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Tuesday, 4 Dec 2018 (Only #Current Affairs)

Monday, 21 Aug 2017 (Only #Current Affairs)

It's been a couple of weeks, but the story of the Neo-Nazi related violence at Charlottesville, USA, still seems important to me. Trump has shown his unsuitability for the job of POTUS again. If you needed a recap and some help in clarifying your thoughts on the matter, these outspoken, albeit comedic, commentators might help.

Here is John Oliver delivering a refreshingly concise critique of Donald Trump's response to the event.

Here's Seth Meyers offering his take. Some valid points here.

Google was known to have the injunction, "Don't be evil!" as its motto. My wry reflexion on that at the time was that a company that feels it has to explicitly tell its employees that they should not act in an evil manner, and to broadcast the fact to the world, has rather missed the point and probably the game is lost. Oh, but that was just me being cynical, right...?

Google have caved in to a PR and ideology driven ethos and fired a software engineer James Damore for his memo on diversity. The Twitter storm and online backlash of hate appears to have been a study in Straw Man engineering. It seems that many people have felt entitled to thrash out with hate towards this young man and his scientifically sound paper, without actually having read his work or knowing what it really says. Without reading the original paper, they cannot know what it says, because the media outlets and commentators who have reported on it and offered their critiques have cited it incorrectly and misleadingly.

It seems plausible that some of these second-hand sources did this intentionally rather than through honest mistake, and then stirred up outrage amongst their readership who assumed lazily that they had done the necessary research for them.

It was suspicious how difficult it was to find any citings to back up the criticisms of Damore's paper, or indeed the original source. When I found the original paper, my suspicions were confirmed. What we find is a thoughtful analysis of Google's diversity policies, informed by thoroughly uncontroversial scientific research.

I wonder if Google top brass actually read the contents of Danore's memo before they fired him for "perpetuating gender stereotypes". If they did not, then they are lazy cowards; if they did, then they are duplicitous bigots.

All this frankly sickens me. It's hard to detach one's life from Google and the services it offers, but I am going to try.

This story needs to be spread as far and wide as possible. Google should not be allowed to get away with this ideologically-driven thought policing without the world knowing and understanding. I do wonder if the company has shot itself in the foot or if it is so powerful and ubiquitous that it will be able to style it out and push this scandal under the carpet. Time will tell.

There follow some YouTube links to interviews with Damore, which provide some informed insight into what really happened.

Monday, 10 Aug 2015 (Only #Current Affairs)

The poignant Reggie Perrin TV series is one of those fixed features of my childhood. Writer David Nobbs was just 80 years old. It seems too young to die.

Here's the story on the BBC website:-

Click here

Tuesday, 2 Jun 2015 (Only #Current Affairs)

Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrat leader, dies aged 55. Read the BBC news story

This news came as an unwelcome surprise this morning. I'm no Lib-Dem fanboy and I did not follow the man's career particularly. But he seemed to me to be one of the decent politicians and 55 is too young to go. When he was the Lib-Dem leader Charles Kennedy made a mark and he was an entertaining TV personality.

I noticed how the tributes were pouring in, out of every crevice, on the news this morning. The newsmen referred, of course, to his problem with booze, which was one of his "demons".

But I noted that the tone was much more forgiving than it was back in 2006, when Kennedy was effectively ousted from leadership, not by the party en masse but by his colleagues; and quite brutally. I wrote about it at the time:-

My article: not so liberal and certainly not democratic Beacon