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A wilding

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Everything posted by A wilding

  1. Late to the party, but I read the first one when short of books in Covid lockdown and it was dreadful. I imagine it only got published because of the author's connections. I was going to do a snark, but never got around to it.
  2. I remember an entertaining review of the series that said "Roy Marsden underplays Dalgliesh to the point of making him nearly invisible."
  3. I am tempted to cheer the committee. This is the report that it would produce in a sane timeline. Somehow it has crossed over into ours. Most of all, the report says that he:
  4. Agreed. Those people who voted Brexit to get a better funded NHS? (Of whom I know a couple.) They should just endure the NHS collapsing and not "go on about it". They should just accept that "how things work" is that politicians tell blatant lies all the time, and that they can't tell what they will actually do if they get voted in. They should just give up and accept their lot. Lets forget about having a functional democracy then.
  5. Though I note that the moderators don't agree about not being able to spot the AI posts. Obviously not 100%, but pretty accurately. They typically have their own expect knowledge for example. And apparently often they are very obvious - e.g. a new user posting large numbers of verbose answers to a wide range of questions in very quick succession. Or posts flagged by multiple other users as being garbage. Also the owners seem to be arguing in bad faith - claiming that the moderators are using tools to identify the AI posts, when most of the moderators say that they re not.
  6. Agreed. The short sightedness of allowing it is horrifying.
  7. Just to be clear. You are saying that the leaver camp made a Big Lie the centrepiece of their campaign, with the deliberate aim of making the remain campaign "get into a dribbling mess about" spending bandwidth explaining in detail why it was wrong. And you are also saying that remainers still being annoyed at how this Big Lie was used to sell Brexit is simply them being naive about "how these things work". Edit: and on the more productive discussion, the Tories are looking at being slaughtered now versus being slaughtered next year. Naturally most of their MPs want to hang on for that extra year so as to arrange something for themselves if/when they lose their seats. Hence what appears to have been a plan for several of them to resign now and force multiple by-elections seems to have fallen flat.
  8. Boris Johnson, having been sent a pre-release of the Partygate Report, is resigning as an MP with immediate effect. It must be bad ... Edit: Ninjaed
  9. I don't think the Drake equation is implying that evolution has a direction or that sentience is inevitable. It simply has a term: So it does not regard the evolution of intelligent life as in any way inevitable, just as possible - and we know that it has happened once, here. (At least, after a fashion.)
  10. It is not a new idea though. It goes back at least as far as Greg Bear's Forge of God/Anvil of Stars duology. (Incidentally, Forge of God also explores the idea that the personal weaknesses of a US president might be used to paralyse the US).
  11. A small customer service rant. Today I phoned an insurance company. While I waited in the inevitable queue to speak to a real person, ignoring all the stuff about it being easier to do everything online (not in this case) they played me a message. Paraphrasing somewhat it was: "We pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service. Therefore, during this exceptionally busy period, when you get through to a customer service agent, please be polite." I had plenty of time to think about this message while I waited and it was played at me twice more before I eventually got through to someone (who was able to deal with my problem). Firstly, every single time I have phoned some customer service for the last many years I have invariably been told that they were in an exceptionally busy period. Hire some more staff, or own up to the fact that you have budgeted for customers having a significant wait! Secondly, being English, I am always polite. Especially when what I am saying is particularly vicious. But mainly I was just deconstructing that message. They pride themselves on their exceptional customer service, apparently without even noticing that the "exceptionally" long wait means they have clearly failed to provide it. But it felt more fundamental than that. They don't care what their actual customer service is. They take pride in the simple fact of projecting a PR image of themselves as providing an exceptional service, and the reality is irrelevant. Whoever came up with that script needs to get over themselves because the cracks are showing.
  12. We got another good gallows laugh out of the news this morning. The government has told Johnson that they will cut off the taxpayer funding for his lawyers if he releases any material to the Covid inquiry. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-65801103
  13. Well he could if he wanted to, but would be doing it as an independent. A plus for the powerful political party system in the UK I suppose. Though I do wonder what would happen if a popular figure like Johnson in his heyday was accused of such behaviour. Though, that said, the only thing that made my Johnson supporting aunt doubtful about him was his private life, so I am hopeful.
