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Thursday, 20 October 2016


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SoD, I'm just going out so I haven't the time to study the list in detail but at a quick glance AND BEARING IN MIND THE SQUILLIONS THEY COST, I think I would manage alright without most of them!

Oh come on, aqueducts are bloody useful.


What is it about bossy-boots and country-bumpkins that they have such troubles with lists?

Listing foreigners to name and shame them - epic fail, list of benefits of an open society - sudden inability to read and comprehend ...


Since Brexit was mentioned:

"Nigel Farage has named Russia's Vladimir Putin as the leader he most admires, calling his handling of the Syria crisis "brilliant"":

He's been hanging around with his fellow patsy over here:

"Trump meanwhile plays his part; he could not be doing more to aid the Kremlin’s narrative if he were reading from a script. (Which in some cases, he literally is: See his citation last week of a Clinton-related email doctored by the Moscow-run Sputnik news service.)"

Now here's the beginnings of a rather interesting bigger picture ...

Follow the logic of that to its conclusion, and you have something like this: -

Northern Ireland, Scotland, and London (from now on "NISL") all join the EEA. That means they remain in the single market, but can cut FTA (Free Trade Agreements) with anyone else, so long as they implement rules-of-origin, as Norway does today. They also have to contribute to the EU budget, and accept freedom of movement. Which they all are ok with. So "Soft Brexit" for them.

The hinterland country bumpkins, aka England (minus London), stick with "Hard Brexit". Not in the EEA. No EU budget contribution, no freedom of movement.

Then, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and London agree an FTA with the hinterland country bumpkins, aka England (minus London). Naturally there will be no freedom of movement between the hinterland and the EEA members, because that's what the country bumpkins wanted. So EU citizens would be free to work in NISL per the EEA rules, but not in the country bumpkins' hinterland aka England. And the country bumpkins will not be free to move into NISL or the EEA, which is as they wanted, you know, full of Johnny Foreigners and all that.

And Blighty as a whole would be free to negotiate FTA's with the rest of the world.

Wow. Result.


SoD, can you please STFU about Brexit unless it's the subject of my post!

And into the bargain, we would have the delightful prospect of comparing how England and NISL fare over the coming years.

As England disappears up its own jacksie with respect to economics, we can throw the scraps and leftovers from our table over the M25 to the starvin' Marvin country bumpkins, while reminding them they said poverty didn't matter, it's worth it to not be surrounded or run by Johnny Foreigners, and all's ok because they've "taken back control".

And it doesn't infringe the mandate - albeit the dodgiest, mob-rule, mandate in the history of dodgy, mob-rule, mandates - that Blighty voted as a whole to leave the EU in the referendum.

Oooh I'm liking this one!


It's all of a piece, David. Making a stand against either physical or social science (even the dismal one) is not likely to turn out well.


"Research [in general] comprises creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion of past work in the field. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research (as opposed to applied research) are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge." [emphasis added]

-- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In railing against what you perceive to be a tremendous waste of taxpayer money, you are ignoring an important distinction to be made between basic and applied scientific research.

Basic research is conducted purely in the interest of acquiring knowledge. Any knowledge so acquired may or may not have immediately perceived practical technological application for the betterment of the human condition. It is, therefore, risky and speculative in nature. But the potential payoffs could be spectacular.

It was Bob! He made me do it, sir!


Bob, there is no such thing as 'social **science**'! It is just another example of waffle-mongers attempting to give their 'studies' an air of authority by tacking on the word 'science'.

Henry, we have been hurtling things and people into space for nearly 60 years and I doubt if anyone has ever bothered to total up the costs - or to think what else we might have done with the money that would have produced more immediate and better results than littering Mars with clapped-out old bangers not too dissimilar from the second-hand motors I used flog!

Did not, SoD! You said it first!


I respect your opinion about the relative funding advantages of lower-risk applied research versus more speculative basic research. But I am not persuaded by anecdotal forms of argumentation. One man's waste of money is another woman's glorious expenditure.

In my personal investment strategy, I am, on balance, somewhat risk averse also. But lower risk does not mean risk-free. Witness Samsung's recent fiasco with their applied-research product -- the Galaxy Note7 Device. It is a financial calamity for Samsung. Nevertheless, some of that loss is salvageable. The Note7 can be used in a pinch if your Bunsen burner won't fire up.

David, the term is inclusive enough to be vague, but on our planet it definitely is a thing:

"Social science is a major category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. It in turn has many branches, each of which is considered a "social science". The main social sciences include economics, political science, human geography, demography, psychology and sociology. In a wider sense, social science also includes some fields in the humanities[1] such as anthropology, archaeology, jurisprudence, history, and linguistics. The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the field of sociology, the original 'science of society', established in the 19th century."

Bob, the term 'social science' is not "vague". By deliberately adding the word 'science' it is an attempt by its practitioners to add a specific 'exactitude' to a body of work which, by its nature, is frequently speculative and open to interpretation.

I suppose these entries in wikipedia wouldn't be written by professors of sociology would they?

BOE, you are obviously suffering with AGC syndrome, er, that's Advanced Galloping Cynicism. You had better go and consult a Professor of Social Science immediately!

Exomars has cost in excess of 3 billion euros so far.

Thanks, Tammly, er, I think! I may have to go and have a lie down this afternoon!

So, David, you're the leading researcher in the science of what science is? I'm impressed.

So you should be, Bob!

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