October 31, 2010
Frying Tonight Game
Fate of the World is a dramatic global strategy game that puts all our futures in your hands. The game features a dramatic set of scenarios based on the latest science covering the next 200 years. You must manage a balancing act of protecting the Earth.s resources and climate versus the needs of an ever-growing world population, who are demanding ever more food, power, and living space. Will you help the whole planet or will you be an agent of destruction?
It features data from real-world climate models, anecdotes from the polar explorer Pen Hadow and input from a team of scientists and economists in the US and UK.
Fate of the World is released Tuesday for £14.99 via digital download and Oxfam stores across the UK.
Pen Hadow, Oxfam, and Climate Models - even "Real-World Climate Models" - How could you resist?
I wonder what the top score for temperature rise will be?
Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?
Stephen Fry angers feminists by claiming women do not enjoy sex - Telegraph
He said: "If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: 'God, I've got to get my f------- rocks off', or they'd go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush.
“It doesn't happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it."
He continued: "I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want.
“Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, 'Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!' But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?"
Cue outrage; But he is talking about having sex for just for having it. Not for having sex, good, bad or indifferent, where a whole raft of other stuff is including in the reasoning for having it. And that is where gays are lucky, I presume. Lots of sex without strings. It is almost tempting...
There, there, take a deep breath, you'll feel better in a minute...
One of the most distressing developments of this most distressing political season is the almost complete abandonment of interest in the environment by the Republican party.
The Tea Party may look like a grassroots movement, and the antipathy to environmental protection fits well with its libertarian philosophy (if "hell no" can be considered a philosophy), but the corporations behind the movement – including BP – are funnelling big bucks to support the GOP's most outspoken climate sceptics.
A Close Call
A young friend was out rabbit shooting last night and called in to offer me a bunny.
I offered to clean his shotgun as he hadn't noticed he had plugged a barrel with mud.
I think the other barrel had been inadvertently cleaned by firing through it.
A stiff paternal word of advice was offered to a lucky young man.
October 30, 2010
Don't Forget のめる
It's quiet out there for this time of the morning...
Even The Guardian Takes to PJ
PJ O'Rourke – the rightwinger it's OK for lefties to like | The Guardian
O'Rourke has caught the mood of much of the nation perfectly.
O'Rourke's thesis is simple: politics and nearly all politicians suck. The solution is to have less of both of them and the only people lobbying for that are rightwing, libertarian-leaning conservatives like him. They want the government to do less, spend less, take less and essentially leave people and corporations alone. If they did so, O'Rourke believes, it would make people generally and Americans in particular happier, wealthier and free from the harmful attentions of such interfering do-gooding elitists as, for example, Barack Obama.
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here
In England this morning.
The opening meet of the local hunt.
Glass of port, slice of fruit cake, old chums, well turned out horses and riders, sunshine, old parkland trees, a proper country house, eager hounds and ready laughs; There was nowhere better to be anywhere.
October 29, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (Another Night To Cry Edition)
Motivation of Pupils - Parents Key Factor
BBC News - Pushy parents help children make the grade at school
Pushy parents help their children do better at school, research suggests.
The effort a parent puts into ensuring their child buckles down to schoolwork has a greater impact than that put in by the child or the school, it says.
Excel Spreadsheet of the data available here.
O Best Beloved, How The Telegraph Failed
The final irrefutable proof that the Telegraph has gone to the dogs. Not once, not even a hint, not a scintilla of a suspicion of a mention of Kipling in the reportage.
A cure I wish I could believe in
Lifetime cure for Lefties - Telegraph
Scientists have given mankind many blessings, but the discovery of the gene for Left-wing behaviour must be foremost among them. For now there is a diagnosis, there can be a cure. Just think of it – a quick screening of the unborn infant, a mild course of gene therapy, and hey presto! The disease can be eradicated within a generation.
Unfortunately it isn't that simple. Being Left-wing, being "liberal" and understanding different people are not synonyms. The press release stated: "People with this genetic predisposition who have a greater-than-average number of friends would be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average."
The trouble is the researchers slip into a commonly-made assumption about liberal social views, which is that they require relativistic thinking - the appreciation of other people's point of view.
Socially, that's a charming trait for someone to have. Politically, it is the first step on the road to moral relativism, one of the grandest mistakes of so-called liberals the world over. In actual fact, liberalism follows from absolute values. Without them, it betrays itself. Moral and cultural relativism have led many of our fellow liberals into appalling positions. It has led anti-war protestors to argue, horrifically, that Middle Eastern countries do not want democracy. It has led us to accept female circumcision in the Third World. It has led us to a strand of multiculturalism which delegates authority to the leaders of communities, without worrying about the individuals in those communities themselves.
Liberalism is not based on relativism. It is based on an absolute value, one which was best expressed by Immanuel Kant but which you can also find in the New Testament: "Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you." In Kant's philosophical language it's more like: Act as if each of your actions was a universal maxim.
So it might not be Left-wingism we could cure but stupid people and their relativistic cant. Here's hoping.
October 28, 2010
As it is said.
BBC News - 'Haitch' or 'aitch'? How do you pronounce 'H'?
...the gradual shift of garage to sound like garridge is less easy to explain.
A garage is where one keeps ones motorcar, a garridge is where one has it refuelled.
As few people garage their car at home now that usage and pronunciation has become obsolete.
Bio-diversity, now there's an idea worth money
Tools and techniques are (being) developed to assess "environmental services" such as carbon sequestration, water cycle regulation and – to a less clear extent – climate maintenance and habitat provision.
In Nagoya, there has been a concerted attempt to promote, extend and improve environmental economics and to draw more financiers and business executives into biodiversity valuation and protection.
I seem to recall that zillions of pounds are being traded against puffs of greenhouse gases, what's not to like about another great trading market in bio-diversity. Trebles all round.
IPCC Attacks Organised and Illegal
IPCC vice-chair: Attacks on climate science echo tobacco industry tactics | Environment | guardian.co.uk
The attacks on climate science that were made ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit were "organised" to undermine efforts to tackle global warming and mirror the earlier tactics of the tobacco industry, according to the vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Prof Jean-Pascal van Ypersele.
Prof Naomi Oreskes, a science historian at the University of California San Diego, told the Guardian she agreed with Van Ypersele that the attacks on climate science were organised: "When it happened, the only thing that surprised me was that the attacks had crossed the line into illegality."
Let's continue to believe in Fairy dust and the CRU
The panel wrangled each question to the ground with mind-bending detail. It felt like watching mechanics stripping down a car you like to drive, when you really don't want to know how it works.
Some people think understanding how it works is important...
October 27, 2010
"Rock Bottom" is on its way..
Geoff Baker's Book Blog
Fuck a priest, I've just heard from the publishers and they said could I take out the vulgarities.
They said 'we are reserving the right to judge that your book may be offensive or pornographic to others and this may effect your royalties'.
Which others, I said.
People who might buy your book, they said.
So I got back to my editor at the publishers and said about this vulgarity business, may I run a few new words by you?
And she said 'what do you mean, new?'
And I said well, you know you said a lot of women readers won't like me using twat, what if I call it a doodle sock instead?
'No', she said.
How about a cock alley? I said.
'No, still too vulgar and you're making them up'.
