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2009

I can't wait for 2009!

The suspense is killing me!

78 Comments

1:

Things can only get better?

2:

As the prescient Busta Rhymes notes in Extinction Level Event:

Wow that's cool! I can't hardly wait!
You won't have to because here it is.

3:

Let me know what happens so I can be prepared when it hits over here, okay?

4:

Already there. Nothing special.

5:

I'm holding my anticipation until 01/20/09

6:

I think you're there already! I've got a bit less than six hours, but I'm pretty much always up after midnight, so I don't think it'll be a big deal. Oh. Unless the neighbors shoot off fireworks and I have to calm Shiva.

7:

I've been living in 2009 for nearly 11 hours now. It's no big deal, much like 2008 so far.

8:

Already in 2009 for ~14 hours. Feels o.k.

Still no flying cars though.

Happy New Year,everyone. May the year bring 'good stuff'.

9:

Happy New Year From OZ

10:

Hmmm, it's 6:17pm here still so I guess I have no choice but to wit. Happy New Year to all back home anyway!

11:

I mean "wait" of course - wit is always in short supply over here...

12:

Still waiting here in 2008; would someone in the future please beam us poor laggards up?

13:

I want some New Year's predictions from Mr. Stross! Will we see the I-Frog, perhaps? A portable music player with basic amphibian movement...or will cats finally get brain implants to rival dog-like intelligence?

14:

@ 5 - the date you posted cannot possibly exist.

There are only 12 months in a year.

Correct date order is EITHER
dd/mm/yyyy (the usual)
OR
yyyy/mm/dd (useful for computer-filing).

@13 - you are asking for SERIOUS TROUBLE by making that remark about Cats.
Remember:
"The humans are in charge of Quarters, Rations and Weather. The Cats are in charge of everything else."

15:

@14:

Perhaps you are not familiar with American dating conventions, which are mm/dd/yyyy or mm/dd/yy? Or are you familiar with them, and expressing disapproval? If the latter, I encourage a more cosmopolitan attitude. After all, in another hundred years, Indian English could be the dominant English dialect, eclipsing both British and American.

16:

William, he's pulling your leg. Yes, we can't help but be aware of your ridiculous and illogical date system. And your hypothesis about Indian English is (a) most likely true and (b) was first popularized by George Bernard Shaw, IIRC.

17:

@14:

Pedant mode:
The ISO standard 8601 states that dates be written as YYYY-MM-DD, with zeros as necessary, and dashes. Then time
next with colon, so 23:00. Handy, as you say, for computer filing, but also because it is unique. Dashes are easier to distinguish (from other formats) than slashes , and you can't use slashes in a filename on POSIX / Unix.
(see wikipedia for details).

Rant mode:
Windows Mobile (at least the version on my iPaq): you can select almost any date format except the standard. Ditto, you can choose any timezone except UTC. Microsoft doesn't just not use standards themselves; they make it impossible for you to use them.

18:

@15, 16: Many linguists are predicting that there will be World Trade English, which will be a commerce, science, technology and maybe tourism oriented language, various national or regional Englishes, and that dialects will make a comeback, although probably connected to social groupings rather than geographic localities.

@13, 14: Just remember - dogs have owners, cats have staff.

My prediction for the future: just like the last 50+ years of my life, nothing much will seem to change at the time except for a few obvious news headlines, but when we look back, it will be "wow, see how much things changed!". Maybe I'll even get to look back over another 50+ years with better health and memory than I have now.

19:

I don't have to write/type dates very often, but my checks and deposits are dd MONTH year and I use yyyymmdd in my databases so I can sort. I don't have to use Zulu time anymore.

Josh @13, my cats would like to know if you missed your last brain upgrade. ;)

20:

Screw alla youse. You too, Charlie. "American dialect"? WTF, G?

Here's a f--kin' coulda woulda for you: Kings English wins the dialect wars that hit American broadcasting through the late forties. You ever see a pre-WW2 movie? Notice how everybody sounds like they're from New York, only not quite? Coulda stayed that way. Dag, yo.

That'd be a world that spoke the real Kings English, as in County of. Kapeesh? Word.

Monopole@2: Busta Rhymes is the shit. But I'm old, I still think that Leaders of the New School rocks.

21:

Hmm, the checks and deposits are dd MONTH yyyy.

22:

I was young and impressionable when I read Heinlein's quoted line from Bernard Shaw "He is a barbarian, and thinks the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."
(From Caesar and Cleopatra, and all the more applicable given which specific island Caesar was referring to. Not that Americans lack super-insularity powers.)

23:

Best of luck with the cold! Way, way over in Austin, it's been nastier for longer than I want to think about.

Not that we care about you - we just don't want to lose maybe 1/4 of a book :-).

Soon, we DO have flying cars, off overpasses, of course....

