August 31, 2008
Local Website for Local People
(Hopefully this will be a sponsored link...)
The $45 trillion Question
As the estimated cost of measures proposed by politicians to "combat global warming" soars ever higher - such as the International Energy Council's $45 trillion - "fighting climate change" has become the single most expensive item on the world's political agenda.
As Senators Obama and McCain vie with the leaders of the European Union to promise 50, 60, even 80 per cent cuts in "carbon emissions", it is clear that to realise even half their imaginary targets would necessitate a dramatic change in how we all live, and a drastic reduction in living standards.
All this makes it rather important to know just why our politicians have come to believe that global warming is the most serious challenge confronting mankind, and just how reliable is the evidence for the theory on which their policies are based.
Neck and neck
Professional jockeys are turning up to ride at leading race meetings while under the influence of alcohol, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
You mean there are some who do it cold stone sober? Now that is brave.
Darling's Synophrys Index
Alistair Darling's image as a decent man doing his best when faced with appallingly difficult circumstances has been expertly burnished by an interview that appeared in the Guardian yesterday.
Unusually for a politician, the image seems faithfully to reflect the reality. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a man of integrity, who has the virtues of honesty and loyalty.
Mr Darling's time as Chancellor has been characterised by his determination to stay loyal to Gordon Brown. But Britain needs a Chancellor who can stand up to the Prime Minister, rather than one who is bullied by him.
Mr Darling's dogged loyalty has made it seem as though his principal role is to take the flak for policies which the Prime Minister is responsible for, but wants to distance himself from because they have proved to be unpopular.
The clips of Darling as he tried to backpedal, his bottom lip trembling as he was forced to choose between his natural honesty and his whipped loyalty to the Brownian cause, trying to remember the spin he had been instructed on was pitiful. Never mind Gordon sitting on the floor playing with the teaspoons, Darling's state of mind is the one to worry about - he seems to be a man who can't take the strain of his impossible position anymore.
There is a simple way to judge him, how clean shaven is his unibrow? When it is smooth and shiny he is on message, when the stubble shows he is his own man, for better or worse.
If you don't vote Obama you're a racist
What's that about? I think he is just echoing the clarion call of the left and press (some redundancy alert) that only nigger hating klansmen are against Obama and that if he loses it will prove that the USA is incurably racist. Such is the ignorance and prejuduce against Americans over here that it is a widespread belief, and that McCain is neck and neck with him is greeted with incredibility and despair.
Having watched the convention across a room of squabbling children I didn't hear the speeches but on a purely visual impression Obama looks like an inoffensive café-au-lait game show host, his colour won't scare anyone off. But his wife! She's black, she looks like a hard bitch, she looks like the word "entitlement" is constantly on her lips; now she is scary, the more so as she simpers down to try and play the supporting mummy. But she is no more so than many a popular TV host.
August 30, 2008
A week away from t'internet and being exposed to the BBC news is akin to an out of body experience - do people still put up with that crap? Don't they notice the bias and shallowness? So it has been a relief to catch up this afternoon with my tame newshounds, almost at random here are two of today's stories set in their proper context.
And EU Referendum reminds us that: the treatment of this story (the drowning polar bears) demonstrates yet again that the media cannot be trusted to report accurately or objectively, especially on "green" issues. But then we knew that already. What is worrying is the number of people who still do believe what they read.
An Englishman Abroad
Back from a week holidaying in the glorious Welsh countryside:
and visiting the welcoming Welsh beachs:
The sun shone, for at least an hour in the whole week, the locals have taken "I'll pick a consonant, please Carol" to ridiculous extremes, can't we carpet bomb them with vowels to force them to open their upper vocal tracts and cease their grunting? Betting on the empty Brains rolling down the street in the wind was as close to sport as I got and if being sand blasted by the shards of slate they laughingly expect you lie on is refreshing, then I am refreshed.
I almost embarrassed myself on the A55 when the sign "Welcome to England" showed up, if it hadn't been for the queues of peroxided couples from Merseyside in their caravans and the fat boys from Manchester in their Audis steamrolling down the tarmac I would have leapt from the car and kissed the red cross.
Did you miss me, Yeah, while I was away,
Did you miss me, Yeah, while I was away,
did you hang my picture on your wall
Did you kiss me, Yeah, every single day,
although you couldn't kiss me at all.
And did you love me, Yeah, like a good little girl,
Did you tell that naughty boy not to call,
did you love me, Yeah, in your own little world,
Although you couldn't see me at all,
although you couldn't see me at all,
Hello, Hello, it's is good to be back, it's good to be back,
Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, I'm back again, I'm back,
I'm on the right track,
Hello, Hello tell all your friends I'm back, I'm back as a matter of fact,
as a matter of fact I'm back
August 23, 2008
I'm off to join the Circus
This morning, Marlborough Common - Gifford's Circus - magical....
“good value for money”.
Read the whole article, I'm off out to check on the stocks of hempen rope...
Olympics Offical Closing Ceremony Video
It has been delighting fans for almost 40 years but Led Zeppelin's rock classic "Whole Lotta Love" has been deemed too racy by Olympics organisers.
After choosing the song for the closing ceremony on Sunday they decided that some of the lyrics would have to be omitted or re-written amid concerns that they could cause offence. ..
But, according to London 2012 officials, Lewis - who grew up in east London close to the Olympic site - requested a change to the song's second verse because she was worried they would not make sense for a female singer.
In the original, recorded in 1969, frontman Robert Plant sings, "I'm gonna give you every inch of my love".
But in the version that will be sung tomorrow, however, Lewis changes the words to "every bit" of my love.
The band also agreed to a request from organisers to drop the third verse, which includes similar sexual innuendoes, to fit in to the eight-minute performance.
Your humble researcher has been looking into these banned lyrics on your behalf :
Metorlyrics suggest they may be:
Way down inside... woman... You need... love.
Shake for me, girl. I wanna be your backdoor man.
Keep it coolin', baby.
Sing365 come up with the frankly disturbing:
You've got to bleed on me, yeah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ha, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
ah, ah, ah, ah, ha, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
No, no, no, no, ah
Love, love, low-ow-ow-ow-ove
Oh, babe, oh
Whereas Lyicfreak has the safer:
Wanna whole lotta love?
Wanna whole lotta love?
Wanna whole lotta love?
Wanna whole lotta love?
(various mumblings and screechings with cool effects)
But whatever this song is the epitome of British coolness, even though it is forty years old..
August 22, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (Clever Bastards Edition)
Home Furnishing Tips For An Englishman's Home
I'm a very lucky boy! The very nice people at Sumo omni sent me one of their huge beanbags to try out. I thought it might be a bit embarrassing to report back to them that the last time I got comfortable on a bean bag there were tie-die t-shirts, an album cover on my lap and Jimi Hendrix on the stereo and I was a getting a bit old for it now.
But not at all, I am surprised how much I like it; firstly they seem to have got the stuffing just right so it moves around but provides a firm support for these tired old bones in whatever position I try. And secondly its big enough to get comfortable on. I also like the wipe clean cover, very useful, and it seems to be really well made and tough enough to put up with lots of abuse.
It might be a bit trendy for this castle but they ain't getting it back; not only have I taken to flopping in after a hard days grind but the Englishettes have commandeered it as a nest, mattress and gymnastic landing mat.
So big thanks to Sumo for making us all very happy.
What you missed by not going to The Fringe
1 Zoe Lyons – "I can't believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She's so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her."
2 Andrew Laurence – "Most of us have a skeleton in the cupboard. David Beckham takes his out in public."
3 Lloyd Langford – "My girlfriend said, 'Did you know that hippopotamuses kill more people every year than guns?'. 'Yes,' I said, 'but a gun is easier to conceal."
4 Josie Long – "When I was a kid, I asked my mum what a couple was and she said, 'Oh, two or three'. And she wonders why her marriage didn't work."
5 Tim Vine – "Velcro. What a rip-off."
6 Stephen Grant – "The Scots invented hypnosis, chloroform and the hypodermic syringe – wouldn't it be easier just to talk to a woman?"
7 Edward Aczel – "So far bird flu has only killed 47 people. By the time it ends, it's going to have killed 37 million. It's got to get going, hasn't it, if it's going to be the pandemic we've all been hoping for."
8 Joan Rivers – "Grandchildren can be f****** annoying. How many times can you go, 'And the cow goes moo and the pig goes oink'? It's like talking to a supermodel."
9 Tom Stade – "I like Jesus but he loves me, so it's awkward."
10 Jeff Kreisler – "People were outraged because of Barack Obama's spiritual adviser. I think it's great he had one. Who was George Bush's spiritual adviser? Jim Beam? Johnnie Walker? Jack Daniels?"
I feel better now that I didn't bother to go...
Climate tergiversations, cooler still means hotter
This year appears set to be the coolest globally this century.
Data from the UK Met Office shows that temperatures in the first half of the year have been more than 0.1 Celsius cooler than any year since 2000.
Even so, 2008 is set to be about the 10th warmest year since 1850, and Met Office scientists say temperatures will rise again as La Nina conditions ease.
La Nina cools waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but its effects are felt around the globe.
It is one of a number of natural climatic cycles that can re-inforce or counteract the warming trend stemming from increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
But that letter has led to a supermarket chain removing a book from its shelves, the publisher agreeing to remove the offending word from the next edition and one of Britain's bestselling authors being made to look rather foolish.
The decision by Random House to remove the word from Jacqueline Wilson's My Sister Jodie followed a complaint from Anne Dixon from Co Durham...“I am not a prude. In fact, I am quite broadminded, but this is completely inappropriate for children. They should not have to be subjected to trash and vulgarity. I did not expect this from a well-respected author and do not want my young niece to have to see this obscene slang.”
John Simpson, the chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary said: “I do not think it is felt to be the worst swear word in the language. It is used to mean a mere fool without any indication of what its original meaning is. I am a bit surprised that it has been taken out.”
Whoops, it never occurred to me that those literary critics at ASDA would be offended if I called them a bunch of twats.
How extra customers annoy the council
Russell Clark, Uttlesford's waste and recycling officer, said efficiency savings had to be made because a glut of new housing had increased the number of households from 11,000 to 16,000 within two years.
But rather than increase the amount of money spent on waste collection, in line with increased revenue from council tax, Mr Clark said the council is trying to make savings.
I'm all for councils making savings but do they really understand this customer service thing? If BurgerKing's customer numbers grow from 11,000 to 16,000 they don't complain how hard it is and how all those extra burgers cost them too much money, they get on with serving them and use the increased efficiencies of scale to keep their prices down. Why is it so hard for a council to do this?
August 21, 2008
Brown Makeover or Exit?
The Prime Minister is back at his desk facing disastrous personal poll ratings and a premiership in meltdown. Six experts explain how they would rescue him
..keep his hair dyed dark, lose weight and do something more charismatic with his dress sense. ..eco-issues, and get the cool intelligencia behind him - actors and film-makers, bright people such as Helen Mirren and James McAvoy. ...cosmetic surgery....Flesh coloured make-up ...
Tim Bell: ..as far as I'm concerned, his time is up and he should not bother. Otherwise the place will be governed in a state of turmoil for the next two years and that will do terrible damage to everybody.
People want a change from Brown and Labour, and there is nothing he can do about it.
That Olympic Budget
We need to rate everything for importance and allocate the Olympic budget accordingly.
Help is to hand - Estimating the Cost and Benefit of Hosting Olympic Games: - The Industrial Geographer.
Conclusion...To date there has not been a study of an Olympics or other large-scale sporting event that has found empirical evidence of significant economic impacts such as increases in household income. For the reasons stated above, it is unlikely that anyone ever will.
