Monday, 30 July 2007

Freedom of speach and the preservation of data

We may have, with certain limitations introduced by the Terrorism Act etc, a degree of freedom of speach at the moment. I am free to write what I want on this blog without fear of persecution. But what of the future? What if we turn into the facist christian fundamentalist state that some claim the USA in becoming? Then I may be persecuted for that which I have said in the past (i.e. now). Whilst I believe in freedom of speach and all that, I don't think I'm the type to suffer for a cause, so I'd best stop this tongue from wagging.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

It having been a while since I read the book, I was able to approach this film with a less clouded mind and judge it on it own merits. I enjoy the rebellious spirit of Harry and friends, but I didn't feel as though this film was the prerequisite amount darker that its predecessor. Yes, Harry suffers deep emotional crises, but his enemies are still two dimensional and evil. The underlying theme I read into this film is of Harry struggling with his own anger. At the end he is indicated to have overcome this with him thinking happy thoughts and telling Voldemort that he pities him. And yet there is scorn in his voice when he does so, not pity. It seems to be that the message is that evil people are those who have succumbed to their anger whilst the good keep theirs in check.

I suffer from the illusion that life is more complex than this; some do what many consider wrong in a clear state of mind not clouded by anger. Perhaps the biggest evil is the level headed judgement of cause and effect, profit and loss, greatest good for the greatest number.


I cannot conceive of what it must be like for one man to die in battle; one woman to find out that that man has died. How I am to comprehend a history that includes the suffering of so many millions?

[N.B. please excuse the sexual stereotyping, I merely relay the image in my mind]

Distinguishing parties

In modern centerist government, distinguishing parties relies on two factors:
  • efficiency
  • priorities

Stewardship of possessions

I feel we should use everything we own; if we are not using it, we should not own it. I feel burdened and unclean by owning too much stuff. I want to be minimalist and pure. We should only buy what we intend to get good use out of.

Rot at the top

Suggestion: recruit heads of business to the head of the Civil Service with the incentive that they will receive one year's worth of any cost-to-taxpayer efficiency saving they make (the taxpayer gets it going forward).

Alternatively, the incentive could be having lots and lots of power to make sweeping changes, this way the businessman gains prestige invaluable to his/her future career.

Using your powers

Great pleasure can be obtained by using skills and knowledge outside the context in which they were learnt.

The Leaky Website

I think the world would benefit from a website that links investigative journalists with the would-be leakers in the organisations they are interested in. Journalists would write what information they were interested in and disclose methods of contacting the journalist.

Although the Freedom of Information Act is good, journalists need to know what to FOI. The other side of this website would be people who work in government suggesting what to FOI.

All requests and suggestions would be tagged with themes and organisation names, making the site searchable, and allowing automated email to people interested. People could submit the organisation the work for, for example, and receive an update on all journalist requests for information.

The website should also provide guidance on how to leak (e.g. remailers, web anonymisers, etc) and the risks (e.g. info in the Official Secrets Act).

Some of these ideas are being implemented at Wikileaks.

Five pillars of government

Government policy should include as central tennets:
  • transparency
  • adversion to knee-jerk decisions
  • simplification
  • consultation of the front line
  • less is more (i.e. stop meddling in the civil service)

The requirements of success

To succeed in life one must be both able and ambitious, but I lack the confidence in my ability to warrant investment in my ambition.


If I could get a download in excel of every word in the dictionary, I could do all sorts of data extraction of the letters in words e.g. all the words containing the letters, a-d-r-e-m.

Paradox of self-perception

Is there a name for the phenomenon where someone thinks something about themselves that is not true? Perhaps linked to the placebo effect, it is an interference of the concious/subconcious with an assessment of the attributes of the subconcious or body. For example: I've been for one jog; I feel thinner.

In my head

Thoughts seem so profound in my head, but so trivial on paper (screen). Is this just a symptom of delusions of grandeur?

Sunday, 15 July 2007


Assuming that we can clearly distinguish between our beliefs and desires, then it seems to me morally acceptable to make compromise between our different desires, but never to compromise our desires for our beliefs.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Further thoughts on my issue with religion

I have considered whether my issue with religion was jealousy of having something to believe in. I wonder if perhaps an alternative reason is that I feel that religious people think they are better than me.

Look after your life and it will look after you

There is a saying that goes "look after your kit and it will look after you". I think this concept can be applied to other aspects of life: if you look after your body, you will suffer less from ill health. If you put the effort in to make your physical environment cleaner and more organised you will benefit from a more enjoyable environment to live in. If you are polite to the people you meet, friendly to your acquaintances, and supportive to your friends, you will enjoy better relationships. This concept is really the same as the sayings "what goes around comes around" and "what you reap is what you sow", and is similar to the concept of karma.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Offensiveness versus self expression

How much should I constrain my self expression to avoid offending others? Should I really think about everything before I say it, risking never saying what I want to say? Should I always say the first thing that comes into my head an endure the unpleasant consequences?

Religion and me

I think it is not the fact that religion is a lie, or that many have suffered and are suffering in its name, that I have a problem with it. It is because I am jealous of the people who have something to believe in, whilst I drift through life grasping for a purpose that doesn’t exist. My opinions reflect more on me than on religions and their followers.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Emotional cause and effect

Sometimes when you feel sad, you think that life is pointless. And, thinking that life is pointless, you are further saddened. More often than not, however, it is not the pointlessness of life that has made you sad; thinking it is an effect and not a cause. The causes tend to be more basic things like food, sleep, human interactions and stress.

Monday, 2 July 2007

The front line

The front line staff provide the services to the people: police, doctors, nurses, teachers. The civil service must provide services to these frontliners: training, organisation, remuneration, facilities and equipment.

All things

You can't be all things to all me, but that doen't stop me trying.

Altruism and nihilism

The absence of altruism seems to me ultimate proof of the lack of purpose to existence: we are not working to make the world a better place, but toiling for our memes and genes.

Nihilism and me

Is nihilism a logical intellectual endpoint or an escapist exercise of those feeling inadequate ("It doesn't matter that I'm crap because life has not purpose")?