24:

Noel @20: the Queen's English is a dialect, too, even within the south-east of England. This language we're writing in is fragmenting so fast it's funny.

25:

Okay, should it be 18 October 1964 as 18/10/1964 or 10/18/1964 or what? That matters to he whose birthday is that. Although it's three even numbers in either case.

For example:

8201951 is a prime number for August 20, 1951 in San Diego, California: Gregory Dale Bear, American science fiction and mainstream author.

1301941 is a prime number for Gregory Benford (born January 30, 1941 in Mobile, Alabama), American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the
faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. While the other way is merely a composite with lots of aces and sevens:
3011941 = 17 x 177173.

These are from my book proposal (and column syndecation proposal for a new form of numerology which I can author with a straight face, because I believe in Primes more than in Astrology).

26121937: This prime denotes the birthday 26 Dec 1937 in Liverpool, England, of the mathematician John Horton Conway, famous for inventing "the Game of Life", and research in knot theory, number theory, surreal numbers, game theory, quadratic forms, coding theory, and tilings.

This one now appears online, at the "Prime Curios" web site:

24111859: "On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin was published on the prime date 24/11/1859, i.e. 24 November 1859. The bicentennial of his birth year, 2009, is also the sesquicentennial of that book. 2009 and 1859 are each a prime times the square of a prime (1859 = 11 * 13^2, 2009 = 41 * 7^2).

Each historical figure gets several shots at primehood. He/she may have been born on a prime date (in one of either common representation), or had first publication on one, or been awarded a prize on one, or died on another. Or several of the above.

I'm not sure if this will catch or not, as was the case decades ago when I threw a party for my 1,000,000,000th second, and some others imitated the party on their equivalent exact date.

But I can easily envision people, especially geeks, wondering if any given day in their life is a prime. I omit the hotlink to the xkcd comic about geeks factoring the number that appears as the time on a digital clock.

26:

Difference between dogs and cats:

Dog thinks: "My human feeds me, keeps me warm, takes care of all my needs. He must be God."

Cat thinks: "My human feeds me, keeps me warm, takes care of all my needs. I must be God."

27:

@18 Many linguists are predicting that there will be World Trade English...

After a couple of weeks in New Zealand I stopped using British slang and slightly clarified my pronounciation (more RP, less Mockney Estuary English) and NZers could understand me every time. In actual fact I was probably misunderstood slightly less than in the UK. In addition, non-native English speakers found me very easy to understand.

On the other hand, should we take a step back and consider the type vs population classification methods? In theory I speak with a South East accent that's somewhere between RP, proper old Kentish and a touch of Estuary English from the isle of Fannit. However Professor Henry Higgins would probably notice the odd holdover from the first 8 years of my life in Scunthorpe.

@20 Notice how everybody sounds like they're from New York, only not quite?

Worse still are the occasional Russian, Dutch and Israeli spokepeople you sometimes see on TV who speak perfect English with an American accent, except it's not any American accent used by Americans; it's not quite New-York-only-not-quite.

28:

My prediction is that the non native English speakers with get together and craft a new version of English with most of the grammar stripped out of it and phonetic spelling. Non native English speakers are already doing this in an ad hoc way behind the backs of the English speaking natives.

The introduction of New International English will of course cause outrage of the "classical" English speaking world, which will be ironic as English was formed as a stripped down Germanic language to facilitate communication amongst the various tribes in England.

29:

Neil: I figure that "Dutch and Israeli spokepeople you sometimes see on TV who speak perfect English with an American accent, except it's not any American accent used by Americans; it's not quite New-York-only-not-quite" are from alternate worlds where, in the first case, New York City is still New Amsterdam, and, in the second case, where Albert Einstein accepted the offer that he become the President of Israel. Einstein had a trace of New Jersey in his German accent from all those years in Princeton.

As to the difference between dogs and cats, the following exchange took place on another blog:

... at least I am not at the bottom rung of the intelligence ladder in my household. We have a dog. I know I'm smarter than the dog. I beat her two out of three at Chess.

Posted by: Jonathan Vos Post | January 27, 2007 11:46
AM

==========

Dogs like their people. She's letting you win to make you happy.

Don't ever get a cat -- they show no mercy at the chessboard, and enjoy expressing their disdain after they crush you.

Posted by: PZ Myers | January 27, 2007

30:

Dave@28: It's not the non-native speakers of English who can't be bothered learning its spelling and grammar.

31:

@23: regarding flying cars:

The cartoon Retail had a good one about that today. One character lamented that it was 2009 and she still didn't have her flying car. The other character replied: I can wait another eight years. After all, by 2017 Blade Runner says we'll have replicants too! Too bad that Jupiter is going to turn into a sun next year, though.

Sorry for the paraphrase, but Retail is a 'just in the newspaper' format

32:

Dogs may NOT be more finicky about life than cats, but they are more intense creatures overall. Dogs know how to live it up! If you watch the DVD "Sold Out - A Threevening with Kevin Smith", you'll understand what I mean.