I said no I wasn't, these were actual English alternatives from an official dictionary published in 1785 and how did she feel about 'box the Jesuit'? 'What's that?' she said and I explained it was wanking and she put the phone down.
So I called back and..
What about fart catcher, I said. 'What's a fart-catcher?' she said and I said it's what 1785 England used to call the personal assistant of anyone famous, because they walked so close behind their boss, and she said 'that's ridiculous' and I said, well actually, in my experi….but then I thought better of that.
And then she said 'look here, times have changed and our authors must be far more politically correct these days' and I said did that mean I couldn't use Irish beauty to mean a woman with two black eyes? Or a scratchlander to mean a Scotsman?
'I'm Scottish' she said and she didn't have time for all this now as she had to go to the hairdresser. You mean the nit-squeezer I said and she hasn't phoned me back yet.
I can't wait for the book to actually appear.
Biofuels Creating a Problem not a Solution
The point about biofuels, which wouldn’t exist at all without massive taxpayer funded subsidies, is that by displacing agricultural land that would otherwise be used for food production, they greatly add to the pressures.
I’ve written a column about all this for the Thursday edition of the Daily Telegraph, my excuse being that it’s not just subsidies for biofuels with are driving commodity prices higher right now – the Fed’s policies of ultra-cheap money, put in place to address the economic crisis, are just as damaging. They further encourage the dash to speculative investment in commodities. It may not matter too much to Americans if food prices double, but if like the bulk of the world’s population you are subsisting, it can quite literally be the difference between life and death.
My point is that when governments go looking for solutions to problems, they frequently end up creating new ones. Biofuels, which cost a bomb, are sending food prices through the roof, and far from benefiting the environment seem to damage it even further, are a case in point.
On this day in history
2nd Anniversary of the UK Climate Change Bill signing.
Nigel Lawson; "The Bill will go down in history, and future generations will see it, as the most absurd Bill that this House and Parliament as a whole as ever had to examine"
And the most expensive....
Gone with the wind
Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, said today it would close five production plants across Scandinavia and cut 3,000 jobs.
The group said the surge in demand for wind power it had hoped for in Europe had not materialised...
The cuts came as Britain celebrated more than £300m of investment in new manufacturing centres by rival manufacturers GE, Siemens and Gamesa. Following a boost from the government's Infrastructure Plan on Monday, GE said it would invest £100m in a manufacturing plant. Spanish firm Gamesa said it would spend €150m (£131m) setting up a worldwide centre for offshore wind, including a turbine factory; and Siemens said it would build an £80m wind turbine factory.
Monday's announcements were part of a commitment to a £60m upgrade of British ports to make them suitable for dealing with large offshore turbines.
"Celebrated"? Celebrated that if our government spunks away our money some big firms are happy to spend it? The market is withering and our genius leaders decide now is the time to chuck more money at it?
It's all your fault!
MAN-MADE climate change was a major cause of devastating floods in Pakistan this year, shifting monsoon rains away from flood defences and into areas of the country incapable of dealing with the deluge, according to Pakistani scientists.
..."Industrial activity in Eastern Pakistan had increased surface temperatures, preventing water in the atmosphere falling as rain.
"Warming in eastern parts has moved the moisture west," he said."
So not so much global or warming more local and relocated....
October 26, 2010
IPCC - Time to move on debate
Time to move on from the IPCC? Tony Gilland - science and society director at the Institute of Ideas. He is speaking at the debate Can we trust the evidence? The IPCC - a case study at the Battle of Ideas festival on Sunday 31 October, alongside Oliver Morton and Fred Pearce.
Writing in the pages of The Times last week, Martin Rees and Anthony Giddens issued a stark warningthat extreme weather events, such as the recent flooding in Pakistan and the heat wave in Russia, 'will grow in frequency and intensity as the world warms'. Noting the controversy that climate science has been mired in since December 2009, they strongly emphasise that 'the core scientific findings about human induced climate change and the dangers it poses remain intact' and demand a 'renewed drive' to 'wake the world from its torpor' and limit carbon emissions.
In the light of the UEA and IPCC scandals, it is a shame that their response to the climate controversies appears to be more of the same: scare and dogmatic instruction.....
The debate that needs to take place is not about the ins and outs of climate science, but rather how we view the scope for human ingenuity, entrepreneurship and collaboration to transform all our societies to become wealthier, more resilient and with greater access to a wider range of technologies. This is what we should be aiming for regardless. The scale of the devastation and human misery caused by the floods in Pakistan would simply not have occurred in a more developed country....Since the fact of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere was first established in the 1960s, we have become increasingly pessimistic about the ability of humans to act purposefully and positively on the world and inclined towards seeing ourselves as primarily a source of grave danger......
Surely it's time to move on and have a freer and wider debate for ourselves unconstrained by the diktats of 'the science' and attempts to scare us?
The League of Extraordinary Deniers
So who are the Sir Thomas Clifford, Lord Arlington, the Duke of Buckingham, Lord Ashley, and Lord Lauderdale of the sceptic movement?
Sammy Wilson MP, Christopher Booker, John Redwood, Graham Stringer MP and Johnny Ball
(I know, I know, the acronym etymology of cabal is a myth but it is worth revisiting.)
It's what he would have wanted.
Venison burger for tea tonight - with roast sweet potato and a bottle of robust Rioja. Yum.
October 24, 2010
Is it cool in the Arctic? Scientists disagree.
2010 the warmest year on record | The Sunday Times
Britain may have been hit by a cold snap last week but the world has just had its hottest year yet, according to Nasa.
The global high is partly due to some of the fastest warming on record in the Arctic, adding to fears that the northern ice cap may vanish entirely in summer by the middle of the century. Since the 1970s summer ice coverage has shrunk by 2.4m square km, an area the size of Greenland.
Britain’s Met Office had a different way of analysing the same data from 5,000 points on Earth, and concluded that the 12 months to September were “probably the first or second hottest on record”. Global temperature averaged 14.52C, compared with a 1961-90 average of 14.00C.
Vicky Pope, head of climate science advice at the Met Office, said: “The high temperatures this year are a clear symptom of a long-term increase in global temperatures, probably caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.”
Just how fast the Arctic is warming is disputed, because it is difficult to measure temperatures accurately there. The region’s extreme conditions mean there are few stations, so scientists rely on satellites.
Pope said: “Limited information from satellites suggests the Arctic is still warming faster than any other area globally; this is expected because as ice melts it leaves behind dark water, which absorbs light and so warms up faster.”
But, there isn't any satellite coverage of the temperature up at the top and the Danes reckon it has been bloody cold as usual up there.
Brett Anderson on AccuWeather.com has been wondering why GISS does not consider the Danish T799 data when estimating their monthly temperature anomalies for north of 80 degrees, so he asked Dr. James Hansen, the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Here is what Dr. Hansen said to him in his email response........
Brett...even though in certain cases it might be more accurate to use reanalysis rather than extrapolate observations, I prefer not to mix observations and models. Sometimes the extrapolations will be off in one direction and sometimes in another. If the weather patterns are such that there is a cool pool in the central Arctic, then our extrapolation is likely to misrepresent the situation. So I don't intend to leave the impression that I think it is accurate in individual situations, but I think that, on the average, it is better than omitting the Arctic, thus implicitly assuming that it has the same tendency as the average of all global regions with data.
