Monday, 13 July 2009

You fat bastard? [update 2]

There was a time back there in history when the biggest problem was malnutrition. Now, if you believe the headlines, it's obesity.

Latest headline you're supposed to believe says "Hefty price as kiwis get too fat," and continues by 'reporting' that New Zealand is the "third fattest nation" in the developed world.
The report puts New Zealand's obesity rate at 26.5 per cent in 2007, Mexico was at 30 per cent in 2006 and the United States led with 34.3 per cent of its population classed as obese in 2006. The latest figure for Australia was 21.7 per cent in 1999."
Now there's many things to be said about this "report," perhaps the first of which is to point out the different dates at which these things were measured -- that's some 1999 apples with 2007 pears thank -- and then to notice that the last time New Zealand's "obesity rate" was "measured" was back in 2003, when the OCED claimed it to to be just 20.6 percent of the population [PDF]. Quite some jump, don't you think. Around a thirty-percent increase in fat bastards in just four years.

You really think we've eaten all those pies in four years? I don't know about you, but it smells a lot like bullshit to me. So given that the ban-it merchants over at the Green Party are already calling for the government to ban tasty foods and spend more money on Green party activism, and the wowsers at the taxpayer-funded Obesity Action Coalition want to have fat taxes, vegetable subsidies and to ban everything Sue Kedgeley doesn't, it's worth taking a closer look at where these bullshit figures come from. Says the report:
Estimates relate to the adult population (normally the population aged 15+ unless otherwise stated) and are based on national health interview surveys for most countries (self-reported data), except for Australia, the Czech Republic (since 2005), Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic (since 2004), the United Kingdom and the United States where estimates are based on the actual measurement of weight and height. This difference in survey methodologies limits data comparability, as estimates arising from the actual measurement of weight and height are significantly higher than those based on self-report.
Note those words: "This difference in survey methodologies limits data comparability." Which means there are limits to how seriously one can take headlines like "NZ third fattest country in developed world ," and to how much political capital one should try to make from them.

But it gets worse for the scaremongers and headline writers. The so called "obesity rate" is given by "The Body Mass Index (BMI," says the report, "a single number that evaluates an individual's weight status in relation to height (weight/height2) with weight in kilograms and height in meters."
- Overweight is defined as a BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m² (25≤ BMI <30>
So much so straighforward, right? Wrong. First of all, even by the report's authors' own description the "obesity rate" includes both overweight and obese. This is a rather convenient way to, ahem, overload your figures. But there's a more significant concerdn, and that's with the bullshit index itself.

As Keith Devlin at NPR explains [hat tip Dr Shaun Holt] "this Body Mass Index fails on ten grounds." I'll summarise, but I suggest you head to the full explanation to realise just how serious is the failure -- perhaps the most fundamental being that "a high BMI does not mean an individual is even overweight, let alone obese. It could mean the person is fit and healthy, with very little fat." Here's the top ten objections:
  1. The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.
  2. It is scientifically nonsensical.
  3. It is physiologically wrong.
  4. It gets the logic wrong.
  5. It's bad statistics.
  6. It is lying by scientific authority.
  7. It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.
  8. It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high [or that professional lobbyists ensure their continued use to support nonsense like this].
  9. Continued reliance on the BMI means doctors don't feel the need to use one of the more scientifically sound methods that are available to measure obesity levels.
  10. It embarrasses [wealthy countries like] the U.S.
Basically, there was a time back there in history when the biggest problem was malnutrition. Now, the more scientifically, technologically and medicinally advanced you are as a country, then chances are the further you are from being malnourished. Which means that "studies" like this are less about real science (since it's it's very far from that) than they are a way to bash countries that are rich and well-fed. As always, when you add politics to science, the result is going to be bullshit.

And chances are, too, that the more self-responsible you are then the leaner, healthier and fitter you are (which, ironically, can actually raise your BMI).

So if the nett effect of banning stupidity is to fill the world with fools and fat bastards, (to paraphrase a famous saying just slightly), why not just stop the bans and try self-responsibility instead.

UPDATE 1:The Onion saw all this coming in August 2000: Hershey's Ordered to Pay Obese Americans $135 Billion.
"This is a vindication for myself and all chocolate victims," said Beaumont, TX, resident Earl Hoffler, holding a picture of his wife Emily, who in 1998 succumbed to obesity after nearly 40 years of chocoholism.
And my fellow NOT PC columnist Bernard Darnton wrote about it a year earlier in "Achtung Fatso!" But when he wrote it as satire, he didn't realise that Sue Kedgeley was taking notes:
All New Zealand residents will be required to register with the Body Mass Index Safety Authority. Those at risk will be encouraged to attend programmes carefully designed to train clients to adopt a less damaging lifestyle. Advertising of products with a high caloric content is a significant factor in inducing young people to consume harmful foods. This advertising will be banned. Government funding, through the EatSmart brand, will be available to compensate for any losses this may cause. To assist in offsetting the high cost of treatment of fat-related disease, a calorie tax will be introduced. To assist in offsetting the high cost of collecting the calorie tax, a salt tax will also be introduced.
All persons involved in the cooking or preparation of food will be required to submit samples to the Food Quality & Composition Commission. This will ensure that every meal adequately meets the prescribed conditions. To assist in the identification of suitable foods, a useful diagram has been developed & will be distributed to every household in the country. The Healthy Eating Swastika has four branches illustrating the four acceptable types of food. For example, an excellent meal may consist of muesli, broccoli, prunes & mung beans. . .
Read on here.

UPDATE 2: Cactus Kate has spotted the problem: It's not how we're eating at all, it's who is eating.
If you are Pacific Islander you are three times as likely to be obese as a European and Maori are twice as likely.
So I'm calling fat on this one. Until Maori and Pacific Islanders can "improve" their statistics in excelling at being fat, I propose a 20% health levy on all pre-tax income derived by Maori tribes such as Tainui and Ngai Tahu, to be tagged for their healthcare. Levying Pacific Islanders is a tad harder as they didn't receive government handouts because of their race, so lets slap a dedicated 20% health levy on all welfare payments and grants made to their communities to be paid into the health fund.
If it's good enough in America for the supposed "wealthy" to be paying more tax to fund obese bludgers (and we know Obama is an idiot), it's good enough in New Zealand for the source of the problems to start paying differentiated tax rates and levies based on their propensity to use services if they can't be made to pay for their own treatment thanks to the overly-generous New Zealand public health system. . .
Government cannot be expected to interfere in the lives of people and tell them they cannot eat foods, and these "5 plus a day" huggy campaigns just do not seem to work for the right people so lets look at it the other way - like insurance companies do. Passing responsibility on based on risk.

