Police Kanban

Why don’t the police use a public Kanban board to show the progress of criminal cases through the system?

Their workrate and priorities could be assessed openly. It would be great for transparency. Victims and journalists and other interested parties could track cases without needing to call the police.

This occurred to me after reading about some dreadful case in Sweden where a child rape victim’s case had not been processed after a year, and her attackers were still roaming about in the community as they all waited for the police to investigate. Journalists were calling the police for updates. The lack of transparency combined with public ignorance about both the scale of certain crimes and polices under resourcing all contributed to the situation.

Making the police workload publicly visible could really help focus resourcing discussions.

Taxi Militias

An article in Denmark’s Information newspaper revealed that victims of honour violence in Copenhagen are often tracked down by ethnic minority taxi drivers who return the women to their abusive families or spouses. This follows news that Islamists in deprived areas of Denmark work with ethnic gangs to enforce sharia . If Islamists were able to command a highly mobile reconnaissance and rapid reaction force of taxi drivers, the police would have a major threat to deal with.

I strongly doubt the taxi drivers are part of some organised militia or Islamist plot. It is just the power of social networks in close knit immigrant communities at work.

I would understand, however, if immigrant communities were organising defensively. In Ted Allbeury’s 1983 novel “All Our Tomorrows”, an economically and socially divided Britain is occupied by the Soviet Union. In describing the gradual disintegration of Britain prior to the occupation, Allbeury describes class warfare and ethnic riots. One of episodes of the novel describes how Britain’s Asians manage to defend themselves from marauding mobs by quietly organising and preparing long before the trouble kicks off. They organise militias, with radios and weapons, to successfully defend their areas.

These scenarios seem utterly unrealistic until such a collapse happens. Belfast in 1968, 90’s Yugoslavia, Syria since 2011:  Those that organised to defend themselves survived. Even in the UK in the 2011 riots we learned that in even the most seemingly stable countries large scale targeted mob violence can happen extremely quickly. Just ask the people of Ealing who formed street defence leagues spontaneously to guard against the mobs tearing up the nearby town centre.


See also

Why Rioters Beat The Police
Security militias in Jewish areas of London

The neurobiological effects of the internet

Great piece from Charles Crawford, commenting on a review by Adam Thierer of Nicholas Carr’s new book about how the internet is changing our brains:

The general Carr argument is that the immediacy of unlimited communication actually changes the way we think, to the extent of affecting the way our very neural circuits tick:

… fewer and fewer people are likely to be engaged in such contemplative, deep reading activities due to the highly distractive nature of the Internet and digital technologies.

“With the exception of alphabets and number systems, the Net may well be the single most powerful mind-altering technology that has ever come into general use,” Carr claims. “At the very least, it’s the most powerful that has come along since the book.”

The Net and multimedia “strains our cognitive abilities, diminishing our learning and weakening our understanding” …

…Anyway, does the Internet in fact change our brains?


We read more, but surely we also read less systematically. We get jumpy if we have not checked our emails/texts.

I am struck by the way even serious grown-ups now think there is nothing wrong in abruptly tuning out of a conversation with the person next to them while checking some or other e-device. Go to a park or restaurant and look at people who are ostensibly together in fact ignoring each other, as they tap away on little gadgets or simply talk to people on their mobiles. The remote starts to get more ‘real’ or at least immediate/important than reality.

Read on at: http://www.charlescrawford.biz/blog/the-internet-changes-our-brains

Applying Kilcullen’s ideas to urban regeneration

“What do you do if you’re fighting a counterinsurgency campaign and you run out of troops, western troops that is?

According to David Kilcullen in The Accidental Guerrilla (pp 269-71), the answer is to enlist villagers in “local security forces such as neighborhood watch organizations, concerned citizens groups, local security guard forces, auxiliary police and the like”. Use these local security units to do the vital but labour intensive work of protecting communities from insurgents, with support and backup from western troops.

