Saturday, June 09, 2012
Dear Ruth Davidson,
I noted that, during the BBC "big debate" on Sunday you asserted that NATO was a good thing because of "some of the work our troops did there preventing ethnic cleansing".
If you are ignorant of the facts you will wish to publicly retract the claim.
If you are not you will already know that what NATO actually did was, having signed a temporary occupation agreement with Yugoslavia undertaking to disarm the genocidal KLA & run a non-racist regime which respected Yugoslavia's sovereignty, they immediately appointed the KLA as NATO police and sent them out to commit atrocities. These included the ethnic cleansing of 350,000 people; the sexual enslavement of 10s of thousands of children for use in western brothels; numerous massacres such as the Dragodan massacre where these forces of ours murdered at least 210 unnamed civilians outside our military HQ in Dragodan (an atrocity comparable to My Lai or Lidice); and the kidnap, sorry arrest, of at least 1800 people, chosen on racial grounds, who were dissected while still alive to provide body organs for western hospitals (an atrocity unmatched even by Hitler). In that case you will also know that not only did the Milosevic "trial" find no evidence whatsoever of a campaign of ethnic cleansing but that Milosevic's government went to considerable lengths to reassure Albanians and ensure atrocities were prevented.
If the former you will, obviously wish to check the truth and then publicly retract your lie and apologise to the family of Milosevic.
If it was a deliberate lie, or if it was spoken without concern for the truth and examination proves my accusations to be entirely truthful but that this does not prevent you maintaining the lie, you will have proven yourself to have reached a level of obscenity beyond description.
Neither she nor her deputy have replied therefore it probably was at the time and undeniably is now a deliberate racist lie told by a wholly corrupt pro-Nazi.
Friday, June 08, 2012
I won't try and repeat his whole lecture but these are some notes:
Fields in which Robotics is expanding:
unfortunately he ran out of time so the last 2 weren't discussed, Oh well.
discussion of the DARPA Challenge to build a fully automated self driving car, which I have discussed as an example of an X-Prize working at 3% of conventional funding costs. The designer of this has now built a car for \Google & we saw some film of it driving in San Francisco on the route used in the car chase scene in Bullitt, though not as fast.
Fully automated cars have been legalised under Nevada law and he suggested that they are going ro be considerably safer (and somewhat more fuel efficient) than human driving and thus will, in the not distant future, become a major element of road transport. I have written previously of automating rail transport which is obviously many orders of magnitude simpler.
While a fully automated armoured vehicle does exist, at a cost of $80 million the major area for such craft is in the air. Again something I have said before. Currently these are drones being used in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, controlled by people sitting in California. However the potential for making them fully automatic exists and indeed if they are ever to be used against a technologically advanced enemy, who will easily be able to jam signals, this becomes a necessity. The ethical problems of drones, making war safe, at least for the attacker, are obvious in the real world. The ethical problems of having robots making the decision to kill are clearly far greater.
This is the HTV-2 hypersonic glider which can be fully automated and at 13,000 mph is virtually a spaceship.
Population ageing is not simply a western problem. Japan is ageing more than us and he told us that 2/3rds of the population of Shanghai is over 65. The major role here seems to be not so much pure robotics as enhancement of failing bodies. For example this HAL suit by Cyberdyne (really) is far more versatile than a wheelchair.
This Hello Kitty robot is abnle to converse with children; look ; warn them of danger and alert paresnts. The children really enjoy them as friends. We also got a quote from a mother who was really pleased that her work wasn't beiong interrupted by her child ctying because he was lonely. The ethical problems of having children thus socialised only with robots are obvious. On the other hand so are the problems of having such a mother.
In the Q&A section I asked about robots potential as a force multiplier in space development. He alsered that at present NASA are uninterested because robots weigh so much. However I am sure that as the market develops the weight will reduce and in any case remotely handled vehicles will not weigh appreciably more than conventional ones. It seems to me that robots which are stronger; able to work in vacuum; under high radiation & temperature; and 24/7 can do far more work than people and that they could turn a space community of 1,000 people into a manufacturing centre equal to 1 million people. While the lightspeed lag of about 3 seconds to the Moon might cause problems roboticisation seems sufficiently advanced that the Earth based handler need not wholly control it. This makes Moon industrialisation, and even thay of the asteroids feasible.