33:

Speaking of English, article on abcnews.com today predicts the millionth word would join the language on or about April 29th.

34:

Honestly, nothing special happens during New Year's Eve. It's just a symbolic event. January 20th on the other hand...

35:

nitro2k01: I am of the opinion that the office of the President of the USA is a poisoned challice: insofar as the USA is at the heart of the largest imperial enterprise the planet has ever known, and the POTUS is the executive controller of powers that broadly echo those of the king-emperor from who those states declared independence in 1776, it cannot help but corrupt the good intentions of any who aspire to it. (And moreover, they cannot help but be halfway corrupted before they even get to start their run at the office: consider the difference in John McCain's statements before, during, and after his run, if you will.)

That's not to say that it won't be a blessed relief to have an intelligent and energetic Evil Overlord in charge of the Empire, instead of a dumb, vindictive one (whose malice is only offset by his laziness). But it's still an Evil Empire.

36:

Feorag @30, you haven't met my Chinese sister-in-law.

37:

Regarding languages, and changing the standardized form - it seems that Portuguese is going through a worldwide spelling reform, in many cases to match the Brazilian spelling. It would be like English being reformed to match American spelling with some additional changes introduced by India. :)

38:

I feel bad for Obama, I don't see how he can possibly live up to the expectations people have of him. Already I've noticed a number of people on far-left (for the US) blogs are growing dissatisfied with him and he isn't even in office yet!

As for the office of the President itself, it has gained much more power and influence over the past century. It was always fairly powerful by design (compared to other systems), but there was a time when the Speaker of the House and Senate leaders were nearly as influential and powerful. But Congress seems to have been willing to give up more and more of it's power as government grew, ceding authority to agencies under the Executive Branch. The recent responses to the economic problems here are a good example, it's been the Fed and the Treasury that are acting, with broad power delegated to them by Congress. And as in the case of the automotive bailout, they feel free to act on things that Congress has voted against doing themselves...

39:

Charlie @35: See, this kind of attitude is why you're going to have US citizenship thrust upon you in this New World Order. Then it will be Your Fault Too.

40:

Well Charlie, You may get to see how evil the Evil Empire can be. If there is an economic collapse in the USA and troops are deployed in a state of emergency...Obama the benevolent dictator?

41:

Charlie @35: But as Apple have shown, it's OK to be an Evil Empire as long as you do it with style.

42:

Time is such a funny thing, it comes in one to ten,
and when you think it's over now, it's starting once again.

43:

Just in case anyone was wondering, I tend to the view that all empires are evil (although there are some non-empire structures that are much worse). Noting that the USA runs a trade empire isn't a knock on the USA or its citizens, it's just a statement of fact; and empires are big, unwieldy beasts that have a tendency to step on things and break them by accident (even when they're not being run by malevolent yahoos).

44:

USA is at the heart of the largest imperial enterprise the planet has ever known

In the spirit of "being able to see ourselves as others see us", how exactly would you like the USA to act in the world?

What would you like us to be?

What would your preferred world order look like?

45:

And moreover, they cannot help but be halfway corrupted before they even get to start their run at the office: consider the difference in John McCain's statements before, during, and after his run, if you will.

Fortunately we have a political system based on the assumption that all politicians are bastards and there is no improving them or reforming them (more eloquently phrased as "using ambition to check ambition"). In all of our history we have had only a few great presidents (Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Washington) and only one great and good man as prez (Lincoln).

For the most part, our presidents have been corrupt incompetents, or at best mediocrities.

46:

tend to the view that all empires are evil (although there are some non-empire structures that are much worse)

Depends on what you mean by "empire". The term has been thrown around so much (especially by those on the left) that like an over used cures word it has lost its meaning and sting.

How about these for classifications:

Territorial or Hegemonic - Territorial empires rely upon direct control of subject areas while hegemonies utilize local clients and puppets. Very few empires are wholey one or the other. The British Indian Empire was a mix of British ruled districts and Indian states loyal to the Raj. Nazi rule in the occupied Balkans was a crazy quilt of occupation zones and local puppet states.
The Roman empire consisted of directly ruled provinces and local client kingdoms ruled by the like of Herod of Judea. The current American "empire" (more on this said below) should be considered alomost completely hegemonic in character.

Centralized and Autonomous - Centralized empires rely on governors, viceroys, satraps and clients directly appointed (and removable) by the central government. Autonomous empires (which at first seems an oxymoron) allow for a great deal of local or regional autonomy. Examples of this type include the feudal structure of the Holy Roman Empire, or the various Mongol Khanates which owed alliegence to the Great Khan. Also included in the autonomous category are those quasi-government agencies which operate within an empire as a "state-within-a-state" such as the British East India Company and the Nazi S.S. Dominion states of the British empire can be considered autonomous imperial entities.

