Surfism

Clementine “the other gift that keeps on giving” Ford directs her ire at professional surfing this week.

Obviously she doesn’t feel the need to write about this week’s survey that lists the worst countries to live in if one was female, Saudi Arabia’s recent relaxation of the laws banning female drivers or, I dunno, any other actual tangible, physical, systemic, legal abuse of women anywhere in the world other than western countries.

Nope, the worst thing in the world of wimmin this week was that there is a 100% differential between the prize money for male surfers and female surfers.

It’s a fact, there is.

Using our razor we might investigate the possible reasons behind this.

A material piece of evidence might be found by looking at the viewing figures for various surfing competitions. Helpfully, direct comparisons between the popularity of male vs female competitions can be seen in real time by simply looking at the ASP World Tour YouTube channel.

The contests are helpfully separated on the channel and by looking at the viewing figures below it’s obvious to anybody with a mind open to the possibility that not everything is sexist that the girls are getting a fraction of the eyeballs than the boys.

No, really. It’s about a tenth of the viewing figures for nearly every comparison made.

How might we explain this anomaly? After all, as La Ford points out, they’re surfing the same waves.

Perhaps the majority of viewers are women and they like to ogle at the chiselled and highly-skilled men? Well, no, this study suggests not.

So, if men make up most YouTube viewers and dominate the viewing figures for sport, why aren’t they watching the athletic, toned girl surfers?

This must surely be the mystery of our age.

Bill’s Opinion

The total consistency of a performance delta in Olympic records (and any other objective sporting test you might use) between men and women would suggest that, as with everything else, elite males are more competent at surfing than elite females.

The professional surfing bodies pay their staff accordingly.

Clementine Ford dislikes the reality of this situation and claims it is due to sexism.

Actually it is due to the biological fact that humans are a dimorphic species.

Facts don’t care about Clementine’s feelings.

Uber 1 – London’s Mayor 0

Uber has won its battle with London’s Socialist Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and can continue to provide great value services to Londoners.

As we pointed out earlier, the decision to terminate their licence was purely political and not underpinned by any factual basis.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s nice to see the rule of law still sometimes works in London.

Perhaps the London ratepayers should send the legal bill to Mr. Khan.

Give it a (stupid) name

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, has named her newborn baby daughter – Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford. This organ wishes the first family of New Zealand very best wishes for their future health and happiness.

One does wonder at the choice of name for the wee bairn, however. Let’s unpack that, shall we?

The first name, Neve, is actually an anglicisation of the Gaelic name, “Naimh”, which is pronounced “Neeve”.

The next two names are Maori for “of love” and is the name of a hill near Ms. Arden’s home.

Then there’s Jacinda’s surname, Arden and her husband’s partner’s surname, Gayford.

Bill’s Opinion

If we were the sort of people who gave a damn about this type of thing, we could suggest that calling your daughter, “Neve Te Aroha” is #CulturalAppropriation of both Irish and Maori culture.

As for the thoroughly modern habit of not being married but double-barrelling the two parents’ surnames; has anyone stopped for one moment to think what the next generation will be called? When Neve Te Ahora has children, let’s say with a Mr. Ponsonby Smythe, will the progeny be cursed with having to fill out official forms with “Arden Gayford Ponsonby Smythe”?

Where does this all end?

In all aspects of their lives, the regressive left are ridiculous.

In which universe does this make sense?

Remember the Government boondoggle that is Australia’s National Broadband Network?

Not content with landing the taxpayer with at least twice the original bill, a likely never ending implementation and terrible customer service, the genius politicians are now going to fine the taxpayer for the poor customer service.

No, really they are.

Let’s just step you through the order of events of which this is the latest installment;

  1. A Prime Minister and Minister, whilst enjoying a business class flight at taxpayer expense, concocted a plan to deliver broadband to the nation and decided on the technology to achieve this.
  2. When costed, this personal branding exercise was estimated to total around $50bn… at taxpayer expense. A mitigation was offered that the project should make a profit so therefore not costing the taxpayer any money.
  3. The “profit” would be made from the subscribers of the service, i.e. the taxpayer.
  4. Through the usual Ministerial interference and large government project incompetence, the final bill will land at upwards of double the estimate, the project won’t make a profit and the people who the free market wouldn’t have serviced still won’t be serviced…. all underwritten at the taxpayer expense.
  5. In response to the delays and legendary poor customer service, the likely incoming government have decided that they will fine the NBN Co. (i.e. the taxpayer) and compensate the customers (i.e. taxpayers).

