Sharia in the UK

The Telegraph reports that are at least 85 sharia courts operating in England:

Some decisions of Islamic tribunals are already considered legally binding and could theoretically be enforced in civil courts in England and Wales.

 

Three NZ girls have learned how to bike

After some much needed lessons, they can bike! Here they get ready:

And see the results for yourself:

Familie de Boer dag

We went to De Biesbosch with the entire family de Boer on June 13. Here us having morning tea.

The ferry that took us to Dordrecht:

We did a tour around Dordrecht. These two guys already seem tired:

Some huge trees:

With such a big family, you need to carry a lot of supplies:

AnneRoos, Sanne and Lianne didn't care about the cold water, the boys did though:

DrupalJam 2009

Went to the DrupalJam 2009 in Utrecht. Fairly interesting, but didn't learn much. Good to know I've kept up well with developments in Drupal.

Aantal roofovervallen stijgt explosief

NOS meldt:

Nederland heeft te maken met een explosieve stijging van het aantal roofovervallen op woningen en benzinestations.

Vorig jaar steeg het aantal gewapende roofovervallen met 11 procent en de stijging is dit jaar al 23 procent. De daders kiezen vooral oudere slachtoffers uit.

De Raad van Hoofdcommissarissen maakt zich grote zorgen. De hoofdcommissarissen hebben nog geen verklaring voor de stijging van het aantal roofovervallen ...

Deze verklaring kan ik wel verstrekken: when guns are outlawed, only outlaws have  guns. Ofwel in goed Nederlands: wanneer wapenbezit een misdaad wordt, hebben alleen misdadigers wapens. Dus als de oppassende en belastingbetalende burger geen wapen mag hebben, is het duidelijk dat een misdadiger zich van zulke wetten niets aantrekt. Als je je niets aantrekt van een verbod op stelen of roven, waarom dan wel op wapens? Als je weet dat je rustig een woning kunt overvallen want de bewoner is toch niet gewapend, ja inderdaad, dan neemt het aantal overvallen toe. In America laat je het wel uit je hoofd een woning te overvallen, want de inwoner mocht eens terug schieten.

Het artikel vervolgt:

De Raad van Hoofdcommissarissen  ...weten ook nog niet wat ze ertegen moeten doen.

Ik wel. Laat de burger zich weer te weer mogen stellen tegen degenen die zijn bezit willen roven. En als dat is toegestaan, moet hij natuurlijk ook de middelen mogen hebben om dat te doen. En het enige wat iemand met een geweer kan stoppen is een ander geweer.

Horse evolution

Interesting discussion, via Paul Garners blog and now taken up by Todd Wood: Todd doesn't shy away from the hard questions. It's a series of answers at objections made by Kevin N: :

The rate of evolution needed to go from Hyracotherium to Mesohippus to Merychippus to Pliohippus to Equus (or whatever other path one presents) in just a few centuries after the Flood is extreme, to say the least. The changes between these organisms is not just a matter of changes of size, but also significant changes in their limb bones and teeth.

Todd's reply:

You are definitely correct, and I wish I could give you a really good answer. My stock answer is that all the speciation mechanisms we know about today are not adequate to explain this kind of rapid change and we need to develop a new one. I suspect it has something to do with genomic rearrangements via transposable elements induced by environmental stress, but this is based primarily on work in bacteria (here and here). You might say I'm turning into a radical neo-neo-Lamarckian. In short, I speculate that with the correct kinds or threshold of environmental stress, genomes will spontaneously reorganize and produce novel morphologies which can become new species. It is not random change; the changes must be directed and are designed to happen.

Todd ends this long post with:

So that's what I have to say. What excites me most about this post is the amount of stuff we don't know. There are many questions to be answered and many opportunities for future creationists to make important contributions to creation research. If we had all the answers, that would be boring.

Het gaat slecht met kranten

Het gaat slecht met kranten. En zoals met ieder slecht lopend bedrijf zal de overheid dat ongetwijfeld steunen. En zo gaat het maar jaar in jaar uit door. Groot bedrijf en je maakt genoeg miljarden verlies? De overheid pompt er wel geld in.

Maar er is vaak een reden dat een bedrijf verlies draait: het is gewoon een slecht bedrijf. Net zo met de kranten. Volgens het RD gaat het bijv. slechts met het Algemeen Dagblad. Waarom zou dat nu zijn? Wellicht vanwege het feit dat de berichtgeving gewoon zodanig onderdemaat is dat je er alleen maar dommer van wordt? Voorbeeld: het AD schrijft dat de woningverkoop in de VS is gestegen:

De verkoop van bestaande woningen in de Verenigde Staten is in mei met 2,4 procent gestegen ten opzichte van april. Op jaarbasis werden er vorige maand 4,77 miljoen huizen verkocht. Dat maakte de Amerikaanse brancheorganisatie van makelaars dinsdag bekend. Het is de tweede stijging op maandbasis op rij.

Op zich zijn alle feiten in dit verhaal juist. Maar het beeld dat geschetst wordt is geheel onjuist. In de zomervakantie stijgen de huizenverkopen in de VS altijd, omdat mensen buiten het schooljaar om willen verhuizen. Mensen die geïnformeerd willen worden over de economie, lezen dus niet meer de krant, maar bijv. Clusterstock:

Don't get too excited about the numbers, however. Home sales always increase as we move into the summer months. Families want to move between school years, driving up sales from March through the summer months. Sales tend to decline in the fall and winter. Still, we suppose you can take some comfort that sales are following the usual seasonal rising pattern rather than continuing to fall.

Juist ja. De feiten zijn hier even in hun verband gezet. Maar goed, als je subsidie wil moet je het niet goed doen natuurlijk, dus hoe slecht je product, hoe groter de kans dat je straks lekker mag meegraaien.