Secular and Religious/Ideological - Most empires in history are of a secular variety, emphasising political ends end economic gain. The Abbasid Caliphate established after the first Muslim jihad was primarily religious in nature. Some empires are a mixture of the two such as the Spanish New World Empire ("For God and gold"). If one considers the ideology of the former Soviet Union to be a kind of pseudo-religion with its cult of personality surrounding its leader, than the USSR could also be considered a "religious" empire.

The current world situation is rather unique in that there is only one real empire in existence, the American "empire". Using the above system, the American empire can be considered hegemonic/autonomous/secular in nature - perhaps the most light-handed and benign form an empire can take. With the return of the Panama Canal Zone, America has no real "provinces" remaining. Its empire outside of the 50 states consists almost completely of dependencies and allies. The rulers of these client states are not appointed by the central government in Washington and show a great deal of autonomy in their decision making. And since "the business of America is business" with economic growth and esablishment of world-wide free trade as its ultimate goal, America is perhaps the most secular empire which ever existed. On this point, it could be questioned whether America is an empire at all since it lacks the one activity common to all previous empires - the collection of tribute.


47:

@46: First-world allies of the US do indeed have autonomy. I can't think of an example since the immediate aftermath of WWII where the US has dictated internal or external policy. The USA is stronger than any other G7 country, but not so strong that a determined first-world foe couldn't seriously hurt them.

Third-world allies of the US have a problem, though: they are far weaker than the USA. The US, being the biggest tiger in the jungle, can ride roughshod over pretty much any third-world country it pleases. The US is directly responsible for coups in Iran, Guatemala, Panama, Chile; it has provided support for death squads (El Salvador) and turned a blind eye to outright genocide (Indonesia). Those countries had freedom: they were perfectly free to do whatever they were told. Or else.

Freedom means you're free to do
just whatever pleases you;
- if, of course that is to say,
what you please is what you may.
Piet Hein

I emphasize that the USA is not the only culprit. I'm a Canadian and am aware that Canada's own record regarding the fates of indigenous people within its borders is not good: cultural genocide, political and social marginalization, and when all else failed, cracking heads together to show them who the boss was. When one side holds all the cards, the other side gets hosed.

So what can be done? I'd like to think that if people are involved and knowledgeable in the workings of their government, this kind of abuse is less likely to happen (easier to detect before it gets started; easier to stop if it has started). This couldn't hurt and might just help.

48:

On this American empire thing, is not the use of the dollar as a world currency effectively a form of tribute gathering, because it lets the USA have huge influence upon financial things and effectively grab lots of money to itself?

Secondly, the USA as an imperial power peaked, what, during the 80's? Therefore its current situation is that of the empire in distress, fragmenting and flailing about as, and this is the very important point, the elites of various kinds who have benefited from it try to suck the last lots of energy that they can out of it. Therefore zounbites comment of "And since "the business of America is business" with economic growth and esablishment of world-wide free trade as its ultimate goal" is no longer the case.

49:

Guthrie: zoundbites also notes the American empire can be considered hegemonic/autonomous/secular in nature. I'd dispute the latter bit: it's a hegemonic/autonomous/ideological empire, where the ideology is that form of oligarchic market capitalism currently prevalent in the USA. (Note what happens to countries or groups that try to opt out of the capitalist hegemony. Hell, look at what happens to dissidents in western countries who criticize or try to opt out of the capitalist model.)

It's an indicator of the efficiency of indoctrination that most folks have difficulty seeing the woods for the trees when it comes to capitalism. I have no opinion to offer on whether modern capitalism is good or bad -- indeed, that depends on who you are and where you live -- but it's certainly got the best propaganda arm of any of the modernist political movements: so good that many people don't even notice it from day to day.

50:

Yes, and somehow I foresee a similar use of force against widespread use of local currencies which might spring up if the economic problems get bad enough.

I also made a mistake in my previous post, I should have said "effectively grab lots of stuff to itself" rather than money.

51:

@ 47
The US dictating to first-world countries.

The WORST example was the Greek Colonels' coup in the 60's - directly supported by the CIA.
This was the model for the even worse atrocities committed in Chile, later.

Next-worst - the leaning by the US on Britain to divest itself of its empire.
We were going to do it anyway, but it was done much too fast, and, usually between 5 and 10 years too soon.
So the people taking power tended to be the brashest, must corupt crooks around.
Semi-exception: India - THAT one we manged to screw up, all on our own. Independance should have been about 1951-3, and as a SINGLE state ....

Oh, and Britain & France, 1956, Suez.
Whether we were correct to invade Egypt or not (and I think, on balance, we were wrong - see NOTE*) the US effectively crushed both Britain & France, and didn't do it's own most certain ally, Israel, any good either.