So that is the Olympic spending dealt with - waste of money, full stop.
Jamie Whyte continues:
You can see where this is going. We will need to rate everything for importance and allocate the Olympic budget accordingly. And not only that budget. . All spending on everything will have to be allocated in proportion to its importance.
Alas, that is impossible. No one has the knowledge required to assess everything's importance. To suppose that you do, and that the world would be improved if money were spent only according to your rating, shows hubris of biblical proportions.
Our political leaders decide how 42 per cent of our money should be spent, dividing it between battleships, schools, roads. But they cannot explain how they know which deserves more and which less.
Politicians don't spend our money wrongly because they fail to identify the correct “importance ranking”. There is no such thing, only how important things are to individuals. Any centralised spending plan is sure to be wrong for everyone on the receiving end.
When it comes to spending on behalf of other people, no one can get it right. So no one should try.
Don't worry about results, just give us your money
Eton, St Paul’s and Winchester College are among dozens of independent schools boycotting league tables by refusing to release their exam results.
Their head teachers claim that the rankings penalise schools that take weaker pupils and encourage the teaching of softer subjects.
Glib comparisons using league tables are unfair, but when parents are choosing schools they want as much information as possible. It almost sounds as though Eton et al don't think the parents are clever enough to understand the system, and should just trust the school. And I worry that the failing schools in the State sector will take up the same excuse to hide their deficiencies.
We are from the council and want to give you money
In a letter published in today's Times, Council chiefs argue that the public sector should be able to help first-time buyers and those unable to secure a home loan.
"Councils are already supporting much needed community facilities, including rescuing local post offices from closure and investing in the retail and transport infrastructure. Allowing local government to carefully intervene and support homeowners is a sensible step which we urge ministers to consider seriously."
...Critics believe that the move could lead to higher council tax if borrowers defaulted.
A bunch of amateurs providing mortgages to those who can't get them elsewhere for political and social engineering reasons, where do I invest? Oh sorry, I forgot, I don't have the choice, they want to mulct the money for the scheme from the taxpayer with the force of the State backing them.
As I half listened to the news on the wireless last night there was some pressure group spokesman insisting that travel bans should be extended not just to convicted kiddy-fiddlers but also to suspected ones, who the police haven't been able to prove guilty of anything yet. Of course he was unchallenged on this and it sounded almost like a sensible bit of crime prevention that would save children, but the sheer totalitarianism of it all made me search for it online to bring to you. I found instead that Spiked had published a whole article that says it better than I could.
...the British political elite and sections of the media clamouring for new laws and restrictions to keep the likes of Glitter under their watchful eye. If his case ‘proves’ anything, it is that the paedophile panic, so passionately indulged by our leaders, is a threat to the sanity of society and to civil liberties, too.
(And on the Glitter hysteria why not invite him back to put on a concert, the Century Range at Bisley would be a suitable venue...)
Celebrate your Britishness by not Celebrating your Britishness
Plans for Bank Holiday show Britons 'lack national purpose' - Telegraph according to a study which found that most people prefer to spend their Bank Holiday watching television or surfing the internet rather than celebrating the country's heritage.
Mintel said the findings showed public holidays "lack any real meaning beyond having a day off work" for the typical Briton.
The firm's leisure spokesman James McCoy said: "There is still a growing debate around adding an extra Bank Holiday to the calendar, particularly one that celebrates a shared identity or sense of Britishness.
"For this to work people need to get off the sofa and get involved, much like our overseas counterparts who often celebrate national days with fiestas and carnivals.
"Brits are simply not proactive or spontaneous during their bank holidays, preferring to lounge around the house or catch up on some rest. The fact that we don't do anything on bank holidays could well reflect this lack of national purpose."
Hurray - I don't want to be dragooned down to council organised "street parties to improve community relations." I just want the bloody day off, but then I'm a native here and that is how we think....
August 20, 2008
The Price of Liberty
I'VE always been opposed to governments' increasing checks on their population: the hidden surveillance using CCTV cameras; the suggestion that it might be a good idea to keep everyone's DNA on file, whether or not we are criminals; and the introduction of identity cards from birth.
But perhaps I am just following the well-worn path of becoming less liberal and more reactionary as I get older, because the news that drivers will be fined if caught on camera throwing litter from their cars makes me hop from foot to foot and rub my...
To read this article in full you must have registered and have a Premium Content Subscription with the The Scotsman site.
I'm not wasting a brass testoon on reading such rubbish, you may differ. But as I grow older I may be becoming more reactionary, but that is reactionary against the young spitpups who trample over our liberties and destroy our hardwon freedoms. I am a reactionary who want to return to freer days.
The male sex hormone testosterone makes faces more circular and now scientists have studied whether this characteristic is also linked to behaviour.
The bard got there first, but he mistrusted the thin faced ones:
Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 190–195
Maybe he was more comfortable with men who are men, not hatchet faced metrosexuals...
Not Peak Oil Now It Is Peak Water - the new eco scare
While the average UK household consumes almost 33 gallons a day for washing and drinking, it consumes about 30 times as much in "virtual water", used in the production of imported food and textiles.
It concludes that only 38 per cent of the water used by the UK comes from its own resources, with much of the rest coming from countries such as Spain and Morocco, which face serious shortages.
The study by the environment group WWF ..urged businesses and consumers to take a look at their virtual water consumption, as they are inadvertently contributing to the slow death of some of the world's most important rivers, and we may not be able to rely on the same supplies in the future, with fresh water now being described as "the new oil", a finite resource running out.
Bloody hell, I didn't realise I was using up all that rain water that is pissing down on my drive, silly old me thought it sort of ran back into the sea and got recycled up into the clouds. I had better start bottling it and putting it aside for my children....
The Crime - They speed up and then slow down the music
Chief Superintendent Julian Kirby added: "We carried out an analysis of what Pete Doherty and his band does.
"What he does as part of his routine is to gee up the crowd. They speed up and then slow down the music and create a whirlpool effect in the crowd.
"They (the crowd) all get geed up and then they start fighting."
Superintendent Paul Williams, of Wiltshire Police, said "We are not killjoys and we help organisers with many events throughout the year and some are much larger than this one."
But then you read that the truth may be more disturbing ; Green said police had offered him a deal during a pause in court proceedings to allow the night to go ahead if he agreed to spend more on security and removed Doherty from the lineup but he refused the “offer”. “They told me privately they hate the fact he lives in Wiltshire and they don’t want him on their patch,” he said. Now, I think Doherty is a complete prick, but I defend his right not to be run out of town by a bunch of corrupt, armed, state bully boys.
But then you read that the truth may be more disturbing ;
Green said police had offered him a deal during a pause in court proceedings to allow the night to go ahead if he agreed to spend more on security and removed Doherty from the lineup but he refused the “offer”. “They told me privately they hate the fact he lives in Wiltshire and they don’t want him on their patch,” he said.
Now, I think Doherty is a complete prick, but I defend his right not to be run out of town by a bunch of corrupt, armed, state bully boys.
And personally I would rather my local plod were trying to run the pikeys who are traveling round here stealing anything metal that isn't nailed down out of town.
August 19, 2008
And with all this wet weather the field mushrooms on the Downs are the biggest ever. Out with the Jane Grigson Mushroom Feast book and a lot of butter!
We plough the fields and scatter.
Last Thursday we started combining the wheat field, today (Tuesday) the last of the bales are being collected, the muck is being spread and the plough is at work preparing the seedbed for next years crop.
PR Talk - what a joke.
A spokesman for Wall's Ice Cream said: "We want to re-launch the jokes on lolly sticks and we thought that using a comedian like James would be ideal.
"James is an up and coming comedian who is cutting edge and some of his jokes could make ice cream even more accessible to people.
"We want to update the current jokes and make them more relevant.
"cutting edge, relevant, accessible" Doesn't that sort of marketing guff make you want to shove a 99 where the sun don't shine? But he failed to get the full house as he missed out "diversity".
Gold Medals for Grasping
Just because we, as everyone now calls the athletes, have won some full fat milk bottle tops for sports that can be done sitting down the bastards are clammering for another suckle on the public teat. Aren't twenty billion pounds enough to waste already? Just fuck off, go and indulge your drug addled lycra bondage fascist body worship somewhere else preferably in private and without wanting, nay demanding, me to bloody pay anymore for it.
Waste-disposal units designed to turn leftover food into electricity and fertiliser could be built around every town and city as part of a scheme being considered by ministers.
Most waste food in Britain, including 6.7million tonnes from households, is disposed of in landfill sites where it decomposes and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. The average person throws away four times their own body weight in food each year.
Pressure on space means that the country is running out of suitable sites for landfill and, with punitive landfill taxes introduced to encourage alternatives, digesters are increasingly being seen as an environmentally friendly solution.
Don't these expert reporters know anything? - All that rotting food in landfill is capped and the methane (70% or more of it) is captured and used for electricity already - and we are not running out of landfill space, the punitive taxes aren't to there to prevent the UK overflowing, they are there because the EU demands them.
And don't even mention the banning of swill feeding which turned waste food in bacon, a nobler mission it is harder to imagine.
And because of numpty reporters, who should be investigating and challenging the press releases instead of just parroting them, the ratchet of greenism clicks another notch and we will have slop buckets and council slop bucket inspectors in every kitchen.
France, signs of improvement.
Stop any Frenchman on the street - and we stop plenty - and he will shrug and snarl and say that he doesn't eat in McDonald's, either.
Yet an awful lot of people do eat in McDonald's. In this city of all things haute cuisine and gastronomique, you will find almost 70 restaurants under golden arches, with even more dotted around the outer suburbs. That's much the same as London, but with only a third of the people.
McDonald's, or “macdoh” as it is ubiquitously known, is France's dirty secret. In 2007, as you may have read on our business pages, the chain's French revenues increased by 11 per cent to €3 billion (£2.3 billion). That's more than it generates in Britain. In terms of profit, France is second only to the US itself.
As the French have begun to adopt Anglo-American working practices, they have also begun to adopt Anglo-American eating practices. One oft-quoted statistic is that the length of the average French meal has fallen from 1 hour 22 minutes in 1978 to a mere 38 minutes today.
My God, if they start washing as well they could become a serious competitor as Britain circles the plug hole.
Rays of Sunshine and Scotsmen
August set to be 'wettest in 100 years' - Telegraph...with the constant deluge of rain showing little sign of letting up, forecasters have warned.
SCOTLAND'S miserable summer has triggered a surge in winter depression, according to new figures published yesterday.
Experts predict more than one million Scots will suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (Sad) and the "winter blues" as the bad weather begins to take its toll.
Could I get a week in the sun on prescription? Please.
The only smidgen of joy I am getting is the silence of the Global Warming brigade who daren't raise their concerns from their Tuscan retreats about the poor peasants in Blighty risking being scorched to death if they, the peasants, don't change their ways.
(UPDATE - I spoke too soon - of course there is the indefatigable Paul Simons in The Times :
Despite all the gales, rain, hail, floods, and thunderstorms, temperatures are just about average, whereas in days gone by, wet summers were invariably cold. Perhaps that is a sign of climate change.
August 18, 2008
Environ mental weapon buying
Under new rules being introduced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), weapons manufacturers have been told to account for the environmental impact of making depleted uranium shells or the social consequences of assembling cruise missiles.
The Sustainable Procurement Charter, which has been sent to defence suppliers to the MoD and which all will have to sign, tells companies to minimise any adverse effects on society from their activities, which may be hard to establish for makers of nuclear submarines or weapons of mass destruction.
