April 30, 2009
Alcohol Stats - the bitchslap
Transposed statistics -Times Online
Sir, Professor Ian Gilmore (letter, April 27) tells us that all but one liver-ward patients with alcohol-related liver problems were daily or very frequent drinkers, and deduces that “Middle England” drinkers are ending up on liver wards by regularly consuming what some might consider to be moderate levels of alcohol. Unfortunately, the deduction is misleading.
The premise shows that if one is a liver-ward patient then the probability of being a daily or frequent drinker is very high. But it says little directly about the probability of being on a liver ward, if one is a daily or frequent drinker — which is surely what one is interested in. This mistake has arisen sufficiently often for it to be given a name: the error of the transposed conditional.
Professor David J. Hand
President, Royal Statistical Society
Swine Flu - Round up the usual prejudices
Factory farming, blah blah clah - not a jot of evidence I can see - the problem is as he says when "animals exist alongside crowded human habitations, the potential for disaster is vastly greater. "
April 29, 2009
Gurkha Justice Campaign
Signatures so far: 190898 at 07:00 BST on Wednesday 29 April 2009.
Please add yours.
Justice for Gurkhas petition - Telegraph...the Home Office last week issued fresh criteria for allowing Gurkhas into the UK, but set the bar for entry so high that campaigners say that only a few hundred veterans will ever qualify.
Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, has claimed that giving free access to all former Gurkhas and their families could mean as many as 100,000 people moving to Britain.
And so what?
Passport Ban for Silly People
The Identity & Passport Service, which addressed her as 'Mrs Bear', told her in a letter: "It is deemed to be a frivolous change of name, which would bring IPS into disrepute. It could also pose problems for you at border control in some countries.
"IPS is not questioning the validity of the deed poll, however, it is not prepared to issue a passport in a frivolous name which could compromise our mission statement 'safeguarding your identity'."
Bring the IPS into disrepute?, oh get her! If she has changed her name legally then she has changed her name. Full stop. It is none of the civil servants' business as to how stupid the name is. But then they forget they are servants and believe they are the masters now.
Swine Flu - Health Advice you can trust
Spot on as ever. Sandy explains at length
April 28, 2009
iea A Credit-Crunch Reader...a valuable compendium of free-market blog and think-tank responses to the crash of 2008.
The overriding message from these readings is clear. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the crash was not the result of unchecked "laissez-faire" capitalism. In fact the credit crunch can be explained by a combination of misguided regulation, government intervention and loose monetary policy. Unfortunately, as the authors point out, governments' responses to the credit crunch would appear to be equally ill-conceived.
Graffito spotted today near Malmesbury...
April 27, 2009
Fancy a Cruise?
I have always thought a cruise must be akin to a living death, but suddenly I can see an attraction. Big game hunting is frowned on now but pirate hunting, now there's a sport. Outside territorial waters so rules free, I can think of a few readers to share the voyage with. I bagsy a .416 Rigby, others may go for something more modern, in fact your suggestions below would be most welcome.
The SNP Spending Plans Explained on Video
THE SNP administration will not axe any of its expensive public spending plans because of the squeeze on the Scottish budget from Westminster, ministers insisted last night.
This post breaks the Olympic law
London Olympics under threat from cyber attack says Blunkett - Telegraph
That is why it's crucial to examine what we can do now, what measures need to be put in place.....
So the fascist games will be used as an excuse to turn the screw yet again as to what can be done online.
What they have done already is beyond belief - combining the words summer and 2012 is enough to get you door beaten down. And of course we know such powers will never be misused don't we...
1 (1) There shall be a right, to be known as the London Olympics association right, which shall confer exclusive rights in relation to the use of any representation (of any kind)...
For the purpose of considering whether a person has infringed the London Olympics association right a court may, in particular, take account of his use of a combination of expressions of a kind specified in sub-paragraph (2).
(2) The combinations referred to in sub-paragraph (1) are combinations of-
(a) any of the expressions in the first group, with
(b) any of the expressions in the second group or any of the other expressions in the first group.
(3) The following expressions form the first group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)-
(b) "Two Thousand and Twelve",
(c) "2012", and
(d) "twenty twelve".
(4) The following expressions form the second group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)-
(f) sponsor, and
(5) It is immaterial for the purposes of this paragraph whether or not a word is written wholly or partly in capital letters.
(6) The Secretary of State may by order add, remove or vary an entry in either group of expressions.....
22 Enforcement: power of entry
(1) A constable or enforcement officer may-
(a) enter land or premises on which they reasonably believe a contravention of regulations under section 19 is occurring (whether by reason of advertising on that land or premises or by the use of that land or premises to cause an advertisement to appear elsewhere);
(b) remove, destroy, conceal or erase any infringing article;
(c) when entering land under paragraph (a), be accompanied by one or more persons for the purpose of taking action under paragraph (b);
(d) use, or authorise the use of, reasonable force for the purpose of taking action under this subsection.....
And don't forget that "2012" is a registered trademark, so what the fuck we are going to call the year between 2011 and 2013 is beyond me.
April 25, 2009
And turn the lights out on your way out
H/t Sue 11 am Sat
Friday Night Saturday Morning is Music Night (Rip It Up Edition)
Sorry Sue for the late posting....
Jacqui Smith to log your porn habit
Has Jacqui Smith asked her husband what he thinks of this, will he write a supportive letter?
And then we started on the port...
At least the MPs were impressed by the absence of unruly binge drinking in the pub, but then they left before the profiteroles and cheeses...
April 24, 2009
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Off to the annual Gentleman's St George's Day lunch - no live blogging this year, and I hope not to fall asleep face down in The Stinking Bishop either. In fact I gather the owner of the Brewery may be bring a couple of MPs along to demonstrate how Pubs promote sensible drinking and community values. It all may go terribly wrong.
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Off to the annual Gentleman's St George's Day lunch - no live blogging this year, and I hope not to fall asleep face down in The Stinking Bishop either. In fact I gather the owner of the Brewery may be bringing a brace of MPs along to demonstrate how Pubs promote sensible drinking and community values. It all may go terribly wrong.
Live London Weather - looking at the UHI
Weather Monitoring System
Weather Eye: Studying an urban heat island - Times Online
The effect will be examined in a new project in which a weather station will be installed into a school in each London borough.
I note that there are also weather stations outside London. For fans of Surfacestations.org there are also pictures of some of the sites so you can judge the tarmac round them.
Chicken or Egg?
Really? All those maternal urges are just because you are feeling hard done by? How about "Employers get annoyed by women leaving to to have children so offer them low pay" does that make any more sense?
How to raise treasury income now and encourage enterprise
The full scale of the tax crackdown on the rich became clear yesterday as details emerged of a fresh Labour raid on pensions....
The bags are being packed all over town.
May I make a modest proposal to the Tories how to restore confidence in Britain being the place to do business and raise more tax money.
Let people pay their tax in advance. Establish your average tax bill for the last three years and you can then prepay that amount for the next five years and that is is it, if you earn more you don't pay any more tax, less, bad luck. If the rates change it doesn't matter. If you think you are going to be a success and grow a business it lets you fix your outgoings. The banks might have to lend you the money to pay the lump sum but the Treasury gets the money upfront. It might especially work towards the end of a parliament. If it was offered now a lot would take it up.
If the new target is not reached, Gordon Brown will consider making voluntary service a compulsory part of the secondary school curriculum.
Mr Brown believes that encouraging children to undertake voluntary service is an essential part of building a greater sense of national pride.
