January 31, 2010
IPCC AR4 Properly Peer Reviewed
Climate Change Believers Must "Organise" - Hurrah!
The climate secretary, Ed Miliband, last night warned of the danger of a public backlash against the science of global warming in the face of continuing claims that experts have manipulated data.
In an exclusive interview with the Observer, Miliband spoke out for the first time about last month's revelations that climate scientists had withheld and covered up information and the apology made by the influential UN climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which admitted it had exaggerated claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.
The perceived failure of global talks on combating climate change in Copenhagen last month has also been blamed for undermining public support. But in the government's first high-level recognition of the growing pressure on public opinion, Miliband declared a "battle" against the "siren voices" who denied global warming was real or caused by humans, or that there was a need to cut carbon emissions to tackle it....
"There's a message for people who take these things seriously: don't mourn, organise," said Miliband, who has previously called for a Make Poverty History-style mass public campaign to pressure politicians into cutting emissions.
Climate Change Sceptics "Well Co-ordinated" Boo Hiss!
...The facts are clear: the world is warming, emissions of greenhouse gases are largely to blame and the warming is set to get worse through the 21st century. To ignore that evidence would be foolhardy in the extreme.
Walker Institute for Climate System Research
University of Reading
...Unlike questions such as the best policy for dealing with the recession, where two sides could in theory ague for all eternity, with climate change only one side can be correct. We just don't yet know which side is correct. As climate change deniers have failed to produce a peer-reviewed body of evidence pointing to a mechanism that would negate the impact of our emissions, caution would seem to be sensible.
Senior research fellow
Centre for Energy and the Environment
School of Physics, Exeter
Despite the well co-ordinated political campaigns by "sceptics" against the IPCC, it remains the most authoritative source of information about the causes and consequences of climate change. Yet every error in its last report is now being portrayed as undermining the evidence that greenhouse gases are driving climate change. Perhaps it is time that the claims of the professional climate change "sceptics" are put to the same test.
Policy and communications director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE
January 30, 2010
Blue Green Fighting Like Ferrets in a Sack
Read the comments, this is a split as damaging as Europe for the Tories if they aren't careful.
They need old duffers to go round knocking on doors and if those old duffers don't believe then they won't go out to campaign.
Holed beneath the water line
It is noticeable how many of those now calling for Dr Pachauri's resignation, led by Professor Andrew Weaver, a senior IPCC insider, are passionate global warming believers. Fearing that Pachauri damages their cause, they want him thrown overboard in the hope of saving the IPCC itself. But it is not just Pachauri who has been holed below the waterline. So has the entire IPCC process. And beyond that – and despite the pleading of Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and the BBC that none of this detracts from the evidence for man-made global warming – so has the warmist cause itself. Bereft of scientific or moral authority, the most expensive show the world has ever seen may soon be nearing its end.
And Philip Stott says
I have long predicted, and in public too, that the Copenhagen Conference could prove to be the beginning of the end for the Global Warming Grand Narrative. It appears that I may well have been right, and, indeed, I may have considerably underestimated the speed, and the dramatic nature, of the demise.
Where this all leaves our politicians and political parties in the UK; where it leaves climate science, scientists more generally, and the Royal Society; where it leaves energy policy; where it leaves the ‘Green’ movement; and, where it leaves our media will have to be topics for many later comments and analyses.
For the moment, we must not underestimate the magnitude of the collapse. Academically, it is jaw-dropping to observe.
And, the political, economic, and scientific consequences will be profound.
Climategate: time for the tumbrils – James Delingpole
Now it’s payback time and I take small satisfaction from seeing so many rats deserting their sinking ship. I don’t want them on my side. I want to see them in hell, reliving scenes from Hieronymus Bosch.
It is going to take a lot more than the potshots we have seen so far to sink the vessel, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” is still the command we are hearing from the great and good.
Climate Change Cheating
Climate chief was told of false glacier claims before Copenhagen - Times Online
The chairman of the leading climate change watchdog was informed that claims about melting Himalayan glaciers were false before the Copenhagen summit, The Times has learnt.
Rajendra Pachauri was told that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 was wrong, but he waited two months to correct it
Dr Pacharui has also been accused of using the error to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Carelessness happens at times: TERI fellow - Global Warming - Environment - Home - The Times of India
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) fellow and climate negotiator Prodipto Ghosh hits back: "If you don't trust scientists, who else will you trust?
Pachauri has nothing to do with this. He is not the author of the report. When he spoke about the deadline of glaciers melting, Prof Hasnain was not even with Teri — he was with JNU. Pachauri has been appointed by governments, not a bunch of people. The issue about his resignation is only a knee-jerk reaction. He will not resign."
Section 415 in The Indian Penal Code
Cheating.-- Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he would not do or omit if he were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to" cheat".
Explanation.- A dishonest concealment of facts is a deception within the meaning of this section.
English Votes Please
Dear Mr Englishman
Is there any chance you could publicise EVoEL on Power2010?
And encourage Tories to vote for it.
It's going to slip out of the top five unless the Tory blogosphere gets behind it. Power2010 are currently running a public vote to find the public's five most popular constitutional reforms. The top five reforms will form the basis for the 'Power2010 Pledge' to which every candidate at the forthcoming General Election will be lobbied to sign up to.
I think that it's in Conservatives' tactical interest to ensure that it stays in the top five and becomes part of the Power2010 Pledge. Doing so will help legitimise a Conservative policy by demonstrating public support for it (in what is essentially a left-wing campaign - promoted by Helena Kennedy and the Guardian), and it will make Labour and Lib Dem candidates think twice before signing the pledge and using Power2010 as a campaign tool for the General Election. In fact, I don't think that many Labour or Lib Dem PPC would sign the pledge if it includes EVoEL.
I'm not sure I have much influence on the Tory Blogosphere but it seems a worthy cause, I've signed.
January 29, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (Fifty Years of Wanda Edition)
Blair, I don't care
I was asked why I was doing so many climate change posts and ignoring politics.
Because Climate Change is the biggest politics story going on, the EU is our next biggest story, but no one is interested in that and flim flam about what Tony said to George who told Peter... is just that; bloody froth.
A pox on them all.
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina's president recommended pork as an alternative to Viagra, saying she spent a satisfying weekend with her husband after eating barbecued pork.
"I've just been told something I didn't know; that eating pork improves your sex life ... I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," President Cristina Fernandez said to leaders of the pig farming industry.
She said she recently ate pork and "things went very well that weekend, so it could well be true."
See what our pork avoiding friends miss out on, time for a bacon sandwich I think and to dream of some greasy crackling.
Peer Reviewed Paper Shown to be Bogus
We are all for bogusmongers getting bashed here so hurrah! The damage has been done with the resurgence of measles, though the scare seems to be increasingly ignored. One beneficial result is that scaremongering has been damaged as well with people increasingly sceptical.
But what of The Lancet, but what of the other 11 co-authors who quickly disassociated themselves, what of peer review?
January 28, 2010
Phil Jones Fingered?
Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data - Times Online
The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.
The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming....
Professor Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
He also told a colleague that he had persuaded the university authorities to ignore information requests under the act from people linked to a website run by climate sceptics.
....The university said: “The way freedom of information requests have been handled is one of the main areas being explored by Sir Muir Russell’s independent review. The findings will be made public and we will act as appropriate on its recommendations.”
Front page lead story in The Times, beating even the picture of a miniaturised Steve Jobs holding an iphone, who would have thought it?
The story is gaining traction.
All those climate gates are just a perception problem
Research is robust but communication is weak - Times Online
What has changed over the past few months...the public’s perception of what climate research is all about.
That means it is a communications problem
Carry on as usual but double the PR budget...
Those emails - leaked
Dr Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office says CRU emails "leaked", not hacked, not stolen, not crime against humanity....
Bishop Hill points out that "In the last twenty four hours, both Phil Willis, the chairman of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and Mike Hulme, professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, have referred to "leaked emails".
It seems to be the official view now.
January 27, 2010
This knife of Sheffield steel This is England
More and available here
Jacqui Smith is a very nice person
Jacqui Smith - clarification
Alongside our 13 October front page article “But no need for Smith to repay £100,000 in incorrect claims” we published a photograph of Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary, in front of a billboard which had the word ‘theft’ written on it. We are happy to make clear that regarding the parliamentary investigation of her expenses claims Ms Smith was never accused or found guilty of acting illegally.
Let me join with the Telegraph in apologising if anyone has mistaken my view of Jacqui Smith because of some ill judged words or photo juxtapositions...
So has it warmed at all?
Veteran meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”.
That is to say, leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it cannot be safely said that there has been any significant net “global warming” in the 20th century.
SUMMARY FOR POLICYMAKERS
1. Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and unidirectionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century.
2. All terrestrial surface-temperature databases exhibit very serious problems that render them useless for determining accurate long-term temperature trends.
3. All of the problems have skewed the data so as greatly to overstate observed warming both regionally and globally.
4. Global terrestrial temperature data are gravely compromised because more than three-quarters of the 6,000 stations that once existed are no longer reporting.
5. There has been a severe bias towards removing higher-altitude, higher-latitude, and rural stations, leading to a further serious overstatement of warming.
6. Contamination by urbanization, changes in land use, improper siting, and inadequately-calibrated instrument upgrades further overstates warming.
7. Numerous peer-reviewed papers in recent years have shown the overstatement of observed longer term warming is 30-50% from heat-island contamination alone.
8. Cherry-picking of observing sites combined with interpolation to vacant data grids may make heat-island bias greater than 50% of 20th-century warming.
9. In the oceans, data are missing and uncertainties are substantial. Comprehensive coverage has only been available since 2003, and shows no warming.
10. Satellite temperature monitoring has provided an alternative to terrestrial stations in compiling the global lower-troposphere temperature record. Their findings are increasingly diverging from the station-based constructions in a manner consistent with evidence of a warm bias in the surface temperature record.
11. NOAA and NASA, along with CRU, were the driving forces behind the systematic hyping of 20th-century “global warming”.
12. Changes have been made to alter the historical record to mask cyclical changes that could be readily explained by natural factors like multidecadal ocean and solar changes.
13. Global terrestrial data bases are seriously flawed and can no longer be trusted to assess climate trends or VALIDATE model forecasts.
14. An inclusive external assessment is essential of the surface temperature record of CRU, GISS and NCDC “chaired and paneled by mutually agreed to climate scientists who do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the evaluations.”
15. Reliance on the global data by both the UNIPCC and the US GCRP/CCSP also requires a full investigation and audit.
It is a point that all sceptics have conceded; the world has warmed in the last few decades. Coming out of an ice age and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas are facts. The debate has been on other points. Now a well researched report throws even that contention open to question.
The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.
Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.
He said that public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly-disputed issues.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Africa Needs More English Remittance Men
Barriers on cash sent home to Africa are retarding growth from 'trade not aid'
A study commissioned by the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development shows more than 30 million individuals living outside their countries of origin contribute more than $40bn (£25bn) annually in remittances to their families and communities back home.
Migrants' remittance behaviour is essentially dictated by the regulatory environment and the speed, cost, security, and accessibility of services offered by banks, transfer companies, micro-finance institutions, and informal operators. There are three different strategies in place in Africa.
The Anglophone strategy focuses on freeing up the remittance market by encouraging competition, relaxing regulatory constraints for non-bank operators, offering financial incentives, encouraging technical and financial innovation, and stimulating collaboration among market players. This approach contributes to reducing costs and increasing the overall volume of funds for beneficiaries.
