March 31, 2011
Stuff A Stiff Knut
Obviously he hasn't looked around the Internet much.
In Which I Recommend You Read Monbiot
We must apply the same standards to all energy-generating technology as we do to nuclear power
Here is a list of what I believe are the double-standards that some of us who have opposed nuclear power (I include myself in this) have used when arguing against it......
Wind Turbines Mince Bats
Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture
Justin G. Boyles, Paul M. Cryan, Gary F. McCracken, and Thomas H. Kunz
White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America. Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, including many crop and forest pests. We present here analyses suggesting that loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year. Urgent efforts are needed to educate the public and policy-makers about the ecological and economic importance of insectivorous bats and to provide practical conservation solutions.
Wind turbines are apparently killing migratory bats as well—by 2020, an estimated 33,000 to 111,000 bats are predicted to be killed by turbines in the mid-Atlantic Highlands alone. The authors in the Science paper worry that as wind power ramps up in the U.S., more bats will end up pureed by the blades.
Why Huhne Needs Spanish Lessons
The solar pv industry alone received subsidies last year of €2.6bn (£2.28bn), a sum neither the country – nor the utilities – can afford. The utilities have paid out €20bn to subsidise solar and wind projects, and are still waiting for the government to pay them back.
The utilities also complain that their coal and gas plants, which the government wanted them to build a decade ago after several black-outs, are losing money because they are now only needed for half the time. But the Spanish regulator forces the firms to keep them on standby for times when the wind stops blowing or at night when solar does not generate.
Can't we send Chris Huhne to Spain to sniff out a new mistress and maybe he might notice something about their power industry at the same time.
Parents of ill vegan girl may face police - Times Online
June 8, 2008
A 12-YEAR-OLD girl in Scotland brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old woman.
Last year, an American vegan couple were given a life sentence for starving their six-week-old baby to death. In 2001 two vegans from west London were sentenced to three years’ community rehabilitation after they admitted starving their baby to death.
The couple did not follow the doctor's advice to take the baby to hospital when they went for her nine-month checkup and found she was suffering from bronchitis and was losing weight, Instead they treated her with cabbage poultices, mustard and camphor and washed her with earth and clay instead of giving her baths, the court heard.
She was also suffering from deficiency of vitamins A and B12, which may have left her susceptible to infection. She died of a pneumonia-related illness.
Medical experts told the court in Amiens that the vitamin deficiency could have been caused by an unbalanced diet. While anxious not to call into question the couple's lifestyle, Anne-Laure Sandretto, the deputy prosecutor, admitted: "The problem with a vitamin B12 deficiency could be linked to the mother's eating habits."
"anxious not to call into question the couple's lifestyle" - why not?
Antarctica going green due to climate change - Telegraph
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent 5:00AM BST 30 Mar 2011
The study, published in Nature, found that the hairgrass is able to take advantage of the nitrogen produced when soil warms up and decomposes.
This super efficient process, that enables the hairgrass to grow over the brief Antarctic summer, could help to develop new fertilisers to help plants grow as the world runs out of industrial nitrogen produced with oil.
GM crops to be grown in Britain - Telegraph By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent 4:00PM BST 30 Mar 2011
GM crops engineered to grow with less fertilisers and insecticides will be necessary as chemicals are made illegal and the world runs out of nitrogen fertiliser.
But Nitrogen fertilisers aren't based on oil - Hydrogen and Nitrogen is what is needed. Nitrogen is in the air and the hydrogen is mostly sourced from natural gas (or some places coal), but it can be made by electrolysis of water...
I'm worried about Louise posting articles in the early hours and failing to grasp simple facts. Get some more sleep girl.
March 30, 2011
Smart Meters Put Chris Huhne's Hand On Your Thermostat
The government set out its strategy for the roll-out of the energy-saving technology.
The roll-out – the most comprehensive yet planned in any country – will require 53m smart meters to be installed in 30m homes and businesses, starting in 2014 and finishing in 2019. Households are likely to save £23 on their annual energy bills by 2020, the government has estimated, up from its previous estimate of £14 in savings.
Smart meters benefit consumers by showing their energy use in real-time. This means people can respond quickly, for instance by turning off unnecessary lights or appliances, to save money.
The technology also benefits energy suppliers, as it eliminates the need for meter readers to visit properties and allow for more accurate billing, and better data on energy demand patterns.
Future generations of smart meters are likely to offer even greater advantages, for instance by allowing utilities better to manage demand within consumers' homes, by switching appliances such as washing machines on when demand is lower, or turning down fridges when demand peaks. This could save billions through more efficient management of the electricity grid, but these capabilities are unlikely to be introduced for several years at the earliest.
Chris Huhne, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: "Smart meters are a key part of giving us all more control .....
Tell us it will save us £20 a year in exchange for giving the man in Whitehall control of your appliances. Another good reason to go off grid.