A Scot forcing English children to slave unpaid, (he has no power over the Scottish curriculum), yes I think that will give us some national unity. He's mad, he believes he is Churchillian...
April 23, 2009
Happy St George's Day
You Will Obey Orders
Drivers are facing more points and more fines for motoring offences as the Government plans to introduce more cameras on Britain's roads.
The speed limit on A-roads are set to be reduced to 50mph in an attempt to cut the number of road deaths by a third while drivers also face limits of 20mph on residential roads and near schools.
As part of a 10-year strategy to make Britain's roads "the safest in the world", the "time over distance" cameras that measure a car's average speed over many miles are also set to be introduced en masse.
All for safety, not revenue, we are told, so why?
Careless driving on the other hand, which is currently punishable with a maximum fine of £2,500, will be downgraded to a £60 fixed penalty.
Actually doing something dangerous the penalty will be a slapped wrist; ignoring the diktats of the government regardless of circumstances, ruinous punishment. Says it all doesn't it.
Darling's Rich Bitch
Scanning the papers I have eventually found one article that faintly praises Darling, the rest are united in condemnation, so I give you bitching about the rich the one and only - Polly!
His one idea of putting his tab on the rich bastards' bill has been recognised as being pathetic. His only consolation is that the Tories don't know what to do about it as they can see being portrayed as the rich bankers friend as the trap it is meant to be. Maybe, just maybe, treating the people as grown ups and trusting them with the truth might work now..
EU Fishing - Accepting they got it wrong.
We've got it all wrong on fishing strategy, says EU - Times Online
Europe’s fishing industry is on the brink of suicide and several species are in danger of extinction after 25 years of policy failure,the European Commission said yesterday.
Officials admitted five key failings in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy as they prepared to tear up the idea of a centrally dictated strategy. They launched the search for an alternative, saying that much of the responsibility for fishing must be returned to EU member states.
A surprising bit of good news - the first stage of any recovery depends on acknowledging your own faults. Darling, Brown, please note.
April 22, 2009
Churchill on St George's Day
"We ought not on these occasions to allow our thoughts to exalt England at the expense of our fellow countrymen in these islands. But there are a few things I will venture to say to you about England. They are spoken in no invidious sense. Here, it never occurs to anyone that the banks would close their doors on their depositors; here it never occurs to anyone to question the fairness of the courts of law and justice; here no one would dream of persecuting his fellow subject, man or woman, on account of their race or religion; here, everyone, except the criminals, looks upon the policeman as the friend and servant of the public; here we provide for poverty and misfortune with more compassion, and more substantial provision, in spite of all our burdens, than any other great country; here we assert the rights of the citizen against the state; or criticise the government of the day, without failing in our duty to the crown. This England, this mighty London in which we are gathered is still the financial centre of the world. From the Admiralty building, half a mile away, orders can be sent to a fleet, which though much smaller than it used to be, or that it ought to be is still unsurpassed on the seas..."
Global Warming slowing - its all our fault
The first study found that the hole in the ozone layer, caused by the use of CFCs, has prevented the melting of Antarctica even as the rest of the world warms.
A separate study found that plants absorb more carbon dioxide under polluted skies, therefore slowing global warming.
Scientists said the findings made it even more important to cut carbon emissions in the future...
Get ready for more "The dog ate my homework" excuses....
Jack Straw at The Ministry of Truth
The Budget Statement Video
Ray Collins distances his site from Labourlist
After I revealed the minor link between Ray Collins' smear site http://www.davidcameronseconomicpolicy.co.uk and labourlist, in that they shared the same faveicon, Ray's site has removed its faveicon completely and Dave's site has moved its to http://www.labourlist.org/images/labourlist/favicon.png.Strange that though they are unconnected both took action the same day...
The power of blogging eh?
BBC NEWS | Education | Ministers' Sats account 'fiction'
The English qualifications agency's former head, who quit over last year's Sats fiasco, has described ministers' version of what happened as "fiction".
Poor old Ed, it doesn't get any better for the slippery bastard does it. Being a Brown Mini-me doesn't look such a great career choice now does it.
April 21, 2009
I see no cooling
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | 'Quiet Sun' baffling astronomers
There are no sunspots, very few solar flares - and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.
In the mid-17th Century, a quiet spell - known as the Maunder Minimum - lasted 70 years, and led to a "mini ice-age".
This has resulted in some people suggesting that a similar cooling might offset the impact of climate change.
According to Prof Mike Lockwood of Southampton University, this view is too simplistic.
"I wish the Sun was coming to our aid but, unfortunately, the data shows that is not the case," he said.
"If the Sun's dimming were to have a cooling effect, we'd have seen it by now."
Note how the "neutral" term "Climate Change" is taken as read to mean "warming" - and I'm not sure I want the sun to "come to our rescue" and for us to re-enter a mini ice age. But pick any set of data you like, or even any set of data you don't like, and you will see the world has been cooling for the last few years. So what cooling is it that he can't see?
Stern - tax us to make us happier
The Government should make clear that consumers and taxpayers will pay higher prices and taxes in the coming decade, particularly for energy, flying and driving. All political parties must be honest about it. The Government cannot shirk the costs of action and the Opposition cannot point-score by attacking or denying the extra costs and prices that are involved.
The cost of these steps towards a low-carbon economy will not be small. .. We should probably be allowing for up to £20 billion per year, perhaps more, split between direct price increases and public expenditure during the next few years, which should be a period of intensive investment in making the transition to a low-carbon economy. If half of this comes from public expenditure it would represent about 0.7 per cent of current UK GDP, or 1.5 per cent of public expenditure. These significant sums are manageable. The medium-term fiscal strategy, which will inevitably be tough, must make allowance for these costs.
These investments will have strong returns beyond the radical reduction in climate risks. They will also create the engine of growth of the next few decades: low-carbon technology. The potential markets for electric cars, wind and solar power generation and improved public transport, for example, could be very large....And a low-carbon economy will be very attractive: cleaner, quieter, more energy-secure and more biodiverse.
More taxes on profitable business to build unprofitable pipedreams will make us all richer? That's the point of "investment" isn't it? No sorry, make some of us much richer. I get it now.
MPs "not enough to do so we're all going on a summer holiday"
The 12-week recess, which is a week longer than last year's break, comes as MPs admit there is not enough work to do at Westminster.
Difficult times, may people are facing falling order books and staff are having to take time off; my local industrial giant Honda has been honest with its people, close the lines for a long holiday, ten per cent pay cuts for workers, 15 for managers and so I'm sure our MPs are doing the same.....
Lord Stern - Ignorant and Reckless
Now in a new book, the World Bank's former chief economist has warned the science he based his predictions on is out of date. He said levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are already at 430 parts per million (ppm)..
Lord Stern warned that Florida and Bangladesh could disappear, alligators could survive at the North Pole and millions of people would have to migrate.
Lord Stern, who is to launch his book - A Blueprint for a Safer Planet - at a public lecture at LSE on Tuesday, said in the face of such evidence those who continue to deny climate change are "ignorant and reckless."
Call me ignorant and reckless but the global CO2 level hasn't reached 430ppm yet nor are future scenarios "evidence". Especially when the sea level would have to rise over 345 feet to submerge all of Florida and ten times that (3451 feet) to submerge Bangladesh's highest point Keokradong. Which would make alligators feel even more all-at-sea at the North Pole where the ocean bottom is 4300 feet below present sea level. And we all know how alligators love deep water...