Kilcullen uses the Iraq “surge” of 2007-08 to support this argument. The success of the surge was due to the large number of Iraqis (”mostly former Sunni insurgents or former members of local community or tribal militias”) who were recruited to local security units. This approach put a large number of people, who had expert local knowledge, to work patrolling their communities. There was no need for large headquarters and forward operating bases, line of communication troops and logistics support “since all these recruits live and work out on the ground”. And recruiting Iraqis to the government’s cause had a major impact on the insurgents’ ability to recruit and field fighters.

This is an idea that could be adapted to countering criminal gangs in rundown parts of western cities…” READ ON

via Global Dashboard » Conflict and security Cooperation and coherence » Applying Kilcullen’s ideas to urban regeneration.

The nameless scourge

“Courage alone is not enough in war: victory will go to the side that best organises that courage” – Peter Watson, “A Terrible Beauty”, 2000

I harbour a strange, nameless bigotry. It is a visceral loathing of a common type of person I recognise easily but struggle to classify. There is no -ism that defines my prejudice.

Some times I see them in traffic, driving badly and breaking the law. Normally I hear them, their sonic signature is unmistakable: the violent blast of the horn, the revving of engines at 4AM, the chanting of the hooligan songs and the thumping of degraded euro-techno.

More often than not, they appear to have plenty of money. They drive massive, expensive cars but they are bereft of taste, class or education.

Many are members of the criminal elite (or the brutes that guard them), which where I live means war-profiteers, looters, people smugglers, child rapists, terrorist armourers, assassins, knee-cappers, and mass murderers. Some are just lowly common thugs, thieves and woman-beaters attempting to ape their Mafia betters.

I see these people every day but the problem is I cannot define exactly what they are. All I have are examples:

There’s one, phone pressed to his ear as he corners his behemoth SUV at tire screeching speed, scattering pedestrians. In the passenger seat a shapely, over made-up simpleton gapes out, scheming of fashion purchases, avoiding his simian touch.

There’s another one. He is jumping the queue at the turn-off, or breaking a red light, or reversing back-wards the wrong way up a one way street, delighting in his own cunning. He is quick to attack, but like all cowards, only with sound and mouthfuls of air. His weapon of choice is the horn. He will ruin a quite Spring morning to punish those too slow away from the traffic light, or decent enough to allow a pedestrian right of way. If you catch his hooded eye, he will flinch. Aggression only prospers in the cowardly heart when escape or victory are certain.

Occasionally you see them dismounted:

There’s one by the riverbank, in his shiny Adidas tracksuit tucked into his matching boxing boots, he clutches his man purse (murse) and looks sullen. His lopsided gait combines a saunter, with a jaunt, with a Hyenas sneaky low-necked slink. He pats his companion on her backside, and as she swishes her ponytail (cutely tucked though her Versace cap), she imagines holding his greasy head under the water until mutant river crabs eat his blue lips whilst he screams a bubbly accompaniment to his own sub-aquatic death opera.

There’s one in the restaurant, clicking his fat fingers at the gentle waiter, his beard stained as he hurriedly forks pasta into his sucking lizard lips (held close to the plate, pig style). He spends the entire meal shouting into his phone as his dinner companion looked on, dreaming of jabbing a red hot fork into his pallid eye, and melting that damned phone into the smoking socket as he choked in shock on his cold pasta.

Who are these people? What are these people?

The Danes call them “Brians”, but that is not it. Brians are boy-racers, a dangerous urban irritant indeed, but a mere sub-class of the scourge I am describing . In Africa they call them Wabenzi – a ruling elite, rich on stolen taxes and corruptiuon. Whilst this is close,  it does not fit. The African Wabenzi occasionally have taste or an education, no so the people I am trying to identify.

I am sure they have a secret, universal name – possibly in Latin – and a formal classification in a sociology textbook somewhere, but I have no idea what it is.

They are not a class (in the sociological sense). They are not a stable section of society, a social level, a layer.  These are not a lumpenproletariate or underclass. Quite the opposite, they are an economic elite

They are not a family or a tribe, as apart from their behaviour they have no relation to each other. They span every nation, ethnicity and culture. Most are men, but they have attendant womenfolk. Their provenance is diverse. They are an unstable phenomenon.