Afterwards I asked him about one of my hobbyhorses - not robotics but something in the direction of AI - a computer programme acting as a judge in international law. He did not think it would work, pointing out that even human judges are not good at consistency and mentioning an international meeting he had been at where there was vigorous argument over the meaning of 1 word in an agreement. However my thoughts are for something simpler than a programme, on its own, interpreting witness evidence and more on using the relatively simple and limited precedents of international law to determine whether or when wars and interventions are legal.. I remain convinced that this involves fewer decisions than driving across Nevada.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
The final bill for the 2012 Olympics could be ten times higher than the original estimate, according to an investigation.So that original promise that it would only cost £2.37 billion was "transparent" if the Ministry is being truthful. I suppose one can call a transparent lie "transparent".
The predicted cost of the games when London won the bid in 2005 was £2.37billion. That figure has now spiralled to more than £12billion and could reach as much as £24billion, the Sky Sports investigation claims.
But the three-month investigation, which used figures from freedom of information requests and public documents, revealed extra spends that could drive up the cost to taxpayers by an extra £2.4bn.
These include anti-doping control officers, legacy schemes, tube drivers being paid extra to work and local Olympic torch relay programmes...
Sky's figure of £12bn includes the cost of buying the land for the venues, which currently stands at £766m....
But it does not include the £1.131bn being allocated to the police for extra counter terrorism during the games or the £4.4bn budgets of the security and intelligence services.
Nor does it consider the cost of having up to 12,000 officers policing the games instead of crime fighting elsewhere or the £6.5bn spend on upgrading transport networks....
The investigators say the final figure could exceed its £24bn estimate as many requests for information have been ignored....
However a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman today hit back at the Sky investigation saying: 'The Public Sector Funding Package for the Games is £9.3bn and includes all additional security, defence and public transport provision for the Games.
'It is simply not right to start adding on top of that budgets that would have been in existence regardless of 2012 and claim that as being an Olympic cost.'
He added: 'We have always been transparent about the cost of the Games and have rigorously managed the budget to ensure the programme remains within the £9.3bn.
The purpose of hosting the Olympics is, except for the minor bit about sporting fellowship across humanity and getting more medals than the slitty eyed dagos, is to enhance Britain's standing across the world.
Lets see if there are some other ways we could spend it to better enhance our standing and to make both us and the world better off.
£18 billion ($29bn) Jerry Pournelle's initial X-Prizes
pay to the first British owned company (if corporate at least 60% of the shares must be held by British citizens) the following sums for the following accomplishments. No monies shall be paid until the goals specified are accomplished and certified by suitable experts£1 billion into ageing research - basically the M-Prize X 1,000
1. The sum of $2 billion to be paid for construction of 3 operational spacecraft which have achieved low earth orbit, returned to earth, and flown to orbit again three times in a period of three weeks.
2. The sum of $5 billion to be paid for construction and maintenance of a space station which has been continuously in orbit with at least 5 Britons aboard for a period of not less than three years and one day. The crew need not be the same persons for the entire time, but at no time shall the station be unoccupied.
3. The sum of $12 billion to be paid for construction and maintenance of a Lunar base in which no fewer than 31 Americans have continuously resided for a period of not less than four years and one day.
4. The sum of $10 billion to be paid for construction and maintenance of a solar power satellite system which delivers at least 800 megaWatts of electric power to a receiving station or stations in the UK for a period of at least two years and one day.
5. The payments made shall be exempt from all UK taxes.
That would do it. Not one cent to be paid until the goals are accomplished. Not a bit of risk, and if it can't be done for those sums, well, no harm done to the treasury.
£1.5 billion into a 1 year trial of prizes in education - £1500 per child for that year.
£2 billion - various military spends - originally I put this at £377 million but that was choosing which of these should be done. Doing 9 would probably be under £2 bn but lets play safe
1 - HULC is an exoskeleton ....equip 25,000 soldiers which is in the area of all the truly front line troops available at any one time..
