Saturday, April 16

Running their heart out for charity. Thank you!

IT for children in Hospital is a great little charity. It isn't a big hairy TV advertising charity, it doesn't do sponsored moon walks or have film stars adopting children in its name. What it has a great CEO, Pat Ryan, and a bunch of volunteers who raise money for providing IT to children in hospital. Simple thing. And we don't rely on the public sector. And we are fairly sustainable. And we have fun. And I am proud of the little that it does.

Dan Leonard is an ex-colleague of mine who is an absolutely brilliant social networking guru. He has fixed and enhanced the website. Go take a look at it. We now have a feed from the Facebook IT4CH page.

We have also got a team from Huddle running the Marathon for us. Here’s their blog post talking about it. Bless their running vests and running shoes. Great bunch of very passionate supporters. BTW, if you wanted to donate to the charity, here’s the link.

How do you like the mascot? His name is Floyd Smile

The evolving definition of terrorism in UK law

Now here is a set of very interesting questions.

  • how is terrorism defined?
  • Who defines terrorism and why?
  • What accounts for changing interpretations of what constitutes a terrorist or a terrorist organisation?
  • Is there a single definition of terrorism that is acceptable to all societies?

The article in question talks about how the definition of terrorism has evolved in the UK over the past few decades and is quite interesting indeed. Its extraordinarily difficult to define terrorism and this study just confirms the challenges. I have written before about the problem and basically said that if you did want to define terrorism, then go to the legal definition of a country which has the power to enforce that definition. If not, then its just hot air. But to these questions, here are my thoughts:

  • how is terrorism defined? Well, its not easy to define it, but if we are looking at the legal definition, then its mostly drawn up from the lawyers who want to capture as much as possible of the terrorist framework while making sure that the other laws (such as laws of evidence, etc. etc.) are support that definition. For example, wiretapping was a problem for the UK, they could not use wiretapping evidence as evidence to convict terrorist for a long time but it has changed now.
  • Who defines terrorism and why? See above, its usually the bureaucrats and lawyers.
  • What accounts for changing interpretations of what constitutes a terrorist or a terrorist organisation? Well, usually terrorist organisations either go extinct or they become part of democratic societies or they renounce violence or they win and become political parties, etc. etc. When this happens, their nomenclature changes. As far as the definition itself is concerned, it changes as international experience of terrorism changes, or there are laws and judgements given down from other courts like the European Court of Justice, or other laws are found in conflict with the terrorism laws, etc.
  • Is there a single definition of terrorism that is acceptable to all societies? Nope.

Friday, April 15

Sir David Jason will be broadcasting a BBC Radio 4 appeal for Home-Start

Sir David Jason will be broadcasting a BBC Radio 4 appeal for Home-StartWe are delighted that Sir David Jason will be broadcasting a BBC Radio 4 appeal for Home-Start in May. We are one of the 52 charities that have made it through the BBC’s rigorous selection process for an appeal in 2011.
The first broadcast of Home-Start’s appeal will be on:
Sunday May 8th at 7.55am and repeated at 9.26pm and again on Thursday 12th May at 3.27pm.
BBC Radio 4, 92.4 – 94.6FM, or LW 198, or listen live/listen again on the Radio 4 website.
David will talk about how Home-Start supports a grandfather who has taken on full care of his three young granddaughters because of his daughter’s drug and alcohol problems.
Almost two million people listen to the BBC Radio 4 appeals and we are hoping to raise much needed funds for our work in supporting families. The funds raised will be shared between Home-Start UK and local Home-Starts across the country and will benefit children and families in need.
We work with families who, for whatever reason, aren’t getting the help they need. Very often we’re the last chance they have.
Listen to our appeal and pass this on to spread the word.

Karn’s Internship response

I was very chuffed to receive this letter from the CEO of the firm which used Karn for his internship (remember this note from before where I wrote about him going for an internship?). He got squished Smile Very happy and proud of that little tyke. Well, he isnt that little any more, growing like a weed, and about as communicative to me, but am proud of him. He is turning out to be a good boy and of course its all due to Sangeeta Smile with tongue out

Good morning Bhaskar
I just wanted to drop you a personal note this morning to say what an absolute pleasure it was to have Karn with us these past couple of weeks. He took to the office environment like a natural and got stuck in and produced some excellent work. As you can imagine a sales floor is quite a hectic place in which to be. Even though we are only 40 or so strong, Karn handled himself with absolute certainty and engaged with various account managers and consultants easily and with genuine warmth. His maturity belies his young-ish years!
The work he produced was, as you would expect, first class. Martin and I reviewed it with him on Friday morning and were delighted with what he had produced. We would welcome him back at any time given our experience of him working alongside us in the last two weeks.
Thanks for letting him come to the XX Group. Martin has provided the necessary feedback on the form however, I would be delighted to send in a reference to his PCHE teacher (if that is the appropriate person) for his school records.

