Thursday, June 28, 2007

whoa

Romney was one the guys I thought would make a good president, he even has Greg Mankiw on his economics team. This story shows that he is in fact an evil man.

For those readers not interested in clicking through, he used to put his dog in a dog carrier and strap it to the roof of his car when they set off for family holidays. When the dog had an "accident" he just hosed the dog and car down and carried on.

The story could be bullshit, I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

the power of negative thinking

Wimbledon is just getting going so I think I should go on the record with my prediction so I cant squirm out of it later.

Roger Federer will lose, probably in the final, but I have no strong feeling on that. Why will he lose?
  1. The roof of centre court has been removed.
  2. His confidence has been shattered by his French open humiliation.
  3. He's gotta be challenged some time and when he is, his lack of BMT will cause him to crumble.
  4. He has a knack of losing when he's about to equal of beat some cool record, 5 Wimbledons in a row is a prime candidate.
  5. Nadal is clearly the superior player.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

what does he thrive on then?

A priest interviewed on the radio just said something like "the God I know does not thrive on making people blind" he was explaining that God does not want you to stare at the sun.

You know where I'm going with this; if God does not thrive on making people blind, why does he, in fact, make so many people blind?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Has the Iraq war increased the odds of global catastrophe?

Unfortunately I think the answer is yes; but why?! I hear you cry. Surely Stuart can't hold this alarmist (lefty?) position!

Well, we've already invented some pretty cool weapons that can kill millions of people in a few minutes. This is scary and no matter how wrong the war enthusiasts were about Iraq it is still very undesirable that bad countries have them. Especially countries with insane/evil leaders. For the moment WMD are both difficult to make and very expensive, but the way things have been going is that people get richer and technology gets cheaper. As long as this is happening it's more likely that some deranged lunatic will get his hands on a bomb and blow up lots of people.

Not too far in the future it's likely that new weapons will be made that are much more destructive than the weapons we have now. Weapons that could wipe out all life (including cockroaches). If countries like North Korea get these weapons or even fail to regulate their own population properly we'd all be in great danger and preemptive war could be the only way to deal with it.

If the Iraq war had been a success it would have acted as a powerful deterrent to other governments messing around and public opinion would be less hostile to the concept. It's now a much tougher sell and that's dangerous.

oh dear

I supported the war in Iraq and I'm not especially ashamed to admit it, though I also agree that it has been a disaster. I take the "war has been badly handled!" line, cos, like I would have done way better.

Here's an example of something that is screwed up; America has let in TWO Iraqi refugees in the past two months. I guess this is a minor point in the grand scheme of things, but I think there's something really obnoxious about that.

When they realised that there were no WMDs, America was keen to play up the liberating role of the invasion. It's more difficult to sell the humanitarian story when you do everything you can to stop people finding a new life after you destroyed their old one (or just made it worse).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

umm...

Men accusing women of "stealing" their sperm appeared in a pair of 2005 stories, including that of a Chicago doctor who impregnated herself with her doctor-boyfriend's sperm (from oral sex). (He sued her for theft, but an appeals court called the sperm a "gift.")
Via Tim Worstall

Monday, June 11, 2007

sigh...

It looks like I'm paying a heavy price for Liverpool winning the final two years ago.

Friday, June 08, 2007

links

Ahhh... there's nothing like a really smart person saying something that you agree with in a really smart sounding way. Will Wilkinson has two great posts on immigration. Here are some non-fancy bits that I really liked:
Yet the idea that we discount the potentional welfare gains to people outside the fence by bringing them inside simply because they are not already inside the fence strikes me as monstrously, stupefyingly immoral...

And once we decide to consider the issue like decent human beings, and take into account the welfare of other human beings who just happen to have been born outside our public goods provision jurisdiction, the argument for free labor is so overwhelming you basically have to reject the idea of morality itself to deny its force.
Not especially related, but the Economist has an article on Mark Shuttleworth and his open source software project.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

stats

I notice from my insightful and penetrating post below that if we assume that the odds of Federer winning the French open are equal to the odds of Nadal winning the French and Wimbledon and both are equal to 25%, then Nadal has better than 33% chance of winning Wimbledon, which seems pretty high.

67% of my readers have stats degrees; will they correct an embarrassing error?

Harry dies

Nothings leaked out or anything, but bookies are no longer taking bets on whether he dies or not. The betting is shifting to who kills him.

From Marginal Revolution.

idiots

I always knew Michael Stich was evil, but I had no evidence (other than the fact he beat Boris Becker at Wimbledon once) till now. Stich and Wayne Ferreira (who everyone has always known is evil) had a little dialog explaining how Nadal rules and Federer sucks:
Ferreira: "I think Nadal will win on the grass before Roger wins the French Open. He came close to winning Wimbledon last year, he wasn't far from beating Roger. Until Rafa either falls over, gets injured or quits, Roger is not going to win the French Open."

Stich: "I agree, I think Rafa will win Wimbledon before Roger wins the French because he is improving his game so intensively on other surfaces..."

Ferreira: "I think that if Rafael wins the French and Wimbledon this year, he will be the real number one player."
Ugh. If Nadal wasn't far from winning at Wimbledon then he must think that Federer wasn't far from winning the French last year. So why does his "point" favor Nadal?

Winning both the French and Wimbledon will make him the top player and this outcome is reasonably likely. The fact that Nadal has the momentum at the moment makes this outcome seem even more likely. However, another outcome is about as likely; Federer winning the French this year. If he does he would have played in the last 8 grandslam finals winning 7 of them. His dominance would be more complete than ever and discussion about "the greatest player" would shift into the present tense rather than speculating about a few years from now. He would have won 4 of the last 5 times against Nadal with Wimbledon and the US open to come (of which he has won each of the last 7).

It's easy to spin cool (and plausible) Nadal visions, but Federer visions are much grander.

I give Federer about a 25% chance of winning on Sunday, so I'm not getting carried away, but I mean come on guys.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Staggeringly boring post on tennis

That depressing part of the year when Federer keeps losing is drawing to a close at last, thank god.

I claim that my worship of Federer is based on his intrinsic tennising impressiveness. Same deal with Zidane, Schumacher, Henry and my increasing admiration of Australian cricketers. If Jordan were playing now, maybe I'd appreciate him more.

Sampras may have been good, but he was too mechanical and one dimensional to really win me over. I've been using the same excuse for my dislike of Nadal; he's like a fucking energiser bunny, winning on pure energy rather than tennis skill.

Slowly, and grudgingly, I'm changing my tune, he really is quite good. The evidence is not in his results, it's in his down the line forehand winner; it's a really good shot.