Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Suffering in instalmants

Putting the clocks forward an hour has always left me disorientated for a week or more after the event. This year I tried making the change in instalments. I changed the time my alarm clock wakes me in the morning in four instalments of around a quarter of an hour each, and have come through the change quite well.

I can only get away with that because I've retired. I suspect that offices, schools and  other places where people work would find it hard to do anything so sensible. I conclude that most people's lives are far too organised.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Evil Genius or scapegoat?

Radovan Karadzic has been sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for atrocities committed by people responsible to him.

I have two reservations. People who appear before international courts on such charges are usually former leaders of small countries, never the people still in charge of large countries, though it is the latter who orchestrate the most harm.

Second the people who actually kill and torture usually get away with it, claiming that they were taking orders from the token boss who appears in court. I don't  believe in that denial of responsibility. It is the people who use the guns and instruments of torture and really have blood on their hands and uniforms, and often on their penises as well, who have suppressed any feelings of compassion and schooled themselves to ignore the screams and pleas of their victims. The leader just endorses some vague abstraction like 'free the city of *** from alien interlopers'.

Without cruel minions the evil leader could do very little harm, and while there are people willing to follow orders without question, there will always be someone willing to give them orders.

It is those minions we should target.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Worried about Werewolves ?

"It's no silver bullet" an EU functionary said recently, referring to a plan to deal with refugees.

Did he think the refugees were werewolves?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Long-winded Duplication

I keep hearing 'two times' for 'twice', never in conversation, nor in writing, but quite often on broadcast news.

That made me reflect that 'thrice' seems to have fallen almost completely out of use and tempted me to revive it, until I realised that I hardly ever encounter 'three times' either.

I wonder if there's an equivalent abbreviation for 'four times'

Saturday, 5 March 2016

More Danger in Sports

Today's Economist reports on research into concussion. Apparently the resulting impairment of brain function can be permanent, and frequently lasts for several years.

As the Economist remarks, this is most serious when injuries are sustained by children for whom sports at school are not voluntary, and are organised by people who favour the cultivation of the 'stiff upper lip' and minimize the severity of injuries sustained in the course of what they consider to be 'fun'.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that PE teachers are conspicuous for their stupidity. Perhaps they are suffering from the same brain damage that their arrogant folly is likely to inflict on many of their pupils.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Compulsory Injury

I've just heard a discussion of a proposal to ban tackling in Rugby football when it is played in schools. Neither participant in the discussion mentioned that it is usually compulsory to play games in school, and that it is also compulsory for children to attend school.

Many recreational activities involve some risk of injury, and we often tolerate that because we think that  people should make up their own minds whether the fun is worth the risk. However that argument does not apply to unwilling participants for whom compulsory games are not fun - after all if they were fun there would be no demand to make them compulsory.