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Friday 24 March 2017

Facial Asymmetry - Mayor of London

Just one more photography post and I'm done ...

A game we used to play when bored was to 'split' on Photoshop the full face photographs of convicts in US jails (many American states publish mugshots of their jailbirds on the web) to find the greatest degree of asymmetry. Convicts gave good results because they generally have the most asymmetric faces - balanced, sober, law abiding college football players tend to have very symmetrical faces.

Watching London's Mayor yesterday I was struck by the thought that he would also give a good result. Of course there's absolutely no suggestion whatever that Mr Khan is criminally inclined, but the two composites perhaps suggest that there is more than one side to the Mayor. 

Thursday 23 March 2017

This picture is genuine

This picture is credited to Jamie Lorriman. It is genuine. Jamie is a professional photographer. It appears, credited to Jamie, in the Standard

Islamist killers are just pathetic failures

Hate-bearded Islamist killers in Britain will all end up as cold lumps of bullet-torn meat in the common morgue. No glory, no martyrdom, just squalid deaths shot down like dogs. And no burial the following day - we'll keep the bodies in the fridge for weeks, or what's left of it after Heckler & Koch and the pathologist have finished. They will lose the humanity we grant them the moment they raise a weapon in anger against us. 

There are no good Islamists (using the former PM's definition of Islamism). Non-Islamist Moslems can live amongst us in peace so long as their true allegiance is to our realm and not to their faith. And Moslems cannot just walk by and pretend that they and their faith are not the root of the problem. Unless Moslems here are now active in helping destroy Islamism in Britain, they are also part of the problem.   

NB If anyone has evidence that this picture is a fake, I'll happily remove it. I've carried out an image-match search and it doesn't appear on the internet before yesterday early evening. Light and weather conditions are right, for yesterday, as is clothing. Could be a photoshop - please alert me if someone has done a pixel analysis.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

EU's Brexit talks strategy - Hire Raging Ronnie

It happens from time that time that contractors lose big money on a construction job. Either they won the work with a loss-leading bid, hoping in vain to make it up on variations and instructions, or they mis-valued risk, or they simply badly mismanaged the process. Often, they simply don't figure the P&L on a job until site work has finished, get a shock and submit a claim for an outrageous sum to get them out of trouble. Usually a firm and very chilly meeting with full forces assembled was enough to see off trouble, but when senior jobs were at risk they would hire Raging Ronnie. 

Raging Ronnie was himself chartered in three professions, with an array of post-nominals that exceeded his own name in length. One of his professions was as an Adjudicator, but he was rarely appointed in that role. Mostly he worked as muscle for contractors. The first Raging Ronnie letter would come in, with copies to the Chairman and Secretary, expressing outrage and shock that we had refused his client's eminently reasonable claim, and demanding that we paid up straight away. The second would come a week later, expressing outrage and shock that we had not yet agreed to his demands, and threatening immediate Arbitration. The third would go just to the Chairman, as between equals, a reasonable and calm appeal over the heads of we stubborn underlings to intervene and pay, and the fourth would be the formal notice to seek Adjudication if the claim was not met. 

Our strategy was always the same. Ignore all demands and keep twitchy board members calm, stiffen their backbones and prepare for a hearing. 

Of course all Raging Ronnie's bluster, hubris, outrage, anger and threats would vanish in the case made. Adjudicators don't like intemperate parties. Then it was just a calm and patient slog to demolish their claims. We'd always have to pay something, of course; the Adjudicator will make an award to a contractor just for spelling their own name correctly, but usually it was peanuts.   

And so it is with this oh-so-carefully 'leaked' EU negotiating strategy document that threatens taking the UK to the Hague if we don't meet their demands. I'm beginning to think that Raging Ronnie has found a new client ..

Tuesday 21 March 2017

When Guardian comrades fall out

The disintegration of the left is the gift that goes on giving; hardly a day passes without one fraternal comrade thrusting a knife into the back of another. Honestly. The Tories just don't have to bother - the brothers are doing it themselves.

Now two of the Guardian's foremost cis-scribblers are at eachother's throats; Nick Cohen and trainee welder Owen Jones. I don't know whether Cohen backs Fatboy or some fourth party but the handbags are definitely unsheathed.