Bill’s Opinion

It isn’t in the interest of any major political party to stop, take a moment and think about the logical fallacies and insanity involved to get to this situation and realise the continuation of this insanity is a terrible outcome for the taxpayer.

The correct thing to do about the NBN Co. is to close it down, further deregulate the telecommunications’ industry to encourage more suppliers to the market, sell the NBN assets and use what little residual value is realised to pay for a tendered contract to provide high speed internet to the 3% of the population that aren’t living in a metropolitan area.

Oh, and tar and feather every politician who signed off on the original and subsequent NBN legislation.

Containerisation

….is a word invented in 1956 by Malcolm McLean to describe the switch from loose freight that had to be manhandled in and out of trains, lorries, cargo ships, etc. to the standard TEU and FEU shipping containers we still use today.

Depending on your source of choice, containerisation lowered freight costs by almost 50% due to lower rates of breakage, pilfering and required labour. Obviously, if you were previously employed as a stevedore in a port, that last efficiency might not have felt quite so positive.

The word “contained” similarly can have positive and negative connotations today. Witness;

Here’s another use of “contained” to compare and contrast;

That was from Ben Bernanke.

He doubled down a couple of months later;

Hubris is a painful lesson to learn. Of course, if you’re the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the only real injury you suffer from being proven utterly wrong and professionally incompetent is a bruised ego which you can nurse with your gold-plated pension (it’s funny how, in these times of fiat money, “gold-plated” is still used to refer to great pensions, isn’t it?).

Back then to Australian property prices….

For non-Australian readers, there are several important points to make before judging an opinion on the subject;

1. There is no such thing as a single “Australian property market”. In a country as large as Australia, with so many economic and climactic differences, there are multiple markets.

2. Many people have tried to apply lessons from other countries to Australia and been proven wrong continuously.

3. Opinions are like arseholes; everyone has one.

So, that being said, here’s some opinions with supporting information;

Sydney and Melbourne account for about 40% of the population and roughly 60% of the value of housing. Sydney is about 15% times larger in terms of population than Melbourne and 50% greater in terms of value (being mindful that “value” is determined by someone actually being prepared and able to pay the price quoted). For the purposes of this blog, therefore, we will use the term “Australian Property” as meaning the Sydney and Melbourne markets rather than, say, a small town next door to a mine that’s just been approved in a remote part of Queensland.

Predicting how a group of assets will be priced in the future is notoriously difficult, even the “experts” struggle with it. A search over the years for one such expert, Dr. Andrew Wilson (yes, he’s a doctor of property economics!) shows that he’s under-predicted the rises and not forecast the falls in his area of apparent expertise. The newspaper articles seeking his views never show his past performance in their analysis, however.

We might be able to at least predict the direction of the trend, perhaps?

Let’s list the main factors which might indicate main two Australian cities are on a trajectory for an increase in prices (“Column A”) and those which suggest a fall (“Column B”).

Ok, they aren’t actually presented as columns because I can’t be bothered to work out how to do that in WordPress, but you get the idea;

Column A – The bullish case for Australian property

The Federal government has a moment of largesse with taxpayer’s money and implements quantitative easing or hands out a cash gift to debt holders to sustain prices.

China primes the pump and begins another phase of massive infrastructure creation, requiring more of the stuff under the Australian gound.

India decides to rebuild the 3 largest cities and connecting infrastructure and strikes an iron ore deal with Australia.

Australia develops a widget that is manufactured locally and is as popular as an iPhone.

The largest natural disaster in history destroys a few states of the US and, the US Federal Reserve opens the faucets again.

Column B – The bearish case for Australian property

Lending criteria stays tight to retain the illusion of banking strength and prudence to the world.

An incoming new Federal government makes sweeping changes to the way tax is calculated, with negative unintended consequences.

Overseas funding for mortgages becomes more expensive. 60% currently comes from outside Australia and this is subject to the rate rises being seen elsewhere and Australia’s banks have fallen out of favour.