So it there may be a "cool pool" in the middle of the Arctic but I don't want to think about, I prefer my models....
Cairn Gormless on Snow Records
Inverness woman sets 'all year round' Cairn Gorm ski record - Scotsman.com News
Last year's record snowfall, along with snow last week, has led to a rush on tickets for this year, with CairnGorm Mountain Ltd reporting an increase of almost 20 per cent in season ticket sales on previous years.
"There is a high level of expectation because we had such a fantastic season last year," said the spokesperson. "However, there is a persistent concern about the effect of global warming for all Scottish ski resorts. Despite having a bumper year last year, in 2006 we had our worst season ever. Sadly, that is more representative a picture of the snow on the mountain in Scotland."
It is of interest to see that there is no long-term trend in the snow data, although there is a recent downward trend from 1993/4 to the latest year in the record. In future we would expect that warming will reduce the number of days with snow lying, and hence the viability of the skiing industry. However, this does not necessarily follow immediately: a more active hydrological cycle in the early years of global warming might lead to more snow days, provided that the warming in winter is small enough to keep temperatures below zero.
More snow, less snow, the same snow, it is all a worrying sign of global warming.
And if it is such an urgent problem why is it so hard to find the recent data?
October 23, 2010
The End of The Beginning
The Battle of El Alamein opened at 9.40 pm on 23 October 1942 when 900 British medium and field guns fired an intense fifteen minute barrage against the enemy gun lines.
El Alamein - Lightfoot
The opening of the battle saw four divisions (9th Australian, 51st Highland, 2nd New Zealand and 1st South African) in the assault on the north of the Axis positions. The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry was in support of 5th New Zealand Brigade (Brigadier Howard Kippenberger) and the aim was for infantry to secure the Miteiriya Ridge during darkness, with the armour to pass beyond them at first light to establish a screen. By now the regiment was equipped with a mix of M4 Sherman, Crusader and Grant (M3 Lee) tanks. On the morning of 24 October 1942, A and C squadrons were ahead of the infantry on the western slopes of the ridge. B squadron had been delayed in the Devil's gardens minefields and had lost numerous tanks. Throughout that day, A and C squadrons engaged German panzers on the plain below, and were in turn hit by anti-tank fire. Initially, the heavier Sherman tanks were not vulnerable to this, but when the German 88mm anti-tank guns joined in they took severe casualties. By midday, the two squadrons were reduced to one Sherman and three Grants and the commanding officer had been badly wounded and evacuated. The 10th Armoured Division was at this stage supposed to pass through and onwards to start the breakout, but seemed to be reluctant to do so.
At 6p.m. the regiment was ordered to withdraw. It had lost almost all of its tanks and taken 42 casualties killed or wounded. In reserve, the regiment was issued with new tanks, a hasty mix of Shermans, Grants, and Crusaders (types II and III), mostly salvaged from the battlefield and rapidly repaired. Montgomery had been impressed with the performance of 2nd New Zealand Division and wanted them to spearhead the next thrust, but Freyberg was unwilling to do so without reinforcements as his troops had suffered so many casualties. Monty therefore placed 151 and 152 Infantry Brigades under Freyberg's command for the next phase of the battle.
El Alamein - Supercharge
On the night of 1/2 November 1942, the 8th Army attacked again in the north, with 2nd New Zealand Division in the lead. General Freyberg placed 151 Brigade on the right and 152 Brigade on the left. The aim was to attack directly westwards across the Rahman track, with the infantry leading the night assault and 9th Armoured Brigade (now commanded by Brigadier John Currie) again passing through to break the enemy gun line and allow X Corps to break out. The assault went to plan except that opposition on the left was heavier than expected which slowed the advance. As a result the advancing tanks were highlighted against the dawn sky in the east and began to be picked off by Axis anti-tank fire. The Regiment was in the centre of 9th Armoured Brigade, and the CO lost touch with both his artillery support and close anti-tank support. In the growing light, the B squadron commander (Major M.StJ.V.Gibbs) realised that he was in a ring of enemy anti-tank guns, ahead and to both flanks. He gave the order to 'Charge' and B squadron over-ran the anti-tank positions, losing some vehicles but destroying the enemy gun line. Meanwhile 21st Panzer Division was counter-attacking A and C squadrons and at 4pm the Regiment (now down to four tanks) was withdrawn. 1st Armoured Division from X Corps were just behind 9th Armoured Brigade but there were no liaison officers between the units and 1st Armoured did not take the opportunity to push on through the broken Axis gun-line.
Dispositions at the end of Operation Supercharge
After the 9th Armoured Brigade's action, Brigadier Gentry of the 6th New Zealand Brigade went ahead to survey the scene. On seeing Brigadier Currie asleep on a stretcher, he approached him saying, 'Sorry to wake you John, but I'd like to know where your tanks are?' Currie waved his hand at a group of tanks around him, replying 'There they are.' Gentry was puzzled. 'I don't mean your headquarters tanks, I mean your armoured regiments. Where are they?' Currie waved his arm and again replied, 'There are my armoured regiments, Bill".
My father's tank brewed up, he saved the driver by cutting off his trapped arm with a pocket knife, and stayed with the injured man until they were picked up to become POWs.
The Other White Meat
Tough old bird like that would need some marinading, one for the stew pot rather than a roast I think.
October 22, 2010
What's in a name-call? In the great global warming slanging match, those accepting man-made climate change probably win on politeness, usually calling their opponents "sceptics", though sometimes "deniers". Sceptics, on the other hand, retort with "warmists", when they're feeling generous, "eco-Nazis" when they're not.
But now Grist, an American green web magazine, has been trying to find its own name for what it calls People who Care about Climate Change and Clean Energy (or PCCCCEs).
You'd have thought that they'd be better off without a special name: after all, they are in the majority. But Grist picked "climate hawks", though it did somewhat spoil things by initially running a picture of a vulture.
Friday Night is Music Night (Does it Right Edition)
The Purpose of the MOD is to provide employment in the Labour Heartlands
SHIPYARD workers at Rosyth are preparing for strike action, just three days after the Strategic Defence Review spared them from the axe.
It is anticipated a walk-out will take place at the Fife yard next week, with a full strike to follow in a row over pay.
Workers agreed to remain silent about the planned action until after Tuesday's defence spending announcement.
Taxpayers will have to pick up the £2.6 billion bill for the controversial aircraft carrier that will never carry jets because Gordon Brown agreed an “unbreakable” contract designed to protect shipbuilding jobs in Scotland.
When the coalition looked at axing one of the carriers to save money, BAE responded that the Government would still have to pay shipworkers to do nothing for the remaining 12 years of the deal.
The Prime Minister said earlier this week that the decision to go ahead with the second carrier had been the hardest of the spending review. He blamed an “appalling legacy” left by the previous Government and said that taxpayers had “every right to be angry about it”.
A spokesman for Mr Brown said that he could not comment on “MoD decisions made under the last Government”.
October 21, 2010
My Favourite Hooker Video - I was there!
As I sip a large tot of Nelson's Blood I am taken back to a grand England confrontation, we had fantastic seats on the half way line, the ones in front of Sir Bobby Charlton's, so the camera view was what I saw.
