Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Age binnegan

The No advocates all say that a Yes majority will inevitably lead to boys wearing dresses and dogs and cats living together.
I'm reminded of the old English analysis:
" The Principle of the Wedge is that you should not act justly now for fear of raising expectations that you may act still more justly in the future -- expectations which you are afraid you will not have the courage to satisfy. A little reflection will make it evident that the Wedge argument implies the admission that the persons who use it cannot prove that the action is not just. If they could, that would be the sole and sufficient reason for not doing it, and this argument would be superfluous.
 The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent is that you should not now do an admittedly right action for fear you, or your equally timid successors, should not have the courage to do right in some future case, which, ex hypothesi, is essentially different, but superficially resembles the present one. Every public action which is not customary, either is wrong, or, if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time."
That's from Microcosmographia Academica, in 1908.  Little has changed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Age bin

On page 6 of Monday’s Age are wonderful pictures of distant galaxies to illustrate a story about Dr. Caroline Foster’s new astronomical discoveries. The science involved is breathtaking. Our radioastronomers, for example, can get pictures from halfway across the universe -- provided that nobody’s using a competing radio frequency within interference range.
On page 8 we hear that the government is proposing to flog off a part of the radio spectrum currently used for radio astronomy so that we can have more mobile phones, and to do that before the International Communications Union, which actually listens to scientists, has made a decision. We’re assured by the Chief Executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Union, whose members are going to profit immensely from this decision, that there’s no risk. “An Optus spokesman said it welcomes the ACMA’s proactive approach.” I’m sure it did.

Call me a suspicious old fuddy-duddy, but I’d have rather more confidence if we could hear Dr. Foster’s opinion on this matter.  I’d like to think that the universe had at least one vote.

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