The Hispanic approach emphasises migrants' involvement in banking by offering a range of banking services in both the country of origin and the host country, products of specific interest to migrants, and low commissions on foreign transfers.
Finally, the Francophone approach relies on two types of monopoly. The first is enjoyed by Western Union, which controls up to 90 per cent of the total formal transfer volume within Africa's 16-member Franc Zone. Western Union charges fees as high as 25 per cent on transfers to these countries, compared to an average global benchmark of 5 per cent, and has required that Franc-Zone countries sign exclusivity agreements.
The second monopoly is exercised in the banking sector. France has a veto within the boards of directors of the Franc Zone's two central banks, while two French commercial banks, BNP-Paribas and Société Générale, exercise a quasi-monopoly on lending programs, mainly centred on short-term trade financing and the needs of governments, public and private companies, and the elite.
What would the world do without France to help it? Prosper?
I think we can guess which model the EU is pushing on Africa and it won't be the free market Anglo model...
David Cameron Responds to Concerns About the IPCC
Thank you very much for getting in touch with David Cameron about your concerns over the integrity of climate scientists at the IPCC. I apologise for the delay in replying but over the last couple of months there has been a huge increase in the number of e-mails David has received each day and it taking us a little longer than usual to reply to each one.
I can see that you feel recent allegations have cast doubt over the case for climate change, and the integrity of the science. However, our view is that public policy on climate change has been built over many years, with input from a wide variety of expert sources, and we do need to significantly reduce our carbon emissions.
It is always right to keep an open mind, and question scientific theories. But, those in favour of doing nothing on the basis of scientific scepticism need to show that the risks we run by not acting are small and manageable. Given all the information and evidence we now have, that is a very difficult case to make.
I will, of course, ensure that David is made aware if your concerns, but I am afraid we may have to agree to disagree on this issue.
Whatever your views are, we cannot afford not to go green. The UK economy is still dependent for more than 90 per cent of its energy needs on fossil fuels, which increasingly come from imports. With the era of cheap oil now well and truly over, our fossil fuel dependency is making us uncompetitive and vulnerable to geopolitical shocks.
We can build a secure, prosperous future, but only if we start the work of transforming our national energy infrastructure now, by increasing energy efficiency and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Being at the cutting edge of new technologies in the energy industry is precisely the action that is needed to prevent the power cuts the Government is predicting by 2017, and it ensures that Britain’s consumers and businesses are protected against the consequences of volatile and rising oil prices into the future.
We need to make the transition to a low carbon economy urgently, and I hope you’ll agree that our plans for a Low Carbon Economy will help create hundreds of thousands of jobs, raise skills and improve Britain’s competitiveness.
Thank you, once again, for taking the time and trouble to write.
Office of David Cameron MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
This e-mail is confidential to the intended recipient. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender and delete it from your system. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying is not permitted. This e-mail has been checked for viruses, but no liability is accepted for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.
Don't tell anyone then, but it looks like he is still drinking the Kool Aid.
January 26, 2010
McIntyre's Bulldog or The Hockey Stick Illusion by A W Montford - A Review
It is always a worry when you start reading a book you want to be good, will it live up to your hope?
Of course I like Bishop Hill, his writings and his views. I also have followed the Hockey Stick story since the beginning and wanted it to be presented to more general public. Of course I was going to recommend this book. But I have thought good thoughts about other "sceptical" books but some lie unfinished in various small rooms as I have tired of hearing a story I know too well or of clumsy writing.
I was particularly worried picking up this one as it was going to compete for my attention with Jungle Soldier: The True Story of Freddy Spencer Chapman and that is some competition.
But I didn't need to worry, four days later it is finished, I have read it all.
I thought I knew the story fairly well but it starts off as a real page turner, revealing new clues, stuff I hadn't spotted or realised the significance of before at every turn.
The book is very McIntyre and Climate Audit based which may under play other's contributions or may simply reflect that without Steve McIntyre none of these revelations would have happened. It is a frightening thought how much we owe to the fortuitous series of events that lead Steve to start and continue auditing.
The dogged detective work is laid bare and explained so even a duffer like I can understand it.
The last couple of chapters may be bit stodgier because the only result a story such as he has written deserves is for the sheriff to start looking for a suitable tree and length of rope, whereas in the real world all we got was a shrugging of shoulders.
He rounds off the book by reconciling the just in time arrival of the CRU emails to his previously written narrative, a reconciliation that ties a lot of loose threads together.
Events are moving so fast as the MSM catch up with and overtake the blogosphere sport of looking for Climate Alarmism errors that a second edition of this book later in the year would be well justified.
I really can recommend this as book you will enjoy reading, as well as a book you ought to read.
Lord Stern's 1.3% Error or Typo?
Roger Pielke Jr. points out that the online version of The Stern Report has quietly been changed and an erroneous 1.3% of GDP costs that hurricanes may cost the USA changed to a more believable 0.13%.
He says " now the Stern Review math does not add up". So it wasn't a mere typo that was corrected, but a figure that was relied on in calculations.
Eli Rabbett predictably says it was just a typo and the correct figure was used everywhere else in the paper.
Tim Worstall, no great friend of Lord Stern, channels Professor Tol, a knowledgeable critic of The Stern Report to agree it is just a typo.
It would seem it should be easy to work out the truth, Stern puts up some numbers, and then summarises the total effect. I'm not familiar enough with the report to easily work my way through it but I've tried. As far as I can see it is a bloody mish-mash of figures and claims all constrained by what-ifs. A key paragraph is this:
Costs of extreme weather alone could reach 0.5 - 1% of world GDP by the middle of the century, and will keep rising as the world warms.
• Damage from hurricanes and typhoons will increase substantially from even small increases in storm severity, because they scale as the cube of windspeed or more. A 5 – 10% increase in hurricane windspeed is predicted to approximately double annual damages, resulting in total losses of 0.13% of GDP each year on average in the USA alone.
• The costs of flooding in Europe are likely to increase, unless flood management is strengthened in line with the rising risk. In the UK, annual flood losses could increase from around 0.1% of GDP today to 0.2 – 0.4% of GDP once global temperature increases reach 3 to 4°C.
So world GDP damage goes up to 0.5 to 1%, on those figures Europe's damage will be well below average at 0.2 to 0.4% So somewhere else in the world must have a much higher than average damage to adjust the average up, considering the percentage of world GDP that Europe contributes. But it can't be the USA if the USA only weighs in at 0.13% for hurricanes (other natural disasters may also happen but are small beer in this account).
So where then is the section of the world economy that will be devastated to get his average up?
The EU and the USA make up over half of the world GDP so it would need to be large.
Stern seems to be silent on that point.
Of course if he had used the 1.3% for the USA then his maths easily adds up.
(The other frightening possibility is he made the same mistake that I nearly did when I was looking at it half asleep, adding up the 0.4 from the EU plus 0.13 from the USA to make 0.53....)
So my feeling is that the wrong figure was used and now corrected the report doesn't add up, but if you can prove it either way please tell us.
A Good Year for Environmentalists
Environmentalists are facing a bleak year ahead in the battle over climate change.
Wrong - the hijacking of the environmental movement by climate change campaigners is the worse thing that ever happened to it. All decent people want to see a clean environment, cuddly bunnies bouncing in verdant pastures breathing pure air and drinking safe water.
How we safeguard, clean up, maintain and utilise the environment has been overshadowed by strident political statements, the sooner they are dismissed the better it is for real environmentalists.
January 25, 2010
Monday's Pachauri's Roundup
The Devil's Kitchen: More hits on the IPCC's credibility
There is No Frakking "Scientific Consensus"; on Global Warming: More Dodgy Citations in the Nobel-Winning IPCC Report
EU Referendum: Not one, but two ... and counting
Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog: What a Tangled Web We Weave... the numbers presented by Stern just do not add up.
GWPF- New Documents Show IPCC Ignored Doubts About Himalayan Glacier Scare
And that is only the tip of an iceberg that isn't melting as fast as Dr Rajendra would wish.
Just the facts, please.
...my lectures on climate change and biodiversity. He will see that universities do not encourage a “cut and paste” mentality in our students. In fact, we urge them to question the data and check the primary sources for themselves, and teach them the difference between genuine scepticism (which questions data) and outright denial (which holds to a point of view regardless of the evidence).
The IPCC made one minor error in source checking, and have admitted it. Compare this to the tax-obsessed climate change deniers, who routinely get their “facts” from right-wing blogs, discredited data, or their own imagination — and who never, ever admit that they are wrong. Science is a fundamentally honest process, but the same cannot always be said of its critics.
Dr Richard Milne
Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, The University of Edinburgh
Cut 'n' paste opinions rather than facts I think..
Who Bought Lord Gnome's Silence?
James Delingpole pointed out last month that "Private Eye has chosen to pretend that the most important issue of our time isn’t happening."
Next issue is make or break for the magazine. Its silence on this scandal is shocking, and makes buying it increasingly a waste of money.
Never mind the facts just believe.
... Nothing is worse for scientific progress than lots of experts sitting around constantly agreeing with one another.
The sceptics would be more useful though if they were truly sceptical, challenging evidence and examining it rigorously. Instead, most believe any new theory, however implausible, that allows them to ignore the reality of climate change. This is denial, not scepticism. Challenge the “facts” presented by the green lobby; but don’t reject the overall conclusions of the IPCC — the most important joint scientific body ever established — just because they are ideologically inconvenient.
China 's Open Mind on Climate Change
China's most senior climate change official surprised a summit in India when he questioned whether global warming is caused by carbon gas emissions and said Beijing is keeping an "open mind".
"There are disputes in the scientific community. We have to have an open attitude to the scientific research. There's an alternative view that climate change is caused by cyclical trends in nature itself. We have to keep an open attitude," he said.
"It is already a solid fact that climate is warming. The major reasons for this climate change is the unconstrained emissions produced by the developed countries in the process of industrialisation. That's the mainstream view [but] there are other views. Our attitude is an open attitude".
How refreshing, how dangerous for the IPCC. Money talks.
January 24, 2010
The Second Hit on the IPCC report
The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.
When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses."
Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but were ignored.
Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the Tyndall Centre, which advises the UK government on global warming, said there was no real evidence that natural disasters were already being made worse by climate change. He said: “A proper analysis shows that these claims are usually superficial”
Such warnings may prove uncomfortable for Miliband whose recent speeches have often linked climate change with disasters such as the floods that recently hit Bangladesh and Cumbria. Last month he said: “We must not let the sceptics pass off political opinion as scientific fact. Events in Cumbria give a foretaste of the kind of weather runaway climate change could bring. Abroad, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great rivers of South Asia could put hundreds of millions of people at risk of drought. Our security is at stake.”
Dr Pachauri metablogging
That's enough for a start, Pachauri will still be in charge in six months time though, he is too involved to throw to the wolves, who's going to push him? He will withdraw gracefully in his own good time.
Pen Hadrow Missing Again In A Snowy Waste
... The article has been replaced with a large white space on the Telegraph website, was it an unexpected blizzard that caught it? I know it was there last night. I hope he will survive.
Seems they changed the battery and didn't test the new one which didn't work but all was worthwhile because they dug lots of holes to prove that the ice the satellite told them was first year ice, and so the best place for them to stroll around on, was in fact first year ice. Phew, thank goodness for that.
