Smokers could be required to quit in exchange for NHS rights | Politics | The Guardian,,2233773,00.html

First Social Psychosis story of the year…

Smokers already subsidise the Health Service to the tune of just over 6 times what they cost it.

“Research by the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York has shown that the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking is approximately 1.5 billion a year.” (Thorax 1998; 53 (Supplement 5, part 2): S1)

“The Treasury earned 8,055 million in revenue from tobacco duties for the financial year 2002-2003 (excluding VAT))” (Customs & Excise Annual Report 2002-03.) (The VAT would be about another 1 billion on top of that)

On what conceivable legal or moral grounds could anyone possibly justify withholding the benefits of the service they fund more than anyone else in the country???!!!

Indeed, without the smokers, we’d all have to be an extra couple of pence in the pound on our taxes, so someone please tell the imbeciles to act their age not their shoe size…

And if that wasn’t true, and someone can make a credible case for smokers true cost to society outweighing their contribution in taxes then you could only make a case for increasing their costs, not depriving them of benefits. That is straightforward theft.

But before we penalise smokers further still, (and I’m not a smoker by the way) perhaps it’s time we took a look at who really ought to be paying the bills – the true cause of the problem – the tobacco companies who make vast profits at the cost of the health of their customers. Shouldn’t the full “externalised cost” of the damage caused by their product be paid at source?

The polluter pays and all that? Happy New Year

Darts: Flights of fantasy – More Sports, Sport – The Independent

The annual rags to riches story…
Happy New Year!

Pearls Before Breakfast –

You have to be patient and read the whole thing through. What you’re left with is a profound insight into… what? I was inclined to say “modern America” but I have a nagging suspicion that he would have received the same level of attention in the centre of a London station…

Rumple sent me to this one. Great satire he said. He wasn’t wrong. But I’m bemused.

It was indeed good satire. Very hostile to precisely the interests you’d think AOL represents. What does that tell us? Either that they’re not the enemy we assumed they were, or, at least, they’d like us to think that way; or perhaps they’re so complacent that they think they can actually profit from satirising images of the society they’re helping to produce…

I’ll have to think about this. One question that I don’t think he’s addressed is the degree to which the foreign creditors cannot afford to watch the dollar plummet. They may be prepared, or even forced, to carry the pain of the bursting bubble in order to sustain the value of the loans they’ve made.

Case Against Meritocracy

This is my first serious attempt at explaining the fundamental errors in Meritocracy – the root fallacy of Platonism (the idea that some humans are fit to lead while the rest are only fit to follow). I will no doubt find better ways to explain it once I’ve had some feedback, so please – gimme some!

Faster Chips Are Leaving Programmers in Their Dust – New York Times

Problem and Opportunity. If we get this right we’ll power another couple of decades of Moore’s Law growth – probably enough to reach the Singularity. If we get it wrong, we may have to delay mind uploading a while…