Friday, September 22, 2006

About the Coup.

Most Thai are not worried at all. Coups are normal things and the King is trusted to be able to keep everything in order. The general isn’t seen as a permanent fixture. If he said he was going to remain as leader things might change but politics in Thailand is pretty polarized. We quite like thaksin (he gets stuff done) and the country side people like him but the most of the city elite hate his guts.
As the opposition (lead by a total nothing of a leader who is more old money than actual ability) is demanding that they set up new elections they will have them - just they wont allow thaksin back in without him being charged. He would win an election if there was a new one because there are more common people than "elite".
If there is an election the opposition needs to have time to prepare because otherwise the Thai will just get thatopposition leader of dubious quality - in an election with no substantial opposition.

My co-blogger reports no substantial activity.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


a) Liberalism - - X - - - - Radicalism (3/7)
I think ends DO justify means BUT generally speaking you wont be able to make a clear connection betwen the two and radical action like killing abortion doctors will create many bad side effects (even besides a man dying).

b) Rationalism X - - - - - - Subjectivism (1/7)
there is an answer to any question, we may not agree on what question should be asked but we can rationally debate things and can and shoudlcome to conclusions.

c) Direct - - - - X - - Representative Democracy (5/7)
Government should be by experts, having said that there should be very strict controls over them.

d) Aggregation - - - - - X - Deliberation (6/7)
Deliberation is better - it gives more weight to the more informed people's views. another method could be the "put your reputation where your mouth is" method.

e) Federalist - - - - - X - Globalist (6/7)
Many policies, and almost all the imprtant ones, need global action.

f) Libertarian - - - - - X - Authoritarian (6/7)
The government should have a lot of power but little discretion. So if it needs to pass a law to protect society it can AND it must if it tries to pass a self serving law it will be caught-out and punished.

g) Economic Left - - - X - - - Right (4/7)
Im pretty dead in the middle I guess

Go meme

Metapolitics Go-meme

I've marked in my positions on the 7-point scales below. To participate yourself, simply copy this entire post (including links), and mark your choices accordingly before posting it to your own blog.

a) Liberalism - - X - - - - Radicalism (3/7)
Do the ends justify the means? Procedural liberals insist on the primacy of fair play and democratic process. Radicals care less about method, and more about getting the desired result.

b) Rationalism X - - - - - - Subjectivism (1/7)
Is there ever a "right answer" to political questions? Rationalists think that reasoned debate could, ideally, lead to consensus about the common good. Subjectivists see politics as a mere contest of wills, all rhetoric and power plays, where the goal is simply to have your individual preferences win through.

c) Direct - - - - X - - Representative Democracy (5/7)
Should power rest more with citizens or elected representatives?

d) Aggregation - - _ - - - - Deliberation (6/7)
Should political decisions be reached by simply aggregating individuals' prior preferences, or by submitting reasons for deliberation and critical scrutiny?

e) Federalist - - - - - X - Globalist (6/7)
What's the most appropriate level for political decisions? Federalists favour local-level decision-making (which may vary across localities), in contrast to Globalists.

f) Libertarian - - - - - X - Authoritarian (6/7)
How much discretionary power should be allowed in politics? Libertarians favour greater (e.g. constitutional) constraints on the exercise of political power. Authoritarians (may include populists and paternalists) are the opposite.

g) Economic Left - - - X - - - Right (4/7)
How favourably do you view redistributive taxation and other typically "Left-wing" economic policies?

Track List:
1. Philosophy, et cetera
2. Kiwiblog
3. GeniusNZ

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ways to die

Wired news has a fun chart regarding ways to die

Driving off the road: 254,419
Falling: 146,542
Accidental poisoning: 140,327
Dying from work: 59,730
Walking down the street: 52,000.
Accidentally drowning: 38,302
Killed by the flu: 19,415
Dying from a hernia: 16,742
Accidental firing of a gun: 8,536
Electrocution: 5,171
Being shot by law enforcement: 3,949
Terrorism: 3147
Carbon monoxide in products: 1,554

just for fun imagine.....