Doesn't anyone do fact checking any more? Sorry, I forgot its the Telegraph.
April 20, 2009
And now a commercial break
Friday is St George's Day lunch so I'm trying to do five days work in four this week, so to keep you quiet here is one of the many excellent Manix adverts on youtube.
April 19, 2009
Labourlist and Ray Collins - the favicon connection
Is this favicon from the unofficial, unconnected, LabourList or http://www.davidcameronseconomicpolicy.co.uk/ "Promoted by Ray Collins, General Secretary, the Labour Party on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 39 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HA"? Or both?
It seems it isn't just a server they share.
April 18, 2009
News of the World calls No10 Liars, and the other Sundays pile in...
A new email shows that Labour’s General Secretary Ray Collins chaired a secret meeting to create the Red Rag website now ensnared in the Smeargate scandal.
The email’s existence links the dirty tricks site to the very TOP of the Labour Party.
And it exposes the LIE, put out by Downing Street, and repeated by government ministers this week, that the smears project was just a minor aberration cooked up by a couple of renegades acting alone—and which would never have seen light of day.
Joining Collins and Whelan at the meeting were the two men whose leaked smear emails later brought the scandal to light: Damian McBride and Draper.
Also in the room was the man who was to be the public face of Red Rag, Unite press officer Andrew Dodgshon, as well as political journalist Kevin Maguire, who was there in a private capacity.
The Red Rag story runs and runs, and doesn't stop here..
Brown's trademark has been to mercilessly rip his rivals' jugular veins and, on God's honour, deny any responsibility. Admirers praised the absence of Brown's fingerprints as the genius of Houdini and McCavity. His quest relied on attack-dogs like McBride eager to spill blood while the commander posed as the innocent saint. Until now, the suspicious had lacked documentary proof of what insiders always whispered about Brown's tactics. .
From The Sunday Times:
Ed Balls ‘ran’ Labour’s smear unit
Not so Green as Cabbage looking
A small voice of sanity...
Telegraph Misses True Story Reprints Green PR instead
Utter tosh - the real and interesting story about this is here.
They didn't expect to find "Frst Year Ice", but if they had looked at the real expert reports on the internet, from the comfort of home, before they went they would have found a map showing where the "First Year Ice" was. Just where they were going. So either they are stupid or .....
(And if you want to really measure the thickness of the ice trudging around isn't the way to do it, you dial into what the remote sensors and satellites are telling us, and you don't even need to get chilly.)
April 17, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Arthur Smith Lecture Editon)
Coming Soon - The Ministry of Truth
Whatever happened to the heroes?
'I used icepick to take Somali pirate hostage' says sailor - Times Online
A.T.M. “Zahid” Reza told reporters on his return to America that he had captured the pirate, “Abdul”, with Mike Perry, the ship’s chief engineer.
“I was attempting to kill him,” Mr Reza said. “Chief engineer said, ‘No, no, no, don’t. We need him alive.’ ” Mr Reza, from Connecticut, has been praised by shipmates for his bravery during the high-seas drama that ended with US navy snipers shooting dead three pirates holding Captain Richard Phillips hostage in a lifeboat.
If you are of a certain age reading that story awakens this earworm...
Nothing to worry about
Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners, believes that even if there are concrete signs of recovery, the level of debt incurred as the Government attempts to spend its way out of the crisis means we have months if not years of "austerity Britain" before us.
"As we are forced to change and adapt our bad spending ways, put affordability first and further cut spending, it could be as long as ten years before signs appear of a real and sustainable recovery," Mr Wheeldon said.
As such, the Government's dreams of economic improvement by the time of the next election should, he claims, be buried for good.
But don't worry because Mandy told an audience on a visit to Scotland to cheer up and not be so gloomy about the country's prospects.
A song, a dance and all is well in Mandy land....
Exposing the press in the press, it takes an outsider to do what all those cosy media reviews haven't done. And he isn't even one of the thousands of holders of media degrees our universities have been churning out.
Snoop Doggy Dog
BBC NEWS | Politics | Council 'snooping power' reviewed
Councils in England and Wales should not use surveillance powers to target minor offences such as dogs fouling pavements, the home secretary has said.
Jacqui Smith was speaking as the Home Office launched a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
Ms Smith said the government had to protect people's freedom "from interference by those who would do us harm".
Protect our freedom by restricting it to prevent our freedom being restricted is what I think she means.
Is there anything that passes Jacqui's desk that doesn't cause a review to be set up? She is paid to make bloody decisions, how about making one for a change. What fun it must be in the Smith household. Toast or Muesli? I'll set up a review into breakfast choices. Black shoes or brown, we need to consider the sensitivities of the communities I will be visiting and so I have set up a review. Shall we go out for a meal or an evening in on the sofa...
Met Riot Police have form
The Countryside Alliance compares the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the G20 demonstration to that of our demonstration in Parliament Square on 15th September 2004. We were all shocked by the number and seriousness of injuries inflicted on demonstrators that day, and looking back, it is amazing that there were not more serious consequences.
We are the first to echo the view that policing these events is fraught with difficulty, yet exactly one week after this incident 20,000 of us demonstrated in Brighton at the Labour Party conference. Tensions were high and the opportunity for ‘flash points’ even more numerous than before, but this time with real anger added to the mix. Sussex Police handled the event to perfection. It was controlled and peaceful; there were no arrests and no injuries, which suggests a clear distinction between the attitude of rural and urban police officers.
What is most worrying is that despite a detailed investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) nothing much seems to have changed within the Metropolitan police.
20,000 demonstrators attended the Parliament Square demonstration, along with 1300 police officers. In the clashes that followed, 40 of our members received serious head injuries as a result of being hit on the head by police officers, against all instructions. There were 425 complaints to the IPCC and 31 officers received Regulation 9 notices. 17 officers had files passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for crimes varying from Common Assault to Actual Bodily Harm.
Just prior to the IPCC inquiry a Metropolitan Police press release claimed that 60 officers had been injured, and yet none of the local hospitals had any record of admissions or treating any officers, let alone 60 of them. The inquiry involved up to 17 people from the IPCC and took 14 months to report. Of the cases that went to the CPS, there were no convictions, and no disciplinary action was taken against any officer, including those who removed their ID, despite, as the report stated there being “clear examples of some officers ignoring this instruction”.
April 16, 2009
Plod Don't Want Photos
Man questioned under terrorism law after taking picture of police car in park (From Enfield Independent)
Mr Sleath claimed the car was being driven on the footpath, causing pedestrians to get out of the way and also caused damage to the grass.
As the acting chairman of the Friends of Town Park, Mr Sleath said he took the picture to back up anecdotal evidence that cars were damaging the park at future meetings with the parks police sergeant.
But the officers in the car were not happy. Mr Sleath said a PCSO told him that under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 he was not allowed to take photographs of police officers and vehicles.
( Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to stop and search anyone they suspect is a terrorist threat. The newer Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 aims to prevent people gathering information, including photographs, of the police or armed forces which could be used by terrorists. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison, and given a fine.)
Mr Sleath was detained while the PCSO checked his identity using his driver's licence and filled out a form. He said: "That's the sort of reaction you get when you're living in a police state. It was completely bogus.
Protesters have turned the tables on Big Brother state - Times Online If, in future, police use the controversial section 76 of the new Counter Terrorism Act to stop people taking pictures of officers during demonstrations, that would be a dangerous abuse of power.
Jacqui Smith's hyperbolic civil servants.