2 - Unmanned Aerial Vesicles (UAVs).
3 - Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) ... is a mobile laser capable of shooting down incoming shells. This means they can also do missiles and aircraft.
4 - Pay for the development of a considerably scaled up version of THEL ...as effective an SDI programme as one can reasonably hope for.
5 - Military X-Prize unit.
6 - Pay SpaceX for one or more of the Heavy Lift Vehicles they they are developing, designed to put the equivalent of a 737 in orbit by 2013/14.
7 - Thor - Project Thor is an idea for a weapons system that launches kinetic projectiles from Earth orbit to damage targets on the ground.
8 - Taking the design of the British rocket plane of the 1950s, the SR53, but using modern materials Parliament has been informed it would be possible to build a suborbital space plane for £50 million. This would be considerably lighter and more powerful than was possible back then and should be able to launch rockets, on at least a daily basis, able to put very small satellites in orbit
10 - Orion - this would give us the capacity to put 10s of thousands of tons into orbit or indeed far beyond. Britain's defence capacity would extend to the entire solar system. The entire cost of doing this, including flights to Mars and Saturn was, taking 1960 costs and correcting for inflation, £5.4 billion over 12 years. I would propose setting up a joint stock company to which the armed forces would contribute 7% of the capital in the form of the atomic fuel. No commercial company could provide the fuel but so vast are the potential profits I am certain that, once fuel and permission were available, the share offering would be vastly oversubscribed, even if, for security reasons, limited to British investors.
£500 million - Provide enough harbour facilities, electricity, roads & water infrastructure to let Ascension Island develop as the world's or at least Atlantic community's spaceport.
£1 billion Build a massive telecommunications satellite for putting in geosynchronous orbit above the longitude of Europe/Africa. The cost here is just a guess, assuming that we already have the SpaceX heavy lift mentioned above but also assuming that it will be obviously profitable. We would then supply Europe on commercial terms and Africa virtually for free. The marginal cost of doing so would be small when the satellite station is already in place. Mobile phones are a major factor, possibly the major factor, in Africa's current growth. Since the amount of information passed is directly proportional to the size of both transmitter and receiver power a massive solar powered satellite could operate across Africa with even the simplest mobiles.
Working through these phones could provide banking services with a stable currency across Africa (or indeed Europe). If we worked it well the stable currency could even be Sterling again.
There you are. £24 billion. Britain gets to be easily the most advanced spacegoing nation; the world's leader in conquering ageing; improving our educational results; militarily dominant is several high tech areas; ending poverty in the world's poorest region. On most of these also greatly expanding the economy.
That does it for War, Disease and Poverty. That would do more for our standing than hosting a sports competition. Of course if they didn't work, since most of them are prizes, well, no harm done to the treasury.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Despite the fact that the world economy is likely to have nearly doubled by then
I also pointed out that the SNP guest on the BBC's programme, Nicola Sturgeon,, had not said a word in disagreement with this scenario of deliberate impoverishment.
However, being a fair minded person I wrote to both First Minister Alec Salmond and to the SNP party organisation giving them the opportunity to dissociate themselves from it and to say that they actually do at least hope, for a prosperous future.
Dear Mr Salmond & co,
On Sunday during the BBC's "Big Debate" your partner, Patrick Harvie leader of the Green party said, in response to a question to an easy question about how much better off Scottish people would be on 10 years with independence said that it "would be a mistake" to expect us to be any better off & indeed implied, with no evident regret, that we might be poorer.
The real problem was that when it came the deputy leader's turn she did not disagree or even distance your party from that prediction in any way.
Considering that, outside the EU, the world economy is growing at 6% annually I think you will agree that it is easily possible to achieve 6% growth if the will is there, indeed if the country were run with merely above average competence growth should be above average. That would mean average incomes should be, at least 180% of current levels by then.
I would therefore like to know if the SNP & the Yes campaign generally wish to dissociate themselves from the Green's prediction and produce another one.
I look forward to your response within the week.Regretfully I have to say that nobody in the SNP has taken this opportunity & it must be assumed that it is the deliberate policy of the SNP to use "independence" simply as an excuse to reduce Scotland's freedom and defraud us of our birthright of prosperity so as to maintain their power over us, in the manner described by Orwell.
