Posted on January 10, 2010
Posted on January 10, 2010
Condolences to CIA
Reporters of every media expressed their condolences to CIA on occasion of loss of their top specialist in Afghanistan. Just look at the situation more closely. Its top specialist who after 8 years still doesn't know where bin Laden is and allowed herself to be killed in the most dumb and incompetent manner: inside her own military base. Imagine in this position, a totally incompetent individual. Would the result be any different?
It is sad when any human being gets killed, but from organizational point of view, not only CIA has not lost anything of value, but it might now find a smarter replacement. There are so many talented people now who do not have jobs. There is little hope though, because the people who do hiring in CIA are as dumb as individuals they hire. Just at look at the CIA boss. He has no knowledge, no experience how the hell did he get where he is.
Posted on January 10, 2010
Obama takes responsibility
Wow. We heard Obama saying that he takes full responsibility for breech of airport security. Ok, so what does this mean? Is he going to be paid less? Looks like no. Is he going to resign? Nope. Is he going to work longer hours? It doesn't look so either. So, what are the consequences for him? He is responsible and he gets Scot free. Anyone wouldn't mind to take responsibility this way.
Did he tell us at least where his errors were? No. Was he specific in any shape or form on where, what went wrong? No.
Posted on January 10, 2010
Obama: We will not succumb to a siege mentality
This is what Obama said in his last speech, that if we succumb to a siege mentality, this would give our opponents a victory because this is what they want. Well let us look at the facts.
Fact #1: Someone was seen at Newark airport going the wrong way into secure area. The whole airport is closed, everybody is out to be rescreened. If this is not siege mentality, what is?
Fact #2: A young guy jumps the rail to kiss his girlfriend. Obviously, he is not threat. The whole FBI hunts him down and arrests him. For what? How much time, effort and money are wasted to hunt a guy who is obviously no threat? If this is not siege mentality, what is?
Fact #3: A guy refuses to place something in overhead compartment. Two military plane fighters are scrambled into the air to escort the airplane to the nearest airport. Why do you need two fighters? You want to shoot plane because someone refused to put something in overhead compartment? Wouldn't one plane be enough for this? Or maybe you would be smart enough to understand that no planes are needed and you don't need to land at the nearest airport because if guy intended to explode something, he would done it then and there.
This is not just siege mentality, this is fool blown paranoia. And I can continue on and on.
Posted on January 23, 2010
Not possible to try, too dangerous to release
Astounding news from the White House. They declared that certain number of prisoners at Guantanamo cannot be tried but at the same time, they are too dangerous to be released. These people are taking the whole world for stupid. If it is impossible to try, this means you have no evidence against them, I mean evidence that they committed a crime. Now, if you have no evidence, how can you claim they are dangerous? You feel that they hate Americans? So do millions of other people around the world. By keeping them in jail, you create thousands and thousands more.
Posted on January 25, 2010
The biggest stars gave a concert and proudly claimed to receive $57 million in donations. Huge amount.
Canadian Government declared that it will match dollar per dollar whatever Canadians give up to $50 million and then proudly abolish this limit. If we add all the money in the whole world, we will probably come to about $500 million. Presume even that we would double it to a billion.
How dumb a politician may be
Harper prorogued parliament. In response, Ignatieff demands establishment of certain rules for prorogation of parliament. The whole country and media discuss whether those rules are good or bad, needed or not needed.
The whole exercise looks to me extremely stupid. Go to basics. Parliament is the top branch of Government. It is parliament who may express lack of confidence to Prime Minister and then he has to resign. How on earth then Prime Minister may have any power in any circumstance to prorogue Parliament or to do anything with respect to Parliament? So, the rule should be very simple. Parliament itself and only parliament makes decisions about its work. No prime minister under any circumstance may decide to prorogue parliament. Period.
Posted on February 9, 2010
News #1 Colonel of Canadian army is accused of two murders and two rapes. He was a rising star in Canadian army and everybody is astounded how could he possibly be a murderer and a rapist.
Is this really so astounding? Who goes voluntarily into military? People who like killing people, who want to do it legally and being paid for that. If we understand this simple thing, is it really so surprising, that some of them are discovered to be doing what they love to do: to kill. What should be astounding to us is that so few of them are discovered to be murderers and/or rapist. When somebody is a rising star in the army should mean that he is an excellent murderer. The brighter he is, the most scrutiny should be applied.
