Posted in Pollies Ticks

Dutton breaks silence on freedom

The Minister for Affairs in the Home declared that Australians have the right to freely express his opinions on China. In making his statement, Mr Putrid Mutton emphasised that he was attacking the communist party of China, not the chinese people who freely colonised Tibet.

“I welcome chinese asylum seekers with open arms to our casinos. They have the right to free speech because they arrive by plane and not boat. It is state actors who seek undue influence on my australian values. We should condemn these actors whether they come from from China or Hollywood.

China expressed it’s shock at this “baseless malicious slur which is provoking the chinese people of Australia”. They sought to calm the situation by referring to Mr Mutton as irrational in his attempt to link the cyberattacks and IP theft with the belt road initiative.

“This does not advance your subservience to a bilateral relationship” said spokesperson General Shu Yew.

Josh Fryandburger confirmed that he often silently disagreed with China, “My democratic freedom to condemn foreign governments is different from the authoritarian right of China to criticise me.” he said.

Prime Minister Morrissoon intervened in the situation by downplaying the rights to freedom of expression by servants of his government.

“We maintain an open and frank relationship with China by focusing on areas of clear agreement. I have the right to say what I want and Mr Dutton should refrain from telling me that he agrees.” he announced.

“Mt Mutton’s exercise of his freedom to not speak was a feature of my campaign for election. His silence led to an overwhelming landslide of quiet Australians not expressing any opinion. This shows how the freedom to not speak about (or vote for) policy is conducive to democracy of my reign.” he patiently admonished the enraptured throng of ignorant reporters entrapped in his Canberra bubble.

“I defend the freedom of anyone to have the opinion that I have. Real Australians get it. They do not express the opinion that they have no freedom to criticise China for it’s record on suppressing freedom of speech.” he clarified with a nonchalant jiggle of his hand in his pocket.

The opposition leader in abstinence, Albraneasy, was too preoccupied with policy review to defend the freedom of Australians and exercised his democratic freedom to not oppose any expressions, especially those that might be interpreted as the current Labour policy.

However; a random Labour backbencher said diplomatically “I wish there were more adults saying things for domestic point-scoring, rather than undermining the universal right to not being coerced into exercising your free speech.”

Posted in Pro Gress

The trade war cometh

A trade war is coming. USA vs China. EU vs USA. Us vs Them.

The theoretical justification of international trade is this: removing the barriers encourages the specialisation of industry to the most productive sectors of the economy. Concentrate on guns if you are inefficient at making butter or butter if you can’t make guns.

This increase in overall productivity increases world productivity and everyone benefits.

Or do they?

It is hard to see the how a country with no natural advantages can benefit. Think of the barren steppes of Outer Mongolia disadvantaged by being thousands of miles from any significant market. They would seem to be sentenced to focussing on industries that are second-rate, and utilising discounts such as low wages to make them more competitive.

Or they can do what has happened for centuries. Move.

Displacement of population is a feature of the agrarian and industrial revolutions, but that was largely within the nation-state. The imperative for free trade depends upon the unhindered flow of resources. Except, currently, human resources. The threat of the mongol hordes is specifically banned.

If this restriction on impeding humanity was lifted to assist free trade that would have dire consequences for the basis of the nation-state, as patriotism succumbed to the onslaught of world citizens. And if nations didn’t exist we wouldn’t need trade agreements between them!

The logical consequences would seem to be the concentration of production into ultra-efficient producers using ultra-concentrated markets.

The glass half full suggests that the desertion of most of the planet to focus on the most productive method would have some benefit for our severely stressed ecology. But the evidence is that concentrating the masses into mega-cities also supports an ultra-efficient tourist industry with an over-adequate supply of consumers to trample the every corner of the earth; whilst they chant the praises of diversity at the ubiquitous hotel-chain with the same service wherever you are in the world.

The glass half empty suggests that ultra productivity only employs a few, and questions what is the increasing demand that has to fuel the monster of free trade.

