In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby ConMan » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:04 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says. Britain's longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours - first achieved last May, and again on Thursday.

The government plans to phase out Britain's last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.

Cordi O'Hara of the National Grid said: "To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing.


link

Meanwhile in Australia, wind turbines are apparently an ugly blight on the landscape, and it's totally worthwhile to lend $900m to dig a new coal mine.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Diadem » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:59 am UTC

I agree with Nate here that Le Pen's chances of winning are very low.

This is what happened the last time a candidate from Le Front National reached the 2nd round in the French presidential elections:
Wikipedia wrote:

Code: Select all

Candidates         Parties                       1st round           2nd round
                                                 Votes       %       Votes       %
Jacques Chirac     Rally for the Republic RPR    5,665,855   19.88%  25,537,956  82.21%
Jean-Marie Le Pen  National Front         FN     4,804,713   16.86%  5,525,032   17.79%
Lionel Jospin      Socialist Party        PS     4,610,113   16.18%


So the last time someone named Le Pen made it to the 2nd round, the French left united completely behind Chirac, even though they utterly despised him. Of course Marine is not her father, and 2017 is not 2002. Back in 2002 Jean-Marie only made it to the 2nd round because the left was massively divided, and utterly screwed up. There were many left-wing candidates, and everybody was so convinced that Jospin would make it to the 2nd round that they didn't bother voting for him in the first. Marine on the other hand seems to have made it to the 2nd round on her own strength. There was no surprise this time, polls consistently predicted her reaching the 2nd round.

So I don't think things will play out entirely the same, but I still don't think Marine has any chance. Marine may be more palatable than her father, but Macron is also much more palatable than Chirac. If the left could bring themselves to vote for Chirac, they will vote for Macron too.


Also, a short rant: Can we stop calling Marine Le Pen "The French Trump". Or calling Geert Wilders "The Dutch Trump". Or calling any other european candidate "The X Trump". It's such a dumb thing to do. Yes, Marine Le Pen, Wilders and Trump are all anti-immigration. That's pretty much the only thing they share though. There's more to politics than that.

Also, neither Le Pen nor Trump were inspired by Trump. They were already doing their thing literally decades before Trump came around. Marine Le Pen has been in politics since '86 and has held elected office since '98. Wilders has held elected office since '97 and been in the national parliament since '98. If there was inspiration, it clearly runs the other way. So if a comparison has to be made, then Trump is "The American Le Pen" or "The American Wilders", not the other way around.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby flicky1991 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:42 pm UTC

I can't help but not be reassured by that when all the polls were saying Brexit wouldn't happen and Trump wouldn't win.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:56 pm UTC

flicky1991 wrote:I can't help but not be reassured by that when all the polls were saying Brexit wouldn't happen and Trump wouldn't win.

They were saying Remain would win by a very narrow margin and that Clinton would win by a very narrow margin in the swing states. They were out by a couple of %, which is perfectly normal.

The polls are showing Macron more than 20% ahead of Le Pen.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby flicky1991 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:01 pm UTC

Hmm, not too bad then. I just can't help but feel nervous about any "X's chances of winning are low" statement after those two.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:13 pm UTC

I totally understand.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Diadem » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:16 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I can't help but not be reassured by that when all the polls were saying Brexit wouldn't happen and Trump wouldn't win.

They were saying Remain would win by a very narrow margin and that Clinton would win by a very narrow margin in the swing states. They were out by a couple of %, which is perfectly normal.

Yeah. In both of these cases the problems were with the pundits, not the polls. The polls had Clinton on a comfortable lead for the popular vote, but a very narrow lead for the electoral college. Most pundits however pretended she was pretty much guaranteed to win. The polling error for Brexit was a bit bigger, but still only 4%, and polls in the UK always have bigger error margins than in the US, so even that result was within the margin of error.

Polls can easily be 4% off. Polls can also be 6% off or even 10% of in extreme cases. But over 30% off? That's completely unprecedented.

That means that if polls remain as they are, Macron is pretty much guaranteed to win. However that's a pretty big caveat. A 30% error in polling would be unprecedented, but a 30% swing in the polls over a 2 week period isn't. It's still rare, but it can happen.

If no major dirt turns up on Macron, and he refrains from making any blunders, things look good though.