The charter says: “SP is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services ... and utilities in a way that achieves best value for money on a through life basis with minimal adverse impacts on the environment and society.”
There is also concern that the Government is adding further bureaucracy to MoD procurement. One industry executive said: “This is yet another example of civil servants living in a parallel universe. Everyone knows the MoD is broke and by its own admission is constipated with process, much of it pointless and counter-productive, so why has it launched another vacuous initiative that will consume resources?”
The MoD said that it was introducing the charter as part of an effort to get suppliers to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions and to limit their adverse effect on society.
Far more important than whether the pointy things will hurt the baddies and the flat things stop the baddies hurting our own, and whether there are any of them actually available in the hot dusty places.
Return to Southfork
Gordon Brown returns to the fray tomorrow after a three-week break with a plan designed to show that he is the politician best placed to lead Britain through the downturn, and that he is ready to take on his critics.
But Mr Brown has been planning his relaunch without knowing whether the plotters seeking to remove him from office will strike again over the next few weeks.
Oh good, the silly season is over and the autumn schedules return -
Gordon Brown as John Ross "J.R." Ewing Jr.
Eldest son of Jock and Miss Ellie.
David Miliband as Bobby James Ewing
Youngest son of Jock and Miss Ellie.
Cherie Blair as Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Southworth Ewing Farlow
Jock's wife, whose family owned Southfork Ranch originally.
Tony Blair as John Ross "Jock" Ewing, Sr.
Founder of Ewing Oil and head of the Ewing family.
Harriet Harman as Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing
J.R.'s long-suffering alcoholic wife.
Caroline Flint as Pamela Jean Barnes Ewing
Bobby's wife, who is forced to act as a buffer between the two feuding families.
Hazel Blears as Lucy Ann Ewing Cooper
Gary & Val's daughter. Saucy granddaughter of Jock and Miss Ellie.
Ed Balls as Cliff Barnes
Pam's brother, whose schemes are aimed directly against the Ewings, specifically J.R.
Alastair Darling as Raymond "Ray" Krebbs (1978-1988)
Ranch foreman; Jock's illegitimate son.
Home Furnishing Tips
Military enthusiasts might enjoy a cold beer around the MK-84 Blockbuster table - constructed from a 'Blockbuster' bomb, which was used extensively in Desert Storm
Just the thing for the bar area, though i think I would also like one of these for the under performing salesmen to sit in..
Making Spying Pay
The Telegraph can disclose that the Government is pushing ahead with plans for a national road-pricing scheme, including testing "spy in the sky" technology.
Gordon Brown was thought to be against national road pricing, a flagship policy of the Blair administration.
But the detailed level of planning now underway indicates the issue it set to become a key battleground in the next general election – which is likely to coincide with the trials beginning.
- And what have Gordon's views got to do with anything now?
The Government is close to signing contracts with four companies who will run the national trials, testing not only the technology which will be fitted to the cars, but also the bureaucracy needed to run a system including sending out bills. ..Three more companies will be paid to double check the system, ensuring that the charging machinery is legal and that the trials are properly monitored.
Trebles all round for a few companies then as yet another Government IT project rumbles along the runway with banknotes being shovelled in the boiler as fast they can be and yet no sign of lift off....
Well they do get a lot of criminals in there....
It’s the last place you would expect thieves to strike. But handcuffs and hedge trimmers, blood samples and packed lunches have all been stolen from police premises in the past three years.
Figures obtained by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that petty criminals view the police station or the patrol car as more of a temptation than a deterrent. More than £1 million of police property, including sat-navs, stab vests, breath-test kits and helmets have been stolen since 2005.
Wiltshire Police were puzzled when a £40,000 motor home vanished... West Midlands suffered the most expensive spate of thefts over three years, losing £130,000 of equipment. It was followed by Wiltshire, which lost more than £60,000 of property. The Metropolitan Police said that it had suffered 119 incidents of theft, including 15 uniforms, last year alone...
Wiltshire Police said that it took all instances of theft “very seriously”, regardless of where they happened.
On average, only one third of thefts committed on police premises were solved.
I find that strangely reassuring that they are no better at solving those thefts than they are of Joe Public's.
Breaking the rules
Petty bureaucrats are a necessary evil. But we must instruct them in when to use their initiative and make exceptions
...a quotation from Marcus Tullius Cicero: “A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures, whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?”
My only quibble is that the quote seems not to come from Cicero but from Taylor Caldwell in her novel based on the life of Cicero A Pillar of Iron (1965), p. 451...
August 17, 2008
Hmm - an anti-GM speaks
or we could try remembering Monsanto's wonderfully patented seeds, genetically modified not to reproduce fertile seeds so that any farmer using them always had to go back to monsanto to buy more and of course such GM plants couldn't possibly cross contaminate any other plants of a near species could it.
Posted by: night raven | August 17, 2008 2:20 PM
So the seeds can't produce fertile offspring and yet you are worried they will produce fertile offspring with the weeds....
Bob Piper gets it about socialism and starvation
Bob Piper comments "under free market economics there were never hundreds of millions who died of starvation, disease and malnutrition, I suppose."
Yup - I think old Bob has got it, I can't think of any mass starvation that happened under free market systems - Ireland cames closest I suppose but it was more of a feudal system. If you can think of a better example then please tell me, otherwise reflect on how easy it is to think of socialist examples.
A recent landmark ruling by the High Court takes the UK one step closer to becoming an “informant society” along the lines of the former East Germany or Soviet Union.
El Reg previously reported on the case of deputy head, John Pinnington, who was fired from his job when an enhanced criminal record background (CRB) check turned up allegations of abuse made against him. He took his case to judicial review, arguing that the allegations were seriously flawed, were unsubstantiated, and that the police should only include them in a CRB check where there were some grounds to believe they might be true.
Let’s be completely clear: Vulture Central hax no way of knowing whether these allegations were true, false, or the deluded imaginings of politically-correct Martians. What we do know is that police investigated and took no further action.
Yet the court held that the threshold for disclosure should fall below reasonable suspicion. All that was required was that the allegations could not, on the untested material in possession of the police, be dismissed as necessarily untrue.
If a moment was needed to call into question the ethics of allowing a totalitarian, state-run monopoly to host the greatest games on earth, then it surely came last week with the story of the pretty young girl with the perfect teeth.
Not the Chinese government and Yang Peiyi, the little girl who was substituted at the last moment at the behest of the politburo for a more 'flawless' model, no. What I'm actually referring to is that other great state monolith: the BBC. Or is it just coincidence that of the 437 members of staff dispatched from Britain to Beijing - more than the entire national team - the only one available to anchor the 3,000 hours of coverage, and to front the entire operation, just happened to be Gabby Logan?
Genetic Advice from an Inbred
Prince Charles would argue that he is motivated by a concern for humanity – and I don't doubt his sincerity or passion. Still, it was shocking to hear this multi-millionaire Gloucestershire organic farmer denouncing India's "Green Revolution" – the plant-breeding precursor to GM pioneered by Norman Borlaug. It was these techniques that saved millions in the sub-continent from the famines which slaughtered so many of their ancestors, and for which Borlaug received a Nobel Prize.
I can do no better than quote Professor Borlaug's remarks about those who denounced his work as destructive of traditional methods: "They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they'd be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."
Nothin to add except that on September 27, 2006, the United States Senate by unanimous consent passed the Congressional Tribute to Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Act of 2006. The act authorizes that Borlaug be awarded America's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal. On December 6, 2006, the House of Representatives passed the measure by voice vote. President George Bush signed the bill into law on December 14, 2006, and it became Public Law Number 109–395. According to the act, "Dr. Borlaug has saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived, and likely has saved more lives in the Islamic world than any other human being in history."
Charles could learn a lot from him....
Save Our Sprays
CASH-strapped consumers face yet more soaring food prices because of plans by Brussels to ban commonly-used pesticides.
Farmers' leaders in Scotland predict rises of up to 50% on some staple items such as cereals, potatoes and fruit at a time when food price inflation is already at its highest for almost 30 years.
The EU says it wants to ban a range of up to 50 chemicals for use on crops because of their potential hazard to human health. They contain ingredients, which have, in high doses, been linked to cancer and other conditions.
But farmers say the products have been used safely for decades with no evidence of harm to humans. Banning them would lead to a dramatic reduction in crop yields and a consequent increase in food prices.
More here - and how you can help:
August 16, 2008
Strewth - Oz Plod Plans Post Apocalyptic Policy
Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty, suggested last September that climate change could eclipse terrorism as the security issue of the century.
Climate change could have wide-ranging implications and challenges for Australia's police. New legal regimes are required to manage carbon markets and these will require compliance and enforcement. ...
We may see changes in the type, rate and frequency of crimes as our climate alters. Anecdotal evidence suggests that weather does encourage particular types of criminal behaviour, such as changes in domestic violence patterns, a rise in drunkenness and associated anti-social behaviour, especially in the aftermath of disasters...
Crimes of opportunity will increase with more climate-affected natural disasters: if custodial sentences are given to looters this will have obvious implications for our prison system....
Australian police could provide, for example, a security presence at refugee camps or at key transit areas in regional countries to help manage any potential mass movement of people.
More climate refugees or climate migrants could pose problems for community policing, possibly leading to changes in the rates and types of crime that police forces will have to confront.
Our police officers may have to face more environmental protest groups challenging governments to go further in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Law enforcement bodies would want to avoid aggressive and heavy-handed approaches in responding to this potential problem.
In vulnerable areas, police will need to play an active role enhancing community preparedness by educating the public in disaster-response protocols. The co-operation between state police and the military will need to improve to aid the Australian civil community in times of traumatic environmental stress.
Hat-tip The Reference Frame
We are from the council and are here to stop your kids running around
Newark and Sherwood District Council has sent letters to youngsters who have been found playing cricket, tennis and football warning they could be arrested and fined up to £100 in a magistrates' court.
Lynn Pallett, the council's anti-social behaviour co-ordinator, said: "We are not intending to spoil anyone's fun.
"However, if children must play any type of ball game in the street, it must be in an acceptable manner.
Nice to know the council employs someone to co-ordinate its anti social behaviour. Of course we don't want kids to have fun and run around in their own way, it must be council approved.
We are from the council and are here to weigh your child
Grossly overweight children may be taken from their families and put into care if Britain’s obesity epidemic continues to escalate, council chiefs said yesterday.
David Rogers, the Local Government Association’s public health spokesman, said: “If parents consistently place their children at risk through bad diet and lack of exercise, is it right that a council should step in to keep the child’s health under review?”
“The nation’s expanding waistline threatens to have a devastating impact on our public services. It’s a huge issue for public health, but it also risks placing an unprecedented amount of pressure on council services.”
And of course we are only here to make the council's life easy. Is there any medical condition that has a worse prognosis than being taken into the council's care?
August 15, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night (Three Blues Edition)
Bonus - Mojo Hand
A campaign is underway to restore the reputation of Henry Hook, the soldier portrayed as a drunken shirker in the film Zulu.
And then what will become of his blog -The Final Redoubt if he is revealed to be a clean living god botherer?
Arctic Ice - what's the true story?
Just a few weeks ago, predictions of Arctic ice collapse were buzzing all over the internet. ...The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado released an alarming graph on August 11, showing that Arctic ice was rapidly disappearing, back towards last year's record minimum. Their data shows Arctic sea ice extent only 10 per cent greater than this date in 2007, and the second lowest on record.