Posted on February 14, 2010
Dummies in Olympic design
A sportsman from Georgia got killed on Luge track and it doesn't look like anybody understands that it was not an accident, but rather dummies at work in designing things they know nothing about. How dumb one must be to design a thing where a human body is moving with a speed of 140km/hour and can accidentally smash into a corner and the body be projected to hit a steel slab? Is it difficult to understand that there should be no sharp corners on the track, there should be no steel slabs the body could hit in the case of accident. We put soft padding on a skating rink where skaters move much more slowly. There should be padding protection on looge track as well and it should be of such kind that even when somebody want to kill himself, he would still not be able to do that. Contemporary technology certainly allows this to be done.
It is sad when dummies are in charge of such important things as Olympic games.
Posted on February 16, 2010
Numbers don't lie
It has been a while that 15,000 of coalition soldiers with 2,000 of Afghan soldiers are attacking Taliban, whose number is estimated to be at about 1,000 and they still are unable to wipe them out despite the overwhelming advantage in numbers and weapons. Can you imagine 17 against 1 and this 17 have rockets, tanks, planes and helicopters and the 1 against 17 have nothing but small firearms?
Let's analyse the numbers. Question nobody asked: how come after 8 years of being in power, Karzai still was unable to provide more than 2,000 soldiers? As soon as this question is asked, the answer becomes obvious, Afghan people do not support us, if from the nation of over 20 million, all you can get is 2,000.
Another question nobody asks, why 2,000 Afghanis who are trained by the best army in the world cannot fight 1,000 people who didn't get any training from anyone. Here is the answer, this 1,000 are fighting for what they believe is right. This is what gives them their incredible resilience.
Posted on February 19, 2010
Corruption to rival that of Soviet Union
Soviet courts are famous for their corruption due to political influence. Canadian Courts look to me even superior. Here is the latest instalment. Judgment came from Supreme Court in the case of nine miners killed in a blast many years ago. One doesn't need much brain to understand that wives of the people killed deserve compensation and that blast itself was somebody's fault and this somebody has to pay. Not Canadian Supreme Court. What is interesting is that nobody in the media utter a single word of criticism. This reminds me yet again of Soviet Union: God forbid to criticize someone in power.
Posted on February 23, 2010
What is missing in health care debate.
Posted on February 27, 2010
How to make an accused terrorist plead guilty
I refer to the group of so called Toronto 18. Some of them pleaded guilty recently. How did they manage to do it? Very simple, keep people in jail for 4 years without trial and then tell them that they have two choices, one, they plead guilty, get double credit, and no time will be out. Two, they plead not guilty. They would be found guilty since both Crown and their lawyer are against them and they spend the rest of their life in jail. The choice is obvious. Even a totally innocent person would plead guilty in this circumstance.
Why do I say that their lawyer(s) was (were) against them? Because normal lawyer, even after one year in jail without trial, would file a motion to dismiss the case because everyone is entitled to a speedy trial and delay over 12 months certainly breeches this right. Their lawyer didn't make such motion and this is not because the lawyer is so ignorant that he doesn't know what human rights are.
The whole case was nothing but shameful entrapment in its classical form: the most criminal stuff was performed by informant. It was he, who delivered ammonia. Now, what was the point to arrest the guys at the time they were unloading ammonia from the truck delivered by informant? Why not wait for them to make a bomb (and it should be them, not the informant making the bombs)? Why not have them (again, not informant) deliver this bomb somewhere, then arrest them? Nobody was in any danger, since informant was aware of everything what was happening in the group. Once these questions are posed, the answer is obvious, police didn't want to wait, because they knew that the other guys would probably not proceed with the bomb plot. Police needed to trumpet out their success.
Who should be fired?
Recently, there was an interesting initiative in one school board which fired all its teachers. It might be a generally good idea, but I would suggest that they would start massive firing much higher than that. As far as education is concerned, I suggest as a first step firing of Secretary of Education. The guy got the job because he was good basketball player and was known to Obama to do some work in education in Chicago. For god's sake, is this really enough to become secretary of education?
A bunch of CEOs in various failed banks are still collecting huge bonuses. Shouldn't they all be fired?
Kathleen Sebelius became secretary of health. What the hell does she know about health care except probably visiting her doctor now and then? How on earth Paneta has become our top spy? He has no education, no knowledge in the field.
