Noah more racism

Trevor Noah is a South African comedian currently earning big bucks in the USA as the darling of the left-leaning media (but I repeat myself).

Not being much of a TV viewer, especially not of programmes filled with virtue signalling, my only previous exposure to Trevor’s work was when he appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show, “Comedians in cars getting coffee”, which, incidentally, would be more grammatically-pleasing if it were renamed “buying” or “drinking” coffee.

Actually, the shows title is often misleading in other ways; Sarah Jessica Parker, for example, is a mediocre actress who may have also once or twice said something funny but she completely failed to repeat the experience on camera throughout the entirety of her episode.

But we digress.

On Noah’s episode, he seemed to make great store by referencing his experiences living under the oppressive Apartheid system.

For the record, Noah was born in 1984. Apartheid was overturned and democratic majority rule was implemented in 1994.

Perhaps Noah has vivid pre-pubescent memories of institutional racism and segregation or perhaps he is playing the race card to inveigle himself with a sympathetic but naive American audience.

Anyway, it turns out that even people with melanin in their skin can still be racist. Footage of Noah has surfaced of him saying mean things about Australian Aborignal women.

Wait, what?

Bill’s Opinion

This must be very confusing for people, how can a dark-skinned person be racist?

Using our patented razor of logic, we can easily clear this up;

People familiar with the ethnic demographics of South Africa will realise that Trevor Noah is what is/was referred to there as “Coloured”, that is, mixed race.

Somewhere in his ancestry Trevor has a European ancestor, presumably a horrid oppressive rapist white person (but I repeat myself).

Clearly it’s these genes that are responsible for Trevor’s vile comments that Australian Aboriginal women are not attractive and not the fact that people of all ethnic backgrounds can be racist dickheads.

Plastique retards

Today’s blog post is brought to you with the risk of legal action from Tim Newman as he has made his corner of the internet the go to location to laugh at plastic bag bans. I saw this one first, Tim, ok?

In Australia, most states/territories, with the exception of New South Wales, have banned supermarkets from giving away single use plastic bags with shopping.

In response to this, the duopoly of Coles and Woolworths have removed said bags from New South Wales’ stores too. I’m sure this decision was reached for purely environmentally-righteous reasons and not simply because running two different processes and sourcing operations is inefficient.

At roughly the same time as the implementation of this voluntary ban, Coles have introduced a promotion aimed at families where small models of well-known branded goods are given away to kids so they can play “shops” at home.

Apparently, this is a terrible thing. Why? The toys are plastic, of course.

People are understandably outraged that a company such as Coles could be so unthinking as to offer free plastic toys to its customers.

How on earth can this outrageous situation be mitigated? It’s hard to think of a single action any of us could take to solve the problem of unwanted plastic washing up on the pristine Australian beaches.

Well, perhaps we might think of one or two things people could do if this plastic giveaway upsets them so much;

  1. Say, “no thanks” when offered the toys at the checkout.
  2. If (1) is too difficult, say “thank you” but then throw them away in the appropriate recycling bin when your children grow bored.
  3. Don’t give your children any other plastic toys, not just supermarket giveaways. Obviously, this means they will only ever play with expensive hand-made wooden toys and will be ridiculed at school for not having the latest fidget-spinner or whatever the latest fad is but that’s the price they have to pay for saving the oceans.

 

Bill’s Opinion

90% of all plastic in the world’s oceans come from just 10 rivers, none of which are in Australia. If people were truly concerned with cleaning the oceans they would direct their online ire at the governments, corporations and consumers in the African and Asian countries those rivers pass through.

That they don’t but berate an Australian supermarket for offering (i.e. consumers have a choice to decline) some kids toys says more about the perma-offended and their inability to use basic Pareto methods to work out how their efforts are best expended.

Lastly, it’s the weekend and if we are going to be talking about plastic, here’s my favourite type of plastic.

The answer to the question might not be very welcome

Those readers who find themselves in Sydney at the start of September may consider the following opportunity to “analogue troll” for $45.

Of all the breakout sessions, this one piqued our interest particularly;

Where to start? In the words of Luke Skywalker, “Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong“.

