A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Prada suit, Gucci shoes, Dior sunglasses and D+G tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd: "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"
The shepherd looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers: "Sure. Why not?" The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.
The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulae.
He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised HP LaserJet printer, turns to the shepherd and says: "You have exactly 1,586 sheep".
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my sheep," says the shepherd.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the boot of his car. Then the shepherd says to the young man:
"Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?"
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says: "Okay, why not?".
"You're a consultant," says the shepherd.
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie. "But how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required," answers the shepherd. "You showed up here even though nobody called you, you want to get paid for an answer I already knew to a question I never asked, and you know f**k-all about my business.
"Now give me back my dog."
The gun fetishists are out again.
|Country||Licensing of gun owners?||Registration of firearms?||Other||Households with firearms (%)||Gun Homicide (per 100,000)||Gun Suicide (per 100,000)||Total Intentional Gun Death Rate per 100,000|
|Japan||Yes||Yes||Prohibits handguns with few exceptions||0.6||0.03||0.04||0.07|
|Singapore||Yes||Yes||Most handguns and rifles prohibited||0.01 (795 in the country)||0.07||0.17||0.24|
|England/ Wales||Yes||Yes||Prohibits handguns||4.0||0.07||0.33||0.4|
|Scotland||Yes||Yes||Same as England and Wales||4.0||0.19||0.30||0.49|
|Spain||Yes||Yes||Some handguns and rifles are prohibited||13.1||0.19||0.55||0.74|
|Sweden||Yes||Yes||Restrictions in some regions||20||0.18||2.09||2.27|
|Denmark||Yes||Long guns only||8||0.23||2.25||2.48|
|New Zealand||Yes||Handguns. Proposed for long guns||20||0.22||2.45||2.67|
|Australia||Yes||Yes||Banned semiautomatics unless good reason||16.0||0.56||2.38||2.94|
|Belgium||Some||Yes||Some rifles are prohibited||16.6||0.87||2.45||3.32|
|Canada||by 2001||All guns by 2003||Assault weapons and some handguns||26||0.60||3.35||3.95|
|Austria||Yes||Yes||Some handguns and rifles are prohibited||16-18%||0.42||4.06||4.48|
|Northern Ireland||Yes||Yes||UK legislation applies||8.4||3.55||1.18||4.72|
|France||Yes||Yes, except sporting rifles||22.6||0.55||4.93||5.48|
|USA||in some states||Handguns in some states||Some weapons in some states||41||6.24||7.23||13.47|
Source: W. Cukier, Firearms Regulation: Canada in the International Context, Chronic Diseases in Canada, April, 1998 (statistics updated to reflect most recent figures, January 2001)
Table taken from: http://www.guncontrol.ca/Content/international.html#access
Don't get me wrong. I haven't got shares in YuleCo, and I can't afford a one-day end-user licence, so I couldn't have a legal party. I'd briefly considered buying from one of the budget competitors like XmasTym, or a spinoff from a non-specialist like Coca-Crissmas, but the idea of doing it on the cheap was just depressing. I wouldn't have been able to use much of the traditional stuff, and if you can't have all of it, why have any? (XmasTym had the rights to Egg Nog. But Egg Nog's disgusting.) Those other firms keep trying to create their own alternatives to proprietary classics like reindeer and snowmen, but they never take off. I'll never forget Annie's underwhelmed response to the JingleMas Holiday Gecko.
Another piece of film criticism based not on the qualities of the film but a dislike of the message.
I've said it before people - it is FICTION !!
Why do people who profess to libertarian or similar views put so much effort into hating those who express any concern for environmental matters? (Another question I've asked before!) It isn't universal by any means (see David Sucher for example) but it happens with enough frequency and the views are expressed with such vehemence that I wonder what is going on.
Mutualists, like other classical anarchists, originally considered themselves libertarian socialists. That is, they believed in the labor theory of value, and they believed that the laborer was entitled to the full product of his labor.
Some mutualists have abandoned the labor theory of value, and prefer to avoid the term "socialist." But they still retain some cultural attitudes, for the most part, that set them off from the libertarian right. Most of them view mutualism as an alternative to capitalism, and believe that capitalism as it exists is a statist system with exploitative features.
Many groups today share mutualist ideas, without embracing the full libertarian socialist heritage of classical anarchism. We welcome cooperation with all of them, where we share common goals, to reduce exploitation and centralization and increase freedom.
Right-libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, while arguably not part of the genuine historical tradition of anarchism, sometimes share mutualist ideas. Many of the more intellectually honest members of the libertarian right acknowledge the largely exploitative nature of the present capitalist system, and share the mutualist belief that its exploitative nature is the result of state intervention on behalf of capital and other privileged groups. We welcome cooperation with them also, where we have areas of agreement.
From the Mutualist FAQ
This comment on a post at the ASI Blog (another rant about the BBC) is yet another example of detachment from reality:-
Just been going through my RSS feeds this morning and one of the stories from the BBC was a review for a game called 'Prince of Persia'. The graphics caught my eye (I've never played the game and am very unlikely to), and so I read a paragraph or two.
Then it hit me - what on earth is the BBC reviewing a computer game for? Surely that's something that computer gaming magazines do? Suppose the BBC puts just one computer gaming magazine out of business (or, what's more likely, sales for all of them are diminished by some margin), then surely that's an abuse of their position?
In my opinion, this is some of the worst behaviour of the BBC - encroaching on wealth producing businesses using public money as a lever.
I'm not sure in what world the writer lives but it certainly isn't mine. By what bizarre logic is a broadcasting organisation debarred from reviewing an entertainment product? By this logic the BBC shouldn't broadcast films because that would put Blockbuster out of business. But then of course at the ASI it is impossible for the BBC to do anything right - even putting out programme making to the private sector which in another bizarre twist of logic is not a reduction on jobs.
Most of the proposed ("2,500") staff reductions are not real, and amount to ... outsourcing their jobs to cheaper private-sector providers.
Against such an intellect what can we do?