And I want to stress, again, that while Brexit and Trump may have been unprecedented and new, Le Pen is not. Right-wing populism is not a new thing in Europe, or in France. Le Pen herself has already been around for a while. French people have known her for over a decade now, and it thus seems unlikely that they are suddenly going to radically shift their opinion on her.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby SDK » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:24 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says. Britain's longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours - first achieved last May, and again on Thursday.

The government plans to phase out Britain's last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.

Cordi O'Hara of the National Grid said: "To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing.


link

That's really cool, but according to the Wikipedia article, there might be more to it than just switching to renewables. Nuclear, wind and bio-energy make up a total of 35% of the UK's total energy production (which is great!), but according to the first table on that page, the UK imports more than 25% of their energy nowadays as well (whereas in the early 2000's, they were a net exporter of energy). If that electricity is having to come across the channel to fill the gap, was coal used to produce that? It's difficult to factor that into your overall carbon emissions. The article sadly doesn't go into great detail on that importing, but it must cover much more than just the downtime of wind and solar production since they don't even account for 25% total. Hopefully that's just part of a long term plan - import for a while now as they shut down coal plants, then bridge that gap with more renewable production in years to come.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:57 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:That means that if polls remain as they are, Macron is pretty much guaranteed to win. However that's a pretty big caveat. A 30% error in polling would be unprecedented, but a 30% swing in the polls over a 2 week period isn't. It's still rare, but it can happen.

If no major dirt turns up on Macron, and he refrains from making any blunders, things look good though.

That's the only thing I'm worried about. Polls in the UK about the EU were 60/40 in favour of it, a couple of years before the referendum. Two weeks is admittedly quite a lot less than two years, but this guy's popularity might be very volatile...

*goes to hide under the kitchen table for two weeks*

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:50 pm UTC

It's not just dirt, but "accidents" as well, especially considered the people who make up FN. For the good of humanity, NATO should hide Macron in a hospital bunker, just in case.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Diadem » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:42 pm UTC

What does happen if one of the candidates gets assassinated? Does the other win by default? Does the 2nd runner up get the slot? Does the candidate's party get to nominate someone? Does the 2nd round get postponed? Does the first round get redone?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby WibblyWobbly » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:46 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:What does happen if one of the candidates gets assassinated? Does the other win by default? Does the 2nd runner up get the slot? Does the candidate's party get to nominate someone? Does the 2nd round get postponed? Does the first round get redone?

It appears you return to first ballot and do it all over again.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Zamfir » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:44 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:What does happen if one of the candidates gets assassinated? Does the other win by default? Does the 2nd runner up get the slot? Does the candidate's party get to nominate someone? Does the 2nd round get postponed? Does the first round get redone?

The assassin absorbs the powers of the dead candidate in the quickening. This goes on until there is only one left, who will receive the prize.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Diadem » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:20 pm UTC

WibblyWobbly wrote:
Diadem wrote:What does happen if one of the candidates gets assassinated? Does the other win by default? Does the 2nd runner up get the slot? Does the candidate's party get to nominate someone? Does the 2nd round get postponed? Does the first round get redone?

It appears you return to first ballot and do it all over again.

So Hollande could legally stay in power indefinitely as long as he kept assassinating one of the two candidates after each election? Nice loophole :)
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby SDK » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:57 pm UTC

I'm not sure that counts as "legally".
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby elasto » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:49 pm UTC

A cheating US husband has been charged with killing his wife after police said data from her wearable fitness tracker contradicted his version of events.

Richard Dabate, 40, claimed to have seen Connie Dabate shot to death more than an hour before her Fitbit device recorded her last movements.

He told detectives that she was killed by a home intruder in the US state of Connecticut on 23 December 2015. But police say her electronic device tells a different story.

Investigators say physical evidence showed no sign of the struggle described by Mr Dabate.

Data found on a Fitbit that Mrs Dabate had worn for an exercise class that morning shows she did not take her last movements until 10:05, more than an hour after her husband claimed to watch her die.

