The hypocrisy of democracy

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln.

What’s the point. They’re impeaching Donald Trump. In the house, they require a simple majority to impeach, and the Democrats are in the majority, so the house will rule in favor of impeachment. The hearing will be in the Senate. It requires a two thirds majority for Trump to be found guilty. The Republicans are the majority in the senate. The senate won’t impeach Trump.

Democracy has become reality TV, Trump’s speciality.

What is the point of the spending weeks of enquiry with witnesses and lawyers and politicians? They all hear the same thing, and then give completely opposite interpretations. They’ll repeating it all again in the Senate, and then rule along partisan lines. This is not justice.

The presidential election in Afghanistan is worse.

For almost twenty years we have been selling democracy to the people of Afghanistan. We created a mess. The dispute in Afghanistan’s 2014 Presidential was settled diplomatically.

The vote did not count.

To start with, Afghanistan has never had a reliable voters register. In 2014 there were 20,845,988 voters on the register and with a voting age population (VAP) of 16,208,255, almost 30% of the voters register was a fiction.

Now, the new biometrics voters register contains 9,665,777 voters, less than 60% of the 2014’s VAP.

Only 1,929,333 voters turned out to vote in 2019, reduced to 1,843,107 by the fatally flawed biometric system. That’s 11.4% of the 2014 VAP.

How can 6% of the voting age population decide the country’s President?

And the farce continues. There are 300,000 votes that the candidates are contesting should be excluded. Of these, 137,630 are votes that the biometrics had initially declared as being duplicated votes. After further investigation Dermalog, the biometrics supplier, declared that the facial recognition technology had incorrectly identified the 137,630 as duplicates. There are another 102,012 votes that are shown as being cast out of the voting times. The IEC has declared that the votes will not be excluded as the error was incorrect times on the biometric voting machine. You have a machine that can perform facial recognition, but can’t check the time! Or perhaps it checks the time as well as it performs facial recognition.

The other 70,000 are votes where the equipment has declared the photographs are invalid. So we have equipment that does not check the quality of the photograph (or the time) that excludes votes using using fingerprints and facial recognition, so jeopardizing the legitimacy of the election.

The political compromise in 2014 produced a government, but not a government with legitimacy or that worked. Afghanistan is heading for another compromise. And another government that lacks legitimacy.

Democracy is no longer about the people having a say, it’s pretending that they do.

4.87 avg. rating (97% score) - 784 votes

So much for Dura-Ace

Cycling equipment can be expensive. The top of the range components are not cheap. Bikes fitted out with top of the range equipment have price tags competing with high end motor cycles.

Are they worth it?

Screen Shot 2019 09 24 at 7 21 15 AMScreen Shot 2019 09 24 at 7 20 56 AMMy recent experience with Shimano’s top of the range Dura-Ace crank-set suggests not. A base level Shimano crank set will set you back €82.90. The Dura-Ace version costs €419.00.

2019 09 22 13 31 422019 09 22 13 32 18The crank arm snapped while riding. There had been some warning signs that all was not well. Most recently, the crank arm had been catching the chain in the high gears. The replacement was already en route.

2019 09 22 13 30 362019 09 22 13 58 58An investigation of how things went wrong is revealing. To keep it light, the crank is a monocoque construction made up of a chassis and an outer shell which are welded together at various points.

2019 09 22 13 34 42At the heart of the design is a weld-point that joins the spider to a cap, which connects to the axle. The cap is pushed into the axle, like a cork. If they separate, the unit’s strength is compromised, and the crank will start to flex, and eventually breaks from metal fatigue.2019 09 22 13 33 06

A clue that this might be happening is when the crank starts to creak. In my case, the creaking disappeared. That’s the sign that the welding has separated, and the crank is on its last legs.

2019 09 22 13 36 522019 09 22 13 39 00The real surprise is that this weakness could be easily designed out. On the opposite crank there is a threaded bolt that is used to tighten the left crank in place. A similar bolt on the right crank would ensure that the two components making up the right crank couldn’t separate. Yes, it would need to be checked for tightness every now and then, but it would be a better construction.

Shimano obviously thinks that some cyclists wouldn’t bother to check.

At least give us a choice.

This is clearly a design flaw. In my small circle of cycling friends. it’s happened to two others. There are plenty of complaints on the web. Shimano won’t do anything while their products remain so popular.

Perhaps a boycott will adjust their thinking.

4.88 avg. rating (97% score) - 2082 votes

Open letter to the Chief Executive Officer of EasyJet

Sep 12, 2019

Attention: Johan Lundgren

The Chief Executive Officer

Dear Mr Lundgren

The study conducted on strategies to improve aircraft boarding and their impact on airline profitability makes for interesting reading.

My recent experience on EasyJet runs contrary to those findings. Customers in the boarding queue traveling with a hand-bag and cabin luggage were instructed that this was contrary to EasyJet policy, and that the handbag must be packed in the cabin luggage. Those of us who travel frequently separate our luggage in a way that security, boarding, and in flight inconvenience are minimised, and the handbag is an effective part of the tactic.

Fitting the handbag into the carry-on was not an issue. But there were issues, as other passengers were held up as I retrieved my passport from the handbag as we were leaving the terminal, and again when extracting the handbag before putting the carryon into the overhead.

After discussing these issues with the senior cabin attendant, a number of passengers who were on their first flight with EasyJet expressed their support. Never again, was their common refrain.

Given that getting new customers is approximately ten times more expensive that retaining existing ones, the EasyJet policy is unsound business practice.

In the short term, the additional charges for excess luggage may conceal the long term losses that this strategy generates.

The EasyJet policy certainly derives from the profitability of ancillary services when they were introduced by airlines early in this decade. But charging customers at the airport is a delicate balancing act, if one values customer loyalty.

Being informed by the ground crew that the inconvenience of packing a handbag into one’s carry on is the customer’s fault, because of the way they booked the flight, does not generate any goodwill.

There are low cost carriers that treat their customers well, and their ongoing profitability proves its value.

There is increasing evidence that the world’s economies are headed for recession in 2020. The economic implications of the quantitative easing strategy used to recover from the great recession of 2007/8 will be felt at that time. Businesses that have not built good customer relationships will suffer most.

Good luck.

Yours sincerely,

Roy R Dalle Vedove

4.92 avg. rating (98% score) - 11992 votes

Open letter to the CEO of

July 5, 2019

Attention: Mr Todd Robinson

Dear Mr Robinson

Changing service providers is challenging. Webhostinghub promised the services that I needed, and I subscribed. Your technical support team is excellent. Not only that, your documentation is detailed, and easy to follow.

But I’m unhappy. The transcript of the initial conversation with your sales agent, Adam Block, confirms that you provide event scheduling on MySQL on the Nitro package that I purchased. The conversation confirmed that Webhostinghub will meet the explicit requirement to create events from within applications, without manual intervention.

Following the principle of “Caveat Emptor”, the needs were specifically stated, without any opportunity for misunderstanding.

Now, I have been informed that the service is not available unless I upgrade my package. That’s a bait and switch strategy. Tarnishing Webhostinghub’s hard-won reputation like that is undesirable.

I have been reminded that you have a 90 days money back guarantee. What I want is what I was promised. Technically, this is a simple using a single command with super admin privileges. My needs place no additional load on the server. Yes, other users might, but that cannot be used to force me to pay for an upgraded service.

We have routes to a sensible solution. Please contact me if you wish to explore them.

Yours sincerely,

Roy R Dalle Vedove

4.89 avg. rating (97% score) - 9143 votes