Saturday, September 10, 2005


I have a report on day three of the fifth Ashes test over at ubersportingpundit. Australia is playing well, but the amount of play has been badly restricted by weather. Much as I am hoping otherwise, I think the game will be drawn and Australia will lose the Ashes.

Friday, September 09, 2005


I have a report on day 2 of the fifth Ashes test over at ubersportingpundit.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I have a report on day one of the fifth cricket test between Australia and England over at ubersportingpundit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Natalie solent posted in full an e-mail I sent her as part of a thread speculating why there was so much lawlessness after the catastrophe in New Orleans, and talking about what went wrong during and after the Kobe earthquake of 1995.

One thing I did not mention that is obviously a key factor is the simple lousiness and corruption of the New Orleans police force. The forces in New York in September 11 and in Kobe/Osaka in 1995 were clearly better police forces to start with. But yet this is not all of it. Part of it is, as I said, the nature of the disaster. Hurricane Katrina desolated a huge area. The police stations and other resource facilities from which essentially all the police in action in New Orleans were devastated themselves, and the chain of command was completely destroyed. In both New York and Kobe/Osaka, many of the police in action came from parts of the cities that were relatively intact and whose chains of command were operating reasonably well. That above all strikes me as a and perhaps the key difference. The area of the disaster in Louisiana and other states is enormous. For the other two disasters, it was geographically quite small.

(Mainly, though, the point I was making was that the Kobe earthquake was another recent example of a natural disaster in a developed country with which the local authorities coped badly).

And the newspaper article that started this discussion also referred to the Tsunami in Asia at the end of 2004. In that case I am not sure what is to be said. My guess is that there was lawlessness, looting, and all kinds of nasty things in places like Aceh, but it was hidden and not reported. Certainly news of something like this is the last thing the Indonesian government would want to publicise. But I don't really know.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Brief reflection

I went to New Orleans in 1999, where I caught up with a friend of mine who I had been to Cambridge with a few years ealier. (This friend is actually one of the loveliest women it has ever been my pleasure to meet, but alas she was and is spoken for). We went out to a nice restaurant, then finished the evening in a bar in a nice hotel, listening to jazz and drinking whisky.

This sticks in the memory, simply because it was a particularly nice evening.

My friend also insisted on taking me to a bakery, and buying me a bag of pralines, which I had in my hand luggage when I flew out of New Orleans on the way to London. I had to change planes at Dulles Airport near Washington, and on the Washington-London leg I was sitting next to an elderly woman from Michigan who was on her way to Scotland, where she was planning on spending several weeks travelling and staying in youth hostels. She was a nice old woman, but did insist on talking to me for pretty much the entire flight, even when I was trying to sleep.

However, at one point she did notice the pralines in my bag, smiled and said "Ah. I see you have just come from New Orleans". Which of course was true.

And now New Orleans is gone.

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