Green Bank Cash Machine
BBC News - Edinburgh 'ideal' for Green Investment Bank
Edinburgh is an ideal home for the Green Investment Bank (GIB) being set up by the UK government, ministers will be told
Obviously, they did so well with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland - only took £37 billion from the taxpayers to bail them out so they have the necessary experience to run a Green Bank up there.
FTP is not just a protocol
Prof Devine, the Sir William Fraser professor of Scottish history and palaeography at Edinburgh University, said the sheriff in the case, where he was called as an expert witness, ruled that the IRA was a "republican military organisation" that was "not sectarian in intent".
He added that those who showed support for the organisation were found not to be "showing 'malice or ill-will towards members of a religious group'", as defined under Section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.
And presumably the boot is on the other foot as well, those singing anti-IRA songs are not demonstrating illegal bigotry either. Another chorus of Build My Gallows all round then as restrictions of free speech get tangled up again.
Kate Humble's Bum Idea
Kate Humble, the BBC wildlife presenter, wants visits to the countryside to be mandatory for schoolchildren and is to take the matter up with the Education Secretary.
Speaking to Radio Times, Humble said that the countryside is “great for your brain and great for your soul and great for your bum”.
I'm still looking for a photograph to illustrate her proposition that the countryside is good for her bum.
But just because you enjoy something doesn't mean it should be made compulsory, please.
And now back to the picture search....
March 28, 2011
Zero Waste Scotland - Don't know the result and or cost of proposal
In answer to my query I have a reply:
Iain has passed on your query about the Carbon Metric to me. Firstly, thank you for the positive feedback - it's nice to see the Carbon Metric is having an impact.
On your first point, it is difficult to say how much impact the Carbon Metric will have at this stage. As a world first, we are in unknown territory to some extent. Carbon savings will come through a stronger focus on those waste streams which have a high environmental benefit of recycling as opposed to landfill. If Scotland meets the targets it has set itself in the Zero Waste Plan, by 2025 70% of all the carbon in waste streams will be recycled. The Scottish Government has estimated that the whole Zero Waste Plan will save Scotland about 500,000 tCO2eq by 2020. Relating this to degrees of warming prevented is an inexact science and requires complex climate models so I wouldn't want to hazard a guess on the exact answer to your question.
On your second point, it is up to each Local Authority to decide how they can best meet their carbon recycling targets and this might include more segregated collection systems. You will have to contact your Local Authority if you want more details on how they plan to weigh up the relative costs and benefits of each possible waste management option open to them.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions on this issue.
Zero Waste Scotland
I think that can be fairly summarised as don't know the result and don't know the cost.
Incapability Huhne's Landscape Plan
...climate change is "the biggest issue facing the natural environment".
In South East England, beech trees could be badly affected. Pomegranates and olives could replace potatoes and onions. And the hedgehog could disappear from the South East in just 15 years time.
This isn't just about future risk either. It's already happening.
Spring comes sooner. Autumn lasts longer. Habitats are changing and species distribution is changing with it.
And earlier this year, researchers found that human greenhouse gas emissions may have roughly doubled the chances of the autumn 2000 floods.
We can now clearly link extreme events and their effects to the rise in man-made greenhouse gases.
We will have to make some difficult decisions.
There will be trade-offs. Because every energy resource has its plus points – and its drawbacks.
Onshore windfarms demand careful location and siting. Tidal stream and wave power are still in their infancy.
For biomass to make a meaningful contribution it will need to cover much of the countryside.
And once electricity has been generated, it must be transmitted. Again, there are no simple solutions. Whether you wish to see electricity carried above ground by pylons or buried within the earth in cables, there are environmental – and economic – consequences.
At the moment, there are no cost projections.
Because the reality is that the scale of the problem – and the potential solutions – means our landscape will change again, just as it did during previous industrial revolutions. It is inescapable.
At the moment we buy gas that is easily extracted. But under some scenarios, we could end up relying more on shale gas. If we choose to rely on imported energy, we run the risk of ignoring the embedded costs. Is it morally sustainable to simply outsource our energy impacts to another country?
Norfolk’s windmills, Kent’s oast houses and Westmoreland’s watermills are an integral part of our countryside. If we strike the right balance, perhaps the next generation of green energy will leave a similar legacy.
Our current energy system is costing the earth. That is why it is so important to get it right.
Think about the grand prize. Cleaner air. More affordable energy. Less risk of climate change. A greater degree of energy independence.
For the first time since the 18th century, we have a chance to return to a true sustainability.
Happy peasants trudging the fields as their betters romp in feather filled beds swapping wives and curing lesbians admiring their money making whirly-gigs out of their windows. What's not to like?