Mandarins under fire over arrest of top Tory Damian Green - Times Online
A parliamentary report concludes that senior civil servants overstated the significance of the leaks to persuade police to investigate the Tory MP and raid his Commons office.
It condemns as “hyperbolic” a claim made in a letter from the Cabinet Office that the leaks had caused considerable damage to national security.
A letter from Chris Wright, director of security and intelligence in the Cabinet Office, to Scotland Yard said that leaks from the Home Office between 2007 and 2008 had caused considerable damage to national security.
The letter was written after discussions with Sir David Normington, the top civil servant in the Home Office.
Ms Smith, the Home Secretary, and Sir David, her permanent secretary, had not been able to find the source of the leaks. Sir David admitted that he and Ms Smith expressed their anger and frustration when the leaks appeared in newspapers.
Luckily Sir David and Chris Wright are civil servants and not politically motivated in anyway and would have resisted any pressure from Jacqui to over egg it, wouldn't they?
I note the Home Office is going to hold yet another review, their answer to everything. I have a feeling that the Tories are going to want quicker answers.
Lonely Heart - Can you help?
If I was single....
Andy Burnham - The VideoLiverpool, the socialist worker's paradise, greet the Culture Secretary in the traditional way that Socialist Governments end. "Sections of the crowd chanted and booed when he mentioned the Government's response."
Kevin Maguire, evil. ignorant or misunderstood?
And just what is the truth of Cameron's alleged embarrassing complaint of a highly personal nature? I, like the drinkers in the Steamboat, Alum and Riverside, would like to know.
The truth is that it’s a lie; a big, fat pork pie put about by nasty little shits. The nasty little shits have even admitted this. So why does Kev continue to propagate it?
Good question. I understand that the allegation is not a "ho-ho Cameron has itchy underpants" but a disgusting fabrication that is so hurtful that a lesser man like myself would have difficulty in not horsewhipping the offenders. And no, I'm not going to give any hints to fuel its further propagation. I may be wrong, I haven't seen the emails. But if I'm right then either Kevin is a heartless bastard or he is not "in the know". Which is it?
April 15, 2009
Hunting for the Artist
So let's clear up the technicalities. Someone created a new blog at wordpress.com, under the ID 'aredrag' at 4:24pm GMT on Tuesday 4 November - a free service with a minimally intrusive registration form. On the same day, before or after, someone using the pseudonym Ollie Cromwell registered the domain name 'theredrag.co.uk' - a tenner for two years through easily.co.uk. They then paid wordpress.com the $15/year fee to run a wordpress.com-hosted site under a different domain name. The site itself consists of a standard Kubrick template, with only the default 'Hello world!' post visible. It has a (very rough) custom header graphic, but beyond that, it's as 'out of the box' as it could be. To me, it suggests someone who knows what they're doing online; and in the right hands, it could have taken only a few minutes.
The flag image is from wikimedia commons, which also shows some web knowledge, but why put all the heading texts in the graphic? Reminds me of something....
A poster showing a nervous man alongside the slogan "Take Courage my friend" has been banned for suggesting the beer could boost confidence.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it acknowledged the poster's message was meant to be humorous, but concluded it broke advertising rules.
The ASA upheld three complaints from people who argued the image of the man with a glass of beer clearly implied it would give him enough confidence to tell the woman the dress was not flattering.
"No, of course it doesn't..."
Home Defence the Roman Way
An eccentric businessman who set up a 30ft dung-firing catapult on his land to deter intruders has been burgled after police warned him that it would be illegal for him to use the weapon.
I better wheel mine back into the barn then...
April 14, 2009
How much does the Green religion cost you?
MSPs Against Vermin Cull, Professional Solidarity?
SINCE the Scottish Parliament building was opened in 2004, its officials have been battling against constant bombardment from winged menaces.
Now Holyrood bosses have finally admitted the only way to tackle the pigeons and stop them fouling the building is to introduce their own air force. They have asked falconers to tender for what could be a £40,000 contract to chase off the pigeons.
But the idea, originally conceived by independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald, has been taken up on the condition that the bird of prey used does not actually kill any pigeons.
There had been concerns that visiting schoolchildren might be shocked by the sight of a hawk tearing a bird apart.
Apart from it being far more honest, healthier and less stomach churning to watch a hawk at work then politicians doesn't that pathetic contract rider say all that needs to be said about the spineless nonentities at Holyrood.
Imagine a Birkenstock stamping on your face, forever
HOMEOWNERS who do not to take action to improve the energy efficiency of their properties should be treated as criminals, one of the country's most influential environmentalists said last night.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, "We should be getting into the territory where we force people to do this (insulate their homes],"
"Lots of people have done things voluntarily, such as changing their light bulbs. However, there are also a lot of people who can't be bothered.
"Making it compulsory would help to concentrate their minds. I think climate change is so serious that we need to start cracking down in a serious way. We need to start forcing people to do the right thing – not just encouraging them but actually forcing them."
(I am sure the headline is from PJ O'Rourke but Google gives this blog as the only source I can quickly find...)
On the take?
Obviously all bloggers of a certain ilk are controlled by shadowy puppetmasters. It's inconceivable that so many people could believe such preposterous nonsense otherwise. We all love the Dear Leader really. Trouble is the backhanders are so good.
So where's my money then?
The Case for Higher Teacher Pay
The Devil's Kitchen dissmisses teacher's demands for more money with a few well chosen words. I, however, think that teachers deserve more; in fact I don't think there should be any limit on what they earn. All we need to do is:
Abolish LEAs and all rules and restrictions as to who can run a school.
Hand over the keys and deeds of every school to the governing bodies
Give 100% of the education budget to parents as vouchers for them to spend where they want to on education.
And then if junior teachers can earn £100,000 a year because they are worth it, great.
I wonder hwy the teachers don't support that and demand the right to suck dry the public teat instead...
April 13, 2009
£190 Bribe to be Lectured
£190 to help pregnant women eat healthily | Money | The Observer
Pregnant women will, from tomorrow, be entitled to a £190 "health in pregnancy" grant from the government irrespective of their household income.
The money can be claimed from the 25th week of pregnancy, but only after receiving health advice from a midwife or other professional....
The aim of the grant is to ensure that all pregnant women have funds available to help them eat well in the run-up to giving birth, reducing infant mortality rates. Women can, however, spend the money on whatever they want.
"The grant answers an important, and until now unmet, need for families expecting a child," said Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group.
How callous of me not to notice the babies dying of malnutrition on the streets of Britain, great heaps of them. Thank goodness for the kindly guiding hand of the State will now save them all.
(I note in the print edition of The Times some quack complaining it doesn't go far enough and that girls even thinking about getting up the duff ought to be given £250 if they ask for it....)
£0.5m Taxpayer Shrill for Fake Charities
This advert cost the taxpayer £500,000.
...nine out of ten children will grow up to have unhealthy amounts of fat in their bodies, a government report has concluded.
The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research UK want to do all we can to help parents give their kids healthy diets and a more active lifestyle.
For some top tips and great ideas on ways to change your kid’s eating and exercise habits, visit our websites by following the links from this page.
Yep - Nine out of ten of your children are going to die unless you do as we say....
English Slaves to a Scottish Raj
Gordon Brown forces kids' charity call-up | News | News Of The World
PM Gordon Brown intends to force every teenager in the country to carry out 50 HOURS of work to help the community.
Last year the PM proposed the idea of a National Youth Service, which would channel young volunteers into community work. But now he plans to make it compulsory and include it in Labour's next election manifesto....
