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The EU's 20 absurdities: a poll

Results after 360 votes counted:
  1. ACTA, 18%
  2. Spying in cars, 13%
  3. Dehydration, 11%
  4. Light bulbs, 11%
  5. Corporate women quotas, 8%
  6. Hypocritical smoking bans, 6%
  7. Strong vacuum cleaner ban, 6%
Originally posted on May 1st

Around May 24th, the citizens of EU countries will vote deputies to the European Parliament. This "parliament" isn't terribly important – for example, it is not allowed to propose any legislation (it is the only "parliament" in the world with this minor defect) but we may still think that it's important that the right people will be able to speak on that forum.



Various parties opposing the creeping European unifications are expected to make a strong showing – taking over approximately 1/3 of the Parliament. We will probably see that the Euroskeptics are far from being a uniform body, too. It's very likely that I will vote the Euro-skeptical "Party of Free Citizens [SSO]" for the first time because I am obviously much closer to it than to the older parties and I was impressed by SSO's gains during the latest national elections. Slovak economist Richard Sulik is the boss of a libertarian party that has some nonzero chances to shine in Slovakia, too.

I decided to translate his poll choosing the greatest absurdity of the European Union. Just to be sure, I think that there are much more serious processes taking place at the EU level than these 20 items. But the list of the 20 items is amusing and you may pick your winner.




First, let me describe the 20 contestants and at the end, you may submit your ballot, too.




Here are the contestants:
  1. Water closet quotas:
    EU is preparing a law on the maximum volume of toilet tank to be 6 liters. It's based on a study named "Building the base of evidence concerning toilets and urinals" that cost EUR 90,000. More frequent splashing may actually increase the water consumption. More...
  2. Classic light bulb ban:
    EU has already banned the import and production of the Edison light bulbs. Energy-efficient fluorescent ones are much more expensive, less reliable, and their light is less natural which brings new health risks. These "environmental" light bulbs also contain the toxic mercury. More...
  3. Ban of sugar in juices:
    EU has banned the addition of sugar into juices as a part of its fight against obesity. However, people are allowed to drink syrups and lemonades with a much higher sugar content which may increase the obesity rates. More...
  4. Ban on bears and elephants on milk packages:
    Milk packages for children won't be allowed to feature pictures of animals, smiling children, or fairy-tale characters. According to the EU, the cute pictures are "misleading the consumer". Normalized euroboxes may make the consumers' orientation harder. More...
  5. Water doesn't help against dehydration:
    EU has prohibited to mention that water helps to fight dehydration. This followed from an expensive research project in which 21 scientists have been looking for a relationship between water and dehydration for 3 years. They arrived to that conclusion despite the fact that "dehydration" literally means the shortage of water in the organism. More...
  6. Ban on "powerful" vacuum cleaners:
    Since September 2014, the EU will ban vacuum cleaners above 1,600 watts and since 2017, above 900 watts. Common vacuum cleaners today have more than 2,000 watts. Consumers will be forced to buy weaker vacuum cleaners or they will pay more money for the same ones. More...
  7. New burdens for employers:
    The EU wants to impose extra duties on the employers. For example, they will have to possess "individual roadmaps of schooling", quantitative targets for development, or an annual budget for schooling. Increased expenses may lead to layoffs. More...
  8. Hypocritical fight against smoking:
    The EU will ban menthol cigarettes. It will also prohibit e-cigarettes; to fight those, it doesn't hesitate to distort the truth and act non-democratically. In spite of that, tobacco producers are getting generous subsidies. More...
  9. Ban on plastic bags:
    The EU is thinking about new taxes or a complete ban on plastic bags. Ironically, such a ban could harm the environment, public health, and even increase the crime rate. The ban will also steal some extra money from the people's and nations' pockets. More...
  10. Bureaucratic olive oil:
    The EU was planning to introduce a ban on olive oil served in open vessels in the restaurants. Only specially designed bottles were supposed to be allowed but after an intense backlash, the proposal was shelved. More...
  11. Spying on car drivers:
    The EU plans measures to terminate the privacy of car drivers. Black boxes and camcorders in cars will become mandatory, the coordinates will be constantly monitored, and police will be able to remotely stop the car. More...
  12. Earlier driving license expiration dates:
    The EU has already shortened the validity of driver licenses. It used to be unlimited, now it's 15 years. The safety isn't improved because the renewal of the licenses is a mere bureaucratic formality without tests and exams. More...
  13. Three more billions euros for Greek superhighways:
    Slovakia has 450 kilometers of superhighways, Greece should naturally have 900 km because it's twice as large. However, Greece already has 3,200 km of superhighways, the maximum in the EU on a per-capita basis. In spite of that, the Greeks received additional EUR 3 billions in January. The justification was to prevent "traumatic experience" of the Greeks caused by the unfinished superhighways. More...
  14. End of weekly waste collection:
    The EU insists that the households are dividing the waste to at least 5 different containers. At many places, this will reduce the frequency of waste pickup which will encourage the propagation of stinks, diseases, rodents, and other fauna. More...
  15. 40% of young people have to have college:
    Because the EU wants so, at least 40% of people between 30 and 34 years of age will have to have a college degree by 2020. This inevitably leads to decreasing standards. Schools are being transformed to diploma factories required to fulfill the EU diploma plans. More...
  16. Plums and digestion:
    Three people in the EU have done some research and the EU has banned the claims that plums are supporting the functions in the colon. More...
  17. Quotas on women in companies:
    According to the EU, at least 40% in the large enough corporate boards have to be female. Such quotas are likely to worsen the position of women because no every individual female member will be believed to have become a board member because of something else than her skills and efforts. More...
  18. Harmonizing the tax base:
    The EU is building plans to unify the tax base for all firms operating in the EU countries. This is the first step towards the tax harmonization which will lead to higher taxes in the EU, especially in newer member states such as Slovakia. More...
  19. ACTA used to censor the Internet:
    ACTA is supposed to reduce the illegal content on the Internet but it would lead to censorship and disappearing freedom on the Internet. ACTA was being penned secretly and the plan was to approve the bill invisibly in between some bills about agriculture and fishing. More...
  20. More stringent MOT tests:
    The EU has made the MOT tests (technical checks of cars) more stringent and more frequent; they will have to take place annually. The new policy is based on questionable statistics that diametrically differ from the available Slovak statistics. More...
OK. Now you can vote in the poll.