More wowserism, the referendum parody website, has apparently been issued a "cease and desist" notice by the humourless bastards at the Electoral Commission.

No Right Turn suggests using it to mock them mercilessly while you are still able.   I’ve no idea how to do that.


Monday morning ramble [update 2]

Here’s a brief ramble through a bunch o’ links I’ve been meaning to talk to you about for a while.

  • “Why we should fear American health care reform”: “Because medical innovation is hugely driven by what happens in the US market. . .  Thus 300 million of the richest people on the planet underwrite, through the prices they pay for new treatments, the developments that we get years later as prices drop.
        If the US does indeed bring in some form  . . . of price rationing, then medical innovation will, not cease completely, simply there will be less of it than there would otherwise have been. Thus people who could or might have been cured will not be and they will die.” 
    Read all Tim Worstall’s commentary here.
  • MacDoctor reports that minor child assaults have increased from 32 to 45 a month since the inception of Sue Bradford’s/John Key’s anti-smacking law.  That’s either 156 cases of parents being persecuted for smacking, or it’s an alarming increase in children being assaulted. Read the MacDoctor for at least three reasons to be concerned: “Smacking Intimidation.”
  • Plenty of people reckon that free speech isn’t supposed to protect “being an asshole whenever I feel like, saying whatever I like, being disrespectful to people and not be courteous.” Singer John Mellencamp is one of them.  Jeff Perren reckons he’s wrong.  Wrong In Every Way. And he’s an asshole.
  • Are you keeping up with BERL’s wriggling in the face of severe criticisms of its work on the “social costs of alcohol”?  Anti Dismal wraps up the latest round: “The reply to the response to the criticism of the original (updated).” It’s the “updated” that really gets me.  :-)
        Baaically, BERL's nearly total lack of response on economic grounds, lack of references to any theory or evidence in the literature in response to our criticisms, combined with their continued willingness to assume all of the key elements supporting their headline costs, indicates fairly persuasively that BERL has conceded the economic argument.
  • It’s not quite true to say that banks and central banks “create money out of thin air,” says Economics for Real People author Gene Callahan: In fact, today’s paper money “is created from a government’s ability to collect taxes, combined with the fact that it promises to accept the pieces of paper in payment for those taxes.”  Read “Fiat Money.” [Hat tip Anti Dismal
    And if you haven’t already, then check out George Reisman’s “companion  piece”: “Counterfeit Capital.”
  • Here’s a new Atlanta-based arts website started by a friend of a friend -- “the well-known classical music reviewer Pierre Ruhe; he is very knowledgeable and has quite a strong reputation,” says my friend.  Check out:
  • RealClimate Have you ever noticed how warmists on the internet always reach for one of two rejoinders to combat non-warmists’ evidence.  The first is to point out that everyone involved with said evidence is paid for by ExxonMobil/BP/Shell/Beelzebub.  And the second is to point to a “thorough debunking” of the evidence over at – a blog featuring “real climatologists.” (Experiment: let’s see how long it takes before someone tries both ruses on this morning’s thread.)  Good to see then that someone is pointing out the mote in Real Climate’s eyes – and the man who’s bankrolling them. The Truth about, says The Truth about, is that “the site exists to promote global warming alarm-ism and attack anyone who does not agree with their declaration of doomsday. The Truth about is to “give their fanboys ‘ammunition’ to further promote alarmist propaganda across the Internet (and of course declare victory).” The Truth about is to give a job to a propagandist “to edit dissent and smear skeptical scientists on Wikipedia.” The Truth is that “is an environmentalist shill site directly connected to an eco-activist group, Environmental Media Services and Al Gore but they don't want you to know that.”
  • Meanwhile, Gail Heroit wants to know if “Is Al Gore the Re-incarnation of the Xhosa Prophetess Nongqawuse?
  • And now for something completely different.  Quote of the day, on Abortion:

        “The question of abortion involves much more than the termination of a pregnancy: it is a question of the entire life of the parents. . . . [P]arenthood is an enormous responsibility; it is an impossible responsibility for young people who are ambitious and struggling, but poor; particularly if they are intelligent and conscientious enough not to abandon their child on a doorstep nor to surrender it to adoption. For such young people, pregnancy is a death sentence: parenthood would force them to give up their future, and condemn them to a life of hopeless drudgery, of slavery to a child’s physical and financial needs. The situation of an unwed mother, abandoned by her lover, is even worse.
        “I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves ‘pro-life’.”

  • Now this is important: a website showing the different pitch dimensions for different football codes. There is a certain kind of person fascinated by stuff like this.  I am one of those kinds of people.
  • Dale Steinreich celebrates “75 Years of American Housing Fascism.”  But don’t look too smug.  It’s not much different here.
  • We’ve now come to the obligatory ObaMessiah section of the Ramble.  Author Edward Cline presents “Parsing Obama” posted at The Rule of Reason, saying,
    • “To grasp the magnitude of the national debt Obama (and his Republican predecessor) has been ringing up, a comparison should help illustrate the task. Bernard Madoff’s robbery and defrauding investors of some $50 billion can be represented by the diameter of the solar system. The federal government, using the same scamming tactics, is amassing a debt about the diameter of the Milky Way galaxy. Madoff’s scheme can be measured in millions of miles. The federal government's, in almost limitless parsecs. That measurement ought to suffice to dramatize the scale of the hole he is deliberately digging for the country in his role as Community-Organizer-in-Chief.”
  • But the ObaMessiah worship continues.  “I don't get to the lower level of Washington's Union Station much,” says Mark Krikorian, “but today I passed through and saw "My Obama Shop" — that's the actual name of an entire store devoted to all things Obama. My phone takes lousy pictures, but a blogger at Cato’s Cultwatch has a photo. Obviously there's a market for this sort of thing (I'm assuming it's not a government-owned business, at least for now) is a way there never would be for "My Bob Dole Shop" or "My John McCain Shop," but it's still kind of creepy. In fact, the very fact that there is a market for an Obama store is creepy." [Hat tip Jeff Perren]
  • And Keeping Stock has an “Obama Caption Contest” you might like to look at. So to speak.
  • Time for an Israeli Strike on Iran?  John Bolton thinks so.
  • You’ve heard this morning from the mainstream morons that “economists expect inflation to slow further,” and “the aggregate inflation picture is very subdued.” These are the morons who never even say the collapse coming, but they’re still around pointificating as if they know what’s going on.  Two more “companion pieces” on the money-supply sleight-of-hand used by central banks might help you better understand the moronry:
  • Basically, if you don’t understand the difference between price inflation and money inflation, then you’re less than worthless at knowing what’s now going on.
  • Randal O’Toole offers more evidence at the Master Resources blog against the energy hog that is public transport. Read “Do Passenger Trains Save Energy? Another Look.”
  • And you think there’s an energy shortage?  Doesn’t need to be, says Alex Epstein.

