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"Absurd in philosophy and formally heretical"

Thus did Galileo recant helicocentrism. This came to mind when skimming an EU press release and survey on the Galileo navigation system, which it would be not unreasonable to call 'controversial'.

In order for opinion polls and the like to have any validity, the asking of loaded questions is considered poor form by the UK trade body, but Gallup seems to have been quite happy to do the EU's bidding in the way it formulated its questions.

Having bowled a few easy questions about uses of satnav, the survey then delivered a Shane Warne special:

"Before I ask the next question, let me explain you [sic] a few things about navigation systems. [READ OUT SLOWLY, REPEAT IF NECESSARY] ­ Navigations systems are used by an increasing number of applications, such as for example car navigation, shipping, aviation, in agriculture to monitor the use of chemicals. ­ The US owns and controls GPS, which is primarily for military use, but also provided for civilian use, however without quality of service guarantees.­ Russia and China are working on setting up their alternative navigation systems. These are mostly military systems as well.

Q4a. According to your opinion, should Europe set up its own navigation system, or should Europe rely on American, Russian or Chinese systems?" (My emphases)

Not exactly neutrally worded, was it? Faced with Soviet Union election result of a question, a heroic 20% of the Euro populace were not cowed into giving the answer apparently so devoutly to be wished. The Greeks were the most swayed at 90% and the Danes the least at 61%. Meanwhile, 59% of those polled have not heard of the Galileo project....

And there's more:

"Galileo is the name of the positioning system that the European Union has started to develop seven years ago. Currently, it seems that in order to complete the Galileo system additional public funding is necessary (about €2.4 billion, which is the cost of about 400 km motorway). What do you prefer:
The EU should secure the necessary funds in order to complete Galileo as soon as possible. The EU should not secure extra funds, even if it means that the project will be significantly delayed, or even that it fails".

So more weaselling, no mention of total costs, and a parallel made with something rather less fluffy than say education or healthcare. Even so, 63% wanted to throw good money after bad and 23% prepared to see it 'significantly delayed or even fail'. We, along with the Danes and the Swedes were most prepared to go for the latter, at around a third of those polled, while Bulgarians and Romanians clearly hanker after central planning / know full well that they won't be picking up at the tab, with 79% in favour of further funding. Worth bearing in mind if the news media runs with this 'poll'.

I'm off to Doughty Street shortly, so comment moderation is on.






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Anonymous fredalo flintoff said... 4:48 pm

Helicopterism? Weren't that Leonardo da Capri?  



Blogger CityUnslicker said... 9:43 pm

missed you on 18DS, bugger.  



Anonymous flashgordonnz said... 1:09 am

400km of motorway? That's a lot of motorway! How many kms of rail would that be? How many windmills would that be (appease the greenies, get some power, too)? How many PCs for schools would that be? What percentage tax cut could that be? Say, just off the middle margin.

OR

How many quangos could that sustain for 5 years (including travel allowances)?  



Anonymous IanCroydon said... 12:42 pm

The US owns and controls GPS, which is primarily for military use, but also provided for civilian use, however without quality of service guarantees.­

Applies to the Internet ((c) Al Gore) as well.

And, to come to think of it, it can also apply to the UN Security Council.  



Blogger Ordovicius said... 1:26 am

Was there an option for answering "I couldn't give a toss"?  



Anonymous flashgordonnz said... 10:34 am

Give me a map anyday. Ánd a wind-up torch. Then when the Ruskies and the mid easteners cut off energy supplies, I can still find my way home.  



Blogger Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said... 11:12 pm

Galileo disproved heliocentrism? Some people in the US don't think SO!  



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