Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The New York Times discovers the obvious!

Here's something I've been saying for decades now, finally discovered by the main stream press.  Wind farms suck
Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.

The grid today, according to experts, is a system conceived 100 years ago to let utilities prop each other up, reducing blackouts and sharing power in small regions.
In other words, all them gigantic bird choppers you see out there?  Even the ones that are actually turning STILL aren't making power anyone can use a lot of the time, because the grid can't take the extra variation in input.  A little too much and pop goes a circuit breaker.  A little too little, and you get a voltage drop which has to be made up by a gas turbine, then the wind picks up again and pop goes another breaker.
Today, New York State has about 1,500 megawatts of wind capacity. A megawatt is an instantaneous measure of power. A large Wal-Mart draws about one megawatt. The state is planning for an additional 8,000 megawatts of capacity.

But those turbines will need to go in remote, windy areas that are far off the beaten path, electrically speaking, and it is not clear enough transmission capacity will be developed. Save for two underwater connections to Long Island, New York State has not built a major new power line in 20 years.

New York State lawmakers (DemocRats, obviously) have already built 1,500 megawatts worth of windmill generators, KNOWING THEY COULDN'T DELIVER THE POWER. These machines are good for about 5 megawatts each, so the jackasses in Albany have already built 400 of them, which are uselessly beating the air and delivering the square root of fuck-all electricity to your New York homes, kids.  The project was so incredibly successful they've decided to erect 1,600 more of 'em to deliver even more no-power.

Ontario has done likewise.  The LIEberals know a good scam when they see one.

What does this tell us?  Two things.  First, that the Mob has moved into the windmill business.  Second, that scumbag DemocRat and LIEberal politicians are happy to ride the wave of enviro-nutbar hysteria to fame and fortune, by paying their scuzzy friends to build large yet ever so ugly non-functional wind turbines with your money.  Lots and lots of your money dudes, those friggin' things are expensive.

No wonder they love gun control so much, eh?

The Phantom

Monday, August 18, 2008

So what's all this got to do with human rights?

Now, finally we come to it.  Perfect example has come to my hands from Lorne Gunter at the National Post.

In our previous examples, we have seen some interesting stuff.  Starting waaaay back here, we have seen that many Canadians, as exemplified in this case by Jason Cherniak, believe there are some things you should not be allowed to say, and that government is the tool of choice to be used for making sure you don't say it.
Here, we saw that restricting the use of force against criminals to government agents results in increased criminality, even given ubiquitous surveillance unprecedented in human history.  They ain't gettin' it done.
Here we saw how amazingly radical it seems when official sanction to use force is distributed rather than restricted.  Armed teachers?  What if one of 'em shoots somebody?!  Holy crap, man, that's nuts!
The tale of the five toilets shows us what happens when people keep restricting the use of force to police, even when they know its a stupid idea.  Armed business owners chucking small time hookers and hoods out of their own store bathrooms, without calling the cops?  Insanity!  You can't trust those guys to do that!  Not even if the cops are not getting it done, and it just cost the city five million smackers for hood&hooker vandalized super-shitters.

Right on.  You can't trust teachers or store owners with guns, they aren't government.  They aren't qualified, specialized, screened, trained, tested and watched.  They'll surely screw up.

Ok, well then lets ask, who can we trust?

How about doctors?  Could we trust doctors to be able to do the right thing?  Your doctor is probably the most highly qualified, most stringently screened and tested, most fiercely trained individual you know.  He or she is the end product of the toughest education process we've got, and is highly motivated to do what's right by their patients.  Not what is expedient, or what is least expensive, or politically correct, or easiest for the doctor and staff of the hospital.  What's right.  Given what they go through to get that MD license, if they don't know what's right nobody does.

Enter the CPSO.  Check this out:
If the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) gets its way, Ontario's doctors will soon be stripped of their right to follow their moral convictions or religious beliefs when treating patients. In other words, doctors will risk losing their licenses if they run afoul of Ontario's human rights police.

The key passage in the CPSO's seven-page proposal states that a "physician's responsibility is to place the needs of the patient first, [so] there will be times when it may be necessary for physicians to set aside their personal beliefs in order to ensure that patients or potential patients are provided with the medical services they require."