CRU Emails "Democratised" - Mike Hulme
...many researchers now believe it is time for a change at the IPCC, a point backed by Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia. "The panel was set up in 1988, in a previous century," he argues. "There was no internet then, yet emails have transformed climate science. They get hacked and uploaded on to servers for all the world to read. People can follow the trail of an idea or argument in a way that was impossible 10 years ago. Climate science – like science in general – is being democratised and the IPCC needs to reflect that."
Sounds like he's getting the point, now.
The rest of the article is business as usual...
Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. "Arctic ice sheets are shrinking and droughts are spreading while nine of the last 10 years have been the hottest on record. Only rising emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can explain that."
Temperatures could rise by up to 5C. Earth will become hotter than it has been at any time over the past 30 million years. Coastal cities will drown, deserts will spread, crops will wither and billions will be left homeless.
Ward. "Unless climate sceptics can demonstrate there is a negligible danger, then most sensible people will insist we should take careful, cost-effective measures now to avoid the possibility of disaster in future." That point was valid before Glaciergate – and remains true in its aftermath.
January 23, 2010
Hockey Stick Illusion
My copy of - Bishop Hill's The Hockey Stick Illusion has arrived in the post this morning.:
First impression - very readable and gripping, I may be unavailable for some time.
I note it is number 285 in the Amazon bestseller charts, quite an achievement, I hope you have ordered your copy.
Does Dave want our votes or not?
David Cameron should impose significant increases in taxes on beer, wine and spirits if elected prime minister, according to the man charged with leading Conservative social policy.
In an interview with The Times, Iain Duncan Smith accuses the supermarkets of “being as close to immoral as you can get” by selling alcohol so cheaply and of “creating alcoholics”.
The former Tory leader says that the political parties are “in the grip of cowardice” for failing to advocate a big jump in the cost of alcohol for fear of alienating the voters before the general election. He says the tax should be ring-fenced for spending on the treatment of alcohol-related illnesses.
DaveWatch: Chairman Cameron sends his steel-hard cadres for re-education on climate change – Telegraph Blogs
Ten “high-fliers” from the Conservative candidates’ list were despatched last week to a “workshop” (what else?) designed to indoctrinate them into the mythology of climate change.
It looks as if Dave and his comrades were alarmed by a survey of Conservative candidates in winnable seats that showed “reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” came bottom of a list of 19 priorities for these unreconstructed Tories. The “re-education” course was run by an organisation called Green Alliance.....he Cameronian Conservative Party chains itself to the dead myth of AGW and attempts to indoctrinate its candidates into that discredited socialist superstition.
Why do Dave and his chums not simply parade wearing placards reading “Don’t vote for us”?
Friendly eyes watching over you
Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the "routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.
Where can I buy a burka to wear, or should I just stick to the hoody?
Choice, who would choose it?
But while the ability to choose is generally a good thing, too much freedom of choice is crippling us with indecision and making us unhappy, claims the new research.
Choice can also foster selfishness and a lack of empathy because it can focus people on their own preferences and on themselves at the expense of what is good for society as a whole.
Professor Hazel Rose Markus, the author from Stanford University's Department of Psychology, said: "We cannot assume that choice, as understood by educated, affluent Westerners, is a universal aspiration, and that the provision of choice will necessarily foster freedom and well-being...among non-Western cultures and among working-class Westerners, freedom and choice are less important or mean something different than they do for the university-educated people.
There, there, you poor people and you brown people, you don't really want "choice", it's only us clever rich people who want it and it doesn't make us happy. So let us take all that nasty choosing away from you and we will make you happy with what we give you.
January 22, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (Doing it Greek Style Edition)
Climate doesn’t kill people. Weather does.
One shocking fact from this winter’s big freeze is that the death rate across Britain soared. Figures from the National Office for Statistics show that in the bitterly cold first week of January the death rate rose to 13,000, roughly 10,000 more than during milder weeks in early winter. But rather than hypothermia, these deaths were caused largely by heart attacks, strokes and respiratory diseases.
One warmist journalist (I can't find the link) was trying to say that only 25 people or so had died from the cold weather because that was the number who had slipped on or through the ice and that the thousands to die headlines were alarmism. They weren't. Cold, not heat, is the killer.
Headline H/T WUWT
For King and Country
“The trends are straightforward. We are all eating in much more and we are eating much more heartily. We are moving away from what has been called healthy food and we are going for comfort food.
“You can see that with the renaissance of retro brands and heritage food like gravy, like pudding mixes, like canned food. And with the cold snaps recently real, hearty food has made a comeback and we are all eating a lot more pies and Yorkshire puddings.”
“The nation has certainly carried on drinking. There has been an emphasis on the value end of the market but, then again, if you are not going out to a restaurant and are instead eating at home there is evidence that people are spending more on their bottle of wine.”
“What we have seen is a reversal of the trend of people buying their tobacco abroad. The recession has meant a lot less overseas travel, a lot fewer foreign holidays and the UK cigarette market is currently very strong,”
Asked whether Britons eating, drinking and smoking their way through the recession is now helping the nation out of the downturn, Ian McCafferty, the CBI’s chief economic adviser, said: “You could say that.”
And what thanks will we get for doing our patriotic duty? More nannying and higher taxes.
Richard North, a defence analyst and another advocate of the aircraft, said: “The right kit for the sort of wars we are fighting today is a lot cheaper than the high-end kit.”
Tried and tested babies like these - I'm sure we could knock out a couple of hundred far cheaper than one of the new fancy jets. Of course then flying would become a real mans job again...
Blue Green Immorality
Taxes on driving, flying and other environmentally-damaging activities are to be increased by the Conservatives to fund tax breaks for married couples with children, the Daily Telegraph can disclose
The plan for green taxes will not be introduced until later in a new Conseravtive government's first term, but it is seen as crucial if the Mr Cameron is to win a second term as prime minister.
David Cameron will today put his plans to heal the “moral” decline of Britain under Labour at the centre of his election campaign
So slapping holier than thou taxes on people enjoying themselves to bribe the breeders to vote Tory is somehow "moral" is it?
If he thinks that it will win him a second term then he needs to go back to the bong for another hit.
Give us today our daily bread
One in five adults think they are allergic to food, with most stating a wheat intolerance as the problem.
However, when they are actually tested just two per cent have a genuine allergy or intolerance, a report from the University of Portsmouth said.
Half of the population believe wheat allergy or intolerance is common but in reality it is as rarer than peanut allergy which has recently been found to hit only one in 50.
The researchers said that 4.5 per cent of people thought they were allergic to wheat where as studies in children had shown that in reality less than one in 200 actually had a problem.
The figures did not include coeliac disease where the immune system does not function correctly.
The Wheat Hypersensitivity Report was commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau.
I often wonder when I see some stupid woman going on about her delicate system and how she can only eat handpicked sun flower seeds if she is also allergic to slap round the head as she drags her sex back to Victorian vapours incapacity.
(If you are allergic, you know it, it is not a vague feeling, feed me a fish paste sandwich and don't try and get in the way of me rushing to the door.)
January 21, 2010
Onward Christian Soldiers
New Zealand dumps 'biblical' gunsights | guardian.co.uk
Soldiers from New Zealand, the UK and the US have been unknowingly using rifle sights stamped with references to verses from the New Testament. They were manufactured by Trijicon, a Michigan-based company that invokes its "biblical standards" in its marketing material.
The Church of England denounced the messages.
Well there's a surprise.
The verses chosen seem to be a bit wet, all about bringing the light in.
Personally I would have chosen Psalm 72:9 "The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust." or 1 Kings 18:24 "And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God."
That's more the stuff to give them.
Judging by the cover of the book
Whenever I see a picture or video of someone in front of a bookcase I always strain my eyes to see what books they have. It is as instinctive a way of judging as a dog sniffing a lamppost.
I'm not going to fall into that trap here. I noticed these two piles of books in the spare room, waiting to be put away on the bookshelves. I recognise some of them, but where do the rest come from? Whose are they? Which ones are mine?
French Colonialism in Haiti
Commentators have being saying that the condition Haiti is in is a shameful condemnation of the USA - how could it allow its near neighbour to wallow in corruption and poverty etc? Though when the US has intervened it has had little thanks. From nowhere has the condemnation of the USA "invasion" of Haiti been stronger than from the Francophile euroweenies. This article is a refreshing reminder of the real appalling history of Haiti:
In the 18th century, Haiti was France’s imperial jewel, the Pearl of the Caribbean, the largest sugar exporter in the world. Even by colonial standards, the treatment of slaves working the Haitian plantations was truly vile. They died so fast that, at times, France was importing 50,000 slaves a year to keep up the numbers and the profits.
Inspired by the principles of the French Revolution, in 1791 the slaves rebelled under the leadership of the self-educated slave Toussaint L’Ouverture. After a vicious war, Napoleon’s forces were defeated. Haiti declared independence in 1804.
As Haiti struggles with new misfortune, it is worth remembering that noble achievement — this is the only nation to gain independence by a slave-led rebellion, the first black republic, and the second oldest republic in the western hemisphere. Haiti was founded on a demand for liberty from people whose liberty had been stolen: the country itself is a tribute to human resilience and freedom.
France did not forgive the impertinence and loss of earnings: 800 destroyed sugar plantations, 3,000 lost coffee estates. A brutal trade blockade was imposed. Former plantation owners demanded that Haiti be invaded, its population enslaved once more. Instead, the French State opted to bleed the new black republic white.
In 1825, in return for recognising Haitian independence, France demanded indemnity on a staggering scale: 150 million gold francs, five times the country’s annual export revenue. The Royal Ordinance was backed up by 12 French warships with 150 cannon.
The terms were non-negotiable. The fledgeling nation acceded, since it had little choice. Haiti must pay for its freedom, and pay it did, through the nose, for the next 122 years.
Historical accountancy is an inexact business, but the scale of French usury was astonishing. Even when the total indemnity was reduced to 90 million francs, Haiti remained crippled by debt. The country took out loans from US, German and French banks at extortionate rates. To put the cost into perspective, in 1803 France agreed to sell the Louisiana Territory, an area 74 times the size of Haiti, to the US, for 60 million francs.
Weighed down by this financial burden, Haiti was born almost bankrupt. In 1900 some 80 per cent of the national budget was still being swallowed up by debt repayments. Money that might have been spent on building a stable economy went to foreign bankers.
The debt was not finally paid off until 1947.
Haiti does not need more words, conferences or commissions of reflection. It needs money, urgently. So far, official donations from France are less than half of those from Britain.
The legacy of colonialism worldwide is a bitter one, but in few countries is there a more direct link between the sins of the past and the horrors of the present. Merely a French acknowledgement that the unfolding catastrophe is partly the consequence of history, and not merely blind fate, would go some way to salving Haiti’s wounds.
France does not pay for its history. But imagine what the reaction might be if, the next time you receive an outrageous bill in a French restaurant, you declare that payment is non-pertinent, set up a commission of reflection and walk out.
Back to the wild woods
Britain’s forest cover could double under a plan to map every underused piece of land for potential conversion to plantations to feed wood and crop-burning power stations.
Millions of fast-growing trees, such as eucalyptus and willow, could be planted on moorland, hillsides, former industrial areas and even land owned by conservation bodies such as the National Trust .