Free-marketeers point to a clear “I don’t know”. They cite the past to absolve their responsibility for job losses. New industries arise from the stresses of transition. This has always happened in the past; so don’t panic about losing your life savings making ends meet in the interim. Just trust that the experts can’t provide a plan for you to regain your previous beyond the suggestion that you may need to pay for training in  resilient flexibility with your non-existent nest egg.

What the cheer leaders of free markets don’t emphasise is the maturing of industries into oligopolies. The big world banks, miners and car-makers are very efficient at not employing people and very productive for their shareholders. The wealth concentrates at the top justified by the free market theory of many competing enterprises that does not apply to these multi-nationals. With the scales of everyday experience tipped by the fat fingers of the oligarchs.

The looting of the populace by these richly productive industries is supported by myths of free enterprise and memes of “digital disruption” that the mega-rich would happily apply to other industries but not theirs. With the threat of being “too big to fail” a feature of their bribing of governments to acquiesce to their demands.

Nations compete for their patronage of these oligarchies in a race to the bottom with lower effective taxes. Meanwhile nations tax those who are not morally corrupt enough to afford a team of accounting gymnasts in a tax haven. This provides some funds for their diminishing social contract, but the relentless lobbying means that often the monies are handed back in subsidies and contracts, even to those who were too big to pay any tax!

This protection money paid to industry saves the nation from sliding into irrelevance, and the threat of a world government, where there is no alternative jurisdiction for the oligarch’s empires, places some impediment the excesses of the mega-powerful. Nations are necessary at present in their tactics to ransom the world for their overflowing coffers.

Which brings us back to the trade war, guns and butter.

The horror of not getting the cheapest goods and services means that our efficient gun industry would export less and employ less. Our inefficient butter industry would become more competitive against imports and be able to employ more. The overall productivity goes down, employment goes up.

And the boost to the local industry will increase the effective tax revenues which would be extra capital to protect us from the vagaries of the free market.

This is the impending catastrophe! We produce and consume too much anyway.

So the threat of a trade war seems to be the disruption to the markets and it’s inexplicable effect on the confidence that allegedly drives the economy. And it is disruption that is welcomed as opportunity in the arguments used to justify the modern economy!

What are we fighting for?

Posted in Scummo

Scomo sets the record straight on his emissions

The Prime Monster of Australia addressed the United Nations to correct the world’s misconceptions on Australia’s contribution to global warming.

“My facts simply don’t fit the narrative everyone wishes to project about my contribution to emissions.” he argued with a smirk to the deserted assembly hall.

“I have a lump of coal in my pocket! Do you realise the staggering amount of carbon emissions I have personally saved by not burning this coal?” he roared to the absent applause of an occasional passersby.

Mr Morrisdance went on to explain in minute detail the per capita savings in atmospheric carbon not only for Australia but the entire world that this lump of coal represented. This saving justified his accounting chicanery to carryover this fossilised black lump from Kyoto.

The would-be president then took credit for how the Australian electricity sector had reduced emissions through initiatives opposed by his policies, such as the closure of coal-fired power stations and investment in renewables. He promised that when he engineered a full control over the opinions of quiet australians he would open new coal-fired power stations, open more mines, export more coal and get rid of that big battery in South Australia.

“We are taking real action on climate change and have overachieved results.” he emphasised with his blackened hands firmly in his bulging pockets.

Scomo went on to outline his master plan for world domination. The plan was based upon Australia’s lead, increasing population at an unsustainable rate so that carbon emissions per capita could marginally decline before everyone choked on the inevitable increase in CO2.  

“It is only by increasing our population that we can address the plastic in the ocean.”

“How good is pollution!” he said raising a coal-black crucifix to the packed throng of disinterested backs.

Posted in Pro Gress

The algorithm will fix it!

Got a problem?

We can fix it.

The scramble now is to automate customer service to provide a seamless excellence, because of the known problems with human interaction.

The overriding problem with customer service is the culture of contempt that breeds from dealing with mundane problems.