The problem is that this graph does not appear to be correct. Other data sources show Arctic ice having made a nice recovery this summer. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center data shows 2008 ice nearly identical to 2002, 2005 and 2006. Maps of Arctic ice extent are readily available from several sources, including the University of Illinois, which keeps a daily archive for the last 30 years. A comparison of these maps (derived from NSIDC data) below shows that Arctic ice extent was 30 per cent greater on August 11, 2008 than it was on the August 12, 2007. (2008 is a leap year, so the dates are offset by one.) So how did NSIDC calculate a 10 per cent increase over 2007? Their graph appears to disagree with the maps by a factor of three (10 per cent vs. 30 per cent) - hardly a trivial discrepancy.
Health and Safety or Saving Lives - which is more important?
A volunteer coastguard crew face disciplinary action after going to the rescue of a teenage swimmer in a boat that had recently been repaired and was awaiting a seaworthiness inspection.
The four crewmen were on duty at Hope Cove in South Devon when the 15-year-old girl was swept out to sea by a powerful rip tide. They braved heavy surf to launch their 17ft rigid inflatable.
The girl was rescued by a diver and the coastguard crew brought her ashore.
The boat had been out of service since June and the 11-strong crew, fed up with waiting for it to be repaired by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), spent £2,000 of their own money on the work. But the repairs had yet to be approved and the boat - which has rescued more than 120 people since 2000 – was languishing in the boathouse at the pretty fishing village awaiting a further inspection.
Within three hours the boat was towed away by a senior MCA officer and is now locked in a garage at their office five miles away in Kingsbridge.
A spokesman for the MCA said: “The health and safety of the boat crews and those who they may render assistance to is of paramount importance. We have identified serious breaches of health and safety procedures and they are currently being investigated. The boat has been stood down for a further eight weeks while we investigate.
Stormy Weather Forecast
THE eurozone may be hurtling towards a recession, taking Britain with it, according to new figures which reveal that economies across the Continent have shrunk over the past few months.
Analysts warned the new data suggested things could get a lot worse for the UK than even the Bank of England's gloomy prediction earlier in the week.
High fuel and food prices were blamed for constraining consumer spending and diminishing the economies of Germany, France and Italy in the last quarter.
Gordon's last hope that our continental trade would stave off the worst effects of his mismanagement is vanishing in a puff of smoke.
I expect as he shelters from the lashing wind and rain in his beach hut he muses on how much better it was when Tony was "his man"..
Don't know why, there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather, since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining all the time
Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, just can't get my poor old self together
I'm weary all the time, the time, so weary all of the time
When he went away, the blues walked in and met me
If he stays away, old rocking chair will get me
If he stays away, old rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray, the lord above will let me
walk in the sun once more
Can't go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather, since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining all the time
Keeps raining all of the time
I walk around heavy-hearted and sad
Night comes around and I'm still feeling bad
Rain pourin' down, blinding every hope I had
This pitter and patter and beating, spattering driving me mad
It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.
THE traditional image of Scots as dour, doom-laden pessimists was shaken yesterday by a new Europe-wide survey showing them to be among the happiest people in the Continent.
The research, carried out across 24 countries, found Scots are failing to live up to their caricature. They are now the happiest in Britain and the third most contented in Europe, beaten only by the Swiss and the Danes.
Now I gather that being beaten by Swiss and Danes is the sort of thing to perk up a dull afternoon in a dungeon I'm not sure it is reason enough to make a whole nation cheerful. I wonder if not that the Scots have suddenly become Tommy Tickles as the lap up the English cash but rather that the rest of Europe, the euro zone, has become more miserable.
Know your limit
...a white circle with a black diagonal across it.
You certainly need a masters degree in advanced semiotics to work out what it means - technically “national speed limits apply”. This is the most stupid and unhelpful sign on our roads. It should be scrapped.
But you can't replace it with one that just says 60 or 70 - because if you towing a trailer, or you are in a van or an articulated lorry the national speed limit isn't that. And that is why lorries hold you up as you speed off on holiday.
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
Too much beer last night celebrating No.2 Son's return from a month in the Dark Continent and his A level results, and thus him being awarded a place at Bristol University to study poking monkeys with sticks and badger baiting.
I'm very proud of him.
August 14, 2008
A Picture for Theo
The start of the wheat harvest in a gap between showers a few minutes again - I still get huge thrill from it even though it isn't my corn.
Le tri des déchets peut être fait de façon efficace grâce à des machines en usine. Mais le mouvement vert insiste toujours pour que nous le fassions à la maison comme s’il s’agissait d’une pénitence pour notre consommation. Ce refus de reconnaître la division du travail fait de nous des pauvres et demeure symptomatique au sein du mouvement vert.
(Google translated - The waste sorting can be done effectively through machines at the factory. But the green movement still insists that we do at home as if it were a penance for our consumption. This refusal to recognize the division of labor makes us poor and remains symptomatic within the green movement.)
Compare to: An Englishman's Castle: Worstall Rubbish and The Divison of Labour
Sorting of rubbish can be done very well by large machines at centralised factories (or even outsourced to foreign lands). But the green movement insist we do it at home as a penance for our consumerism, almost as if when we needed pins we were forced to make them at home. It is this forbidding of the division of labour that makes us poorer and is symptomatic of the green movement.
Hmmm - not even a name check and they even spell Worstall's name wrong
UPDATE - Now namechecked, merci.
August 13, 2008
Junkfood Horror Story
His typical breakfast order from Pete's Grille in Baltimore, Maryland:
Start with three [white bread] sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise; add one omelet, a bowl of grits, and three slices of French toast with powdered sugar; then wash down with three chocolate chip pancakes.
According to his autobiography, growing up, lunch also consisted of 1 pound of pasta, 2 large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo and 1,000 calories of energy drinks. Dinner’s another pound of pasta and a whole pizza and 1,000 calories more in energy drinks. No food hang-ups with him. He gets it. Food is fuel, not endowed with magical or evil effects.
What a fat slob he must be, bet he can barely get up from the sofa to get to the fridge, something ought to be done to prevent our youths ending up like him...
Snoops ratchet up powers
Councils and health authorities are to be given the right to access e-mail and internet records under surveillance powers to be introduced next year, the Home Office said yesterday.
Although first proposed to tackle terrorism and serious crime, powers have been extended to cover other criminal activity, public health, threats to public safety and even prevention of self-harm.
Dominic Grieve, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Yet again the Government has proved itself unable to resist the temptation to take a power quite properly designed to combat terrorism to snoop on the lives of ordinary people in everyday circumstances.”
So my local NHS trust will have the right to check whether I send Mr FM an email to suggest going out for a few pints - self harm remember...
Tom Harris (a Labour Minister) says this...
He then responds to something I said in the comments on his post about the proliferation of CCTV cameras by saying...
The regular accusation that we are living in what is close to, or is in reality, a “police state” is not only ridiculous - it’s offensive to the millions of people across the world who do live in such states and who regard the UK, rightly, as a beacon of freedom and democracy. So there.
But can you explain to me exactly why or how our civil liberties are even remotely infringed by our being “the most watched society in the world”?You know, if a Labour Minister like Tom asks that question, suddenly you realise just how out of touch this government has become. And he's one of the more sensible ones!
And it continues....
More than 7.5 million people who claim a 25-per-cent discount on their council tax bill because they live alone could be forced to prove that they do not share their life with another adult by opening their home to inspectors.
Until now, most councils have been reluctant to use powers given to them by central government to inspect residents' bedrooms for signs of occupancy by more than one person over the age of 18.
Eric Pickles, shadow communities and local government spokesman, warned "Day by the day under Labour, the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens are being undermined, with more and more state officials trying to enter and spy on people's homes.
"It may be appropriate for local authorities to check that council tax discounts are not wrongly claimed.
"But it is wholly disproportionate to threaten higher council tax bills if residents do not allow state officials into their bedrooms.
"This is another worrying sign of function creep. State duties originally intended to tackle fraud are now being over-used by bureaucrats in a heavy-handed, intrusive manner."
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: "Pretending to live alone to defraud the taxpayer is not a victimless offence.
"This is money that could be spent on the genuinely vulnerable or keeping council tax down."
Russian Federation v Georgia - The Result
Wednesday 13th August (all times local, BST is -7 hours)
Russian Federation v Georgia
* 11:00 - Women's Preliminary - Pool E - Match 25
* 12:00 - Women's Preliminary - Pool F - Match 26
Now that is the way to settle international disputes, I might even watch because of my interest in politics....
(I think Georgia won 2-1, but I never noticed that they scored in women's beach volleyball before)
Well Bred vs The Common Bread
The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research.
He accused firms of conducting a "gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong".
"Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?".
Relying on "gigantic corporations" for food, he said, would result in "absolute disaster".
Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of "gigantic corporations" taking over the mass production of food.
The Duchy of Cornwall consists of around 54,521 hectares of land in 23 counties.The Duchy’s primary function is to provide an income from its assets for The Prince of Wales.
THE CROWN ESTATE ..assets of over £7.3 billion, 119,000 hectares of agricultural land, turnover was £264.8 million.
Giant corporations by anyones standards, and I won't mention how the hereditary pint sized prince shows the advantages of natural genetic selection.....
August 12, 2008
Royal Wiltshire Sharpshooters [블루니] 안전구매/최저수수료/해외 구매대행 쇼핑몰
See us country boys with our old Lee Metfords are at the height of fashion....
Smoke Gets in Eu Eyes
QUESTION ASKED IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, 9 JUNE 2008 Godfrey Bloom asked the following written question of the European Commission with reference to secondary smoke. According to the Commission Green Paper "Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level", more than, "79,000 adults" die in the EU per annum from the effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Given that the impact that such a Directive will be considerable, both economically and socially, could the Commission please name three or four people who have died from ETS within the European Union in the last two years?
ANSWER, 18 July 2008 "The nature of the epidemiological evidence on all risk factors, be they chemical or other, is such that it does not allow to identify the victims at individual level but only populations"
GODFREY'S REPLY? Thank you for your response. For press purposes I can therefore take the answer "None". Obviously I am only interested in facts not speculation by interested parties, either the Commission or the Tobacco Industry.
AVRIL BOYLE, an MEP with Fine Gael, has called for a ban on tobacco throughout Europe by 2025.
As an interim measure, members of the EU are talking of banning lobbying on public health policy by tobacco and associated trades. Such trades might include hospitality, vending machine companies, tobacconists, etc. Although these bodies and all who work in them will still be taxed as usual, officers in the field of public health policy will be prevented from giving them an audience:
More from England Expects
So next those that argue against AGW will be denied a voice since they are deemed to be supporters of the oil lobby.
A quick tour round my area.
Pah - the good colonel if he was still with us would have been out trying to beat this lap record, and I wouldn't trust Mrs Fm on her return not to either....
European Crap Art News
De gigantische drol, getiteld 'Complex Shit', was op een exhibitie in de tuin van een museum in Bern opgesteld toen een windvlaag het kunstwerk ter grootte van een huis 's nachts de lucht inblies.
L'oeuvre "Complex Shit" de la taille d'une maison a atterri à 200 mètres de son emplacement original, dans le jardin d'un foyer pour jeunes. Sur son trajet, elle a arraché une ligne électrique et a endommagé une serre du foyer
Fliegender Hundehaufen wütet in Bern
De opblaasbare hond ter grootte van een huis werd zo'n 200 meter meegevoerd door de wind en beschadigde elektriciteitsleidingen
Georgia on my mind
EU Referendum: It's the same old story One of our allies has Russian tanks fighting their way to its capital, all I'm hearing is silence, as Chamberlain said it is a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing. But we should know and we should act.
Tightening Your Belt On The Glorious Twelth
Pheasant shooting, which gets under way in October, is thought to be particularly vulnerable to the downturn, with the number of birds expected to outstrip the number of shooters.