Barbecue Summer Forecast
Britain set for 'brolly and sunblock' summer - Telegraph
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Britain faces a ‘brolly and sunblock’ summer with June thunderstorms threatening Wimbledon and Glastonbury, followed by a mixed July and scorching August in time for the school holidays.
The verdict came from independent long-term forecast experts Positive Weather Solutions, who claim their seasonal predictions have been more accurate than the Met Office.
Other forecasters will not give a seasonal weather forecast as it is difficult to be accurate and even the Met Office has ditched the popular service after criticism for predicting a “BBQ” summer before a wash out.
Memo - revisit this post in the autumn.
Vince Cable Proposes A Window Tax
Cable confirms ending of 50p tax rate, and reveals 'mansion tax' plans | Politics | The Guardian
"Well, there is a very strong argument ... that you need to have a proper base for taxing property and I'm sure that's one of the things we're going to have to look at as we change away from these very high marginal rates."
"Windows, damn it man, chaps with too many windows ought to pay more tax like they did when I was a lad. I think I have a winner of an idea here, a window tax".
March 27, 2011
Help The Census
A 2011 Census household questionnaire will be delivered to every household. If you have not received one, please request one here:
Yoof of Today
Remember you can never hold back spring.
Tape Back Up
At 224.3ft long and 1.6ft wide the total surface area is 358.88sq ft.
Our understanding is that the Tapestry features 45 to 48 threads per inch which gives us a resolution approximating 47dpi with a colour depth of 8, ignoring later repairs. Thus, in information terms, the tapestry contains 2.429MB of information, assuming 1-bit per colour, 47dpi, and a 51,678.72 square inch surface area.
From the writing point of view it took ten years for English (Saxon) seamsters, seamstresses or embroiderers to write this 2.429MB of data, which must be some kind of record. Assuming an eight-hour, 350-day working period for these ten years, that implies a write bandwidth of 10.84 bytes/hour; a spectacularly slow data rate in information transfer terms.
What makes it worse is that there were multiple parallel write heads - seamsters or seamstresses - and we could envisage a team of five on average, meaning each write head in this theoretical Bayeux Tapestry archiving model wrote at a rate of 2.168 bytes/per hour (17.344 bits/min). A truly amazingly poor information write bandwidth from our IT viewpoint, but a blur of flickering needles and fingers seen from the embroiderers' seat.
The read rate, going by the length of the taped commentary you hear as you walk along the length of the tapestry for 30 minutes, is 4.68MB/hour per person. Since more than one person can view the tapestry at a time we can estimate that 75 people could be reading parts of it simultaneously, giving us a real read rate of 351MB/hour.
And almost 1000 years old - beat that Steve Jobs
Monbiot's Gardening Tips
“I’m lucky enough to have half an acre of land. In normal circumstances that’s more than enough to provide all the food we need. But unfortunately it was a devastating winter and wiped out all my kale, broccoli, winter salads and slightly optimistic fruit like kiwi and figs and Chilean guavas and frost-tolerant oranges and lemons. So things aren’t looking too good.”
That's the problem in believing in Global Warming, or are things not looking good because it was colder than expected. I'm confused.
Teddy Miliband's Chums Boost GDP
Miliband said: "Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the best of the services we cherish because they represent the best of the country we love...the main focus of activity was a sit-in at the upmarket grocers Fortnum and Mason, organised by anti-tax evasion activist group UK Uncut.
Fortnum and Mason is owned by a charity The Garfield Weston Foundation - FAIL
But all that fighting and clearing up gives the economy a nice boost - result!
March 26, 2011
A Bunch of Cuts
Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster, has won legal aid to launch the unprecedented case.
Walker lives close to Heysham where two new reactors are planned, and says he is worried about having children who could suffer an increased risk of leukaemia.
"It is folly beyond belief, and almost genocidal, to build new nuclear power stations," he said. "Nuclear power is unsafe, uneconomic and a dangerous distraction."
Walker's decision to go to court predates the Fukushima nuclear crisis following the Japan tsunami, though Walker said it has reinforced his fears.
He is an active member of the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance, and works on a project to help local people grow more food on a community allotment.
Public sector cuts – the truth | Society | The Guardian
A week today the cuts will start to bite. As the financial year ends, grants will run out, contracts will wind up, and charities and services will begin to shut their doors. After months of anxiety about the impact of the cuts, the consequences of the government's rapid deficit reduction programme will begin to be real.
Trafalgar has much in common with Tahrir | Priyamvada Gopal | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
This Saturday, one iconic square, Trafalgar, is to be turned into another, Tahrir – where Egyptians transfixed the world when, with collective determination, they overthrew a powerful regime. British protesters' call to transform Trafalgar acknowledges that the struggles in the Middle East and those gathering momentum in Britain share a profound connection.
Britain has seen policies destroying public services hastily enacted without a clear mandate...
