Wiki madness

The story so far: arbitrator User:FT2 posted a bizarre Arbcomm decision in which a user was, apparently, tried and sentenced in secret. Unsurprisingly, outrage ensued. One other arb then repudiated the judgement, and said it was done “without the approval or prior knowledge of the Committee as a whole”. Unhelpfully, other arbs stayed fairly tight-lipped, so it was unclear who was telling the truth. Appeals to them to comment were ignored. You can read far far more about this than you would want to at Wikipedia:Administrators’ noticeboard/Orangemarlin and other matters. As you can see from that, a story is slowly being stitched together that maybe can be attempted to be believed: its all a matter of “miscommunication”. The DHMO-word is not being spoken, except in dark corners.

All this matters, in the wiki-world (and maybe outside, because a lot of people use it), because wiki won’t hold together without some ultimate authority. The idea of it being a benevolent anarchy is moonshine. Up till now, the arbcomm has been a slow and uncommunicative but generally correct UA. King Log more than King Stork, perhaps, but still there. The re-listing of the OM RFA looks like a mistake, but hopefully one they can recover from.

Our politicians are bozos

So, nothing new there you may well say.

My morning paper tells me that Broon has won a pointless victory over the bizarre 42-day-detention stuff. He had to buy off the Ulstermen to do this, and the Lords will veto it, and he is only doing it for cheap popularity, and he will fail, and it will all be useless. If he actually wants to increase our security, perhaps he might stop his people leaving “intelligence” documents on the train.

But in a stunning bid to make Broon look competent by competitive incompetence, Tory David Davis has decided to resign and fight a by-election errrm, for some reason or another. The Grauniad describes it as Davis’s move – to “take a stand” on what he said was the “relentless erosion” of freedoms by the government. Quite how it helps, I’m really not sure, and from the look of it not even the Tories are pretending to understand what he is on about. And why he triggered on 42 I don’t know – our current 28 is already madness.

Of course we’d never mislead a close friend and ally…

…said the oily US spokesman on R4 tonight, as it turns out the US has been telling us porkies about torture flights. Though I doubt our govt asked too hard, since it enabled them to make denials when it was all becoming rather embarassing.

The UK govt is still insisting that the US lied to us in good faith. Understandable, I suppose: when you’re shipping so many people around, its just so hard to keep track.

NRK nationalised

In order to prove my financial acuity, when Northern Rock fell to about 200p and the govt guaranteed its deposits, I bought £250 worth, believing it would bounce back. Its now down to 90p, and the news now is that its to be nationalised. My shares are now worth so little I hardly care, but this looks to be a disaster in the making, or rather in the continuing.

I can’t see the govt making a success of running a bank. I guess the people who gain from the mess will be the vast numbers of lawyers and auditors who will spend the next decade crawling over the carcass sucking out any blood that remains.

Buy our tat!

I thought I’d take advantage of a rant (sorry, yes, another one) to push some of our tat that we’re selling (we hope) on ebay. So there is the disc firing robot, the ATV buggy, and the nervous alligator science kit.

We had two of the robots by some mischance, one non-working. We took it apart; it was full of fascinating gear trains and electric motors. Far more fun than actually playing with it.

Anyway, the rant: there is too much tat in the world and it makes me sad. If we were destroying the planet for a good reason I might understand; but to bury ourselves under a mountain of plastic cr*p is just stupid.

Torture and detention

Over in the mad world, CIP castigates his fellow countryfolk for promoting torture. AFAIK we’re not doing that (except very quietly and discretely, one suspects) so instead we’re going for detaining people for implausibly long times. We’re currently at an insane 28 days and our glorious leader wants to extend this to a totally barking 56 days. At least thats less than the 90 they wanted at one point.

Unfortunately most of the debate is over how extending 28 would be bad; I don’t see anyone saying that even 28 is grossly illiberal.

One silly piece of humour that came out of this was the sad saga of Minister Lord “Simple Sailor” West, who Dared to Disagree, at least briefly. But after Number 10 stomped on him he toed the party line. See grauniad or BBC.

And we still have all the f*ck*ng insane restrictions on plane baggage (not that I care, I’m not flying for the forseeable future and who knows it might put a few people off) and other madness. Still, it beats doing something useful on climate change and may distract the Public for a while. James notes that the friendly Japanese are planning to fingerprint us all; but as I recall the US fingerprinted and retina-photographed me just for transitting through LA. At least our trains are currently sane (I mean, in terms of security, of course), though the govt are working on that.

Oh, and before I go, let me moan at you a bit more… “Tourists visiting the capital often question why there are no litter bins on the London Underground. The simple answer, wearily repeated by staff, is “security”. ” [bbc]. I suspect that the answer is “Its a lot cheaper and more convenient not to have to bother empty them, and security provides a convenient excuse”.

Just in case you feel inclined to trust Monckton

I don’t suppose you are, but this rather indicates his casual attitude towards the truth: “I was selling the house anyway and they asked me if I would be willing to tell people I was selling the house because I was afraid somebody might solve the puzzle too fast. I said ‘yes’. They said, ‘Don’t you mind being made to look an absolute prat’, and I said, ‘No – I’m quite used to that’. History is full of stories that aren’t actually true. We sold shed-loads of extra puzzles and I made an handsome profit – and I sold the house as well.”