Monthly Archives: July 2009

And if you don’t like cricket…

…The Guardian’s live coverage of the Ashes will still give you plenty to enjoy. Today’s theme is little moments of utterly irrational happiness — the flipside of irrational hatreds — sent in by readers. Here’s the best so far:

During my time at a third-rate public school in the early 90s, I used to have my property vandalised by some upper-class thug, purely because he was older than me,” says Will Davies. “I walked past him in the street recently, and safe in the knowledge that my premature baldness has rendered me unrecognisable, muttered a word that rhymes with ‘blunt’. Since then, I feel confident that he now wakes in the night in a cold sweat, and that I will very soon get a girlfriend.

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One of the best documentaries ever

YouTube has rescued The Trader from oblivion. Via Alphaville. We all know how stupid very intelligent people can be, but they’re usually clever enough to make sure no one can see those moments. Or they sugarcoat their humiliation  by saying “”The biggest error I’ve ever made had the best possible outcome.”

Leave the dialogues to Plato

Theodore Dalrymple can usually come up with irritatingly unanswerable points like a Pez dispenser dispensing Pez. But he has me utterly lost here:

When the supposed right to health care is widely recognized, as in the United Kingdom, it tends to reduce moral imagination. Whenever I deny the existence of a right to health care to a Briton who asserts it, he replies, “So you think it is all right for people to be left to die in the street?”

When I then ask my interlocutor whether he can think of any reason why people should not be left to die in the street, other than that they have a right to health care, he is generally reduced to silence. He cannot think of one.

(Via WSJ.com.) I can only think that a double negative has been removed from the sentence. I can think of plenty of reasons why people shouldn’t be left to die on the street that have nothing to do with a right to health care. “When I ask my interlocutor whether he can think of any reason why people should be left to die in the street, in the absence of a right to health care…” perhaps? Or possibly, these interlocutors are reduced to silence because Dalrymple is cruelly stuffing socks into their mouths.

Separately, Dalrymple makes the dangerous statement that no one ever came up with a right to health care before, inferentially, the 20th century. Why not. he asks? Before we get to the whys, let’s focus on the ifs. The levellers called for something very much like universal medicine in the 1640s, as well as for other wild ideas such as giving votes to people who couldn’t afford them. And they can’t be the only ones.

Ralph Steadman’s delfino is Italian

Meet Gianluca Costantini. “”In the seventies, for example, the main topic of the underground was sex because it was something scandalous. Now the main topic is politics.”

Expense scandals outside of Britain

They are so much better. Americans’ expenses are larger. And the Germans manage to mix in a strange sense of ethics:

Mrs Schmidt flew [from Germany to Spain] at her own expense. Her chauffeur drove 2,400km (1,500 miles) to meet her so she could carry out some official business.

via BBC.

Hot News Trends: What We Have to Look Forward To

The 1918 influenza epidemic didn’t have much of an impact on the markets, notes FT’s Alphaville. But that was mainly because the market, worried mostly about WWI, wasn’t paying attention to how bad the flu was. And war-time propagandists were careful to ensure that anyone who was paying attention — be they financial analysts or Germans — got the wrong impression. The lessons are clear: to save the economy, invade someone new, seize the newspapers.
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If Ryanair thinks it has now entered a price war, what hope is there for anyone else? Does that mean Ryanair wasn’t waging a price war all these years? They weren’t smoking the price of peace.

No more war. Let’s do business.

My genius colleague writes:

This page on business opportunities in North Korea has a link to a list of exports, and that in turn has a link to this PDF on the country’s animation capabilities: 

It also argues that “the DPR of Korea (North Korea) will become in the next years the most important hub for trading in North-East Asia.”

The reasons? The list goes on and on:

Lowest labour cost in Asia. Workers’ paradise!

Highly qualified, loyal and motivated personnel. Education, housing and health service is provided free to all citizens. As opposed to other Asian countries, workers will not abandon their positions for higher salaries once they are trained. Paradise, part 2: Once you hire them, they have nowhere else to go.

Lowest taxes scheme in Asia. Especially for high-tech factories. Typical tax exemption for the first two years. This is the same country that explained its land reform was guided by “the principle of confiscation without compensation. ”

No middle agents. All business made directly with the government, state-owned companies. No middle agents. All skimming done by government employees.

Stable. A government with solid security and very stable political system, without corruption. Fingers crossed!

Full diplomatic relations with most EU members and rest of countries. The KFA does all its business in euros.

New market. Many areas of business and exclusive distribution of products (sole-distribution). We’re in the Stone Age.

Transparant legal work. Legal procedures, intellectual rights, patents and warranties for investors settled. Ah, socialism.