Tuesday, 29 January 2013 - 9:54pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 29/01/2013 - 9:54pm

I don't understand why Cory Doctorow "can't stress how exciting a development this is". Google appears to be freely giving up metadata (eg. email headers, IP addresses, etc.) to US government agencies, but drawing the line at content. In an age of guilt by association, it's like ratting someone out to HUAC as a communist, but refusing to specify whether they're Leninist, Trotskyist, or Maoist.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 - 9:55am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 29/01/2013 - 9:55am

"Basically, the wind blew and trees fell down."

How did this guy ever get a management job? That's no way to describe an atmospheric-disturbance-related arboreal hazard scenario.

Sunday, 27 January 2013 - 10:42am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 27/01/2013 - 10:42am

Proof that uber-nerds aren't (all) humourless obsessives. Aaron Swartz, as recorded by his Boswell, Quinn Norton:

a: “I’m part of the Jewish cabal that controls the internet.”
q: “I haven’t actually heard anyone say there’s a Jewish conspiracy running the internet.”
a: “Oops.”


a: (On Lasik) “Lasers are supposed to come out of your eyes.”

More here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 - 11:13am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 23/01/2013 - 11:13am

Well, this is reasurring. So Coffs is actually quite affordable for people who don't need to work and absentee landlords. It's only the people who live and work here who are disadvantaged by our third-world economy.

I'm so relieved I'm taking the day off from my below-minimum-wage job to join my neighbours in the gutter. We'll crack open a can of petrol and a pack of period pain medication and celebrate the good times!

Thursday, 17 January 2013 - 2:39pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 17/01/2013 - 2:39pm

What I'd really like to do is start a satirical revue, rather like Peter Cook's Establishment club in the 60's, which did so much to stop the rise of David Frost.

Saturday, 12 January 2013 - 2:46pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sat, 12/01/2013 - 2:46pm

Dangar Falls is under threat of a "facelift". I said:

About time! Have you seen that place? Leaking water everywhere, and literally covered with all manner of trees and bushes. How many tourism industry awards has it won recently? None. It's just a wet hole that engages the simple minds of plebs who have no idea how much of their money it will take to make it natural, interactive, and heritage enough for stakeholders to extract some value.

Let's hope the Advocate can put together another one or two of it's "brains trusts" to get some revitalising defoliation and concreting done, while ruthlessly crushing all intransigent community groups.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013 - 8:56pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 09/01/2013 - 8:56pm

Glenn Greenwald:

[…] the very idea that someone should be disqualified from service in the Obama administration because of involvement in and support for extremist Bush terrorism polices [now] seems quaint and obsolete, given the great continuity between Bush and Obama on these issues. […] Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus."

If there are any Nazi war criminals still in hiding, chances are Obama will track them down and give them a job.

Saturday, 29 December 2012 - 6:48pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sat, 29/12/2012 - 6:48pm

Francine wrote:

"La Bal Masqué De Française" only sounds French.
"Le bal masqué à la française" is maybe what was meant.

I replied:

You're clearly not in the target market. The people this event is designed to attract are the Coffs elite, who are far too busy and important to be more than moderately literate in English, much less any other language. In any case, all the staff in prestige resorts speak English perfectly well, so why bother? Top-of-the-line luxury isn't for pedantic bookworms like you or I; we lack the suffistication and clarse to appreciate it. Does the Central European liqueur in the cupholder of your Audi have a flower in it? (A freaking flower, for Kerry Packer's sake! How cool is that?) I thought not. I rest my case.

Saturday, 29 December 2012 - 4:24pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sat, 29/12/2012 - 4:24pm

I think Paul Krugman is currently circling around some interesting territory with his concept of "capital-biased technology", but contrary to the title, I don't think the data presented in this article - on the share of GDP going to labour - really has much to do with that.

Unless he's arguing that recessions are correlated with rapid technological change, a more or less conventional shock doctrine explanation serves much better: At times of crisis dish out austerity to the poor, and fiscal stimulous (or "money", as it's sometimes known) to the rich, with predicatable consequences. Then as the general economy improves, labour's share of GDP recovers somewhat, though not to previousl levels, and repeat the process when the next crisis hits. In fact, it also seems from this distance that some of the sharp drops fit very well with other public policy initiatives such as the "Reagan revolution" and the Bush tax cuts.

While I don't think it's the primary cause, I don't doubt that the long term trend is to some degree a consequence of technological change, in so far as new technological developments favour the interests of capital over labour. Since it is overwhelmingly capital that controls the allocation of resources to research and development, it's hard to imagine how the inverse might come to pass. And Krugman's prescription - to maintain the level of social spending at something like it's current rate by funding programs through something other than taxes on labour, perhaps even (gasp!) new taxes on capital - is perfectly sensible. (Though how he squares this with his advocacy elsewhere of a consumption tax, I don't know.)

A more fundamental solution to this trend would be to fund research and development in the public interest, perhaps through government agencies incorporated for that purpose. I recall Australia used to have one of those, before it was turned into a primarily commercial entity and patent troll.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 10:48pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 19/12/2012 - 10:48pm

The Federal Republic of Germany is looking to fill the newly-vacant role of idiot. The successful applicant will be a self-starter who is constantly seeking new experiences and keeps an open mind with regard to the laws of physics. Salary: negotiable. Pension plan: N/A.