Tuesday, 12 March 2019

violence at schools

According to The West, "Almost 1000 students have been suspended from WA public schools for physical aggression in the first four weeks of the school year..." (12 Mar 19). By journalism-school maths this is "a 15 per cent increase on the same time last year."

Take the actual figure of 919 suspended (almost 1000 ?!) and last year's of 799, there has been about 10% increase. Both those figures (919 and 799) are in that same article.

Solution: Teach basic maths to journalists. And explain the difference between "almost 1000" and the just as emphatic but more honest "more than 900".

Then there is the education minister. "We have drawn a line in the sand," she says. It's a government-driven crackdown on school violence which is "working".

Working? Really ? With a 10% increase in student suspensions ? Okay, that may show a better rate of reporting of student violence, that's a good start. Increased numbers of students being suspended from school for violence ? Soooouuunds good...

If you are violent at school you may receive a ten-day holiday from school.

Students are forced -- by law -- to attend school. A suspension overrides that law. Suspension is not punishment, it is a reward. It gives the student ten days to freely commit crimes outside school grounds. To return to school refreshed and ready to fight with renewed vigour.

Solution: Provide a "borstal" day school. Students suspended from their usual school must attend borstal. Wikipedia says, "Borstals were run by HM Prison Service and were intended to reform seriously delinquent young people."

Provide a modern form of borstal for students who are excessively violent at a public school. Stricter controls, closer watch and better management of activities in the play areas. Plus the essential education which is the basic reason for provision of public schools.

At best, violent students may learn that they cannot start fights with impunity. At worst, they will attend lessons with teachers who are given the authority to keep control in the classes. The students may even learn.

Meanwhile, all of this is ignoring parental responsibilty. Where are the parents who have legal responsibility for their children ?

When a student is given a suspension holiday from school, are there parents at home to take responsibility ? Maybe. Or it may be that the parents have also lost control of their violent children. They cannot also lose responsibility.

Solution: Parents must get their suspended children to the borstal. Every day. If this is "not possible" then there will be a "borstal bus". Provided by the government and paid for -- on a pay-per-use basis -- by parents. It may not be actual "taking responsibility". At least it is "being made aware of their problem".

More student suspensions is a part of the solution to student violence at school. It's a start, it removes violent students from their potential -- at school -- victims.

We also need to provide better solutions to prevention of further violence. A holiday from school is very short-term. Longer-term, we need to provide continuing education -- to all school students. Education for students who require stricter controls and better management than can be provided at a purely educational school.


Maths education for journalists.

A political line drawn in the sand where that sand is not just a bigger playground.

Select schools which can help violent students to adapt to -- or at least work within -- normal society.

A reminder to -- and support for -- parents who have ultimate responsibilty for their own children.

====    Dr Nick Lethbridge  /  Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems? Solved.

"If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution." … Einstein

dying for you to read my blog: notdotdeaddotyet.blogspot.com.au :-)

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Criminal responsibility -- shared

Excusing crime

Do you get tired of crimes being forgiven because the perpetrator had no "intent"? They were drunk or drugged or crazy therefore -- innocent. Hmmm.

What about the violent criminals let out on bail, or released for good behaviour who then commit even more violent crimes?

Then there are the Good People who cry for the drugged, the drunk and the crazy. Who demand understanding for the criminals who need to be given a second chance. Which may well turn into a second chance for more violent crimes.

Let's add responsibility to the cries for forgiveness and understanding.

When a Good Person asks us to excuse a violent crime because the perpetrator was not in control of their own actions -- let that Good Person share the responsibility. And the consequences.

First, the Good Person stands tall, to ask us to understand. Then the Good Person accepts shared responsibility for future crimes. If the perpetrator -- while on bail, while on early release, while freed due to diminished responsibility -- if that person commits a crime... the Good Person is immediately sentenced to the maximum penalty for that crime.

If the criminal is sentenced to jail -- the Good Person gets out of jail.

If the criminal is found to have not committed the crime -- everyone goes free.

