Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Thoughts on the Ashes

December 17, 2010

Thoughts about the Third Ashes Test. The quote below is a draft comment I decided was too long for Brian Micklethwait’s blog.

Hussey is the only really bright spot of Australia’s batting, with useful support from Haddin and now Johnson. Watson is doing well, the rest have been poor. Looking at the stats I see Clarke has an 80 and Ponting a 51 not out.

The problem is the 23 innings (so far) of less than 10 (46% of the total). By comparison England have 12 (36%). At the other end Australians have hit 50 or more 13 times (26%) to England’s 11 (33%), but the over 100 scores read 5 to Engalnd (15%) and 2 to Australia (4%).

I assumed that Johnson not playing between the tests was a sign of confusion by Australia’s selectors (there are plenty of other signs!) but there clearly was some thinking going on which has paid off.

My view is that Collingwood should have been dropped and both Bresnan and Tremlett lined up for England. Collingwood has taken 6 catches (and a couple of great ones), but scores of 4, 42 and 5 (average 17) with no wickets for 21 overs (he only averages one test wicket per 20 overs in his career) is not good enough for this series. If he’d got the 42 yesterday when England were collapsing I’d take a different view.

The Broad injury looks like being followed by Finn. Overbowling for long spells, because there are only four proper bowlers in the team. In the first two tests this was excusable: caution over going behind. Not now. And Collingwood does not seem suited to this pitch as a bowler.

Meanwhile Bell (worst score 52, he’s been running out of partners) is wasted at number six. Move him, Prior and Swann up the line and put the extra bowler in. Shorter spells might not take more wickets, but injured bowlers off the pitch certainly won’t. I can see Anderson break down soon after his 48 hour flights as he gets overbowled covering for Finn and the absent fifth bowler. A couple of 10-over spells on a hot day should do it. Bad planning.

Swann is occasionally getting whacked around. If there’s a turning pitch coming up England could pick both spinners, with left and right arm options available. I suspect Panesar might get Swann some more wickets. Clearly not this match (unless Australia’s dropping of Beer is an error), but perhaps the next two?

Overall, for all the talk, England have played like a team that think the Ashes are already won after day one of this test.
Final thought about Ponting. Dropping him for averaging only about 30 in the past two years is bizarre. I don’t think Mark Taylor was as good and he kept his place.

One thought niggles me. Whatever happened to the “Cricket Academy” the Australians had which was supposedly the source of greatness in the 1990s and early 2000s?

No more landline

October 31, 2010

I no longer have a landline. If you have my mobile (cell) phone, you are welcome to call me or SMS. Otherwise email. I will be using Skype more.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

The problem was that I was spending too much on landline fees and also had a pay as you go mobile which cost barely more for roaming as for local calls.

A test for the “Wisdom of Crowds”

January 10, 2010

Tomorrow (that’s Monday, 11th January 2010), I shall be giving a talk about James Surowiecki’s excellent little book, The Wisdom of Crowds, at the Institute of Education in London, at an event organised by “the other LA.”

Given the inclement weather, the fact it’s the first meeting of the year, there’s a new venue, I only told friends about it this evening, and the problem that either the speaker or the subject might not be as exciting to others as it is to me, I consider this a good test.

If no one shows up, how can I possibly argue that crowds lack wisdom? But then if I’m right, surely lots of people will want to know more about it.

I shall be talking about markets, taxes, voting, opinion polls and fairness. There will also be a little quiz.

If you cannot (or will not!) make it, I suggest Surowiecki’s book to anyone remotely interested in psychology, economics or epistemology, or to use less fancy language: how people think, work together and acquire and use knowledge.

It’s very readable, it has only one error of reasoning in my opinion [not fair to tell yet] and the only technical flaw is the lack of an index.

[UPDATE 8 Feb 2010: The flaw mentioned above is the claim that taxpayers consent to being taxed. The missing ingredient is the extent to which coercion (actual or potential) affect one’s decision to comply with taxation or not. If the various tax authorities of the world did not have the power to drag people before courts, confiscate assets and prison sentences weren’t relatively longer than say, for stealing food, I imagine that tax revenue rates would plummet.]

Headline news

December 28, 2009

I hope these story headlines from the BBC are NOT related news:

OTHER TOP STORIES
Labour MP dies after heart attack
Pope on first visit since assault
Six held on suspicion of murder
Cameron urges ‘good clean fight’
High-speed rail report expected
‘Simple’ anti-theft ads launched

The possibility that HH Pope Benedict XVI might have assaulted a Labour MP (who died of a heart attack), with six accomplices (including David Cameron) because simple anti-theft advertisements are launched to prevent the stealing of high-speed trains, would be disturbing, to say the least.

I need a new electorate

December 15, 2009

The people have spoken, again.

Changes in your ranks:
#41 cutest (lost 1 place)
#43 hottest (lost 1 place)
#43 person with the prettiest eyes (lost 1 place)
#44 sexiest (lost 1 place)
#45 most dateable (lost 1 place)

Not wishing to sound like a bad loser, but OUCH!!!

Faithful Igor

“So, Antoine, what’s it like to be Igor‘s ugly twin?”