          Most people have become acclimated to an extremely slow rate of energy progress. While, say, our computers and electronics will rapidly decrease in price while increasing in quality, our energy bills look to be going nowhere but up. This despite the fact that today, as in the past several decades, government “energy planners” promise us an energy paradise of solar, wind, or whatever other technology they happen to favor.
          My new essay, “
      Energy at the Speed of Thought,” tells the story of an entirely different sort of energy market. . .
          In the essay, I argue that the amazing speed and impact of “the original alternative energy industry” is achievable today. What will it take? Go read
      Energy at the Speed of Thought to find out.

  • Oh, and while we’re talking about energy, did you hear how clean, green geothermal energy has been, could be and probably is a source of earthquakes.  Read “A green energy disaster.”
  • I don’t know about you, but the braindead morons at TV3’s imbecilic infotainment show Target really get my goat. If there was a real consumer show that looked at consumer shows, they’d be giving Target the kick in the pants it deserves.  The mush that is regularly served up as nutrient is bad enough – let alone the grinning fools who present it, who clearly possess about as much expertise as next door’s cocker spaniel.  What’s disgraceful is that they can take it upon themselves to ruin small businesses with as little care as an incompetent pest-killer might give to a bit of overspray.  Latest example: the slack bastards did a perusal of the hygiene standards of eight Auckland’s cafes, and ended up falsely fingering Cafe Cezanne, whose owners Rod Williams and Jackie Wilkinson say the "unbelievable" mistake has ruined their once-thriving business.  Time to ruin the imbeciles at Target, I say, not the cafe which just got an A grade rating during a food and safety inspection by the Auckland City Council last month.
  • If you haven’t seen it already, and even if you have, then this “personals chart” produced for a dating website is a pretty cool use of graphics.  Except I still can’t find the picture of her boat . . .
  • Here’s a piece of news guaranteed to get some of you excited: “Vegetarians less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters, says study.”
  • And speaking of food, George Light runs down the big issue of “A Semi-Definitive Guide to Food at Blues Festivals Everywhere” and leaves me asking two questions: just what the hell are grits? and how the hell can he fit so many great blues and jazz clips into one pithy post.  Check it out.
  • Together with “modern art,” vapid celebrity worship must surely be the epitome of our air-head culture.  Here’s a service that sums up the culture: For 5000 bucks, you can hire yourself a stalker so YOU TOO can feel like a celeb.  Please insert obvious quips, links and references below.
  • Dr Shaun Holt says the widespread use of placebos is a waste of taxpayers’ money on ineffective medication.  See here and hereLindsay Mitchell isn’t quite so sure: “The placebo effect exists, therefore if a drug improves someone's condition, it has 'worked'.”
    [UPDATE: Shaun tells me “The Dom got it wrong, I don’t think that they're a waste of $ at all and I posted that on Lindsays blog - but hey, the media don’t always get it right! Here's a piece on this morning’s Breakfast...
    Also, here's some comments on the folic acid issue...John Key got hammered about this by Paul Henry this morning, well worth watching on the Breakfast site. ]
  • What is Objective Law?  It’s a good question, isn’t it, since that’s what governments are supposed to uphold, right?  Here’s a potted summary.  It’s called, surprise, surprise: “What is Objective Law?
  • Yesterday I finally watched a presentation I’ve been meaning to watch since July 4: John Ridpath’s outstanding lecture on Virginia’s “Son of Thunder” – the man who Jefferson called “the first man” on the American continent – more well known as Patrick Henry.  Ridpath talks with eloquence and unhidden passion “on the inspirational life of the man who did so much to guide America towards becoming a free country administered by presidents, rather than another wasteland ruled by tyrants.” 
    As Myrhaf says, “The speech is entertaining and, more important, it reminds us that the American Revolutionaries stood on the principle of individual liberty. There were timid souls back then, moderates, as there always are. It took a a man of integrity and oratorical genius to steel their resolve. Henry persuaded people that there could be no compromise. . .”  Watch it here the first chance you get: “In the Dawn’s Early Light: Patrick Henry—Beacon for America.”
  • And finally, Richard Feynman. If you don’t already know the great physicist, then this video is a great introduction to his wit, his charm and his downright intelligence.  And as Bob Muphy notes, “a flurry of Richard Feynman YouTubes has been hitting the blogosphere,” so if you like this then check out YouTube for more.

  • And finally, (yes, really finally this time) here’s what Lindsay Perigo reckons is YouTube’s ultra-kick-arse musical gem of the century!  Check it out here.

UPDATE 1: Added Blunt’s RealClimate.Org cartoon above.  Thanks mate.

UPDATE 2: And a late entry in the Health stakes, from Diana Hsieh, who says, “I fucking love this. Study shows that swearing mitigates pain.” I could have told you that for fucking nothing.

Global temperatures still not soaring [update 4]

If we’re going to see global warming at all we’re going to see it in the temperature record, right?

And if we’re going to see it where the warmists’ models say we should, then we’re going to see it in the global troposphere. Globally, the troposphere should warm about 1.2 times more than the surface; in the tropics, the troposphere should warm about 1.5 times more than the surface. That’s what their models say.