Let’s answer the question asked in the session’s title last and pick off the sentences in the description first.

42 billionaires now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population.

Interesting use of language there; bottom half. I think they mean poorest half if we’re trying to not be judgemental or insulting. Anyway, the relevant question to ask about that statement might be, how does this situation compare against previous periods in human history? Is the trend improving or worsening?

Pick your data source and point in time for comparison but it has been estimated that for most of human history, the average daily income was the equivalent of $1.

At the time of Croesus, the world’s population was approximately 115 million.

Comparing averages is dangerous statistical activity, as is comparing net wealth with income, but let’s assume half of the people alive with Croesus had an income of $1 a day in modern terms. Let’s also assume that they had no real savings to speak of and were living hand to mouth. So, do we think Croesus’ net wealth was less than $57.5m, i.e. half of the population multiplied by a dollar a day?

Similar examples might be made with Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, several of the Emperors of China, the Pharaohs of Egypt, various Indian emperors, etc.

What about any number of other historical figures who concentrated massive wealth and land? Do we think their wealth was above or below about $57.5m in modern terms? If above, we’ve just dismissed the first statement of our Sydney Socialist friends as being irrelevant.

Let’s look at the next assertion;

In a world that’s never been richer, hundreds of millions remain trapped in poverty, facing starvation and disease, especially in the so-called “third world”.

Well, the world has indeed never been richer. This is an interesting chart from The Atlantic (a publication not known for blindly supporting free market capitalism) showing GDP per capita over the last few hundred years;

Gosh, I wonder what might have caused that huge improvement since 1800 in Western Europe and the USA? Sure, that’s about the time Marx and Engels wrote their envious little book but, in the real world, something was happening in England that was changing the level of wealth and finally breaking the Malthusian model.

The statement about hundreds of millions remaining trapped in poverty is less accurate and, in fact, increasingly wrong as time proceeds. Don’t believe us? Ask the UN. The target of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty was achieved 5 years early.

Again, why do we think that happened?

The last sentence is a question, which we’ve already shown to be asked from a false position;

What has led to this obscene situation, and who is to blame?

Bill’s Opinion

The answer to the question, “Why is the third world so poor?” could be as simple as “Collectivism, i.e. Socialism”.

Perhaps the better question to ask is, “Why is the third world being lifted out of poverty so rapidly?

To which we would offer the answer, “An embracing by the general population of free markets, international trade and the individual desire for self-improvement”.

Capitalism, in other words.

Before the industrial revolution, people were living in abject poverty in hand to mouth existences. Marx and Engels could have watched the starving farm workers being buried in the ground if they had visited rural England. Instead, they went to the concentrations of populations gathered around the new factories. The conditions they saw were also terrible but, and this is the elephant in the conference room at the Sydney Socialism event, it was better than the rural alternative. That’s why the farm workers voluntarily moved to the cities in the first place.

Let’s just leave this chart here and ask ourselves whether the Sydney Socialists really have the answer to the problem;

Nobody could have predicted a negative outcome

A woman walked into a shop and started swinging an axe at people.

Well, when we say “woman“…..

Ah.

So, in summary and using clarity of language that everyone would have understood 10 years ago;

A man with a history of severe mental illness was prescribed female hormones, operated on to remove his penis and testicles, create a “vagina” (that will require constant “maintenance”to prevent it from healing up) and is then referred to by a female name yet, somehow, “she” still has underlying severe mental illness?

It’s almost as if, I dunno, and I’m just putting this out there, it’s almost as if pretending that someone with an inherent serious mental illness just has a physical problem that can be fixed with a knife and hormones, actually doesn’t work.

Bill’s Opinion

As we’ve discussed previously, the outcomes for post-surgery transgender people is no better than for those who have yet to have the surgery.

Mental illnesses are highly unlikely to be cured by gender surgery and hormones therapy.

In the future, many fortunes will be made by lawyers challenging decisions taken by psychologists, doctors and public officials that have not helped and likely severely harmed transgender people and members of the public, such as the victims of this axe attack.

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.

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.

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.

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.