And when the game started and Lomu was given the ball not twenty yards away from me, happy I was to be there that day.
It changed the game, before this outing in a soccer stadium Twickenham was a holy ground, with a military band and reverential silence. All the pre match razz-ma-tazz started here, the soccer boy s didn't know this wasn't what was meant to be put on, and the old buffers realised the crowd quite liked it.
A small chest at The Castle has these handles, "Sacr'd to Nelson - Trafalgar" - probably just a cheap souvenir 200 years ago but rather nice now.
The Morning After The Cuts Before
Well that was all a bit of an anticlimax wasn't it. Well choreographed leaks and expectation management smoothed the day over. Though I stopped listening to the news as every cut was described as bad news and every remaining instance of the continued spunking away of taxpayers money was hailed as good news.
No it bloody isn't.
The Green Fields of England
Cornwall's farmers have more than the harvest festival to celebrate this autumn: the granting of planning permission for the UK's first purpose-built solar farm and a £14m loan for an even larger solar farm next to Newquay airport. The landmark decisions by Cornwall council, which gave the loan, are predicted to trigger a surge of similar applications from farmers and landowners across the county over the next 18 months, with the council estimating a potential total investment of £1bn for the county.
The bonanza was sparked by the introduction last April of the feed-in tariff, which pays anyone producing their own "green" electricity up to 41.3p/kWh – as long as the infrastructure is up and running by April 2012. Since giving the go ahead to the £4m solar farm at the former Wheal Jane tin mine near Truro last month, the council has become so convinced that it will be inundated with similar applications that it has allocated six planning officers to deal with the paperwork. Locals, who enjoy the highest levels of solar irradiation in the country, are calling it Cornwall's "solar rush".
But with farmers now being approached by solar developers offering tantalising deals to lease their land, there is some trepidation that solar farms are too good to be true. Are they just another get-rich-quick scheme the likes of which have so often been dangled before cash-strapped farmers? As so often in farming, profitability hinges on the availability of a subsidy – in this case, the feed-in tariff which, at least for the time being, remains, having escaped the wrath of yesterday's comprehensive spending review.
I've got a quote coming for turning the outer bailey of The Castle into a sea of silicon, better than wheat. Farmers respond very well to what their customer tells them he wants. And if you lot want to splash your cash on silly cells who are we to gainsay you?
Edinburgh Zoo Hog Roast
Staff in cull as Edinburgh Zoo faces crisis - Scotsman.com
The zoo today said its current staff numbers were "no longer sustainable"
Zoo culls 'surplus' hogs - Scotsman.com News
BOSSES at Edinburgh Zoo have culled two Red River Hog piglets – because there is a "surplus" of the species.
Despite successfully breeding a pair last August for the first time in the zoo's history, the organisation was ordered by a worldwide breeding programme to kill little Sammi and Becca as they were "surplus to requirement".
I guess the staff will be a little nervous then. But I have no sympathy for the Zoo, if it has surplus animals why not sell them or fatten them up rather than expensively follow the orders of some European Genetic Purity Enforcer..
Ice Shelf Collapse - Research Seals Investigate
Elephant seals recruited as field researchers have uncovered new evidence of what may have caused the dramatic collapse of an Antarctic ice shelf two years ago.
Wearing tracking tags, the deep-diving mammals mapped the seabed near the Wilkins Ice Shelf, which is the size of Jamaica but recently began to disintegrate. They discovered channels that deflect warm water towards the ice.
Previously the water was estimated to be about 400m deep, but the seals were recording depths of almost 1km. “Thanks to the seals, we now know that there are very deep channels around where the Wilkins shelf was,” Dr Padman said. “Some of them even extended to the edge of the continental shelf.”
Such channels provide a conduit for warmer water from the circumpolar current to deflect southwards towards the ice.
October 20, 2010
Those Cuts in the Countryside - Careful Dr Spooner!
Sackcloth and Ashes
A minor readjustment is the end of civilisation - I don't think I can bear to listen to the commentators today.
No one seems to be able to say reducing the burden on the taxpayer is a good and welcomed thing, though the polls suggest the public recognise it is.
Of course if Georgie had accepted my CSR recommendations then the tears and anguish might be justified as the blood ran down the streets...
October 19, 2010
Boys will be statemented
BBC News - Special needs more likely for boys, study finds
More than 41,000 primary school boys (2%) have a statement of needs and 489,250 (23.4%) have unstatemented needs.
Translation: Hundreds of thousands of primary school boys are boys and drive their female teachers mad. Why, oh why, can't they stop running around waving sticks and shouting and settle down in the tranquillity corner and read books!
Oh, and give us more cash.
OXFORD INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
English Literature: Why do you think an English student might be interested in the fact that Coronation Street has been running for 50 years?
Music: If you could invent a new musical instrument, what kind of sound would it make?
Biological Sciences: Here's a cactus. Tell me about it.
Theology: Is someone who risks their own life (and those of others) in extreme sports or endurance activities a hero or a fool?
Psychology: What is 'normal' for humans?
Biomedical Sciences: Why do a cat's eyes appear to 'glow' in the dark?
How very different form my dear, dear days at college. At Teddy Hall I seem to remember they threw a rugby pill at you as you walked in the door, if you caught it you were in, if you passed it on to the Dean you had a scholarship.
Of course my own college was much more intellectual; I couldn't get the taste out of mouth for days after my successful interview.
BBC Reports on Doubts over scientists' climate change debate claims
Press coverage has cast further doubt on climate scientists' claims that man-made global warming is real and adversely affecting the planet.
Polls show that the public are becoming increasingly confused about the issue. Adam Fleming reports.
Gathering Winter Fuel
Cold snap looms across country - Scotsman.com News
Temperatures, which reached a mild 16C (61F) at Bournemouth Airport on Monday, were due to fall a few degrees everywhere during the day.
Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Today we will see cold air pushing across the UK. There will be rain showers, some heavy, in England and Wales, particularly in the afternoon.
"Colder air is coming behind them, and as we go into Tuesday night, it will be cold across the UK, with temperatures close to or below freezing, even down in southern England."
That was my winter fuel being delivered in the summer, bring it on!
Can We Leave Yet?
European Commission plans to end Britain’s £3 billion rebate
Janusz Lewandowski, the Polish EU budget commissioner, who will present the proposals today, has said that the rebate is “no longer justified”. His paper is understood to play down the threat to the rebate so as not to enrage anti-European sentiment in the UK, where support for the EU has reached new lows, and 47 per cent told a YouGov poll in the summer that they would vote to leave.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Britain’s EU Commissioner, has pledged to attend meeting, which will agree wording of the budget proposals, after missing two preparatory meetings because she was travelling.
Mr Lewandowski is expected to suggest new taxes to fund the EU, including on carbon emissions, air transport, financial transactions or banks. His report will include ideas, already discussed without success, including directly transferring national taxes to the EU, such as VAT or oil taxes.
Only a minor story in an inaccessible paper, but it reminds me to check that the Manilla Hemp, which has been steamed and pre-stretched, is well oiled and safely stored in the back of the barn.
October 18, 2010
10:10 - The Quacks are on board - No Pressure!