Some change from when the SNP won their first election on the promise of a "Celtic Lion" economy based on low regulation and low corporation tax, Irish style. This must now be assumed to have been a deliberate lie from the start.
I will be sending this out to the various SNP MSPs and we will see if any of them wish to dissociate themselves with the thieving parasites running the party.Obviously any honest MSP/MP who has the interests of the electorate at heart will.
Sunday, June 03, 2012
I’m an economist not a politician, and I can only repeat what all the great economists have said down the centuries – taxes on land values are the least bad taxes because they do not depress or distort economic activity, i.e. wealth creation. Land Value Tax is easy to assess, cheap to collect and impossible to evade.
Not only that, LVT is an entirely voluntary tax – you decide how much you are willing to pay and you choose a house or a flat within that price range. Only instead of handing over all the rent or purchase price to the current owner, the location value would go to the government.
But with my politician’s hat on, I am perfectly aware that the oldest counter argument in the book is that ‘poor widows who want to stay in the family home won’t be able to pay it and will be forced to sell up’, and, to be fair, under current rules, most pensioners pay very little in income tax, so I see no harm in exempting pensioners’ main residences from Land Value Tax.Basically a tax on the value of the buildings on land provides a disincentive to build or improve the buildings. All taxes on wealth creation, including income, give disincentives to creating wealth/earring income. A tax on the inherent value of land, which largely cannot be changed* by the owner does not disincentivise him from wealth creation. Indeed it does the opposite. Currently if you own land you can do absolutely nothing with it and you won't have to pay any taxes. This gives anybody who owns some in the centre of London the whip hand in renting it out. In the Highlands it also gives the whip hand to owners of massive estates, or islands, who can and do prevent the building of new houses around villages and stifle communities.
* OK land value can be enhanced by draining swamps or by having roads or other infrastructure built going past them. The latter is a lucky accident for the owner. Anybody who can get permission from our eco obsessed government to improve their own land by draining it or otherwise improving it deserves all the credit they get and should be allowed to sell all the flying pigs that land there too.
The Heinlein bit is from Number of the Beast, where he describes the best of all possible worlds - literally since the protagonists chose it from an infinity of alternate worlds. I have quoted it before.
This state derives most of its revenue from real estate taxes. It is a uniform rate set annually, with no property exempted, not even churches, hospitals, or schools-or roads; the best roads are toll roads. The surprise lies in this: The owner appraises his own property.Ideally the purchaser would also have to pay the replacement value of any non-movable property (buildings) on the site, otherwise it would be a tax on land values plus building values - though that is still an improvement on the present situation.
There is a sting in the tail: Anyone can buy property against the owner's wishes at the appraisal the owner placed on it. The owner can hang on only by raising his appraisal at once to a figure so high that no buyer wants it- and pay three years back taxes at his new appraisal.
The advantage of this open semi-compulsory purchase system is that it ends land being the least mobile and thus most monopolistic part of the economic system. The 3 conventional factors in production economists care about are Land, Labour & Capital & much of the social antagonism created by the free market is that Capital can largely move wherever it wants, Labour is generally less mobile though sometimes people do go "on your bike" and Land is wholly imobile. This distorts negotiations between the holders of each.
It would also be necessary to exclude any property for which planning permission has been refused within the last, say, 10 years or is in the Green Belt since the low value of such property is entirely due to government refusal. We would not want friends of councillors to become rich purely by buying up land that the current owners are refused permission to develop and then getting permission to develop it from their friends - though in fact this happens all the time in the current world.
I would also suggest that the tax come in slowly. For properties already paying rates it could be brought in immediately and the rates reduced by the same to keep it revenue neutral. But for land not built on it should come in at an initial rate of, say 0.1% and rise annually by not more than 10% which would take 23 years to reach 1% annually. This gives a generation for landowners to adjust
But I don't think there can be any dispute that this would grease the wheels of the economy (ie reduce frictional losses). If a growing economy is desirable & though most politicians secretly and the Greens openly don't want one, I do, then it is a reform that should be put in place unless there are very strong arguments against.