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Thursday, July 30, 2009

They're on drugs, and we're still losing

I see the war on drugs has been going well.

A Royal Navy frigate has seized cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of £33 million from a speedboat off the coast of South America.

[From Royal Navy seize £33m of cocaine from speedboat - Telegraph]

£33 million? Peanuts, a (very literally) a drop in the ocean which won't make the slightest difference to the price of drugs on the street in the UK. Meanwhile, a few miles to the north.

Federal and state agents have arrested 83 people accused of growing more than $1.2 billion worth of marijuana in a crackdown on illegal pot gardens in California's Sierra Nevada range.

[From $1.2 billion worth of pot seized in Calif. - Crime & courts-]

This is a "war" against economics, not against drugs, and is doomed to the same tragic trajectory as other attempts to put the laws of economics into abeyance (cf noted Scottish marxist history lecturer, Gordon Brown).

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Monday, July 27, 2009

I don't think this is racist

OK, this may sound like inappropriate affluence in a time of economic disaster, but I forgot my watch on a trip the other day so I bought another one. The reason is complicated: when I go overseas, I can't be bothered to change the time on my laptop and iPhone because I get confused about putting things into calendars and do it wrong. So it's easier to leave them on UK time and wear a watch set to local time. Anyway, the watch is an Accurist, but the instructions have an Epson logo on them. I'm not normally one to read instructions, but I happened to glance at the page about the stopwatch function, and I was intrigued to find a new timing mode that I hadn't heard about before.


I spent a few minutes wondering what "spirit" timing was -- I just figured it was some sporting term that I hadn't heard of, before I suddenly realised that I had been misreading the misprint. Say it out loud, and the instructions betray their Japanese origin.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dum de dum dum dum I must be para-noid

I was walking down the road and the woman next to me -- mid-20s, standard chav attire of ill-fitting tracksuit pants and a T-shirt combined with a Croydon facelift -- was screaming obscenities into her mobile phone. This is considered normal in Digital Britain, so no-one paid attention. And nor did I. Until she started screaming "I am not f**cking paranoid" into the handset. A few seconds later, "NO, NO, NO, I'm not f**cking paranoid". I started to wonder if there was anyone else on the call. Remember that magnificent, and I do mean magnificent, book "The Airloom Gang""? Paranoid schizophrenics think they're hearing voices and they will project on to whatever new and slightly mysterious technology they can. Three hundred years ago that woman would have been screaming obscenities at the fairies at the bottom of her garden, now she is screaming into a mobile handset.

Since we're no longer institutionalising such people, and since there's only a limited number of reality TV programmes to put them on, we ought to have a proper debate about what to do with them. When the woman started screaming, I was slightly afraid. For all i know, she might have had a knife or something. It doesn't seem right.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]