Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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RSS thingy

Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013

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Saturday, February 23, 2008
Update. I still haven't quite got used to the way that old blog posts are not thrown away. The story can be picked up again by anyone who shares your interest. Back in 2002 I wrote a post called The Gift of Life about a girl conceived in order to give a life-saving transplant to her older sister. I defended the practice, and mentioned some pictures I found when googling the girl's name. I had forgotten all this. Now (er, not exactly now, see below) Andy Behrens writes:
The Marissa Ayala who drew the pictures that you refer to in your posting The gift of life is not the one who donated bone marrow to her sister.

The young artist is (or was at the time) a middle-school student at the Enric Grau Fontseré primary school in Flix, Spain. It looks like these drawings were done as an assignment for her English class. At any rate, Ayala is a fairly common Spanish surname, and it's not surprising that there's more than one Marissa out there.

Marissa Eve seems to have grown up to be a happy and normal teenager, and the two sisters remain close.

Andy Behrens
Strafford, Vermont

There is a second timeslip to this story. Mr Behrens' email was written on the 11th February.

"Superficially, the stance is wryly apologetic, but the substance is a non-apology: sorry for being so clever, I should have realized that I needed to say it in words of one syllable for the benefit of those dreadful oiks in the media."

-Mr Grumpy, paraphrasing the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Another one likely to send me to the Yellow Pages to look up an affordable contract assassin is "I'm sorry you were upset." It glides past the questions of whether "I'm sorry" means "I am saddened by" or "I apologise for", and whether your upset was reasonable or hysterical.

Go to this Cuban government site.

Click "Estructura del estado Cubano".
Click "La Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular".
Click "VI Legislatura".

It says,


Hombres: 390 64,04%

Mujeres: 219 35,96%

Edad Promedio: 47 años
de 18 a 40 años: 185
de 41 a 60 años: 359
de más de 60: 65

Graduados de Educación Superior: 493
Graduados de Educación Media Superior: 110

Blancos: 67,16 %
Mestizos: 11%
Negros: 21,84%

Half a century of socialism and yet whites are still overrepresented in the corridors del poder popular?

Clearly, the involuntary option has failed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
When the history of Fidel Castro's rule in Cuba comes to be written all that stuff about the excellence of the healthcare system will turn out to be lies but the claim of high literacy rates will be more or less true.

Communist education gets results because force is near to the surface. I acknowledge but do not approve. See previous post here (scroll down to "Two education stories from Poland"), quoting Brian Micklethwait, or you can get more recent Micklethwait here. A further advantage of communist education is that the wishes of the teachers are given almost as short a shrift as those of the pupils.

Force works well in education because the forcers can look at the forcees all the time they are doing the forcing. It works less well in healthcare and very badly indeed in agriculture.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The view from my office looks just like this.

As I was saying to Linda from Accounts, the existence of a volcanic peak arising from an inland sea used to be described, along with the Two Brewers Hotel, as "the best kept secret in Hertfordshire," but they stopped doing that in order to keep the secret better.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Nostrils remain unfanned! Anthony Cox has a very proper job yet still manages to blog and worry about Rob Hinkley to whom absolutely nothing has happened.

A favour for a friend in the database state - a post I wrote for Samizdata.

Whatever happened to her?

She got a proper job.