Data on terrorism

Tom Government, Reading Leave a Comment

Very much looking forward to seeing insights coming from a number of projects trying to get a data-driven handle on terrorism around the world. Hopefully this will allow us all to push back on some of the sillier political and media reports. First off, a definition. Terrorism is: The threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a …

Taiwan’s elections and Hong Kong

Tom Government, Hong Kong / China, Reading Leave a Comment

The recent Taiwanese elections (where broadly pro-independence parties did well versus the ruling party) were mid-term non-presidential election, so should have all the usual caveats about kicking the incumbents when it doesn’t matter so much. The part I found interesting was the list of issues that the voters cared about: China doesn’t rank high on the list. And wow, don’t they sound familiar …

On voting and the poor

Tom Government, Hong Kong / China 1 Comment

On reflection, I think Bruce A might be right that this is commendable honesty. “If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you’d be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than US$1,800 a month. Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies,” the Chief Executive said. …

On being poor

Tom Government, Reading Leave a Comment

Really interesting read on being poor from the inside. Highlights the need for policies that help people make better decisions (financial and nutritional) most likely by paying them more rather than trying to pass legislation to protect or force them into action. broccoli is daunting

Israeli desalination

Tom Business, Government, Reading, Science Leave a Comment

Some amazing stats on water use in Israel following the worst rainfall in years. This is massive. 30% of potable water from desalination rising to 40% in 2015 90% of waste water recycled for agricultural use Max $500 each year for a family’s needs for desalinated drinking water

Censored photos in China

Tom Government, Hong Kong / China, Reading 1 Comment

A thought-provoking set of images that have been removed from Weibo. The inability of China to censor the internet outside China has similarities to the Conservative speech archive silliness. Glad that ProPublica is curating this. Covering up part of the sign leaves: “Marching to a New Prosperity Only If the Party Leaves”. Via: China’s government doesn’t want its people to see …

Occupy debt forgiveness

Tom Business, Government Leave a Comment

Looks like we underestimated Occupy. Buying debt for pennies and forgiving it seems like a great idea. Not sure whether it cuts at the heart of capitalism, but it is a large scale version of suspended coffees.  

IPNAS and the loss of freedoms in the UK

Tom Government, Personal, Reading Leave a Comment

Wow, some must-read articles on new legislation working its way through the UK parliament. I get and salute the need for simplification of existing legislation, but we should not approach this through over-generality and vagueness. Descent into 1984 (because I don't like the article's title). There are legal articles on the IPNAS and related legislation. They [IPNAS] will arguably continue …

Gun control in the US

Tom Government, Reading 1 Comment

Must read from Henry Porter. Just insanity. This isn’t about rights, it is about the wholesale slaughter of individuals. My emphasis. The figures from Congressional Research Service, plus recent statistics from, tell us that from the first casualties in the battle of Lexington to recent operations in Afghanistan, the toll is 1,171,177. By contrast, the number killed by firearms, …

Chomksy on the failings of democracy

Tom Business, Government, Reading Leave a Comment

Wow. There is a lot to digest in this must-read transcript of a talk given by Chomsky in Europe. I like the idea of the “really existing” version of an abstract ideal to help us focus on what is actually happening in the world rather than being distracted by semantics and definitions. I’d like to discuss a different system – …