The rising cost of metals on the international market is also putting clay pigeon shooting beyond the reach of some for the first time.
No.1 son certainly hasn't been doing as much shooting as he would like to, but I think that is because he has run through all my cartridges and I haven't refilled the safe, aren't I mean, and he has other birds to spend his money on.....
The buggers are out to get us
Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, has urged councils to "make much more use" of new spying legislation which allows them to access phone bills and call records of members of the public.
Yaa boo sucks etc... but wait there's more...
To free up police time the Conservatives would axe the requirement for RIPA clearance for CCTV surveillance, using automatic number plate recognition software and public surveillance of a building.
Ok - probably fair enough, nothing more than Google Street view does...
RIPA authorisations would also not be required for commissioning covert recording or bugging of a house or car, or using thermal or x-ray surveillance of a building.
But they are seriously intrusive, a step too far I think Mr Grieve.
Bishop Bashes Bogus Boffins
I dip my toe into Climate Audit regularly and despite Professor Dawkin's best efforts I can't claim to understand the statistics or the whole unraveling of the claims and machination of the AGW industry. Thank goodness that his ecclesiastical eminence has produced a long and understandable post that explains one important episode in the history of the global warming scare.
(Prof Dawkins? - Richards uncle what taught me Stats at Oxford)
Worstall Rubbish and The Divison of Labour
If we add in the cost of sorting out items, it would make more sense to throw everything in landfill
Whilst Tim's points are valid I think they miss the essential Adam Smithian point. Sorting of rubbish can be done very well by large machines at centralised factories (or even outsourced to foreign lands). But the green movement insist we do it at home as a penance for our consumerism, almost as if when we needed pins we were forced to make them at home. It is this forbidding of the division of labour that makes us poorer and is symptomatic of the green movement.
(Elsewhere in The Times - it is hinted how landfill will work to provide raw materials. The best way to get the energy potential out of the rubbish is stuff it in a hole, let the organic material rot down, capture the methane and then once it is inert go and dig the plastic up to recycle it. Now isn't that easier and more efficient than scraping your plates into a council provided bucket which a lorry collects once a fortnight and washing out the yogurt pots for another lorry to collect on a different day?)
August 11, 2008
A reminder in case you haven't bought your tickets yet.
Help for Heroes Challenge Match Saturday 20th September 2008
‘This is not just a rugby match, this is a chance for 82,000 people to get into Twickenham and cheer on our blokes... Any sportsman or sportswoman can understand what it is like to be at the top of their game and then to get injured; just imagine what it must be like to have your leg blown off while going to rescue your mate. This is about fit young people who are volunteering to serve their country and whose lives are changed while doing so. These blokes, these men and women, are the real heroes.
Let’s fill Twickenham on 20th September and show them that we really care.’
Help 4 Heroes XV Captain
Who runs the Treasury?
Alistair Darling rejected a third request for an immediate meeting with estate agents as tension grew over suggestions to lift stamp duty.
Whitehall sources told The Times yesterday that there was increasing irritation within the Treasury over the fallout of the stamp duty proposal, which Mr Darling and department aides have been left to field.
But in a sign of a growing rift between Mr Darling and No 10 over the issue, Treasury aides said that the Chancellor was adamant that he was not going to be pushed into taking any action on stamp duty.
“At the end of the day, the Treasury did not brief this story so we did not cause this problem,” one aide said. Whitehall sources suspect that Downing Street, desperate to get out some good news to give a boost to Gordon Brown's battered reputation, floated the story last week. A spokesman for Downing Street insisted last night that that was not the case.
It has been alleged that Number 10 aides were responsible for the reports although Downing Street insists this is not the case as those charged with briefing the press are on holiday.
Ministers have faced accusations that the uncertainty over whether stamp duty will be suspended is likely to further damage the property market as buyers pull out of purchases until an announcement is made.
The Treasury are also baffled by reports that Mr Brown is preparing to announce an economic strategy next month as the centrepiece of his fight-back plans. Treasury aides insist that any new economic or tax plans will be set out in the pre-budget report by the Chancellor in the autumn as is usual.
Darling's best before date is rapidly approaching, and Gordon's trusted circle puckers up even smaller.
Councils Rubbish at Contracts
Householders are missing a chance to share in the results of huge profits generated by the soaring value of recyclable domestic rubbish, The Times has learnt.
The price of recyclable plastic, newspaper and cardboard has doubled in 18 months, giving councils a source of “green gold” that could be spent on improving local services. Many are locked into 20 to 30-year contracts with recycling companies and are unable to cash in on the higher cost of plastic and copper.
A waste disposal deal that a decade ago looked like good business is now regarded by Kent County Council as a costly mistake.
Prices of recycled materials have risen so sharply that less than halfway into the 25-year deal the council is attempting to renegotiate with the contractor.“At the time it looked a good deal – ten years later I would say never again,” said Keith Ferrin, the council’s cabinet member for environmental and waste services.
Ten years ago it was a good deal, and that is the whole point of long term contracts, you passed over the risk. Some you win some you don't.
The Times Continues
The answer is to scale up, with local councils combining with each other to take on the recycling companies and set up their own plants and trading centres. But only some will be able to do so. The rest will be ruing the day that they negotiated that 25-year contract with the local recycling company for £10 for a tonne of plastic bottles.
Huh? The councils claim they weren't up to the job of negotiating the right contract so they ought to do the whole job themselves! The reason that rubbish is worth money is that the private companies have been innovative, resourceful and profit minded and have developed the methods and markets to make money. And they have been able to do this because they have an assured source of rare materials. Does anyone think the council would have done the same? No and the councils should open up the rubbish collection business. For public health, just as for car insurance, it might be reasonable for every household to have to have a rubbish collection contract, but it would be nice to be able to opt out of the council's one. I think it would be surprising how private companies would treat the customers in comparison to the council who threaten, fine and try to prevent anyone using their service.
Brussels Hidden Turkeys
A study released by the Open Europe think tank, which wants to control the influence and scale of the EU, has found that 170,000 people now work for EU institutions.
The group claimed that the difficulty of finding out how many officials worked in Brussels showed a lack of transparency and left the EU open to "influence from lobbyists."
Open Europe said the figure is nearly six times more than the 32,000 Brussels bureaucrats which EU bosses have traditionally claimed are needed to run the EU.
Who would have thought it, the EU being economical with the actualitie, it is the only thing the EU is economical with.
August 10, 2008
A real period piece - and also my favourite title to mime when playing charades...
Tractor Factory Results - a quarter of Directors claim to believe them
THE literacy and numeracy of new employees have tumbled over the past decade despite Labour’s £28 billion increase in education spending, according to research by a leading employers’ organisation.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) found 71% of its members believed the writing abilities of new employees had worsened, while 60% believed numeracy had also declined; 52% reported a worsening of the basic ability to communicate.
With the exam results season under way, more than 60% of directors now think GCSEs and A-levels are less demanding than a decade ago. Overall, only 27% believe schools have got better.
A-level results to be released this Thursday are expected to show the number of passes going above 97% ..
27% of directors believe schools have got better! Find them, name them, and sell any shares you have in their companies as they must be in the Rocking Horse Shit supply business for La-la land.
The Study of Blondes
There are no fewer than nine sets of calculations in which Darwin and his son, George, who was just about to take up a fellowship in Cambridge, combined and reanalysed the data. Eventually Darwin came to the conclusion that the experimental basis was not good enough.
O Tempora! O Mores! Lots of data, headline grabbing stuff, but as a scientist he kept teasing at it and unsure of the validity of any conclusion binned the whole study. How unlike the our modern grant grabbing academics
Brown Envelopes Voter Bribes
Look wouldn't it just be simpler for Gordon to send round a form to everyone asking them how much it would cost for them to vote Labour? One of those price drop auction formats from the shopping channel should be comprehensible to the waverers. Or maybe part of the £1m a week he spends on opinion polls has already asked it and £150 is the figure for a sufficient number. My vote is priced slightly higher.
Have a go hero zaps Council bin policy
BRITAIN'S busiest have-a-go hero has won an award after carrying out SEVEN citizen's arrests.
Stockport solicitor, Roger Houlker has tackled muggers, chased crooks and nabbed thieves up and down the country.
Now the former rugby player has received an award for his public-spirited behaviour.
Sounds like the right sort of bloke - but his biggest victory is announced today:
THE policy of councils across Britain of limiting households to one wheelie bin each may have to change after an official complaint by a solicitor exasperated at having to make regular trips to his local rubbish tip.
The local government ombudsman has ruled in favour of Roger Houlker, who has fought a 2½ year battle against Congleton borough council to be given a second bin for his six-bedroom Cheshire home.
The ombudsman, Anne Seex, found the council guilty of “maladministration with injustice” for failing to collect all his waste and ordered it to review its policy. She also said she had “reservations” about the authority’s refusal to collect additional bags of waste left beside wheelie bins.
While waiting for his bin to be emptied, Houlker had to deal with vermin ripping open black bags used to hold extra waste in his garden and he made regular 12-mile trips to take them to a dump because dustmen would only take waste from his one 240-litre bin.
Of course some councils, such as Kennet District Council, only issue 180 litre bins. And if you complain of it not fitting in they send round some prodnose to poke through your rubbish to educate you on how to cut down. Following our Cheshire hero's victory I feel a letter coming on.
August 9, 2008
No apology needed
A care home has apologised after a member of staff granted a 90-year-old woman's lifelong wish - to be served fish and chips by a man wearing a thong.
"The lady herself, her family and the member of staff who acted as her waiter believe that while it may have been a bit risque the wish was carried out with the utmost respect for all those involved and taken in the good humoured way it was intended by residents and staff present at the time.
So who are they apologising to? Good on the staff to make her wish come true and good on the old girl for wishing it. Yaa Boo Sucks to the managers who are scared someone somewhere somehow might be offended. If they aren't prepared to risk a little to cheer up the old dears in their homes then they shouldn't be in charge.
It's madness here today with an eight year old's birthday - luckily Mr NBC came round last night and helped set up the toys.....
Ecce Homo Gordon
Christians recite the words "suffered under Pontius Pilate" as part of the Creed. Bob Chaundy, of the BBC's News Profiles Unit, examines what Pilate represents for Christians and what he may have been like in reality.
As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels...In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times...
Ditherer, passing the buck, negative image - no wonder Gordon has taken up studying him - and we all have plenty of reason to recite that we suffer under him...
(Artistic Foornote - An Ecce Homo can refer to an illustration of the scene from John 19 showing Pilate and Christ, the mocking crowd and parts of the city of Jerusalem..., it can also be termed a Man of Sorrow(s) (also Misericordia), )
Climate Protestors Hoping For Sunshine
Saturday's day of direct action.
Protesters have planned a four-pronged strategy to "shut down" Kingsnorth.
One group of campaigners will lead a procession to the power station's main gates, while another will reach it through undergrowth.
A third group aims to make a secret air approach, while the fourth plans to stage a raft regatta, despite moves by police to ban the flotilla on health and safety grounds.
The old pre-announced secret approach, that should fool them! Luckily the forecast is for heavy rain today which should cool a few naked protestors - can you think of anything uglier than the cold white goosebumped flesh of an unwashed vegan?
Giles Coren On Polly Watch
Leafing through The Guardian this week, I have been gripped by extracts from a new book by Polly Toynbee and David Walker, ..Polly? Really, Dave? Then you're even stupider than you come across on paper.
And they get stupider. And more bitter. And more teacherly and smug...sour old Trots like Toynbee. ...the prose dripping with that familiar and uniquely Guardian fetishising of black youth that seems to drip with middle-aged female lust for the noble savage. ..