So let’s take a look at temperatures in the global troposphere over the modern warming period, from 1979 to just last month, courtesy of Roy Spencer and John Christy’s University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) Globally Averaged Satellite-Based Temperature Record, which seems to show that, as of June, global temperature anomaly


Which means the decadal temperature trend for the period December 1978 through June 2009 remains at +0.13 deg. C per decade, and the difference between global temperatures at present and the thirty-year average is, wait for it, zero.

And there’s not a climate model in the world that ever predicted that.

More commentary at Watts Up With That, and Jennifer Marohasy.
Chart from Roy Spencer’s website.

UPDATE 1: From The Spectator magazine: “Meet the man who has exposed the great climate change con trick.” [Hat tip Don R.]

“UPDATE 2: It’s Getting Cold out There,” says Debra Saunders:

    No wonder skeptics consider the . . . belief in man-made global warming as akin to a fad religion -- last week in Italy, G8 leaders pledged to not allow the Earth's temperature to rise more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
    For its next act, the G8 can part the Red Sea. . .
    The funny part is: G8 leaders can't even decide the year from which emissions must be reduced. 1990? 2005? "This question is a mystery for everyone," an aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.
    And while President Obama led the charge for the G8 nations to agree to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in industrial nations by 2050, the same Russian aide dissed the standard as "likely unattainable."
    No worries, the language was non-binding. Global-warming believers say that they are all about science, but their emphasis is not on results so much as declarations of belief. Faith. Mystery. Promises to engage in pious acts. Global warming is a religion.
    While Obama was in Italy preaching big cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, he was losing some of his flock in Washington. The House may have passed the 1,200-page cap-and-trade bill largely unread, but Senate Democrats are combing the fine print and not liking what they see. As Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said of the bill, "We need to be a leader in the world but we don't want to be a sucker."

UPDATE 3: "It's getting chilly but still not cool to be a sceptic", says Andrew Bolt.

UPDATE 4: The leaders of the G8 countries “suffer from a psychiatric disorder,” says Czech physicist Lubos Motl. “They have commanded the Earth and the waters to keep their temperature within two degrees. Moreover, the CO2 output of most countries should drop by 80 percent or more - by a factor of five or more - by 2050. Yes, it is hysterical. Well, this is actually not an agreement of G8, at most by G7 because the newest eighth member, Russia, finds this talk unacceptable and will reject it.”
Two points:

First of all, the two points of the plan are pretty much unrelated. What will happen with the emissions is pretty much uncorrelated with the temperature change in any time frame that we can talk about. . . The typical change of the global mean temperature in 40 years has always been something like 0.3 °C. So far, it doesn't look like mankind has changed anything about it. So getting to 2 °C is nearly a 10-sigma effect, a statistically impossible thing. . .


The global 80-percent reduction of CO2 by 2050 may contribute by 0.05-0.30 °C of cooling before 2050. . . depending on the feedbacks that reduce or amplify the bare greenhouse effect.  And this change will be clearly indistinguishable from other effects and noise. . .  So it makes basically no impact on the climate. But does it impact the economy? You bet.

How much?  Well, there my be improvements in “carbon efficiency” -- “one may get something like a 1-percent increase of the carbon efficiency (GDP divided by CO2 emissions) a year by "non-radical" technological improvements” – but the goal is approximately equivalent to an 80-percent reduction of the GDP by 2050!

A net GDP that drops to 1/3 of the present value is . . . pretty terrifying - especially if you realize that because the population may jump by a factor of 1.5, we're back to the five-fold reduction of the GDP per capita. It could make the world look like a world that was just decimated by a pretty large global war, one that may dwarf World War II.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Who pumped up the housing bubble? [updated]

Did you know that in December of 1994, the US monetary base was $427.3 billion. In December of 1999, it was $608 billion. In December of 2007, it was $836.4 billion.

This monetary base was backed by a decreasing supply of actual “standard money” held by banks. In December of 1994 such reserves were $61.36 billion; in 1999, they $41.7 billion; in December of 2007, they were $42.7 billion.

On the back of these reserves, however, as of December 2007 the total money supply of the United States, i.e., currency plus bank deposits of all kinds that are subject to the writing of checks, including the making of payments by debit card, was $6901.9 billion.

Just to say that again: In December of 2007, there were $6901.9 billion of checking deposits backed by a mere $42.7 billion of standard money reserves. 

Between December of 1999 and December of 2005, almost $1.7 trillion of new and additional fiduciary media were created by banks, and lent out. By December of 2005, under conditions created by US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan this ratio of actual standard-money reserves to checking deposits exceeded 126 times. By December 2007 checking deposits came to stand in a multiple of more than 160 times the standard money reserves of the banks. [1]

Where did all that money come from?  Overwhelmingly it was created out of thin air in a process described by George Reisman as the creation of counterfeit capital.  It was created as credit, and it was lent out.   And where do you think it went?  This graph from the New York Times shows where, if you haven’t already guessed:


That’s quite some “hockey stick,” don’t you think?  Well, all that money had to go somewhere, right. 

As George Reisman says, “Credit expansion was the source of the funds that fueled both the stock market and the real estate bubbles.”  And the source of that credit expansion – the organisation that aided, abetted and actively encouraged the leveraging of credit on the back of dwindling real reserves – was the Federal Reserve.  Compared to the Federal Reserve’s chairmen, Bernie Madoff was a piker.