If the criminal is set free due to diminished responsibility then the Good Person stays in jail. Or completes whatever penalty is attached to the crime. After all, the Good Person promised that no further crime would be committed. They were wrong. They are responsible for the second crime.

In a case where there is a general public outcry, responsibility can be shared. Two or more people sign on as Good People. After all, they are so certain that the perpetrator should go unpunished that they are fully willing to share responsibility.

Just to be fair, Good People can accept the minimum applicable penalties rather than the maximum.

If we really believe that a person should not be penalised -- despite committing a crime -- because they were too drugged or drunk or crazy to themselves be responsible -- then Good People can share responsibility for subsequent crimes.

It's a positive way in which Good People can save people from actions committed when they just could not control their violent actions.

A fair deal for drunks, druggies and crazies. A practical way in which Good People can prevent legal injustice. A way to share responsibility for good intentions with bad results.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"For every action there is an equal and opposite government program."


Dying for you to read my blog, at https://notdotdeaddotyet.blogspot.com.au/ :-)

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Are you afraid of Webcams ?

There's a bit of fuss about City of Perth installing cctv. Some with facial recognition capability. There is worry about privacy -- and about the city council in charge of watching the public.

But are you afraid of webcams ?

Webcams allow people around the world to watch an interesting area. A place of natural beauty... a good surfing location... parks & cities around the world. Oh, and bedrooms. No-one worries about "webcams". So:

Place webcams all over East Perth. Make the views available -- via the web -- to anyone. Anyone, at all, anywhere in the world. Allow the public to watch -- and comment.

Then add an extra layer of comment -- available only to registered users. Registered with full name and actual living address. These registered users can watch -- and notify of potential troubles.

See someone who looks like a person on CrimeStoppers ? Highlight that person and press One. See something that looks like the beginning of a fight ? Highlight the troublemakers and press Two. See a crime in progress ? Highlight the scene and press Three. See a potential danger ?  Press Four.

Use the general public. Offer rewards -- "game" points and scoreboard recognition -- to successful watchers. Make it a game -- with public benefits.

Are you afraid of webcams ? It's no worse than a member of the public seeing a potential problem and reporting it. But far more effective. And useful fun for people who are stuck at home, with nothing more than the internet for company.

If it's a public space, the public are entitled to watch. They may as well be useful while watching. It will help everyone.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"I've found that there's a reason for everything… I constantly make the wrong decisions." … Pardon my Planet


Dying for you to read my blog, at https://notdotdeaddotyet.blogspot.com.au/ :-)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

taxis, uber, compensation and evaluation

Taxi drivers may have let service levels decline. Certainly, phoning for a taxi -- and it arriving as expected -- caused several letters to the paper. Rather, calling for a taxi and it *not* arriving as expected caused letters of complaint.

Then Uber arrived. Calling for, watching it arrive, getting in the uber -- and paying for the ride -- became much simpler. There may have been some service level complaints. Rather than having them glossed over by a taxi company, complaints were glossed over by the Uber multinational.

So what has changed?

Taxi drivers are licensed. Ultimately, the government is responsible for overall management of the taxi industry. Uber drivers are employed. Ultimately, Uber is responsible for overall management of the Uber industry. This change has been largely ignored by the public.

The major change -- amongst those who are affected -- is that there is new competition in the "taxi" industry. Uber has taken market share from traditional taxis. Owners of "taxi plates" -- essentially, the licence to operate as a taxi -- find that their taxi plates are suddenly worth a lot less.

The government has destroyed our industry, say the taxi plate owners. They allowed unregulated competition into our carefully regulated industry, they say. We want compensation for loss of value of our taxi plates, they say.

Well, fair enough, I say.

If you have bought yourself a taxi plate. Invested in a well maintained quality car. Learnt to drive well, speak English, navigate the streets. If you have tried your best to provide an efficient and perhaps friendly taxi service -- and have been spending hours a day *being* a taxi driver. If you are a self-employed small business taxi driver -- you have all my sympathy. I support your call for compensation.

If you own a taxi plate. Or several. Rent them out by the hour to other people who actually drive. Never bother to check the quality of service other than demanding to get your cut of fares on time. Then too bad. You made an investment. It was a poor investment. I hope that some of your other investments were more successful. Don't expect government compensation for the investment that you allowed to fail.