Not just actual, real patients mind you.  Potential patients.  Hypothetical patients.  People who do not in fact exist, but might someday.  Maybe.

So the answer to the question "Can you trust doctors?" is NO.  You can't.  They might decide to do something other than what has been deemed acceptable by certain minions of government this week.  The details of what they might decide are irrelevant, what matters is that they are not trusted to decide.  They cannot be allowed the freedom to decide. 

This is the end-game of Progressive thought as currently formulated.  There is no one who is trusted other than government employees to decide or to do anything of any importance without strict supervision.  People are stupid and must be controlled by duly constituted authority.  No matter how expensive it is, no matter how futile it is, no matter if it is counter productive to the desired goal, no matter if people die of it. Central control must be maintained or chaos and destruction will result.

And that, my friends, is what Human Rights Commissions in this country are all about.  They decide what you will be allowed to say in public, because YOU, bumpkin that you are, might decide incorrectly.  Even doctors ate too immoral, venal, deluded, brainwashed, stupid, all of the above to get it right, what possible hope could there be that you will?  You morons!

Is there any faint chance that this belief system will turn out well for Canada?  Going by the historical record, no.  All centrally planned, centrally controlled societies have ended badly to date.  Even large companies have a habit of ending badly when they have too much centralization, too much bureaucracy and micro-management.

There is even evidence that what we see from history is something approaching a mathematical certainty.  Complex systems in manufacturing have a tendency to go out of time and devolve into chaotic uproar no matter how stringent the timing and control of each individual part is.  This Aug 9th-15th New Scientist has an article (Law and Disorder by Mark Buchanan, pg 30) on precisely this type of problem.  One example used was painting robots at GM.  When managers tried to schedule to robots the result was inefficient and costly.  When the robots were set up to schedule themselves using a simple algorithm running on each machine, the line schedule could not be predicted.  But GM saved a million bucks in paint alone that year.  Freedom to make decisions, when distributed among nodes, increases efficiency.

That's in dumb robots.  Ants don't have any central control at all, just basic programing to respond to pheromones and the rest is adaptive neurology.  Ants do pretty well, they've been around in their present form for a couple million years.

What chance is there that humans are going to respond well to rigid central controls?

And that is why I disagree with Mr. Cherniak on human rights commissions.  People can't be controlled.  Its impossible.

The Phantom

The Tale of Five Toilets.

Once upon a time there were five toilets.
March 2, 2004

The doors open and close like those on an elevator. You step in. They softly seal shut behind you.

"Welcome to Seattle's public toilet," says the kind of voice you might hear as you board a space ride at Disneyland.

The self-cleaning cylindrical bathrooms include a toilet, wastepaper basket, and sink with a dispenser that dribbles out soap. They are wheelchair-accessible.

They were wonderful toilets put up by wonderful people for wonderful reasons.

Made in Germany, and leased by the city, the public restrooms are expected to cost a total of about $600,000 a year. They will be paid for through sewer revenues. Since the 1980s, Seattle business owners have said the lack of public restrooms was the top issue facing downtown.

Business owners across the city have been forced to figure out ways to keep drug users and others out of their bathrooms while keeping the toilets open to customers.

See?  Wonderful!  Here's how it turned out:
August 16, 2008

Seattle has officially washed its hands of the five self-cleaning toilets.

The toilets cost the city $5 million. They sold on eBay Thursday evening for $12,549.

All five were sold to Racecar Supply, of Rochester, in Thurston County, with winning bids ranging from $1,625 to $4,899 per commode, said Pat Miller, spokesman for Seattle's Fleets and Facilities Department. "What a buy," said Racecar Supply owner Butch Behn. "Wouldn't you think it's a really good deal, considering what they paid for them? It was a gift."

At least Butch Behn is happy, eh?  But it was all so wonderful!  What happened?!
The high-tech public toilets, with sanitizing water jets and automatic doors, were installed in 2004 to accommodate tourists and transients in Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, the central waterfront, Pike Place Market and the Chinatown International District. But the city canceled its contract this spring after the commodes became filthy hide-outs for drug use and prostitution.
When the problem is pushers, pimps, prostitutes and their clientèle mangling the toilets of private businesses, the solution is not a self cleaning public toilet.  The astute reader will note that the newspaper is ever so carefully not laying any blame here for the flushing of five million tax dollars in this affair.  They liked the idea, they are surprised and disappointed it didn't work.  They think it should have worked.