Sterile plantations to replace unique species rich uplands and moors doesn't quite have the same eco ring to it does it.
January 20, 2010
Enough. That's the message.
Angry Massachusetts voters sent Washington a ringing message yesterday: Enough.
Enough, exactly, but will they listen? And will our politicians also stop and think?
Dave ditches the eco-bling
Field trials carried out last year by the government-funded Energy Saving Trust found that the most productive building-mounted wind turbines in urban or suburban areas generated only £26 of electricity a year. Many of these turbines, which cost about £1,500, were net consumers of electricity because their controls drew power from the grid when the wind was low.
David Cameron installed a wind turbine on the roof of his home in West London but was forced to remove it because he had not obtained planning permission. His spokeswoman said yesterday that the turbine had been returned to the architect. “The technology has moved on so there was no point in putting it back up,” she said.
I don't think it was the technology that had moved on so much the political climate.
If you want the real facts about the Maldives stay right where you are
A few pleasant days on the beach paid for the tax payer why not? I'm sure the con artist politicians there will tell him some scary fairy stories to justify the hardship. If he actually wants to do some fact finding why doesn't he click at WUWT or read Nils-Axel Mörner's letter to the Maldive's President.
Carbon free research done in less time than it takes to make a bowl of porridge at no cost to the taxpayer.
Lock and load for the sake of the planet
The RSPB notes that the pink-footed goose is pinkish-grey with a dark head and neck, a pink bill and, not surprisingly, pink feet and legs. It likes to eat grain and potatoes. What was less well known about the pink-footed goose, until now, is that each bird is responsible for more than 100kg of carbon-dioxide emissions each year. The pink-footed goose: the bird with a carbon footprint four times larger than a patio heater.
Unlike cows and sheep, the geese do not fart and burp out their sizable contribution to global warming. Rather, they free the carbon from the ground when they grub around in the Arctic soil for food.
Not that people concerned about global warming should reach for their shotguns. "The carbon produced by the birds is minuscule in terms of the global carbon picture," James Speed, a scientist with both the University of Aberdeen and the University Centre in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard says. "We're not saying that there should be controls on their numbers or anything like that."
If he is allowed his goose I'm allowed my patio heater, or even better my goose cooking outdoor barbecue....
January 19, 2010
Tomorrow's weather is going to be?
I will update with the result this time tomorrow....
THE RESULT - The Met Office were right, it snowed. About three inches on the higher parts. Their detailed timings were a bit off and it was hardly a blizzard but they were near enough.
We plough the fields and scatter the good seed...
Ancient farmers left their genetic mark on modern males by breeding more successfully than indigenous hunter-gatherer men as they made their way west, a study has found.
Genetic tests on women showed that most are descendants of hunter-gatherer females. "To us, this suggests a reproductive advantage for farming males over indigenous hunter-gatherer males during the switch from hunting and gathering to farming," said Patricia Balaresque, a co-author of the study.
"Maybe back then, it was just sexier to be a farmer."
And maybe it still is?
(Or maybe whilst the dashing hunter gathering men were chasing mammoths all over the park the stay at home farmers stayed at home with their women. Why don't you go off fishing / catch the 8:23 to town / go to that incredibly important meeting in Birmingham, I've got some seeds to plant...
Won't you listen to the children!!!
During the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, schools around the world have been talking about climate change.
We believe that we're affected by climate change because it seems like winter starts earlier. Harsh weather conditions cause health problems. We can help by recycling, reducing pollution and gas emissions.
Sleepy Hollow High School, New York State, USA
Many dust storms blow in the area where I live. There is dust everywhere. Mostly it is very hot, sometimes exceeding 50 degrees Celsius. The duration of summer is increasing.
Government Boys Middle School, Kamboh Nagar, Khanewal, Pakistan
I've noticed the water getting further up the side of the pier and the banks.
Sanday Community School, The Orkneys, Scotland
Bournemouth's main industry is tourism and the wet, drab, grey summers we have been having recently, as well as our beaches are getting washed away with the storms are seriously affecting our income as a town.
Avonbourne School, Bournemouth, England
There are no 'seasons' in our country; it's just hot, hot, and hot!
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools, Dhahran, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia
We are affected by climate change, because in winter it gets colder than before and hotter too in summer.
Al Baihani High Model School, Aden, Yemen
Climate Change Deniers and Burka Banners
Sir, This is further evidence that UKIP has effectively become the rich man’s BNP. Both parties are also wooing far-right voters by using idiot logic to dismiss the science of climate change, indicating a preference for pretend solutions over real ones. The new far Right of British politics now sees both ignorance and intolerance as virtues...
Dr Richard Milne
Big Brother Fightback Stickers
We have thousands of stickers and we want to give them away so that you can name and shame the everyday invaders of your privacy.
Send them your name and address...
Benn's Rubbish Idea
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said that instead of being thrown away on landfill sites, food waste would be used for composting or turned into energy.
It. Already. Is. - We stick everything into a landfill which is carefully sealed and tap the methane produced to run big old engines which produce electricity. Simples. It works. What is so hard to understand?
January 18, 2010
Calling the ASI - there is another Think Tank needed
Property rights are inseparable from the duty to pay tax – both coming from the same source and being indivisible - the right to hold property is equally and exactly matched by the duty to pay tax. So anyone arguing a tax is not legitimate has at the same time to say property rights do not exist or that government is illegitimate. Those are the options.
The common source that gives us property rights and others the right to tax us is not specified. Yet again it seems to me that there is a gap in the think tank market that ought to be filled. I know there seems to be a think tank for every thought but they are all about systems and actions. The think tank I want to see is one dedicated to Property Rights.
Property rights exist under nearly every political system and are understood to be the cornerstone of economic activity, prosperity, happiness and apple pie.
But they are ridden roughshod over by politicians of all hues, increasingly it seems.
Meumettuum.org is available....
Not Cooking Tonight in The Castle
It’s a story of traditional British pluck in the face of an assault from across the Channel: the nation’s Aga owners are uniting in the face of a Brussels directive that they believe is playing havoc with their pilot lights. Thanks to European Union insistence on lower sulphur levels in domestic kerosine, oil-fired Agas are said to be caking up with soot, and in some cases conking out.
My Aga clogged up over the weekend again because of the bloody oil and now is as cold as a womans heart. My thoughts about the EU are slightly less charitable than they normally are.
Time for Glacial Retreat
Here's the best news I've seen all year: India is finally lumbering into action on climate change.
Though this country is likely to be hit harder than almost anywhere else by the climate crash, not least because its food production is largely dependent on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers, which are rapidly retreating....
That was George's best news of 2009, I wonder what his best of 2010 will be?
And for sheer joy let's remind ourselves, now that it has been admitted the IPCC were "careless" with its Himalayan Glacier Retreat figures, of Old Patchy in full flow last November:
Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, told the Guardian: "We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don't know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement. " Pachauri dismissed the report saying it was not "peer reviewed" and had few "scientific citations"...were reminiscent of "climate change deniers and school boy science".
Hurrah for the Taxman driving overpaid spoilt brats abroad
...yesterday, the story broke that HMRC would be driving sports stars away from big events by trying to grab hefty chunks of their sponsorship deals. Before, visiting sports stars were taxed on the number of days they spent in the UK. Now the plan is to tax them on the percentage of events they do here. That might not be too bad if a sport has lots of events — Roger Federer is scheduled to play 19 tournaments in 2010, only two of which will be in the UK. But it’s hard going for marathon runners, who usually race only twice a year. If one of those is in London, they’ll be taxed on half their year’s sponsorship money for one day’s running.
I never really believe it when people wail that taxing bankers will simply drive them out of the country. .... But sportsmen are different — why won’t they just run in New York, not London?
Well there is hope here that our streets may be freed from the spindly lycra wearers, at least bankers don't routinely shit in the gutter as they go about their business.
The Old Reward
The US military's takeover of emergency operations in Haiti has triggered a diplomatic row with countries and aid agencies furious at having flights redirected.
Brazil and France lodged an official protest with Washington after US military aircraft were given priority at Port-au-Prince's congested airport, forcing many non-US flights to divert to the Dominican Republic.
Brasilia warned it would not relinquish command of UN forces in Haiti, and Paris complained the airport had become a US "annexe", exposing a brewing power struggle amid the global relief effort. ...
Yet again there is conflict between those who do and those who posture.
...Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--...
January 17, 2010
Julia Bradbury, a well oiled Martini Action and a pint of 6X - it's worth the licence fee
...one drinking establishment in Devizes is home to a very traditional pub sport: rifle shooting. It’s not for the faint-hearted, as Julia finds out.
Because I'm worth it
Some kindly soul seriously suggested today that I ought to have "a bit of work done" on my eyes, what were they suggesting? That I look old? Nothing that a bit of slap wouldn't cover....
First British Private Telephone
Fascinating to see in Devizes museum:
Wiltshire Heritage Museum - Telephones made by Alfred Cunnington, from descriptions by Edison in Scientific American, fitted in his vintner business, Old Town Hall, Devizes, Wiltshire, 1877 - first in England.
A Better Class of Graffito
Escaping to the Gents at Pizza Express in Devizes last night from a children's birthday party I was shocked to see four words scrawled in biro above the sink:
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
(a Latin legal phrase, translating to "Do justice, let the sky fall," or "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences)
It was the only graffito in the whole place, freshly done, there must be an explanation, but it's a mystery to me.
Out of Africa Always The Same Old Story
The mobile phone is turning into Africa's silver bullet. Bone-rattling roads, inaccessible internet, unavailable banks, unaffordable teachers, unmet medical need – applications designed to bridge one or more of these gaps are beginning to transform the lives of millions of Africans, and Asians, often in a way that, rather than relying on international aid, promotes small-scale entrepreneurship.
Often the mere fact of being able to speak to someone too far away to meet with easily can be a transforming experience. For fishermen deciding which market is best for their catch, or what the market wants them to fish for, a phone call makes the difference between a good return on the right catch or having to throw away the profit, and the fish, from a wrong catch. For smallholders trying to decide when or where to sell, a single phone call can be an equally profitable experience.
But establishing market conditions is just the start. Uganda has pioneered cash transfers by phone through the innovative Me2U airtime sharing service, which allows a client to pay in cash where they are and transmit it by phone to family or a business associate hundreds of miles away. They receive a unique code that they can take to a local payment outlet to turn into cash.
But it is one thing to develop a secure mobile payment system .. and quite another to get a deal with the international financial regulators that police cross-border cash flows.
The only barrier to even greater mobile use, apart from international financial regulations, are the taxes levied by national governments that can make the cost prohibitive. According to one recent report, despite exponential growth in countries like Uganda there is growing evidence that what for millions is a life-changing technology risks leaving out the poorest.
Improved information, improved markets, people growing richer, less waste because of better resource allocation etc. on one hand; greedy thieving politicians on the other, stifling it. And their justification for continuing to use oxygen is what exactly?
The Laughing Gnomes
The Government could lose hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue as the result of a Swiss campaign to lure hedge fund executives away from London with a promise to halve their tax bills.
Multimillionaire managers are being wooed with offers that enable them to keep their funds in offshore havens and reduce their taxable incomes with official backing.
The argument is that Switzerland combines natural beauty with a stable environment and, in many cases, low taxes. They contrast their “pragmatic approach” with British taxes, which they say have become punitive.