"By building from compulsory citizenship studies in the 14-16 curriculum, we can create an expectation of national youth community service."
But, the curriculum is a national competence so you only have power over the English one, and not the one that is in force in your constituency. So forget all the talk of bringing the whole nation together, what you are proposing is for a Scottish Raj to compel English youths to work as directed without pay, in a way those who elect them don't have to. There used to be a word for that.
April 12, 2009
Dolly Draper's Strange Bedfellows, and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.
A reverse IP lookup for LabourList shows that the following sites are sharing the same server. ..
Those parked domains that look primed for some more smearing campaigns claim to be owned by:
Ray Collins, General Secretary,the Labour Party on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 39 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HA.
I presume that doesn't include the ANGUS, THONGS AND PERFECT SNOGGING one, but I think he ought to be asked what the plan for the others was.
Goodhart Soft Brain
Think Tank: New ideas for the 21st Century: Privacy or safety: it’s your choice
The liberty lobby conveniently forgets that the state needs our data to protect us
We are not living in a police state. Not even a remotely authoritarian one. In fact we, all of us, have never enjoyed so much liberty – personal, political and legal....
These are not normal times: the combination of new technology and the ever-rising expectations that the public have of state services means that we are unavoidably living in a new era of the database state and a cool, technocratic debate is required to establish its parameters. The shrill politicisation of the liberty lobby makes this harder...The modern social democratic state needs lots of data about us in order to fulfil the demands we make on it; not just trivial things like our bank account details to pay in pensions or tax credits but more personal things like health records – to make sure we get the right treatment at the right time.
If there is too much suspicion of the state and too many data protection rules, the state cannot give us what we want. ...
It might be useful if we started to see our data as similar to tax, something we willingly surrender to the authorities in return for various benefits....
By turning these complex debates into a story of noble defenders of liberty versus power-grabbing tyrants (whether politicians or officials), the liberty lobby reinforces the lazy antipolitics of the age – a sort of UK Independence party for the chattering classes.
And what's the weather like on the planet you live on? I only ask pretending to be interested because I never want to visit or live there. Twat.
All Your Emails Are Belong To Us
Dizzy Thinks: Draper's comment about email hacking amused me...
I have now just read Derek Draper defence of the emails from yesterday on Labourlist and this little bit caught my eye.
Imagine if all your emails suddenly became available to people wanting to damage you.
I wonder whether Derek is aware that the Government and party that he supports is actually has an official policy of reading our emails if it wants? Or taking contorl of our computers remotely if it suspects us of something?
Guido is no naive innocent. It was deliberate timing to launch this assault on Downing Street this weekend to fill the holiday news vacuum. Nobody so far has commented on the irony that it was also this week that it became legal for the government to read all our emails.
Only the guilty have anything to fear we hear....Id quot circumiret, circumveniat.
Easter Sunday English Church
I spent yesterday afternoon at Imber and the lovely restored St Giles church. The unique medieval wall paintings are worth the trip especially as the Church has been kept safe from the ravages of modern priests for 63 years. The village was taken over by the Army in 1943 and now only the church remains intact. In the bell tower there are no bells, they were sold for scrap in the 1950s, but on the walls the changes were painted in 1692 and hand bells were provided so my children could try ringing them; filling the church with music.
Army cadets were learning to patrol in the streets outside, with the middle aged middle class visitors studiously ignoring camouflaged young men with guns sharing the pavement as they headed for their scones and tea.
The village and church are open today and Monday and in August and at Christmas, do go if you can.
April 11, 2009
Draper on Toast for Sunday Breakfast
Tomorrow the News of the World will reveal the sensational details in the shocking email smears sent by Gordon Brown's top aide.
The PM's spin-doctor, Damian McBride, and Derek Draper, who heads Labour's internet campaigning, outlined a dirty tricks war of highly personal stories about top Tories.
The plan was far more sophisticated than McBride or Draper have claimed and was close to completion.
Emails seen by the News of the World show McBride and Draper schemed to spread false malicious stories that:
Opposition leader David Cameron had an embarrassing illness
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's wife was "emotionally fragile" just because she appeared upset at parties
A Tory MP used his position to get publicity for lover's business
Involved allegations about female Tory MP Nadine Dorries and another named MP.
In the emails, McBride says: "We've got to keep up the momentum."
Stories had been drafted and pictures selected to run alongside them.
Oh what fun, this smear exposure has been well handled and timed to create the most mischief.
The Ollie and Stan of British Blogs, Guido and Iain, are making a formidable double act.
A leisurely breakfast with a glass of something cheering seems to be a plan.
My only question is how does one get hold of a copy of the NoW? If I hid it inside a copy of Asian Babes Botty Fun would that save me from embarrassment or do I need to drive outside the county to buy it if I'm to avoid total social ostracisation?
Guido Goes Down
Too popular or......
Wouldn't Lamp Posts be Cheaper?
In Wiltshire, £5.5 million was spent on redundancy packages for 29 staff...
£190,000 each on average? £190fucking000. We have been sold the reorganisation of our councils down in Wiltshire on the promise it will save money by reducing staff. So I'm not sure whether it is that they have only managed to trim 29 staff or that the 29 staff have had the ratepayers cash so liberally spunked all over them that I find more upsetting.
April 10, 2009
Shocking - What Internet Porn Does to Young Minds!
Friday Night is Music Night (Maybe The Best Blues Band Ever Edition)
The Abstinance of Penance
The Englishettes have gone down to Church for a Good Friday Kiddies Fun Activities Morning.
I'm not much of one for the finer points of theology but isn't that wrong? Shouldn't the Church make at least a gesture towards it being a bit of a downer of a day even if it being a proper fasting day is maybe a bit too Papist for the modern CofE? I'm pleased to see at least one primary school does realise this.
And to complete the incongruity the elder Englishette has gone dressed in her favourite dressing up outfit - a Roman Toga. I'm sure she will be warmly welcomed.
A secular song for today...
A Day for Urtication
If you do nothing else this weekend, do try this recipe:
Sometimes It's Peaceful: Nettle soup
Wonderful, with fresh bread and a bottle of Rioja. I'm off to find a bunch the dogs haven't pee'd on.
The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon goes along the bottom of the farm so I was out early this morning pitying them as they set off for 125 miles of pure slog. The hard types who go non-stop can do it in under 18 hours and consider it one of the toughest races in the world for its unrelenting effort.
And of course like any pointless extreme event a lot of Shaky Boat types take part, I just hope they remember what they ought to do once they get to Westminster.....
April 9, 2009
Lions Celebrate Easter the Old Fashioned Way
BBC | Lions enjoy early Easter treats
The lions at Longleat eat more than 40 tonnes of meat each year, the equivalent of two nine-stone people a day.
How much do you think that Archbishop weighs?
Maundy Maundy Thursday Earworm
Sorry - Earworm?
Anjana Ahuja Talks Playground Sense
...a toddler intent on waging war, often against an invisible enemy, is an awe-inspiring vision of energy, resourcefulness, creativity and imagination. And yet, to my reckoning, such behaviour is in danger of becoming pathologised. Several mothers at my daughter’s school have stopped going to the local playground because the play has become a bit rough. This includes waving broken branches around (“it could poke someone in the eye”), tearing around at high speed (“someone could get knocked over”) and shouting at younger children (“bullying”).
When a parent explained this to me, I returned an analysis of the situation: yes, there is one boy in this gang of terrors that might have behavioural problems, but they are just young boys letting off steam after a day in the classroom. Boys are a bit more rough and tumble than our girls, I shrugged, and we can always intervene if things go awry.
