Cuil isn’t

So, that new search engine Cuil? It’s completely rubbish.

Let’s take an obvious example: here. If you’re searching for “john band”, is it more likely that you want a chap named John Band, or is it more likely that you want the Elton John Band but can’t remember its lead singer’s first name? Clue: Cuil gets it wrong.

Lest you think I’m guilty of vanity here, let’s assume you’re looking for an ambiguous term that refers either to an actually-well-known-and-well-read blogger, or to some wanky Canadian jeans. It’s the jeans for you, mate.

There are other weirdnesses too: Chris gets attention; Jamie gets none

Overall, Google remains the winner.

Serious violent crime map

I’ve been busy working and being in pain (alcohol and seedy dives with steep slippery wooden staircases are not a good combination, but codeine and sodium naproxen are excellent painkillers); apologies for lack of posting.

Luckily for those of you who come here for evidence that we’re not all going to hell in a handcart having been murdered in our beds, Mark Easton at the BBC has been busy researching the data – and has an excellent post on levels of serious violence by geography, which also highlights the falling levels of serious violent crime.

On knowing a man by his friends

Mr Eugenides is an extremely offensive and ranty, but also highly entertaining and generally honest, blogger. I disagree with him on most things, and sometimes feel that his commentary on female Labour MPs’ stupidity goes beyond the stick they deserve for their actions into misogynistic territory, but overall he’s a principled and reasonable right-libertarian.

Unfortunately, he’s decided to go on holiday and put his mates Carpsio and Moai in charge. I say unfortunately because, in three posts they’ve made, they’ve managed to fall for three of the most obvious and ridiculous libertoonian [*] myths:

1) “the government is evil to small businesses by making them pay for maternity leave. The government should reimburse companies for maternity pay. But they won’t, the bastards”.

Fact: they do. Moai’s suggestion would be worse than the status quo, as it’d only help tax-paying profitable businesses and not start-ups.

2) “the BBC and the Guardian are evil lying scum for suggesting that Ofcom condemned the Global Warming Swindle documentary”.

Fact: Ofcom found that the programme was unfair, partial, and misrepresented significant views on the subject. It rejected the complaint that the programme had ‘materially misled’ the audience. So that’s OK then.

3) “Everyone who dies of malaria dies because of Rachel Carson, because she got DDT banned”

Fact: DDT has never been banned for use against malaria. Rachel Carson only sought to get DDT banned for use as an agricultural pesticide, partly because that use made it less effective as an antimalarial drug. Everyone serious in the malaria field accepts that this is the case, even the ones who aren’t hippies.

On the plus side, the superb Reactionary Snob has also been drafted in. Hopefully he’ll address the balance a little…

Update: commendably, Carpsio was extremely quick to correct post #3. No sign as yet on the maternity pay one…

[*] libertoonian = someone who became a libertarian because they’re grumpy about how the Metro says their tax money is wasted and hate politicians, rather than because they believe that political theory and history shows a minarchist state is the best way to maximise the general happiness of the people.

Jumping in slightly late

On the grounds of ‘what goes around comes around’ [*], as well as on the general grounds of free speech, let me join the chorus of people supporting slightly demented Decent Left blog Harry’s Place in the libel suit that Hamas UK brought for calling them antisemitic.

Normally, calling somebody antisemitic is a pretty horrible libel and one of the few uses of the libel law that I’d suggest was justified; however, in the case of an organisation whose manifesto states that “the Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews…The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him“, it’s pretty much a fair cop…

[*] a long time ago, far away; if you don’t know, you don’t need to know.