If you run a taxi call centre. Find that the public prefer the Uber model. Too bad. You failed to read the future of the market. You lose to another multinational. It was your choice to invest in this business, in this country. There is no need for the government of this country to compensate you for your poor business strategy.

In summary: Yes, offer compensation to taxi plate owners who are actual owner-operators. Not at some magic "market price" for taxi plates. Perhaps enough to allow them to become Uber drivers. People who are simply investors in the taxi industry? Sorry, that was a poor investment. No compensation.


How do we know that a taxi driver or Uber driver is "good"?

Years ago I was taking a taxi for work purposes. The driver was friendly, talkative. Mostly I ignored him, I was thinking about work. He mentioned that he had nominated for some some form of good driver award. To be evaluated by customer nominations. The driver offered me a nomination form, I waved it away. My mind was on work, not on the quality of the driver.

The driver gave me my receipt, the one used to claim the cost of the ride back from my employer. I shoved it in my pocket. When I later looked at it the driver had written "Fuck off" on the card. And no, that was not a claimable expense.

So a driver wants to be nominated as a "good" driver. If you do not nominate him as "good" -- then he will be deliberately "bad". This driver was clearly a bad driver. All he cared about was his own chance at winning a prize. I hope that he failed. Miserably.

Uber -- as I understand it -- has evaluations of both driver-by-passenger and passenger-by-driver. So there's a two-way threat: give me a good score or I will give you a bad score. And that is supposed to be useful? No, sorry, that does not give an honest evaluation. It's just quick & cheap.

The original taxi industry provided dubious motivational awards for "good" drivers. Plus a centralised place to complain about bad drivers. Uber offers a quick & dirty and largely meaningless way to evaluate the service. Both approaches have problems.

It would be nice to have an effective measure of transport-provider quality. By which I mean, a measure which will cause the overall quality of service to gradually improve. Whether it is traditional taxi or uber service.

The key factors are: Know what you really want to measure. Measure it with accuracy and no bias. Use the results to improve the service.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"Give a man an inch and he'll think he's a ruler" … Agent 86


Now much more than a clever name for a holiday journal:

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Death is for the Dying

Isn't it funny, that the people who are most against euthanasia are the same people who are not actually dying.

Gemma Tognini, writing in The West, and her family "said our goodbyes" to Gemma's Nonno. Perhaps her Nonno would have like to be conscious while these goodbyes were being said? But who cares -- he's dead now, Nonno no longer matters.

Proposed euthanasia legislation is being fiercely criticised by doctors and lawyers. By "those who operate in a place of reason free from passion". Also free from involvement. Why should these passionless, uninvolved -- apparently cold-hearted -- people be allowed to override the rights of people who actually want to die?

I'm in the position of having a 50-50 chance of dying within twelve months. I have no intention of choosing euthanasia. Partly because 12 months is ample time for me to say my own goodbyes -- while I am still conscious.

While I still care.

Yes, it's tough to still be alive when someone else has just died. Get over it -- you are still alive. Why do you want to destroy the rights of people who are already facing the ultimate end of life?

Ensure that euthanasia cannot be forced on anyone. Ensure that the legislation does not force a doctor -- or other assisting person -- to act against moral, ethical or religious views. Then pass legislation to allow euthanasia as a legal option.

Stop interfering with the rights of people who are facing  death. Fight for the right to make your own choices -- if you are ever in that situation. Hope that you will be allowed to make whatever choice suits your own --  individual -- preferences.

Drag yourself through a few months or years of pointless suffering -- if that is what you really want. Don't force your passionless self-pity and self-righteous "reason" onto the people who actually do want to die.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"Always remember, in a land of fel infused ancient elves, the peasant with a good banish spell is king." … Tehd Shoemaker


Now much more than a clever name for a holiday journal:

Friday, 6 October 2017

Liquid Laundry Detergent

I'm just about to bin the empty container from a liquid laundry detergent.

But is it really "empty" ?