The most annoying EU absurdity
  
pollcode.com free polls 

BTW readers from the U.K. mostly came to this page from James Delingpole's essay Why the Mainstream Media Will Never "Get" UKIP.





The flag of the Three Percenters (yes, the page had to be censored), an American conservative militia. The name derives from the fact that only 3% of the people on the U.S. territory have fought and won the American revolution with their guns. The remaining 97% are chicken littles – for example, these 97% of climatological hired guns believe in the chicken-little climate change delusion.

Off-topic: the Bundy standoff

Cliven Bundy is a Nevada rancher whose ancestors' cattle have been grazing a certain piece of land in the state. In 1993, the federal grazing rules have changed and he didn't accept the changes. In fact, Bundy does not accept the existence of the United States of America. He's OK according to the laws of his country, Nevada, but the U.S. is a problem. The federal courts want him to pay $1 million for the 20-year-long violation of the federal law and to kill his cattle. He doesn't want to accept anything although he's losing all the trials. So his militias want to defend their perceived rights and cut a hypothetical loose part of Harry Reid's body if the Democrat dares to visit the place again.

Bundy has lost some GOP supporters when he dared to suggest that the blacks were better off in the era of slavery than now, when they're mostly on government subsidies. Given the fact that Bundy's opinions were the mainstream on a big part of North America just 150 years ago, I think it's a clear example of a violation of the freedom of speech in the U.S.

Despite all the sympathies I may have, it is hard for me to imagine how he wants to beat the U.S. in the "civil war" that Bundy's supporters sometimes mention. The federal government may be and often is acting like a big Mafia but it's still unwise to deny its existence and power. Bundy doesn't seem to propose any realistic system how to reorganize the rights on the U.S. territory so that some kind of new rule of the law would be sustainable.



Nevertheless, I also believe that the federal ownership of the land in the Western part of the U.S. is crazy – there is still some land communism over there. Much of the land should be privatized. These bizarre patterns should at least be seriously discussed.

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snail feedback (20) :


reader bob sykes said...

It seems that Europe needs yet another Great War to purge the Continent of this nonsense. maybe three or four hundred million dead will do it. It would take a lot less it the bombs could be focused on the elites. Maybe it will start in Ukraine.


reader Uncle Al said...

There must be European standards for erect penis length and girth, with severe tax penalties for anybody who does not measure up. Quarterly testing, ISO 900x documentation in a public database. Brothel wages will then be regulated commensurate with the indignity of labour.


reader Honza said...

Perhaps there is a time to remind the old song by Petr Skoumal - Naruby (Inside out).
The gist of the song:

...The officials came to me, telling me not to feed pigeons, birds urchins, source of infection and destruction. ...but they do not know that I am friend with a dove that always tells to me - Please do not feed the officials, the source of infection and destruction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON2vMujfLV0
http://www.texty-pisni.eu/petr-skoumal/naruby


reader mesocyclone said...

Wow! It's amazing how these bad ideas spread across the world. It's all about the new substitute for religion: skeptical puritanism, with its rites of confession, punishment, and rigorous codes of conduct. Beyond that, of course, it's about constantly increasing the power of bureaucrats.