10:10 climate campaign gains support from four medical associations | Environment | The Guardian
Royal colleges of general practitioners, nursing and psychiatrists, and Great Ormond Street hospital all sign up
One of the bodies, the RCPsych, said that research showed a low-carbon lifestyle could improve mental health.
I would love to see the evidence.....
October 16, 2010
Climate change skeptics often ask for evidence and proof, - The Bastards
How fear of bias frames climate change debate | Simon Lewis | Environment | guardian.co.uk
Comment : KnowThankYou
We must be careful to not let the suspicions and emotions surrounding climate skeptics impact ourselves or our work. Doing so plays into their hands, distracting us from our work and potentially delaying life-saving research.
Climate change skeptics often ask for evidence and proof, and point to conflicting modeling as a means of discounting theories. This may be a valid argument in other sciences, but perhaps not when attempting to determine future climate changes. It is hard to imagine where stock markets might be today if investors required such evidence and proof of the future. We have ourselves created conditions of greater risk, and in future even the more risk-averse among us will need to embrace change. Hopefully before not too many tipping points have been passed the human race shall have to take a variety of actions based on a spectrum of theories rather than evidence and proof.
October 15, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (5-0 Edition)
Washing up tea cups after the party
The fuss over phosphate bans provides an object lesson in the paranoid politics of the Tea Party's anti-liberal backlash
As soon as Spokane County in Washington banned phosphate dish detergent in response to oxygen depletion in its rivers and lakes, many residents rebelled by actually driving to Idaho to purchase the same kinds of dish detergent they'd been using before.
And while the big cities in Washington often pull the elections to the left, the countryside and suburbs of the state are stuffed with embittered reactionaries who are eager to believe they're being victimised by a bunch of dumb environmentalists who are incapable of thinking through the ramifications of a policy like this.
Rightwing bloggers gleefully seized on this story of dish detergent smuggling, gloating that Washington residents were sticking it to the environmentalists by using more gas to buy detergent and using more water to wash dishes. Of course, the ugly reality is that wastefulness has a larger impact than upsetting environmentalists – it means fewer resources for the future and a dirtier environment, of course – but the sheer glee of potentially inflicting stress on demonised environmentalists was enough to distract from these facts.
The commenters at Free Republic also enjoyed gloating over the possibility that this would lead to more water use, showing those dirty hippies (their term) how stupid and short-sighted they were. In a telling exchange, one commenter asked, "I'm not exactly sure what the greenies are trying to accomplish, here…", and another replied, "It feeeeeeeeels good, and it demonstrates their 'concern'. That's all that really matters with the libs, not actual results."
Except, of course, that a short Google search would have resulted in immediate knowledge of what the "greenies" were trying to accomplish: reducing the amount of oxygen depletion in Spokane rivers and lakes that was killing off the fish. But the first rule of reactionary politics is: don't learn about the issues, or else you might find your kneejerk anti-liberal reactions weren't as smart as you thought they were.
Large parts of America have been primed through little issues such as phosphate bans to believe they don't need to know the actual facts behind an issue because they can simply substitute their paranoid hostility towards liberals for understanding.
Worse, they've given up any sense of responsibility as citizens towards the common good. Once people have absorbed the idea that wiping off an occasional glass is too much of a sacrifice to save the environment for the good of everyone else, it's not much of a leap for those same people to think that it's a travesty if someone poorer than themselves has decent access to healthcare, that they should have to take public transportation rather than leave the next generation with a planet wrecked through global warming, or that it's worse to raise the taxes on the richest Americans by 3% than have widespread unemployment.
Yes Dear, so a little Prohibition is rebelled at because not all the people are sheeple and it proves the end of civilisation is nigh. Those bastard anti-Greens hate the poor and society and me.....
Cancer in the wild
Wildlife Extra News - 7 mountain gorillas die of natural causes.
3 killed by another gorilla, one unknown cause, one an infected abscess, two of cancer.
All in the wild in Rwanda in a couple of weeks.
(Story chosen as 1st on Google)
Cancer caused by modern man as it was virtually non-existent in ancient world - Telegraph
“In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death," said Professor Rosalie David, a biomedical Egyptologist at the University of Manchester. "There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.
"Cancer appears to be a modern disease created by modern life."
October 14, 2010
Hurrah to a Species Extinction
Scientists eradicate deadly rinderpest virus | Science | guardian.co.uk
Researchers at the UN said today that rinderpest, a virus that causes devastating cattle plague, has been wiped out, the first time such an announcement has been made since the end of smallpox more than 30 years ago.
John Anderson, the head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, called the success "the biggest achievement of veterinary history".
A monumental success story, a good day for humankind.
Global Warming - The Basic Problem
Sometimes it is good to get back to basics on Global Warming, it is too easy to get carried away with debunking sophistry and statistics.
One of these graphs shows dangerous man-made global warming caused by CO2 over about a thirty year period. The other shows a natural temperature variation over about a thirty year period.
We are spending trillions of dollars to prevent one whilst accepting the other as just one of those things. I'm sure you can see the difference and which one is which.
Confused - the answer is below:
Cats Action Trust N&W Wiltshire - Condescending Cunts
I get a phone call from the administrator.
"I've got some bad news. The fosterers of the two cats have been talking and they have decided you cannot have a cat. You won't be able to change its litter tray".
I'm shocked. "None of you have ever met me. How do you know what I can or cannot do?"
"I'm sorry. Life must be hard with your condition and I don't want to make it any worse. Do you have a carer?"
I'm getting angry now. "Not that it's any of your business, but no, I don't have a carer. I live alone and independently"
"Well, you won't be able to catch the cat if it escapes. You might run over it with your wheels. And you didn't tell me that you were a wheelchair user when we first spoke. You should have told me"
From The Castle's Kitchen Window - Am I Missing Something?
Call that a Bonfire?
BBC News - Quango list
You could barely warm a sausage over the flames, most seemed to be just being re-organised.
We want to feel the heat..
Now this is a bonfire:
Yardarm to the ready
Royal Navy destroys Somalian pirate boat - Telegraph
The suspects were taken into custody and their boats blown up.
More like it - thought I fear the pirates will be quietly let go. Some might feel it a pity they were taken off the boats.
Scottish Geography From Wikipedia
Kemnay (Gaelic: Ceann a' Mhuigh) is a dump (similar to the size of John Elricks mums' bum ring) 16 miles (26 km) west of Aberdeen in Scotland.
October 13, 2010
Your Transitive Telegraph
Police to train gamekeepers
Police are to be trained by gamekeepers
The sub heading is correct as it is plod what is to be trained. Don't they have any English sub-editors?
(The photo is from last year in what was my field - before they arrested the man with the gun they came looking for me. I had a bit of a tense conversation with some tooled up men in black persuading them I knew nothing.)
What you are not missing in your Times - We is still right on about Globular Warning sez old boys
Lord Rees of Ludlow is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and President of the Royal Society. Lord Giddens is former director of the LSE, a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and author of The Politics of Climate Change
Our core scientific findings remain intact. But there are opportunities in that inconvenient truth...
A report produced by the NOAA last year analysed findings from some 50 independent records monitoring temperature change, involving ten separate indices. All ten indicators showed a clear pattern of warming over the past half-century.