The labels say, "Easy to Use Tap" and "80 Washes". Yes, it's a very easy to use tap, that's one reason I bought the product. It's also a well known & long established brand, another reason for buying.

I use this liquid detergent till the liquid stops flowing. Probably nowhere near 80 washes but that's not a problem. Amount actually used varies depending on the dirt that I see on the laundry.

The detergent stops flowing through the easy to use tap. The container is heavy plastic, I can't see inside. There is no way to see whether there is any detergent still inside. Nothing flows through the easy to use tap so the container seems to be ready to be thrown out. 

It is not empty.

First, I leave the container standing on its side between washes. This allows detergent to run down to the tap -- and be ready to flow out for the next wash. I have just gained three or four "extra" washes from the "empty" container. (Sorry, I was not actually counting.)

Then the tap stops flowing, again. Detergent has flowed down the sides of the container towards the easy to use tap. The detergent is all gone...

The detergent is not all gone.

I unscrew the tap. There is so much detergent still inside that some spills out, I need to catch it, stop it, mop up what has spilled out.

For the next few washes I can get no detergent through the easy to use tap. I bypass -- remove -- the tap and wash five more loads. Each load uses as much detergent as I would normally use.

Did I really get 80 washes from the container? I do know that I wash at least eight more loads after the easy to use tap stops working.

That adds up to at least ten percent wasted detergent -- if I depend on the easy to use tap.

That adds up to at least ten percent extra profit for the manufacturer if I throw out the final -- invisible and inaccessible -- detergent.

No wonder Choice recommends powder detergent over liquid.

My next laundry detergents will be dry powder.

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"A lot of people cry when they chop onions. The trick is to not form an emotional bond." … Jimmy Carr


Now much more than a clever name for a holiday journal:

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Young girls pressured

Gender stereotypes are changing the behaviour of young girls as they feel pressure to "act a certain way". So says a report on the latest Girlguiding Annual Attitudes survey.

So what?! Isn't that what society is all about? Putting pressure on members of that society -- *all* members of that society -- to act in ways which are acceptable to that society.

The real problem is that (as I understand the brief newspaper report), the real problem is that the Girlguiding Association disagrees with the acts themselves.

"Pressure of gender stereotypes" affects the ability of girls to "say what they think".

What if girls do feel free to say what they think? What if they think, Girlguiding is brilliantly supportive, I want my sexuality to match a random letter of the alphabet, I will support my freedom with bombs and bullets rather than ballots. Weeellll... I suspect that Girlguiding is more into freedom to say what you think as long as you are thinking what they are thinking.

Every part of society is putting pressure on someone, to think, to act, to behave in a certain way. The pressure may be overt, open, stated and even enforced. Or it may be by example, with no conscious intent to influence. We all do it. We are all members of society.

Young girls are pressured. Young men are pressured. Adults are pressured. The current postal poll on SSM is bringing pressure -- in opposing directions -- on every adult -- voting -- member of our society. Pressure to agree. Pressure to agree with opposing points of view.

We will reach an agreement. An agreement to change, or to not change, or to accept different actions but not enforce active support. (That last is part of my own preference.) Then society will continue. Or continue to disagree and fracture through internal dissent.

Society uses pressure to enforce a common standard. The standard may be, "Accept this, that other people may act differently to you." Or it may be, "Do this, but in a way which does not interfere with the rights of other people."

Pressure to act -- or to not act -- is not bad. The acting -- or not acting -- is not bad. But we may have agreed that "our" society wants its members to act in a certain way. Girlguiding has recognised that girls are being pressured to behave in a certain way, a way that is different to ways Girlguiding supports. Is this good -- or bad -- for our broader society?

First, let's agree on our standards for society. Then we can apply pressure to support those standards. And -- if necessary within those standards -- we may also need to apply pressure to counter the pressure to act outside the now-accepted standards of society.

The real problem is to agree on standards which our society will accept. Only then will we be entitled to complain about pressure to act "differently".

Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved

"Wer den Daumen auf dem Beutel hat, der hat die Macht." … Otto von Bismarck eh what?!


Now much more than a clever name for a holiday journal: