Archive for February 18, 2009

Some risks are more worthy than others

Posted: February 18, 2009 by datechguy in opinion/news
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Liz Fairley comments on Australians who choose to live in areas vulnerable to fire:

…to inhabit the bush, especially as climate change takes hold, is to make yourself fuel.

Certainly, we should feel compassion. And certainly, there should be regulations. Quite probably there should be more assiduous back-burning. But to blame green policies – to cull already endangered shark species, to reduce tree cover – is to blame nature for human folly.

Liam Sheahan might disagree she goes on:

Some have to live in bush, or swim at dusk. But bush suburbs and forested hamlets are voluntary, designed for the illusion of paradise on earth. It works, too, like any bubble, until it doesn’t.

Tim Blair contrasts her suggestion to avoid one voluntary life threatening risk to the numbers on a different one:

So they should live elsewhere; make different “lifestyle choices”. Farrelly is dismissive of tactics (“Cut the trees! Burn the undergrowth!”) that would reduce the risk of living in the country, preferring that people simply live elsewhere, contrary to their preferences.

Yet more than 6700 people died of AIDS in Australia from the beginning of the epidemic until mid-2007 – a far greater number than were killed in bushfires during the same period. Imagine if Farrelly had written in 1989 that those at risk of AIDS should stop being gay (“To inhabit the bath houses, especially as AIDS takes hold, is to make yourself HIV positive”). Instead, sensibly, medical and social solutions were sought (“Kill the virus! Use the condoms!”) in order to preserve human freedom and human lives.

Funny how numbers can put some things in perspective.

My Review of the Big Finish Doctor Who Audio The Fires of Vulcan is now available at here.

Big Finish # 12

Big Finish # 12

It is interesting to note that this adventure doesn’t conflict with the 4th Doctor adventure The fires of Pompeii. In fact it reinforces it.

Note that the Doctor as soon as he realizes where he is doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t pontificate he immediately turns and starts booking for the Tardis. Since he knows the Volcano doesn’t errupt till the next day there shouldn’t be the same hurry or panic. But if he KNOWS that he is already there in a previous incarnation then that changes the picture and he needs to be out of there as soon as he can.

Thus Fires of Vulcan is not only a first rate episode it makes Fires of Pompeii even better.

My favorite Atheist

Posted: February 18, 2009 by datechguy in opinion/news
Tags: , ,

You’ve just gotta love Christopher Hitchens.

Christopher Hitchens is currently in Beirut sponsored by the same group that owns that crap NOW Lebanon. He got in a few nights ago and surprisingly went out drinking. On his way out of the bar he saw an SSNP poster and wrote on it “F*** the SSNP”. There just happened to be some SSNP thugs near by–most likely asking people for their ID, and most likely to no avail–and saw him write on the poster and kicked his ass. He is still walking with a limp.

Abu Muqawama says he’s confirmed the story. The SSNP is, of course, a Hezbollah ally that advocates a Syrian anschluss of Lebanon (and Israel, natch). Consider Hitch a minor martyr to the cause of the Cedar Revolution here.

Muqawama thinks he’s a fool:

Look, it’s widely known that since the May 2008 events the SSNP guys have behaved like thugs in Hamra (where the ass-kicking took place). But seriously, would you roll into East L.A. and start writing over gang signs? I mean, is that smart? C’mon, Brother Hitchens, we’re rootin’ for you, but have a little walkin’ around sense.

Ace says details are wrong so we will have to see.

Atheist smatheist; this guy has guts and honor. He’s certainly no Robert Fisk. It will take more than a beating to stop him from saying what he thinks.

Update: Ace has the scoop:

Hitch and two others were out on some or such errand. One guy was just telling Hitchens that the Syrian Nazi party had little support in the country but was paid by Syria to kill people, and that he’d been told they’re the one party you don’t fuck with.

So five minutes later they come across the poster for the Syrian Nazi Party on an abandoned bagel shop — abandoned, if I had this right, after Hezballah had attacked it last year due to the overly Jewish connotations of bagelry.

So Hitchens immediately takes out a pen and writes “No, no, Fuck You” on the poster. I don’t know if he’d digested the story and decided to fuck with them anyway, or else he was just reacting to the modified swastika on the poster.

Not quite Gandhi not getting off the train but still gutsy.

Well, when this Syrian Nazi goon saw Hitch do this, he confronted him and kinda-sorta attacked him. I say kinda sorta attacked, because what his main intent was was to delay Hitchens from leaving — until the ten Nazi goons he had just texted on his cell phone could arrive.

There was some kicking and pulling and hitting. Hitch and the others attempted to get into a cab — the Syrian Nazi goon got right in the cab with them, still hitting Hitchens. They could not force him out. Eventually they all exited, and attempted to get a fresh cab, but other cabbies were now hip to the fact the Syrian Nazis had been riled and wanted no business from them, so two cabs passed refusing their fare.

Now at this point the ten Nazi goons showed up (about five minutes into this– they came quickly) and Hitch and the other two were probably going to get the crap beaten out of them, at best. However, they finally managed to get a cabbie who was either brave or didn’t know the trouble he was getting into and got in, this time without the goon, and left the other ten behind.

My favorite line of the entire piece is this:

(I’m not saying he didn’t get drunk– just not then.)

Ace had held off posting this, he was going to wait till they were outta there but the word is out so what are you gonna do?

Update 2: Hotair updates too

…don’t forget that the Total confusion convention begins tomorrow and runs for 4 days at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield Massachusetts. It’s a little late for registration but there is no reason why you can’t show up at the door and hope for the best.

If you want something with a little more notice consider ConBust 2009 held at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is a combination sci-fi/fantasy/anime and gaming convention that will be held March 27th through 29th. Mike’s comics an online dealer that carries the entire line of Doctor Who Audios that I review a lot on this blog will be a dealer there and that reason alone is good enough for me to visit.

It’s worth noting that you might qualify for free housing if you are a college student 18 years old or older you might be able to get housing for the event details here.