Not Driving: 254,419
STANDING: a lot more than 146,549
NON POISONOUS substances (eg water): a lot more than 140,327
Dying from NOT WORKING (eg being sedentary or poor):59,730
NOT walking down streets: a lot more than 52,000
Dehydration: 38,302
Not having a gun: 8,536
lack of electricity in home: a lot more than 5,171
absence of law enforcement: a lot more than 3,949
Terrorism: 3147
products without Carbon monoxide: a lot more than 1,554

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pope annoys Muslims

The pope has apparently upset some Indian Muslims.
Here is what he said

when recently I read the published article from university professor Theodore Khoury, regarding the words of the scholarly emperor of the eastern roman empire [the one that was invaded by the Muslims around 1400) Manuele II Paleologo had with a prian [the Muslim side] regarding the truth if Islam and Christianity... which is of interest to me in how it relates to "faith and reason"....

the emperor touches the topic of the jihad... in an astonishingly abrupt way, he focuses on the relationship between religion and violence, saying: "Show me what Muhammad brought that was new and you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after that abrupt statement, then explains meticulously the reasons for why the spread of the faith by means of violence is unreasonable. Violence is in contrast with the nature of God and the nature of the spirit.

This is of course in the context of the Muslim armies attacking Byzantine (eastern Roman Empire) with the purpose of making it Islamic.
I have to say these Indian Muslims are pretty sensitive...

The crucial sentence in this argumentation against conversion by force reads: The Reasonable do not act in a way that is contrary to the nature of God. The publisher, Theodore Khoury, commentated in addition: For the emperor as a Byzantiner grown up with Greek philosophy this was self-evident. For the moslem teachings however God is different. God's will is bound to none of our categories (inc. reasonableness). Khoury quotes in addition a work of the well-known French Islamic expert R.Arnaldez, which points out that Ibn professor Khoury Hazn goes so far to explain that God is also not bound by his own word and that nothing obliges him to obey it, or to reveal to us the truth.

Interesting how some of the media outlets have made statements like "the pope said muslims are evil" or somthing equivilent.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Iraq/ Afganistain

The US continues to try to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq and continues to get the blame for not rebuilding it.

There is a clear solution here. Go home.
"What? Give in to terrorism?" I hear you say.
This is all a misconception of how this battle works.

1) The idealistic goals of the west
a) Afghanistan and Iraq are NOT the most efficient places to be spending humanitarian money.
b) It isn't THAT important to create a 'beacon of democracy' in the Middle East and even if it was there would be countries where efforts to do this would be better spent.

2) Stopping terrorists
- The terrorists don't have some stupid plan to destroy Afghanistan. Their plan is to deny the west the ability to reach its aims - the way to prevent this is not to take them on head on but to have aims they can't deny. Like the martial artist say - be like the water not like the rock.

The following strategies are possible
1) The Vietnam strategy - fight the enemy when they create a problem - makes sure many many more of their soldiers die than yours.
2) The gulf war I strategy - flatten the enemy whenever they cause a problem - declare victory and go home - ignore that state unless it causes a problem again.
3) the 'rent a bomber' strategy - set up a government like the afghani or Iraqi government as soon as it happens declare victory and go home - but provide bombing runs to blow up enemy strongholds - this means the enemy will find it very hard to get a very structured force.
4) The quagmire strategy - stay until "the job is done" without properly defining what that job is
5) the hugs and kisses strategy – not having any aim except vaguely defined peacekeeping

I suggest anything other than 4.
Maybe there are some others people might suggest?

Ideal DOA movie

Dead or Alive has been released

But it sounds like it is just the usual rubbish.

I wish at least one of these films would accept that they are NOt going to win viewers with their story line. They don’t have a lord of the rings here they have a video game. This is all about keeping the game fans who are really your only potential audience (and people who they convince it is a "must see").

So what does that mean?
1) Do the fight scenes RIGHT. Get actors who can fight and spend some money on making it look good. You want someone in the audience to yell "oh shit!" the first time they see a good move (like my friend did when he saw blade I !). I hear this is not the case in DOA.
2) Get actors who match the characters reasonably closely even if you have to avoid getting stars. In this case AYANE IS JAPANESE!
3) ESPECALLY where there is not a demanding story line, KEEP TO THE DETAILS. In this case Christie is an assassin at the competition to kill Helena.
4) For one someone stick to the knock out story line.
I know this is hard to do because it forces you to tell multiple background stories and yet "eliminate them" prior to the end of the movie - but it can be done (for example in one of the Bruce lee movies), and it is all about having those big match-ups. Best of all it can be like a "Freddy vs. Jason" where you don’t actually know who will win. A rare thing in movies nowadays.

You would set up a smallish subset of the characters as good guys and another set as bad guys and then a set of "punching bags.
You introduce each character and their storyline - and mix this up a little with getting each fighter to fight a punching bag and eliminate them to demonstrate how good they are - the top bad guy's deputy (or the top bad guy if he is fighting) does it the easiest.
The good guys talk to each other but their storylines are separate in that they aren’t forming a 'team' per se.

then the good guys slowly eliminate bad guys except the strongest ones who slowly eliminate good guys (building up the frustration of other good guys) and where appropriate bad guys may fight other bad guys or good guys fight other god guys (because of the draw (and because everyone knows we want to see them fight!)