Late thoughts on bigotry

December 14, 2009

I’m publishing here my response to a Wonkette piece about Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child, Trig. The article was written in June by Ken Layne, though my comments are aimed at the blog’s founder, not her flunkies.

antoineclarke says at 2:53 pm, December 14th, 2009
– Reply

Is that the best you can do? Lame.

If the stormtrooper is some kind of hint of Nazism, how come the people who are accused of being Nazis are the ones AGAINST eugenics, and the people supporting eugenics are the ones calling out “fascist.” Seems like disinformation to me.

As someone who would possibly have been gassed by real Nazis, and who had a relative executed by them (he was a hostage that was murdered because a prisoner escaped), I find the attacks on a woman (for not having an abortion) at the very least silly. Next you’ll be supporting some idiot who calls for conservative women to be gang raped. I honestly don’t recall your stance on that story, but I hope you condemned it.

There was me thinking pro-abortion people were in favour of choice. I guess “choice” is just a propaganda tool for collectivists to chip away at individual rights.

I used to consider abortion of a Down’s Syndrome foetus an unfortunate idea but on the whole the right thing to do. Until I traveled to work every day for a year on a train in London with a young woman who had the condition. Most people in the train were grumpy, cramped, seemed pretty miserable. She on the other hand listened to her music and seemed happy. I certainly do not have the right to decide if she had the right to live. And I don’t think you do either.

However, call me a bleeding heart if you like, but I would not condone physical threats or any assault on you, simply for being wrong on an issue. Let’s see how sane your readers are.

Bring back Ana Marie Cox, I reckon.

[H/T ] William A. Jacobson

I want my sharks with sharp teeth

December 7, 2009

A discussion in the New York Times about whether a law firm should refuse to hire qualified people on the grounds that they have worked with the Federalist Society (described as an U.S. conservative-minded group). The bigot who wanted an excuse to refuse to hire people who weren’t as “liberal” as himself admitted that the candidates had all the qualities for the job, apart from sharing the same ideology with him.

Although the NY Times “Ethicist” argued that political views should not be used to discriminate the following concludes the article.

UPDATE: Believing that all the applicants were qualified, but able to hire only a few, this person recommended rejecting each member of the Federalist Society.

[HT: Instapundit]

I say: Good. I want my sharks to be mean, nasty, spiteful, ruthless, vicious, vindictive and petty. I want the people who are generous of spirit on the jury, and then only if I’m the defendant.

There is just one tiny snag. I’m not sure that a law firm that only hires people with the same viewpoint, will be as effective at avoiding groupthink and losing cases because the attorneys all agreed on a bad case strategy. I wonder how one could avoid that?

Propaganda from UK’s CO2 reduction organisation

December 5, 2009

It should come as no surprise that what is supposedly a request for public responses to the Carbon Trust’s plans to destroy all business in the UK, is in fact a fraudulent propaganda stunt.

However, thanks to Guido Fawkes, I’m hopeful this will blow up in the bureaucrats’ faces. In his “Seen elsewhere” feature, Guido points to the survey, which has resulted in some interesting results.

Under the misleading title: CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme: What does it mean to you? we get the following six questions:

Question 1 of 6

Which of the following apply to you?

Owner of a business
Senior manager of a business
Other

Question 2 of 6

If one group should bear the brunt of efforts to cut the UK’s carbon emissions, who should it be?

Consumers
Government
Business
Other

N.B. The question is loaded in several ways: 1) there is no option to either say “both government and consumers” for example, which is dubious, there should at least be the chance to indicate more than one; 2) where is the “none of the above” or “I don’t want UK carbon emissions reduced” option?

This is not a survey of people’s opinions, but a propaganda excerise designed to “prove” public support for a government programme. Sounds familiar?

(more…)

Thoughts on Twitter and Facebook

November 1, 2009

I’ve done a podcast with Brian Micklethwait about Facebook and Twitter for people who may not have worked them out yet (I know…).

Two thoughts I didn’t develop fully in the talk [link]:

1) Twitter is where the news is at and is the vehicle for creating newsworthy events. Two examples, the plane crashlanding in New York harbour and the Iranian protests over the recent election.

2) I don’t understand *how* these people used Facebook to link up. It doesn’t strike me that random paedophiles would set up a contact group on Facebook (What would it be called? How would members know who was a police informant and who wasn’t? Surely such a group would get spotted rather quickly I hope and its members investigated promptly?). I’m assuming that some other network is where such people first communicate and they then use the strong privacy settings on Facebook to exchange communications.

My point is that I can imagine how criminals might use Facebook to plan and coordinate criminal activities, but not how they would make initial contact. This matters because if I advise a parent that Facebook is broadly safe (and the whole point about the networks of friends and status updates is that a trail exists of where they are and what they’re doing, with whom), then it would be good to know what the real threats are and to expose them.

However, this was a tangent from the discussion so it was right of Brian to get us back on track with how ideas and news are spread through social media.

Comparisons are odious

October 31, 2009

The dangers of social media #432: nowhere to hide from being compared with the rest of humanity.

My latest “Compare people” scorecard on Facebook would be really depressing, if I hadn’t had a generally productive week:

#12 best companion on a desert island (lost 1 place)
#29 bravest (lost 2 places)
#41 cutest (lost 1 place)
#43 hottest (lost 1 place)
#43 person with the prettiest eyes (lost 2 places)

At least it’s consistent, not like here.