Banks play out Game Theory and reduce their exposure to riskier asset classes in the face of evidence of a downturn.

Criminal charges accumulate as political pressure demands scalps.

Employment weakens.

In anticipation of or in response to the decisions by the regulator, APRA, the banks impose and enforce tougher credit standards.

New rules and laws are introduced to regulate investment from overseas.

Chinese capital constraints are introduced, stemming the flow of funds south to safer Australian assets.

Interest-only loans reset to interest plus principal.

Global politics fracture further and protectionist stances become policy (in extremis, protectionism might create “hot” conflict).

Bill’s Opinion

It’s been a stellar ride, Sydney and Melbourne, but consider the possibility that your house might not be the pension fund you perhaps previously considered it to be. 18% annual rises will seem a distant memory if the current trend continues and “Column B” is stronger than “Column A”.

As for Scott Morrison, your Treasurer who is likely to be replaced within 18 months; in the words of Christine Keeler, “well he would say that, wouldn’t he……”

When the mathematics of probability is misogynistic

Tragically, a young woman was raped and murdered in Melbourne last week.

She was walking home from her work as a comedienne late on Tuesday night and was attacked by a stranger in a park.

The police officer leading the investigation, Superintendent David Clayton, made some comments at a press conference that have stirred up the professionally-offended.

The egregious comments were reported in the Grauniad, thus;

Clayton told reporters that because the park was an area of “high community activity” women needed to aware of who may be around them.

“So just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings,” Clayton said. “If you’ve got a mobile phone carry it and if you’ve got any concerns, call police.”

The issue seems to be that the statements above somehow partially-exonerate the scum who raped and murdered her.

In the words of the State of Victoria’s Premier, Andrew Daniels, a man who generally gives the adjective “incompetent” a run for its money when trying to describe his capabilities;

…..Because women don’t need to change their behaviour. Men do.

All men, Andrew, or one man in particular; the one who grabbed Eurydice, forced himself on her and then killed her?

Putting it another way, if we wanted to prevent this type of crime in the future by trying to change male attitudes to women’s right to life and safety, would our resources be best spent on targeting particular men or all men in general? I suppose it depends on whether one believes all men are potential rapists and murderers or just a very small subset.

With regards to Superintendent Clayton’s comments, let’s reverse the meaning to see whether his original messages were 180 degrees incorrect;

because the park was an area of “high community activity” women neededdidn’t need to be aware of who may be around them.

“So just make sure you don’t need to have situational awareness, that you’re or be aware of your surroundings,” Clayton said. “If you’ve got a mobile phone don’t carry it and if you’ve got any concerns, don’t call police.”

If a police officer had made the revised statement above they’d be forced to resign before sunset, surely?

Bill’s Opinion

Most men you will meet consider rape or murder to be most heinous crimes and something completely abhorrent. These men do not need to change.

Sadly, there will always be a tiny minority of men who will commit rape and a small proportion of men and women who will commit murder.

If you are a lone individual walking across a park late at night, being aware of that fact of statistical distribution might just be the difference between you becoming the victim of a tragedy or getting home safely.

Is it right, is it fair? Of course not. It’s reality though and not “victim blaming”.

For a more comprehensive analysis of the lunacy of accusations of “victim blaming”, visit the Secular Detective.

Let’s keep it low key and not make a fuss, Darling

Second marriages tend to be understated events; both parties are older, wiser, more experienced and often are focussed on making the public commitment to each other in front of a small group of close friends and family. Unless one or both parties were widowed, there’s a recognition that the “to death do us part” element of the commitment isn’t quite as legally-binding as they may have thought during the giddiness of their first attempt at the ceremony.

Obviously, there’s always an exception to prove the rule. Witness; planning a non-binary wedding.

I couldn’t even pick a pronoun. How was I supposed to decide what costume to wear on one of the most important days of my life?’

Yes, you sound a real catch, nice and stable, a great choice for a long term life partner.

“I’m in a body that isn’t saying the right things. It’s not me,” I explained. “I feel like I’m wearing a rubber suit all the time and nobody can see me inside it.”
“I see you,” he said. I knew he did. I felt it.