More story lines get explained as you go through the movie and those with the most in-depth story are there at the end.
Tournament mode isn’t exited until there are at most two good guys left. One good option is

- Person X throws the fight
- Person Y wins goes to fight bad guy and is beaten (or beats bad guy then is beaten by super bad guy)
- Guy who threw fight comes back and beats him.

ACT bumper stickers

David Farrar asked for suggestions on bumper stickers for ACT

Here are mine - both favourable and unfavourable

ACT - The party who brought you election telephone spam
ACT - busting perks up untill 2006
ACT - fear the government that fears your money
ACT -Back off! my law firm is bigger than yours.
ACT - If I drive like I own the road its probably because I do
ACT - give the poor an inch and they'll take a mile
Money isn't everything, but its pretty damn close
ACT - getting the able-bodied back to work through higher unemployment.
ACT - protecting the environment by doing nothing
ACT - personal responsibility (except for election spending).
ACT - Welcome to Epsom - don't stay long
ACT - The Rodney for Epsom party

and my favourites so far

ACT - thank god for strategic voting!

ACT - we are personally responsible - are you?

ACT - Money isn't everything, but it should be

a Vote for ACT is a Vote for $$ and change

ACT - I'm a nice guy it's just my party that's evil.

the economy/market will be fine all by itself - you just worry about your driving

give a man a fish and he will eat for a day - take it back and he will get a bloody job

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meta immorality

I suggest a new term
"meta immorality"
this is to be used to define some what we might call moral relativism and it involves a person effectively arguing against morality itself generally by way of an argument against hypocrisy.

For example if I say the criminal should repay the money he stole" and someone else says "but the complainant did it too, therefore they should shut up" the implication is that at least in some circumstances there should be no consequences for theft.

Now it is possible that the argument is actually :there should always be consequences for theft". that would be legitimate but obviously meaning is determined in part by context.

there are two ways to look at it, what the person says technically and what they are achieving. In terms of what they are saying the statement is an appeal to self interest (or threat) followed by "they should shut up". It pretty unambiguous that that is in favour of tolerating theft. in terms of what it achieves it is probably to a degree a neutralization of the original argument (which is probably one based on justice) without actually engaging it. I.e. it is "anti-justice".

Now debating morality is beyond the scope of normal morality but at the same time it is in a sense immoral to undermine morality or to argue against morality. Thus we have meta-immorality.

Listening to the radio today

Listening to the radio today

1) There is a lot of disaffected middle voters who wont vote national but hate labor.
2) John Tamihere could start a party and get a NZ 1st level of support
3) ACT is gone next election - Rodney is supposed to be the perk buster and he has deeply offended his core constituency on this over spending issue. they will show him the door next election.

combined with previous knowledge
4) Winston peters is gone unless national makes a deal with him to give him Tauranga back and abandon Bob Clarkson.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Jordan goes crazy

Its one thing to act immorally but to insist that other people should not even talk about morallity? thats really taking it to a new level. In Jordan's upside down world we may soon have OBLIGATIONS to be corrupt.

pledge cards

apparently according to Jordan everyone is lying about the pledge cards.

Frankly I cant se how anyone who isn’t a labor party member (and thus in a sense the defendant) could possibly outright think labour is innocent. Sure maybe you could be ambivalent in the way the Thai are generally ambivalent about corruption, but supporting it??

anyway his points are

to translate
"we discovered a loophole!" [maybe]
"we did it last time so we should be allowed to do it again!"
"besides, its legal even if the law says it isn't!"
the people giving out the money (Parliamentary Service) are responsible for how it is spent [ok there is something to that]
"we did it but you cant be critical of us doing it until the law officially agrees with you"

hmm.. not convinced

One child policy

watching 60 minutes on china and their lack of girls.
All sorts of unfortunate side effects occur as a result of china's one child policy - for one thing the preference for boys results in girls being given away for adoption etc.

But in general I say good on the Chinese for having a one child policy. [and I know their methods are far from benign but Im comparing them with a third world country rather than with NZ]
The world can only take so many people and the Chinese are keeping the stress on the world for resources to an extent under control by limiting their own population - now if africa could do the same maybe they wouldn't be such a disaster zone.

one of the chinese girls on the show was right (for the wrong reasons) to an extent westerners are concieted for wanting more children. we all know [correction : Some of us know] the earth is struggling to handle 6 billion people [this is shown in various measures such as the sustainability of fishing resources - also the question of how much resources of each type would be required if everyone on earth was to live at a upper middle class sort of level] and yet so many of us act as though we want another 6 [or 12 or 24 million].