I might as well have admitted to having had Pol Pot over for dinner.
Attempting to cleanse our playgrounds of aggression is a pointless and, quite possibly, harmful pursuit...
A refreshing blast at the feminisation of childhood.
Ground Sourced Hot Air
The UK is sitting on a "vast resource of untapped energy", a Royal Academy of Engineering conference on the potential use of geothermal energy was told.
By using ground source heat pumps, the energy can be transferred from hundreds of feet below the ground to the central heating system, while the same pump can also cool the building by taking heat out of the air in the summer.
The technology is widely used in Scandinavia and the US but has failed to take off in the UK because of the cost and the availability of cheap oil and gas...
Um doesn't the US have even cheaper oil and gas? And a quick peek at petrol and Diesel prices in Scandinavia shows they are cheaper than here. So I think the spanner monkeys had better come up with a more convincing explanation, like the systems aren't cost effective and require you have a half acre garden....
Live from the Ice
The Catlin Survey combines a pioneering feat of human endurance with scientific discovery on a geographic scale most would think impossible in the 21st century...This endeavour will provide the a comprehensive surface-based dataset, which will then be made available to scientists. Its data will be used to improve the accuracy and reliability of supercomputer models forecasting the timing of the disappearance of the sea ice, and the associated impacts for our changing global climate – and beyond....
Their Biotelemetry equipment is "operational" so you can keep an eye on their heartbeat, body temperature etc. Very impressive, I'll have a bet with you: With my super telepathic powers I bet that Pen's heartbeat will be, 91, 91.3, 93.9, 95.1... when you first visit the site, and when you refresh, and when you visit later today from a different machine....
ht Watts Up
April 8, 2009
70% of Guardian Readers Can't Be Wrong
Poll: Should the Hunting Act be repealed? guardian.co.uk
Vote Now -
Browser cookie so you know what to do...
Battling Barak the Barbarian
Written by LARRY HAMA Variant cover featuring Red Sarah!
From a far away land rises a mighty hero. The son of peasants from two different realms, the one known only as Barack protects the people of Hope Kingdom at all costs. Watch as he takes on the likes of Boosh the Dim, Red Sarah and Cha-nee the Grim in this hilarious first issue!
Format: Standard Comic, 32 pgs, FC, Saddle Stitched.
Retail Price: $3.50
UPC Code: Cover A – 882142-00197-00101 Cover B – 882142-00197-00102
Now that is how I like to take my politics..
More Guns Less Crime Experts Baffled
Can the US live in peace with its guns? | Chris Ayres - Times Online
The truth is that it's hard to envisage a scenario in which the benefits of owning a gun for the sake of self-defence outnumber the pitfalls...
...all over the country (Americans) are stocking up on as many pistols, rifles, and shotguns as possible before the Obama Administration bans or taxes them.According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the FBI carried out more than 4.2 million background checks on behalf of gundealers from November to January (a check is required with every sale), up 31 per cent on the same period in the previous year.Interestingly, however, violent crime rates have at the same time been falling in Los Angeles, New York and other big American cities The experts are at loss as to explain why this should be happening.
Good job I'm not an expert as I have an idea as to why....
Tears of a Clown - How Banks Really Work
I am a financial innocent. I distrust all wealth management and fund manager types. I distrust them from a deep, puritanical atavistic well. But I happen to have savings and pension funds to consider. We drones make our money by luck and talent, by inventing things or creating things, and not by accountancy, so we are doomed to be the patsies of the financial sector. We are the wildebeests by the waterhole. We are the ones who have to die to feed these ghastly, lazy, incompetent predators.
The Recovery of Windmills to be based on Taxpayer
UK hopes Europe can save offshore wind farm - Times Online
Government plans to make Britain a global leader in green energy are set to be rescued by the European taxpayer.
The Times has learnt that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is in talks with developers about a financial rescue package for the £3 billion London Array scheme, which is located in the Thames Estuary. Planned to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, it is a project that has strong personal backing from the Prime Minister.
Not only do they run out of wind but they also seem to run out of cash.
The Recovery of Britain to be based on Windmills
...the Government will shortly announce a relaxation of the planning rules to enable the building of more wind farms to ensure the UK meets its target of getting 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
"This is a major part of our plan for recovery in the Budget. We will set out our proposals for a greener economy," Mr Brown said.
"This is a job creator, a quality of life improver and an environment-enhancing measure. We want to harness a general desire among people to be part of this. A better Britain means building a greener Britain."
Not only has he run out of money he seems to have run out of thought now.
April 7, 2009
Give £1 Million to Labour - Get to Train the Police
In Cumbria the Blencathra hunt, one of the oldest in the country, has regularly been followed by police. The fact the officers were trained by IFAW was confirmed in a letter written by Superintendent Ted Thwaites of Cumbria Police who said:...IFAW were engaged to provide a day of training to selected officers."
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP and chairman of the Countryside Alliance, has written to Craig Mackey, the Chief Constable of Cumbria, to raise concern about the involvement of animal rights activists in 'training' their officers.
"You may not be aware that IFAW is a profit-making limited company, not a charity. IFAW has always been completely opposed to hunting and its offshoot the Political Animal Lobby has been responsible for over £1 million in political donations in support of the anti-hunting campaign," she wrote.
"The idea that this is a suitable organisation to provide "training" for your officers on issues relating to hunting and the Hunting Act is extraordinary.
"I also understand that there has been a significant change in the policing of hunting since the "training" took place. Serious concerns about the change in attitude of Cumbria Constabulary towards hunts in the area and the behaviour of officers on hunting days have been raised with us this season.
"The hunts and wider rural community in Cumbria would, quite rightly, be as shocked as I am that Cumbria Police has been working with animal rights activists."
Out of Control Policing
The Guardian obtained this footage of Ian Tomlinson at a G20 protest in London shortly before he died. It shows Tomlinson, who was not part of the demonstration, being assaulted from behind and pushed to the ground by baton-wielding police.
Pure thuggery, a disgrace. The armed state in action.
Book Your Beachfront Place Now
Walt Meier, research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre at the University of Colorado predicted the Arctic Ocean will be effectively ice free sometime between 2020 and 2040, although it is possible it could happen as early as 2013.
"Most people would agree it is not a matter of if we lose the summer sea ice but when," he said. "Temperatures are still warming because of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect.
Bad news for Catlin Expedition: Satellite Data Shows Arctic Cooling in February and March « Watts Up With That?
...since the beginning of 2005, Arctic temperatures have been cooling at a rate of 1.8 degrees C per decade, or 18C per century ( see comments). Also note that Arctic monthly temperature anomaly now is about three degrees lower than in January, 1981.
The short term trend isn’t meaningful...
Home Office Porn
BBC NEWS | Business | Home Office website links to porn
The Home Office has removed a link from its website after being alerted by the BBC that it linked to what appeared to be a Japanese pornography site.
The link was on a page providing information about the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism.
Keep it in house, saves all that embarrassment of having to go out and rent it....
Hailed as the great communicator in his day, Ronald Reagan was conspicuous by his absence in Alan Yentob's BBC2 programme Yes We Can! The Lost Art of Oratory.
Along with Barack Obama, an inordinate amount of time was given over to such great orators as Neil Kinnock and, I kid you not, Diane Abbott.
Yentob admits the Gipper should have been permitted to have got a word in edgeways. "The problem is we needed someone to talk about him...
No, you didn't - he is quite capable still of speaking for himself...