Oops. It's almost like an episode of Columbo...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Alexius » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:21 pm UTC

SDK wrote:That's really cool, but according to the Wikipedia article, there might be more to it than just switching to renewables. Nuclear, wind and bio-energy make up a total of 35% of the UK's total energy production (which is great!), but according to the first table on that page, the UK imports more than 25% of their energy nowadays as well (whereas in the early 2000's, they were a net exporter of energy). If that electricity is having to come across the channel to fill the gap, was coal used to produce that? It's difficult to factor that into your overall carbon emissions. The article sadly doesn't go into great detail on that importing, but it must cover much more than just the downtime of wind and solar production since they don't even account for 25% total. Hopefully that's just part of a long term plan - import for a while now as they shut down coal plants, then bridge that gap with more renewable production in years to come.


I think "import" refers to all forms of energy rather than just electricity- so things like oil for transport and oil or natural gas for heating. This probably also includes some fuel burned in UK power stations. Imports have gone up as the North Sea oil runs out.

If you want to look at the UK's electricity supply, I suggest you look at this website. Currently Great Britain (not the UK, as Northern Ireland is connected to Ireland's separate grid) is importing about 7% of its power from the Continent via interconnectors to France and the Netherlands. This is because it's a windy day (NW Europe has a lot of wind turbines, so has a surplus when it's windy) in late spring (a time of year when demand is lower so the UK takes some of France's surplus nuclear generated electricity- in winter it exports power to France to meet increased demand). I've looked at it at other times when GB is net exporting electricity.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:40 pm UTC

The reason to be scared about "accidents" is that Macron is guaranteed to win an election against Le Pen, but if it was Le Pen versus that extreme far left guy? Might be a toss-up. Of course, the far left guy wasn't even in third place, IIRC, so it won't be like that.

That said, I really like the French system for PM, and think the US should copy it. None of this first past the post bullshit where we can have a president win with less than 40% of the vote. I mean sure, the president that did that turned out to be our best president, but it did spark the bloodiest war we were ever involved in.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Alexius » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:53 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The reason to be scared about "accidents" is that Macron is guaranteed to win an election against Le Pen, but if it was Le Pen versus that extreme far left guy? Might be a toss-up. Of course, the far left guy wasn't even in third place, IIRC, so it won't be like that.

That said, I really like the French system for PM, and think the US should copy it. None of this first past the post bullshit where we can have a president win with less than 40% of the vote. I mean sure, the president that did that turned out to be our best president, but it did spark the bloodiest war we were ever involved in.


This French election is for President. The Prime Minister of France is chosen by the President, but can be fired by a vote of the National Assembly- so the President must appoint a PM who can command the confidence of the Assembly. If the President is from a party without a majority in the Assembly, they can end up having to appoint a PM from an opposing party (as when the socialist President Mitterrand appointed the conservative Jacques Chirac as PM).

Members of the Assembly are elected in the same two-round manner as the President in local constituencies.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:54 pm UTC

Fine, President. Still think we should copy the election system.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Tue May 02, 2017 4:19 pm UTC

Every time I look at the French polls they get closer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/39719866

59 / 41 now. Still pretty far apart, and I guess it's normal for them to narrow a bit. It would still be nice to know that France is definitely not about to descend into fascism.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Grop » Tue May 02, 2017 4:53 pm UTC

I still think Macron will be elected, but he's doing a great job at making everyone hate him.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Tue May 02, 2017 4:58 pm UTC

Grop wrote:I still think Macron will be elected, but he's doing a great job at making everyone hate him.

What's he done lately? I do worry about him blowing it with some massive gaffe. It would have to be pretty bad to close the gap though.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Liri » Tue May 02, 2017 5:02 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Grop wrote:I still think Macron will be elected, but he's doing a great job at making everyone hate him.

What's he done lately? I do worry about him blowing it with some massive gaffe. It would have to be pretty bad to close the gap though.

At a guess, acting like he's already won, à la his celebration after the first round at that fancy restaurant.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Grop » Tue May 02, 2017 5:42 pm UTC

Exactly, he is showing no humility. He apparently expects people to be shamed into voting against the other candidate.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Diadem » Wed May 03, 2017 8:20 am UTC

Acting like you've already won is definitely in the 'massive gaffe' territory. Is he really doing that? Celebrating having reached the 2nd round doesn't seem that weird to me. Sports teams will generally celebrate reaching the finals too.