Thursday, April 14

SIFE LSE- National Competitions

I got this news from the team today. Very good stuff. Best of luck to the chaps.

On behalf of Myles, I am delighted to announce that the LSE SIFE team have made it through to the semi-finals of the National Competition!!
The next stage, the semi-finals, will be held in the morning and the finals will be in the afternoon – for those of you who are unaware, the winning team of the National Competition will represent the UK in the Global Competition in Kuala Lumpur later this year.
I’m sure all BAs will join me in congratulating the team for getting this far and wish you all the best for tomorrow – we’re behind you 100%!

People who buy Porsches want a quick roll

in the hay…Well, d;’oh. See here.

Conspicuous consumption is a form of economic behavior in which self-presentational concerns override desires to obtain goods at bargain prices. Showy spending may be a social signal directed at potential mates. We investigated such signals by examining (a) which individuals send them, (b) which contexts trigger them, and (c) how observers interpret them. Three experiments demonstrated that conspicuous consumption is driven by men who are following a lower investment (vs. higher investment) mating strategy and is triggered specifically by short-term (vs. long-term) mating motives. A fourth experiment showed that observers interpret such signals accurately, with women perceiving men who conspicuously consume as being interested in short-term mating. Furthermore, conspicuous purchasing enhanced men's desirability as a short-term (but not as a long-term) mate. Overall, these findings suggest that flaunting status-linked goods to potential mates is not simply about displaying economic resources. Instead, conspicuous consumption appears to be part of a more precise signaling system focused on short-term mating. These findings contribute to an emerging literature on human life-history strategies.

On the other hand, the black culture of wearing car sized jewellery or bling seems to be aiming back to the days of tribal behaviour in Africa. I quote:

As MC Schooly D put it, wearing gold “goes back to Africa.” Historians would agree, there is a connection, albeit underlying, between how African-Americans dress and the habits and customs of African ancestry.

“The sharper the dress,  the flashier the gold the more you are taking care of yourself and putting yourself ideally in proximity to important people and even to the divine,” said Robert Ferris Thompson, a renowned professor of African and African American Art who has dedicated his professional life to exploring the art history of the Afro-Atlantic world. “When the Portuguese first landed in Ghana the local chiefs with their gold and early versions of kente outdressed the greys.  Score:  Ghana 7, visitors 2.”

So that’s what I was missing, and here I am banging on about being sapiosexual…All I need is to get some bling around my neck and a flash car. Hmmm, ah! sod it.

Wednesday, April 13

Freedom of Speech means freedom to offend

I am so bloody pissed off with these idiots. You blithering idiots, freedom of speech means exactly that, you are free to offend anything and anybody. And this is the United Nations. What imbecility and idiocy. You are dragging the world back into the days of blasphemy and throat slitting. But then, you would now be comfortable, eh? with the similar medieval punishment of throat slitting carried out.I quote their moronic statements:

See what this fellow, Staffan de Mistura says:

Earlier, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), Staffan de Mistura, said during a visit to Mazar-e Sharif that the only person who could be blamed for the violence was the American pastor.

"I don't think we should be blaming any Afghan. We should be blaming the person who produced the news - the one who burned the Koran. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from offending culture, religion, traditions."

I know you are a slimeball hypocrite but for crying out loud, you moron, stand up for basic universal rights of freedom of speech. Yes, you need to be blaming the Afghans who did this. Who appointed this blithering moron? No wonder they spit on the UN.


When religiosity is compulsory, skiving will happen

Well, fairly typical. What did you expect? You treat human beings like children and then they will behave like it, or rebel. When you force people to pray, do you think they will be praying ? or as it seems in this story, outside smoking or running errands. Bah! I quote:

Some private company employees use the prayer time as an excuse to avoid work. Some companies allow 10 minutes for each prayer, while others allocate 15 minutes.

