Daily archives: January 26, 2013

Daily Blog 01/26/2013

  • When Queen Victoria came to the throne, the area that is now Alexandra Park in south Manchester was a lowland raised bog, a mossland. The neighbourhood next to the park is not called Moss Side for no reason! It seems the land was not very suitable for farming although we can see from the 1848 map that the area was divided into fields. People used to wash thatching rushes in the pools, according to one account. Interestingly with the high rainfall in recent months, areas of the park are reverting back to their former state.

    tags: manchester nature

  • The community of SF writers has reason to dislike digital copying, or “piracy” as it’s commonly labelled in the tabloid press. Genre writers exist, by and large, in the publishing mid-list, where mediocre sales might seem most easily eroded by the spectre of illegitimate downloads. SF, fantasy and horror are also the literature of choice for the culture of geeks most likely to share their favourite authors’ works on torrent sites. Not surprising, then, that many professional genre writers and editors respond to the growing reality of copying with the absolutist position that piracy is theft, and should be punished as such under the law.

    tags: books piracy publishing

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Give me liberty, but not libertarians 1

You can’t argue with the basic premise of Libertarianism- that more freedom, for everyone, is a good thing and an ideal to work toward. It’s a shame that most of the people who call themselves Libertarians argue for selfish irresponsibility instead.

I noticed this most recently listening to a piece on Radio 4 arising from the silly drink driving proposals from County Kerry. Sean Gabb, representing the Libertarian Alliance, argued that it’s better for people to be killed by drunk drivers than for people to be breathalysed, which catches and/or discourages drink drivers. Asked whether he thought breathalysing had saved any lives by discouraging drink driving he came back with a masterful analogy-

Sean answered that shooting drunk drivers out of hand on the roadside would be more effective, but that it would not be done for obvious reasons.
From the LA’s fanciful interpretation of the interview.

He then accused the presenter and co-interviewee of using emotive language because they dared to address the problem rather than avoid the question. Realising he was losing, GAbb decided not to use his argument winning gambit-

That states are not notably concerned about the protection of life. In the past century, thugs in uniform have been ordered by their political or military superiors to kill about 200 million people.

That’s the problem with self-pronounced Libertarians, they’re more concerned with getting their own way and indulging in their own vices than actually making the rest of us any freer. Their political philosophy is that of the spoilt child.

A proper, pragmatic, Libertarian would look for ways to raise the overall freedom of the whole country, and accept that their right to these freedoms comes with responsibilities. The right of one person to go on living, of their family to not suffer their loss and even, once they’d sobered up, for the driver to not have to live with the trauma of having killed someone, outweighs the “right” of an overconfident Libertarian to believe they’re perfectly safe to drive no matter how much they’ve had to drink.