NOTE*
It's my opinion that Anthony Eden was the worst PM we've had since Lord North.
Everything he touched turned to shit.
He rejected French approches for a semi-union, and kept us OUT of the FORMATION of the then Common Market - which would have resulted in an EU fundamentally different from the bereaucratic nightmare that is now threatening to engulf us in petty regulations......

52:

RE Charlie's link to dissenter's in Western Countries. What I find particularly Orwellian about the article is that if you don't own a cell phone the police assume it is for a nefarious purpose.

53:

The US is a neo-imperial hegemon. We aren't an empire, because Germany's PM was able able to point out that the emperor had no clothes on Iraq and refuse to send troops despite the many US troops there.

We've elected better leaders than Georgie III 90% of the time. Clearly, of course, not always. Maybe the similarity in name of Georgie II shoulda given us a clue.... IMHO, he went into Achilles' sulking tent on 9/12/01, and let a true evil emperor, Mr. Cheney, do too much of the ruling.

The $ and euro persist not by force, but by outcompeting rivals. Part of that's because they have so much capital in them; another reason's a history of better defences and economists behind them. The US even has legal internal alternate currencies, but the $ outcompetes them. Capitalism is only the least bad system we know, but with the sort of GOP negligence of the pasture we've seen, it gets hard to see any improvement from it.

54:

@ 53
VERY COMMON US MISTAKE.

Your failed "Leader" was emphatically NOT George III (Though he was in support of his PM - the aforementioned Lord North)
Said Lord North was the man really responsible for the appalling cock-ups between 1770 and 1782.
And, of course, the US "colonies" could not have revolted, if Britain had not won the really decisive 18th Century conflict - the 7 years war.
"George II" is almost certainly your worst leader since Buchanan - and may even have been worse - but we'll have to wait a few years to find out .....

Any comments/dissents on my pointing out that the US HAS, and DOES dictate to 1st-world countries?

55:

G. Tingey: please don't pick fights here. I suspect the only dissent you're going to get to your point in @51 will come from folks who've swallowed the party line so thoroughly that any attempt to question it is taken as a threat to their sense of self-worth. (Arguing with them won't change anyone's mind and will damage the otherwise civil conversation here, so I view it as pointless.)

Jon @53: pointing to a single exception does not disprove a general pattern of behaviour. You might equally well "prove" that the British Empire in the 19th century clearly wasn't a centralized territorial empire because the Channel Islands weren't ruled by Queen Victoria in her capacity as monarch, but by that rather amusing abstraction, the Duke (or in this case, Duchess) of Normandy.

56:

@51 G. Tingey:

Once you mentioned Suez, the wind-up of the British Empire in Africa, etc, I said: 'Oh yeah. I should have remembered those.' Thanks for jogging my memory.

57:

Two words: Pax Romana

Two more words: Pax Britannica

If the current American hegemony (or any empire for that matter) can preserve the general peace for centuries - not counting occasional clashes with barbarians on the frontier, or those little Victorian wars, or the current American equivalent - is not an hegemony a good thing?

Does an empire justify its own existence on balance by preserving the general peace?

58:

Charlie, I'm still interested in hearing what your ideal USA and ideal world orders would look like.

Like the Beatles said, "we'd all love to see the plan".

59:

zoundbite: my ideal world order?

It'd look a lot like the EU. A bunch of mostly-prosperous mostly-democracies with about 80% of their general laws relating to trade, business, the economy, and crime set by a messy system of intergovernmental haggling on top of a framework of respect for core human rights. A redistributive raft of bureaucracy, relatively lightweight, but nevertheless funnelling grants (not loans) where they're needed to enable the poorer countries to play catch-up until they can do their bit contributing to the commonweal. Not so hot on the invading-foreign-climes-and-kicking-ass, but by the same token, not threatening to the neighbours either.

Over time, convergence on a federal model not unlike Germany.

How to get there from here is, of course, the $64K question -- and one that doesn't work unless the process is peaceful. But I should note that we live in a period where for the first time in two thousand years, sixty years have passed without an invading army storming across the Rhine; an age when there is an expansionist European power pressing up against a rim of independent nations on the outside who are squabbling over who gets to join up next, which is a bit of a novelty. (See also: Hitler, Napoleon, the Hapsburg Empire, Rome, etcetera.)

Maybe if we drop the "European" emphasis and concentrate on global inclusivity, starting with getting Canada on track for membership and opening talks with Russia, it'd be a workable model for the future.

But it's a big project, and even if it gets under way in earnest, I don't expect it to run to completion in my lifetime.

(If you're looking for a name for this project, call it United States 2.0: trying to avoid the bugs that showed up a couple of centuries down the line in version 1.0.)

60:

Charlie @ 54 - I wasn't trying to pick a fight.
But the US population - even on the intelligent parts of the Net (which this is) seem remarkably ill-informed about other parts of the world, and recent history, sometimes.

