Saturday, 14 July 2007

Proof Reading is not easy !!!

I do admire proof readers.....They have a skill that I sadly lack.

Each and every time that I look at this blog, I find more spelling errors. So I do have sympathy with those daily newspapers that have a reputation for lousy spelling. - No names :-)

Friday, 13 July 2007

Stella Rimmington writing in The Daily Mail

Its refreshing to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about. Few people in this PC society dare say that any high risk segment of the population should get more attention than less likely folks. But should a little old granny from Devon really be body searched to the same extent as a 20 year old who has just returned from Pakistan?

Profiling works. - and its efficient.

That, with a working e-border control policy will provide some much needed intelligence to improve the efficiency of MI5 and MI6. The problem is that the e-border program is getting diluted per day, resulting in the true potential value being realised further and further into the future. What's really needed is the original 'extended borders' program sooner rather than later.

Having said that, I'll be having my coffee a day earlier this weekend and am getting concerned that my routine is getting seriously compromised. I need to get some order back in my life...........

The start of the slippery slope of betrayal

There is one recent event which marks a turning point in the way that 'liberal left' morality has been corrupted and hijacked by terrorist groups. That turning point was a symbolic act of suicide by a then world respected organisation.

The organisation was Amnesty International. The era was the late 1970's - I cannot remember the exact date.

I was quite active in our university branch of Amnesty. At that time the 'Golden Rule' was that we would ONLY support and be involved with people who were involved in NON-VIOLENT activities. Absolutely morally correct. No arguments about calling 'terrorists' by the name of 'freedom fighters', and no political decisions needing to be made.

Then the decision was taken that Amnesty would work for ANYONE who was a political prisoner. Whatever that is. So all the above issues had to be addressed. This led to the need to be seen as 'even-handed'......and the end result has been that there is now no differentiation whatsoever between aggressor and victim !

So that decision 30 years ago has led to the current state of affairs where Amnesty treats provocateurs and terrorists with the same even hand as those victims and those trying to defend themselves. (You can sense my value judgement having to be made here)

Amnesty International has called on the UN to investigate war crimes it says both Israel and Hezbollah committed during last year's war in Lebanon. The report urges the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on both Israel and Hezbollah until "mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons will not be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law".

AN ARMS EMBARGO ?. Wasn't that supposed to be happening to Hezbollah already as part of the UN agreement? But who has been re-arming and rebuilding their bunkers? Who has more missiles and rockets now than before the war in Lebanon. AND WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? Lebanon has a coast which is effectively controlled by the German Navy under a UN flag. That leaves its only other border, that with Syria. There are not too many prizes for the correct answer…..And it is plain as the end of your nose that Israel was defending itself from an unprovoked attack.

So we can see this is a great example where the once revered organisation has now made itself a laughing stock on all sides except the BBC, who still holds them up on a pedestal. Sure, there are good deeds done by Amnesty in many parts of the world. BUT if you can't trust them to make a moral judgement in Lebanon, can we trust them elsewhere?

Amnesty's founders have been betrayed, and after all this time there is no one who really remembers its past noble calling.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

International Space Station - Its still up there !

In case you had forgotten about it, the ISS is still going strong and growing all the time. Its getting pretty big now and should be easily visible with the naked eye.

Big Brother & surviellence

The UK has more cctv cameras per head of population than any other country. Yet its the most worried about having an ID card. How come?

Maybe it can be explained by the fact that cctv has crept up on us whilst ID cards are coming fast in a blaze of publicity. Also cctv has, at the moment, a public safety benefit which is clear and demonstrated frequently, whereas ID cards....

So to get ID cards to be accepted - and there is no law that forces you to carry them - you need to demonstrate a real benefit too. Well for sure, "National Security" does not cut it with most thinking people, so what other benefit can be used? Its also not "streamlining government" as we just know that any savings will be lost in the government cashpot.

Maybe we should look at the other time-honoured motivations of Joe Public. In reality those boil down to "more cash in my pocket".