Employees use more than their allocated time to skive off work. In some government departments, employees simply leave work and go home when the call for Dhuhr prayer starts without bothering to come back after the prayer break to complete the remaining hours.

Employees are often accused of wasting too much time chatting outside their offices during prayer time. Others gather outdoors to smoke. Some employees try to use this time to go out and finish personal errands.

Tuesday, April 12

Affirmative Action shows reduced performance and no critical mass effect

I have kept on banging on about the stupidity of Affirmative Action as is known in the USA and reservations in India. Thankfully, this idiotic and intellectually incoherent argument doesnt get much thrift in the UK despite the efforts of so many politicians to push for social engineering plans like this. But here’s another example of the damage this stupid policy does. I quote:


In the Grutter case, Justice O’Connor suggested that universities could justifiably try to enroll a “critical mass” of minority students. Enroll fewer than that “critical mass,” reason some observers, and minority students will feel too marginalized to perform at their highest levels. In this article, we test whether minority students perform better with other students from their ethnic group in a class or school. To do so, we assemble data on the ethnicity and performance of each student in all classes at two law schools – for three years at one, and for 16 years at the other. Although these schools enrolled a smaller fraction of African-Americans than most law schools, they are located in states with a much smaller fraction of African-Americans than in the United States as a whole. There is also a large amount of variation in the percent African-American across classes. At these schools, we find no consistent evidence that having additional students from one's ethnic group raises a student's performance. Instead, we find some evidence that having additional ethnic peers lowers performance – albeit by a very small amount.

Research highlights

► Adding more minority students to a class or school does not raise minority grades. ► For raw data, adding African-Americans to a class may lower their average grade. ► Some regressions suggest adding African-Americans to a class may hurt A-A performance. ► There is no evidence to support Justice O’Connor's claim of a “critical mass” effect.

Here you go, another nail in the coffin then. When will people learn that you have to make sure discrimination ends rather than push positive discrimination which ends up decaying and impacting the overall pie. In this particular case, the professions are seriously hit. Would you want your doctor or Lawyer or Architect or or or to be appointed on the basis of their qualifications or their skin colour? Bah!

Monday, April 11

Don't Christen Asylum Seekers


A Bishop's letter being sent out to priests in Sweden is advising them to avoid christening asylum seekers that have converted to Christianity because it could be dangerous, reported news agency TT. One of the reasons for the recommendation is because it can cause danger and increase risks if a person who has converted to Christianity is later sent back to their home country.
Another reason is that the motive for the christening can be questioned by some who suggest that asylum seekers convert to Christianity to increase their chances of staying in Sweden.
The issue is being addressed in a Bishop's letter titled, ”The Church's handling in meetings with people from other religious traditions.”
“There are both pastoral and ethical reasons for the advice,” Helene Egnell of the Center for Religious Dialogue, told newspaper Kyrkans Tidning. “Asylum seekers are in a vulnerable and exposed situaion. A christening doesn't have any affect on the asylum seeking process and brings instead big risk for persecution if someone is sent home.”

Hmmm, this is a bit strange but fairly understandable as the churches would be looking for souls to harvest and nothing like giving hope for asylum as a reason for this, eh? We see the same thing in India as well.

Sunday, April 10

Men and Women differ on household work

lol. This was amusing. D’oh research. I quote:

Research highlights

right triangle, filled The division of household work is consistent with the equity theory.

 right triangle, filled The females’ fair household work share is about 62%.

right triangle, filled The males’ fair household work share ranges from 10% to 38%.

right triangle, filled Husbands and wives do not concur with regard to the fair shares of household work.

right triangle, filled The second fair household work shares are about 72% for females and 28% for males.

Specially the second last point, of course they wont concur. Here’s an interesting debate over housework and its value. And did you know, housework is worth £700 billion to the UK economy? at least in 2002. I quote:

The average hourly rate was £4.72, which varied between £2.59 for providing meals and £11.19 for providing housing. Selma James of the Wages For Housework Campaign told BBC News 24 her group thought women should be paid £500-£600 per week. She said women have worked for and are entitled to the wage.

"We also want the acknowledgement from society that the work we are doing is fundamental and important," she said. Housework counted for "basic work in society" she added. Within married or cohabiting couples with children where both partners work full-time, the woman spends nearly four hours a day on household work, and the man two hours and 20 minutes. In 2000, women spent 27% of their time on household production and 7% in paid work, compared to men's 20% on housework and 12% in paid work.

Erm, who will pay for this?