@57 yes, but .....
Certainly, the PUBLICLY STATED aim of the Pax Britannica was SUPPOSED to be beneficial for everyone -as well as US, of course. It didn't always work out that way, but, even comparing with other contemporary empires, the Brit one was certainly the least vicious.( Compare and contrast treatment of Amerindians in US and Candada, or "kaffirs" by the Brits and the Dutch ...)
OTOH, there were the Australian Aborigines - who did not value LAND - and got screwed. Again, the Moari DID understand land-values, and got a treaty (Waitangi), which was stuck to - they're complaining about it NOW, but that's another story.

Charlie @ 59
You've opened a REAL can-of-worms there.
"Europe", as in the EU is, (in my opinion) a brilliant project that has gone horrendously wrong.
I've recently switched sides to be strongly anti-EU, because of the bureaucratic, control-freaks' nightmare that it seems to be heading towards, with out own wonderful government egging it on.
Extraterratorial arrest warrants for things that are not crimes here, for which no proof is required, and police who are literally above the law (never mind any de Menezes' nonsense - really above the law) scare me badly.

61:

G. Tingey: "It didn't always work out that way" -- if you think that, you probably need to read this. (The British empire was very good at papering over the hell-holes it burned in the map.)

The EU law enforcement agenda is another matter, and one that I think would be better addressed if the UK was less prone to europhobia and more interested in imprinting (cough) British values on the project.

62:

Thanks - I was aware of some of the nasties mentioned in the book.
It is, however, I think, overly "revisionist" - rather like the way W. Dalrymple has gone overboard about the Indian Mutiny.
And a lot of the horrible things were also due to both the lack of "modern" supply-chains, and sheer incompetence - though that is not to excuse it.
For instance, there was, overall, a FOOD SURPLUS in Ireland 1847-49, but you wouldn't have known it. ....

I think you are wrong about the EU law thing - since it is ALREADY TOO LATE - the laws are on the book.
There's a case ongoing at present, involing a Brit and false (beaten-out-of-witnesses) "testimony" in Greece, regarding a death where the accused wasn't even present, which is going to make very good EU-phobic paublicity, because our guvmint could not be bothered.

63:

I've had my suspicions about Mike Davies, so I re-checked some reviews of "Victorian Holocausts - LONG:

"In his account of the 1896/97 famine, he conjures a death of 11 million, based on an uncited remark by Elgin. But contemporary critic Romanesh Dutt accepted official estimates of one million. One million is bad, and clearly there was incompetence in the setting up of relief in the Central Provinces as Davis shows. However, why no mention of the successful amelioration of the same famine in the United Provinces, which led to its Lieutenant-Governor being given a baronetcy for saving a million lives? At the heart of Davis's argument is the British doctrinal `rules of iron' killing millions, but surely that should apply everywhere where the apparently lethal British policy of famine relief works was used? And while much, rightly, is made of the British `laissez-faire' refusal to interfere with the grain market or callously export grain from starving areas, he makes no connection between the creation of `relief works' to sustain and employ the destitute, and the same logic of public works by Roosevelt to revitalize America with his New Deal, or indeed any other Keynesian government work creation programme in history. Nor does he investigate the inconvenient provision of gratuitous relief to those registered unable to work - perhaps this was hopelessly inadequate, it certainly must have been in the terrible famine of 1876-78, but why is there no mention of it?
In another study, cited by Davis, Tim Dyson points out how most famine deaths in 1896/97 were actually caused by malaria when the rains finally arrived - Davis fails to mention that when famine struck three years later, those on relief works were sent home with quinine to try and prevent a repetition. Famines weren't merely shoved under the carpet - enquiries were set up, even by the reviled Lord Lytton, painstaking analysis was carried out, and famine codes revised to try and get it right next time."

It is also pointed out, in reviews of "Planet of Slums" that Davies is a Marxist.

Which just completely discredits all of his work - what a pity and a shame (or not, as the case may be).
Given the slaughter, definitely deliberate, by guvmints of that ilk of their own citizens, never mind "inferior" and "subject" races, noting the entirely false marxist economic model, or that marxism is a religion, murderous and blackmailing, just like all the others.

19th Century sociologists myths, in fact, and as dangerous as Dark-Ages Camelherders myths, or Bronze-Age goatherders ones ......

64:

@63: *rolls eyes*

Greg, "Marxist" means different things, depending on whether you're discussing political ideologies or theories of history.

65:

OK, ok - but I think you got my point ....

Would you trust a history of the Albigensian Crusade, written by a Dominican?
Would you trust a history of England, 1558 - 1603, written by a Jesuit?
Would you trust anything written by
Giraldus Cambrensis ?

I note from this mornings' radio, that it is 30 years since the Khmer Rouge were ousted from Cambodia (shudder) ....