Is it just me or does anyone else remember this Peter Cook line from the classic film, Bedazzled;

George Spiggott (the Devil incarnate): In the words of Marcel Proust – and this applies to any woman in the world: If you can stay up and listen with a fair degree of attention to whatever garbage, no matter how stupid it is, that they’re coming out with, ’til ten minutes past four in the morning… you’re in.

I’d recommend not reading the article and, let’s face it, it’s on the Guardian’s website, so few will but it continues in a very similar LOOK AT ME!!! theme;

When I walk down the aisle this time, in front of every person who knows me, it will be as someone who lives in their body. Not a bride on a cake, but as myself, a person who is too complicated for the simple rituals that are the pattern of our lives.

Let’s have moment’s silence for all those poor brides and grooms who were married as people not living in their body, but brides on cakes who sadly were commensurately-simple for those simple rituals.

No, I’ve no idea what any of that word salad means either.

Further ramblings and some pictures of a woman with a short hair cut can be found here.

Bill’s Opinion

There are few modern ironies greater than the fact that the only member of ZZ Top not to proudly display a beard is called Frank Beard.

However, the lack of self-awareness of people who angst about what their preferred pronoun should be is a close candidate.

Minimum wages and unemployment

Australia raised the minimum wage by 3.5% this month.

Hurrah for all the lowest-paid workers, I hear you cheer.

Some cynics have suggested that this might not be the universally good news that most commentators suggest, however.

Their argument goes something like this; an organisation has a finite amount of available funds to pay workers. If the rate at which they must pay these workers is raised by legislation, there will be less money and therefore fewer hours of work will be offered to the workers.

The finance and economics commentator, Stephen Koukoulas, disagrees in this article on Business Insider. It’s worth reading in full but a fair summary might be, “price signals work in both directions; if wages were higher, the 5.5% of the potential working age population who are currently unemployed would find paid work more compelling than whatever else it is they do with their time“.

The Kouk is a well-respected commentator and generally talks a lot of sense but his position doesn’t ring quite true on this occasion.

He uses the technique of looking at the extremes to seek the truth, which is a useful method. If the wage was $100 an hour, who in their right mind would sit around at home watching daytime TV, for example?

There’s a problem with this however; it assumes everyone is capable of finding and keeping a job.

This chart shows the flaw in that argument;

It’s the distribution of IQ across the bell curve.

Look closely at the left hand side; 2.2% of the population have an IQ below 70. A score below 70 is a crushing intellectual disability, with very few suitable jobs available that could be undertaken by someone in that part of the distribution. Cognitive abilities will be severely limited and reading, reasoning and basic mathematics will be real challenges for them.

13.6% of people are between 70 and 80 on the IQ distribution. Although not as severe an inhibitor, these people will struggle with more complex tasks and interactions.

It gets worse…. of the jobs we are rapidly automating, the first cabs off the rank are the ones more easily codified into simple rules and processes. Mainly, these sit in the distribution to the left of a score of 80. Anyone who has been into a McDonalds recently will have noticed that orders can be placed on automatic tellers now; it’s not the manager who has been replaced but the entry level staff.

Bill’s Opinion

There is a point beyond which raising the minimum wage will have no effect on the level of unemployment if one of the reasons for unemployment is a fundamental incompatibility between the potential workers and the vacant roles due to genetics.

It’s not necessarily the fault of the person with an IQ of 70 that they can’t get a job.

“Full employment”, is a utopia that will never be achieved. Is an unemployment rate of 5.5% as close to full employment as Australia can get? Unlikely but it might not be too far off either.

The swimsuit issue

Reading or watching the news this week will have enlightened you with the fact that the Miss World competition is dropping the swimsuit element of the pageant and will be focussing instead on the achievements and character of the contestants rather than physical appearance.

….which is not dissimilar to existing competitions in the real world such as university entrance exams, job interviews, and other merit-based selection processes.

“How very progressive”, I don’t hear you say.

Of course, the coverage of the news aligns with whichever agenda the news outlet prefers to push; the NY Times piece linked above, for example, makes great mention of the female majority on the organisation’s board.

Statistics that seem to be lacking, on the other hand, include the viewing figures of the current competition. Perhaps my research is flawed but it would seem that, in the USA, only 172,000 tuned in to the 2016 broadcast, which is probably only a few more people than the extended families and friends of the contestants.