    Since its establishment in 1913 and certainly since the expansion of its powers in World War I, responsibility for credit expansion itself has rested with the Federal Reserve System. The Fed is the source of new and additional reserves for the banking system and determines how much in checking deposits the reserves can support. It has the power to inaugurate and sustain booms and to cut them short. It launched and sustained the stock market and real estate bubbles. It had the power to avoid both of these bubbles and then to stop them at any time. It chose to launch and sustain them rather than to avoid or stop them.
To be responsible for a bubble and its aftermath is to be responsible for a mass illusion of wealth, accompanied by the misdirection of investment, overconsumption, and loss of capital, and the poverty and suffering of millions that follows. This is what can be traced to the doorstep of the Federal Reserve System and those in charge of it. It is destruction on a scale many times greater than that wrought by Bernard Madoff, the swindler who first made his clients believe they were growing rich, only to cause them ultimately a loss of more than $50 billion. Madoff is one of the most justly hated individuals in the United States.
In contrast to the $50 billion of losses caused by Madoff, the losses caused by the Federal Reserve System and those in charge of it amount to trillions of dollars, probably to more than $10 trillion if the stock and real estate bubbles are taken together. Instead of affecting thousands of people as in the case of Madoff, tens of millions have been made to suffer hardship. Indeed, practically everyone has been harmed to some extent by what the Federal Reserve has done: the owners of stocks that have plunged, pensioners, the unemployed and their families, towns and cities suffering the consequences of business failures and plant closings.
It is difficult to imagine living with the knowledge that one is personally responsible for such massive destruction. Such knowledge might easily drive someone to suicide or at least to some means, such as drink or drugs, of not having to allow it into consciousness.
Alan Greenspan, who was Chairman of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors from 1987 to 2006, the period encompassing both bubbles, is clearly the single individual most responsible for the bubbles. The present Chairman, Ben Bernanke, also bears substantial responsibility, though not to the same extent as Greenspan. While Chairman only since January of 2006, Bernanke has been a member of the Federal Reserve Board since 2002. Thus he was present in a major policy making position during most of the housing bubble and crucial years leading up to it.
Neither Greenspan nor Bernanke have resorted to drink or drugs to conceal their responsibility from themselves. Instead they have resorted to specious claims about the cause of the bubbles, the housing bubble in particular.

Reisman’s dismantling of Bernanke’s and Greenspan’s wriggling is a virtual J’Accuse for the whole modern fractional-reserve banking system, and the economic destruction is has caused.  Why not print it out and read it over brunch: Credit Expansion, Crisis, and the Myth of the Saving Glut.

You owe it to yourself to read and digest it, if you do want to understand just what  the hell is going on in the world.

UPDATE:  “Can the monetary system regulate itself? Our current system, no,” says Lawrence White,  “but a free banking system on a gold standard, yes.” So he argues in this 51-minute talk, taped at Rhodes College in March.  [Hat tip Anti Dismal]

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Quote of the day: Wayne Fortun on the economic crisis

Our current economic breakdown is more a philosophic crisis than an economic one: the view that the free mind is a myth.”


Saturday’s exam question [updated]

Compare and contrast these two comments.

1. "If you're not measuring it you can't improve it." – Wayne Fortun, CEO of Hutchinson Technology Incorporated.

2. American teacher union the NEA is effective "not because we care about children [but] because we have power." – NEA chairman Bob Chapin

Discuss with reference to local teacher unions’ vehement opposition to publishing students’ test performances.

UPDATE: In this morning’s Herald Deborah Coddington says, “It’s about time parents formed a union equally as militant as the teachers’ unions and Principals’ Federation. Because who, in the current war over national standards in education, is sticking up for the kids?”

    The education unions whine that if these standards proceed, media will publish them, parents will compare teachers and schools, and do what I and hundreds of other parents do - exercise choice. Well, we can’t have that, can we?
    We’re trusted to choose our family doctor, our car, our fridge, our house, our MP, but when it comes to choosing the school our children go to, if the left have their way, we must go where the State dictates. Only those who can afford it are lucky enough to choose.

How the minimum wage works

minwage1 [Hat tip William Green]

Friday, 10 July 2009

Labour and Hitler?

nazi-com Many blogs have already covered the story published in the Manawatu Standard that the First Labour Government and Hitler were rather friendly, based on research by two Massey University history “dons.”

Naturally, The Standard blog has taken offence; naturally, David Farrar has taken the opportunity for some fun at Labour’s expense; and quite unnaturally the Dim Post has avoided making fun of everybody and instead pointed out that “the article itself is a bit vague about the details” – which is quite true, but probably won’t be remedied until the research is published later this year in the British Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. (Note to journalists: remember to follow this up.)

That said, there are one or two crucial things we do know that can give some context. Look for example at this cartoon published by The Standard blog (originally published in Labour’s party newspaper 23 May 1940) which is intended to give the idea that socialism and Nazism were always and forever died-in-the-wool antagonists. But this is contradicted by a large number of things, not least the fact that the word "Nazi" was itself an abbreviation for "der Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei — in English translation: the National Socialist German Workers' Party — and what should one expect of a country ruled by a party with "socialist" in its name to be but socialist? And for other socialists to recognise a comrade – as they did, before the war,

Perhaps the most relevant two facts here in terms of the timing of any Labour “cosying up” with Hitler – since it’s the timing of Labour’s cosying and un-cosying that seems to be at issue here – is the ‘Molotov-Ribbentrop pact’ agreed between socialist hero Joseph Stalin and National Socialist leader Adolph Hitler, and the pre-war cooperation between the two totalitarian powers.

The Pact itself certainly confused socialists and communists all around the world when it was signed, since they were now faced with prima facie evidence that the two leaders of these putative opposing systems didn’t themselves see any barriers to cooperation – as they did even well before the Pact in tasks such as helping prepare the Nazi and Soviet war machines, helping with Nazi Germany’s covert re-arming (the Soviet–German air base at Lipetsk and the Soviet–German Tank School at Kazan are just two examples of this long-standing cooperation), and (just one month after the signing) in dismembering and dividing up Poland. It’s often forgotten now, but for the first year of the war and for much of the time before that, in every important respect the Nazis and the Soviets were military allies – and those died-in-the-wool communists who were taking instructions from Moscow were being so instructed.

Whittaker Chambers and other Soviet spies have since described the betrayal felt by all their colleagues when the Nazis finally did invade the Soviet Union, and the volte-face and about-face and utter confusion caused by the reversal of the alliance, but despite everyone’s collective amnesia since let no-one forget that they were so allied, and that – whatever the writers of The Standard blog might think now – and whatever the cartoonists of The Standard newspaper might have wanted us to think back then – it was not unusual at all for the world’s socialists to get in behind Hitler’s Germany.

In fact, for a time there, it was far more unusual if they didn’t.

“He was asking for it” [update 3]

ph1va8 There’s no excuse for murder.

