Monthly Archives: February 2011

ABC blames readers

The terrible thing about A&R’s bankruptcy is that it’s a direct result of a foolish government policy (and maybe other things, too; see the update below). “Former NSW premier Bob Carr, a director at rival bookstore chain Dymocks, said the government was driving retailers to the wall by failing to open the wholesale book market […]

UK manufacturers reject carbon tax

To the question whether a Gillard carbon tax would be justified by international cooperation arguments (as Dr Garnaut believes), the UK manufacturing industry association, EEF, answers “no“. It doesn’t want to “cooperate”, either. The EEF (formerly the “Engineering Employers’ Federation”) says the UK Treasury proposal for a “carbon floor price”, to be set by a […]

Elementary “Watson”

The IBM project that this week led to a spectacular demonstration of machine Question Answering (yet another “QA” acronym) has a lot of serious computing science behind it. Much of that technology—although none of the techniques, naturally—is lucidly explained in a recent article in AI Magazine. The overarching principles in DeepQA are massive parallelism, many […]

Answering the voices?

“A lot of homeless people come in and do live webcasts” Extract from Confessions of an Apple Store Employee (Popular Mechanics) A primer on modern mores by an Apple slave. The tedium of being earnest.

EU struggles with emissions policy

“Going it alone” on emissions targets is insanity too deep even for the bureaucracy that gave the world Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy. “If we go alone to 30%, you will only have a faster process of de-industrialisation in Europe. I think we need industry in Europe,’ [EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger] went on. ‘We need […]

Trahaison des clercs

Whatever your views on the merits of the SGX/ASX deal—I’m sceptical of the durable value, but there is a rash of global consolidation in that industry—do you agree with me that it is madness to install a tribunal of bureaucrats at the door to the Australian investmentmarket exacting an obscure toll on foreign firms such […]

What new evidence for a carbon tax?

A tax has been announced—contrary to earlier promises—that has no justified role in climate mitigation. It is being held up as a “correction” the carbon-intensity of our economy. But that’s not evidently a problem and even if it were, a unilateral tax could lead to an overall increasein global emissions. Ms Gillard’s new commitment to […]