The Best £7 You'll Ever Spend

As I lay in bed recovering from the lurgy I cannot believe many of today's tabloids main stories:

Ministers are locked in battle over a Liberal Democrat plan to splash out £5billion to boost the economy.

As the International Monetary Fund slashed economic forecasts, Vince Cable stunned colleagues by claiming there is ‘flexibility’ within austerity plans for public spending on road schemes, business parks and faster broadband links.

He was responding to an IMF report which said growth will be ‘anaemic’ and warned the world was in a ‘dangerous new phase’, with Britain facing a one-in-six chance of slipping back into recession.
However, the proposals for substantial public spending on infrastructure deals – referred to as ‘Plan A-plus’ – are clearly being talked about and the Business Secretary insisted that the Lib Dems were not backing away from the Coalition’s commitment to cutting the budget deficit.

The story is similar across several papers, and whilst the amounts talked about in the grand scheme of things are paltry*, it is indicative of the fatal conceit our ministers have that any problem they have is solvable if you only coat it in paper money and hope it sticks.

Which is why I think we need to remind Osbo the Clown of a few basic economic realities and logic; it is growing increasingly obvious he was more stuck on the PP side of his PPE course when he attend toffee-nose college at Oxbridge-on-sea or wherever and thus is up to us his masters to beef up the E.

Let's send him this, Henry Hazlitt's finest work (the link goes to a free copy for your own benefit). The tome explains in big shiny, easy to understand words the futility of what we have come to know as "Keynesian Economics"** - something we used to originally call "Village Idiot Speak" - it explains eruditely the contrary folly of many types of public spending and regulation in a way even Ed Ballsup could understand***.

Let's do this on some key date in the near future: how about Henry Hazlitt's birthday? November 28th sounds like as good as any date. You could send them a print out of the tome from the link above but it might be more striking if you bought a copy: Amazon are selling it pretty cheap at the moment.

As someone who took part in LPUK's (RIP) 1984 campaign - giving every MP in the last parliament a copy of George Orwell's 1984 with a word of advice not to treat it as an instruction manual - I know that these kind of campaigns work; I'm sure after the first couple of hundred copies Georgie will start handing them out/leaving them in Whitehall loos/propelling them into tue Thames - in any case likely every mp will see one before the years out.

Go on you know it makes sense.

* = incidentally what have they been spending money on if they haven't been improving infrastructure over the last 15 years? WTF are we paying out half our GDP for if they are having trouble keeping the sodding lights on?

** = yes I'm aware that Keynesian economics isn't nearly as simple as that but only in so much as I am also aware that the left-leaning intelligentsia and elites in government essentially treat it as code for hacking the valve off the spending facet.

*** = in fact if you can get hold of 2/3 copies pretty sure Balls and Cable could both benefit from owning a copy.


Dead Island - The Gamers Crack Cocaine

Dead Island: Better Than Your POS.
Not since Fallout 3 have I felt such wonderful levels of surprise and satisfaction with game, its depth, complexity and that wonderful "X" factor that is missing in so much of what is being churned out.

Despite the really bizarre opening and the irritating bugs (which have at least been addressed and are being repaired) Dead Island is a gem; from it's story, which, if there is any justice, should stand proud in the hgher echelons of cult zombie stories, to it's incredibly clever combat system round the game off wonderfully - it is obvious why it was delayed for so long and the game's producers were right to do so.

Dead Island takes place on the fictional paradise island of Banoi - you awake as one of the 4 in game characters to find the hotel* you are in in chaos; baggage strewn everywhere (which, game producers, it is not okay to loot before you know what is going on) people diving off of higher floor balconies and, eventually, a substantial hoard of the infected, a runner-class of zombie, bearing down on you.

It is also at this stage that you find out that you are immune (yay!) to the plague, but not invulnerable to the rather hungry and violent carriers.