I'm glad Giles waded through it for us, saving us the effort.
Make Mine a Skippy Burger
Australian scientists have come up with a unique way to combat climate change: eat kangaroos and save the world.
A study claims that farming and consuming more kangaroos instead of cattle and sheep will reduce carbon gas emissions.
Yes, but have you tried to milk them?
Gordon's Relaunch - The Plan
“The Prime Minister is very focused on what we need to do to recapture people's enthusiasm. The Prime Minister, when he comes back from his holidays, will set out very clearly what he intends to do.”
“We will be taking politics closer to the people and hearing their concerns first-hand.”
“We don't dive through hoops, we don't leap over trees,”
But, wait, there's more. He's going to be on telly.
Yep that should do it.....
August 8, 2008
John Edwards - still a cunt.
Four years ago I posted a blog post that was the hardest one I have posted - it was also the one that broke then dam on the non-swearing on this blog: An Englishman's Castle: Personal not political
I stand by every word and am dancing a happy dance as the slippery little bastard's career goes down the shitter.
And the even better news is that the oldest Englishette is eight tomorrow and exceeds every expectation; she is cranky, foul mouthed and obsessed with reading, which doesn't go down too well at school, and I can't think where she gets it from.....
Friday Night is Music Night (Graceland Edition)
Who gives a Huq about the Olympics?
I Spy Traitors
They want to replace it with a wishy washy oath to uphold the law, the law as they make it. As they have sold out this country to the Eu and betrayed the constition and the Monarchy maybe their consciences are troubling them.... no silly me, of course they don't have them.
And if nothing else the oath has prevented the likes of Gerry Adams taking up seats in the Parliament and so it has to be an admirable thing.
Noting the decline of GCSEs
Asked how he made his music more forceful than others, Keith Moon, The Who’s hellraising drummer, replied: “Hit the drums harder.” The advice would have stood him a strong chance of a GCSE in music.
To the consternation of musicians, tutors and critics, an inability to understand sheet music has now become no hindrance to success at GCSE. Students can achieve a Grade A without reading or writing a single note.
I know Paul McCartney has achieved a Doctorate in Music without allegedly being able to read music, but that's not quite the same. A GCSE is meant to show you understand the nuts and bolts of a subject and if you can't understand the dots on the lines then you shouldn't be awarded a top grade.
Darling, say something, anything, or I won't be able to complete.
Alistair Darling was resisting calls last night to make an announcement on stamp duty despite evidence that homebuyers are delaying purchases because of the uncertainty surrounding the tax.
Estate agents reported that buyers were pulling out of purchases and cancelling viewings in the hope that they would avoid paying the tax if they waited until later in the year.
The Chancellor withdrew from an interview linked to the subject last night, two days after refusing to rule out that he planned to suspend stamp duty temporarily in an attempt to stimulate the housing market.
Mr Darling had said that he was considering a number of measures to “help people with housing”. His remarks provoked widespread speculation that the measure would be introduced this autumn.
Brilliant - absolutely brilliant! Only an idiot would complete on a house purchase until this is ruled either way. So his leaking of how he will help the market has ruined it. I suppose he has to wait for the Ditherer to complete his sandcastle and come to a decision first.
Climate Change - Follow the money on censorship
Confused over the great climate change debate? Follow the money, advises Bob Lloyd.
Finally what about freedom of speech? Should not the detractors of climate change get equal media space with those suggesting mitigation?
To show how irresponsible this suggestion is we can pose the alternate question: would the media be happy to allow equal space to groups in the community promoting crime and violence?
Dr Bob Lloyd is a spokesperson for Sustainable Dunedin City.
He is also Director of Energy Studies at the University of Otago and has particular expertise in renewable energy, energy conservation and peak oil.
Thanks Bob, I'll heed your advice and follow the money on how to take your views...
August 7, 2008
Olympic Games - The Official Opening Ceremony Video
Ernst-Georg Beck describes the multi-decadal variations of CO2 as part of a 65 years climate cycle based on direct measurements since the19th century. Modern state of the oceans is similar to the oceans during the 30s in the 20th century.
The strong heating of the CO2 absorption areas, which occurs in a multi-decadal cycle (approx. 1780, 1850, 1935, 2000, evidence for the last two cycles) prevents a stronger CO2 absorption by the arctic oceans and thereby enriches the atmosphere with more CO2 than in the colder phase of the cycle. These cold and warm phases of the ocean current cycle correlates with a cycling of the geomagnetic index (SSC) and solar activities (Gleissberg cycle), a function of the chaotic, non-linear solar dynamo.
Let's stop sanctifying false and minor gods and heretically chant - Renewables are not Green (and oil isn't a fossil fuel)
HeresiesFinal.pdf h/t D Ambler
Abstract: Renewables are not green. To reach the scale at which they would contribute importantly to meeting global energy demand, renewable sources of energy, such as wind, water and biomass, cause serious environmental harm.
Measuring renewables in watts per square metre that each source could produce smashes these environmental idols. Nuclear energy is green...
Here I will offer a pair of heresies. One is that the popular spectre of resource exhaustion has played little or no role in the long-run evolution of the energy system. Plenty of wood and hay remained to be exploited when the world shifted to coal. Coal abounded when oil rose. Oil abounds now as methane rises.
Advocates of nuclear energy and so-called renewables foolishly point to depletion of oil and natural gas as reasons for their own fuels to win. Oil and natural gas use may peak in coming decades but not because Earth is running out of them.
Not only do I reject the doctrine of resource exhaustion, I also reject the very notion of fossil fuels...
Green is no longer the new black
Julie Burchill can't stand them. According to her new book, Not in my Name: A Compendium of Modern Hypocrisy, she thinks all environmentalists are po-faced, unsexy, public school alumni who drivel on about the end of the world because they don't want the working classes to have any fun, go on foreign holidays or buy cheap clothes....
But the problem for the green lobby isn't that it has been overrun by “toffs”: it's the chilly economic climate that has frozen the shoots of environmentalism. Espousing the green life, with its misshapen vegetables and non-disposable nappies, is increasingly being seen as a luxury by everyone.
Only a year ago, according to MORI, 15 per cent of those polled put the environment in their top three concerns. That figure has dropped by a third to 10 per cent this month....
When David Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party he said that green issues were at the top of his agenda. His slogan for the local elections last year was “Vote Blue, Go Green”. But in the past few months he has realised that voters have lost the appetite for their greens.
He has only given one environmental speech since Christmas. ...In fact, when the Tory leader's bicycle was stolen a week ago, the message of the story was not how green he was for riding his bike, but how broken our society has become when a politician finds his bike nicked from under his nose.
Boris Johnson was the first to realise that the tolerance for green taxes may have peaked. ...The Tories have quietly been reviewing many of their green policies....Gordon Brown has also stopped discussing his solar panels and compost heap in Scotland and is trying to dissociate himself from local council rubbish taxes...
And the forecast is
Has this summer finished? Late July had such a promising run of hot weather, just in time for the start of the school holidays, but hopes for a hot August have been cruelly dashed. There is no easy way to say it, but this summer is something of a damp squib. Weather forecast models show no hint of any decent weather for at least the next week or two.
How could this happen? After all, summers are supposed to be growing hotter as the UK’s climate changes....
This (wet summer) was what the Met Office forecast in its summer outlook.
I don't remember that was what the forecast was - but as honourable forecasters the Met Office keep up their forecasts for all to see:
Met Office: Original Summer 2008 forecast - Issued 3 April 2008
Mean temperatures are more likely to be above the 1971-2000 average. However, there is a slightly enhanced chance of cloudier and cooler spells.
Rainfall is more likely to be either near average or above average. The risk of exceptional rainfall, as seen last summer, is assessed as very low at this stage.
(updated with little change on 30th July)
Hmmm.. .But have no fear Paul Simons has good news for us.
But the good news is that La Niña is dying out and September’s weather is expected to improve markedly.
As for climate change, that carries on regardless. The world’s average land and sea temperature for this spring was the seventh highest on record.
And today Watts Up brings us the RSS July Global Temperature Anomaly?
Hmmm.... It carries on rising regardless....
Electricity Causes Frog Muscle Spasm
British families could find themselves subsidising households in France after the French Government ordered a 2 per cent cap on electricity price increases yesterday.
EDF, which supplies homes on both sides of the Channel, raised its prices to British customers by 22 per cent only two weeks ago. It also put up its charges for gas by 17 per cent - but it will not be allowed to increase French prices by more than 5 per cent. ..
Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat energy spokesman, said: “EDF will have to make up the shortfall somehow. They may have to look to customers in countries where the markets are less interventionist, like Britain.” He added that the French announcement drew a stark contrast with what he saw as fundamental flaws in the British market that failed to protect consumers. “Energy prices are not like the price of baked beans,” he said. “It matters if people cannot afford to pay, so leaving it all to the market is just not acceptable.”
Liberal Democrat politicians are not like other politicians, it matters if people don't vote for their policies, leaving it to the voters is just not acceptable, they must be imposed by higher authority.
When the cat is away...
Pakistan’s embattled president Musharraf has abruptly cancelled his planned visit to China, as opponents in the ruling coalition move to impeach him.
He was to attend opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics and meet Chinese leaders during his two day visit.
But Gordon is still going to China....
With these wasters out of the country, anyone thinking what I'm thinking?
BBC: 437 staff. Cost £3million.
Department for Culture, Media and Sport: Tessa Jowell, Andy Burnham, Gerry Sutcliffe and 10 staff. Cost: £75,000
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform: Lord (Digby) Jones and four staff. Cost: £28,200
Downing Street: Prime Minister and 20 staff. Cost: £114,500 (estimated)
Foreign Office: Sir Alan Collins, consul general to New York. Cost: £3,000 (estimated)
Home Office: 5 officials. Cost: £12,000 (estimated)
Mayor of London's office: Boris Johnson and 13 staff. Cost: £167,000
Olympic Delivery Authority: 22 staff. Cost: £25,000
Olympic Security Directorate: 30 people. Cost: £30,000
Transport for London: 11 staff. Cost £35,000
Hackney Council: 5 staff. Cost: £30,000
Greenwich Council: 6 staff. Cost: £14,000
Newham Council: 4 staff. Cost: £9,000
London Development Agency: 13 staff. Cost: £3million
Visit Britain: 7 people. Cost: £50,000
Visit London: 2 people. Cost £5,000 (estimated)
Metropolitan Police Service: 39 policemen and support staff. Cost: £240,000
Dorset Police: 4 people. Cost: £9,000 (estimated)
Total: 639 people, cost £6,846,700
Dorset Police? Boris should have just sent a Fed-ex courier to pick up the flag and everyone else could have watched it on Sky, if they could be bothered.
Doomed, I tell you, we are all doomed.
Prof Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the EU commitment to limit any temperature rise to 3.5F (2C) is ambitious and Britain should instead plan for a worst-case scenario.
"There is no doubt that we should aim to limit changes in the global mean surface temperature to 2C above pre-industrial," he told the Guardian.
"But given this is an ambitious target, and we don't know in detail how to limit greenhouse gas emissions to realise a 2 degree target, we should be prepared to adapt to 4C."
Of course there is a possibility that temperatures over some undetermined future timescale may rise 4 degrees, they may also fall four degrees, in fact they may do nearly anything - the sceptic argument is what is the real probability looking at as much hard science as we can and what are the costs of any preparation, can they be justified. Do you carry an umbrella with you at all times just in case you get caught in a sudden shower?
August 6, 2008
Round'em up, weigh'em and tag'em..
