In light of our ‘fiscally responsible’ ‘onservative government shovelling money out the door for various infrastructure projects, the failure of McGinty’s ehealth ontario initiative, and of course the impending cornucopia of largess known as Obamacare being offered up in the USA, it is worth re-reading Guns, Fraud, and Big Numbers in Canada to remind ourselves of just how often our political masters screw up basic math:
The following essay won the Letter of the Week award on 2004-02-24 at Mark Steyn’s web site, http://www.marksteyn.com . In honour thereof, Mr. Steyn graciously sent me a copy of his “The Face of the Tiger”, autographed: “Congratulations. A Great Letter.” ]
My Fellow Canadian ~
I once read an excellent Isaac Asimov non-fiction essay on really big numbers. Humans are in general really bad at understanding big numbers. Because of my math / science / engineering background, I’m maybe a bit better than average, but I’m no Asimov. I have though learned a few ways to help me better understand big numbers, so that I can better deal with them when I need to. This essay shows how some of those methods work.
The initial Government of Canada estimate for the gun registry database system was $1 million. Technically, I think that’s probably a bit low. Based on my on three decades of work in the field of distributed multi-user database transaction processing systems like the registry, and on some systems I’m currently working on which are of that type, I think $3 million would have been a better estimate.
If someone from the Government of Canada can provide me with a simple accounting showing some component of the system that I’ve missed, I’d be more than happy to adjust my analysis of the situation to take that data into account. My current analysis is based on the numbers I have collected from the public media over the last few years.
Given how important it is for state monopolies to serve citizens to the highest possible ethical standard, let’s throw in a factor of three-ish over my base estimate and call it $10 million, to be as careful as possible.
Now, say you had such a $10 million contract with some customers. And then, say you spent three times that: $30 million. Does it occur to you that your customers (in this case, we citizens) might be, oh, shall we say, somewhat angry? Ok, let’s say it’s another factor of three: $90 million. How are your customers doing now? Fine. Let’s throw in another factor of three, so we’re now up to $270 million. How angry are your customers now? In more primitive times than we live in, would you still be alive? But wait, there’s more. How much would we pay for another factor of three? Oh, about $810 million. Say, that’s interesting, the gun registry database system has, according to the CBC, cost $750 million.
It didn’t cost 3 times as much. Or 3 times 3 times as much. Or 3 times 3 times 3 times as much. It cost 3 times 3 times 3 times 3 times as much.
Copenhagen: The imposition of the largest tax grab on the western economies by unelected, unaccountable and undemocratic forces:
By Václav Klaus
Many thanks for the invitation and for the courage to organize such an important gathering in the moment when political correctness tells you not to do it.
We are meeting one month before the Climate Change Copenhagen Summit and several weeks before the U.S. Senate hearing regarding the cap-and-trade scheme. For these reasons, today’s meeting can’t be an academic conference, even though the topic still needs academic discussion. There is no consensus — neither in science, nor in economic analysis or politics.
I have already been at a UN Summit in Copenhagen before. It was in 1995 at the so-called Social Summit. At that time, the Summit was attended by then U.S. Vice President Al Gore who — so it seems — will be there again this year. I did also attend, as Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, but I don’t plan to go there now. I don’t see any chance to influence the results or to be listened to. Continue reading
Oct 12 2009:
-8. Oops – that didn’t work at all…..
…today is the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama. The award seems to have had little impact on public opinion among likely voters. His total approval was at 49% just before the award was announced and it is at 49% today.
There does seem to be a slight increase in intensity. Since the prize was awarded, the number who Strongly Approve of the President’s performance has increased by three percentage points and the number who Strongly Disapprove has increased by five. The number with strong opinions on both sides is at the highest level in a month.
While the award has had little impact on the President’s ratings, skepticism about the Nobel selection process has grown. Fifty-eight percent (58%) now see politics in the process, up from 40% a year ago.
