they'd be right. When I eat out, I don't tend to worry whether the cheese is made using rennet, I'm not that strict. But if a company does something blitheringly stupid, and says that it shouldn't bother me at all?

Worse, for them, it would've meant that many of my non-vegetarian friends and family would have stopped buying their products; why buy Masterfoods when Cadbury do something just as good? Stupid stupid company decision. Still, while I'll try to stick to Green and Blacks when I can afford it, and Cadbury when I can't, I can still buy Masterfoods now, they're idiots, but they're not
evil like Nestlé. Ah, informed consumers making choices within an active market, and forcing companies to change. You can see why so many capitalists are anti-market at heart, right?

The only problem of course is that some of the statistics used to claim how many vegetarians there are in the country are likely very very wrong. Why? Because even smart people are stupid:
Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970, 366 of the participants said they were vegetarian - although more than 100 reported eating either fish or chicken.
Guys? Vegetarians don't eat fish, let alone chicken. So as virtually every survey of the nature relies on self reporting, and approx 1/3rd of self-described vegetarians are pescetarians at best, the market impact might be smaller than it should be. People assuming I can eat fish despite being vegetarian is probably one of my biggest pet-hates, and it isn't helped by the ignorance of some who self-describe wrongly. It's a bit like self-described Christians who don't go to church; they may quack like a duck, but they sure as hell don't walk like a duck.

Oh, it's National Vegetarian Week as of tomorrow, so expect dodgy media coverage, false assumptions and some of my more idiotic ethical eaters to be a bit too assertive in various places, sorry about that.
Meh. Um, yeah, pirates. Talk like a seagoing criminal day? historical seagoing criminal day? Spacegoing criminal day? Humourless git day?

I like movie pirates. I like pop culture pirates. I also, (whispers) like ninjas. Like most Lib Dems, I want it both ways and am somewhere in between. Thoughts on the modern term 'pirate' )

So, yeah, talk like a pirate. Use a silly icon. Have a giggle. Only, LJ? Next time you decide to celebrate International Talk like a pirate day? Could you make it so the little tricks you put on the profile and update pages showed up for people using English English as well as US/LJ English? Thx muchly.

notes from the basement

[ profile] lithium_doll managed to get to 1000 comments. Utter insanity. Cool.

Also? How not to hunt for a place to live in London. Not a good day. More seriously, [ profile] jantshira really could do with a stroke of luck finding a room to rent in London. If anyone reading this knows someone that could help?
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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