So why wouldn't you relocate? Of all the damages to our economy the stupid kneejerk bashing of the bankers may turn out to be the most damaging done by Brown.
Lifting the stone
Dr Pachauri is under the spotlight today, interestingly there are two different versions available:
Tartan, Heather and Shortbread Tax on The English
Households 'face £2,700 tartan tax'
According to the Scotland Office, in 2007-08, the Scottish Parliament spent £32.3 billion, while the UK government spent £12.6bn on social protection payments in Scotland.
This comes to £44.9bn, while total tax receipts in Scotland that year (including non-domestic rates) were £38.7bn.
The paper said this gap equated to £2,700 for every Scottish household.
Scotland Office minister Ann McKechin said fiscal autonomy would mean "massive new burdens" for Scottish businesses.
She went on: "Those pressing for fiscal autonomy because they want power for power's sake have some difficult questions to answer. UK government spending to protect the most vulnerable people in Scotland is not something to be discarded lightly.
"Fiscal autonomy would mean massive new burdens for Scottish businesses and it would also mean public expenditure in Scotland would be drastically reduced. The fiscal autonomy sums simply don't add up."
Aren't they lucky someone else pays a tartan tax instead, you would think they would be grateful...
January 16, 2010
Google or China, which is bigger?
Google’s dispute with China over censorship and spying is fascinating on many levels. But one aspect that has been largely overlooked is the sheer scale of the financial sacrifice Google is making by taking its moral stand. In pursuit of their laudable aims, the co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are burning dollar bills on an industrial scale.
I don't doubt there is an element of noble sacrifice here but the millions of profit that Google is willing to forgo is a pittance to the economic damage that not having access to Google will cause the Chinese economy. I can't find the reference quickly, even using Google, but i think Worstall for instance pointed out that of the "profits" that Google creates it only gets to keep a percent or so.
So maybe hardball is the game to play.
The UK Independence Party is to call for a ban on the burka and the niqab — the Islamic cloak that covers women from head to toe and the mask that conceals most of the face — claiming they affront British values.
UKIP can fuck right off, British values include the right to wear what the hell I want to, the idea that some snivelling little greasy haired official can dictate what I wear is an affront to any sense of freedom.
If they want the BNP vote why not be honest about it and campaign for "the pakis to be sent home". If they want the vote of decent eurosceptics then they had better distance themselves from this nonsense.
Thank goodness Gordon wasn't in charge
Gordon Brown has been known to keep a close eye on the country's shopping baskets, and on Monday morning root veg took its place alongside the prime minister's presentation of his election campaign team. Carrots and some green vegetables might run out because of the snow, Downing street was warned. There were also problems with the national supply of milk.
Just a week after the publication of the government's report on UK food security, the record cold snap brought the fragility of our hi-tech food system into sharp focus. By today, as the ice continued its rapid thaw, it was clear that the system had held – just – but the cracks bad weather could cause had been exposed...
The private enterprise system worked, unlike the rubbish collection, the schools, the road system...
While Richard wonders why the Councils want more money Adam Smith points out that
Both parties are fighting over how the government can control food production, distribution and retail. One can only conclude that Hilary Benn and Nick Herbert have gone stark raving mad.
Visitors: 6.2 million
Beer: appr. 6,940,600 liters (126,900 liters non-alcoholic)
Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
Oxen: 104 units...
Six million visitors, drinking on average two pints? Wusses.
January 15, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (Can Austrians Sing The Blues Edition)
Cornish for the Emmets
The Movyans Skolyow Meythrin (Nursery Schools Movement) is part of a revival of the language, with roadsigns in the county in Cornish and English, and the news in Cornish on the local BBC website.
It is thought that 300 people speak Cornish fluently....Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, a teacher from Wales who will run the nursery, said: “Traditionally the language was seen as for academics or people with beards and the community of bards. Now there’s more of a cultural connection. Emilie Champliaud, 30, from France, a founder of the movement, is sending her daughter to the crèche. She wants to set up Cornish nursery schools across the county.
Sonya Anjari moved back to her native Cornwall from London last year. She said: “When I was growing up, Cornish was seen as a bit insular. Now it’s part of a movement, and is easy to make it part of everyday life.”
Sorry Ms Anjari Cornish is still "a bit insular", apart from the BBC I doubt many London employers value an ability to speak it. And why is the nursery being run by people from Wales and France. Maybe the locals aren't so keen?
Ethiopia, a land of Agricultural Promise
Ethiopia's great land lease project is moved swiftly ahead. In an effort to introduce large-scale commercial farming to the country, the government is offering up vast chunks of fertile farmland to local and foreign investors at almost giveaway rates. By 2013, 3m hectares of idle land is expected to have been allotted – equivalent to more than one fifth of the current land under cultivation in the country.
In a food-insecure country such as Ethiopia, where several million people rely on food aid, the idea of offering fertile land to outsiders has raised concerns. But government officials point out that Ethiopia has vast reserves of underused land – 60m hectares of the country's 74m hectares suitable for agriculture is not cultivated – and insist no local farmers will be adversely affected. Esayas Kebede, investment support co-ordinator at the agriculture ministry, said that foreign companies were essential for the move from subsistence to commercial farming, a key part of the country's development strategy.
"There is no crop that won't grow in Ethiopia but we cannot produce quantity and quality. Why? It's a vicious cycle of the lack of capital and technology," he said. "So leasing land is a real opportunity for us."
In the late 1970s Ethiopia's communist regime nationalised all land, and private ownership remains outlawed. The millions of small-scale farmers work under licence from the state, and most plots are one hectare or less, which has hampered efforts to improve food security. But the centralised tenure system has made it easy for the government to offer hundreds of idle farms to investors at cheap rates. A detailed database contains information on soil types, weather patterns, the nearest rivers, and suitable crops. The agriculture ministry is advertising 1.68 million hectares of land in the Benishangul-Gumuz, South Omo and Gambella regions. The greatest interest has come from India and Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Star Agricultural Development, which is growing 10,000 hectares of rice in Gambella. Firms from other Arab countries, and from China, Japan and the US have also expressed strong interest in leasing land.
I think the root cause of the famines in Ethiopia are plain, though the Guardian seems to be more worried about the hint of colonialisation involved in letting large multinationals in.
I note that there are no European or British firms involved, maybe we are too busy pumping in the food aid.
Scots Say Scots Isn't a Language
After a vigorous campaign by the Scottish government to restore the Scots language to the tongues of every Lowlander, the latest progress report makes difficult reading.
This is not because it has been written in Scots. No, it seems that the majority of Scots do not regard Scots as a language at all.
Research for the SNP administration suggests that 64 per cent of the Scottish people regard Scots merely as “a way of speaking”. This must come as something of a skaich (disappointment) for its advocates.
Ted Brocklebank, the Scottish Tory culture spokesman, said he had never regarded various forms of Scots as “anything other” than dialects of English. “We have a second language in Scotland and that is Gaelic, and that is where the effort should be concentrated. Dialects like Doric in the North East or Lallans in the Borders are immensely rich but ultimately they are variations of English.”
Regarding the differ (dispute) from south of the Border, Sassenachs are almost certainly blinkin (smirking).
As I said Why not hobble a future generation. Let's be honest, Scots isn't a language, it's not like Welsh or Gaelic it is just a badly spelt mispronounced English. We have the same down in the West Country, but we don't demand Taxpayer cash to preserve it. We enjoy it as our heritage but realise that it limits our kids by stereotyping them.
According to my notebook you are nicked
Mr Vaughan was quoted in Jane’s Police Review lamenting that “security considerations” meant someone would have to do his shopping for him in future.
Alan Fry, the chief executive of the police authority, said: “He was misquoted and the word security was never used. The headquarters in Bridgend is directly opposite a large Tesco and he was used to popping out to buy a sandwich and he was saying he may not be able to do that now because he does not have time.”
A spokesman for South Wales Police said that Mr Vaughan had written to Jane’s Police Review asking it to publish a correction.
Chris Herbert, the editor of the magazine, stood by his story. He said: “We don’t make quotes up. If it is in the story he said it, and there will be a shorthand note.
“It sounds as though he didn’t like it when he saw it in print and is back-pedalling. We haven’t yet heard from South Wales Police.”
Good job no one is going to get banged up as they argue over who said what in an interview, who would you trust to be telling the truth?
January 14, 2010
Lack of Grit
Sting in the tail of the big chill: miles of potholes and piles of rubbish - Times Online
Hundreds of millions of pounds will be needed to mend crumbling roads once the thaw sets in.
Dangerous conditions are expected this morning as rain across the South freezes as it falls on to snow...
I was shocked yesterday by the state of the roads that is being revealed as the snow melts, they are of third world standard in large parts of Wiltshire.
More from our gritless Yorkshireman
Big Brother Jobs of The Future
Scientific advances and onset of climate change will radically change careers, says report commissioned by government - The Guardian
The research company Fast Future was asked by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to compile a list of jobs.
The team considered factors as diverse as the rise of space tourism, the risk of a deadly virus and the onset of climate change in compiling the list – three events which could lead to people working as space pilots or tour guides, quarantine enforcers and climate change reversal specialists.
Some of the jobs:
‘New science’ ethicist As scientific advances speed up in areas like cloning, we may need a new breed of ethicist who understands the science and helps society make choices about what developments to allow. It won’t be a question of can we, but should we?
Climate change reversal specialist As the impact of climate change increases, we will need a new breed of engineer-scientists to help reduce or reverse the effects. The range of science and technologies they use could include filling the oceans with iron filings to putting up giant umbrellas to deflect the sun's rays.
Quarantine enforcer If a deadly virus starts spreading rapidly, few countries, and few people, will be prepared. Nurses will be in short supply. And as death rates rise, and neighborhoods are shut down, someone will have to guard the gates.
Weather modification police The act of stealing clouds to create rain is already happening in some parts of the world and is altering weather patterns thousands of miles away. Weather modification police will need to control and monitor who is allowed to shoot rockets containing silver iodine into the air - a way to provoke rainfall from passing clouds.
Not Not Hunting at The Castle
Global Warming has stopped us Not Hunting this year, unlike previous years.
Something must be done.
Kohl-eyed Burnham outlines the war on booze
The crackdown will mark the culmination of a scheme, overseen by Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, to cut alcohol abuse. Tackling the problem will be a major plank of the party’s manifesto.Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last night, Mr Burnham said that he wanted public backing for the radical scheme.
He compared the emerging alcohol policy to that involving tobacco – which led to a sharp increase in cigarette prices and a ban on smoking in public places.
“There is rising public concern and we have never shrunk from taking tough public health decisions and we are not going to start now,” he said. “We need to balance the rights of people who drink responsibly with those who buy ludicrously cheap booze and go out and harm themselves and others.
“The mood has changed and there is rising public concern – we need to respond to that and move on the debate…There is no shortage of research that shows the link with price and people drinking harmful levels of alcohol – there is no debate about that.”
However, the Health Secretary stressed that he didn’t want to “punish the majority of people who drink responsibly”. “In difficult times, when people are feeling the pinch, one of the ways they can relieve the pressure is by having a drink and we wouldn’t want to stop them enjoying that,” he said.
It is understood that ministers are working on a “staged process” to introduce minimum pricing. Initially, the drinks industry will have to increase warnings on alcohol cans and bottles. Supermarkets and other retailers will then be banned from selling alcohol at “below cost” – the wholesale price of drinks – if they refuse to do so voluntarily.
