Wait, what?

… apparently they started april first jokes a day early. Or maybe I’m just paranoid.

               Here’s another nice article – so crazy and manipulative it makes me hit myself with my statistics book. It’s titled “Generous welfare benefits make people more likely to want to work, not less” and basically says that spending money on welfare makes the recipients more likely to want to work. Bullshit. Here’s the summary of the welfare attitude findings. The clear relationship is (and I quote): “Countries where the public perceives a better quality of government are also countries where support for increased social spending is stronger.” – page 8. So, they find:

What emerges most clearly from the presented findings is the strong East-West divide in Europe. People living in Eastern Europe want quite far-ranging government responsibility for various welfare measures. At the same time they are quite, or in many cases very, dissatisfied with welfare state performance, and they think poorly of the efficiency and fairness of their public institutions. In Western Europe, including the Nordic countries, the demands for public responsibility are somewhat smaller, and people are much more satisfied with welfare state outcomes and the quality of public institutions.

               It means poor countries from the east (who pay less welfare because like they’re poor) want more welfare but don’t want more responsibility because they want the government to manage the whole thing. They think what they’re getting from their taxes is not fair compared to what they’re spending, but they also want more money as welfare from the government. Sort of like “gimme, gimme, gimme” but without the quotes and the work. People in Southern and Eastern Europe have, on average, the highest demands of government intervention – like providing jobs for anyone wanting one, adequate health care, reasonable standards of living for the unemployed, and so on. They’re also rather poor. If you’d split Europe in two (north vs south), you’d find surprising things. Wealthy countries go down the scale of demands for government intervention the more south you go and poor countries go up the scale if you keep the going south. The middle is rather average, on average, if we disregard Switzerland – and we should, because they’ve got guns.

               So I’d say the closer a wealthy country is to a poor country, the less welfare they’d be willing to demand from the government – because it attracts imigrants looking to escape poverty by going north-west. Makes sense, I think. Also, could it be that civic education is better in the european north-west? Nah, probably just a coincidence…

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Sweet Jesus, Mary an’ Joseph

… is this really true? “We haven’t received any complaints so far, so there’s no problem.”. Apparently exorcizing a thousand students is just fine if nobody complains, right? Students described the ordeal using words like “crying for help”, “scary”, “mental asylum” and other strong words. Hundreds of websites, newspapers and other media just exploded in a cry of outrage. Barbaric, isn’t it? Let me just say my usual thing – bullshit. This one’s right-on bullshit. Why? Well now, since you asked (or because you didn’t ask), here’s how to prove it…

               Ask yerself – what does the newspaper want to be true? What’s the easiest contradiction you can find? The article begins with “School children have been left screaming and sobbing after a priest carried out a mass exorcism on them at a religious camp”. It ends (well, it’s close to the bottom anyway) with “The methods presented were similar to those in religious sects.”. It was at a religious camp so what the hell would you expect? Basic trigonometry lessons? Quantum physics? Genetic engineering and stem-cell research? Dude, something like that just blows the whole article. Ring-a-ding-ding. Apparently the newspaper wants to make an analogy between religious sects (I mean, you’re supposed to believe they’re bad, right?) and catholic camp. It’s supposed to make you equal catholic (or well, perhaps christian) bible study camps to something akin to Islamic State – they’re also a sect, right? So this just makes my common sense tingle. Wait, I must have ment my fictional spidey sense. Continue reading

Triviality

               In mathematics, you sometimes find gems hidden within mounds of data and the rules describing it – analogies of life so obvious you’ll face-palm yourself. Every Evrika! moment of that magnitude deserves a drink, I always say. For now, let’s delve into the unknown and gaze into the abyss. Or, like I call it, let’s get philosophical.

               There are things you see around you, this and that and the other, where you find yourself confused. Why are people doing such obviously idiotic things? How come people do them? What makes an individual go the Darwin Award candidate way? Well, not everybody is dumb. So how can we explain such behavior? Occam’s Razor might be a way to go if you’re ignoring part of the demographic, because many, many educated, smart individuals make illogical choices that’d bring shame even to famous Mr. Custer and his last stand. So why then? Continue reading

Note to self

               If I ever do favors for people again just because they ask, first I’m going to smack myself over the head with the keyboard and then submit a voluntary 10% paycheck cut for a month. That way I’m controlling the pain. People who have a job to do will ask for help only from those who actually are in the loop. Ergo, if you’re not involved with a specific project and somebody there asks you to clarify something within that project – run like hell. They’re looking for somebody to blame. They’re not using the proper channels because it’s easier to be spoon-fed an explanation – even if it’s wrong – a whole lot easier than doing the thinking and adding up. Comes bundled with a scape goat option, too. I asked, he answered – his answer was wrong, yes, so I’m not to blame. Bullshit. Clear, specific, mandatory communication channels exist (or should exist) for this exact reason. Why am I so angry then?

Post scriptum:

               I’m angry because I’m an idiot. Choosing between being nice to a fellow employee (but getting blamed because I gave an answer containing a few errors) and doing the right thing (and thus avoiding blame but looking like a jerk) just jumped up a few places on my “things that bug me” list. Plus, how did I miss those errors? Especially since I’ve thought of the exact thing a few hours after I gave the answer… Aliens!

Less is more. Part 3.

               – Doc, doc, I got me a big problem right here! If I raise my arm like this, it really hurts!

               – Then bloody stop raising your arm like that, ye bastard!

.. Of course, it gets better as a joke if it’s about Bono.

               Are we making things complicated? Yes. Because we ignore the rules of logic, because we believe instead of thinking, things go from creating useful things and improving stuff we have to creating stuff we don’t need. We aren’t doing things because we should be doing them, we’re doing things because we can do them. Creation without purpose – the exact equality for knowledge without understanding. It’s not logical. It’s not useful. But we’re still doing it, after which we’ll just sit on our collective arses scratching our heads (or the other way around) and while thinking how to make people need what we’ve created. Creating need – it’s a very useful strategy in marketing these days. Continue reading