Friday, August 08, 2014

The EU at work; Spanish politics; Student grades; Van fun; & Google translations.

As I've said at least once, the EU is a humongous bureaucracy playing at being a transnational government. So, when it decided to produce a uniform system for drug trials across 28 countries, no one should have been surprised it came up with something that increased costs, extended delays and benefitted no one except paper-pushers and lawyers. Certainly not patients. In fact, it's so obviously bad that EU MPs have said they're going to scrap it and come up with something better. Maybe. Meanwhile, R&D stays stalled.

It's surely not at all surprising that 67% of Spaniards think the job being done by the PP government is “bad or very bad,” while 70% think the same about the PSOE opposition. With a general election next year, the real question is how much of this disaffection with corrupt politicos will translate into support for Spain's new party, Podemos, now in 3rd position. Can it really replace PSOE as the left-of-centre option? Possibly. Hence the barrage of criticism directed at it by the 2 main parties. 

Everyone in the UK is familiar with 'grade creep". This is the ability of students to achieve grades way above their predecessors. And it doesn't only occur at secondary school, with GCSEs and A Levels. It's been happening so long at university that the percentage of First Class degrees has risen over the last 30 years from 5% to 20%. I mention this merely because of the accompanying comment I read from a CEO about the best recruits his company could get - “They need a lot of training. They can’t always spell. They can’t be left to write emails without supervision. They’re bright, but you can’t assume they know anything." Certainly not how to punctuate . . . .

Who'd be a cop? A couple of Ibiza police officers stopped a van in the early hours of Tuesday morning to breathalyse the driver. He was clean but the officers were a tad taken aback to find 6 semi-naked Swiss folk in the back engaged in some horizontal jogging. Rather than arrest them for indecent behaviour, they gave them on-the-spot fines for not wearing seat-belts. Which were readily paid, garnering a 50% discount. The wisdom of Solomon.

Finally . . . I've said that Google's translations of Spanish text into English are poor. One reason is the lack of personal pronouns in Spanish and another is the different word order. When you combine this with the Spanish love of long sentences, the result can be gibberish. As an example of the latter, I offer you this, a sentence of 111 words:- Si, mientras estuvo acampada, la gente no supo más que mostrar su indignación, una vez nombrado el sujeto que les había impulsado a salir a la calle, solo faltaba que un grupo de lo que Iglesias llama buenos comunicadores, expertos en el uso de la Red, bien dotados para la “presencia mediática”, construyera una visión del mundo en la que la gente, convertida en comunidad, pudiera sacar la consecuencia de que si ellos están en el poder es sólo porque nosotros los pusimos, y que ahora, que ya no nos representan, podemos echarlos, por mangantes, por corruptos, por vividores, porque al traicionar el mandato de representación se han convertido en escoria.

And here's Google's attempt at a translation:- If, while you were camping, people did not know more than show their outrage, once the subject that had driven them out into the street named, just missing a group of churches called what good communicators, skilled in the use of Red, well suited to the "media presence" build a world view in which people turned into community, could get the result that if they are in power only because we put them, and now that no longer represent us, we can throw them by crooks by corrupt, for freeloaders, for betraying the mandate of representation have become dross.

I rest my case.

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