The minimum price will then be introduced as the third and final phase of the scheme. It is being introduced in this way to “bring the public along” as alcohol prices are steadily increased.
A levy could also be imposed on the drinks industry to stop them making windfall profits from the higher prices introduced under the scheme. The money raised would be earmarked for public health campaigns warning of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.
All spelled out, don't say you haven't been warned.
January 13, 2010
Wiltshire Safety Camera Unit on Doughnut Patrol
Three of them in shiny new Hi-vis jackets outside Sainsbury's in Chippenham this morning, I don't think they had stopped to buy new shovels, do you?
Nasty Yanks Killing Gaia
In its annual report, Worldwatch Institute says the cult of consumption and greed could wipe out any gains from government action on climate change or a shift to a clean energy economy.
The consumer culture is no longer a mostly American habit but is spreading across the planet. Over the last 50 years, excess has been adopted as a symbol of success in developing countries from Brazil to India to China, the report said.
Such trends were not a natural consequence of economic growth, the report said, but the result of deliberate efforts by businesses to win over consumers. Products such as the hamburger – dismissed as an unwholesome food for the poor at the beginning of the 20th century – and bottled water are now commonplace.
Hamburgers were seen as wholesome food for the poor not unwholesome, they were and are a cheap way to get safe nutrition. And bottled water, in some parts of the world it has saved more lives than any caring climate change campaign ever will.
In the preface to the report, Worldwatch Institute's president, Christopher Flavin, writes: "As the world struggles to recover from the most serious global economic crisis since the Great Depression, we have an unprecedented opportunity to turn away from consumerism.
Consumerism isn't some nasty American habit nasty multi-nationals force us to adopt, it is the natural order of things, whether we want to be rich enough to buy take-aways every day or indulge in hand woven tofu with a side order of guilt they are both consumerism.
Go GM Organic Farmers
In an interview with The Times,
Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development at Imperial College London and a former government adviser, said that the ban on organic farmers using GM crops was based on an excessively rigid rejection of synthetic approaches to farming and a misconception that natural ways were safer and more environment- friendly than man-made ones.
Farmers, he said, should use the best aspects of organic methods and GM technology to maximise yields while limiting damage to ecosystems. He accepted that organic lobbyists would regard the idea as heresy, but said that genetic engineering could create better organic crops than those grown today with further environmental benefits.
He is expecting some sort of logic? The word heresy is the clue, it is a religion to some, not susceptible to logic.
The Bottle Talking
Alcohol abuse 'costs every Scottish adult £900 a year'
An independent study commissioned by the Scottish Government has assessed the costs of alcohol abuse to the NHS, police, the economy and families.
It found the total annual bill was between £2.48bn and £4.64bn, with a mid-point of about £3.56bn.
The cost of crime caused by alcohol was £727.1m, while the price to the economy was £865.7m.
The researchers also attempted to estimate the "intangible" cost in terms of human suffering, such as the effects caused by losing a family member to alcohol abuse. This was put at £1.46bn – 41.2 per cent of the total.
The report said it was estimated that just over a million people – about a fifth of the Scottish population – were drinking at hazardous levels, defined as above 21 units for men and 14 units a week for women.
It also estimated that around 230,000 people were drinking at harmful levels – over 50 units per week for men and 35 for women.
Ms Sturgeon said she believed the report added to the evidence in support of minimum pricing.
They are not letting up are they, the barrage of lies and fake statistics against alcohol grows daily.
January 12, 2010
Marlborough Climate Records
Eric Gilbert has compiled weather data for Marlborough since 1984. Wee (sic) for yourself the effect of climate change.
Fascinating local resource I didn't know about before, which I will visit often from now on.
Oooh! But this is a running average he is calculating. The actual averages look slightly different:
Not quite so dramatic..
Aaronovitch Miliband Love In
... For the gathering and increasingly vocal fringe of climate-change-deniers, Europhobes, anti-immigrationists and “hell-in-a-handcart” eye-rollers, Mr Miliband represents much that they loathe. He is cosmopolitan, unprejudiced, strategic and internationalist in outlook. His essential view is that Britain should embrace the outside world, not try to lock it out, and they cannot stand it.
Can I suck your banana now Sir?
The fact that Millipede wants to lock Britain into the EU and prevent it fulfilling its traditional role of embracing the whole world is obviously beyond poor little Aaronovitch; just as is the fact that he is a parochial little twerp who only understands a couple of villages in Westminster and is only comfortable parroting glib lines the big boys have told him.
Rebellion on Ice
THOUSANDS of rebel curlers are expected to take to the ice at the frozen Lake of Menteith near Aberfoyle today to take part in what is being referred to as the "People's Grand Match".
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) was forced to cancel the official Grand Match between the north and south of Scotland because of safety fears raised by the local authority and emergency services.
But news of the ban helped attract thousands of people on to the frozen lake over the weekend and sparked an internet campaign urging curlers to defy the ban and take to the ice today.
Curling enthusiast and internet campaigner Craig Stobo said: "This is an event that has been going on for hundreds of years and we can't even organise it. It renders Scotland a laughing stock.
People power to the rescue, but apparently it may be too wet to play
January 11, 2010
Chainsaws on Ice
There was a willow branch overhanging the pond in my garden that has needed to be removed for sometime, but I didn't fancy either standing waist deep in the pond, or balancing in a boat whilst cutting it off.
I'm obviously very slow because it only has just struck me that as the pond is frozen hard it would now be easy, so that was my first job this morning.
Chainsaws on Ice, I wonder if ITV would be interested in a Celebrity version?
Whoops, my Bad..
BBC - Earth News - Big freeze and ice is 'good for pond life'
Dr Biggs cautions that pond owners should take great care around frozen ponds, and ensure they never step onto the ice which could easily break.
Monckton on Crimes against Humnaity
Crime against humanity. Not a moderate phrase, that. The usual penalty for crimes against humanity, as dictators from Mussolini to Saddam Hussein have found out to their cost, is execution.
Yet Dr James Hansen, a paid senior citizen working for an agency of the United States Government that has profited mightily from “global warming”, has said that anyone who disagrees with his personal hang-ups about the potentially catastrophic threat to humankind from a little extra CO2 in the air should be put on trial for what he calls “high crimes against humanity”.....
So, who are the criminals against humanity? The brave and diligent scientists whose research in many different fields now amply demonstrates that the chief conclusions of the UN’s climate panel are nonsense, or the pietistic true-believers whose policies allegedly designed to address the non-problem of “global warming” are already killing millions by starvation?
Man no one remembers reminds us how clever he was
Purnell admits the party's vitality and vision is on life support.
He also reveals that last summer he argued inside the cabinet for the government to be more upfront about the need for spending cuts, a battle of emphasis that Alistair Darling, the chancellor, and the business secretary, Mandelson, appeared last week to have finally won. "I argued in cabinet that we needed to talk about cuts. It was clear that some cuts would be needed, because the economy was smaller than everyone had previously thought," he said.
"By being clear about that, I thought we would be in a better position to convince the public that the debt was down to our response to the credit crunch, not to excess spending before it."
Hats in ring etc, reminding them that they should have used his lies earlier rather than listening to the leader.
Arizona Happy Snaps
Although about 700,000 tickets have been issued since Arizona’s 76-camera plan was rolled out last year, a mere $37 million of the $127 million in fines and surcharges has been collected. That is because Arizonans have realised that they can simply ignore tickets sent to them in the post, and the authorities cannot prove that they have received them. Unless the tickets are served in person — something Arizona cannot afford to do — they become void after three months.
Arizona was the first state to commit to the technology under the then governor Janet Napolitano, now the US Secretary of Homeland Security.
The new governor — Jan Brewer, a Republican — is openly critical, and agrees that the scheme was introduced more to raise money than to prevent accidents.
Motorists have shown their opposition to the machines in other ways, too — such as placing large cardboard boxes over them, decorating them with sticky notes, attacking them with pickaxes and, in one case, setting off the cameras while standing in front wearing a monkey mask.
January 10, 2010
The Law of Hi-Vis Usefulness
The cleaner the Hi Vis clothing worn the less useful the person wearing it.
Freshly pressed new items on senior officers being interviewed on the news will be met with a chorus of "Tosser" from me.
Don't snigger, you'll be arrested.
The 45-year-old IT company manager, who does not want to be named, was arrested in front of his wife and young son, was fingerprinted and had his DNA taken.
It came after staff at Rother District Council in East Sussex declared the phrase “It’s the “do as you likey” attitude that I am against” – sent in an email to their planning department – was potentially racist because “likey” rhymes with the derogatory word “pikey”.
A council spokesman said: “As far as we were concerned it was an offensive comment, so we got in touch with the police.”
Possessing a friend who uses words that might rhyme with a word that might be offensive - I plead guilty.
Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear'Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.
The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.
Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an "offensive weapon" – even in her own home – was illegal.
And what exactly was she supposed to do?
I presume any answer including the phrase "double tap" would not be acceptable to Plod.
Subsidising the better off
Scotland is now the most affluent country in the UK, according to a study which reveals that a decade of devolution has produced higher wages and less poverty and unemployment than in England.
The changes have prompted renewed calls for an end to the preferential funding formula which gives Scots 20% higher public spending than those south of the border.
Mark Wallace, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, described the 30-year-old formula, which gives Scots £1,567 more per head, as “outdated and inappropriate”.
He added: “There have long been serious problems with the heavy subsidies paid to Scotland but there has been a political paralysis, which means that the issue is not something the parties at Westminster have wanted to face up to.
The Tories want to buy some seats in Scotland, the LibDims are suckers for any Celt with his hand out and as for Labour I can't think why they are so generous to the Scotch...
January 9, 2010
My Way Home Tonight
"Like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede."
I say, I say have you heard the one about...
Nobody who understands the science is claiming that global warming (if it happens) is going to make Britain hotter in the long run.
Can you get it into your thick skulls? If global warming turns out to be true, Britain weather will go bonkers. It will snow all the time. Weather might be like this more often, not less. Those unseasonably sunny early springs are exactly what there will be fewer of, not more. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
I appreciate how enjoyable it is for middle-aged rightwingers, who think that climate change (along with racial prejudice, gender inequality and Aids) is a lefty invention by softies on Camden Council, to make a mockery of it every time there is any sort of weather at all, but it is driving me absolutely insane.
If you don’t understand it, DON’T TALK ABOUT IT! And if you don’t believe in it, and you think that recent global temperatures have followed an upward trend because of something to do with sunspots and solar cycles and that climate change is just a way for certain endemic quasi-socialist, wealth-baiting principles to manifest themselves politically in the aftermath of communism, then SAY SO!
There, there; time for Gilesy's night-nights. A nice big mug of hot milk, snuggle down and you will feel a lot better in the morning.
Meanwhile in the real world people are dying, being injured, kept from work and play because the warmist fantasies of Councils and Government have left us in a state of unpreparedness. And that is no joke.
Do they also do a course in selling bridges?
Excellent Freedom of Information work from Prof David Colquhoun of University College London, who has obtained the course materials of the now-defunct BSc in homeopathy that was for a short while offered by the University of Central Lancashire, and is reviewing them on his blog.