So what models can reward the citizen for using an ID card?

Maybe we can learn from the credit card companies. How do they differentiate?.

Better interest rates
Bigger credit limits
Indemnities/fraud protection.
Easy management

So......the way it might work is:

* The government charge you only an extra £10 to get a card when you get a new passport and then **gives** you £50 after you use the ID card for the 2nd or 3rd time and on each anniversary you get a fist full of discount vouchers. - maybe even airmiles.

* You have free on-line viewing of your ID card use.

* Banks give you 0.25% lower overdraft rate if you use your ID card each time you interact with the bank. - They have less fraud.

* Credit cards give you some cashback if you identify yourself with the ID card as well as chip n'pin. - They have less fraud.

Those ideas are a start..............

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Poor Coffee and Poor Politics

Trying to get hold of anyone is awful at this time of year - To say the least, I am frustrated. Having said that I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend and sampling another coffee shop.

I've actually worked out how to get a decent cup of cappuccino in the Starbucks/Nero/Costas of this world: Ask for an extra shot of espresso. Then it stops tasting like brown and white water and begins to taste of the coffee.. Having said that, I went to a coffee shop in Radlett a few days ago and asked for an extra shot. They said that the cappuccino machine had only one setting! I don't think I'll be voting for that place any more :-)

I heard an amazing series of comments on Al-Jazerra TV last night. BEFORE YOU THINK ANYTHING, it was curiosity, not some twisted political viewpoint that caused this to occur. I actually accidentally tuned in and as I recognised a famous Pakistani cricketing celebrity I decided to listen to what he was saying. I still cannot understand why sportsmen, or for that matter actors, feel the need to get involved in politics. But I have no doubt that the guy got hit on his head once too often. His view was that the Pakistani Government had lost all sense of humanity by risking the women and children held hostage in the Red Mosque in Islamabad and should in fact give in to the extremists' demands. Again, its transposing the position of criminal and victim and twisting morality. After about 2 minutes of questions from viewers all enforcing the gentleman's views, I decided that I had enough and moved down the channels in an attempt to re tune to someone more sensible - like Donald Duck. Image my shock when I was confronted by the same cricketer being interviewed by "The Friend Of The Weak", Mr George Galloway. George Galloway was trying his hardest to sound and act Eastern, even down to his accent, which has started sounding more and more Iraqi every day. Not a bad thing in itself if it was not patently false. How people follow this man beggars belief. I suspect that they would follow anyone who re-enforces their own bigoted views of this world. I was reminded of the old TV interviews with the Far Right, BNP etc. 1984 and 'Newspeak' really compare as a mere shadow. Its funny how the far left has found a new 'cause celeb' after bashing the US under the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament banner. Enough time wasted on this lot.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

The future of military aviation

We all know that pilots are expensive to train and even more politically expensive to retrieve when captured. So what is the future of military aviation?

So this is the X24 UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle)

The Boeing Joint Unmanned Combat Air System X-45 is an unmanned combat air vehicle being developed for strike missions such as Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD), electronic warfare and associated operations. (That's all bad news if you are on the receiving end....)

Reconnaissance and limited strike missions roles are even now being carried out by 'drones'. These can be like the 'Predator' UAV (Unmanned Airbourne Vehicle), which can carry 4 hellfire missiles (you definately dont want to be looking at the business-end of one of these either) as well as camera stuff. They hang around waiting for something or someone interesting to pounce on.

The Rolls-Royce of the UAV world is the 'Global Hawk', which according to the glossy brochure is a 'high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system designed to provide military field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas.' - Translated, that means that it goes up high for a long time and takes great pictures.

Listen out for more and more references to these in the news. Its planned that in the not too distant future, you will not see many manned aircraft at all. They will get more and more autonomous and be able to make their own decisions as to whether they will attack a particular target. - Which makes the 'Blue-on-Blue' blog below even more relevant.