Quotulatiousness

February 21, 2018

10 AMAZING things you can do with a combination square!

Filed under: Woodworking — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

Stumpy Nubs
Published on 16 Feb 2018

LINKS TO TOOLS SEEN IN VIDEO (clicking on these links helps support us, at no cost to you)►
iGaging combination squares (high quality, moderate price): http://www.chipsfly.com/category/RS.html
Starrett combination squares (highest quality, high price): http://amzn.to/2sC1DLU

British KFC outlets fall fowl of distribution fustercluck

Filed under: Britain, Business — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The BBC reports on recent supply disruptions that have forced the majority of British KFC restaurants to close or run reduced hours:

KFC says some of the outlets which had to close when delivery problems meant they ran out of chicken have reopened.

Latest figures show that 470 of the fast-food chain’s 900 outlets in its UK-based division were shut as of 13:00 on Tuesday.

That compares with 575 that were closed at 21:00 on Monday.

Last week, the fried chicken chain switched its delivery contract to DHL, which has blamed “operational issues” for the supply disruption.

Earlier a KFC spokesperson said: “We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today [Tuesday] and over the coming days as our teams work flat out all hours to clear the backlog.

“Each day more deliveries are being made, however, we expect the disruption to some restaurants to continue over the remainder of the week, meaning some will be closed and others operating with a reduced menu or shortened hours.”

[…]

Until 13 February, KFC’s chicken was delivered by specialist food distribution group Bidvest.

But after the contract switched to DHL, many of the food giant’s outlets began running out of chicken products.

The GMB union said it had tried to warn KFC that switching from Bidvest to DHL was a mistake. The change led to 255 job losses and the closure of a Bidvest depot, said Mick Rix, GMB national officer.

He said: “Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them.

“KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre. Three weeks ago, KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.”

Signs posted in a KFC store window in Nottingham
Photo from the Nottingham Post (click image to read their article)

H/T to Jim Guthrie, who said “I suspect that this will be a ‘how not to do it’ example in delivery logistics for years to come.”

Transistors – The Invention That Changed The World

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Real Engineering
Published on 12 Sep 2016

QotD: Regulation

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economics, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

… “regulation” could also be described as high-handed and ignorant interference in the mutually advantageous deals contracted voluntarily among the miserable serfs of the state, interference at best inspired by antique theories of natural monopoly and using antique policies appropriate to obsolete technologies, and at worst by conspiracies to benefit existing rich people, backed by state violence. Much of regulation, looked at coldly, would fall under such a definition, if not immediately on its passage, then after a few years of technological change or regulatory capture.

Deirdre N. McCloskey, Bourgeois Equality, 2016.

February 20, 2018

Russian Rifles of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special feat. C&Rsenal

Filed under: History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 19 Feb 2018

Othais’ video about the Winchester Contract Rifle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4grSRn5wnHI

Indy and Othais from C&Rsenal talk about Russian Rifles during World War 1.

The EU transition period proposals “are the sort of terms which might be imposed by a victorious power in war on a defeated enemy”

Filed under: Britain, Economics, Europe, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Martin Howe on the way the European Union “negotiators” are treating the transition period for the UK as a re-run of the Versailles Treaty, with the UK substituted for the Kaiser’s Imperial Germany:

The European Union’s proposals for the UK’s transition period make grim reading. They are the sort of terms which might be imposed by a victorious power in war on a defeated enemy. They are not terms which any self-respecting independent and sovereign country could possibly agree to, even for an allegedly limited period.

Apparently, we must agree to implement every new EU law while having no say or vote; and we shall not be allowed to conclude trade agreements, even to roll over existing agreements which the EU has with other countries so that they continue to apply to us, without the EU’s permission. We must abide by the rulings of a foreign court on which there will no longer be any British representation.

Apparently, an outrageous and demeaning proposal by the Commission that the UK should be subject to extra-judicial sanctions under which the EU could suspend market access rights is now to be “re-worded”. But that would still leave the UK extremely vulnerable to damaging new rules being imposed on us during the transition period by processed in which we would have no vote and no voice. As reported in the Telegraph last week, the EU has plans to use these powers in order to launch regulatory “raids” on financial institutions on British territory and to make rules which will damage the competitiveness of the UK’s financial services industry.

