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calcinations
28 May 2015 @ 05:38 pm
well known SF reviewer, James Nicoll, has had problems with Adam Roberts writing over the years.
http://james-nicoll.livejournal.com/2311305.html
http://james-nicoll.livejournal.com/1679645.html
and others, if you search.
The issues he has rather overlap mine, and frankly after reading 2 of his books I don't feel like reading any more, and Nicoll certainly doesn't make me feel like doing so.

See also:
http://james-nicoll.livejournal.com/1899465.html
Where Charlie Stross writes:
" Literary style he's got by the bucketload -- but he uses the form of sf as a discipline without actually understanding that not only is a rocket ship sometimes a rocket ship (rather than a metaphor), but it is constrained by physical law, as well as literary convention."

Which I entirely agree with.
Also John Scalzi years ago wrote this:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/07/21/on-the-subject-of-to-whom-to-address-your-literary-kvetch/#comments
 
 
 
calcinations
08 May 2015 @ 09:58 am
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

Alliance Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
1 seats lost.
-1 net change in seats.
61,556 total votes taken.
0.2% share of the total vote
+0.1% change in share of the votes

TUSC have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
36,327 total votes taken.
0.1% share of the total vote
+0.1% change in share of the votes

National Health Action have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
20,210 total votes taken.
0.1% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Traditional Unionist Voice have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
16,538 total votes taken.
0.1% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Yorkshire First have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
12,734 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Respect Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
9,989 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
-0.1% change in share of the votes

Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
8,419 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

English Democrats have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
6,443 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
-0.2% change in share of the votes

Monster Raving Loony Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
3,528 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Socialist Labour Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
3,481 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Christian Peoples Alliance have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
3,260 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Christian Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
3,205 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
-0.1% change in share of the votes

Workers Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
2,724 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

British National Party have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
1,667 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
-1.9% change in share of the votes

Class War have the following results:

0 seats in total.
0 seats gained.
0 seats lost.
0 net change in seats.
526 total votes taken.
0.0% share of the total vote
0.0% change in share of the votes

Others have the following results:
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calcinations
13 April 2015 @ 10:08 pm
Those of you who read SF & F will have heard of them. THe problem this year is that they have been gamed by a villainous cabal of right wingers who have different motivations depending on what of their bletherings you believe. They certainly range from more money and fame for themselves, through to hating lefties and anyone who isn't like them. They even claim to be fore greater variety in SF &F, but their organised slate means that there is LESS variety in the Hugo awards short list this year.

So, for future reference, various links:
http://www.bookwormblues.net/2015/04/06/hugo-awards-2015-a-lamentation/
In comments note that Andromeda spaceways magazine say they weren't told about it, and that htey've had flack from people who say they shouldn't have turned the nomination down.

A big list of links:
http://relentlessreading.com/2015/04/04/my-thoughts-on-the-hugo-nominations/
Most of which I have read.

http://leeaharris.com/the-hugos-2015/
Comments include skewring of a sad puppy supporter.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/04/06/the-hugo-awards-gamergate-edition-2015/
Notable for the revbobmib in comments saying how Correia acted badly towards him. An anecdote counter to Correia's persecution mania...
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calcinations
16 February 2015 @ 07:12 pm
You'd think that after decades of being told we have to switch energy supplier that we in the UK might be better at it.
But no, we aren't. Thus dies the simplistic idea that we can have a free and good market in energy supplies. It turns out that real humans are much more complex and motivated by different things which simply aren't captured in the energy prices that they are charged.
And that large corporations like to fiddle things to suit themselves. Oddly enough that isn't taken into account by market worshippers, although at least more centrist folks agree a regulator is a good idea.
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calcinations
29 January 2015 @ 11:09 am
Sky news via MSN, "Roads closed as 'thundersnow' storms batter Britain"

Aye, right.
It's just some winter, you know, that time of year when it gets a bit colder?
 
 
 
calcinations
27 January 2015 @ 01:14 pm
SUrprisingly, if you maximise your business efficiency by treating staff as temporary entities to be put to work only when there is work, or rather your algorithm tells you that there will be work, the staff can't handle it and take days off because their real life outside work gets in the way!
http://equitablegrowth.org/news/pitfalls-just-time-scheduling/

Research indicates that unstable schedules lead to high annual turnover, possibly because a worker quits or doesn’t show up to work because they can’t balance their work and life schedules. Companies, therefore, must invest in increased re-hiring and training costs, and may suffer from poor customer service because, as Williams says, “new employees do not have a strong grasp of the product and a high level commitment to the organization.”

Investing in company profit and employee well-being may not be a zero sum situation. Instead, providing scheduling stability to workers may allow them to realize their full economic potential.