The new creationism

Paul Garner has written a good introduction to the new creationism:

Perhaps it seems an odd moment to say it, but there has never been a better time to be a creationist! I say this because a new style of creationism is emerging today which offers a fresh and exciting challenge to conventional thinking about origins. For too long, creationism has been synonymous with anti-evolutionism. But creationism is maturing and, as it does, is moving away from the merely negative to develop a positive vision of its own.

The solution to our economic woes

Dick Vermeulen found the following slightly edited story in "The Sun", a free local newspaper in Tauranga. It's a solution a very local solution I'm afraid! But still...

"In a small town on the South Coast of France, the holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not much business happening. Everyone is heavily in debt. Fortunately, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of a small local hotel. He asks for a room and puts a Euro 100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located upstairs on the third floor. The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owns E 100. The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt. The whole-saler rushes to the farmer to pay E 100 for the pigs he purchased some time ago. The farmer hurries of to the organiser of the wedding reception of his daughter, and gives him the remainder he owned, exactly E 100. The organiser goes back to the hotel as he owed the hotel for the room that was used for the wedding reception. At that moment the Russian is coming down to the front desk and informs the hotel owner that the proposed room is unsatisfactory and takes his E 100 back and departs. There was no profit or income but no-one has any debt and the small townspeople look optimistically towards their future. Could this be the solution to the Global Financial Crisis?"

I'm sure China won't like this solution :-)

Ongelooflijk

Zogenaamd de meest bewezen wetenschap van de mensheid. Of toch niet? Evolutionisten hebben de gewoonte om toe te geven dat het bewijs tot dan toe nooi veel heeft voorgesteld, als ze dan toch een keer echt bewijs hebben gevonden. Jack Conrad:

“Dit is ongelooflijk”, aldus onderzoeker Jack Conrad. “Dit is de eerste keer dat we echt iets zien verdwijnen bij een fossiel.”

Dit is echter een heel gek argument: een fossiel dat iets niet heeft, is het bewijs dat latere nakomelingen iets vreselijks complex als vleugels hebben ontwikkelt? Vogels zijn zogenaamd ontwikkeld uit dinosaurussen, hoewel de beesten vrijwel geen gelijkenis hebben. Dat zo'n theorie zoveel aanhang kan krijgen gaat mij boven m'n pet, maar het is op dit moment een heel populaire theorie bij de evolutionisten. Maar werk nog even beter aan het bewijs heren.

The biggest bill

I just realised I'm in that group...

Not since the second world war have so many governments borrowed so much so quickly or, collectively, been so heavily in hock. And today’s debt surge, unlike the wartime one, will not be temporary. Even after the recession ends few rich countries will be running budgets tight enough to stop their debt from rising further. Worse, today’s borrowing binge is taking place just before a slow-motion budget-bust caused by the pension and health-care costs of a greying population. By 2050 a third of the rich world’s population will be over 60. The demographic bill is likely to be ten times bigger than the fiscal cost of the financial crisis.

More statistical analysis on the election in Iran

Walter R. Mebane also did some statistical analysis in the election results in Iran:

In general, combining the 2005 and 2009 data conveys the impression that a substantial
core of the 2009 results reflected natural political processes. In 2009 Ahmadinejad tended
to do best in towns where his support in 2005 was highest, and he tended to do worst in
towns where turnout surged the most. These natural aspects of the election results stand in
contrast to the unusual pattern in which all of the notable discrepancies between the support
Ahmadinejad actually received and the support the model predicts are always negative. This
pattern needs to be explained before one can have confi dence that natural election processes
were not supplemented with arti ficial manipulations.

Did Ahmadinejad cheat?

It seems likely the election in Iran was fraudulous (although this does not mean Ahmadinejad might not have won):

Mr. Ahmadinejad was credited with more votes than anyone in Iran's history. If the results are to be believed, he won in all 30 provinces, and among all social and age categories. His three rivals, all dignitaries of the regime, were humiliated by losing even in their own hometowns. This was an unprecedented result even for the Islamic Republic, where elections have always been carefully scripted charades.

Eric Falkenstein notes:

The statistical probability the sample variance is this small is effectively nil. The binomial distribution, with 30 province, and a total population success rate of 70% (his purported aggregate vote total), generates a 99.97% chance at least one province would go against him. Add in the combinations for social and age categories, and you are approaching Powerball probabilities (1 in 175 million). Really.

History of the opinions of mainstream economists

Roger Kerr on interest.co.nz:

A landmark event in economic history was the open letter signed by 364 British economists in March 1981 protesting against the Thatcher government’s (non-Keynesian) economic policies.

Its most telling paragraph read: “Present policies will deepen the recession, erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability.”

Ironically, the economy began to recover at that very time (March 1981), and the upturn extended to mid-1990.

But it is not true that history never repeats.

Currently every country, NZ included, does exactly what mainstream economists say. This does not bode well for the future. Because if spending works, why is NZ in a recession?

And it is certainly not the case that more government spending automatically stimulates the economy. If that were true, the massive increase in government spending in New Zealand from 2005 (up by nearly 50% in the following 5 years) would not have led to the recession that began in early 2008 and continues today.

Giant well-preserved elephant found in Indonesia

The NZ Herald reports:

Australian and Indonesian researchers have excavated the 200,000-year-old skeleton of a giant elephant which remained preserved in east Java thanks to its extraordinary death.

And why was it preserved?

Dr van den Bergh said the elephant must have suffered an uncommon demise.

"Normally, such dead animals would have been ripped apart and eaten by carnivores," he said.

Indeed. You don't get fossils unless you have very specific conditions. I.e. rapid burial by sediments for example.

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