Friday, October 15, 2004

playing around with flickr 

Originally uploaded by andyh.

Finally went back to flickr (by way of jot - a very nice looking structured wiki service) and playing around with their stuff.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A sign of things to come. The FDA in the US are recommending implanting RFID chips into patients to track medical information. This is hot on the heals of talk about using them to store biometric information in passports - to help identify people - really! Read Bruce Schneiers article on why this is stupid.

I guess its probably only going to be a few more years before some country somewhere mandates that all citizens have to have a RFID chip implanted rather than carry around ID papers.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Economic thesis time. After the highly simplistic political argument I thought it'd be worth having a highly simplistic economic argument as well. This ones to do with change as well.

Economies and their success (or not) is linked to change. Infact I'd argue that less change is far more healthy than change. I guess this is the "if its not broken then don't fix it" theory. If an economy is good then don't change anything fundamental because theres a good chance its going to break.

I think markets adjust to economic conditions, so if someone does make a fundamental change then in the short term the economy will go to shit (excuse my terminology) but eventually people will work around the change and in the long run the economy will stabalise. Okay, I guess thats not the same as becoming good. Obviously there are extremes where you can fundamentally screw the economy really good and there are fundamentally screwed economies in the world which need big changes to help them.

So the moral of the story. Don't go making changes if things are good. No matter how well intentioned they are.

Of course its way more complex than this. Good is a relative term. One persons good is not necessarily anothers. And one persons a little good is another persons not good enough. We also live in a global economy where one countries change can affect another countries economy. So I guess we're just going to have to put up constant change and ups and downs.

Political thesis time. Well my ideas anyway. Yesterday John Howard got voted back in for a forth term and its looking like the Coalition may have got a majority in the Senate as well, with a little help from Family First - now theres a double edged sword.

So what happened. Well I reckon (and these are probably blindingly obvious):
  1. In good times people don't like change regardless of a governments reputation and policies, but in bad times people are much more willing to throw out a government no matter how good intentioned they are. This is probably blindingly obvious.
  2. The majority of people are fundamentally selfish. They only care about their present situation. Thats part and parcel of the previous point.
Whats this got to do with the election of Howard, well this is where things get partisan. Theres a lot of policies which make the Liberals very very unpopular with a whole section of the population here in Australia (Iraq and the war on terror, their "green" policies - or lack of them, the push of private health care and education for right or wrong). So what got them back in - most probably the good economic situation and their claims that interest rates will go up under Labour. Thats something which appeals to both peoples resistance to change and selfishness.

A highly simplistic argument, yup, it sure is. Probably reflects on my disappointment at the result.

The irony of all this is by giving the Coalition a majority in the Senate they've given John Howard the opportunity to make changes, lots of them, big fundamental ones, which he hasn't been able to do before. Lets hope we enjoy the ride!

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