Nanny wants you eat only Industrial Food
FAST-FOOD outlets and high-street restaurants, including KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut, have agreed to introduce calorie information on their menus.
Cafés in Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Co-op and Waitrose are among the 17 groups that will display calorie information per portion for most food and drink they serve.
FOR many in the catering industry, this is a step too far. When people eat out for leisure and pleasure, do they want to be bombarded with nutritional information? Most people know what foods they should go easy on, writes Bob Cotton,Chief executive of the British Hospitality Association
Eating out in a restaurant means letting go. Calorie-counting menu items is redolent of the nanny-state – one more eye over the diner's shoulder, watching and checking what he's eating.
But there are also technical difficulties, which pose even more serious obstacles. Popular branded restaurants which offer standardised menus can be reasonably certain that the pizza they sell in Edinburgh has the same calories as the pizza they sell in Glasgow or Wick.
But it's far more difficult for an independent restaurateur, who makes up different dishes every day from what's available in the market. Under time and cost pressures, he's not going to have the expertise (which would add cost, because he would have to buy it in), nor the time (which he can't spare) to work out accurately what the calorie count of each individual dish is. And if it's not accurate, how misleading might that be?
At present, it's on a voluntary basis – but voluntary schemes have a habit of becoming compulsory....
So a handmade pizza with a handful of this and a splash of that as wanted would be outlawed in favour of an assembly line product - great.
April 6, 2009
To see oursels as ithers see us!
Ht The Witan
Strangling the property market.
Before Hips people were happy to just float their homes out on to the market to see if there were any nibbles. Now it is a major commitment to do so so they don't and the market is less vibrant.
Bleak outlook for new home information packs
...new rules on home information packs (Hips), which come into force today.
The changes, described by estate agents as “pointless and damaging”, prevent sellers from marketing homes until they have a pack giving information on issues including structural damage, flood risk, parking and service charges. Previously, the process could start as soon as a pack had been ordered...89 per cent of agents did not think that the new arrangements would benefit buyers. Government statistics showed that 77 per cent of people paid no attention to the packs when deciding whether to buy a property.
The Government defended the changes. Margaret Beckett, the Housing Minister, said: “We think it is right that consumers are well informed about the home they are looking to buy, and Hips are an important aid to potential buyers when making one of the biggest financial decisions of their life.”
Has Beckett ever bought a home of her own with her own money, or just a caravan?
Darling Today's Hoon
Alistair Darling has claimed thousands of pounds in expenses on his family home while renting out his privately owned London flat and living in a grace-and-favour apartment in Downing Street, it was reported last night.
The Chancellor has on a number of occasions swapped the title of main home between his house in Edinburgh and his flat in London, reportedly enabling him to claim expenses for both dwellings while also earning rent from his South London flat.
Are there any Ministers that haven't been exposed yet?
April 5, 2009
You are in trouble now coming here
Details of every email sent and website visited by people in Britain are to be stored for use by the state from tomorrow. Hundreds of public bodies and quangos, including local councils, will also be able to access the data to investigate flytipping and other less serious crimes.
It was previously thought that only the large companies would be required to take part, covering 95 per cent of Britain's internet usage, but a Home Office spokesman has confirmed it will be applied "across the board" to even the smallest company.
Booker Quote of The Week
Christopher Booker - Telegraph
Truly we are governed these days by stark, raving lunacy – and no one is meant to notice.
And which particular lunacy do think this one is, so many to choose from, it is hard to guess...
Shock Finding - Plants Take CO2 From Air
TREES and plants are growing bigger and faster in response to the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans, scientists have found.
The increased growth has been discovered in a variety of flora, ranging from tropical rainforests to British sugar beet crops.
It means they are soaking up at least some of the CO2 that would otherwise be accelerating the rate of climate change. It also suggests the potential for higher crop yields.
Some researchers believe the phenomenon is strong enough to buy humanity some extra years in which to try to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. However, few dispute that this will provide anything more than a temporary reprieve.
However, scientists have warned against drawing false comfort from such findings. They point out that although levels will boost plant growth, other factors asso-rising CO2 ciated (sic) with climate change, such as rising temperatures and drought, are likely to have a negative effect.
“On average, the trees were getting bigger faster,” Lewis said. He found that each hectare of African forest was trapping an extra 0.6 tons of CO2 a year compared with the 1960s.
If this is replicated across the world’s tropical rainforests they would be removing nearly 5 billion tons of CO2 a year from the atmosphere. Humans, however, generate about 50 billion tons of the gas each year.
I can't quite get those figures to work as there are only about 4 billion hectares of forest in the world. And 4 x 0.6 doesn't equal nearly five. But then forests release 1.1 Gt of carbon annually from their stocks anyway....
How to Avoid Stamp Duty - Become an MP
MPs claim stamp duty on expenses - Times Online
MPs are avoiding stamp duty of more than £10,000 on second and third homes by claiming it back on their parliamentary expenses.
They are claiming it in addition to furnishings and mortgage interest payments for homes they are allowed to keep after leaving parliament. The exemption from one of Labour’s most unpopular taxes is revealed in more than 1m receipts for MPs’ claims due to be published this summer.
Details of the perk will further inflame public anger over MPs’ funding of private homes at public expense.
Among MPs who claimed a stamp duty refund is Kevin Brennan, a Cabinet Office minister. He bought a flat in London in July 2007 and claimed back stamp duty of £10,200. “I was advised I could claim stamp duty by the authorities and did so for simplicity,” said Brennan, the MP for Cardiff West.
Ten grand for simplicity, of course, why not?
How to win
He has even managed to write a book.
The Winning Mind is Coe's prescription for success at work, based on his experiences in sport, business and politics.
..In Moscow in 1980 Coe suffered a humiliating reverse, losing the 800 metres gold medal to his arch rival, Steve Ovett,...
His political career can best be described as ill-timed. Elected in 1992 as Conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne, he was just in time for the long Tory twilight that was the government of John Major. He was appointed a whip but failed in his aim of becoming sports minister. After losing his seat in the Blair landslide of 1997 he returned to politics as chief of staff, and judo partner, to William Hague....
Coe is divorced from the mother of his four children, the former show jumper Nicola McIrvine. In 2004 he was forced to endure a stream of tabloid disclosures about his private life, and unsuccessfully attempted to injunct accounts of an alleged affair.
I don't think I'll bother to buy his recipe for success, and I haven't even mentioned the Olympics...
April 4, 2009
New Scientist Letter of The Week
From Guy Cox
The assumption that nuclear power will still be available by the end of this century flies in the face of even the most optimistic estimates of uranium reserves.
Uranium - Wikipedia ...the reserves are good for thousands of years
It was my mistake to buy a copy to read on the train, full of tosh like that, and the blog ain't much better...
New Scientist Short Sharp Science Blog:
Saturday, April 04, 2009
eeyore is cute!
And more importantly Climate Audit is critical today.
Matched Pair Bid Thwarted
You don't suppose Madge spotted a charming old Wiltshire Postcard on eBay featuring black liveried servants at a Manor house and thought that is what her Wiltshire Manor house needs, do you?
BBC Fine - Who Pays?
Did this £150k come out of the pockets of those responsible? And where does it end up? Those are the two more interesting questions that no one has asked.