Another surprise surprise
It was reported that two prison guards in Saskatchewan were arrested for trafficking drugs to prisoners. The reporters go out of their ways to convince public that this absolutely not typical for guards in Canadian jails. Here are the facts.
I have been in at least 8 different jails in the past 17 years and I can assure you in every jail, drugs are available and it is the guards who deliver them. Now, tobacco is forbidden, so guards have one more lucrative item to smuggle to jail.
At the beginning of my time in jail, I was repeatedly offered various drugs by other prisoners, even for free. The purpose was to get me addicted and then I will continue buying. I never took any, but I am an exception rather than the rule.
Dummies in Quebec education
A peculiar story is developing in Quebec. A muslim female was kicked out of two CEGEPs because she refused to take off her face covering. What is the most repugnant in both events is that each time authorities lied about the reasons of expulsion. At the first one, she was kicked out because she refused to give presentation in the presence of male students of the class. Presume that she just didn't prepare her presentation, so she couldn't give it and her maximum punishment would be F for presentation. Nobody would expel her. The lie is obvious.
She was expelled from another CEGEP. Administration claimed there that they couldn't hear what she was saying. This sounds even more stupid. First, face covering does not really change much in terms of what the person is saying. Now, presume that it does. Take a small microphone and ask her to place it under her face cover. Now you would hear her perfectly well and you do not need to expel her.
And now dummies in the Montreal Gazette have drawn a humiliating cartoon on this subject. And after all this, you dummies are surprised that some muslims hate us so much that they are ready to kill themselves in order to kill us?
Smarten up, dummies.
Posted March 20, 2010
Posted March 23, 2010
There was much noise in the Congress about saving unborn children by prohibiting Federal funding for abortions. One guy even shouted in desperation "baby killer". I am just wondering is he really that stupid that he thinks that woman's decision to perform or not to perform abortion is based on the availability of federal funding for it. If woman doesn't want the child, she will go as far as doing back alley abortions, endangering her own life. Certainly she wouldn't change her decision due to availability of funds. The only difference would be that if funds are available, the procedure would be done safely for the mother and if not, she might either go into prostitution to get money, or do something really bad to herself. No child would be saved either way.
If the congressman sincerely does not understand this, he is a dummy. If he does understand it and is just playing a spectacle, he is a liar and hypocrite.
Here is my advice to all those claiming to protect the unborn: you better start protecting those who are already here and who are needlessly dying of perfectly curable diseases because medical care is not available to them.
Red Cross abuse
Posted April 4, 2010
It is astounding for me to hear promises which Catholic Bishops make that sexual child abuse will never happen again. Just use your brain. You have organization consisting exclusively of males who are not allowed to marry. Is it rocket science to conclude that such organization must attract extraordinary amount pedophiles?
Ask yourself a very simple question, why superiors of all those pedophile priests did their best to protect them? The answer is obvious, they are pedophiles themselves. If they were not pedophiles themselves, they would have been outraged by their behavior and they would at least move those priests to some positions where they would have no access to children and this could be done very quietly without creating any scandal. They didn't do it and the reason is as I stated above.
If you agree that majority of Catholic Church are pedophiles, then the word "never again" make no sense. The claim that only small number of priests are pedophiles is wrong: small number got caught. Majority somehow manage to go scott free. The same situation is with the police. Majority of them are criminals, but only a small number gets caught.
Posted on April 6, 2010
Why is the mine owner not in jail?
There was explosion in West Virginia mine with 25 people killed and 4 are still missing. The mine was cited for numerous breeches of safety rules. What do we hear from the media? They praise miners as how brave they are, how resilient they are, how grateful we should be that they are ready to risk their lives to keep us comfortable. Nobody is saying what needs to be said: why on earth anyone would need to risk their lives to keep us comfortable. There is no need for heroes here. Contemporary technology allows mine exploitation to be as safe as any other business. You just need to strictly follow the safety regulations.
Posted on April 9, 2010
Questions nobody asks
Here is the situation in Virginia mines. There are 4 people unaccounted for. There are several chambers inside the mine equipped with oxygen and food for 4 days, but nobody knows if missing miners reached those rooms. They drill several holes to ventilate the air without success and they plan now to drill more holes just to see the chamber and to understand whether those 4 reached the chamber.