You can kill in self-defence if your life is in danger.  That’s justified.

You might kill by accident.  That’s manslaughter.

But if you kill because you’ve been “provoked” – an excuse being run in two recent trials – now that’s just bullshit.  It’s not killing in self-defence: a dose of the verbals is not a threat to your life. It’s not an accident: if you can’t control your anger, then you need to learn how to.

Killing when provoked is not manslaughter; it’s murder. Killing while claiming “diminished responsibility” is not manslaughter; it’s murder. In both cases, the killer has to take full responsibility for what he’s done.

There is no argument for retaining in law either the “defence” of provocation, or the defence of “diminished responsibility.”  Self-responsibility means taking responsibility for what you’ve consumed (no matter what your consumption might lead to), and taking responsibility for your actions – however angry you might have been.

Living in a civilised society means recognising that force must be barred from social relationships – even if you’re provoked; it means recognising the right to lifeeven when some arsehole makes you want to strangle them.  The right to life means what it says: the right to be protected even when you’ve just pissed off someone who has a drug habit or a short fuse.

The “defences” of provocation and “diminished responsibility” reverse the order of objective law.  Instead of protecting the victim it puts the slain on trial; instead of condemning the guilty it offers them a free pass and a grandstand; instead of inviting good court reporting it gives media ghouls a chance to contaminate the airwaves with grotesquery and narcissistic whining; instead of a simple trial based only on the facts, it grants defence lawyers a fortune in legal aid to run a defence based on narcissistic whining and flatulent self-delusion; and instead of reflecting good objective law it makes a mockery of law, of justice, and of the very right to life that good law is supposed to protect.

There is no argument for retaining the “defence” of provocation.  None at all. Murder is murder. 

“He was asking for it?”  “She was asking for it?” No, you arseholes.  They weren’t.  Sticks and stones will break your bones, but provocation isn’t going to hurt you: Get over it.  And if you can’t, if you “snap” and do your worst, then take responsibility for that instead of whining and wasting everybody’s time – while besmirching the memory of your victim.

UPDATE 1:  Philip comments (thanks Philip) that those who are interested in reading more about the issue of provocation should read the Law Commission’s pretty comprehensive report released back in 2007, which concluded “that section 169 of the Crimes Act 1961 should be repealed, thereby abolishing the partial defence of provocation in New Zealand. We believe that it will be preferable for provocation to be dealt with by judges solely as a sentencing issue.”  For once, I agree with the Law Commission.

UPDATE 2: Greg Edwards has started a Facebook group called Clayton Weatherston is a Murderer. He committed murder, not manslaughter.  Join up now before Facebook (or the Solicitor General) closes it down as “hate speech.”

UPDATE 3: ‘Blunt’ takes on the “brainy guy defence”:



What happens When Economic Stimulus Does Not Stimulate

Either you end up with another bubble – and "the bubble is back," says Bernard Hickey, "long live the bubble.".

Or you end up with “serious stagflation.” “I predict a miserable decade of economic stagnation [for the US],” says Robert Murphy.  And when the US catches a cold . . .

‘The Worm’ takes over punditry

The Onion calls this satire.  Clearly, they’ve never watched Sainsbury or Campbell.  Watch: New Live Poll Allows Pundits To Pander To Viewers In Real Time.  [Hat tip Paul McKeever]

Quote of the day: Mark LeVine on Iran

"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, do not fear the US but rather their own people's desire to live in a country more like the US."
                                                  - Mark LeVine, Middle East historian, quoted at Al Jazeera

Berman House – Harry Seidler (1999)

Berman House, Joadja, New South Wales, 1999. [Hat tip A NAVE DO BOM GOSTO]

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Quote of the day: Robert Murphy on climate change

"In the climate change debate, people often forget that under all but the most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who will benefit from our current mitigation efforts will be much richer than we are."
                                                - Robert Murphy

As I paste that above quote into my blog writer, I have beside me a post from the Green Party’s Frog  Blog called ‘Calling names isn’t nice, especially when you’re wrong.’  It’s a doozy.  Its connection with Murphy’s point above will quickly become clear.  It begins thus:

I previously blogged about last night’s climate change target meeting in Wellington, where amongst other failings, Nick Smith accused the Green Party of only caring about the environment and having no regard for the impact on the economy.

Of  course Smith is dead wrong on this, just as he is on everything – including his decision to keep breathing. The Green Party don’t care about the natural environment.  Not in any genuine sense, they don’t. With their proven penchant for bans and big government, and a caucus composed almost entirely of the intellectual remnants of the Socialist Workers’ Party, they’re just a bunch of  authoritarians with a marketing wing – and with Jeanette Fitzsimon’s departure even their figleaf of genuine environmentalism is about to disappear with her. 

If you really want to see Greenwash in action, then the Green Party is the single most prominent contemporary example.

And it’s not true either to say that they’re unconcerned about the destructive economic impact of their regulation fetishThey and their luminaries are only too happy to have our economic lifeblood destroyed.

Anyway, their mention of Nick Smith is distracting me from from the main point of their post, and of this one.  The post at Frog Blog continues on to its main point, saying (apparently completely without irony):

    In the spirit of economic literacy, I wanted to remind our readers of these words from a recent Australian Treasury report into the economics of climate change: “The Treasury’s modelling demonstrates that early global action is less expensive than later action.”

I say “completely without irony” because if there is any group of people for whom economic illiteracy is a watchword it is the Green Party. There is surely no higher density of economic illiterates than in the un-perfumed climes of the Green Party’s electorate offices – except perhaps in the offices of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.

And as regards the “Treasury’s modelling,” it has about as much credence as BERL’s now thoroughly discredited report on the social costs of alcohol. Based as it is on the flawed “model” produced by Nicholas Stern at the behest of the British Treasury to justify onerous carbon taxes now to help the British Treasury later, the Australian Treasury’s modelling shares all the errors of Stern’s flawed report, including it’s utterly discreditable use of a carefully selected discount rate – a discount rate selected (like BERL’s careful rejection of the “benefits” side of their cost-benefit study) so as to give him the results his client had paid for.