Anyone with half a brain will of course already know this. But companies still refuse to follow the evidence.
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calcinations
13 January 2015 @ 12:22 pm
guns  
Someone mentioned somewhere else that BRitish museums were removing the small arms from their collections, the inference being that we're trying to stamp out all gun knowledge and influence.
Apart from the fact that the only way to attempt this would be to remove all American programs from TV, such as the CSI ones that show plot driven but liberal use of handguns, this sounds exactly like one of those paranoid right wing ideas.
A search of the internet suggests it has yet to become a major meme.
One possible source is this:
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/08/foghorn/somethings-missing-from-the-imperial-war-museum/

That the Imperial war museum allegedly has no small arms seems a bit odd, but given all the other things there, they probably concentrate on the big stuff.
And I've not heard of any actions to remove the hundreds of small arms from the Royal Armouries at Leeds; last time I was there they even had a vickers machine gun simulator.
SOme of it might be confusion over this story:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/11/19/us-usa-washington-museum-idUKKCN0J32BU20141119

It is from November last year, and starts:
A museum in Washington state plans to remove about a dozen borrowed firearms from a World War Two exhibit and return them to their owners to comply with a new gun law that requires background checks for all gun transfers, the institution said on Wednesday.

Washington voters passed legislation earlier this month expanding background checks on all firearms purchases to include sales at guns shows and online, as well for loans and transfers.

The Lynden Pioneer Museum, located about 100 miles north of Seattle and just south of the Canadian border, said that as a result it was pulling all 11 of the World War Two-era guns in its exhibit, "Over the Beach: The WWII Pacific Theater," before the law takes effect.

"The museum will be returning these guns to their owners because as of Dec. 4, we would be in violation of the law if we had loaned firearms that had not undergone the background check procedure," the museum said in a statement.


Knowing how rumours work, either is a possible source of the idea.
 
 
 
calcinations
but only sometimes, and not for too long.
Take this for example from last year:
http://www.economist.com/node/21594264/comments#comments

About the future of jobs. Basically it's a very erudite "What if...." kind of article, but carefully avoids saying anything much about the real likely outcomes of the various scenarios. It ends with what is basically a way of kicking the plebs:

"However, society may find itself sorely tested if, as seems possible, growth and innovation deliver handsome gains to the skilled, while the rest cling to dwindling employment opportunities at stagnant wages."

The rest of the article before that had gone through various scenarios that tacitly admit that not everyone can be a highly paid skilled worker, but the final sentence seems to think that people actually choose to be underpaid and exploited, which is of course bollocks.

Since the Economist is a cheerleader for right wing market worship, this should be no surprise.
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calcinations
10 December 2014 @ 09:24 pm
with some temporary work, currently 55 hours a week.
Meanwhile, in the USA, a report has been released saying what lefties and liberals have been saying for more than a decade. Torturing people doesn't work. They don't tell you anything, useful or not, more people dislike you for it, etc etc.
The chances of the fact that this was called right by lefties and liberals all those years ago being recognised publicly is very low. Keep your eye on the media, but so far all that is happening is that some people are saying that "Hey, at least America is big enough to admit to doing it!"

Or you could, you know, not actually start to do something which is against the conventions built up over many decades, not to mention against the ideals of your country since it's founding. But I suppose that would get in the way of the atavistic urges to kill people and make money.
 
 
 
calcinations
05 October 2014 @ 09:59 pm
You know you're in trouble when they deliver some speeches at a party conference and the tabloids (sun, mail etc) applaud it but the FT wonders how on earth they are going to make it all work out.
So the INdependent points out he's wrong too:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/why-george-osbornes-headlinegrabbing-claims-are-wrong-9774889.html

Consider the working-age benefit argument. George Osborne lamented in his conference speech that "too many young people… have fallen into a culture of welfare dependency and a life on the dole". He said it was intolerable that the working-age welfare benefit bill had reached £100bn. But Jobseekers' Allowance, the dole, accounts for less than 5 per cent of that £100bn. The big contributors to the working-age welfare bill are housing benefit (£17bn), tax credits (£29bn) and child benefit (£11bn).

What drives housing benefit is rising private sector rents, linked to the spiralling value of housing – a consequence of not building enough new homes each year. Tax credits are rising because an increasing number of people in work are eligible for the earnings subsidies. And child benefit is not a subsidy just for the jobless.

The working-age welfare bill has certainly increased. It's up from 4.5 per cent of GDP in 1997 to around 5.7 per cent today. But it has grown as a share of national income primarily because of our grossly dysfunctional housing market and a surge in the number of people working in relatively low-paid jobs. The idea that the bill has been pushed up by a proliferation of lazy work-dodgers is nonsense.


Or in other words, if you have a social contract that says you aught to help poor people actually have homes to live in, yet refuse to build any council houses, or indeed any other form of social housing, you'll end up giving more and more money to private landlords.

Also his cuts figures are wrong too, but that won't stop him.
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