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ambulance Missile story

Sara smiles argues that the Ambulance attack evidence stands the test (which it does in a loose sense that somthing obviously attacked the ambulance).

Dan Riehl agrees that there does appear to be a damaged ambulance in the background - and there is - although that ambulance also doesnt appear to have a red cross sign on the top of it. that could be how we dont get a good look at it. Most of the red cross vans seem to be kept in good condition (at least in as far as the red cross is clearly painted on)

The impliation would be that it was a red cross van but it was no longer a red cross van.

Andrew bolt notes

Ambulance attack evidence stands the test

It does? But read on and you will find that reporter Sarah Smiles, who lived as a student in Beirut for four years, doesn’t confirm the evidence but change it:

• The missile through the Red Cross painted on the roof of one ambulance becomes a possible missile through the back of the other of the two that were attacked.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Red cross driver killed

Another Red cross driver killed
Not an easy job being a red cross driver in these dangerous areas.

Dafur update

Apparently the latest on Dafur in Sudan is
The National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum, made up of the very men who have for more than three years orchestrated the systematic destruction of Darfur's African tribal populations, has been told directly and unambiguously that there will be no U.N. peacemaking force without its consent.
In short, the international community has conferred upon the genocidaires the power to veto deployment of the very force that might halt an accelerating slide toward catastrophic human destruction.

Given present trends (Khartoum has launched a major military offensive in northern Darfur) and the woeful inadequacy of the present African Union monitoring force -- and presuming no intervention to protect civilians or the humanitarian efforts upon which they depend -- mortality in Darfur over the next year could exceed the present death toll of about half a million human beings, some 10,000 people a week.


Chulov and the red cross ambulances

Chulov defends his reporting on the event. maybe he should just keep quiet...

" where humidity on the coast does not drop below 70per cent."

something wrong with that -
1) Quana is NOT on the coast. Tyre is but I'm not clear how close that puts this ambulance to the coast and if it is still relevant to talk as if it did occur on the coast.
2) Beiruit IS on the coast and it's humidity is 50% today hmmm that’s strange I always thought 50 was less than 70...


"We inspected both ambulances, whose mangled roofs were not rusting at the time. By the time the photos used on the blog site were taken, rust had appeared."

the illusion of knowledge
proposes that the rust shot is a still frame from a video taken the same day chulov visited the site and apparently it showed the same pattern of rust.

Interesting... I guess I'll add another point to the "already damaged ambulance" theories. I still wonder however if a missile with some incendiary material might have immediately caused some rust.. but then Chulov would have to be lying....


First clearly there is a massive change in the story from the original story. – this could be just a result of witnesses of traumatic events being unreliable of course.

But here is an analysis of zombie times analysis.

Claim #1: An Israeli missile pierced the exact center of the Red Cross on the roof of the ambulance.

No one seriously argues NOTHING happened - clearly SOMTHING hit the ambulance at some point in time.
Options are a 70mm shell, a missile from a drone, a missile from a helicopter, some part of a nearby building.
Now next to the hole that we now know is an air vent there is additional damage to the roof and in that area the roof has been forced in. So it would appear something hit that part of the roof.
Now it hit the roof on the front left hand side. Note how the front of the roof buckles up and the back down again seems to agree with the idea that it was hit from above with a bit of forward motion by an object (i.e. a shell of some sort). But look at the other photos and see the bed (on which the patient probably was has hole in it (it appears) and is if anything on the opposite side of the van to where the shell entered.

This would be what Zombie time terms the "non exploding missile" case. There are still remaining issues but it looks most likely.

Some seem to be sugesting this sort of thing
which potentially causes this sort of damage (although this may or may not be an example of this particular missile)
but the hole is pretty tiny for that.

Claim #2: The attack happened on July 23.

This is also interesting - as noted below the rust does appear to be more than you can expect from soaking a nail in diet coca cola which one really would expect to be worse than leaving it out in humid Lebanon. Even cars by the sea in south East Asia don’t seem to rust that fast. Still maybe the rain in Lebanon is polluted.... OR another interesting option maybe the metal oxidized partly as a result of the explosion... maybe a rust expert knows.

Lebanon is quite humid - but not all THAT humid

At first glance Id argues that the roof was already damaged. But I guess it is still possible....