And the previous awards to Yasser Arafat, Jimmeh and the Goracle were entirely free of ‘politics in the process’?
Oct 11 2009:
Update: His One-ness has just been awarded the 2010 Stanley Cup – That was easy.
Oct 10 2009:
Now that Obama has been awarded* the Nobel Peace Trinket, the mc-chimpy bushitlers must be gnashing their tooth into dust. Barely 10 days in office** and the committee had their man. Apparently, simply saying that you are going to heal the world and keep on saying it often and loudly until enough fools believe you was sufficient to be awarded the bauble. Mind you, it’s not as if he has actually closed down gitmo, or withdrawn troops from Iraq, prevented the dinner jacket from acheiving his nuclear desires, solved world hunger, secured the olympics for the mob, or delivered socialised health care to the peasants – but hey, IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE….
I suppose even those who do persist in resisting the one could be forgiven their skepticism. After all, even mr hope-n-change has adopted the distinctly warlike habit of dropping the odd PEACEFIRE missile or two on occasion.
In the meantime the ungrateful and unwashed hordes have not rewarded*** his one-ness with a deserved bounce in the polls. What does a man have to do to get some love?
Of course, junior, as a world renowned ‘hater’, ‘disbeliever’, AGW denier and all round obamaskeptic would be expected to sneer; (he has also been known to offer unguarded applause when well deserving targets are scattered into environmentally friendly and biodegradable bits), so in the interests of balance please let me offer my congratulations via Iowahawk:
Dear BARACK OBAMA :
Congratulations! On behalf of the selection committee, I am pleased to announce that you have been named a 2009 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of your tireless efforts to STRENGTHEN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY AND COOPERATION .
I am also pleased to tell you that as a winner, you have been pre-approved for membership in the Nobel Peace Player’s Club, offering exclusive money-saving benefits available only to laureates like you. Please take a few minutes to look over the enclosed enrollment materials. At only $299.95 per year, I’m sure you’ll agree that membership is a bargain at twice the price! Here are just some of the benefits you’ll receive:
- A handsome 14-karat gold membership crest badge to display proudly on the grille of your limousine or official state aircraft
- A framed, hand-calligraphed certificate (add $19.95 for gold leaf)
- Special discount shopping bargains for for you and your family
- Great travel packages to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
- Listing in “Who’s Who of Global Salvation” ($49.95 per copy)
- Great coupons for Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s, Six Flags Theme Parks, and more!
Plus, you’ll receive the exclusive Nobel Peace Player’s Club GoldCard entitling you to discount air travel and 5-star hotel accommodations from Kyoto to Darfur. But don’t take our word for it! Listen to these testimonials from some of our current members:
“My career as an international peace activist means lots of air travel — and dealing with pushy Zionists and rude natives. With my Nobel Peace Player’s Club GoldCard, I finally get the respect I deserve – and it makes getting through Gaza airport security a snap!”
— Jimmy Carter, 2002 Laureate
*Advice to Norwegian Nobel Committee – Stop huffing the North Sea gasoline, you’ll find it makes appreciation of the situation a little clearer….like how about the succesful candidate actually having achieved something other than simply being elected.
**Nobel nominations deadline: 1 Feb 2009. Inauguration 21 Jan 2009.
*** To be fair, lets wait until next week to see if any of his aura has transferred to the proles.
While I might like to beat a man when he’s down as much as the next guy, might there be a second life for obamacare yet? A seven point improvement since the last time we checked….
He wouldn’t be the first politician to suck back, reload and wait for the polls to improve before launching the next round of marketing….
Well, well. I think that 16% ownership stake in General Motors is going to take a little while longer to ‘pay off’. Sales volume at the General is off by 20% from the same period last year as folks continue to shun the ‘pelosi mobiles’, while sales volume at Ford (which in case you need reminding – didn’t require a bailout) are up by 16%. Great pick Dalton and Stephen. I, for one am happy I picked up FoMoCo at $1.22 in December 2008.