I admit I'm not following the French election as closely as I probably should.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby WibblyWobbly » Wed May 03, 2017 3:13 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Acting like you've already won is definitely in the 'massive gaffe' territory. Is he really doing that? Celebrating having reached the 2nd round doesn't seem that weird to me. Sports teams will generally celebrate reaching the finals too.

I admit I'm not following the French election as closely as I probably should.

I thought it was less that he celebrated and more where and how he celebrated, i.e. an upscale Paris bistro, which plays directly into Le Pen's hands, as she's trying to set herself up as the "candidate of the people" against Macron's "candidate of the oligarchy." Same with union talks - Macron meets with the union leaders, she meets or brings in the union workers. The whole "people's candidate" thing was bound to be Le Pen's approach, but Macron seems intent on handing her ammunition.

Edit: the big debate appears ready to start in a few hours' time. It should be interesting to see how both parties come out of it.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Sun May 07, 2017 4:19 pm UTC

I haven't been following these elections closely, but today I read on Le Monde that voting abstention has been the highest since 1969. I hope it's not enough to push Le Pen into power.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Sun May 07, 2017 4:56 pm UTC

From BBC:
"A pollster says the fall in turnout appears to be less in areas where Le Pen got good results in the first round. This seems to confirm that a low overall turnout benefits Le Pen."

EDIT: Abstention rate is 26%. That's not so bad? It's not hugely more than previous years, it was 19.7% the previous election apparently. Shouldn't be enough to close a 20% lead...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby CorruptUser » Sun May 07, 2017 6:05 pm UTC


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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby addams » Sun May 07, 2017 6:44 pm UTC

Sigh of Relief....

What France did does not get US off the Train to Fascism.
I gives US another Head of State Trump won't shake hands with.

Poor Angela Merkel the look on her face makes me cringe.
Yet; It is funny in some strange way. He's Creepy.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Mutex » Sun May 07, 2017 7:22 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Result? Macron in a landslide.

65% counts as a landslide I guess. Much less of a landslide than in 2002 (82% vs 18%). Hoping this is the high point of the FN and not the direction politics in France are going to continue.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Grop » Sun May 07, 2017 7:39 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Hoping this is the high point of the FN and not the direction politics in France are going to continue.


We will see; quite a few people predict much unrest for five years, and higher FN results in 2022.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Soupspoon » Sun May 07, 2017 7:50 pm UTC

Bitter-sweet humour: Learner prevented from passing driving test due to instructor. (As a bonus, though, police Twitterer fails basic grammar test.)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Grop » Sun May 07, 2017 8:59 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Bitter-sweet humour: Learner prevented from passing driving test due to instructor. (As a bonus, though, police Twitterer fails basic grammar test.)


But then couldn't the examiner give the learner their license? How do police have their say in this?
Last edited by Grop on Sun May 07, 2017 9:15 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Coyne » Sun May 07, 2017 9:11 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Bitter-sweet humour: Learner prevented from passing driving test due to instructor. (As a bonus, though, police Twitterer fails basic grammar test.)

I wonder: if an instructor has lost his license, can he still give tests? Is he still qualified? I mean, they say, "Those who can't do, teach."
In all fairness...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Angua » Sun May 07, 2017 9:30 pm UTC

Coyne wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:Bitter-sweet humour: Learner prevented from passing driving test due to instructor. (As a bonus, though, police Twitterer fails basic grammar test.)

I wonder: if an instructor has lost his license, can he still give tests? Is he still qualified? I mean, they say, "Those who can't do, teach."

The learner was using the instructor's car for the test - they weren't being examined by them. The instructor may not have even been in the car at the time (from this article it implies they were, but it is the candidate's choice on whether they come).
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Soupspoon » Sun May 07, 2017 9:48 pm UTC

Grop wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:Bitter-sweet humour: Learner prevented from passing driving test due to instructor. (As a bonus, though, police Twitterer fails basic grammar test.)

But then couldn't the examiner give the learner their license ? How do police have their say in this ?