I am starting to see them as monsters in the classical sense, warnings to us about the state of our society. They are human symptoms. Part of a syndrome. The side effects of a particularly vile form of societal rot, the pustules of society, the poultice that draws (and stores) the narcissism, vulgarity and violence out of the body politic. Thankfully, they mostly kill their own – be it in fiery crashes or shoot-outs. This keep their numbers below then critical threshold above which civilization itself breaks down.

Perhaps they have a positive role? Perhaps they are the gut bacteria of our society. There to soak up and process the cultural filthy, and to give off the cautionary gas, a miasma, a stink that reminds us why education, culture, civility and decency require such aggressive defence.

I am still deciding which of these it is.

Whatever they are, they are a scourge, and I for one an devoted to curbing their power and influence. If I could eradicate them (as a cultural phenomenon, not as people) I would do so.

I would love to see an army form. A cadre of gentlemen and gentlewomen, countervailing against this scourge with eusocial activism (civility and kindness), education and the cultural dreadnoughts of literature, art, science and philosophy.

Unfortunately I see no such phenomenon. We are neither “sustaining our own morale” nor are we “attracting the uncommitted”. We are in wholesale retreat. Our culture now effortly produces these people. Auden’s prophecy has come true:

“One doesn’t have to be a prophet to predict the consequences . . .

Reason will be replaced by Revelation . . . Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective vision – feelings in the solar plexus induced by undernourishment, angelic images generated by fever or drugs, dream warnings inspired by the sound of falling water. Whole cosmogonies will be created out of some forgotten personal resentment, complete epics written in private languages, the daubs of schoolchildren ranked above the greatest masterpieces . . .

Idealism will be replaced by Materialism . . . Diverted from its normal outlet in patriotism and civic or family pride, the need of the masses for some visible Idol to worship will be driven into totally unsociable channels where no education can reach it. Divine honours will be paid to shallow depressions in the earth, domestic pets, ruined windmills, or malignant tumours.

Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal human virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish. Every corner-boy will congratulate himself: ‘I’m such a sinner that God has come down in person to save me.’ Every crook will argue: ‘I like committing crimes. God likes forgiving them. Really the world is admirably arranged.

The New Aristocracy will consist exclusively of hermits, bums and permanent invalids. The Rough Diamond, the Consumptive Whore, the bandit who is good to his mother, the epileptic girl who has a way with animals will be the heroes and heroines of the New Tragedy, when the general, the statesman, and the philosopher have become the butt of every farce and satire.”  WH Auden “”For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio”

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life

Neil Strauss has a knack for surfing the Zeitgeist.

His 2006 best-seller “The Game” documented his involvement in the international Seduction Community at exactly the moment it was going mainstream.

Now he has a new book out called “Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life“, that plugs straight into the growing popularity of collapsarianism and neo-Survivalism:

Terrorist attacks. Natural disasters. Domestic crackdowns. Economic collapse. Riots. Wars. Disease. Starvation.

What can you do when it all hits the fan?

You can learn to be self-sufficient and survive without the system.

“I’ve started to look at the world through apocalypse eyes.” So begins Neil Strauss’s harrowing new book: his first full-length work since the international bestseller The Game, and one of the most original-and provocative-narratives of the year.

After the last few years of violence and terror, of ethnic and religious hatred, of tsunamis and hurricanes–and now of world financial meltdown–Strauss, like most of his generation, came to the sobering realization that, even in America, anything can happen. But rather than watch helplessly, he decided to do something about it. And so he spent three years traveling through a country that’s lost its sense of safety, equipping himself with the tools necessary to save himself and his loved ones from an uncertain future.

With the same quick wit and eye for cultural trends that marked The Game, The Dirt, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Emergency traces Neil’s white-knuckled journey through today’s heart of darkness, as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It’s a tale of paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes, of weirdos, heroes, and ordinary citizens going off the grid.