  14. I don't blame them for the spit hood if she was genuinely spitting at them. The rest sounds a bit much though! This is something Raja likely knows more about than me, but I have seen hospital staff put padded mittens and a sort of spit trap on a very confused old woman in intensive care to stop her making a nuisance of herself. They were very gentle about it though.
  15. I definitely sympathise with the police here. They indeed don't have the training. Anecdote: a relative of mine was temporarily caring for a confused elderly relative last year, filling in a gap in her professional care. A minor emergency occurred, which had the side effect of distressing the elderly relative, causing them to flail about somewhat aggressively. They phoned 111 (NHS non-emergency helpline) to get some help. The 111 operator, rather than arranging advice or assistance, told them to call the police!
  16. However that is how dictatorships such as Russia work. They tell their citizens that black is white and the citizens are required to believe it, despite the evidence of their senses. And the citizens, with no experience of any other sort of government, do come to believe it in a way, while feeling a sort of disabling guilt that part of them can't stop seeing that black is not actually white at all. That said, Putin's feet of clay are definitely beginning to show now.
  17. Actually the news is now saying that he expects the taxpayer to pay for his new lawyers as well.
  18. My favourite Paul Torday is The Girl on the Landing which is a story about the supernatural that also has something to say about the use of psychoactive drugs.
  19. Just read Sea of Tranquillity by Emily St. John Mandel. I found her Station Eleven somewhat heavy going, but this one was much lighter, an entertaining jeu d'esprit that nonetheless tackles issues such as the simulation hypothesis and the trolley problem. And there is an amusing self insert of an author on an extended publicity tour following their most recent book, about a pandemic, unexpectedly becoming a best seller. Plus a wry comment about a character lumbered with having "St." in their name. Also been reading The Death of an Owl, the last book by Paul Torday (of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen fame.) This was generally up to his usual standards, though possibly a little flat in tone, and is a typical uncomfortable read. It is a savage portrait of an ambitious near psychopathic UK Tory politician. The comparison with Boris Johnson is inevitable, except that Torday died in 2013 (the book was tided up and published by his son in 2016). Scarily Torday's fictional politician, despite being a complete scumbag, is in several ways a better person than Johnson.
  20. Hmm. For the record, in any normal relationship, if you were working on the computer in your room then your partner would leave you in peace to get on with it. They might perhaps stick their head round your door to ask if you fancied a coffee break or something similar. Certainly they wouldn't come in and engage you in casual conversation or do random stuff around you when that was clearly distracting you. And peering at your screen without explicit permission is considered way beyond the pale - there might be confidential stuff on it. I love my wife dearly, but in the unlikely event that she were to start doing that sort of thing then I might well minimize all my tabs and sit there waiting for her to go away as well. She would quickly get the point I am sure. Though I would be more likely simply to say I was going to be busy for the next however long and ask her to go away until then - but clearly your mother would react badly to that.
  21. Just to pick up on this. You have made a classic correlation/causation error here. It is indeed generally considered proven that children bought up within a stable loving relationship have statistically better life outcomes, but that is irrelevant. You need to show that, once a relationship breaks down to the point where divorce is being considered, it is better for the child for the parents to stay together anyway, even if only because society pressures them to do so, rather than get divorced. As I understand it, what evidence there is tends to show the opposite.
  22. Tsk. Everyone knows that The Fellowship of the King is actually a UK based Christian organisation. This Polychron person has stolen their name.
  23. Agreed. Galvanism was used by Shelly to provide a veneer of science and plausibility to her story in the same way that 1930 SF writers used the ether and 1950/60s comic writers used radioactivity (see the original origin stories of many Marvel superheroes).
  24. Say what you like about the new England team, but whatever they are, they are not boring!
  25. Well anything is possible. But: There have been multiple well documented cases of respiratory viruses suddenly jumping from animals to humans before Covid. Many scientists had been saying for years that it was very likely that such a jump was going to cause a really dangerous pandemic before long. (Including one or two that I know personally, and to the extent that they had done some limited prepping for it.) There had been several near misses before Covid. The Wuhan market was just the sort of insanitary environment where such a jump is likely to occur. The Chinese hierarchical setup is one where cover up at all levels is the instinctive reaction to any situation. So their response to the outbreak proves nothing.
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