How to improve education
If you watched the show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?", you might have noticed participation of elementary school teachers and they generally do quite bad. How on earth can they be teachers if they know less than their students? This is exactly what is wrong with our education. You have dumb teachers whose work results in dumb adults who in turn become dumb teachers and vicious circle continues. To break this vicious circle, we need to eradicate dumb teachers. Fire them all and rehire only those who can pass extensive exams.
Posted on April 15, 2010
This is comments I posted on CBC.ca/TheNational in response to the show about Jaffer.
Mansbridge claims that the case against Jaffer fell apart because police didn't do something properly. He either does not understand or pretends not to understand that case did not fall apart. Corrupt prosecutor and corrupt police made them so.
Posted on April 15, 2010
Is it good or bad to be un-American?
Sarah Palin recently started using the term un-American describing Obama and she certainly does not use it as a praise. Okay, let us ask her to define what it means to be American and what it means to be un-American. For example, is it American to bring human beings from Africa and sell them as slaves? Is it American to treat those slaves worse than animals. Is it American to beat up people just because they were peacefully demonstrating for civil rights? Is it American to conduct investigation of un-American activities and ruin lives for thousands of innocent people?
Is it American to make a coup in Iran and install criminal Shah; is it American to support bloody dictators like Bautista and Stressner; is it American to rob blind numerous Latin-American countries.
Posted on April 16, 2010
About Miners – Update
1) CNN reports that a new legislature will be introduced on the mine’s safety.
2) Obama ordered Justice department on investigation of the mine disaster. It appears I was right: justice department investigates criminal activity. I wouldn’t be surprised though if at the end, nobody is charged. The money speaks.
Posted on April 16, 2010
Making money and earning money
People are investing in the market to enrich themselves. I introduce here two different terms. Making money and earning money. Here is what I mean. When money are invested in a company which is making new and useful products, this money helps company to increase and improve production, thus enriching country, as well as investors. This should be called earning money.
On the other hand, one may bet on the stock market that certain stocks or anything else will go up or down, and if he is right, he gets paid. I call this making money. In many cases, this is a criminal activity because those who bet know in advance what will happen. The latest example of this is Goldman Sachs, who is accused of creating mortgages which were bound to fail and then betting that it would fail. Such betting, even when it is not criminal, does not increase GDP, does not create anything of value. It should be forbidden, whether criminal or not.
Posted on April 17, 2010
Loss for Poland?
I wish to emphasise that I understand that certain number of human beings got killed in a plane crash in Russia and my heart goes out to their families. This posting is on totally different subject. It has been written that death of president and other high politicians from Poland constitutes great loss for the country. So, the subject of this posting is how actually big this loss is.
Let us see, the president himself was not very popular and all polls were predicting that he would not be re-elected. My opinion is that he was pretty dumb if he decided to put on the same plane his Vice president and all top military.
One of top Hell’s Angels was watching this news on TV, he turns to me and says: “even we in our organization are smart enough never to travel together so that in the case of accident, the organization would not be without leadership. How come Polish president didn’t know that simple thing?” I could only agree with him. In general, politicians are a dime a dozen. If certain number of them gets killed, then no harm whatsoever will be done to a country. One bunch of crooks will be replaced with another bunch of crooks. Imagine in Canada, if Harper and his criminal friends get killed in crash. I don’t think many Canadians would care very much about the whole thing. The same might be expected in Quebec if Premiere Charest gets killed. They will always find somebody else to replace them and not a minimal loss would be felt by anyone.
Posted April 25, 2010
Terry Fox and others
I came to this country over 30 years ago and my first encounter with running for something was when secretary of department told that me that she is going to run for some good cause and she asked whether I would support her by pledging $10. The whole idea of running for something looked to me totally idiotic, so I told her that I have no problem donation money for good cause, but as far as myself is concerned, I absolutely do not need her to run for that. I don't think she understood what I meant, but the whole idea of running for something still looked to me idiotic even now 30 years later. If you have a good cause, why wouldn't people donate money without you running? Nobody really needs that.
I recall the big hoopla of Terry Fox from ocean to another. To me the whole thing looked utterly barbaric. We had a young man who just lost his leg and he was trying to run himself to exhaustion and nobody really needed that. To me, it was extremely painful to watch. Not only he ran himself through exhaustion, I am sure that his cancer returned due to extreme physical stress to which he subjected himself and nobody had the courage to stop him.