It’s one man’s story of a dangerous world–and how to stay alive in it.

via Amazon.com: Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life: Neil Strauss: Books.

Tim Ferriss of “4-Hour Work Week” fame has so excerpts and commentary at his blog.

What is the fate of the world’s mega-cities?

Shanghai Morning by Aldask (click image for original)

In a brilliant post on Global Dashboard, Jules Evans analyses the fate of the world’s mega cities in the wake of what is shaping up to be a complete economic collapse in many parts of the world.

Quoting Richard Florida in the Atlantic, we find out what they mean by mega-cities:

In North America, these mega-regions include SunBelt centers like the Char-Lanta Corridor, Northern and Southern California, the Texas Triangle of Houston–San Antonio–Dallas, and Southern Florida’s Tampa-Orlando-Miami area; the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia, stretching from Portland through Seattle to Vancouver; and both Greater Chicago and Tor-Buff-Chester in the old Rust Belt.

Internationally, these mega-regions include Greater London, Greater Tokyo, Europe’s Am-Brus-Twerp, China’s Shanghai-Beijing Corridor, and India’s Bangalore-Mumbai area. Economic output is ever-more concentrated in these places as well. The world’s 40 largest mega-regions, which are home to some 18 percent of the world’s population, produce two-thirds of global economic output and nearly 9 in 10 new patented innovations.

I was hoping that South Africa’s PWV megalopolis (Pretoria, Witwatersrand and Vereeniging) would make it to the list.

There is a fierce debate as to what will happen to these mega-cities and how they will transform, but one things is agreed upon, James Howard Kunstler is right: suburbia is doomed.

Read on at “After the crunch: more urbanisation or less?

Walking houses

In a recent post I talked about how Recreational Vehicles (basically motorised caravans) may be the ideal home of the future, writing:

If you live in a highly volatile country prone to natural disasters
or civil disorder due to economic collapse, perhaps having a mobile
home would be a very good idea, especially one of these off-the-grid
solar powered machines described in Bookdoock RVing.

You could dodge the weather or trouble, set up home pretty much
anywhere and simply move if trouble came your way again. If you are
armed, travel in convoy, port your own emergency rations and an
inflatable boat, you might be the safest people anywhere.

Now I see the Telegraph reports that a Danish art collective have created a “the ultimate house for beating floods or unfriendly neighbours – a home built on six hydraulic legs that can walk.”

“The 10ft high home is solar and wind powered and can stroll at walking pace across all terrains.

It has a living room, kitchen, toilet, bed, wood stove and mainframe computer which controls the legs.

…It was built by art collective N55 in Copenhagen, Denmark, who worked in conjunction with engineers at MIT in Massachusetts, USA.

Designers say it provides a solution to the problem of rising water levels as the house can simply walk away from floods.

The prototype cost £30,000 to build, including materials and time, but the designers believe it could be constructed for a lot less.

The artists in the N55 collective are Ion Sørvin, and Øivind Slaatto. Sam Kronick, from MIT designed the legs.

Mr Slaatto plans to live in the house when it returns to Copenhagen. He has been working on his pet project for two years and was inspired by his meetings with Romani travellers in Cambridgeshire.

He said: “This house is not just for travellers but also for anyone interested in a more general way of nomadic living.

Each leg is powered and works independently and is designed to always have three on the ground at any one time to ensure stability.

The makers hope the legs could be eventually mounted on any kind of structure and make it walk and several pods could be linked together for bigger houses.” – From “Walking house can escape floods or unruly neighbours

72 Hours – A free guide to disaster preparedness planning

The City of San Francisco has put together a great site (and accompanying PDF) on planning for a disaster or emergency, what to have in your home and how you can hekl your community.

No matter where you live in the world, crises, disasters and emergencies are a growing threat.  Food and fuel supply lines are much more fragile than most might imagine and authorities are typically woefully under-prepared to deal with major incidents.

Site: http://www.72hours.org
Printable PDF version: http://www.72hours.org/pdf/72Hours.pdf