After years of wrangling, 13kg of paper fell through Prof Colquhoun’s letterbox on Christmas Eve. The lecture notes and their relationship with the Society of Homeopath’s code of conduct are, in places, staggering. Even considering that this is a course built entirely on quackery it’s surprising to see so much internal contradiction and spurious claims of evidence and health benefits.
Part 1 - I look forward to the follow up.
Gordon King of the Pygmies
One Scottish MP told The Scotsman: "We have an extraordinary situation. What has emerged from this failed coup is that Gordon Brown is the only Prime Minister in history not to have the confidence of his Cabinet but still remain as Prime Minister.
"He is there out of a mixture of obstinance and arrogance. There is a touch of the Churchills about him. He thinks he is destined for great things. Unfortunately, unlike Churchill, it is only what he thinks, rather than actually being true."
He went on: "But look at the pygmies he had in his Cabinet. Look at the pathetic concessions they wanted to support him.
"The problem is that the party has accepted defeat at the next election simply to avoid a little bit of discomfort in getting rid of the leader."
And that is one of his own talking...
January 8, 2010
So at nine this evening I realised Mr FM wasn't going to make Friday night at The King's Arms, he only has a Land Rover. Luckily I have some Japanese thingy which would get me there and back. So I told Mrs Englishman to put on her hat and coat as I was going out and so would be turning off the heating. My solicitude for her comfort seems to have fallen on stony ground. The kennel is bloody cold.
I'm in a Prime Position in the Blog Charts
I'm not worthy!
Friday Night is Music Night (Cold Edition)
Lysenkoism To Save British Agricutlure
"For decades politicians have starved agriculture of resources on the mistaken notion that the market would deliver a secure food supply," said biologist and writer Colin Tudge "The government has recognised that we're now in trouble and are desperately pinning their hopes on untried GM technology to save us. But scientists who truly understand agriculture know that this can't solve our food supply problems. The real answer is to redesign agriculture from first principles"
Of course Tudge isn't a disciple of Trofim Lysenko, he has a completely different messianic proposal.
An accurate definition of the word "delicate"
Man's penis removed from pipe - Telegraph
The anxious man aged about 40 gave hospital staff no explanation about how the pipe got stuck after he turned up on Tuesday morning.
The firefighters used a four-and-a-half-inch grinder to cut the pipe from around the man's penis and it took about 30 minutes...his penis was left bruised and swollen but otherwise unharmed
Seven firefighters helped in what a spokesman said was a ''delicate operation''.
I always use the Oxy-Acetylene gear to cut pipes, it would have been quicker.
Tens of thousands to die from cold in the UK
A gross underestimate:
Global warming dominates the headlines, but in the UK the cold of winter is much more hazardous to health - especially for the elderly and the sick.
For every degree the temperature drops below 18C, deaths in the UK go up by nearly 1.5%.
Last year's low temperatures saw the highest number of "excess deaths" - the number of those who perished over and above what is normal for the time of year - for nearly a decade.
The 40,000 "excess deaths" in England and Wales represented a rise of nearly 50% from the previous year. In the South East, where people were perhaps least prepared for a cold snap, deaths nearly doubled.
Studies of weather-related mortality have found that with heat-related deaths there tends to be a significant level of death "displacement" - put bluntly those who were likely to die anyway simply died sooner, so the period after a heat wave tends to see fewer than average deaths.
"But this doesn't appear to be the case with winter deaths," says Dr Gavin Donaldson, a specialist in respiratory medicine at University College London.
"There has been much focus on hot weather and global warming, but in this country we see many more days of cooler temperatures. It really does need highlighting that winter can take its toll in this way, particularly on the elderly.
What is the Department of Energy and Climate Change for?
EU Referendum reminds us that just when you need it most, it doesn't. We're peaking at 59GW and wind was supplying a pathetic 3.5 percent of installed capacity, delivering a mere 147MW just after midnight, or 0.3 percent of our total power requirement.
My Granny could fart more than the wind that's blowing in this cold still weather, in other news gas is being rationed and the Renewables Industry is bitching about having to pay the cost of trickling the juice they want to produce to where it is needed.
And what has the Department of Energy and Climate Change got to say about the chaos.
Nothing. The latest news is Ed the Horse's neighing about Copenhagen.
January 7, 2010
Self Help in Snow Scotland
The wintery weather, let’s face it, is a political issue. Snow, I’m now convinced, brings out the inner Tory in all of us. In extreme situations, when forced to decide where shifting responsibilities lie, most of us revert to a doctrine that could be best be described as pragmatic, old-shires, compassionate Conservatism, as embodied in such unfashionable words as “self-help” and “resilience” and “resourcefulness”. You’ll recognise the ethos embedded in the backbone of the Armed Forces.
Scratch the surface of all but the shiniest new Labour types in weather like this, and it lurks there, that unfashionable, shameful instinct, that clarion call to civic duty. That undeniable urge — whisper it — to show initiative in the absence of a risk assessment and written permission from the State. And yes, such a response may seem desperately unsophisticated, primitive even, in these days when the State rolls like a vast juggernaut, but the thing about 18 inches of snow and a forecast of minus 20C is that (a) it’s not only pretty primitive, but (b) it also stops juggernauts dead in their tracks....
Snow reminds us is that, when necessary, we can still respond as individuals. The lesson is one of self-determination; discovering we are capable of action without having to wait for someone else to make decisions for us. In that sense, the snow brings possibilities of liberation.
So grab the shovel, get out there on the pavement and start digging. Because the freeze can do something very important for Britain. We have become a nation of two kinds of people — those that can do things, and those who can’t, but then spend their lives making rules for everyone else. There is no therapy like digging, nor the grateful smile from someone less steady on their feet than you are, to make you realise that, yes, in fact, you too are capable of doing things. You’re not a passive victim. Snow: you might say, the best political aide David Cameron ever had.
A staggering combination of arrogance, complacency and sheer indifference - Times Online
For the last two weeks Scotland has been ravaged by the worst winter weather seen in 30 years. One might imagine, therefore, that local councils, whose role is to serve the public, would take immediate action to ensure that we are kept well-informed about the state of our roads and pavements — to say nothing of stocks of grit and the advice they offer to local residents, particularly the old and the infirm.
On the contrary, nothing, not even a climatic upset, is allowed to interfere with the inalienable right of councillors and officials to take their statutory break, which runs from Christmas Eve until January 5.
...What emerges from the performance of council bureaucrats is a staggering combination of arrogance, complacency and sheer indifference to the very people they are there to represent — the long-suffering public.
When, over the next year, they face the job cuts and the lay-offs that will be the inevitable consequence of the recession they should not be surprised if the Scottish people who, after all, pay for the councillors and their officials with inflated council taxes, respond with the same shrug of the shoulders that they themselves have demonstrated this past fortnight.
Baby, It's cold outside so...
Spouses forced to work from home in swathes of the country where snow has brought transport to a standstill are flocking online to search for new romances, according to the website IllicitEncounters.co.uk. : "The adverse weather has obviously influenced many sign-ups. Usually, the West Country is a relatively quiet area for us – but over the last 3 days we have received over 900 new members from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.
And if you are snowed in exactly how are you going to have a secret affair?
I think I better go and examine the sets of footprints in the snow on the drive, we seem to have had a lot of deliveries whilst I was out delivering logs yesterday....
Weirdos Demand Ball Restraints As Price To Continue Masochistic Partnership
Red Box - Times Online's Westminster blog: Cabinet ministers demand restraining Balls and Mandelson
While there was no sign of immediate resignations, the truth is barely less damaging: it took Downing Street close to six hours to extract grudging statements of support from key members of the Cabinet, and these were only given after Gordon Brown agreed to restrain the influence of Ed Balls, the schools secretary and longtime adviser, and Lord Mandelson, the deputy PM in all but name.
Even this was not enough to secure unequivocal personal endorsements from four members of the Cabinet: Alistair Darling, David Miliband, Harriet Harman and Bob Ainsworth.
What a bunch of incompetent wets, all too scared of the big bas wolf and so will drown together. All hoping Gordon will lead them to defeat and then they will arise as the appointed one. None of them is prepared to gamble becoming the William Hague of the party, never mind that it is the party's only hope. And no matter what the country needs, it is all about me, me, me.
If your Google search, like mine, was confused by the quoted Times article more on Ball Restraint can be found where I borrowed the picture from. What they are I can't imagine.
January 6, 2010
I've been out and about today
Started first time, no easy-start, no heater plug! The air conditioning was a bit brisk at times though.
Vote No in Iceland
Iceland faces a choice: pay €3.5bn, or about €12,000 per citizen, to a pair of far richer and more powerful countries; or cut itself off from outside financial help and the safe haven of prospective EU membership. The country will either spend years as an icy pariah state or saddle itself with massive repayments, or possibly both.
Polls suggest that most people will vote no to a controversial law agreeing to pay Britain and the Netherlands for bailing out domestic holders of failed Icesave savings accounts, an outcome which would be a glorious but self-defeating piece of Viking stubbornness.
Self defeating? Keep the money in their pockets rather than give it to Gordon, stay out of the EU, keep control of their fish etc. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Not on your Nelly
Ann Furtado wrote:
I can't bear the endless stream of dumb climate change skeptics! As the earth's climate becomes more unstable as a result of excess CO2 in the atmosphere, we will have more extreme weather, catastrophic weather events and yes, we in the UK may well have warmer summers but we'll pay for it with colder winters. Geddit?! Dear Times editor, why don't you call a moratorium on this before I and others go stark raving bonkers with these morons!
Ms Furtado seems upset at someone insulting the one true religion. I don't know if it is the same Ann Furtado but I noticed she has signed only one public petition, one that I can support...Improve Road User Safety outside Kings Arms. It is nice to able to agree on something in this confusing world.
Gouverner, c'est prevoir - a lesson from the French
Sarkozy's government is under fire for over-reaction. The French tax-payer has forked out nearly one billion euros for vaccines and other drugs but over 750 million's worth seem unlikely to be used.
The explanation comes down to the famous "principle of precaution". This is the excess of caution that governments have applied to public health since a series of scandals in which thousands died (HIV contaminated blood supplies in the 1980s, the 2003 heat-wave and so on).
The principle means that no expense should be spared and no risk taken, however small, there is a possible danger to human life. This led the government last summer to order 94 million doses of swine flu vaccine. That cost 712 million euros. Only five million shots have been used so far and the epidemic is fading. The state also bought 33 million doses of Tamiflu and Relenza, the anti-viral drugs. On top of that it ordered an astonishing one billion masks, few of which have been used.
Bernard Debré, an eminent doctor and dissident parliamentarian in Sarkozy's UMP party, wielded his scalpel on the radio. He pointed out that the swine flu has killed far fewer people than the usual winter influenza.
"Buying two doses of vaccine per person is absurd. We have bought 10 percent of the vaccine in the world. We have one third of the world Tamiflu stock... The cost is more than the deficit of all French hospitals. It is three times the cost of the state anti-cancer plan."
Ministers were able to override spending considerations because of the precaution principle and the French public's belief that health has no price.
It turned out that they made the wrong choice and are being punished for failure under the old adage "gouverner, c'est prevoir" -- governing is foreseeing. *
Precautionary principle bites back, ... your starter for ten; can you think of any other scare story that governments are spending billions on, far more than any rational economic argument for preparedness would justify?