As William Nordhaus (no friend of free markets) explains the resultant absurdity:

    Suppose that scientists discover a wrinkle in the climate system that will cause damages equal to 0.1 percent of net consumption starting in 2200 and continuing at that rate forever after. How large a one-time investment would be justified today to remove the wrinkle that starts only after two centuries? Using the methodology of the [Stern] Review, the answer is that we should pay up to 56 percent of one year's world consumption today to remove the wrinkle. In other words, it is worth a one-time consumption hit of approximately $30,000 billion today to fix a tiny problem that begins in 2200. [Italics in original]11

The intent of all the “modelling” carried out by the World’s Treasuries is nothing less than to justify strangling industry now (fifty percent by 2050 says our own John Key) for some unknown and unproven benefit in the future for your grandchildren – who, if we can predict anything with confidence, will probably want to know why your stupidity now has left them so poor.

Economist Robert Murphy (whose writings the Greens would do well to read if they do seriously wish to improve their economic literacy), points out in ‘The Economics of Climate Change’ that even the idea of modelling economies one-hundred years ahead is fatally flawed.

    Fans of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek—who warned against the "pretense of knowledge"—should be even more concerned about the sheer audacity of the field of climate economics. After all, it is rather absurd to argue about the impacts of present tax policies on global temperatures in the year 2150. Yet, it is precisely these projections that provide the foundation for policy recommendations.
Many critics have raised this objection before, but it bears repeating: We have no idea what the world economy will be like in the 22nd century. Had people in 1909 adopted analogous policies to "help" us, they might have imposed a tax on buggies or a cap on manure, needlessly raising the costs of transportation while the U.S. economy switched to motor vehicles. This is not a mere joke; "serious" people were worried about population growth, and the ability of large cities to support the growing traffic from horses. Had someone told them not to worry, because Henry Ford's new Model T would soon transform personal locomotion without any central direction from D.C., these ideas would probably have been dismissed as wishful thinking. As famed physicist Freeman Dyson has mused, future generations will likely have far cheaper means of reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, if the more alarming scenarios play out.18
    In the climate change debate, people often forget that under all but the most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who will benefit from our current mitigation efforts will be much richer than we are. For example, Nigel Lawson points out that even under one of the worst case scenarios studied by the IPCC, failure to act would simply mean that people in the developing world would be "only" 8.5 times as wealthy a century from now, compared to 9.5 times as wealthy if there were no climate change.19

To translate, this means that even if the scare-mongers were correct, they intend to strangle prosperity now – in the midst of the deepest depression in seventy years – simply so that your future generations one-hundred years from now might be able to afford an extra Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster while they orbit the planets.

May I suggest that instead of bleating about name-calling, the authors of Frog Blog instead acquaint themselves with some real economics.  And read and digest the arguments in Murphy’s ‘The Economics of Climate Change.’ It would leave them looking less embarrassed when they talk so smugly about the economic illiteracy of others.

There’s an ill wind blowing for Pickens [update 2]

Billionaire Texan investor T. Boone Pickens thought he could pick up a truckload of pork courtesy of Obama’s “Green New Dealnonsense.  He called it his “Pickens Plan.”

Pickens  planned to plant a whole swarm of wind turbines – the world’s largest wind farm – in an effort to farm the subsidies that are the only way renewable energy boondoggles can “make” money for their progenitors.

And now it seems he has a few turbines he doesn’t know what to do with.  687 at last count.  It seems more affordable forms of real energy, like natural gas, and lack of subsidies to farm (as yet) have killed off his dreams of tapping the taxpayers’ pocket to fill his own.

My heart bleeds for the bludging schmuck.

UPDATE 1: Commenting on the demise of Picken’s corrupt scheme, writer Ray Harvey writes:

Boone Pickens is [still] calling for massive subsidization of the wind-power industry. As with ethanol and recycling and a host of other issues, you must ask yourself again, if these things are so efficient, why do they need to be subsidized? Answer: they're not so efficient. Energies that require massive subsidization benefit absolutely no one; the only reason they need to be subsidized is that they cannot compete on the open market.

UPDATE 2:  And William Anderson says  R.I.P., Pickens Plan!

    The once-ballyhooed Pickens Plan is being scrapped, as it should be. The notion that we can replace coal and oil-fired energy with something as fickle as the wind is something only an environmentalist or a politician could love.
Central planners and their allies are forever laying out Great Plans for the Future. However, those plans always are foolish and dangerous, and "alternative energy" is no exception. If you want to understand the full extent of the real harm that environmentalism and the government central planning it spawns have done to humanity, read the articles of George Reisman.

How does it feel? [updated]

So to all those people claiming that Auckland’s new super-bureaucracy is a ruse to permanently remove leftists from political power in Auckland, how do you feel now that former Alliance leader and unrepentant Stalinist Laila Harre has been appointed to “help” in the transition from eight intrusive bureaucracies to one unchallengeable megalith?

  • You think with her on board ensuring a “smooth transition” we’ll see the unleashing of a “hidden privatisation agenda,” as some have hopefully claimed will happen?
  • You think with her “appointed to oversee the transition of staff into the new Auckland super-city council” we’re going to see to “savage” job cuts, as most of you have vainly hoped for?
  • You think with her finger in the management pie, you’re going to see your rates bill go down, as so many of you desperately need?

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated.  Again.

UPDATE: Owen McShane comments at Farrar’s (who, all too predictably for His Wetness, thinks this is a “very smart appointment” – sheesh!).  Says Owen:

    Wendell Cox, a colleague of mine in the US who has made a reputation for his studies of mega mergers of Local Government, tells me that while mega-mergers are often driven by an alliance between business and the left, the end result of the-mega merger is to move the politics of the whole area to the left. Think of Red Ken in London.
    The mergers create great hostility at the local level which the left is more able to exploit. So while many seem to think that John Banks will wear the crown of the Super City, it is more likely to be Mike Lee of the ARC, or someone else from the left. . .
    The appointment of Laila Harre is entirely predictable from Wendell’s studies and we see the standard drama unfolding. Mike Lee will be the Mayor, Craig Shearer [a promoter of the Orwellianly named Smart Growth] will write the plan. and Laila Harre will be personell officer. Welcome to the mega world.
    Of course we will be proud of our world first achievement. There is no city in the western world of over one million population governed by a single council. Indeed Wendell and I cannot find one with only eight. Paris has 1300.

