Thursday, September 30, 2004

Fingerprint Problems.

Saw this in today's newspaper: why did no-one tell me?,3604,1315910,00.html
Rang personnel (Lyran that is).
"What are we going to do" I said "given Lyrans don't have fingerprints."
"There's a working group addressing the issue."
"It's working very quickly. It reports next year."
"And what do we do until then?"

Wanting to Change

All this, and I'm supposed to be starting my change management process as well. I managed to get part way through the manual (I mean, you can hardly read it on the plane, can you?) before the last US jaunt. The problem is, the Change won't work unless you want it to work, so you need peace and quiet and concentration. If you don't get those, the result is usually frustration and failure (not to mention death if you don't eventually succeed). Maybe this weekend...

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Problems with Clone 44

On top of everything else people in the London office are becoming increasingly worried about Clone 44. It's not my problem thank goodness: there's a special unit set up to manage it, called the Clone 44 Management Unit, and there are several people in positions of influence in Downing Street.
The problem is, you never really know how a Clone is going to work - the technology is a bit iffy, and when it goes wrong the typical signs are a fixed staring grin and a complete inability to see the world as it really is. This usually leads to breakdown after a few years. In itself, that doesn't matter provided it doesn't happen in front of the TV cameras, but these days you can't be too careful - clone breakdown is not for those of a nervous disposition.
Meanwhile, a piece of good news> The lobbying to allow sales of automatic weapons in the US has been lifted, so they can kill each other in greater numbers. Well done 2096 for that little achievement. Here's the link:

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Back Again

Just got back this morning from another trip to Washington. Upstairs has decided that everyone of Grade 10 and above has to put at least two weeks' work into getting Bush re-elected. It doesn't matter what else you are doing, or how important it is. They're getting scared up there that Kerry might actually win, and stave off economic collapse for a few more years. This will make buying the US aerospace industry more expensive than it need be.
Anyway, some idiot in travel cocked it all up. Early this week, you couldn't get a hotel room in Washington because of the opening of - wait for it - the American Indian Museum at the Smithsonian. So we had to stay out at the Day's Inn Value Motel and Towers in Tyson's Corner, if you can believe that. If you were there, and you remember a bunch of pissed-off individuals with funny accents who spent all their time complaining, that was us, even if we were pretending to be Electric Chair salesmen. Which reminds me, I've never felt any regret at wiping the Indians out - they were never going to invent space travel, were they?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Stupid Americans

What Upstairs doesn't realise, of course, is just how difficult it is to actually influence Americans the way you want them to go. There was a huge argument in the nineteenth century about whether to go for democracy, and a lot of people argued (I did) that it was a lot safer to stick to what we knew, and work through elites as we always had. But of course we needed a mass workforce, and that meant mass education, which in turn meant that all these educated people had to be given at least the illusion that they had a share in power. This whole democracy thing has been mishandled in my view, and of course, now that it's taken root, anyone with enough money can play the system like we do. So no-one really knows how Americans are going to vote - fear, hysteria, stupidity and ignorance will all combine to produce a result of some kind, but it's hard to say if this will be the one we want or not Life is so complicated these days.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The US Election (Again)

The word has come down from On High: Bush has to win the US elections. Which means a lot of work for a lot of people, and no guarantee of success. Our record of fixing US elections is only 50% or so (Carter, now there was a cock-up!),and Upstairs has decided that, if Kerry gets in, there's a chance the US economy will pick up. I don't buy this - it's visibly sinking under the weight of defecits, and has nothing to export anyway - but the argument apparently is that only under Bush will the economy (apart from aerospace) definitely implode. They're probably right, but I know a lot of people who are beginning to wonder whether democracy was actually such a good idea after all. As the Lyran entity who called himself Molotov once said, "the problem with democracy is you never know who's going to win."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Good News on GM!

At last ... all that effort has paid off, and we've made a bit of progress with GM food in Europe. Here's the link to a story describing what happened:

That proves the WTO was a good idea, as I always thought. Whether I'll get a bonus for this, we'll have to see, but I feel happier today than I have for a long time. Almost made me like this planet for a few minutes.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Back from the USA

Haven't posted for a while because I was in the US all last week, and every time I sat down to write something a new problem popped up. In a sense, I can see why Lyrans like working over there: we just about completely run the whole show, and if what you want can be bought, then you can have it. Honestly, it felt as though we were interviewing for burger flippers. ("Yes, Mr President, you can go in now.")The problem of course, is that there's a huge difference between just controlling everything, and getting things done. It's like turning the wheel of a supertanker and nothing happens: a dysfunctional government and political system, in the end, is maybe not worth the trouble of manipulating. Take aerospace for example. About a decade ago we realised that to save the US aerospace industry it would have to become foreign owned. This makes economic sense, but its politically impossible, no matter how many senators you bribe. And now US politicians are trying to get the Pentagon to buy only from American suppliers. That, of course, would bring the whole aerospace industry to its knees, because so many components are imported. At least my speciality is easier there: all the right people have been paid to think GM food is marvelous. I wish Europe was as easy.