Big Government?

I’m no fan of big government but I do agree with this article:

Robert Reich: Big government isn’t the problem

The former secretary of labor on our newest spending bill — and why it’s everything that’s wrong with Washington

Topics:, Big government, Dodd-Frank, Big Pharma, Capitalism, Business News, Politics News

Robert Reich: Big government isn't the problemRobert Reich
This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.

Some believe the central political issue of our era is the size of the government. They’re wrong. The central issue is whom the government is for.

Consider the new spending bill Congress and the President agreed to a few weeks ago.

It’s not especially large by historic standards. Under the $1.1 trillion measure, government spending doesn’t rise as a percent of the total economy. In fact, if the economy grows as expected, government spending will actually shrink over the next year.

The problem with the legislation is who gets the goodies and who’s stuck with the tab.

For example, it repeals part of the Dodd-Frank Act designed to stop Wall Street from using other peoples’ money to support its gambling addiction, as the Street did before the near-meltdown of 2008.

Rat Trap Catches a Rat!

I posted a while back about how I’d bought an A24 Rat Trap from GoodNature.

It’s been a frustrating experience up till now because a) The cat has been bringing in rats and mice every other day and b) the trap didn’t seem to be catching anything.

The trouble with these traps is that you don’t know if they’re catching anything because the rat and mice carcasses can be removed by local cats.

So I bought an addition to the trap, a counter.  It’s an electronic counter that attaches to it and records every time it goes off.  I also bought some more detector cards.

These are the cards that you put around the place to see where rodents etc. are active.  They hold part of the

I had a couple of these cards hugely munched the other day and so assuming it was a possum, put the possum trap out for a few nights, but no luck catching anything in that.

And yesterday, I moved the rat trap out of the bush location I had it and put it where one of the detector cards had been attacked.  And then this morning, my 5 year old says he’s found something outside, which turned out to be a large dead rat, around 6 or 7m from the trap location.  And the counter said 2 (I set it off once myself to see if it was going) So after nearly 4 months using this trap, I’ve caught my first verified rat!

It’ll be interesting to see if I catch any more at this location or if I’ll have to move it.

Comments Disabled

A short while ago, the plugin I use to get rid of spam comments (around 250 per day) called Akismet, just stopped working.

And I’ve tried to get it going again, there’s lots on the web about it, but no single cure, and it’s all pretty techie, even too techie for me, so I’m disabling comments until I can sort it out.

If you need to contact me, look on the About page.

Lars Wahlmann Pays Up

So got a phone call whilst driving in the car from Lars Wahlmann last night.

He said he hadn’t received his copy of the Disputes Tribunal judgment until Monday, (3 weeks after I got my copy? I doubt it, just another lie), was waiting on another letter from the court blah blah blah.

Said he was prepared to pay the money, but had I put the debt with BayCorp? I said I had, as I indeed had, only the day before.  I had given around a week’s notice of this.

He then said “Oh well I guess I won’t pay it then.” at which point it became clear he hadn’t rung to make payment arrangements, he’d actually rung up to try and find a way not to pay.  So I told him to “Fuck off” and hung up the phone.  I very rarely say that to anyone, but this guy just annoys the hell out of me, made several really outrageous accusations against me whilst in the DT hearing etc.

So I just didn’t feel like getting into a whole tangled debate with him again.  The judgment was made, I’ve completed my parts of it, and so he just needed to do his.

So then the mobile proceeds to ring every 5-10 mins another 5 times or so.  I just don’t take the calls.

Then last night I get an email from an admin person at FreeviewShop, the business Lars Wahlmann has now sold saying he’d paid.

And lo and behold the money is there in my bank account this morning.  So well done Lars, at least you admitted your responsibilities and paid up.  Albeit only after it was lodged with Baycorp.

So this might affect Lars’ credit history now, not sure.  Too bad if it does, he had his chances to pay but decided to try and muck me around a bit more.

I’d warn anyone against dealing with Lars Wahlmann unless you really really have to

Line Profiling in Python

For ages I tried to get Robert Kern’s line_profiler to install on my Windows 8.1, WinPython 3.3 system.

And I’ve had no luck at all.  All the instructions etc. are for ‘nix systems and so don’t make a lot of sense for Windows users.

So I downloaded and installed this profiler:  and I had it downloaded, installed and running inside of like 5 mins.

The only thing I’d like from now is to be able to run it from an IPython console, instead of a command window, which I’m sure you can do.  Still, I can get a command window inside Spyder2, the IDE I use, so I’m 99% happy.

So now I can see where time is spent on each line of any python program! Awesome.

I Love Julia

Nope, she’s not a woman, she’s a programming language!

I’ve been learning this language for a few weeks now and I’m quite enjoying it.  I’m using Windows 8.1.  Here is what I like and don’t like:


  • It runs really fast.  Julia is an interpreted language, but it runs nearly as fast as C and Fortran for most things.
  • The syntax is pretty nice.  Much nicer than C/C++ and Java.  No curly braces, type casts everywhere etc.
  • It’s free.  Anyone can download it and play with it.
  • There are a huge amount of people/resources/packages etc. behind it.  Including optimisation packages, graphs, algorithms and so on which is what I’m really interested.
  • There is a free IDE for it called Julia Studio which is pretty good actually.  It has syntax highlighting, a packaging system (which I’m just learning about today) for adding in code, and many other features.  It’s still pretty new and pretty basic but hey for free, it’s pretty bloody good actually.
  • I feel I’m on the cusp of something, like getting in early, like part of a select few who are learning about this language, part of a club, do you know what I mean?  And that’s kinda cool.
  • It’s got a profiler, which is pretty easy to use.


  • I’ve found the language quite tricky to learn.  Previous to this I’ve been programming in Python and previous to that things like C++, VB and so on.  Julia is quite different to all of these and I’ve needed a lot of help with syntax.  The online documentation is thorough except in one regard: examples – there aren’t many.
  • Julia is a new language, so the tools for it are pretty new too.  Julia Studio, by Forio is great for a free tool, but is nowhere near as flash as say Visual Studio – but then you pay thousands for that and it still has bugs.
  • Error descriptions.  Related to above, I’ll often get errors that are really cryptic, don’t give a valid line number (if using functions) and can take quite some time to work out what’s going wrong.  I often have to resort to println statements to work out where the program is going wrong.

Oh well, anyway, I’ll carry on with this and who knows where it will take me?

Celebrating Life's Little Achievements