A huge number of problems can be solved without even understanding the problem. The classic computer solution is “Turn it off, turn it on.“

But you don’t even have to solve the problem. A long wait, followed by an angry growl, “what do you want?” often dissolves the right of the victim to any support.

And if they persist, there are always the traditional fallback to putting the ball back in the victim’s with a helpful “Not my department.” and “I’ll get back to you.”.

Sure this ploy has a risk in modern requirements for traceability and transparency, but that is another issue which can be deviously interwoven with the original problem to impede any meaningful action.

Summed up the culture of contempt is that the service experts know best. We have all fallen into that trap. Only the other day, I fielded a question about the car I was selling. “How many seats does it have?”. I resisted the urges to point out the specific model advertised, or to suggest they do some research online. I thought they might be wasting my time, but I still answered. Only for them to repeat the question later after requesting to inspect the car!

It is very easy for service officers who reside in a hermetically sealed ivory tower to bemoan the ignorance and stupidity their clients. Even though their victims provide the reason for the service that employs them!

It is not new to bite the hand that feeds you. That is a basic human ingratitude for the unwelcome expectations of others.

So, given the experience of automation to date, why will algorithms designed by humans be any different?

  • They have the same relentless driver of efficient productivity that glosses over attention to detail. Except the algorithm will eliminate those rogue individuals who believe in going beyond the script to effectively serve the customer.
  • Classification of issues is triaged through decision trees that waste time leading to inappropriate options. Where, if you are lucky, there is recognition of the algorithm’s failure and capture of your “suggestion” which may or may not be considered.
  • Issues will be avoided by forcing victims into the self help of the dreaded FAQ. Where if you often can’t find the answer to anything but the trivial, and the the language tries to shoehorn your issue into somethingelse that has a prescribed solution.
  • Conversation will still be promoted by the sending of no-reply emails and texts.
  • Responses will still be frustratingly irrelevant and never address anything but the simplest of problems, because the culture of contempt has been codified.   

What algorithms promote is the demise of dynamic analysis of a problem. Field service, remote access and simply sending photos is too expensive to continue and this analysis is being substituted by the vague move to “big data”.

We are promised that big data will learn from experience, but that experience is pattern recognition not analysis. If the an issue which the algorithm cannot address keeps exhibiting the same pattern; someone else in an unspecified future may be provided a different response which may solve the problem. It would, of course, be expected that the victims to express their issues consistently through the invisible and evolving big data set to create the consistent pattern.

One can’t help but feel that the terminology of big data is a rebadging of the classic ploy of blaming the victim for ‘not telling us that’.

If you don’t provide everything they want (for other undisclosed purposes); how can you expect the algorithm to work perfectly as promised?

Trust us.

Your issue has been solved.

The algorithm says so.

Posted in Me Moires

French Toast

We often had french toast when I was young.

We were raised were the proper god-fearing righteous beliefs that french toast was bread that was toasted on one side. We knew this was necessary because the toasting of thin white sliced bread on both sides produced an unpalatable crisp of limited utility.

I am not sure why my mother designated this method of toasting to the french. Could it be her innate love for les francais had enamoured her to their simple sophistication of only completing a task to a practical minimum?

Her declarations of disgust at garlic and snails contradicts this, but in our home frenching was sufficient for the application of sweet spreads; whilst baked beans required the more substantial support afforded by the two-sided burn.

In retrospect, perhaps mother recognised that the risk of fire was magnified by trying to operate the oven grill to perfection.

That is right. We didn’t have a toaster. We used the oven grill. I was aware of those fancy American things that shot toast frenetically into many comic situations, but, who but an American would want their toast stuck to the ceiling, suspended in anticipation of the perfect instant to drop upon an unsuspecting victim?

Toasters came to me later in my life. Only after I had left the toast crumbs on my mother’s bosom. My first encounters with these electric marvels were with those second hand fire traps with the flip-down door where you had to manually turn the toast around (if you weren’t french!), with singed fingers.