(IANADrivingExaminer, but, at a guess...) the incomplete test likely is the hurdle. Say that the examiner hasn't yet had the examinee perform the [reversing round the corner/parallel parking/three-point turnchoose one, according to whatever arcane rituals the examiner must observe], or the emergency stop, or perhaps even just the mandatory full half an hour of freestyle driving required to pick up proper MSMing, then despite having done well (and not failed on any (significant) points) so far, the letter of the rules must class the test exactly the same as a test being prematurely aborted due to the learner actually crashing into something or committing enough demerits as to cause the tester to call the whole thing to an immediately failed halt and perhaps even assume control themselves in extreme circumstances.

The phenomenon of an actively-in-examination car being pulled over for a passive traffic offence (ANPR cameras capturing details that the national database red-flags, as likely occured in this case) is going to be far more rare than being halted for an active offence being observed. It is also something the examiner could not detect (without running their own DVLA check whilst visually assessing the vehicle for mechanical defects before even starting). If the rules say that a (proven legitimate) police stop is an auto-fail, then an auto-fail it would have to be.

Also we've only had a handful of years without Tax Disks to check (a decent indication that the vehicle has had at least recent MOT and Proof Of Insurance in order to be able to get to the point lf paying the tax), so again it is a fairly new problem that a car might be on the road with only specially equipped police and DVLA vehicles capable of uncovering any easily accidental failure to properly reinsure the vehicle, and the old methods just haven't had time to catch many "innocent testee" cases to force review of procedure in this case to at least give leave to grant discretionary passes in these circumstances, pending discussion by the Examiners' Council or whatever body might exist with such authority.


(W.R.T. the instructor able to instruct whilst banned: with the possible exception of a short period during a fuel crisis, a few decades ago, I think Learners on a provisional licence need to be accompanied by someone who holds a valid (and at least three years old?) full licence. I don't know what the status is of a currently-over-pointed licence, but I'm doubtful it'd be considered properly valid if it can't be driven on. And it sounds like a lower limit of (non-disqualifying) points disbars a person from acting as a registered instructor. Maybe it lets him 'instruct' much as a parent or family friend might do, but then there's murky waters of a different kind. Would have to use the learner's own(/family) car, probably, as specific Instructor Insurance for a Driving School vehicle (dual-controls and all) would probably be inaccessable.)

(Ninja2: From my own reading of the article, the Instructor had to be brought to the stopped vehicle (from the Test Centre, and the Examiner at least would have needed to get a lift back there anyway). And, good catch: the Instructor doesn't run the exam. They're usually only involved as far as being the "vehicle donor" for the test, and would be waiting at the Test Centre like a 1950s expectant father waiting outside the Labour Ward for news of how his wife and imminent child eventually manage. Though they'd perhaps be at least more used to it than the fathers who had arrived with their daughters in the family car to go through the exact zame process - in both types of instance!)

Puppyclaws
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Puppyclaws » Mon May 08, 2017 3:59 am UTC

Mutex wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Result? Macron in a landslide.

65% counts as a landslide I guess. Much less of a landslide than in 2002 (82% vs 18%). Hoping this is the high point of the FN and not the direction politics in France are going to continue.


I don't know why people keep bringing this comparison up; FN has gone way way way left in the past 15 years, so much so that Jean-Marie Le Pen was/is critical of it (and was expelled from it). It's still a far-right party, but it's no longer the party of open Holocaust denial. So yes, it is more appealing than when it was that party; it still lost in a landslide to a party/person whose broadest appeal according to exit polls was that he was not Marine Le Pen. It's not like the same FN party of 15 years ago just gained (less than) 17 points in the polls. And of course it was also low voter turnout because a lot of leftists didn't want Macron either. I think you really have to squint to think any good came of this for FN.

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Grop
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items)

Postby Grop » Mon May 08, 2017 7:21 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:(Ninja2: From my own reading of the article, the Instructor had to be brought to the stopped vehicle (from the Test Centre, and the Examiner at least would have needed to get a lift back there anyway). And, good catch: the Instructor doesn't run the exam. They're usually only involved as far as being the "vehicle donor" for the test, and would be waiting at the Test Centre like a 1950s expectant father waiting outside the Labour Ward for news of how his wife and imminent child eventually manage. Though they'd perhaps be at least more used to it than the fathers who had arrived with their daughters in the family car to go through the exact zame process - in both types of instance!)


This is interesting. When I passed my driving test (in France), my instructor would sit in the back of the car. He was supposed to get feedback in case the student fails, in order to prepare their next test.


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