But quite apart from the totally unacceptable terms for the transition period itself which are being proposed by the EU, the EU is seeking to use the transition period deal as a lever to secure damaging long term commitments from the UK. The most damaging of these is the EU’s attempt to lever the Irish border issue in order to force the UK to act as a long term captive market for EU goods exports by pressing for legally binding text that would force us into a long term obligation to comply with EU tariffs and regulations on standards of goods, on the specious ground that it is impossible to have an open border without all tariffs and regulations being the same.

There should be no doubt that being required to follow either EU tariffs or EU standards on goods would be a total disaster for the UK. It would make it difficult or impossible to conduct an independent trade policy, and to negotiate trade agreements with non-EU countries. How could we expect any significant trading partner to be willing to enter into an agreement with us, if we tell them that we cannot grant mutual recognition to their own goods standards because our own are permanently regulated by the EU? And how can subordinating the UK to the vassal status of taking rules on which we have no vote possibly be compatible with the British people’s vote to take back control of our laws and our courts?

Johan Norberg – Swedish Myths and Realities

Filed under: Economics, Europe — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

ReasonTV
Published on 6 Aug 2008

Johan Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, sits down with reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan to sort out the myths of the Sweden’s welfare state, health services, tax rates, and its status as the “most successful society the world has ever known.”

QotD: Kindness

Filed under: Humour, Quotations — Tags: — Nicholas @ 01:00

Be kind. Mean is easy; kind is hard. Somewhere in eighth grade, many of us acquired the idea that the nasty putdown, the superior smile, the clever one liner, are the signs of intelligence and great personal strength. But this kind of wit is, to borrow from the great John Scalzi, “playing the game on easy mode.” Making yourself feel bigger by making someone else feel small takes so little skill that 12-year-olds can do it. Those with greater ambitions should leave casual cruelty behind them.

Megan McArdle, “After 45 Birthdays, Here Are ’12 Rules for Life'”, Bloomberg View, 2018-01-30.

February 19, 2018

Graphing good news

Filed under: Books, Economics, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In the Times Literary Supplement, David Wootton reviews Enlightenment Now: A manifesto for science, reason, humanism and progress by Steven Pinker:

This book consists essentially of seventy-two graphs – and, despite that, it is gripping, provocative and (many will find) infuriating. The graphs all have time on the horizontal axis, and on the vertical axis something important that can be measured against it – life expectancy, for example, or suicide rates, or income. In some graphs the line, or lines (often the graphs compare trends in several countries) fall as they go from left to right; in others they rise. In every single one, the overall picture (with the inevitable blips and bounces) is of life getting better and better. Suicide rates fall, homicides fall, incomes rise, life expectancies rise, literacy rates rise and so on and on through seventy-two variations. Most of these graphs are not new: some simply update graphs which appeared in Pinker’s earlier The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011); others come from recognized purveyors of statistical information. The graphs that weren’t in Better Angels extend the argument of that book, that war and homicide are on the decline across the globe, to assert that life has been getting better and better in all sorts of other respects. The claim isn’t new: a shorter version is to be found in Johan Norberg’s Progress (2017). But the range and scope of the evidence adduced is new. The only major claim not supported by a graph (or indeed much evidence of any kind) is the assertion that all this progress has something to do with the Enlightenment.

Since the argument of the book is almost entirely contained in the graphs, those who want to attack the argument are going to attack the figures on which the graphs are based. Good luck to them: arguments based on statistics, like all interesting arguments, should be tested and tested again. Better Angels caused a vitriolic dispute between Pinker and Nassim Nicholas Taleb as to whether major wars are becoming less frequent. In Taleb’s view the question is a bit like asking whether major earthquakes are getting less frequent or not: they happen so rarely, and so randomly, that you would need records going back over a vast stretch of time to reach any meaningful conclusion; a graph showing falling death rates in wars over the past seventy years won’t do the job. But it certainly will tell you that lots of generalizations about modern war are wrong. Much, indeed most, of Pinker’s argument survived Taleb’s attack, which in any case was directed at only one graph among many.