I can’t recall when exactly I was introduced to the joys of pop-up toasters and the adrenal buzz from trying to prise the toast from the appliance’s innards whilst electrocution flowed through the device. It never occurred to me that these pop-ups didn’t have a “french” option. I simply battled with their insistence consuming more bread and time than was necessary with the oven grill.

Somewheretimes on this journey of discovery I had transformed from french to anglo toast. This seems to be synonymous with my bread evolving from thin white to thicker browns and wholemeals whilst retaining a healthy skepticism for the utility of the pop-ups.

My progress into automation enslaved me to slices of bread warping around the internal grilles, settings that either under or over cooked, inconsistent results between one slot versus the other, or some other issue that a petulant toaster decrees whilst my back is turned foolishly expecting perfection without incessant monitoring.

But the pop up toaster still doesn’t make french toast! Neither variety. And although I became dimly aware that there might be an alternative eggy recipe for french toast over the years, I never had any stale white bread to try it out. Or, if I did, it was saved for bread and butter pudding. Or more likely the more convenient utility of the garbage bin.

I don’t recall being confronted by french toast in France. It only became a reality of the nouvelle cuisine in the USA. Ah! Breakfast in America! Much more sweet than savoury. So why didn’t the smathering of french toast appeal to my mother’s sweet tooths?

I suspect that the appeal of my mother’s french toast recipe was more to do with the effort required to make french toast. Mother knew best. She would treat us to performing the most simple tasks at her behest and not commit herself to the efforts associated with providing us with something more complex.

No matter how tasty.

If that isn’t an example of french diplomacy; then I’m french toast!

Posted in Scummo

PM confirms we were not friends with USA during WWI

President Morrisdance arrived in USA today to celebrate “100 years of mateship”.

Carefully his wife’s hand to ensure that he didn’t put his hand in his pocket, Scomo confirmed that Australia was not a friend of Australia during the First World War despite the late participation by USA as an ally in the conflict.

“That was an operational matter. There is no point in revisiting those tragic losses. We have the $100 m Monash Centre to celebrate that.” he said clarifying his  special mateship with President Trumpet.

“How good is celebration!” he shouted to a non-existent crowd of disinterested Americans.

Posted in Self Help

How to write an attention grabbing headline.

“The most famous wreck of all time . . . . . .”

This title was given to the Titanic in the news this morning.

I wondered.

Is the wreck of the Titanic that famous or is it the movie? I suspect that many movie goers would not be aware that it is based on a true story and even it they are they may not be aware that the wreck exists. Or perhaps the efforts of James Cameron to film the wreck are just another Hollywood fantasy.

Which raises the question what is meant by the wreck?

Is it the event or the remains?

If it is the event, the wreck of the spanish armada is a contender. When one considers it’s fame has lasted for centuries it is more famous than this newcomer. However; I am not aware of any easy gauge of fame over the centuries which considers the rising population and ease of communication.

Even in modern times the notoriety of the world trade centre and space shuttle would seem more famous. Cynically one could conclude that “most . . . of all time” is so prejudiced to modern society as to be meaningless. And that is ignoring the part of all time that has yet to be revealed.

Journalists have a poor record of predicting the future; so the wrecks must be the remains.

The evaluation of the remains would have similar issues with the evolving demographic, and I would nominate Stonehenge as a more famous and enduring wreck.

Perhaps they mean a shipwreck which a ‘currently the most famous’?

Nothing springs to my mind. The Titanic is a novelty not only because of it’s recent access and discovery, but also because it is not accessible to divers or the general public in a museum. It’s notoriety is as much due to the leading edge technology required to access these ocean depths than the wreck itself

This headline grabbed my attention to try and decipher it’s meaning, but half an hour later I don’t remember why the famous shipwreck of the Titanic, at this moment in time (22 August 2019), is in the news headlines.

[   Someone discovered that this shipwreck is deteriorating!

Isn’t that the nature of shipwrecks?  ]