This not about the "us" of the west versus the "them" of the Middle East, but that more fundamental clash between the barbarism of economic plutocracy and the civilisation of social justice.
Cynics of the right sneer at the absurdity. Gleefully they seize on the silly comparisons of a few self-deluders: no, this is not Tahrir Square and no, Cameron is not Hosni Mubarak. Such exaggeration is as embarrassing as 1968 anti-Vietnam protesters in Grosvenor Square comparing themselves with the tragic Czech uprising.
But there are moments when protests catch the public mood. Will this be such a moment? It feels like the beginning, a marker put down for a turn in public attitudes.
My public attitude is changing - where are the bloody cuts we were promised?
If only there were some cuts, even a few titchy, little ones would do, but there aren't any. As John Redwood points out using Office of Budget Responsibility(OBR) figures:
Total borrowing will be £165.5 billion in 2010-11, and £167.4 billion in 2011-12. £261.6 billion of this is additional borrowing for extra spending. (My emphasis)
Needless to say, the almost entirely useless media fail to ram this point into the public consciousness by endlessly repeating it in the way they endlessly repeat equally useless pictures of jet fighter-bombers wasting their time, and our money, over Libya. These figures should writ large on every headline in every newspaper - but don't hold your breath:
2011-12 spending increase of £10.6 billion
2012-13 spending increase of £9.2 billion
2013-14 spending increase of £8.1 billion
2014-15 spending increase of £6.1 billion
I can only repeat, borrowing is increasing not decreasing, as Redwood and the OBS make clear:
Total borrowing will be £165.5 billion in 2010-11, and £167.4 billion in 2011-12. £261.6 billion of this is additional borrowing for extra spending.
March 25, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Fujiyama Edition)
Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony Video
'I'm ashamed to call myself a Glaswegian after that show' - Scotsman.com News
SHE had defied attempts to force her from her home for six days. But as dawn broke over Glasgow yesterday, the stand-off between Margaret Jaconelli and Glasgow City Council finally came to an end.
Sheriff officers and masked council workers accompanied by dozens of police officers descended on Ardenlea Street in Dalmarnock just after 5am to evict the Jaconellis from their home to make way for the Commonwealth Games development.
Makes all that prancing around high on steroids worthwhile, doesn't it?
Does Iain Gulland Know The Cost And Result Of His Proposal
Councils in Scotland are to dramatically reorganise their recycling schemes by targeting materials that cause the most damage to the climate, such as food waste, textiles and plastics.
From 2013, councils and householders will be asked to recycle far more of the waste that has a "high carbon impact" and is more environmentally damaging, under a new "carbon metric". Materials with lower carbon benefits from recycling, such as paper, will become less important.
Iain Gulland, the director of Zero Waste Scotland, said this new system was "the next leap" in recycling and that using tonnage was not as environmentally sensitive and sustainable as it should be.
"This is where Scotland is going to lead," he said. "It's all about climate change.
I have spent the time and read the proposal and supporting documentation.
Their ideas of "peer review" and "detailed workings" aren't mine and in the acres of carbon jargon I am sure I have missed some things. But I can't see anywhere what the costs will be, either in real money or the forced use of household labour, nor can I see what the result will be in terms of how much climate change will be prevented.
I think I will have to ask:
I am excited to see the new plans you have announced for using a carbon metric for prioritising waste collection in Scotland.
I have read the documentation on your website - http://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/latest_news/carbon_metric_launch.html but I have failed to grasp a couple of key points.
Please could you help me out.
You say it is "all about climate change". How many degrees of warming will this scheme prevent?
Segregating waste obviously has a cost to householders, this time can be conservatively costed at the national minimum wage. What are your detailed costings for the time it will take individual to comply, and how many people will be subject to the new rules? This can easily be then costed.
I look forward to the answer.
March 24, 2011
The researchers said their findings needed to be considered in the context of working life, where greater demands placed on employees as well as factors such as people not having as many close personal relationships and supportive networks, such as extended families.
Simon Lawton Smith, of the Mental Health Foundation, said: "It's worrying that even relatively mild symptoms of stress appear to lead to long-term disability and to an increase in people receiving disability benefits.
"The answer has to be to identify people under stress before they reach a crisis point, and quickly provide them with the support they need to manage their lives, whether it's at home or at work."
Do you know what gets me stressed? People telling me what to do, what to eat, what to drink, how to keep warm, how not to drive and now if some busybody comes along and suggests I need to be friendly and develop a supportive network, which I presume is girly talk for incontinently emoting all over people, then I'm going to get so bloody stressed I may explode.
UPDATE - I see help is at hand:
Feeling lonely? Have a bacon sandwich and ice-cream - Scotsman.com News COMFORT foods, such as sausages and mash, bacon sandwiches and ice-cream, really are good for you, scientists now believe. Writing in the journal Psychological Science, co-author Jordan Troisi said: "Everyone experiences stress, often associated with their connections to others. It seems comfort food is a sort of ready-made easy resource for remedying a sense of loneliness."