It appears my wife and I have upset the Government, as part of the small minority of parents who refused to have our 11-year-old child weighed and measured in school last term....the message is clear: that the authorities have the right to decide whether or not our children are living “healthy lives”. They want to measure not only body mass but moral worth, to decide whether our children fit the State's model.
Despite overegged talk of a child obesity “epidemic”, the real extent, causes and health consequences of children being overweight remain uncertain. What is more certain is the lack of hard evidence that campaigns of intervention in school or family life have any beneficial effects...Yet the authorities throw their substantial weight behind every stunt from policing lunchboxes to weighing children like little piggies. At a time when governments have lowered horizons from creating the Good Society to moulding the Healthy Citizen, the anti-obesity crusade legitimises public monitoring of private behaviour.
But "It's for the children" ™! They will be assimilated into the State's desired image, how could you doubt the all knowing benevolence of the State? Even Tory MPs don't read Hayek anymore.
So Milibug is trying to prevent Milibore from launching his own leadership challenge by leaking that he would offer him a peach job. Whether Miliburp will resign from his family to spend more time with Milibum is another matter, or even if he was asked if he wanted to be fingered as the new Darling.
Ihre Papieren, bitte!
Confidential personal details of millions of passengers flying into and out of Britain should he handed over to the Government to help them fight crime, ministers will say today.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne is also likely to say that these powers to probe passenger records should be extended to other forms of travel like the Eurostar train service between the UK and the Continent.Currently European Union regulations restrict the use of so-called of "Passenger Name Record" data, including names and addresses, to Governments to fight the threat from terrorists and organised crime.
However the Home Office has said that it believes these rules are too narrow ....
You bet it does, until we are all tagged and bound it will not be satisfied. And whilst millions of ordinary passengers will be harrassed guess how the very naughty people will get round it?
New microchipped passports designed to be foolproof against identity theft can be cloned and manipulated in minutes and accepted as genuine by the computer software recommended for use at international airports.
August 5, 2008
Reds, Greens and Greys
Red squirrels are being tipped to make a comeback after a successful experiment in culling their stronger grey cousins. A project on the island of Anglesey in North Wales to remove the larger, more aggressive grey squirrel has led to a swift doubling in the population of the red version of the species.
In other news: RSPCA attacks 'pointless' cull of grey squirrels
Even the pollution is spun at No 10
No 10 Downing Street is not actually made from black bricks. In fact it was blackened by London's smog. When the building was renovated in the 1960s, everyone had got so used to it that the yellow brickwork was coloured black for the sake of tradition.
There is a parable there about how filth and muck have become ingrained, expected and institutionalized at No 10 but I can't quite work it out...
A history of temperatures in Antarctica
A snippet from Jonathan Drake:
Dated 2005, a white paper from International Partnerships in Ice Core
Sciences (IPICS) entitled "The IPICS 2k Array: a network of ice core climate
and climate forcing records for the last two millennia" contains an
interesting graphic. It shows that the continent wide (Antarctica) ice core
records do not demonstrate the same positive trend in temperature of the
southern hemisphere instrumented record.
So guess which record is the one we hear about.....
Speed Cameras - Follow the money
In 1997, when Labour came to power, there were 712,753 speeding tickets issued as a result of motorists being caught by camera and police patrols.
By 2006, according to figures released by the Home Office in a Commons written reply, this had soared to 1,773,412.
With the cost of a Fixed Penalty Notice having risen from £40 to £60 in 2000, this has meant that the cash raised increased from ?£28.5 million to £106.4 million.
This figure would have continued rising further had the Government not reformed the policing of speeding in April last year, scrapping the arrangements under which safety camera partnerships kept all the cash.
Since then all fines are paid to the Treasury with the cash then being distributed to partnerships as grants for a variety of road safety initiatives and not just cameras.
As a result, according to the Department for Transport's latest figures, speed camera fines fell from £114.6 million in 2005-6 to £104.4 million in 2006-7.
Surprising? Incentives matter, stop letting the locals keep all the money and they stop chasing the motorists so hard! But if they sens the erring motorist on a Speed Awareness course instead of fining him then they get to keep the money - As I have blogged before the operation of the Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership Workshop for instance is all tied up with funding and bickering over who gets the money...
Education Tractor Factory Results
PUPILS across Scotland will enjoy a "vintage year" for exam results with an increase in pass rates for both Standard Grade and Higher exams announced today.
Pass rates for Highers and Intermediate 2 exams have shown a significant increase, as thousands of students prepare to receive their results this morning.
The overall pass rate for Highers jumped to 73.4 per cent, compared to 71.7 per cent last year...Figures from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) showed that the overall pass rate for Standard Grades had risen from 97.6 per cent in 2007 to 98 per cent this year.
Congratulations to all of the children who have worked hard and what a shame their hard work is devalued because no one believes that the exam system is fair - not even the teachers.
Free Scotland Campaign Banned in China
THE row over flags has been provoked by China's attempts to stop the Free Tibet campaign using the Olympic Games to further its cause.
A code of conduct for spectators laid down by the organising committee outlaws flags other than those of Olympic members. And although the UK is a member country, Scotland is not one in its own right...The last thing the Chinese government wants is a stadium full of Tibetan flags.
Oh the happy harmony of it all....
August 4, 2008
Enforcing the AGW viewpoint on blogs by regulation - your views please.
I’m preparing a paper for an upcoming conference on this, so please comment if you can! Thanks. Many people have urged for there to be some legal or moral consequence for denying climate change. This urge generally comes from a number of places. Foremost is the belief that the science of anthropogenic climate change is proven beyond reasonable doubt and that climate change is an ethical issue.
I’m an advocate for something stronger. Call it regulation, law, or influence. Whatever name we give it, it should not be seen as regulation vs. freedom, but as a balancing of different freedoms. In the same way that to enjoy the freedom of a car you need insurance to protect the freedom of other drivers and pedestrians; in the same way that you enjoy the freedom to publish your views, you need a regulatory code to ensure the freedoms of those who can either disagree with or disprove your views.
What do you think? Perhaps a starting point is a draft point in the codes for governing how the media represent climate change, and a method for enforcing that code. And that code needs to extend out to cover new media, including blogs.
Would really love to hear your thoughts/feedback, so that it can help shape my upcoming paper on this. Thanks.
Go on, he's asked.
Original Reading This Summer
Every Conservative MP has been handed a 38-book summer reading list to help them think more like David Cameron. ...delivered to the Commons pigeonhole of each Conservative member shortly before recess...
Or as Jonathan Oliver in The Times has it David Cameron throws the book at MPs - Times Online
Every Conservative MP has been issued with a 12-page summer reading list to help them think more like David Cameron...
The daunting list of 37 books, stuffed into the Commons pigeonhole of each Tory member shortly before recess, includes the provocatively titled Political Hypocrisy by David Runciman, a Cambridge lecturer who was at Eton with Cameron. It is easy to see why the book was included. Runciman argues there is nothing inherently wrong with double standards in politics and criticises journalists who seek to expose Westminster hypocrites.
(Telegraph) Among the books selected is Political Hypocrisy by David Runciman, a Cambridge lecturer who was at Eton with Mr Cameron. Interestingly, Runciman argues there is nothing wrong with double standards in politics and criticises journalists who seek to expose Westminster hypocrites.
The list includes other “new Tory” set texts. Nudge, the hit pop-psychology book by the Americans Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, is described as “required reading”. The authors’ argue that sometimes voters need a light push to do the right thing, a sentiment that chimes with Mr Cameron’s policies on welfare and tax.
(Times)The list includes other “new Tory” set texts. Nudge, the hit pop-psychology book by the Americans Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, is described as “required reading”. The authors’ argument that voters sometimes need a subtle push to do the right thing has been the inspiration for Tory policies on welfare and tax.
Good Business, a tract on the importance of corporate social responsibility, is included, no doubt in part because its author, Steve Hilton, is Cameron’s close friend and policy adviser.
Cold Cream, the memoirs of Ferdinand Mount,....
(Telegraph) Links to Mr Cameron are easy to find elsewhere in the list too. Good Business, a polemic on the importance of corporate social responsibility, is written by Steve Hilton, the Witney MP’s close friend and policy adviser.
Cold Cream, the memoirs of Sir William Ferdinand Mount, ....Mr Cameron himself has seemingly not led by example, choosing a less gruelling way to start his summer break in Cornwall. He has been spotted reading Devil May Care, the new James Bond book by Sebastian Faulks.
(Times) Cameron himself has chosen a less demanding way to start his summer break in Cornwall. He has been spotted leafing through Devil May Care, the pacy new James Bond book by Sebastian Faulks.
Great minds eh?
Flower Power to Beat Gun Crime?
Scientists have perfected the technique of “tagging” bullets with microscopic specks of pollen from the oriental lily (Lilium orientale) and the white trumpet lily (Lilium longiflorum) which will stick to the hands of anyone who handles them.
The research team is now extending its work to see if the “nanotags” can also be attached to knives....
In addition to the pollen, cartridges would also be coated with a slightly abrasive chemical coating which would strip off tiny skin fragments of anyone handling it. This would increase the chances of DNA being retained on the cartridges.
The coating and tags could be altered between batches of bullets and manufacturers to ensure that cartridges would have a chemical signature....
The technology could be in use within a year, but its usefulness in detecting crime will require a major diplomatic effort by ministers to persuade other countries to require their ammunition manufacturers to use it.
Most of the 9mm ammunition recovered by police units is manufactured overseas. Criminals have also resorted to making their own bullets.
My local milsurp dealer (before he was banned) used to wash great quantities of 7.62 in acid in his cement mixer, came up nice and shiny and his overseas clients never knew better....
Climate Change News You Should Really Worry About
THE last ice age 13,000 years ago took hold in just one year, more than ten times quicker than previously believed, scientists have warned.
Rather than a gradual cooling over a decade, the ice age plunged Europe into the deep freeze, German Research Centre for Geosciences at Potsdam said.
Cold, stormy conditions caused by an abrupt shift in atmospheric circulation froze the continent almost instantly during the Younger Dryas less than 13,000 years ago – a very recent period on a geological scale.
The new findings will add to fears of a serious risk of this happening again in the UK and western Europe – and soon.
Now that is worrying - and what planning have we got in case it happens again - none.
Councils say trading by pedlars is a growing problem on local high streets due to outdated and confusing regulations, which offer little protection to consumers. The 1871 and 1881 Pedlars Acts established the rules for pedlars....
If pedlars have been operating under the same rules for over 125 years why is suddenly a growing problem, why the demand for urgent action and new laws? If you buy a £1 umbrella from a man on the corner do you really need the full protection of consumer rights? You know it's crap, but it will probably keep you dry until you get to the office. When things have been unchanged for so long there is a certain Darwinian interpretation of the need for change, there isn't one.
Healthy Living Update...
Healthy & Organic Living magazine celebrates the fact that organic, healthy and environmentally-friendly living is a lifestyle choice but that it doesn't necessarily have to involve huge changes to your way of life...
In H&OL7 p60 Antony Worral Thompson recommends using henbane in salads. In fact henbane is a very toxic plant and should never been eaten. As always, check with an expert when foraging or collecting wild plants.
Greenwashing the Report
Through green tinted glasses we read; Leading article: Driven to distraction - Leading Article - The Independent
The latest report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee agrees with the Government's policy of imposing higher road tax on heavily-polluting vehicles. Indeed, the committee encourages the Government to go further in incentivising drivers to make more environmentally-sound choices of vehicle.
Or as the Telegraph has it:
Treasury plans to impose £2 billion of green taxes on 13 million motorists have been savaged by an influential group of MPs.