NOT PJ: Frankfurters, My Dear? I Don’t Give a Damn

This week Bernard Darnton raises a sausage to freedom.

There’s nothing as quintessentially American as a hot dog eating competition. While the saying goes, “as American as apple pie,” there are lots of places that enjoy apple pie, apple cake, strudel, and countless other pommelicious treats. “As American as sixty-eight hot dogs in ten minutes,” however – that has the ring of truth to it.

Independence Day is a day when freedom lovers in the United States and around the world celebrate the founding of a nation based on the principle of individual rights. John Adams predicted that the day would be celebrated with “pomp and parade, … sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations.” He never predicted the hot dog eating competition but it’s become an institution anyway.

ESPN – yes, this is a nationally televised “sporting” event – reports that this year Joey Chestnut logged his third consecutive win in the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, defeating his archrival Takeru Kobayashi by scoffing down sixty-eight frankfurters and buns in ten minutes. He improved decisively on last year’s effort, when the competition was decided in “a dramatic five hot dog eat-off.”

Some might moan that this is a trivialisation of an important anniversary. Others (usually not known for their desire to celebrate the principle of individual rights) think it’s an illustration of typical American gluttony. They decry other culinary abominations – like the Domino’s meat pie and French fry pizza in a cheesy puff-pastry box – as obesity-causing examples of American cultural imperialism.

Tough. It’s called Freedom. And the thing about freedom is you can’t tell people what to do with it. If that’s how people want to celebrate their independence, who am I to argue?

America was explicitly founded on the idea of freedom. For two hundred years people have flocked to America and used that freedom to create the most economically productive, technologically advanced, militarily powerful nation on earth. And some of them have used that freedom to stuff their faces with processed meat. So what? They’re still ahead on points.

And to the charge of gluttony? When four percent of the world’s population produces twenty-six percent of the world’s stuff there’s room for some excess.

Freedom is the state most conducive to human flourishing. OK, some people will die early because their arteries are blocked with stringy cheese that came out of an aerosol can, but they’ll probably have enjoyed themselves en route. And no one’s saying that you have to eat that crap. Most people will use their freedom wisely – and flourish.

Humanity comes equipped with a vast range of virtues and vices, and a free society gives latitude to both. But most of the vices are trivial and many of the virtues are grand.

Whether you’re looking for wieners or winners – freedom provides more than you can imagine of both.

* * Read Bernard Darnton's column every Thursday here at NOT PC * *

The Bureaucrat - Barry Woods Johnston (1990)


Called "The String Pulling Bureaucrat with His Red Tape," this life-size bronze, says  Johnston’s website, is a commentary on the effects of bureaucracy on our society and daily lives.

bruct2mThis coy figure is shown wrapping himself in the red tape of bureaucracy.  Although handled with a sense of humor, this sculpture, which is somewhat reminiscent of Michelangelo's Slaves for the tomb of Pope Julius, comments on a new kind of banal slavery inherent in today's modern methods.

Not one to have in your lounge – but I’d love to see a copy in the foyer of every “public” building.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

June at NOT PC: A Bain in the neck

A definite theme in popular posts here this month,measured by the fact that searches for David Bain and Julian Pistorius were nearly equal.
A slight drop in reader numbers – perhaps because post-Mt Albert the focus was off politics, which this blog does, and onto scandal, which it doesn’t – yet yet while reader numbers were down slightly local Alexa numbers were up. Slightly. I’ll leave that as an exercise for readers, and for blog stat compilers who rely on them, to work out what that means.
And poor David Slack . . .

Unique visits [from Statcounter]: 42,096 (May: 45,485)
Page impressions [from Statcounter]: 60,437 (May: 64,617)
Avge. Monday to Friday readership: 1514/day (May: 1620)
NZ Political Blog Ranking for NOT PC in May: 3rd (April: 3rd)
Alexa Ranking, NZ: 1,802nd (May: 2,883rd)
Alexa Ranking, world: 348,280th(May: 304,831st )

Top ten posts for June:

Most commented upon posts

Top referring sites:
No Minister 1405 referrals; Kiwiblog 1346; ; Libertarianz 506; Cactus Kate 285; Tumeke 236; Facebook 235; SOLO 229; Whale Oil 202; Liberty Scott 187; Libz Network 165; The Standard 162; Anti Dismal 126; Oswald Bastable 114; Lindsay Mitchell 113; Home Paddock 91; Barnsley Bill 89
Top searches landing here:
david bain jokes 968; not pc/peter cresswell etc 767; david bain 244; julian pistorius 237; causes of global financial crisis 224;“david slack” swine 207; contaminated soils owen mcshane 107; neelam choudary 78; wine flu 76; “john adams” “not pc” 69; nipcc 62; david knowles artist 60; interest rates notpc rise nz 60; nude olympians 55; beer songs 44; broadacre city 36; persian kiwi 36
They're reading NOT PC here:
Still no visit from Sarah Palin? I’m feeling spurned.
Top countries/territories (from Google Analytics)
NZ 47%; US 21%; Australia 4.7%; UK 4.0%; Canada 2.1%; Germany 1.8%; Italy 1.5%; Netherlands 1.0% Top cities
Auckland 28%; Wellington 7.6%; Christchurch 6.0%; Sydney 2.1%; London 1.9%; New York 1.5%; Dunedin 1.1%; Palmerston North 1.0%; Brisbane 0.8%; Melbourne 0.8%; Hamilton 0.6%
Readers' Browsers
Firefox/Flock 44%(47); IE Explorer 39%(38); Safari 11%(9.1); Chrome 4.0% (3.7); Opera 1.8%(1.8)
Readers’ OS
Windows 83%; Mac 15%; Linux 2.2%; iPhone 0.3%
Readers’ Screen Sizes
1024x768 25%; 1280x800 19%; 1280x1024 15%; 1680x1050 12%; 1440x900 11%
Readers' Connection Speeds
Unknown 37%(35); DSL 34%(32); Cable 19% (21); T1 7.7%(9.1); Dial-up 2.8%(2.7)

Cheers, and thanks to you all for reading, linking to and talking about NOT PC this month,
Peter Cresswell