Bacon sarnies on the NHS - that's what I want, cheaper and far more effective than some shrink.
Eco Warriors At Work
'We smashed up £100k pit gear' say eco-warriors - Scotsman.com News
On Monday, an online activist claimed responsibility for the action. Using the pseudonym Love, Rage and Bolt Croppers, he wrote: "On Equinox night we entered the gravel and coal opencast extraction site at Castlebridge near Rosewell The absence of security and unlocked cabs made our night very productive.
"Inside the cabs we found all sorts of expensive goodies like GPS, radios and various dials and screens to rip out and smash. The excavators had a bewildering array of electronic panels and engines the size of cars, we did what we could to immobilise these machines that destroy our health and that of the earth. "
The raid on a pit in Rosewell, Midlothian, has been labelled "bizarre" by local politicians baffled as to why a surface mine currently being restored for agricultural use has been targeted.
You expect logic from them? Still it isn't all bad news from when the workers organise themselves...
"Alcohol apocalypse" - Hark to new call..
Scotland faces alcohol apocalypse - Elish Angiolini - Scotsman.com News
SCOTLAND'S top law officer has hinted that she backs an increase in alcohol prices to help prevent a looming "apocalypse" from soaring drink sales.
Ms Angiolini said the measure was for the Scottish Parliament to decide, but it was "common sense" to make alcohol less widely available.
Talking about criminal court cases, the law officer went on: "What I see now, in many of the cases, are both the accused and, indeed, victims purchasing very substantial quantities of very cheap alcohol.
"It could be a variety of the fruit-flavoured ones as well as strong vodka, which is consumed in quantities on a night out, which quite frankly are fatal, and it is a matter of surprise that the individuals are not just witnesses in a case, but that they are actually living to tell the tale.
Fatal amounts, but they live! That Buckfast must be truly miraculous.
It seems according to Google timeline she has coined a new phrase "alcohol apocalypse". Expect to hear it often.
March 23, 2011
One For Kim
When a burly ex-convict forced his way into a posh Florida home last week, he had no idea what awaited him -- a 25-year-old beauty queen with a pink .38-caliber handgun.
Meghan Brown, a former Florida pageant queen, shot and killed 42-year-old Albert Franklin Hill during a home invasion March 12 at the 2,732-square-foot house she shares with her fiance in Tierra Verde, Fla.
Hill had a criminal record stretching back nearly three decades -- including arrests for burglary, battery, drug possession and grand theft. He reportedly served a 13-year prison term in 1987 and was released in September after serving a fourth term behind bars.
It's why they are called equalizers.
Sub-prime Budget Idea
George Osborne will announce on Wednesday £250m of assistance for first-time buyers through a scheme that could help 10,000 people get on the housing ladder.
The initiative, called Firstbuy Direct, will fill a gap in the market left by the withdrawal of the Homebuy Direct scheme launched under Labour, which ended last autumn.
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Under Firstbuy, first-time buyers below a certain income threshold will gain access to a 25 per cent equity loan. The government will put in 10 per cent and the housebuilder another 10 per cent while the buyer will have to find a 5 per cent deposit and the other 75 per cent through a loan and savings. Under the previous Homebuy Direct scheme, the housebuilder and the state each put in 15 per cent.
The news will be welcomed by housebuilders, which have been forced to make up for the shortfall in government support by issuing own-brand shared-equity mortgages.
A senior executive at one of the country’s largest quoted housebuilders said the move was a “huge result” for the industry.
“Effectively this is the government turning around and saying, ‘we cannot fix the mortgage crisis at the moment’.
Is this the mortgage crisis that was caused by lending money to buyers who couldn't afford it against the equity in overpriced housing? And the cure is lending money to buyers who can't afford it against the equity in overpriced housing?
Fag End Jobs
£21,176 - £27,534 Band 5
22.5 hours per week, term-time only
We are looking to appoint two part-time trainers to deliver the ASSIST smoking prevention programme to Year 8 pupils across Wales. ASSIST is an evidence based peer led smoking prevention programme, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. Appointments will be fixed-term until 31 March 2012 (term-time only). The ability to speak Welsh fluently is essential as it is anticipated that the prime focus of these appointments will be to deliver the programme in Welsh schools.
If only I could speak Welsh I could help out with these essential jobs in these straightened economic times. There is no room for cuts.
March 22, 2011
Pinetop Repost from Last Year
Pinetop Perkins - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pinetop Perkins (born Joseph William Perkins, July 7, 1913) is an American Blues musician. Perkins, whose specialty is the piano, currently shares the distinction with one of his lifelong friends, David Honeyboy Edwards, as being the eldest living Delta blues performers who continue to tour and perform from the past century...