A more radical line of criticism of Better Angels came from John Gray. How can one find a common standard of measurement for the suffering of a concentration camp victim, of a soldier who died in the trenches, and of someone killed in the firebombing of Dresden? To turn to economics, how can one find a common standard of measurement for books and washing machines, oranges and steak pies? Money, you might think, provides that standard, but what happens if many of the goods being measured – electric lighting, cars, televisions, computers – get cheaper and cheaper as time goes on, so that a rising standard of living is concealed by falling prices? For Gray, to place one’s faith in statistics, which claim to be measuring the unmeasurable, is no different from believing in conversations with angels or in the efficacy of Buddhist prayer wheels. Quantification is our religion.

Genghis Khan – Temüjin the Child – Extra History – #1

Filed under: Asia, China, History — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

Extra Credits
Published on 17 Feb 2018

As a child, Temüjin was afraid of the world, saddened by its cruelty and an outcast from his own tribe. But his mother, Hoelun, passed on her risk-taking personality to him, a boy who would one day become the famed conqueror Genghis Khan.

Google disappears the “View Image” button from their image search page

Filed under: Business, Law — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

At Ars Technica, Ron Amadeo explains what happened:

This week, Google Image Search is getting a lot less useful, with the removal of the “View Image” button. Before, users could search for an image and click the “View Image” button to download it directly without leaving Google or visiting the website. Now, Google Images is removing that button, hoping to encourage users to click through to the hosting website if they want to download an image.

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, announced the change on Twitter yesterday, saying it would “help connect users and useful websites.” Later Sullivan admitted that “these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week” and that “they are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.”

[…] Adhering to copyright law is still the user’s responsibility, and a whole lot of images on the Web aren’t locked down under copyright law. There are tons of public domain and creative commons images out there (like everything on Wikipedia, for instance), and lots of organizations are free to use many copyrighted images under fair use. There are also many times when content on a page will change, and the “visit site” button will go to a webpage that doesn’t have the image Google told you it had.

For users who want to stick with Google, the image previews you see are actually hot-linked images, so right clicking and choosing “open image in new tab” (or whatever your equivalent browser option is) will still get you a direct image link. There is also already an open source browser extension called “Make Google Image Search Great Again” that will restore the “View Image” button. But if you’re looking to dump Google over this change, Bing and DuckDuckGo continue to offer “View Image” buttons.

Concerns about copyright are a big reason I tend to use Wikimedia or other clearly public domain images when I want to add one to a blog post.

Why the Pith Helmet?

Filed under: Africa, Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Major Sven Gaming
Published on 14 Apr 2017

Anyone love the old Zulu movie staring Michael Caine?

I do, but why did the British wear these awesome hats? Well watch and you will find out…

And a link to more info on these wonderful Helmets. http://www.throughouthistory.com/?p=3153

QotD: Experiencing an earthquake for the first time

Filed under: Quotations, Randomness — Tags: — Nicholas @ 01:00

I have experienced a couple of earthquakes in my life. Most of them were so tiny I didn’t notice, but a big one happened in Scotts Mills, about 15 miles from the home in 1993. The quake was 5.6 on the richter scale, and did some damage around the town, although little if any that I could see in the house.

I left the house when it started, in my bathrobe. At just before 6:00 it was just getting light in March and cool outside, but I was alone. I stood there, as the rumbling stopped and the movement died down staring at the ground.

What was once so solid and trustworthy, wasn’t any more. All the terms you use to describe something absolute and reliable: rock solid, rock bottom, foundation, all of them presume the place you can go for safe stability is the earth its self. Now it was moving around, it couldn’t be trusted. Suddenly the world felt… untrustworthy. I was filled with a queasy sense of unease and uncertainty. There’s simply nowhere else to go when you can’t trust the solidity of the planet beneath your feet.

Christopher Taylor, “ROCK SOLID NO MORE”, Word Around the Net, 2016-06-13.

February 18, 2018

“The minority of one is the most oppressed minority of all”

Filed under: Britain, Liberty, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Matt Ridley on the rising tide of neo-Victorian prudery in western society:

Is it so different here or are we slipping down the same slope? Pre-Raphaelite paintings that show the top halves of female nudes are temporarily removed from an art gallery’s walls; young girls are forced to wear headscarves in school; darts players and racing drivers may not be accompanied by women in short skirts; women are treated differently from men at universities, as if they were the weaker sex, and saved from seeing upsetting paragraphs in novels; sex is negotiated in advance with the help of chaperones. We have been here before.