A renewed drive is demanded to wake the world from its torpor. The catastrophic events noted above should provide the stimulus. The floods in Pakistan have left some 20 million people homeless. Pakistan cannot be left to founder — world leaders should accelerate the current discussions to provide large-scale funding for poorer countries to develop the infrastructure to cope with future weather shocks.
The US and China are far and away the biggest polluters in the world, contributing well over 40 per cent of global emissions. The EU is pursuing progressive policies in containing the carbon emissions of its member states. Yet whatever the rest of the world does, if the US and China do not alter their policies there is little or no hope of containing climate change.
Above all a renewed impetus to international collaboration is required...
And so on....
Customer Choice in Education
Browne review: Universities must set their own tuition fees | Education | guardian.co.uk
Lord Browne said students would dictate which universities flourished and which did not.
"The word is out - students talk to each other. I want to encourage that. This is about the student experience, and if people are pulling a fast one, it will come out very quickly."
Different courses cost different amounts, Browne said. Institutions will have to persuade students that the charges they put on their courses represent value for money. "Institutions are all different and they provide a wide range of different courses. We want this diversity to flourish," the review says.
Arts and humanities degrees could become more expensive and potentially less popular under Browne's proposals.
Under Browne's plans, popular universities would be able to expand, while others may be forced to contract.
I seem to remember upsetting a tutor at university when I was a student by reminding him that I was employing him to teach me, and he should be grateful of that rather than me being grateful he condescended to do it.
I didn't get good grades from him, but I was right and his type, with luck, will get a reminder of this soon.
When the going gets tough
Fantastic - I failed to notice any use of divining rods, prayers to Gaia to look after her entombed visitors or reliance on wind turbines in the rescue.
Just good old hard engineering and technology. Clever men, hard men, brave men, big engines and steel.
Sticks and Stones
Auntie bans 'humiliating' humour - Scotsman.com News
Under new guidelines, comedians and BBC staff will be prohibited from entertaining audiences with "unduly intimidatory, humiliating, intrusive, aggressive or derogatory remarks for the purposes of entertainment". The guidelines state: "This does not mean preventing comedy or jokes about people in the public eye, but simply that such comments and their tone are proportionate to their target." The dead, and historical figures, remain fair game.
How lucky we are that the guidelines don't apply to the blogosphere - yet.
Die, you bastard, die!
"Thirty years ago I was the BBC political editor and there was absolutely nothing either left wing or right wing about our coverage. We were as straight as a dye then and I think it is absolutely as straight as a dye now.
It is "die", the singular of dice, not dye -
- The OED puts it under the “gaming cube” sense of die”
(f) In comparisons: as smooth, true, straight as a die.
f. 1530 PALSGR. 629 Make this borde as smothe as a dyce, comme vng dez. 1600 HAKLUYT Voy. (1810) III. 256 Goodly fields..as plaine and smoothe as any die. c1710 C. FIENNES Diary (1888) 151 Ye tide was out all upon the sands at Least a mile, wch was as smooth as a Die. a1732 GAY Songs & Ball., New Song on New Similies, You’ll know me truer than a die. 1877 SPRY Cruise Challenger xiii. (ed. 7) 226 Arums climbing fifty feet up large trees as straight as a die.
(I hesitate to blame John Simpson as he may be the victim of a cloth eared transpositor - and his touching naïveté is a wonder to be pointed and marvelled at in this age of lost innocence).
October 12, 2010
Franny's Friend Emily is Making a Film
Emily James: Lights, camera, activists - Features, Films - The Independent
Emily James, who was an executive producer on 2009's climate change wake-up film Age of Stupid, has now committed herself to a project which her former commissioning editors won't touch with a bargepole.
Her film Just Do It – Get off your arse and change the world! follows the frequently criminal exploits of people taking direct action on climate change, shadowing three organisations – Climate Rush, Climate Camp and Plane Stupid – as they strive to bring attention to their causes. Due for release early next year, it promises to be an unashamedly sympathetic portrait of the activist community by someone who has been given unprecedented levels of access.
"We are often portrayed as just crusty hippies, posh kids with trust funds, hopeless dreamers or domestic extremists," ...
October 11, 2010
A late lunchtime sandwich, what to have?
Oak-smoked peanut butter from some welsh hippies and some fresh homemade Damson jam were both on the counter.
At my advanced age I realised I had never tried our colonial friends' favourite of "Jelly" and Peanut Butter as a mixed filling.
As we say down here, a faintheart never fucked a little pig, so I tried it.
I think that only now leaves morris dancing not to be tried.
I'm proud to be a stereotype
First, we take Berlin
The freedom to smoke in private establishments has become a signature issue for proper liberals. It is one that we should continue to push, not because it is the most popular, but because it is one of the most flagrant attacks against the ability of people to choose the kind of life one wants to lead.
While most smokers in other European capitals have caved in under pressure from their governments, the Germans have simply ignored the legislation.
Onerous government legislation combined with public subservience has dramatically undermined that most glorious of stereotypes: The freeborn Englishman.
In this country schools are indoctrinating generation after generation to hate smokers. A counterculture is being formed in reaction to the nanny state, which might in time subvert the statist status quo. But better to turn off the tap of hate, relax, and live and let live (or die for that matter). If not, we might as well be learning German.
Yummy Mummies Cost More
Ethical labels add millions to cost of food
The Soil Association, the leading organic certification body, for instance, charges about £650 a year to a food company, while the Marine Stewardship Council, which promotes sustainable fishing, charges up to £1,200 a year.
Many charge a royalty fee on each item sold as well as, or instead of, an annual fee. This involves the food producers having to pay a small cut of the sale price.
These include a fee of 0.03 per cent levied by the Soil Association, 0.5 per cent by the Marine Stewardship Council, and 0.3 per cent levied by Freedom Food, a scheme run by the RSPCA, the animal charity.
Next they will reveal that designer labels make shoes and clothes more expensive...
Luckily Lidl labels are so full of Polish and Greek there is little room for such fripperies in my larder.
Buy it cheap and pile it high
A review of Government efficiency by a leading businessman has uncovered a "staggering" waste of money, it has been revealed.
Sir Philip Green, the owner of Topshop and Bhs, will tell ministers they can cut swathes of waste from public services.
His report, to be published later today, will say that the Government has consistently failed to make the most of its scale, buying power and credit rating.
Sir Philip was appointed by the Prime Minister in August to review Government efficiency, focusing on the procurement of goods and services such as IT, travel, print and office supplies, and the management of the Government's property portfolio.
These are the hidden cuts that business apply all the time and the civil service needs to. Give the staff a good lashing and hide some bad news elsewhere.
October 9, 2010
10:10 Franny wants your photos
Climate-friendly recipes | Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall | Food | Life and style | The Guardian
This Sunday – 10/10/10 – I hope you'll consider a Sunday lunch with a twist. Tomorrow is the 10:10 campaign's global day of doing, designed to get us thinking about how we might cut our carbon footprint by 10% over the next year. The campaign, started by Franny Armstrong, director of The Age Of Stupid, is now a worldwide movement.
10:10 wants as many people as possible to send in pictures of their low-carbon Sunday lunch tomorrow – email email@example.com.
I'll see if the dog brings up something low carbon to photograph.