UPDATE: Pinetop Perkins died on March 21 aged 97
David Honeyboy Edwards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David "Honeyboy" Edwards (born June 28, 1915) is a Delta blues guitarist and singer from the American South.
The Sovietisation of Britain Continues
THE first hostile buy-out of an estate in Scotland has been given the go-ahead, with the local community granted the right to purchase land the owner does not want to sell.
Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham yesterday paved the way for crofters to acquire the 26,800-acre Pairc Estate in Lewis sing the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which gives crofting communities the right to buy the land they croft and adjacent land whether or not the owner wishes to sell, if ministers approve.
Confiscation of Land definition from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979)
The confiscation of the large landed estates in the developed capitalist countries is the most important demand made by the Communist and workers’ parties and all progressive democratic forces. Inasmuch as the land and other means of agricultural production fall increasingly into the hands of the monopolies in developed capitalist countries, the demand for the confiscation of land acquires an antimonopolistic character. Experience shows that under certain socioeconomic and historical conditions, the confiscation of land may be implemented under a bourgeois regime.
This is Scotland where a property owner is having his land confiscated because his neighbours fancy farming it themselves.
In England the Conservative government is proposing a Localism bill which gives the right to "communities" to declare private property a "community asset" which the "community" has first dibs on if it changes hands.
So if your old man let the local pigeon club release their birds from the paddock at the end of your garden every week, when he dies, rather than you inherit it, the club has the right to buy it at some apparatchik's valuation.
The whole concept of the rights of private property is under increased attack and no one seems to be shouting from the rooftops that is the basis of all prosperity.
As always the attack on "private property" starts as an attack on land ownership, but once they have come for the fields and you didn't shout out because you aren't a farmer, then they will come for works of art, but you aren't a collector, who will cry out for you when your car is "shared", or your "excess" savings are "invested" for you?
Fiddle with the tax system, tweak the regulations, impose greenery as you will. Call your system "free market", "third way" "compassionate conservatism"; it doesn't really matter if the fundamental right to own, which includes the right to dispose of at will, property no longer exists.
There can be no peace and prosperity without private property.
March 21, 2011
T for Two
BBC News - Bristol University vet students use new 'cow machine'
The two rectal simulators will enable students to learn around the clock
SIMulators not STIMulators, Phew... Memo to self don't skim read without the glasses on.
Le Petit Caporal
It would surely be poor taste to accuse Nicolas Sarkozy of leading France into combat for purely selfish political reasons – but that won't stop some in the president's inner circle wondering if Operation Odyssey Dawn might just save the skin of a man who, a matter of days ago, seemed destined for electoral humiliation. Ever so discreetly, they will be hoping Libya can do for Sarkozy what the Falklands did for Margaret Thatcher – anoint a successful war leader deserving of re-election.
"The French do like to have their president play world statesman," mused one diplomat in Paris last week, before France's Mirage and Rafale fighter planes had taken to the skies. "A good crisis," he added, might be just what Sarkozy needs.
He certainly needs something. A week ago he was staring at polls so ominous some analysts wondered if he'd even make it into second place in next year's presidential contest. One survey put Sarkozy behind both his most likely Socialist opponent and Marine Le Pen, the new leader of the far-right National Front
We don't normally see the French rush into combat, though dropping bombs from a safe hight onto tents is hardly combat, so an explanation is needed.
Apple has come under fire for approving an "app" that offers guidance on how homosexual people can be "cured" and convert to heterosexuality.
Disgraceful, if Apple users turn straight they might start using Blackberries instead.
Where English Newspapers Flourish
Where the web is a mystery and the newspaper is king | The Times
In other countries, the print news trade may be struggling as circulations fall and readers flock to the internet and television for news — but not in India. Here, the industry is enjoying explosive growth, propelled by rising literacy rates, a growing population and a red-hot economy expected to expand by more than 8 per cent this year.
New figures published this week by the Indian Readership Survey showed that the top five national daily newspapers had all gained readers at the end of 2010.
India’s bestselling title, the Hindilanguage Dainik Prakashan, gained an extra 120,000 readers in the last three months of 2010 to hold on to its No 1 slot with an average issue readership of 16.07 million people.
Low cover prices, a fraction of those charged in the West, are a further draw. Dainak Bashkar, a Hindi title with a readership of 13.49 million, sells for two rupees, less than 3p.
English-language papers, too, are enjoying rapid growth as aspirational readers seek to brush up their command of a language considered essential for entering business or politics. The Times of India has an average readership of 7.42 million, making it the world’s biggest-selling English language newspaper.
There's the future.
The Truth About The Hungry
Thanks to dysfunctional regulation of genetic engineering and misguided biofuels policy, the world's poorest are going hungry
Quite, green policies killing poor people - it is getting the Guardian commentators spluttering into their free-range muesli this morning. And of course Moonbat will be along in a minute to say bio-fuels and Anti-GM campaigns are nothing to do with the Greens.