Then out spake brave Horatius
So if it is the longest cold snap for 29 years, does that prove that the idea of global warming is a non-starter? Funnily enough, it doesn't....while we shivered yesterday, in Madrid the temperature was 10C against a seasonal average of 9C, and in Rome it was 13C, compared to an average of 11C
BBC News - Do we need to say our prayers?
For millions of people in Africa, climate change is a reality, says Greig Whitehead. However, as he explains in this week's Green Room, in religious nations such as Kenya, many believe that tackling global warming is beyond their control.
It is a salutary warning for the more affluent countries in the North that a problem which - in essence - they have created, through industrialisation and development, will in time rebound to affect their own livelihoods.
January 5, 2010
I am just going outside and may be some time
The big freeze seems to defy all the logic of a warming world, but this is just part and parcel of the wild fluctuations in weather that can happen naturally.
Much of the blame for the wave of cold enveloping North America, Europe and Asia lies in the North Atlantic. An unusual layer of cold water has developed over the ocean, cooling the air and leading to a blockage in the weather pattern, with a huge area of high pressure centred around Greenland and low pressure towards the sub-tropical Azores islands.
It is unclear why the North Atlantic seas are so cold......
I'm driving half way across England this morning, and hopefully back later, for a meeting with a group about their ten year management plan. It majors on how they and their interests will respond to "Global Warming". What do I tell them?
January 4, 2010
Leave the Hunting Act alone
FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: Be very very careful what you wish for?
...the antis got their ban & fox hunting has continued pretty much as before; therefore everyone is happy.
If a new Tory administration were to repel the ban, at least for a time, the fox hunters will be happy. But when the socialists next have a parliamentary majority & that dark day will surely come in time, what exactly will they do? Of course they will ban it again but this time the legislation won’t be so full of holes that you can drive a pack of hounds through it. Just a thought you understand but just sometimes, a classic English fudge is possibly the best of all outcomes
The Hunting Act is also welcomed by many landowners as the only legislation that can be used to curb the activities of our Subaru driving freelance scrap-metal liberating lurcher owning friends.
Predators on the unwary
From the window of his cosy living room at Balvraid, the house at the terminus of the road from Glenelg village, Farquhar MacBeath could once think himself the master of all he surveyed. Five hundred breeding ewes were grazing on the moorlands on the lower slopes of Beinn a’ Chapuill and the glen beneath his croft was teeming with wildlife.
That was 40 years ago. Now the scene in this beautiful corner of Wester Ross is changed utterly. Mr MacBeath’s flock is sadly depleted — down to 200 ewes — and even in summer the wooded valley below his house is eerily quiet. His flock, his livelihood, is being culled out of existence, he says, by foxes, golden eagles and sea eagles, and other natural predators that have been allowed to flourish.
Meanwhile in Suffolk Libby Purves is saying Why the sea eagle has no right to land here
This is not about returning birds to ancestral homelands — it’s a costly gimmick to promote meddling ‘conservationists’
Natural England and the RSPB want to spend more than £600,000 to introduce the birds to Suffolk (Norfolk saw off the scheme a year ago). They claim “vast” popular support — though you could doubt the validity of a sample of 500 people asked some saccharine question about whether they fancy seeing one. Enthusiasts insist that it is a “reintroduction”, on the ground that sea eagles once lived here.
They’re just showing off. An internal e-mail from Natural England, quoted on a blog, hails a “major opportunity for Natural England to lead a high- profile ‘flagship species’ project that will highlight the organisation at the forefront of a major biodiversity delivery initiative . . . There is a small risk of conflict with both socioeconomic and nature conservation interests, but these would be effectively managed by risk assessment and contingency planning . . . A thoroughly planned and well-executed public relations strategy will maximise the potential positive publicity . . .”
See? It’s a greater white-tailed gimmick. Expensive, vainglorious and typical of a growing trend in the “conservation” industry. Many of the bodies that claim that title are not preserving at all: they are fiddling, initiating, interfering. That is not conservation: it is gardening, on a large scale. Put a woodland here — oops, no, make it a heath — tell you what, let’s build a wetland and bring some classy creatures in by van. Punters will like that, pay more subs . . .
Bashing Celebrity Bogusmongers
Celebrities and Science Review 2009
Overall, the main message from scientists to celebrities this year is nutrition is neither the cure nor cause of everything. We have seen a flurry of comments about diet and nutrition, such as Roger Moore’s claim that foie gras is causing Alzheimer’s disease and Heather Mills’ claim that meat gives you “the illness you die of”.
In the 2008 Celebrities and Science review, we were tentatively optimistic that celebrities had dropped their enthusiasm for ‘chemical free’ products and lifestyles. Sadly, like shoulder pads and mini-skirts, ‘chemical free’ claims never really go away and in 2009 we have seen renewed calls to avoid deodorants and the pill because they ‘contain chemicals’. Once again this year, scientists are stressing that nothing is chemical free and the effect of specific chemicals depends on the dose.
Full Report pdf
January 3, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (Voice and Guitar Edition)
Make Up Your Own Headline
Scientists at King’s College London who carried out the study claim there is no evidence for the existence of the G-spot — supposedly a cluster of internal nerve endings — outside the imagination of women influenced by magazines and sex therapists.
Beverly Whipple, emeritus professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey, dismissed the findings of the British study as “flawed”, saying the researchers had discounted the experiences of lesbian or bisexual women and failed to consider the effects of different sexual technique.
I'm not brave enough to comment.
A Tory Slogan That Would Win
Our sense of self depends on our having some control over how we live. Labour made a disastrous mistake when it abandoned its own tradition of self-help and mutual assistance for a distrustful bureaucratic state. We are not willing to be the helpless observers of our lives.
Trust is the guiding principle of the reforms the Tories promise. The belief is that those who are given responsibility will behave responsibly. The target culture will be ripped up. Public servants will be expected to innovate. Communities will be encouraged to take over and run local shops, pubs or services. Professionals will be trusted to work in the ways that they choose. The public will be trusted to make choices and judgments on that basis.
They are intended to overturn what the Tories see as an infantilising state, replacing it with one that explicitly intends to bring people together and to encourage the development of the social institutions that give people self-respect and meaning. Millions will be sceptical about these plans, their practicality and the motivation behind them. They are unlikely to be vote winners because so few will believe in them.
Nearly, but wrong, wrong wrong. The overbearing state is the hallmark of Labour and hopefully will doom it but we don't want it replaced with cuddly Tory Social Institutions, organised to be jolly good for us. We just want to be free to do what the fuck we want to to. If that means a few of us meet up down the pub and set up an allotment society, great. We don't some moonfaced twat issuing "The Community" with detailed instructions that we should set up an Allotment Society. Just fuck off and leave us alone should be the rallying call. Like Alastair Campbell I thought the new Tory slogan was crap and actually something to do with global warming, so let me suggest a new one, one that would win my vote;
Vote Tory and We Promise to Fuck Off and Leave You Alone
Public Spending Headlines of the Day
Public sector pay races ahead in recession
Public sector workers earn 7% more on average than their peers in the private sector — a pay gulf that has more than doubled since the recession began.
Official figures show that staff employed by the state are enjoying bigger pay rises, working fewer hours and receiving pensions worth up to three times as much as those in the private sector.
Since Labour came to power in 1997, the number of public sector workers has increased by 914,000 to more than 6m, just over a fifth of the workforce.
The Castle Doctrine
The Sunday Telegraph's Right to Defend Yourself campaign has triggered a high-profile debate about the treatment of householders driven to take action to protect their homes and families.
Labour Lapdog Mr Starmer may squeak that all is well with the law, maybe it is, but the public disquiet shows that a review is in order. Simply I think the default position should be flipped, whatever happens to an intruder should be considered fair unless their is clear evidence that it is grossly unreasonable. I wouldn't want the wine delivery man being caught in a mantrap as he hides this weeks case in the open garage for instance.
At a stroke the cold reality of China's attitude to the outside world was laid bare for all to see. Rather than being a partner that can be trusted to work with the West on issues of mutual concern, the Chinese have demonstrated that their default position is that Beijing's only real priority it to look after its own interests.
The idea that a country's leaders look after that country's interests first is so strange and anathematic to our leaders that it is beyond their comprehension and comes as a surprise, whereas our leaders being gullible fools is obvious to the Chinese.
January 2, 2010
The Times Notices the Solar Minimum
The solar minimum could also be cooling the climate on Earth because of slightly dimished solar irradiance. In fact, the quiet spell on the Sun may be masking some of the warming effects of greenhouse gases, according to recent research by two US solar scientists. The solar minimum, their study suggests, accounts for the somewhat flat temperature trend of the past decade. But even if this solar minimum is offsetting global warming, scientists stress that the overall effect is relatively slight and certainly will not last.
The Sun has gone into long quiet spells before. From 1645 to 1715 few sunspots were seen during a period called the Little Ice Age, when short summers and savage winters often plagued Northern Europe. Scotland was hit particularly hard as harvests were ruined in cold, miserable summers, which led to famine, death, migration and huge depopulation. But whether the quiet Sun was entirely to blame for it remains highly uncertain.
Heresy! I note that unusually for a Times Weather article it is anonymous. Is Paul Simons away? He was peddling the Carteret Island myth on 30th Dec, maybe he is stuck in the ice.
And this makes sense?
Twelve million low-energy light bulbs were posted to households over Christmas by an energy company as part of its legal obligation to cut carbon emissions. Npower sent out the packages last month to escape a ban on issuing unsolicited bulbs, which came into force yesterday. The German-owned company saved millions of pounds by giving away the bulbs.
It faced a fine of more than £40 million, or 10 per cent of its turnover, if it failed to meet its target for improving efficiency in homes under the carbon emissions reduction target scheme.
Companies were allowed to register immediate carbon savings from every bulb issued on the assumption that all recipients instantly installed them in some of their most intensively used light sockets.
Each low-energy bulb costs an energy company £2.97 and saves 0.04 tonnes of carbon over its lifetime. Companies can pass on all the costs of the scheme to their customers. Over three years it is expected to add more than £100 to the average household’s energy bills.
A spokeswoman for the energy company admitted that Npower did not know how many of the bulbs would be used. “There is nothing under [the carbon emissions reduction target scheme] that means we have to get evidence that bulbs are being used. It’s up to the customer,” she said.
Perth & Kinross Local Climate Impact Update Needed
Perth & Kinross Council reminds us that "In Scotland, we are already feeling the effects with rising temperatures and more frequent winter storms impacting on our lives, our environment and the economy."
Luckily it has completed its Local Climate Impact Profiles (LCIP)
January 1, 2010
Happy New Year Sort Of
There doesn't seem to be much happy anticipation of a New Year about. Iain Dale is all excited but then I think he hopes to become an MP this year. Everyone else sees a continuation of the dull grey years we have had lately.
Politics, we will face a tediously long campaign here where the reality of the measures we need will be ignored by all parties, and our real Government in Brussels will carry on regardless.
There will be bluster and sparks of outrage at our losses of liberties but little progress at throwing off the overbearing state.
Brave men in sandy places will continue to die because politicians lie.
The most important factor in our future prosperity is going to be the weather. If it is a warm year the stranglehold of the Warmists will be completed, if it is a cold one then the seeds of doubt will flourish in the cracks of the theory and slow down, if not halt, the destruction of the Western economies.
In our personal lives it will be a year of sorrows, of love and laughter. May yours be a good one.