What would have been the solution?  Empowering the private businessmen to forcibly eject pushers, pimps, prostitutes and etc. from their premises, one would think.  (In some circles this is called "freedom".)  Why is this obvious, free and effective solution unacceptable to the Seattle brain trust?  Because it sends authority to make decisions and use force out to the general population at the expense of the central government control.  They don't want to give up the power to make sure everything is being done properly.

Now we begin to understand the problem.

Continue thinking!

The Phantom

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Complete insanity reigns in Texas!

Further to our present conversation, we have an interesting reverse example to that of Britain's ubiquitous surveillance system.

The current official wisdom with regard to security is centralization and specialization.  In Britain we have a blanket ban on the possession of any weapon or weapon-like object in a public place.  A table leg wrapped in a plastic bag has been known to get people arrested in London.  The British answer to increased threat from terrorism and criminality has been a vast network of CCTV and laws requiring private companies to turn over pretty much any information they have on anybody upon request.

Here in Canada and in the USA and Britain, the answer to security threats to schools, both external threats and those from violent students, has been to put uniformed police officers in the schools.  Teachers cannot touch unruly students, they must call a cop, who will then follow the official SOP to subdue, restrain or otherwise deal with the kid(s).  The result over the last 20-30 years has been an ever increasing police presence in schools, and an ever increasing amount of criminality to go with that presence.  Oh, and huge cost increases, as they pay cops to cool their heels in schools all friggin' day.

Bucking the official wisdom is this bunch of crazy people in Texas.
A tiny Texas school district may be the first in the nation to allow teachers and staff to pack guns for protection when classes begin later this month, a newspaper reported.

Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements.

The head looney had this to say:

Superintendent David Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff's office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district's lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.

"When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that's when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can't defend themselves? That's like saying 'sic 'em' to a dog," Thweatt said in Friday's online edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Thweatt said officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change. He said the district also has various other security measures in place to prevent a school shooting.

"The naysayers think (a shooting) won't happen here. If something were to happen here, I'd much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them," Thweatt said.

Here's a guy who has considered what's being done everywhere else, seen that it isn't working no matter how much money they throw at it, and decided to do something different.  He's said, well, we already have teachers at the school whom we have already certified as trustworthy, upstanding and proper individuals, who are trusted to look after these kids.  Is there some reason they can't be armed to protect the kids?  Do we have to pay men to do nothing other than wear a gun all day, while these teachers are probably better motivated to look after the kids?  If you can't trust the teacher to be with the kids armed, can you trust them when they are not armed?  Does the gun make the teacher into a security threat?  Are teachers too stupid to learn safe gun handling?  Are cops some kind of übermenchen, only they can safely carry a gun?

No.  So arm the teachers on the off chance some freak decides to do something nasty at the school.  Case closed, on to the next problem.

Radical, isn't it?  He's distributing the power and authority outward.  Everybody else is trying to hoard it inward. 

Continue thinking, my friends.

The Phantom

Ubiquitous surveilance: Why isn't this working?

Here's an interesting thing about the capability of government to Get Things Done.  Whenever government decides to Do Something About Crime, we see lots of tire smoke and hear plenty of noise, but no forward motion.  Usually they go backwards.

Britain being a perfect petri dish example with their Big Eye ubiquitous surveillance system.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has now uncovered just how much personal data is being collected about individuals by the Government, law enforcement agencies and private companies each day.

In one week, the average person living in Britain has 3,254 pieces of personal information stored about him or her, most of which is kept in databases for years and in some cases indefinitely.

The data include details about shopping habits, mobile phone use, emails, locations during the day, journeys and internet searches.

In many cases this information is kept by companies such as banks and shops, but in certain circumstances they can be asked to hand it over to a range of legal authorities.