March 20, 2011
Cash For Amendments MEP Scandal
European MPs have been caught agreeing to accept secret payments to alter laws that will damage the interests of millions of consumers across Britain and Europe.
Three senior MEPS — including a former deputy prime minister — put forward amendments in the European parliament on the understanding that they would be paid by lobbyists.
Two of the amendments now appear in the parliament’s official documents just as the lobbyists had written them. They are a few steps away from becoming law.
The lobbyists were in fact undercover Sunday Times reporters investigating persistent rumours that MEPs are prepared to sell their services....
Adrian Severin, the 56-year-old former Romanian deputy prime minister, emailed the reporters saying: “Just to let you know that the amendment desired by you has been tabled in due time.then sent an invoice for €12,000 for “consulting services concerning the codification of the Directive 94/19/EC, Directive 2009/14/EC and the amendments thereto”.
Zoran Thaler, the former Slovenian foreign minister, put down an amendment as his first work for the fake company. He asked for the cash to be routed through a London company to keep it secret. “There is no way that I disclose this,” he said.
Ernst Strasser, a former interior minister in Austria, told the reporters, “I’m a lobbyist”, and boasted about serving at least five commercial clients who each paid him €100,000 a year.
The rest is behind a paywall but details will emerge.
Get The Nuclear Accident Data (Mostly)
Nuclear power plant accidents: listed and ranked since 1952
How many nuclear power plants have had accidents and incidents? Get the full list and find out how they're ranked
• Get the data
Except some have nothing to do with nuclear power stations and there are no fatality numbers, and in the end the health worries are what the Greens are always banging on about
The citizens of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse take their recycling very seriously. So much so that there is even a collection point at the recycling depot for dead animals.
"People bring their dead dogs here," says Stefan Weiss, one of the town's waste managers, as he steps into a refrigerated shed and opens the lid on a wheelie bin containing a deer's head recently deposited by a local hunter.
"All these animals get rendered down at a nearby facility for their fat. It then gets used to produce things like this." Weiss pulls a tube of lip balm from his pocket.
Do they make lampshades as well?
March 19, 2011
Saturday Morning Song Request
March 18, 2011
Environmental migrant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In 1995, half of Bhola Island in Bangladesh became permanently flooded, leaving 500,000 people homeless. The Bhola Islanders have been described as some of the world's first climate refugees
Can you spot the flooded half?
I wonder if the story if connected to:
The 1970 Bhola cyclone which was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and India's West Bengal on November 12, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta.
This storm would also inspire ex-Beatle George Harrison to organize The Concert for Bangladesh, the prototype benefit concert, to raise money for aid, in 1971.
Not only did it kill thousands, and make homeless the hundreds of thousands it also caused the televised charity fundraiser...
Obesity Scare - Expert Admits No Evidence
BBC News - Life expectancy on the rise 'despite obesity epidemic'
Life expectancy in the UK is on the rise, along with the rest of Europe, despite fears over the impact of obesity, a population expert has said.
Despite concern that health problems arising from obesity would affect life expectancy in high-income countries, such as the UK, there is no evidence of this to date.
National Statistics Online - Life expectancy
Life expectancy at birth in the UK has reached its highest level on record for both males and females. A newborn baby boy could expect to live 77.7 years and a newborn baby girl 81.9 years if mortality rates remain the same as they were in 2007–09.
Friday Night is Music Night (Bedroom Punk Edition)
Say three Hail Marys and don't think those thoughts again.
Green Power Disaster
The Banqiao Dam was begun in April 1951 on the Ru River with the help of Soviet consultants as part of a project to control flooding and to generate electricity.
Movie coming out this summer - Dam 999
Have you ever thought of the possibility of a dam disaster and the magnitude of its aftereffects? Will you believe that a dam disaster can kill more people and can cause more causalities and after effects than that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki incident? Yes, if we do not give much attention to this issue, which is looming over the millions of lives all over the world, it will bring out catastrophic consequences for humanity.
In 1975, China witnessed the greatest manmade disaster that caused the death of more number of people than in any other manmade disaster happened across the world so far. At the beginning of August, there occurred a typhoon because of the change in the weather pattern. When the hot, humid air of the typhoon met the cold air of the North, series of storms and rain occurred. The first one was on August 5, followed by the second one on August 6th and the third one on August 7th. The dam was designed to store 300mm of water per day. During these days within 24 hours itself more than one year's rain was poured. Banqiao and Shimantan dams were filled by August 8th and were in the urge to burst. On August 8th 12:30 am, Shimantan dam collapsed followed by the collapse of Banqiao dam by 1:00am on the same day. Totally 62 dams broke, affecting the life of eleven million people. Even the evacuation orders failed to reach many people because of the problem in communication caused by flood. People who survived in this flood were trapped without food. Contaminated water affected the health of several people. These dams were built by foreseeing the flood that may occur, but even then, the natural calamity was of that high level and the dams failed to hold the tempestuous water rained down. To prevent more disasters they even destroyed several small dams so that the water would flow to the areas with less population.