Given my ancestry, I'm very, very suspicious of people writing with particular religious bees in their bonnets.
They will excuse ANY atrocity committed by their "side", and hideously exaggerate every tiny slight by their percieved opposition.
There's a case of that going on right now, but I'm not going to name it ......

The RC church was only less murderous than the communists, because they didn't have the industrial-scale means to carry out their programmes. Not that it didn't stop them trying, sometimes.

66:

[agitprop deleted by moderator]

67:

zoundbite: I deleted your comment because I'm not prepared to provide a platform for that kind of flame war. G. Tingey: it was a response to your comments about the RC Church. Drop the topic now, or I'll start deleting your posts, too.

(I'm not doing this because I'm a fan of genocidal totalitarian institutions driven by a ruthless ideological drive to make everyone live according to the One True Way, but because I've got a chest infection, a deadline, and that kind of dispute -- "who killed more people, Hannibal Lecter or The Joker?" -- only with real-life substutes -- doesn't amuse me right now.

NB: if you want to discuss Hannibal Lecter v. The Joker -- instead of Lenin v. The Pope -- be my guest. Unlike real supervillains, you're unlikely to start a flame war. Just be warned that I haven't read any Thomas Harris, much less seen the movies -- and I haven't seen any of the Batman movies, either.)

68:

Since when are historical facts and data "agitprop"?

Since when is deleting one comment but not the other "fair"?

69:

zoundbite: I got as far in your screed as "communist genocide" then my eyes glazed over. (Hint: this comes up regularly. Usually from heavily-propagandized American capitalism boosters. In other words, neo-imperialists.)

It's the usual tired anti-Soviet litany, with Pol Pot thrown in as a sandwich topping: gulags, WW2, let's lump in everyone who died in the USSR as a result of crappy administration as well as deliberate extermination, and optionally add in all the children who might have been born if their parents hadn't been murdered. Then we got to the RC Church: the sum total of whose murderous history you itemized as the Spanish Inquisition. Sorry, doesn't wash: that's when I sprained my thumb on the delete key.

If you want to do like for like, you have to apply the same rules: track each ideology back to its origin and include everything. Include the Crusades, the genocide against the Cathars, the 30 Years War, the demographic consequences of Papal meddling in the map of South America, AIDS casualties in Africa, and all the children who weren't born because the Spanish Inquisition -- post reconquista -- took bathing regularly to be a sign of heresy. (See also: the death toll due to the Black Death, and the effects of inadequate sanitation on preventing it -- you'll note there were anti-Jewish pogroms at the time because the Jews, with their emphasis on ritual bathing, were notably less likely to catch the plague).

By the time you've done all that, the death toll is in the billions -- arguably more billions than are alive today: enough to dwarf anything the commies got up to. (Admittedly, they didn't have 1700 years of god-ridden superstition to apologize for. Their particular ideology of excess burned itself out somewhat faster.)

Letting the RC Church off with just the Spanish Inquisition is like letting the Communists off with just the 1930s Moscow show trials. Or letting the British Empire off with just the Amritsar Massacre. It suggests more than a little wilfull blindness ...

Finally, you implicitly accused me of unfairness. I am under no obligation to be "fair"; this is my soap box, where I will cultivate whatever opinions -- fair or otherwise -- that I feel like. (See the moderation policy.) Greg Tingey is a regular here; you aren't. Simple as that.

70:

Charlie.

Thanks, and noted.
One LAST on this ...
You're (according to your front-page IIRC) descended from jews who made it out of Europe, away from the Pogroms and the Nazis.
I'm a Huguenot, who has learnt not to go anywhere near any religion (as defined above) - I hope this explains things to "zoundbite", at least.

And: you've STILL got the cough-your-lungs-up infection?
Same here - commiserations.

71:

Let me add, that's why I get really annoyed when American triumphalists pop up to whack on the Soviet Abomination.

All ideologies build pyramids of skulls; even the Buddhists do it (just go look into the history of Baron Roman von Ungern Sternberg, or the various empires that rampaged through Indochina, or the Japanese Nichiren monks who came down looting and pillaging from the hills ...). Capitalism does it too -- it was under the aegis of The Invisible Hand that the Irish Potato Famine killed or exiled something like 40% of the population, and it's capitalism's death toll today when kids in third world sweatshops supplying us with cheap socks burn to death because of the owners' negligence.

Nobody is innocent. And protests to the effect that one particular group (who just happen to be the vanquished opponents of the current bloody-handed hegemony) is The Most Guilty Of All look awfully like agitprop (of the projective form) from where I'm standing.