Yet another demonstration of recent idiotism. A group of celebrities decided to climb Kilimanjaro. Guess what is their reason. To attract attention to the fact that over billion people have no access to clean water. What does climbing Kilimanjaro have to do with access of people to clean water?
Posted April 27, 2010
Spectacle on Capital Hill
Posted May 2, 2010
Question to Obama
There is a lot of debate presently that Obama was too slow to act to the latest oil spill. Nobody though asks the question which really needs to be asked. Here is what I mean.
In every big disaster, certain things happen which makes me wonder where are people's brains. Here are examples. When 4 miners in West Virginia mine disaster were unaccounted for, a decision was made to drill from the surface down to those safety rooms just to see whether those 4 miners might be inside and nobody asked the question, why don't you have already audio and video equipment in those rooms so that you would know whether the miners are there or not.
The same goes for the present oil spill. One would think that equipment number 1 obligatory in every oil drilling would be shut off equipment which would be automatically activated in the case of disaster. Taking into consideration the danger of underwater spilling of oil, one would expect not one, but two or three different shut off devices just to be sure that if one device fails, second or third will work. Obviously there was no such device in this particular case.
So, I have question to Obama, which nobody is asking. How come your Government allowed British petroleum company to operate drilling equipment without obligatory shut off device(s)? There are numerous rigs still operating in the gulf. So, my next question is, do those rigs have shut off devices. If not, shut them up immediately until those devices are installed.
E-mail to Barry Wilson from CTV sent on July 12, 2010
I refer to your postscript show of July 9, 2010, where you claimed that the whole of Canada should be very grateful to the Head of CSIS rather than have him fired. I repeat your argument.
1) Every year, Canada loses about $10 billion due to spy activities of other countries.
2) While U.S. prosecutes number of people for spying, Canada has not prosecuted a single one.
Posted on August 5, 2010
Shooting in Manchester, CT
Set emotions aside, and try to use common sense. Why would anyone kill himself if he didn't feel that the quality of his life was made so terrible that it was not worth living? It is quite natural that he took with him those who made his life so intolerable. Does all this make sense?
There is an epidemic of shootings at work place all over. As long as we curse and dismiss people who are doing it, instead of using common and trying to understand why this person did it, this epidemic will never stop.
There is a clear message to all bullies: stop abusing people. You are placing your life in danger as well as sometimes, the life of bystanders. The shootings will stop only when bullying is stopped.
Use your brain.
Posted on September 7, 2010
What we see on TV
Sport commentator on CTV: “Goal by Sidney Crosby during winter Olympics defined this generation in Canada”. Wow. I feel only pity for the generation which may be defined by movement of a stick in a hockey game. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that our generation is much better and smarter than that.
Posted on September 10, 2010
We are all stupid
Here is the best proof of how stupid we all are. Tune into any station and news number 1 is Terry Jones and whether he is or not going to burn Koran. Why should anyone care? Koran is a book which is being sold in many stores. Anyone can buy and after having bought it, anyone can do with it whatever he bloody pleases. Why should anyone care what obscure guy in Florida plans to do. I suspect that many people around the globe did many things to Koran and no Muslim has ever suffered from it. Why don't they have brains to say: "we don't give a damn what this guy is doing".
In addition to our own stupidity, we have a stupid media, who waste their time on interviewing the guy and giving him all the attention which should be spent elsewhere. Compare this news to flood in Pakistan or explosion in San Bruno. Last but not least: Allah is almighty. He can protect himself against Jones and anybody else. He doesn't need our help in this.
Posted on September 10, 2010
When I am reading all this hoopla about building Mosque near ground zero, it seems to me that we are paying attention to things which should be of no importance to anyone. The fact that people who highjacked planes on 9/11 were Muslims is no more relevant than the fact that Nazis who killed Jews were German. Jews forbids everything German somewhere?
Composer Wagner was anti-Semite and Hitler loved his music. At certain point in time, music of Wagner was forbidden in Israel. This is yet another demonstration of our stupidity. The fact that Wagner was not such a good person does not preclude people from appreciation his music everywhere, Israel included. Playing his music is not approval of anti-Semitism. Those are two different things and should be kept apart.
Posted on September 12, 2010
Response to “Medical response in jails still seen as problem”, http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/08/corrections-report008.html
The article calls Correctional Investigator a watchdog and independent. If he is any kind of dog, he is lap dog who licks the ass of Correctional Service. He pretends to be critical of Correctional Service in public, but when specific prisoner asks him for help, he always sides with Correctional Service no matter how absurd and illegal their actions were.