Late Night Friday Night is Music Night (The Corrs Without the Ugly Ones Edition)
April 3, 2009
Friday Night is Music Night (Dusty Archive Edition)
The Times has a long article on Dusty today with links to photos and other videos:
The legacy of Dusty Springfield - Times Online
Dusty Springfield was originally Mary O’Brien, a chubby, redheaded Catholic girl from West Hampstead. She died just over ten years ago, and would have turned 70 on April 16. Her reputation has only grown since her passing; her influence has never been more apparent....
ID Cards - No Help fo Heroes
More than four million military veterans could be issued with special "identity cards" giving them priority access to public services and discounts on public transport, the Ministry of Defence said last night
A clever way to get ID Cards out there without us Libertarian Contrarians making a fuss. How could we campaign against Helping Heroes? I suppose we could point out that an ID card isn't needed to establish a fast track in the NHS(if that is what we want to create). Former service men already have NHS records where it is all recorded, all that is needed is stamp them "Priority Treatment". And if you want to give them bus passes, give them bus passes. No this is just another slimy exploitation of "Our Boys" by our authoritarian masters.
Condemning Scottish Kids To The Scrapheap
A NEW school curriculum which will change the way future generations are taught in Scotland has been unveiled.
Text messaging and blogs will be used in English lessons; Scots literature and history will be at the heart of school education; environmental issues will be central in science teaching; and money and financial education will be a core part of maths.
The idea is to make school education more relevant to young people and modern life.
Relevant to the past decade maybe, short termism. Stuff that will be out of date by the time they have finished their schooling. Education is about equipping children for life, teaching the eternal principles and truths, how to think, analyse and adapt. Something that this new curriculum won't supply.
Students - Remember you don't have to belong to the NUS
The National Union of Students (NUS) has decided to campaign for alcohol prices to be raised because of concerns about binge drinking. Wes Streeting, the NUS president, said: “Students’ unions work hard to inform their members of the dangers of excessive drinking. But more can be done. ‘All you can drink’ and ‘three for the price of one’ offers encourage students to drink to dangerous levels.”
Wes Streeting, there is a name to watch in the future as he carves out a condescending career nannying, preaching and not trusting the people who pay his wages. When I was at college we voted not to belong to the NUS, Trevor Phillips, the NUS President (I wonder whatever became of him) lectured us on the importance of rejoining and got custard pied. Oh happy days.
April 2, 2009
April 4th, 1984 - Twenty Five Years Ago, It Was A Bright Cold Day In April
1984 - Part 1, Chapter 1 by George Orwell
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him....
April 4th, 1984.
For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn. His mind hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak word doublethink. For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.
For some time he sat gazing stupidly at the paper. The telescreen had changed over to strident military music. It was curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say. For weeks past he had been making ready for this moment, and it had never crossed his mind that anything would be needed except courage. The actual writing would be easy.
Twenty five years ago, it all seemed unimaginable, but now? Will any of our brave reporters remember and report the anniversary or would that be against the doublethink?
Economist Defending The Right To Defame Religion
Free speech and religious sensitivity | The meaning of freedom | The Economist
AT FIRST glance, the resolution on “religious defamation” adopted by the UN’s Human Rights Council on March 26th, mainly at the behest of Islamic countries, reads like another piece of harmless verbiage churned out by a toothless international bureaucracy...The resolution says “defamation of religions” is a “serious affront to human dignity” which can “restrict the freedom” of those who are defamed, and may also lead to the incitement of violence....What exactly is it the drafters of the council resolution are trying to outlaw? To judge from what happens in the countries that lobbied for the vote—like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan—they use the word “defamation” to mean something close to the crime of blasphemy, which is in turn defined as voicing dissent from the official reading of Islam....But no state, and certainly no body that calls itself a Human Rights Council, should trample on the right to free speech enshrined in the Universal Declaration.
April 1, 2009
Caroline Flint - What's The Use Of Her?
The Minster for Europe on Lisbon Treaty | eurealist.co.uk
During questions yesterday in Parliament, Europe Minister Caroline Flint admitted that she had not read the Lisbon Treaty in its entirety.
Following a series of vague answers on the implications of the Treaty for European defence, Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois asked, “Has the Minister read the elements of the Lisbon Treaty that relate to defence?”. Ms. Flint replied, “I have read some of it but not all of it.” She went on to say: “I have been briefed on some of it.”
As well as leading calls for the Treaty to be ratified, back in December, Caroline Flint claimed that the Irish voted ‘no’ due to “misunderstanding” of the Treaty.
It beggars belief doesn't it... What is Caroline Flint good for? Only an exercise in tracking Google searches according to the Oxford Agenda
Caroline Flint, whose constituency, Don Valley, lies somewhere between Scunthorpe and Barnsley West and Penistone, is the current holder of the title sexiest MP. She has risen from the bottom to breast the tape ahead of the others thanks to her naked ambition. There is no beating about the bush with this girl. ..... She will not be defeated by mockery – you will not find her rolling over and lying on her back with her legs in the air because someone is horrid about her.....
Caroline Flint has got this far by sucking up to Tony Blair. Whether licking Gordon Brown’s [sorry, even I can't quite bring myself to picture what was coming next, even in the cause of a controlled experiment in web searching]....
Mild Winter in Switzerland Historical Documentary
Climate Change Tipping Point Reached?
Chill winds take heat off global warming | Chris Ayres - Times Online
LA Notebook: Climate change scepticism is going mainstream
Well, that didn't take long, did it? After six months of economic hardship and one unusually chilly winter, it seems that Americans are beginning to conclude that perhaps global warming wasn't such a big deal after all. Blowing $30,000 on a solar roof doesn't seem such a great move these days. And for the price of a Toyota Prius you can now buy a three-bedroomed house in Detroit with enough left for a pick-up truck (this isn't a joke - the median house price in Motor City is $7,500).
The ranks of America's “climate sceptics” have been growing quietly for some months now. And at the weekend a watershed was reached: the usually left-wing New York Times put the British-born physicist Freeman Dyson on the front of its Sunday magazine. The article inside revealed that Professor Dyson - 85 years old and based in Princeton - not only possesses one of the finest noodles on Planet Earth, but also happens to think that most of what Al Gore and his band of Unmerry Men preach amounts to little more than yuppie self-loathing.
Tipping Point In The Media « Watts Up With That? Guest Post by Steven Goddard
Over the last year or so I have been taking an informal survey of a key news metric -
Google news searches for the term “global warming.” A year ago, the ratio of alarmist/skeptical articles was close to 100/1. About six months ago, the ratio was 90/10, Two months ago it was 80/20, and today it hit 50/50 for the first time - including the lead skeptical story “A Cooling Trend Toward Global Warming“. One thing that has changed is the rise of blogs written by informed citizens, complemented by the demise of corporate newspapers which make money from keeping people continually alarmed about one thing or another.
Property is Theft
Queen's friend facing legal action over Royal Deeside right to roam - Scotsman.com News
THE Queen's neighbour at Balmoral has become embroiled in a row over public access to his sprawling country estate, The Scotsman can reveal.
John Gordon, the laird of Abergeldie, whose family have enjoyed a close relationship with the Royal Family for more than 150 years, could face enforcement action under land-reform legislation if he does not make changes to locked gates and stiles on his property.
The 70-year-old, who charges the Queen's Trustees an annual rent to use his grounds for hunting and fishing, has been the subject of numerous protests from members of the public in recent years, with ten complaints made in the past 36 months.
His private land which the socialists have seized without compensation a right to access to. His private land which The Monarch happily pays to access has to be made free to access for hoi polloi. No matter the deer will get out and the sheep frightened, fires lit and fences cut the new masters have decided that property is theft so they will steal it back.