In Orlando, Virginia Woolf’s novel of 1928, she portrayed the transition from the 18th century to the Victorian period thus: “Love, birth, and death were all swaddled in a variety of fine phrases. The sexes drew further and further apart. No open conversation was tolerated. Evasions and concealments were sedulously practised on both sides.”

How we laughed at such absurdity in my youth. But even for making the point that some of the new feminism seems “retrograde” in promoting the view that women are fragile, the American academic Katie Roiphe suffered a vicious campaign to have her article in Harper’s magazine banned before publication. “I find the Stalinist tenor of this conversation shocking,” she told The Sunday Times. “The basic assumption of freedom of speech is imperilled in our culture right now.”

The sin of blasphemy is back. There are things you simply cannot say about Islam and increasingly about Christianity, about climate change, about gender, to mention a few from a very long and growing list, without being accused of, and possibly prosecuted for, “hate speech”. Is it hate speech to say that Muhammad “delivers his country to iron and flame; that he cuts the throats of fathers and kidnaps daughters; that he gives to the defeated the choice of his religion or death: this is assuredly nothing any man can excuse”? That was Voltaire, one of my heroes. You may disagree with him but you should, in accordance with his principle, defend his right to say it. In demanding tolerance of minorities, many younger people seem to be remarkably intolerant.

There is an odd contradiction between the declared wish to live and let live — “diversity!”, “don’t judge!” — and the actual behaviour, which is ruthlessly and priggishly judgmental. They never stop drafting acts of uniformity, always in the name of the collective against the individual. The minority of one is the most oppressed minority of all.

Nitay Arbel on Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life

Filed under: Books, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

A guest post at According to Hoyt:

Those looking for an ‘alt-right’ manifesto will be sorely disappointed. Peterson actually says explicitly that on some economic issues (e.g., income disparity) he leans somewhat left, and elsewhere in the book laments that the cultural demonization of anything masculine is (as he describes it) causing a backlash, in terms of a resurgence in popularity of European parties he calls ‘far right’ or even ‘fascist’. (For Trump, to be clear, he uses the term ‘populist’, which undeniably fits.)

Nor will you find a camouflaged Christian revivalist tract here, as some claim. To be sure, Peterson heavily draws on the Bible and particularly on the Christian New Testament for quotes, but there are plenty of references to Eastern religious philosophies as well, particularly Taoism (‘yang vs. yin’, which here becomes ‘order vs. chaos’) and classical Buddhism (the concept that life is suffering). Among Christian theologians, Kierkegaard’s “act of faith” comes up repeatedly. During an interview, he was asked point-blank “Are you a Christian, and do you believe in G-d?” His intriguing answer: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist.”

Nor is it some sort of “EST”-type (quasi-)cult manual, with Peterson setting himself up as a guru.

Moreover, it does not purport to be a reasoned scholarly tome of conservative philosophy. This is where Peter Hitchens (brother of the late Christopher) gets a little dyspeptic in his review in The Spectator, as he found it wanting there. http://archive.is/4eQIE (h/t: masgramondou)

David Solway, in his much more sympathetic article on PJMedia, hits the nail on the head, I believe. https://pjmedia.com/trending/jordan-peterson-phenomenon/ Like Solway, I find it hard to identify a single new idea in the book — pretty much everything Peterson says would be familiar to those of us who have been reared on Scripture and the Great Books.

But we have reached the level of intellectual corruption where, as George Orwell put it, the first duty of any thinking person is the restatement of the obvious. And that, Peterson does very well indeed. The book is a coherent whole, an engaging read, yea even a compelling ‘recap’ to the well-read. Peterson makes his discourse more engaging through extensive illustrations from psychological research, his own clinical practice, neuroscience, and his own life experience. Most importantly, it will bring wisdom of the ages (and of rational-empirical thinking) to a millennial generation drowning in derp and denial of objective reality. To those who, if you will pardon me the phrase, “know not the gods of the copybook headings”.

I just finished reading the book myself, and I largely agree with this summary.

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