This chimes with the anecdotal experience too; think about it, have you ever had a conversation with a family member, friend or acquaintance about the Miss World competition? If so, was it at a time before or after the original Dukes of Hazzard tv series was still in production?

Bill’s Opinion

News articles helpfully informing us of changes to the Miss World competition format are about as relevant to most people’s lives as a 3 hour documentary on the relative merits of the viscosity of engine oil.

As for the future of Miss World now that the diversity balance has been addressed on the board, time will tell. It would seem that the prime objective of the competition (bringing an acceptable level of soft porn and glamour to mainstream TV viewing) has been somewhat usurped and trumped by the vast range of porn available on the internet.

Whether or not the competition can re-launch itself as a merit-based competition where physical beauty isn’t a factor will be interesting to observe, given that’s how most of the rest of human endeavour is judged anyway.

Of course, now that looks don’t matter, it surely won’t be long before the gender requirements will be challenged and dropped and the various attention-seeking types will enter the competition. A prediction for the archives; by 2025 a transgender person will be lauded for winning Miss World.

What other subjects are men not allowed an opinion on?

The other gift that keeps on giving*, Clementine Ford, offered another couple of hundred words in Sydney’s Morning Herald last week. The subject was the Irish referendum which resulted in abortion being legalised for a more wider range of reasons than previously. To be more accurate, the column would have probably been just fifty words if one could filter out “misogyny“, “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture“, i.e. Clementine’s default reasons for anything she finds offensive in the world.

As always with La Ford’s ramblings, she links multiple subjects (the war in Syria, border disputes in Israel, etc.) with the point she’s trying to make (“abortion should be legal and free on demand“), but there were two sentences that leap out as indicative of the mental gymnastics that must be performed to maintain a level of certainty as rock solid as Clementine’s.

This is the first;

Abortion is an issue of reproductive health-care, not morality.

Wait, what?

A useful epistemological technique to test the truth of a position is to look at the very extremes to see if the statement still holds true. In this case, we could imagine a situation where a full-term pregnant woman requests a termination whilst the baby is in the birth canal and in the process of being born, let’s suppose for reasons of her mental well-being.

If La Ford’s statement is correct, the midwife would have no need to hesitate before, sorry for the mental image, suffocating the baby as its head emerged from the woman’s vagina. It’s doubtful anyone sane reading this would disagree that there’s a moral element to that decision.

If we can agree on that, La Ford’s statement might still be true if we can find a point between conception and birth that the termination of the foetus doesn’t require a morality question to be answered. Birth minus 1 week? 5 weeks? 10 weeks? It seems hard to find a reason or trigger for her no morality decision required position.

The second sentence that indicates a contortion of logic is this one;

Men who cannot get pregnant need to learn that their opinions on this issue are irrelevant.

There’s quite a lot going on in those 16 words, let’s unpack them shall we?

Men who cannot get pregnant“. At first that seems a tautology; of course no man can get pregnant so why add the extra 4 words? Unless…… she’s making a very subtle point that there are some men who can get pregnant; men who used to be women but are now, in La Ford’s mind, men. Being a man and carrying a foetus to full term are not mutually-exclusive in Clementine’s mind. Okaaaaay.

Those “men” who weren’t born with a uterus and the other physical requirements to conceive and give birth, i.e. the people we used to call “men” in those halcyon days when all of us understood the term,  aren’t allowed to express an opinion on abortion, according to Clementine, and if they were to express an opinion, it would be deemed irrelevant.

Bill’s Opinion

At the risk of wasting my time writing an opinion that will instantly be dismissed as irrelevant because of nature of my genitalia, I’m going to anyway.

Abortion is a highly-nuanced and difficult issue and one that many very intelligent people have struggled with over several decades in many jurisdictions. That La Ford feels so certain that it is not an issue of morality and that a male’s opinion on the subject is irrelevant says more about her intellectual dwarfism rather than the correctness of her opinion.

As for men being able to give birth, that’s simply a land grab of language to suit a Cultural Marxist agenda.

As Bertrand Russell eloquently put it;

Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves.

Of course, Russell’s opinion is not relevant to La Ford because, in all likelihood, he had a penis.

 

 

*Herpes is the original gift that keeps on giving.