We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A political challenge

From the Daily Mail:

Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a DUEL with swords over Ukip slurs on immigrants

And why not? Resort to the field of honour would be in accordance with prime ministerial precedent. Those were the days. The Sussex Advertiser of 23rd March 1829 blandly recorded, “His Grace was seen riding through the Horse-Guards at six o’clock on Saturday morning, and returned to Downing-street at eight.”

The novels of the future!

Whilst surfing for ‘Wet T-Shirt Contest’ sites, I accidentally came upon this wonderful advance… hardback novels for sale actually written in binary!

binary_novel_april_fool

Is this not awesome?

01000001 00100000 01101000 01100101 01100001 01110010 01110100 01110111 01100001 01110010 01101101 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110011 01110100 01101111 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100001 01100010 01101111 01110101 01110100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110111 01101100 01111001 00100000 01110011 01100101 01110010 01110110 01101001 01110100 01101111 01110010 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101111 00100000 01100100 01110010 01100101 01100001 01101101 01110011 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110011 01100101 01110010 01110110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01001111 01101101 01101110 01101001 01110011 01110011 01101001 01100001 01101000 00100000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01100001 00100000 01010011 01101011 01101001 01110100 01100001 01110010 01101001 01101001 00100000 01110111 01100001 01110010 01110010 01101001 01101111 01110010 00101110 00100000

Snappy! A true page turner.

The force is strong in this one!

Why? Because this is just too damn good…

Volkswagen / The Bark Side from Caviar London on Vimeo.

You are welcome.

Feminist Jazz Hands!

This is one of the funniest things I have read in quite some time.

Please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!

My goodness what timorous fearful little things they are! Not exactly the sort of women who might be up for a spot of defending Kobani with some fellow Marxists then, eh? Truly the western world’s loonie left is vanishing up its own backside.

Well should I have the singular misfortune to find myself in a room with these delicate little flowers, I might be moved to make a somewhat different gesture rather than “Jazz Hands” as an alternative to clapping. Think this might ‘trigger some anxieties’?

David_Niven_flicking_V_promo_still_Dinner_at_the_Ritz

Please tell me this is a joke…

Amongst the ten people voted “World’s Top Thinkers” are Russell Brand and Thomas Piketty? Seriously? This must be a truly tenebrous selection of voters! I have occasionally stood in more thoughtful things than those two whist incautiously walking down the street palm surfing for porn essays on complexity theory!

Geopolitical beer!

I assume Obama Beer makes you fart a lot and tell an endless stream of porkies.

Samizdata wat of the day

From the end of a BBC news article:

More than 500 Britons are believed to have travelled to join IS.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the UK government’s position was “probably going to lead to accusations of double standards”.

He said if Britons went to Syria and were suspected of trying to join IS they would get their “collar felt at Heathrow” – but there “seems to be a silence about people going to fight on the other side”.

Wat.

You might have thought decades of Ba’athist tyranny caused the war in Syria… WRONG!

Nope, it was not decades of murderous repressive Ba’athist socialism under the Assad family that caused the civil war in Syria, it was…

Climate change!

Say what?

And what is more, climate change has caused my cat to sing Sondheim at night. Climate change has made my tea taste bitter if brewed after 8 am. Climate change has created inequality amongst llamas in the Atacama Desert. Climate change has caused Putin’s man-boobs (daddaries?) to itch so much it drove him to invade Crimea. I defy anyone to prove scientifically these things are not true because the science is settled. Or something like that.

Oh the humanity… I mean huge manatee!

One night in Beirut

image

 

There’s nothing funnier than an electronic billboard showing a Windows error message, so obviously I stop to take a photo.

A man comes up behind me. It is a solider in fatigues with a gun. “No photo”. This is a little tiresome. I attempt to point out that I am attempting to take a photo of a billboard, and what possible security risk could this be, but (as always) this is futile. Also, do you have any idea how easy it would be for me to take a photo of *anything* with modern technology without you realising it? But I know the rules, and they are rules. I accede and walk on. There are various security barriers and roadblocks nearby, so there is sensitive stuff nearby – government buildings, I think.

I block further, there are more security barriers, a guard post, and a soldier on duty. I am unsure I am allowed to walk down the road. I point down the road and beckon to the soldier, politely. “It’s okay to walk down there?”.

“Oh, sur.. Where are you from?”

“Australia”.

“O wow”. (Excitement). “I love Australia. Where Australia?”

“Sydney”.

“Oh, great!!!!. I was in Granville”.

(Fairly nondescript westerly but not extreme westerly suburb of Sydney, probably best known to me as the location of Australia’s worst rail disaster in the 1970. Perfectly pleasant place).

“Yeah, man. Granville”

“Where are you going?”. He now wants to give me directions. I wasn’t asking for directions – just wanting to know if he would stop me if I tried to walk down the street. However, if he wants to give me directions, I’ll let him give me directions. “Monot street”.

“Oh, about 200 metres that way. Have a great time”.

“You too. Come to Australia again some time”.

“Yeah. But I’m in the army. Fuck man!!!!”.

(He holds up his palm. I give him a high five). “Yeah. You’re in the army. Fuck man”. Explaining that I am completely opposed to compulsory military service as a matter of high principle and I therefore completely support his feelings would probably be excessive.

I go on my way, hoping that the safety was firmly in place on his rifle throughout all this.

This is what they call a whinge-whinge scenario

Tesco come, Tesco go, John Harris whinges either way. Here he was writing in the Guardian in August 2011:

Supermarket sweep

In Britain a new Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Asda opens every other day. But across the country people are battling the relentless march of the ‘Big Four’. John Harris, who has taken up the fight himself, reports

And here is John Harris writing in the Guardian in February 2015:

‘We feel betrayed': the towns abandoned by Tesco

Tesco’s profits crisis means that plans for 49 shiny new stores have been ditched. Where does that leave places such as Kirkby, Bridgwater and Wolverhampton, where regeneration schemes linked to the supermarket chain now lie in ruins?

There is a fair point to be made relating to the bad effects on a town of endless shilly-shallying about whether a supermarket will be built, but John Harris isn’t making it. One of the commenters, DrRic55, is:

Seems this is less about Tesco, and more a grubby and poor quality class of local politicians.

I know from my old line of work how eyes light up at the mention of Section 106 agreements, and all manor of pet projects appear to be funded – sometimes assisting and enabling the development, sometimes nothing to do with it.

If we didn’t have such ridiculous planning laws the private sector would get on and build where there was demand. Instead we have a system not far off bribery of the local bureaucrats, and endless consultations that drag on forever. If you want to see another effect, look at the state of housebuilding in the UK.

Tesco has obviously failed in some pretty big ways, but I can’t help but see the dead hand of local government all over these disasters.

Contracts with gagging clauses

A hotel has a policy of charging guests an extra £100 if they leave a bad review of the hotel on any website. Should the state permit individuals to enter into such a contract?

When a couple was so charged, they went and talked to the press. “What happened to freedom of speech?”, they asked.

John Greenbank, north trading standards area manager, said it was a “novel” way to prevent bad reviews.

He said: “I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this. The hotel management clearly thinks they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice.”

The beautiful thing is that the state turns out to be completely redundant in this case. Things did not work out so well for the hotel, and it now serves as a terrible warning for anyone else with similar ideas. Now its reputation is trashed on Trip Advisor because of freedom of speech. And because The Internet. Though I do wonder about libel…