In Britain the average schlub shows up on video 300 times a day.  Average, mind you.  Meaning in high surveillance areas like London people's every movement is recorded.  You pick your nose, 5 cameras see it.  Every time you swipe a card, make a phone call or use the Web, it gets recorded.  The recording system pretty much tracks you all day, every day.  They Know Where You Are.

Yet Britain is in the middle of an historic crime wave.  London is presently more dangerous than the mean streets of New York City, which is saying something.  NYC doesn't have no-sparrow-shall-fall surveillance.  Odd, yes?

Counter intuitive though it may be, Constable Plod being able to know whodunnit seems to have no effect on stopping them doing it.  How can this be?  I mean, you can blame the catch-and-release system of bleeding heart Liberalism, but there's just so much data available on so many petty thugs one would think the authorities would be able to bust these jerks every time they take a leak in public, which they appear to do hourly.  Wouldn't the petty criminal get tired of spending all his time going through catch and release all day, every day?

Apparently, even given Godlike knowledge there is a limit to what The System can get done.  That limit appears to fall far, far short of what is needed to deter petty criminals.  We're talking deterring street drunks here, and small time drug users with maybe five working brain cells. Not even organized crime, much less religious fanatics with a hate on for the whole world.

Bottom line, plenty of action but no traction.  The result, regardless of intent, is MORE crime and terrorism, not less.


There's a reason of course.  We just need to know what it is and act accordingly.  Maybe large populations can't be controlled?  Now that's a thought worth examining I'd say, because history seems to support it.  Let's all think about that a little bit.  More later!

The Phantom

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ruminations on the Aug. 14th Coren Show

I caught the Michael Coren show last night at 8pm.  That'd be the Aug. 14th show.  Guests were Kathy ShaidleBob Tarantino, Jason Cherniak and Nickolas Packwood.

First off, Congrats to Kathy Shaidle for not biting Jason Cherniak on TV, even though she clearly wanted too.  Pretty good self control for a Hamilton chick!
Congrats to Jason Cherniak for showing up to face off with all those scary conservatives and risking getting bit.  See? She can behave if she really wants to.  For short periods anyway.  ~:D

The large issue of the day was censorship in Canada and the behavior of the various Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals these last few years.  One very telling exchange was regarding the hate speech laws.  I'm going to paraphrase rather broadly here, so let's not have any lawsuits shall we?  Everybody did a great job, this is deep concept time here.

The issue was Holocaust denial, Cherniak basically said he was quite satisfied to live in a country with laws making that illegal, and that there are some things you shouldn't be able to say.  The rest of them didn't think this was such a good idea, mostly because the list of things you can't say changes over time and gets longer too.  Tarantino mentioned that up until fairly recently there were blasphemy laws in Canada and they were used to persecute groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses for slagging the Catholic Church.  There have always been things you can't say, and that the only thing different these days is the particulars of the subject matter.  These days the Catholic Church can't slag homosexuality.  Same manure, different pile.

I got thinking about that a little bit.  Cherniak's attitude is quite common, I hear it all the time.  It is that government can and should punish people for saying things that are "wrong".  There's some stuff curled up in this assumption I want to pull out.
First, there are some things you should be punished for saying.
Second, government can identify these things accurately and deal with them justly.  As in, government as a thing, system, concept, is capable of doing that job.
Third, and this is the big one, our Canadian government can be trusted to do this.
Fourth, this is a good idea for Canada.

I don't have time to get into this today in any great depth, but I think the conversation has cut down to some core, basic beliefs that differentiate political thought in Canada.  There are those who believe as Jason Cherniack does, that the answer to those four issues is yes.  There are those who believe the answer to at least one of those is no.  Then there are nutcases like myself and Kathy Shaidle who say NO! to all four.  Not just no but HELL NO! and bang on the table really freaking hard.

My reasoning starts from the fact that "government" is basically a tool we humans use to do things.  There are some jobs it can do, and some jobs it can't do.  Controlling speech justly is in the can't-do category right next to alcohol prohibition.  Even trying to do it with the best possible intentions leads inevitably to a situation much worse than letting the bad people say the bad things whenever they want.  I'll add that the HRCs are NOT proceeding from the best possible intentions, to put it ridiculously mildly.

More upon this later, my friends.

The Busy Phantom