Update - From the comment below:
Postman Pat to Deliver the Goods for Red Ed
Clever move, apart from keeping the poisonous pair away from the levers of power a bluff man-of-the-people will play well on the TV against Georgie and his whiney demands for prudence. "Forget the technicalities this posh banker is spouting - this is what it means on the streets today" sort of guff. I hate to say it but the Tories will need to wheel out Ken Clarke against him to neutralise this presentational problem.
On another note it is nice to see an old squeeze of mine being promoted to the shadow cabinet - what a lucky escape I had...
Jakarta Sinking Shakedown
Indonesia is considering moving its capital, Jakarta, because of global warming, the head of the country's delegation to the UN climate change negotiations in China, Prof Rachmat Witoelar, said in an interview yesterday.
Actions already taken, he noted, included prosecution of senior officials found to be complicit in illegal logging - which a recent independent study estimated had been reduced by 60 per cent.
He stressed that the UN climate negotiations would be “useless” unless vulnerable countries were helped to deal with the effects of climate change.
Jakarta - 10 million people, 23 ft above sea level. So why are they worried?
The Tides: Efforts Never End to Repel an Invading Sea | The Jakarta Globe
...the sea level off Jakarta Bay rose by four centimeters from 1998 to 2007.
....a multibillion dollar threat to the capital’s northern areas because these areas are continually sinking due to excessive extraction of groundwater by industry.
According to the Jakarta administration’s own estimates, the city has sunk by as much as 1.5 meters in the past decade — and not coincidentally, by about 2 meters near the site of the former Bintang beer factory in Pluit. (Take a guess why.)
So they are trying the Global Warming Guilt shakedown because they are sinking the city by sucking the groundwater out - nothing to do with us naughty westerners at all.
Hal Lewis: My Resignation From The American Physical Society
As requested by Antony Watts I'm spreading the word - complete text below:
Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis
From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society
6 October 2010
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).
Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:
1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.
4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.
APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?
I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)
October 8, 2010
Friday Night is Music Night (Sugar Pie Edition)
Rock Me Baby - Sugar Pie Desanto. England 1964.
At a live street concert in San Francisco on August 7th, 2007.
Tory Teacher Too Much For St Michael and All Angels Academy in Camberwell
Well, ‘sent home’ actually, which is some clever pseudo-legal way of avoiding immediate suspension while the (Executive) Head Teacher and Governing Body of the St Michael and All Angels Academy in Camberwell decide how to deal with having a Conservative-supporting deputy headteacher in their midst.
It must be awful for them.
In a highly-unionised, Labour-dominated, Socialist-obsessed profession, having a repentant former-Marxist in the staffroom must be like marking with the enemy.
A Disgrace - They should be on their knees thanking her for being part of the team
Learn All About It
Main 'denier' and 'sceptic' websites Heartland Institute / NIPCC (Partly financed by :Philippe Morris tobacco, American coal companies and Exxon Mobile) http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/archives/005445.html
Top of the list, though the funding hint is a little inaccurate...
I hope Boris is ordering some extra condoms.
Huge Commonwealth Games cock-up leads to condoms blocking drains | Sport | The Guardian
Delhi event's organisers 'working around the clock' to remove thousands of condoms obstructing plumbing at athletes' village
"If they are so active then that's very good," a spokesperson for the organisers said. "We are promoting safe sex."
One official told the local Mail Today newspaper, which broke the story, that more than 4,000 condoms had already been taken from free vending machines since athletes started arriving 10 days ago.
Distributing thousands of free condoms to athletes has been a tradition since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000 athletes quickly used up the 70,000 free condomsprophylactics, forcing organisers to supply another 20,000, while in Athens four years later the provision was doubled to 130,000. At both the Beijing Games in 2008 and the Vancouver winter Olympics in February 100,000 condoms were provided.
The good news is, I suppose, at least that the drug fuelled mutants aren't breeding..
Sea Shepherd - What's it all about?
Sea Shepherd deliberately sank its own hi-tech protest boat after a January collision with a Japanese whaling ship to gain sympathy, the former skipper alleged Thursday in a public spat with the conservation group's founder.
The campaign has drawn high-profile donor support in the United States and elsewhere.
It's just about saving the whales, isn't it?
Class Hatred More Important Than Nature Conservation in the Guardian
Climate Chaos - What's It All About?
Climate manifesto demands 50mph limit on rural roads - Scotsman.com News
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland - the coalition of more than 40 organisations including RSPB Scotland and WWF - has published a manifesto calling for all political parties to commit to a range of measures ahead of the Holyrood election.
SCCS's manifesto includes ruling out future use of carbon credits to meet emission reduction targets, cutting the national speed limit on country roads to 50mph, and investing between £60 million and £120m to restore peatlands in Scotland.
"We know many of the measures will help create a healthier, more equal society. There are also real economic benefits. The range and diversity of the asks in our manifesto make plain the rewards."
The Government should, as a minimum, cut the national speed limit on single carriageways to 50mph and ensure better enforcement of speed limits on all roads through the use of average speed cameras.
Funny how it is now all about building a healthier, more equal society rather than worrying about the weather....
October 7, 2010
Doctors Wants Control Of Your Front Room
BBC News - 'Homes and cars' smoking ban call by Wales' chief medic
The smoking ban should be extended to the home and private cars to protect children from second-hand smoke, says Wales' top doctor Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell.
When you've cut the numbers of preventable deaths in hospitals to an acceptable number then come back to me with your ideas. And once you've stopped the smokers at home, will it be the drinkers or the fatty food fryers you will go after next?
Wildlife News from the Telegraph
'Charlie the Smoking Chimp' dies from old age - Telegraph
A chimpanzee which became addicted to smoking cigarettes has died from old age having managed to live at least 10 years longer than most chimps.
Obviously he didn't read the warnings on the packets
Penguins had feathers and scales - Telegraph
Paleontologists say new light has been shed on the evolution of the animal following the discovery of a fossil in Peru.
And what have penguins got now, feathers and scales, marvellous!
October 6, 2010
If it gets colder we are suffering Global Warming
Researchers have found that the waxing and waning of the sun affects our planet's temperature in exactly the opposite way scientists had thought.
The research is based on the first ever measurements of solar radiation across the entire spectrum from X-rays to infrared light which showed that the mix of different wavelengths of light – for example infra-red, ultraviolet – was very different to what had been expected. While they only had three years of satellite data so far, Haigh said the discovery could have far-reaching consequences. "If further studies find the same pattern over a longer period of time, [then] we may have overestimated the sun's role in warming the planet,"
"It does not give comfort to climate sceptics at all." If the sun warmed the Earth less when it was at the solar maximum, then the reverse was also true, she said: "You can't have it one way and not the other...So we would have the ultimate paradox that in a globally warming world, we would have colder winters here in Europe - while it would be an awful lot warmer in Greenland."
Haigh said that future measurements would enable scientists to determine if the reversal of the link between solar intensity and warming on the Earth seen between 2004 and 2007 is normal solar behaviour, or an anomaly. "I think it is a case of watch this space," she said.
Three years of data! Seems they can't lose with those predictions, but at least the science is settled.
In Praise of Electricity Monitors
Owl Wireless Electricity Monitor
Asda were flogging these off cheap at £10, a great buy.
I watch with glee the cost of my juice now. It's peanuts. I no longer have to feel guilty about turning things off.