The damning verdict of the Environmental Audit Committee, on the proposals to increase road taxes next year, will now lead to even greater pressure on the Prime Minister to abandon the controversial measure.
The rise in road tax offered "little benefit" to the environment and gave green taxes "a bad name", the MPs said.
The Government had not even attempted to calculate the environmental impact of the plans and the move is seen as a revenue-raising measure that has been "greenwashed."
The BBC tries to balance it all up:
BBC NEWS | Politics | MPs sceptical over car tax rise
A committee of MPs has expressed scepticism over the government's plan to increase from next year car tax for "gas-guzzling" vehicles.
The Environmental Audit Committee's official report backs the move as a "step in the right direction".
But chairman Tim Yeo said the benefit to the environment would be limited, and called for more ambitious changes.
Ah, I thought if Tim Yeo was involved then idiocy couldn't be far away
August 3, 2008
The war against teaching children science
Dawkins believes that many science teachers who do believe in evolution are selling our children short by kowtowing to political correctness. At the moment, he points out, Darwinian evolution is taught in British schools at key stages 3 and 4, but under the national curriculum, alternative theories such as “intelligent design” (part of the creationist credo) “could be discussed in schools . . . in the context of being one of a range of views on evolution”, according to a government education minister.
“It’s fine to teach children about scientific controversies,” Dawkins says. “What is not fine is to say, ‘There are these two theories. One is called evolution, the other is called Genesis.’ If you are going to say that, then you should talk about the Nigerian tribe who believe the world was created from the excrement of ants.”
Cowardice is at the root of the problem, he feels. When it comes to presenting the truth of science against the “mythology” of religion, science teachers duck the issue for fear of reprimand. And not only from evangelical Christians. In his view, devout Muslims are a large part of the problem.
“Islam is importing creationism into this country,” he says....“It seems as though teachers are terribly frightened of being thought racist,” says Dawkins. “It’s almost impossible to say anything against Islam in this country, because [if you do] you are accused of being racist or Islamophobic.”
Old Logs Not Old Trees Reveal Climate Change Details
Britain's great seafaring tradition is to provide a unique insight into modern climate change, thanks to thousands of Royal Navy logbooks that have survived from the 17th century onwards.
The logbooks kept by every naval ship, ranging from Nelson’s Victory and Cook’s Endeavour down to the humblest frigate, are emerging as one of the world’s best sources for long-term weather data.
A preliminary study of 6,000 logbooks has produced results that raise questions about climate change theories. One paper, published by Dr Dennis Wheeler, a Sunderland University geographer, in the journal The Holocene, details a surge in the frequency of summer storms over Britain in the 1680s and 1690s.
Many scientists believe storms are a consequence of global warming, but these were the coldest decades of the so-called Little Ice Age that hit Europe from about 1600 to 1850.
Wheeler and his colleagues have since won European Union funding to extend this research to 1750. This shows that during the 1730s, Europe underwent a period of rapid warming similar to that recorded recently – and which must have had natural origins.
Hints of such changes are already known from British records, but Wheeler has found they affected much of the north Atlantic too, and he has traced some of the underlying weather systems that caused it. His research will be published in the journal Climatic Change.
The ships’ logs have also shed light on extreme weather events such as hurricanes. It is commonly believed that hurricanes form in the eastern Atlantic and track westwards, so scientists were shocked in 2005 when Hurricane Vince instead moved northeast to hit southern Spain and Portugal.
Many interpreted this as a consequence of climate change; but Wheeler, along with colleagues at the University of Madrid, used old ships’ logs to show that this had also happened in 1842, when a hurricane followed the same trajectory into Andalusia....
Wheeler makes clear he has no doubts about modern human-induced climate change. He said: “Global warming is a reality, but what our data shows is that climate science is complex and that it is wrong to take particular events and link them to CO2 emissions. These records will give us a much clearer picture of what is really happening.”
Of course he has to be suitably obsequious and recite a public belief in the catechism of the AGW theory, if he was sceptic do you think he would find it easy to be funded?
You will be controlled!
Families who overfill rubbish bins are to face bigger fines than those imposed on drunks or shoplifters, the government has told local authorities.
The offences for which householders can be fined include leaving ajar the lid of a wheelie bin, putting out a bin the evening before collection or leaving the bin in the wrong place.
Although the government has previously claimed that it leaves local councils to decide on the level of fines, the Fly-capture Enforcement manual, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, stipulates that fixed penalties for offences involving “waste receptacles” must range from £75 to £110.
It suggests a standard fixed penalty of £100, adding that “if a notice is not paid, it is essential it is followed up”. The penalties are higher than the £80 on-the-spot fines levied by police for offences ranging from being drunk and disorderly to shoplifting.
Of course leaving your wheelie bin in the wrong place is worse than shoplifting, one is only theft from a private business, the other is a crime against Gaia, the government and the whole environmental movement...
Blair on Brown - Tony tells the truth
Tony Blair has delivered a savage attack on Gordon Brown in a secret memo accusing him of playing into David Cameron’s hands by his ‘lamentable’ and ‘vacuous’ performance as Prime Minister.
The former Prime Minister boasts that Mr Cameron was ‘in trouble’ before he resigned a year ago.
And he claims Mr Brown’s incompetence has made the Tories look like the party of the future and on course to win the next Election.
I would love to be the butler in Gordon Brown's secret country house hideaway this morning, carefully presenting the ironed papers at the breakfast table with this story on top, and then running away very very quickly...
Labour Scottish Schism
SCOTTISH Labour was facing full-scale civil war last night as leading MSPs demanded the new leader wrest "complete control" of the party from its London headquarters.
Where's the clunking iron fist to keep the rebellious Scots in control? He has lost control of the Westminster party so no wonder the mice up north are running riot.
Don't mention State Propaganda
The Government has spent almost £2 million to fund programmes that are all but indistinguishable from regular shows, The Sunday Telegraph has established.
But unlike normal documentaries, the programmes are commissioned by ministers with the purpose of showing their policies or activities in a sympathetic light. ...
Beat: Life on the Street, which was supported with £800,000 of funding by the Home Office for its first two series, portrayed PCSOs as dedicated, helpful and an effective adjunct to the police — despite the controversy about their role.
One Whitehall source admitted of the documentary: “It allows the Government to have more air time and get its message across to people.” ...
Home Office officials were directly involved in the making of the series.
They were allowed to view a second edit of individual programmes and were able to suggest changes to some of the “terminology” and “language” used in the narration.
Of course the programs were independent and objective in showing how wonderful the Home Office policies were.......
August 2, 2008
Globalisation - the chickens come home to roost.
The cull hen market - which takes 30m laying birds and six million broiler breeders a year - appears to be on a roller-coaster ride.
Some producers are now earning up to 10p a bird. But that's not the whole story. Others are still at the mercy of processors who are only prepared to offer a culling service and refuse to pay anything for spent birds cleared from sheds. And in Scotland some egg producers are paying 9p a bird to have sheds emptied.
The export market to West Africa is now open again and hopefully that will sustain a market for dark meat.
When it comes to the value of cull hens it may not be a lot but it's better than nothing, says Andrew Joret of Noble Foods at Tring, Hertfordshire.
"On average producers are no longer paying to have birds removed. If they are using their own catching teams costing 6-7p a bird, there may be a few pence per bird left over.
"We've come from a situation where 10% of cull hens sold in the UK were sold whole as complete birds - largely to the ethnic trade - to one where the vast majority of carcasses are split with most of the breast meat used by the home market.
"The export market is now a major buyer with China - via Hong Kong - taking wings while West Africa is accounting for legs.
"At the time producers were paying up to 16p a bid to have them removed from their units it was because there was no export market operating - and this supply of meat relies on an export trade," says Mr Joret.
Just a snippet to show how global and competitive the meat trade is - none of that not worrying about the cost of an organic egg in the real world... (oh and there was a quote or two in there that caught my eye...)
IE7 Blocks Blogs with Sitemeter
This posting is primarily addressed to those webmasters who experience a similar problem.
If your web page contains a Sitemeter counter, Internet Explorer users eventually see an "Operation aborted" error message. Once they click OK, the whole page disappears and is replaced by a blank page....
I have tried his recommended fix here, if it doesn't work than you won't be able to read this. If you can't read this please tell me...
Science vs the Zealots
A leading scientist in charge of GM crop trials has said GM crop saboteurs are like book-burners in Nazi Germany.
Professor Howard Atkinson said at a press conference in London that the protesters were "zealots" who were not "open to rational scientific debate".
He said: "I have great difficulty in seeing what is the distinction between burning university books in 1933, and now trying to prevent new information finding its way into scientific journals to underpin policy development."
"They have made up their minds, so they have a closed mind - that's what I mean by a zealot."
Environmental group Friends of the Earth said Professor Atkinson should apologise for making the comparison.
And how exactly is the comparison wrong? There is far too much zealotry trying to prevent science influencing policy, I don't think I need mention....
August 1, 2008
Friday Night is Music Night - Adolescent Edition
As a teenage boy at an all boy boarding school this video came out just in time to prevent me experimenting and trying out vile perversions - such as buying three disc gate-fold prog rock albums, I had been saved from such unnatural acts by a love of the three minute perfect pop song.
Though I did relapse a little when I was at college and I seem to remember this classic from the welsh group Man which was on a album with a foldout map finding a welcome in my bedsit, though my memory is a little hazy...
Live and Let Live....
Police were alerted at about 4am today that shots had been fired in the areas. Officers attended and found a man injured outside the Live and Let Live pub in Romford Road
A snippet to give you an understanding of how farming really is now.
In the field next to my house the muck spreaders are at work, but not over the whole field. The combine which self steered its way across the rape earlier this week recorded the yield variations onto a gps map which is fed into the office computer. The manure management plan then indicates which areas of the field will benefit from the muck the most and will also provide information for the gps guided fertiliser applicator throughout the season to vary the fertiliser rates across the field.
It's not all muck and mystery anymore.
Top Cop Doesn't Demand New Laws
"Since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving, Paris Hilton is out of town not bothering anybody, thank God, and evidently Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue," Los Angeles police chief William Bratton said yesterday.
Mr Bratton spoke after hearing city councillor Dennis Zine discussing possible new restrictions on freelance photographers.
Mr Bratton called the hearing "foolishness" and said he would not join in. There were "sufficient laws" to deal with aggressive paparazzi.
How refreshing to hear a Police Chief bluntly tell it how it is and not demand yet more laws - Sir Ian please note.
Two thirds of Britons aren't interested in the Olympics
The survey by Sport+Markt, published exclusively in The Times, showed that the proportion of people who were either “interested” or “very interested” in the Olympics had fallen from 52 per cent to 36 per cent over the past four years. Britain displayed the lowest level of enthusiasm out of the five major European countries - Germany, Italy, France, and Spain - where interest had fallen. Germany registered the highest level.
Restores your faith in the innate sense of the British. Could someone tell the BBC that two thirds of licence payers couldn't give a stuff about the Olympics and they should relegate the coverage to one of their minority channels.
I say, I say, I say, stop me if you have heard it before.
Britain’s oldest joke...They found the wry observation in the Codex Exoniensis, a 10th century book of Anglo-Saxon poetry held at Exeter Cathedral.
It reads: "What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before?’ Answer: A key."
...Egyptians were laughing at much the same thing.
"Man is even more eager to copulate than a donkey - his purse is what restrains him," reads an Egyptian hieroglyphic from a period that pre-dates Christ.
The world's oldest surviving joke "is essentially a fart gag"...
The 3,000-year-old Sumerian proverb, from ancient Babylonia, reads: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."
I think more research is needed, I'm sure some of the jokes Nigel tells in the Kings Arms are even older....