Claim #3(&4): There was a huge explosion inside the ambulance.

Well obviously if we are going for the non exploding missile case that is a non starter.

1) The windshield was pushed inwards - well, again this fits somewhat - windshield buckles inwards as the roof is pushed a little forward. So again supporting a non exploding projectile.
However even for a non exploding shell,
aside from some of the ceiling material hanging down, nothing on the inside of the ambulance looks damaged either. All the seats, gurneys and even the floor appear to be untouched.

As the original media reports said, there were supposed to have been two damaged ambulances, yet most of the published pictures say that they depict "the" damaged ambulance. ... likely, as can be gleaned from the few scenes of both vehicles, is that the second ambulance was even less damaged than the one shown here, and consequently was ignored by photographers wanting to confirm the missile attack.

Claim #5: A man lying on a gurney inside the ambulance had his leg sheared off by the missile.

zombietime notes
"And as the pictures show, the floor seems to be undamaged as well. If a missile sheared off his leg, where did the missile go after that?”

All the photo’s look from the wrong angle (why???) since the hole is in the bed and presumably under it. But you can see the whole in one photo.

“And lastly: losing a leg is an extremely bloody affair. Where is the blood?"

Apparently according the reporters the heat fused the wound shut, not sure I believe that.
So now we wonder where IS the "missile"? no one seems to show the hole in the floor even though we can look into the hole and see what would presumably be close to its trajectory from the damage to the roof.
So what is the alternative?
Well presumably it is that he lost his leg some other less glorious way and decided to make himself famous. however he still needs to have been able to find an ambulance with a hole in the roof. Not as easy as it sounds - note most of the ambulances in the photos besides this one are in OK condition. So that doesn’t sound all that likely either.

*throws his hands up*

Claim #7: The ambulance driver who reported the incident was injured in the attack.

clearly not seriously more of what you might call an "ouchie" at worst. because later photos show him with no visible scars at all.

So the following are now possibilities
1) the original story is true and israel hit the ambulance on purpose
2) Israel hit the ambulance by accident (if they did it on purpose they used the wrong sort of weapon and it was dark so they probably would not have seen it – besides who attacks ambulances on purpose?)
3) Israel hit the ambulance on that day AND some evidence is being fabricated.
4) Israel hit the ambulance some time ago BUT it is being reused now for propaganda.
5) A VERY elaborate hoax with all evidence fabricated (as implied by Zombie time)
6) an accident by Hezbollah changed to propoganda.

Zombie times main point is a no brainer - the media were irresponsible in their reporting by not pointing out that the hole was the hole for the air vent (Almost everyone thought it was a missile about that size when in the remaining possible scenarios it is somthing more like a 7cm shell) and reporting various other quite damning aspects that appear now to be false.

Missile story roundup

Back in July we had a missile strike
Apparently the Israelis had hit a Red Cross van with a missile
Apparently that was a planned attack - after all they blew a hole dead in the centre of the cross!
But more recently...
apparently thanks to new blogging information by zombietime that hole is the location for the air vent - which appears to be next to the van.
Even those who originally reported the story clearly changed their original stories which didn’t reflect reality

from Tony Parkinson media adviser to Australian foreign minister

"I have no quarrel with Chulov wishing to stand by his story. I simply make the point that it has become a different story to that he reported on July 26. "

But also it would seem that something probably did hit the van and rip off the vent
for example it might have been a 70 mm unguided rocket
of course then we wonder where that rocket is.

A lot of rust seems to have formed in two days but that could be explained by the humidity
"If you look up the weather data for Lebanon for the past few days, you’ll see it’s been hot with 70 - 80% humidity." Although I’m not sure I entirely believe that since Lebanon doesn’t sseem to usually have humidity that high. And it does appear to have more rust than a nail left for 4 days in 100% humidity (i.e. a test tube of water or coke).

Friday, September 01, 2006

faux favourites

the USA once again has it slapped into them that they DO NOT have the best team in the world .

How on earth do they ever get to be the favourites when they never win?

sounds like someone could make a lot of money betting on any other serious team whenever they play. there is no luck involved hee, the USA consistantly performs as about the 4th best team in the world. They are full of excuses about the best players not being htere - but it doesnt matr who is there, they are around 4th.

They are a bit like the England soccer team. we watch manchester united, arsenal and liverpool on TV and they are very famous, but in the end england is about the 8th best team in the world.

always a good bet to bet against england in soccer.

BTW I pick Spain to beat Greece (close) and Argentina to beat "Team USA".