He claims to be fighter for mentally ill, but where the hell was he when all these people who ended up killing themselves call him and ask for help. Regretfully, no reporter asks him this question. I can tell you from my own experience what his usual response: "We are working on it". And prisoner never sees the results of his work.
His representatives are supposed to be present in person in every jail at least once every 6 weeks. In reality, they didn't show up for 6 months by now and when I call their office, they still cannot tell me the date of their next visit. So, what the hell are they doing day in and day out. They refuse to talk to me over the telephone, they tell me to write a letter and when I write them a letter, they just do not respond to it. They have several grievances of mine for over two years by now, and they still haven't managed to investigate them. They waste about $4 million of tax payer money every year without doing any job whatsoever, except for sporadic appearance on TV with various claims.
Posted on September 14, 2010
I can explain what exactly is happening with MS and why there are so many
Canadian "specialists" who are dead set against this new treatment.
First, all of them feel themselves likes dummies who didn't see what was before
their eyes. Nobody likes to feel that stupid and this causes negative reaction.
Second reason (or maybe first one): money. All these specialists received Government grants which counts in millions to do research. Now, they realize that all their research was nothing but garbage, because they were moving in the wrong direction.
Third reason: pharmaceutical companies. They developed various expensive drugs for MS treatment. If people get relief from angioplasty, all those medications will go into garbage. This is billions of dollars.
You have the best Government money can buy.
Posted on September 20, 2010
I hear two kinds of protests. First that pope didn't undertake necessary measures with respect to pedophile priests and second, refusal to ordain women. This is what I cannot understand: Catholic church is a criminal organization of pedophiles and those who cover up for them, so why on Earth would any females with brain want to join them? There are many other Christian denominations, which do ordain women. Join them. They serve exactly the same Jesus Christ.
Posted on October 4, 2010
Guatemala syphilis experiment by U.S.
What seems to me strange is that neither media, nor public ask questions which to me are quite obligatory.
1) What are the names of people who did it? Are any of them still alive? If yes, why are they not in jail?
2) How far up did the knowledge of these experiments go? Was the president aware of it? Was secretary of health and human services or surgeon general aware of it? What are their names?
3) Why did it take 60 years to discover it? Where were those documents and who had access to them during all those years?
4) What was the need to infect healthy people with syphilis? There were more than enough people in U.S. already infected. Why not just to treat them?
Posted on October 12, 2010
Comments on Anderson Cooper’s 360 show about bullies “No Escape”
I was watching some of the shows and I was amazed at how inept the whole thing was.
1) The title of the show with the words "No Escape" is plain stupid. Not only there is escape, but we should make situation for bullies to have no escape.
2) I heard nothing of practical interest except general words about how overworked and underpaid teachers are and how we need to educate teachers and to provide them with funding. For God's sake, does one need special education to recognize bullying when you see it? There is no need for special funding to introduce zero tolerance for bullying. With contemporary technology the act of bullying is easily documented. Almost every child now has cellular telephone with audio and recording capabilities. Record it and have the bullies suspended at the first act of bullying for at least a week, second act for a month, third time expelled from school. How much funding is needed for that?
3) I am amazed that parents who allow their child to be bullied not day after day, not month after month, but year after year. I cannot imagine my child to be bullied even one day. There are things parents can do and the first appearance of bullying, ask your child if he wants to stay home. Send a stern letter to school by registered mail in no uncertain terms that they are going to be sued for damages. Should they not immediately intervene, by suspending or expelling the bully, a legal action will be initiated against them for damages. Similar letter of warning should be sent to parents of the bully telling them that they will be charged for moral suffering and for all expenses related keeping your child at home, as well as your legal expenses. And then do proceed with legal action. Hit them where it hurts most: their pocket book.
4) It is sad that we vilify the cases where bullied children take guns and start shooting at school. Bullies should be vilified, not desperate children who see no escape.
Posted on October 8, 2011
Comments on Gladwell's book "What the dog saw"
This is quite eclectic collection of stories written five or more years ago. Obviously, Gladwell did not have any new ideas, so he collected unrelated items published many years ago and made a new book. He managed to artificially unite some stories in separate chapters. He named the book "What the dog saw", claiming that he did it due to the story about dog-whisperer Millan and that he wanted to approach the story from the point of view of the dog, showing what the dog saw in Millan. In reality, he has no idea what the dog saw and did not really show it in the story.