13p an hour it is reading at the moment and Mme Elle Gee is scrubbing my smalls, Herr Bosch is ensuring the cutlery is shining ready for the next feast of unseasonal food that is being kept safe in a permafrost. Tonight the wine will be chilled and the table lit better than any was at Versailles in its heyday.
Two computers provide access to educational, and other, delights beyond the dreams of any Victorian bibliophile. And the television, wireless and music boxes outshine any collection of opera houses, vaudeville stages and sweaty cellars.
We live better than royalty ever did, all for pence a day.
Of course the accumulating total also reminds me that my local council demands about the same amount per hour from me to provide its services, which someone will need to prompt on as to why they are such good value.
And if that is not depressing enough the national debt interest payment for the household runs at about three time the rate....
Anguish as taxpayer stops buying sugar pills
A HEALTH board has become the first in Scotland to begin phasing out homeopathic treatments on the NHS, after deciding they provide no clinical benefit.
NHS Highland spends a minimum of £13,000 a year on referrals to two homeopathic practitioners in Inverness.
Gavin Hogg, of the Highland Health Voices Network and a user of homeopathic treatments, said he would lodge a formal complaint against the decision.
He said: "If the homeopathic service is withdrawn it will mean people are driven towards the private sector, which they won't be able to afford."
Let's hope the rest of the NHS follows and people have to buy their coloured water for themselves if that is what they want rather than medicine.
October 5, 2010
Wind Turbines Give Warm Fuzzy Feeling
How Wind Turbines Affect Your (Very) Local Weather: Scientific American
Turbines make it warmer at night and cooler during the day, generally speaking.
"For most regions, the mean temperatures may not change by much because the warming and cooling effects may cancel out,"
I have a feeling that the Tmin figure being increased (not so cold) might be important, it certainly is driving a lot of the recorded warming, rather than change in Tmax. But hey, it's only local.....
Scribble scribble scribble
Prince of Wales calls for revolution – albeit a sustainable one | Environment | The Guardian
Harmony: A Vision for Our Future
Any book by the heir to throne which starts "This is a call to revolution" is arresting. ... The book, co-written with Tony Juniper, ex-director of Friends of the Earth, and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Ian Skelly, may be the heaviest ever produced by a member of the royal family, and not just because of the embossed gold writing on the dustjacket and colour photographs on virtually every one of its 326 glossy pages. The call to revolution turns out, disappointingly, to be a demand for greater sustainability.
A gilded full colour coffee table book promoting sustainability; am I missing something?
October 4, 2010
Wanted - An Education on Why Free Trade is The Answer
The youngest Englishette aged 7 has a homework project I need help on.
Harvest festival time, aren't we lucky in England to have plenty to eat. In Africa they aren't so lucky and many go hungry, what ideas have you got to help them?
I can't track down a Ladybird Book of The Advantages of Free Trade or Maisy's GM Farm. I have a feeling those creeps at Christian Aid and Fairtrade will have already filled the bookshelf.
Anyone got any ideas?
October 3, 2010
More killed and injured is almost better say safety campaigners
Controversial 20mph speed limits in residential streets may not bring any significant improvement in road safety, a report published by the Department for Transport has found
An analysis of the UK's first city-wide scheme - in which the limit was lowered from 30mph to 20mph on all residential streets in Portsmouth, at a cost of £500,000 - found that it has not brought any significant reduction in the number of accidents.
The number of people killed or seriously injured on affected roads actually went up, not down, after the limit was lowered.
So that "significant improvement" and "significant reduction" actually turned out to be an increase - I don't know if it is a "significant" increase but stop using the bloody weasel words. It failed.
Guardian has new Arctic Correspondent for the next year
The disappearing world of the last of the Arctic hunters | World news | The Observer
The disappearing world of the last of the Arctic hunters
In the first of a series of dispatches, Stephen Pax Leonard reports on the unique culture of the Inughuit as the sea ice that has supported their ancient way of life melts beneath them
Doomed, I tell you, doomed. If it isn't the ice disappearing it is the the US Air Force dropping hydrogen bombs, or strict hunting quotas, or the abandonment of Greenland's One Price Policy...
"It is late September in the High Arctic, the outside temperature is -3C and there is little hope of the sea ice forming any time soon."
Except it has been reforming at a record rate.
Do you know how bad it is?
Global warming has a human cost too, tearing families apart. To visit their Canadian relatives, these people would now have to fly to Copenhagen 4,000km away then across the Atlantic to Montreal and up from there.
October 2, 2010
If You Aren't Free To Wear What You Want, What Freedom Have You Got?
Two French female students have made a film of the pair of them strolling through the streets of Paris in a niqab, bare legs and mini-shorts as a critique of France's recently passed law.
Calling themselves the "Niqabitches," the veiled ladies can be seen strutting past prime ministerial offices and various government ministries with a black veil leaving only their eyes visible, but with their long legs naked bar black high heels.
There that should upset the all the different shades of repressive twats who want to pass laws as to what someone can wear.
(The original video has a modern beat combo soundtrack so I prefer the old lechers at the Torygraph music dub)
It's not my fault I was made that way...
It's not ADHD, Sir, it's in my genes. . . - Telegraph
The latest report on ADHD will be seized on as a ready excuse for bad behaviour, says Theodore Dalrymple
I couldn't be bovvered to read it all....
October 1, 2010
10:10 - Sorry - Next time we won't forget to put in a few baby bayoneting jokes
No Pressure | 10:10
Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’.
With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain's leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis - writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.
As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website.
We'd like to thank the 50 film professionals and 40 actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.
At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.
Onwards and upwards,
Eugenie, Franny, Lizzie and the whole 10:10 team
So Richard Curtis gets the blame, not the 90 people who worked on it or the others who approved and paid for it. All of them so far up their own eco-arses they couldn't see any problem with threatening to blow up people who weren't convinced to sign up to a fatuous campaign.
It is an epic fail, the New Coke of the eco movement. And it isn't going to go away.
And the biggest problem it had - it just wasn't funny.
Friday Night is Music Night (Licks Edition)
He's turned into a fine guitar player but I hate his singing, shut up and just play!
10:10 mini-movie - No Pressure - Withdrawn Under Pressure
Looks like the pressure got to them. Even on the Guardian no one seemed to get the joke.
Halcyon Days Scupper Renewable Dreams
The UK has suffered a second fall in renewable energy production this year, raising concern about the more than £1bn support the industry receives each year from taxpayers.
The drop in electricity generated from wind, hydro and other clean sources in the first half of 2010 could also be a setback to the coalition government's promise that the UK could help lead a "third industrial revolution" and create a low-carbon economy.
The DECC today said lower than expected wind speeds and rainfall led to a 12% fall in renewable electricity generated between April and June, compared to the same period in 2009. This setback follows a smaller but still notable decline between January and March, again compared to last year.
And I suppose Huhne's answer will be to build more whirlygigs and hope summer doesn't bring less rain and wind next year, which obviously came as a bit of a surprise to the doom mongers.
(Halcyon is the apposite word - A halcyon (pronounced /ˈhælsiən/) is a mythical bird—often identified as a kingfisher—said to breed in a floating nest at sea during the winter solstice, during which time it charms the wind and waves into calm. )