72:

I got as far in your screed as "communist genocide" then my eyes glazed over. (Hint: this comes up regularly. Usually from heavily-propagandized American capitalism boosters. In other words, neo-imperialists.)It's the usual tired anti-Soviet litany, with Pol Pot thrown in as a sandwich topping: gulags, WW2,

First off, why would any decent or sane person indulge in a pro-Soviet litany? Second, it comes as no surprise that you go into denial when presented with these facts. I can only imagine how painful the cognitive dissonce would be.


let's lump in everyone who died in the USSR as a result of crappy administration as well as deliberate extermination, and optionally add in all the children who might have been born if their parents hadn't been murdered.

Your lame attempt to partially exhonerate Communist murderers by blaming any of the victims' deaths on "crappy administration" smacks of a holocaust deniers shtick that Jewish death were mostly due to typhus and other diseases. Your inference is morally repugnant.


Then we got to the RC Church: the sum total of whose murderous history you itemized as the Spanish Inquisition. Sorry, doesn't wash: that's when I sprained my thumb on the delete key.

The Spanish Inquisition, because of its notoriety is a useful symbol of religous oppression and an obvious first chice as a comparative example.


If you want to do like for like, you have to apply the same rules: track each ideology back to its origin and include everything. Include the Crusades, the genocide against the Cathars, the 30 Years War, the demographic consequences of Papal meddling in the map of South America, AIDS casualties in Africa, and all the children who weren't born because the Spanish Inquisition -- post reconquista -- took bathing regularly to be a sign of heresy. (See also: the death toll due to the Black Death, and the effects of inadequate sanitation on preventing it -- you'll note there were anti-Jewish pogroms at the time because the Jews, with their emphasis on ritual bathing, were notably less likely to catch the plague).

Again compared to the murders committed by the atheist regimes of the far right and far left in the past century, such crimes are compartively a drop in the bucket especially when making apples to apples comparisons such as murders per captia or murders per annum.

For the record, the Crusades were a minor counter offensive compared to the jihad that provoked them. Surely you don't think Islam was spread peacefully do you?

As for South American demographics, the post discovery die off of Native American populations was mostly caused by the diseases Europeans brought with them. The papacy had nothing to do with that and often fought the enslavement of the natives (the Jesuit utopia established in Paraguay, e.g.).

As for bathing and its consequences, you should blame ignorance and fear of the Other. Neither needs religion to function.


By the time you've done all that, the death toll is in the billions -- arguably more billions than are alive today: enough to dwarf anything the commies got up to. (Admittedly, they didn't have 1700 years of god-ridden superstition to apologize for. Their particular ideology of excess burned itself out somewhat faster.)

The total 160 million kiled by atheists of the far right and the far left (and yes, the Nazis were atheists with the possible exception of Himmler who was a pagan)works out to an average annual murder rate of 2 to 2.5 million human beings per year. If religions (especially catholocism) are marrred with spots of blood, atheism is drenched in it.


Letting the RC Church off with just the Spanish Inquisition is like letting the Communists off with just the 1930s Moscow show trials. Or letting the British Empire off with just the Amritsar Massacre. It suggests more than a little wilfull blindness ...

See comment above.


Finally, you implicitly accused me of unfairness. I am under no obligation to be "fair"; this is my soap box, where I will cultivate whatever opinions -- fair or otherwise -- that I feel like. (See the moderation policy.)

Do you have any idea how petulant you sound?

Greg Tingey is a regular here; you aren't. Simple as that.

I submit that the only reason he is a regular here is that his biases conform to yours.

So Mr. Stross, do you wish to be intellectually challenged and have your mind opened and sharpened with debate, or do you prefer the comfort of being surrounded by syncophants?

73:

zoundbites: do feel free to piss off.

Hint: I am an atheist. Accusing me of genocide by association is not a way to gain my sympathy.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

74:

[ deleted by moderator ]

I told you to fuck off, didn't I?

What are you waiting for?

(The moderator)

75:

In case it's not obvious: I'll be deleting further comments by zoundbite manually, as and when I see them. @72 can stay, as justification.

(You don't come into my living room and pick a fight with me. Clear?)

((This is less time consuming and annoying than responding to the troll's bait in @72. Suffice to say, I've got responses; but you don't deal with trolls by replying to them, you deal with them by shitcanning their sorry ass.))

76:

Hey Charlie, best wishes for the new year.
Keep the fluids up and the dairy products down.
Retire to bed with an interactive hot water bottle (aka cat) if your hard ware is up to it.

*Still trying to kick start the burnt out enthusiasm module*

things can only go on?

77:

Maggie: at 590,000 words into a series, it's just one damn word in front of another -- no matter how much enthusiasm you started it with seven and a half years ago.

78:

I'm sure you have a well hoarded supply of spare parts for the writing gig, squirreled away somewhere.
It's me whose enthusiasm module is barely functioning. Strangely the embarrassment factor of tutors rolling their eyes at you, hasn't yet kicked in. The money changed hands along time ago and has depreciated in the motivation stakes.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on December 31, 2008 9:41 PM.

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