Sometimes I think it will take a world wide collapse to scale back this nonsense. History supports that view.


reader Gerry said...

A little regulation here and a little regulation there. Eventually we eat, sleep, shit, work and breed as regulated.

No more. No less.


reader Casper said...

According to "Andrej Kralik
EC Representation in Slovakia

New rules on vacuums save 19 TWh in
2020, corresponding savings to such a level that we in Europe need about 4 nuclear power plants less."


This seems like a lot of vacuuming. I know that citizens of the EU are obsessive about cleanliness and even apparently use devices to wash their bottoms and so on but is this true about the 4 extra nuclear power plants?


reader Timo said...

Blessed are you who weep now, for later you will laugh.


reader FlanObrien said...

The same scam is being pushed in the Americas and Asia. The main message is simplification of travel because of a bloc wide visa treaty and no money changing. That makes the abolishment of family and nation it all worth it!

Maybe this message will be less attractive to the masses now the elites have instituted long terror-scare waiting times at borders along with mandatory porno-gropes disguised as security.

Disagree about blaming the elites. People get what they vote for. Stop voting!


reader physicsnut said...

gee ... I thought this was about the New York City Council - or maybe San Francisco.


reader Shannon said...

Still... some of us will still vote for the political parties who wants "more Europe" i.e. all of them, except the Front National and affiliated others.

Hey Lubos, did you see this new law in Michigan that is putting an end to positive discrimination ? :-) In France we think it is going to spread in all the other States.
http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/apr/22/affirmative-action-us-supreme-court-division-racial-issues


reader Luboš Motl said...

Very interesting news, Shannon.


reader Shannon said...

I voted "spying in cars" btw. Luckily in Ireland the Garda is very relax with speed limit, orange light, wrong parking etc. The only idea that some European sbires would spy on my driving scares the Bejesus out of me.


reader Svik said...

You are making me hungry. Where are the donuts. Where are you I am comming over!


reader anna v said...

For those thinking that Greece has too many highways I would like to stress that for a similar reason it also has too many sea lanes (ferrys and other boats connecting islands).

a)Mainland Greece is very mountainous, cutting the land in two. People who understand fractals will also understand that there cannot be a one to one correspondence with population numbers, map area and lengths of roads in this case.

b) It is also a country that has millions of tourists, (17.8 million in 2013) and as the word says, they tour. As we seem to be destined to be the Florida of part of the EU highways are a business investment.

c) many of the roads counted in the kilometers quoted are really single lane, full of potholes , not really highways.

The incomplete road from Patras to Corinth is a tourist road and a deathtrap as it is practically single lane each way without a central separation.

Now the question to our Slovakian friends should be if they have asked for help in financing the roads they believe they need?


reader Jack Wing said...

Regarding 14 End of weekly waste collection:

In the State of Bremen Germany, it’s only every two weeks already.
Alternating between plastics one week and organic (stinky) the other week.

And by law, to keep up appearance, all this stinking garbage has to be kept indoors until the night before pick up.
You cannot imagine the stink and the flies in German buildings, particularly during the warmer months.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Sorry, Anna, I don't believe any item in your justification.

a) the more mountains one has, the more likely it should be that one drives along bumpy small roads instead of superhighways.

b) 17.8 million is meaningless because most of them are there for a week or so. At one moment, it's something like 200,000 and they are not traveling in cars more significantly than the working people. Believe it or not, but in the productive world, well outside Greece, people are traveling more when they work - e.g. commute to work - than when they are on vacation, so tourism wouldn't really add much more than 2% to the traffic, perhaps less, if Greece were a productive country.

c) You're just not telling us the truth. We really mean highways - in German, "Autobähne", and check

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Autobahnen_in_Griechenland



for the precise list of where these 3,174 km of highways are. This insane "investment" drives me up the wall but your will to defend it drives me up the wall even more intensely than that! You must have lost all ideas about the life within your means.


Slovakia may really afford 3 times more highways per capita than you can, and it's going in the opposite direction. It is a LUNACY.


reader anna v said...

I wiill take your advice and stick to physics on your blog ; the one thing about your link, most of those roads are unfinished, which is the problem, and they are called highways but they are not. Can you not see in the map that because of the mountain lines that cannot be crossed arteries are going down parallel, whereas in a flattish land one would be enough?


reader Leo Vuyk said...

Sorry Svik for my late reaction, see:
3D alternative particle system
http://vixra.org/pdf/1103.0002v4.pdf


reader Svik said...

Looks like an advanced version of sub-quark theories.

Does it predict any new particles??

The sunny e8 predicted some new ones. Most of which were already predicted.

I like the models. Please make some I can eat.

Cheers


reader Leo Vuyk said...

It predict more than one photon 5 of them are the same as Gluons acting only on the Planck lengths.
G.'t Hooft reacted that this system will be impossible to translate into math.