"This is the final word on the matter" declares Jones optimistically on Medium, then goes on to write
The response to the current terrible political situation by Nick Cohen is as follows: “I Told You So You Fucking Fools!” In a profanity-ridden rant, he says supporting Corbyn in the first place was a colossal misjudgement despite all the warnings about what would happen. Let me be polite about this. Cohen was a passionate and unapologetic supporter of the Iraq war, one of the greatest calamities of our time, a ‘misjudgement’ (I’d prefer ‘crime’) so colossal that ‘catastrophic’ doesn’t even begin to cover it, a war waged on a false pretext which led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people, countless others maimed and traumatised, millions driven from their homes, Iraq turned into a hunting ground for sectarian murderers and Islamist fanatics, which played a critical role in violently destabilising the Middle East. Cohen demands penitence for those who backed someone who will lead Labour to defeat. That’s not quite on the scale of noisily backing a calamity that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. Imagine being unrepentant about backing one of the worst disasters of the post-war era and then abusively attacking others for failures of judgement.

Monday 20 March 2017

Police Drones

"So, Inspector, this proposed Drone Squad can be staffed by transfers from the Internet Porn Squad? How's that gone?"

"Well sir since 2004 the lads have watched over 2 million hours of online porn. Deserve a medal, they do sir. Constable Hotchkiss can't hear the word 'Brazilian' now without twitching."

"And how many arrests and convictions have resulted?" 

"Just the one sir. The chairman of the golf club who put hidden cameras in the ladies. But that doesn't affect the deterrent effect of those evil film makers knowing that the Force is watching. And we've learnt our lesson - the lads need periodic rotation out of the squad. Hence the new Drone Squad, sir"

"Ah yes. Sergeant Thom bought one for his kids and saw the crime-busting possibilities straight away...."

"That's right sir. Of course, police drones would cost a lot more, it being taxpayers' money, and the lads would need professional training from the RAF"

"I'm still not happy about us flying these potentially lethal things over people's houses and gardens .. have you considered the risks?"    

"We estimate that 80% of the time we'll be flying over public roads and open land. In particular it will allow the lads to gather video evidence of widespread 'dogging' activity in Knickers Woods, sir.  We could spend a year keeping constant tabs on it all then swoop. Then there's the poofs sorry BLTs on Handy Heath. We can follow 'em sir from the sky without risking officers on the ground."

"You don't think there's a risk that some of this footage may leak onto the web? Doesn't this sort of surveillance constitute a variety of porn in itself?"

"That's the beauty of it sir. The Internet Porn Squad can keep an eye out for any leaked footage"

"Ah yes. When was the last time any of these men actually walked a beat or responded to a disturbance? Some of them look as though they have difficulty walking"

"Yes sir. Injuries incurred in the line of service, watching the porn sir. Sixteen early ill-health retirements so far. We're hoping that working the drones gets them out of their chairs, sir. Into other chairs."

"Very well. Carry on, Inspector"

Sunday 19 March 2017

More lies from the Fake News Guardian

Yep, that mendacious rag the Guardian has been at it again. This time it's a Fake News story that vast numbers of EU nurses are fleeing the NHS for fear of Brexit. The story is so risibly crooked, biased and laden with falsity that Guardian subs have not even dared allow comments.

Firstly - All context is absent from the story. No mention is made of the latest official Parliament report on NHS staffing, particularly that only 5% of NHS staff are from other EU countries, and of those some 48% work in London and the South East. No context is given to the bald claim that 2,700 EU nurses leaving the NHS in 2016 is unusual. No mention is made of normal staff 'churn' - usually 10% a year. Of 21,000 EU NHS nurses, we should expect that 2,100 leave each year; that gives us 600 EU nurses a year over the norm that are quitting. That's 0.05% of all NHS staff. Worth a headline?

Secondly - Little or no fact checking seems to have been done, certainly not using the Parliamentary report on NHS staffing, which states that far from falling, the number of NHS staff from EU states has been rising - "Of staff who joined the NHS in 2015/16, 10.8% were from other EU countries. This has risen from 6.8% in 2012/13" - though still only 5% of the total. 

Thirdly - The most risibly unevidenced claim, that floods of EU staff were leaving because of fear of Brexit, is nothing more than made-up agitprop that has no place in any newspaper. No survey, no voxpops, no reporter interviewing significant numbers. It's just a lie.

In fact, EU workers in all sectors including agriculture and horticulture have fallen since mid 2016. In all cases where evidence is available, this is primarily because of the weak pound; getting €1.15 for each NHS £1 is simply not as attractive as the old €1.35 rate. Particularly for staff in London and the South-east faced with high housing costs. But of course, not a single mention of this. 

In the face of such blatant omission, distortion and misrepresentation, such outrageous Fake News, is it any wonder that this foul little rag is going broke?