Brands and companies are both displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 26 selling days in August 2009 and 27 selling days in August 2008, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change in the average daily sales rate for each brand/company.
|Brand||Volume %||8/09||8/08||DSR*%||DSR 8/09||DSR 8/08|
|Ford Motor Company||16.99||182,149||155,690||21.49||7006||5766|
|Toyota Mo Co||6.41||225,088||211,533||10.50||8657||7835|
|Nissan North America||-2.93||105,312||108,493||0.80||4050||4018|
|Chrysler Group LLC||-15.43||93,222||110,235||-12.18||3585||4083|
Updated – Aug 28 2009:
Oops. Either it’s time to buy newspaper stock on the theory that it can’t get much worse, or maybe its all over.
Newspapers’ financial woes worsened in the second quarter as advertising sales shrank by 29 percent, leaving publishers with $2.8 billion less revenue than they had at the same time last year.
It’s the deepest downturn yet during a three-year free fall in advertising revenue — newspapers’ main source of income. The magnitude of the industry’s advertising losses have intensified in each of the last 12 quarters.
The numbers released Thursday by the Newspaper Association of America weren’t a shock, given the dramatic erosion mirrored the advertising losses that the largest U.S. newspaper publishers already had reported for the April-June period.
Still, the statistics served as a stark reminder of the crisis facing newspapers as they try to cope with a brutal recession and advertising trends that have shifted more marketing dollars to the Internet.
Aug 21 2009:
As far as I am concerned the parochial print and TV news media can’t die off fast enough. Recently a couple of news items have highlighted for me exactly why journalists are out of touch with the real world – a complete lack of professionalism, disregard for fact checking and suppression of news:
First off: last week much of the shrieking on both left and right concerned a black man who attended a Health Care
rally in Arizona openly carrying an AR-15 rifle, and pistol holstered at his hip. All legal, no threatening gestures made towards anyone in the crowd or anyone else for that matter. In fact judging by the demeanor of those around him, they certainly didn’t perceive him to be a threat least of all to themselves. CNN posts:” Obama at risk from gun-toting protesters?” MSNBC then aired cropped video footage of the same man yet cast him as a white man (36 seconds in), while the talking heads go on about how racist angry protesters might take a shot at Obama.
Apparently the MSM’s memory hole has obliterated any recollection of the New Black Panthers openly sporting shotguns at the 2000 Republican Convention in Houston TX. Where was the concerned pontificating about crazy militias (isn’t that what the Black Panthers are?) endangering the safety of GW? What? There wasn’t any? In last weeks ‘reporting’ there wasn’t even a semblance of impartiality – no mention of similar events – as if the armed protests by the (presumably liberal) Black Panthers had never occurred.
Matt Welch at Reason Online summarises what is happening…..
Meanwhile, I can predict the kind of “hate” that will escape attention by the new desk. It’s the kind that assumes, lack of evidence notwithstanding, that we are always–but especially now that liberal Democrats run the country–on the verge of a race war. It’s the kind that takes a surface look at current events, luxuriates in historically ignorant alarmism, then proclaims that America itself is “delusional,” “irrational,” “hysterical.” You can’t get away with hating a (Democratic) president’s policies, or even a single policy, but hating on the country as a whole for failing to get on board? Well, that’s just journalism!
Secondly: The sound of insects chirping as the MSM with the notable exception of the Wall Street Journal suppresses or at best ignores a ‘good news’ story coming out of the west bank via the International Monetary Fund. It would seem that Palestinians living in the West Bank have won the economic lottery (real wage increases of up to 24% [!] and economic growth of 7%), whilst those lobbing rockets from the Gaza strip have not. Or is it perhaps because security measures put in place by the Israeli’s have put an end to suicide bombers originating in the West Bank, coupled with a desire by Palestinians to get on with their lives, leaving the wreckage which is Gaza to the fascist Hamas? Hmm….
I smell a rodent of unusual size….