The combat system yields some interesting dilemmas; like the Dead Rising series it can be extremely useful to lay down projectile weaponry - which is lucky as it tends to be quite rare - in favour of melee; the speed of the walkers and their relative ruggedness towards small arms fire makes the best option a combination of melee combat combined with rapid, crazy foot stomping action; my character (pictured above) recently found herself without a working bladed weapon so had to resort to kicking the walkers over, then stamping on their necks.

To make matters really interesting no single melee weapons themselves degrade over time, but unlike the Dead Rising games you can repair weapons, upgrade them so they last longer and trick them out so they develop unique and powerful secondary effects; I had a wonderful machete which electrocuted walkers on critical hits until my idiot brother Buffrat tried my game out, threw it at a thug-class walker, a giant type zombie incredibly resilient and tough, then proceeded to walk off into a new game zone, losing it in the process - bringing another unique (and in this particular case irritating) feature of the game - the save game jots checkpoints along the game at regular intervals but does not allow you to save at points; in other games this would appear like quite a piss-poor way of doing this but in Dead Island this actually compliments the pace and evolution of the game itself.

As your character improves so too does your mastery of different weapons and skills; your choice of characters makes you skilled in particular weaponry and levelling up leads to clever ways of adapting to weapons making themselves stronger; as a result you can grow quite attached to particular weapons as you improve yourself with them (just as I was with my brilliant machete till idiot boy threw it away, bastard.) The fact that game nurtures a sense of care and attention, that if you look after your weapon, spend resources and time improving yourself and it, it will care and attend to your needs, is a very, very nice touch.

This game is a joy to play; I hope someone will do the right thing and make it into a movie, at the very least it should get a sequel, sans the bugs.

Score: buy full price. Now. Heck, buy this version in case the zombie apocalypse does come.

Awesome Hackers Are Awesome

Can't put it any better myself than the subject line from my friends email:

Dr Conan T. Barbarian was ripped from his mother's womb on the corpse-strewn battlefields of his war-torn homeland, Cimmeria, and has been preparing for academic life ever since. A firm believer in the dictum that "that which does not kill us makes us stronger," he took time out to avenge the death of his parents following a sojourn pursuing his strong interest in Post-Colonial theory at the Sorbonne. In between, he spent several years tethered to the fearsome "Wheel of Pain", time which he now feels helped provide him with the mental discipline and sado-masochistic proclivities necessary to sucessfully tackle contemporary critical theory. He completed his PhD, entitled "To Hear The Lamentation of Their Women: Constructions of Masculinity in Contemporary Zamoran Literature" at UCD and was appointed to the School of English in 2006, after sucessfully decapitating his predecessor during a bloody battle which will long be remembered in legend and song. In 2011/12, he will be teaching on the following courses: "The Relevance of Crom in the Modern World", "Theories of Literature", "Vengeance for Beginners", "Deciphering the Riddle of Steel" and "D.H. Lawrence". He strongly objects to the terms of the Croke Park agreement and the current trend for remaking 1980s films that he believes were perfectly good enough in the first place.
He is happy to hear from potential research students with an interest of any of these topics, but applicants should note that anyone found guilty of academic misconduct or weakness in the face of the enemy will be crucified as an example to the others.
Email: conanb@tcd.ie
Brilliant. Let's hope he gets tenured.


As We Enter Silly Season

Conservative party members enjoying last years conference. Probably.

Something to take on board in case you are the type to tow tribal lines:

Politicians who can take supporters for granted will do precisely that, particularly when taking supporters’ issues seriously would require upending the status quo.

Matt Welch in this months Reason Magazine; this goes doubly strongly for all those on UKIPs train.

Quote of the Day

Old but brilliant:

'I may not agree with what you say, but I'll bayonet every bastard on the planet who says you can't say it, and then I'll riddle their Stasi - Fascist - Anti-Freedom Corpse with bullets for your right to say it...' (I think that's how it went anyway)

Erudite as only the Skip Licker can be. Gawd I missed him...


Why Habitat Went Bust: Tomrat's School of Business 101 pt1.

There is something very wrong with your business model if you charge £15 for a box of disposable cutlery.