I've just been on holiday to a Mediterranean resort despoiled by British tourism, and I must say it is useful to be able to speak German and thereby pretend not to be part of the problem. It seems I'm not the only one jetting off to sunnier climes: two police officers have just been to Faliraki and are blaming the media for the trouble caused by young British louts.

This is disturbing. We shouldn't have to put up with hearing the social views of the people who are supposed to be enforcing the law. Next time you're arrested for using insulting words to a police officer, ask yourself whether he/she has perhaps been watching too much of the "wrong" sort of TV recently.

Do we give powers of arrest and detention to literary critics and social commentators? No, of course we don't. Representatives of tour operators in Greece are being harrassed with arrest by Greek police. They haven't committed any crime; they're just doing stuff the police don't like, so they get locked up for a little bit until they stop. I wonder what Greek TV is like. If British police should be doing anything with regard to Faliraki, it should be reducating Greek police about the rule of law, not telling holidaymakers how to live their lives.

If the UK joined the US


Occasionally one hears the preposterous suggestion that the United Kingdom should formally become a State within the United States of America. An amusing consequence of this, if it were done with no other changes, would be that British citizens would not be allowed to vote for Congress, since the voting qualification for Congressional elections is determined by the State voting qualification for the more numerous house of the State legislature ... which would be the House of Lords.

Have you had your Fifteen Kilobytes of Fame?


According to this BBC article, only 2% of the Internet-using population of the USA reads blogs regularly. They probably meant frequently, but I'm surprised it's even that high.

To Baldly Go


Well, someone has baldly gone out there and said it. This letter to The Register is absolutely explicit about its author's belief in a link between libertarianism, autism and geeks. When googling for more information on Mr Styles and the key terms in his letter, I came across the inevitable innumerable references to Paulina Borsook's writings on the subject which get to be at the top of Google by having been on the Net first, and a story about an autistic child whose condition is held to exonorate him of culpability for assaulting someone (a police officer, in this case).

The story is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Its narrator is an autistic child, whose pronouncements on "metaphor" and "lying" sent a chill of déjà vu through me: "lying" is misdefined as "not telling the truth", and by extension the use of metaphor is a lie because metaphors are not literally true. As someone who was once dragged through the mud for making a claim which turned out to be an honest mistake, it is disturbing to think that there may be people out there who have a medical excuse for being unable to tell the difference between a mistake and a lie. How much unpleasantness this can justify on their part, I don't know.