In the story "Blowing up", Gladwell tells us about two investors with 2 different strategies: one (Taleb) plans to win big in a rare case of disaster and avoid any significant risk, while the other one (Niederhoffer) plans on the opposite: he is ready to loose big in the case of disaster, but since disasters are extremely rare, he instead wins every day certain amount. Gladwell's moral is simple: disasters are rare, but sooner or later they do occur, so at the end of the story Taleb wins big and Niederhoffer looses all he had.
It would be much more interesting and valuable to tell the reader a totally different thing: neither Taleb, nor Niederhoffer should be allowed to do what they were doing, namely, playing with "derivatives". This kind of game does not do any good to the economy, because it does not create any new value, it just does transfer of money from one pocket to another, while the total amount remains unchanged. This is not what Stock Exchange should be doing. Stock Exchange was created to collect public money to invest in private company. When such company is successful, it creates profit and shares this profit with investors. Here everybody wins: company gets funding, hires new people, manufactures new products, and enriches itself and investors. When a company goes bust, everybody is a looser - this is life - diversify your portfolio. Only this kind of activity should be allowed on the Stock Exchange; derivatives should be forbidden.
In the story "Open secrets", Gladwell introduces 2 terms: "puzzle" and "mystery". He calls the situation, where we have not enough information, a puzzle, while the case, where we have too much contradictory information, he calls a mystery. As example, he considers whereabouts of Bin Laden a puzzle, while the question of what would happen in Iraq after Saddam's fall he considers a mystery. I doubt usefulness of such distinction, taking into consideration that it is not supported by existing dictionaries.
The rest of the story is devoted to Enron bankruptcy; Gladwell argues that prosecutor was wrong calling it puzzle, while it was mystery, since there was more than enough information about financial troubles at Enron, and people just did not pay enough attention. Well, this can be said about any bankruptcy: it does not happen overnight, it always takes quite some time and for competent and attentive people there are sufficient signs of coming trouble. The problem is that majority of population is either not competent or not attentive, or both.
In the story "Connecting the dots", Gladwell defends intelligence agencies in various countries for not being able to "connect the dots" and to prevent a terrorist act. His argument is that after the fact it is easy to talk about the "dots", which need to be "connected", while prior to the event, there are so many equally relevant dots, which did not need to be connected, that intelligence community is at a loss, and this is normal.
He shows this on 2 examples: Yom Kippur War and 9/11 attack. He shows that there were numerous warning signs prior to Egypt and Syria attack in 1973, but he states that there were numerous previous similar events, which did not result in actual war, so Israel had good reasons to believe in 1973 that nothing would happen yet again. Gladwell is missing one point here: it is never correct to presume that nothing will happen, when a hostile neighbour mobilizes army speaks about mother of all wars, etc. At the very first occurrence of such behaviour, Israel should have given to Egypt and Syria an ultimatum: either you stop your threatening or I shall attack first; and do send planes and bomb them if they do not comply. Due to stupidity of previous behaviour, Israel placed itself in the situation, where it was impossible to "connect the dots".
In the second example, Gladwell again is wrong; here it was certainly possible to connect the dots. He claims that "competition" between CIA and FBI was intentional and started with Roosevelt, who used to give similar assignments to different people in order to hear different and often conflicting opinions, which would help him to arrive at better decisions. This has nothing to do with failure to communicate between FBI and CIA: they can still provide the President with different opinions, while still communicating with each other.
There are though 2 important points, which Gladwell failed to raise: in the case of 9/11, failure to connect the dots looks so stupid that one should come to the conclusion that it was intentional. In every crime, in order to find a culprit, look at the one, who benefited from it. There is no doubt that it was God-sent for Bush, it allowed him to start 2 wars and to benefit financially (remember, Cheney was with Halliburton, which got billions in government contracts). The second important point is: if there are so many people ready to kill themselves in order to kill you, should not you ask yourself a question: "Am I doing something wrong, very very wrong?" Congressman Paul was one of the few, who had the courage to admit that Al-Qaida is killing Americans, because America is occupying their land; just get out.
The story "Blowup" has a subtitle "Who can be blamed for a disaster like Challenger explosion? No one, and we'd better get used to it". This is just a plain nonsense. He goes even further: he claims that all the commissions of inquiry into a disaster don't help us to avoid future accidents. His proof is based on examples, like Challenger, where he quotes sociologist Vaughan that "series of seemingly harmless decisions were made that incrementally moved the space agency towards a catastrophic outcome". He is wrong all over: when a right reason for an accident is found proper measures certainly can be taken that the same kind of accident would not happen again. This does not mean that another kind of accident can not happen, sometimes correction is made in a stupid way, which causes a different kind of disaster, but one thing is clear: only lovers of whitewash can claim that there is nobody to blame for a disaster, more correctly, it is often not one, but several people, who should be blamed.
It is correct that our technology is becoming more and more complicated, which makes a disaster ever more likely. This means that we need to develop a simulation technique, which plays all possible scenarios to see if some unexpected trouble is lurking somewhere.
In the story "Late bloomers", Gladwell is trying to prove that genius could be very early bloomer, as well as late bloomer. One's genius is obvious early on, while the other works long and hard to display the same genius. I think he is wrong in what constitutes genius: people who work hard and with age achieve some significant result are just talented and hard-working, while the word genius should be used to those, who were born with talent already developed. Contribution of a genius is usually more significant than that of hard working late-blooming ordinary man.
The stories "Most likely to succeed" and "The new-boy network", are essentially on the same subject: Gladwell claims that we are hiring people, without having any idea whether they will succeed and that job interviews are useless, because they do not give us any useful information. As an example, he gives the case of football players, who were exceptionally good at college football level and were no good at all at professional level. I know nothing about football and (have hard time to believe that college level must be so different from the professional one. To the best of my knowledge, college basketball is not very different from professional.
Gladwell tells us about Harvard psychologist Ambady, who made silent tapes 10 seconds long of different teachers and presented these video-clips to a set of observers. She claims that these observers had no difficulty to rate these teachers on 15-item checklist. More than that, she compared these ratings with actual evaluations made by students of these teachers at the end of semester, and the correlation between them was astoundingly high. I do not buy this story for a second, unless the rating items were not about the quality of teaching, but rather their looks or their clothes. The same teacher could be quite bad at one time and much better at another, just because he has not prepared his lecture. Especially ridiculous is the claim that one can evaluate teachers' quality on a silent clip.
Gladwell claims that we make ourjudgment at the first glimpse of a person, and the interview is nothing but our attempt to fit whatever happens during the interview to this initial impression. This is total nonsense on its face. He gives example of one Myers, who was badly wanted by Microsoft CEO Ballmer and head of TellMe company, and both had no idea why exactly they wanted Myers to join their companies. I just do not buy this story. In science and technology there are ways to see how good and promising any individual is, and mainly everybody is looking for originality of thinking in the candidate. Gladwell also makes a factual mistake, when he writes that TellMe was a telephone via internet company. TellMe is a voice recognition company and several years ago it was purchased by Microsoft, so Myers ended up working for both TellMe and Microsoft.
In the story "The talent myth", Gladwell tells us that most prestigious management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company published a book "The war for talent", where it claimed that the way to be successful as a company is to search and hire the most talented people. Then Gladwell tells us that Enron was such a company and that it got bankrupt just because it followed that policy of hunting for talent. On the other hand, Procter & Gamble never searched for talent and still is quite successful. He gives other examples of such companies (Wal-Mart). He claims that in the company, not an individual, but rather the system should be the star.
Gladwell is wrong: Enron did not fail, because they were hunting for talent; Enron failed due to greed and dishonesty of its bosses. All high technology companies (Apple, Google, etc.) are successful, because they are hunting for talents. The same does McKinsey, which is still highly successful. On the other hand, company, which makes toothpaste or sell toothpaste, probably, has less need for talent.
Gladwell ends the story with a quip: "They were there looking for people who had the talent to think outside the box. It never occurred to them that, if everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it was the box that needed fixing". This sounds quite funny. Regretfully being funny does not always mean making sense. "Thinking outside the box" means to find a new way, a new approach, something revolutionary. This is the only way to proceed in medicine, mathematics, natural sciences, computers and communications. What is inside the "box" is known and has been used; we need to go "outside" to make a discovery. There is nothing wrong with the "box", except that we need to make it bigger and bigger, and only talented people can do it.