These dams, which collapsed mainly, affected the local population. According to the records nearly 26,000 people died because of flood and nearly 145,000 people died because of famine and epidemics. Nearly 5,960,000 buildings collapsed and 11 million residents were affected. Many were injured. This converted China into a land full of corpses.
Puts other power station disasters into perspective.
A Quiet Pub Makes It Worth The Risk
It is St Patrick's Day and Tokyo's Mermaid pub, a cosy, sticky-floored boozer that looks like it has been transplanted from the City of London, should be full of British expatriates.
But this year there are only three, nursing pints of Guinness and trying to ignore the warnings of impending nuclear doom.
One British investment banker said: "I suppose there is a bit of a Blitz spirit but, to be honest, I see the reports about radioactive winds and I just don't believe them. Where's the evidence? I blame the French for spooking everyone."
Michael Summons, 47, a trader at an international bank, said he had thought hard about joining the rush to the exit, but decided to stay because he loves the country. Just in case the worst does happens, and he has to outrun a radiation cloud, he has a motorbike on standby. "It's full of petrol and I'll use it if I have to."
Let the French run, make the most of the opportunities and enjoy a quiet pint without some garlic breathed onion seller breathing all over your pork scratchings. That's the spirit.
Telegraph Cut And Paste Journalism
Karen Buck profile: former council worker who rose to Labour front bench - Telegraph By Victoria Ward
Karen Buck was elected to parliament in 1997 through a controversial all-woman shortlist. The method had been declared illegal the previous year as it breached sex discrimination laws but Ms Buck was allowed to remain in place as the Labour candidate.
Born in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, she was educated at the London School of Economics before joining a small charity specialising in employment for disabled people.
She later joined Hackney Borough Council as a disability officer and later, a public health officer.
She joined the Labour Party in 1987 and was elected as a councillor for Westminster City Council in 1990, a post she retained until becoming an MP.
Ms Buck represented Regent's Park and Kensington North from 1997 until last year, when boundary changes saw her contest the new seat of Westminster North. She narrowly beat Tory favourite Joanne Cash with a majority of 2,126.
The 52-year-old has long been a vocal opponent of Tory housing policy and last year warned that the housing benefit cap would lead to "social cleansing on an unprecedented scale."
She is married with one son.
Ain't journalism wonderful - at vast expense it brings us the detailed background on the stupid munter who claims the Tories want to ethnically cleanse Central London. I wonder how much research Victoria Ward did to justify her fee...
Karen Buck - Wikipedia
Born in Castlederg, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland,...was educated at the Chelmsford County High School for Girls and the London School of Economics, from where she was awarded a BSc and a MSc in Economics, and a MA in Social Policy and Administration. She joined the Labour Party in 1978. In 1979, she became a research and development worker with Outset, a charity working with disabled people, before joining the Hackney London Borough Council in 1983 initially as a senior disability officer, and from 1986 a public health officer. She went to work for the Labour Party in 1987 as a health directorate researcher, becoming a campaign strategy coordinator in 1992. She was elected as a councillor to the City of Westminster Council in 1990 and remained on the council until her election to parliament in 1997. Buck was selected to stand for election for Labour through an all-women shortlist. This method of selection was subsequently declared illegal in January 1996 as it breached sex discrimination laws. Despite the ruling she remained in place as the candidate for the following year's election.
Buck was elected at the 1997 General Election as the Labour MP for Regent's Park and Kensington North with a majority of 14,657 ...At the 2010 General Election she was elected MP for the new seat of Westminster North with a majority of 2,126 over Joanne Cash, the Conservative candidate.
..(age 52)..She is married to Barrie Taylor and they have a son
No Afrika Corps
Germany: Abstained on Libya no-fly zone because it sees "considerable dangers and risks" in military action against Muammar Gaddafi.
Scared of power stations, scared of the desert, bunch of wusses but at least we have the Italians to save the day...
Just a shame we don't have an aircraft carrier or any capability to really help, but then the MOD brains are only planning for the last war as usual.
People booking tickets, which went on sale this week, have to sign a terms and conditions document, which runs to 7,350 words, published by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog).
This list of rules and regulations makes clear that the following items are banned: "Food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, liquids in containers of greater than 100ml in size, umbrellas, horns, whistles, drums, rattles, musical instruments, or any other devices that in the opinion of Locog may disturb a session (including mobile telephones), flasks, Thermoses and in general any material that Locog may deem dangerous or that may cause damage or disruption to a session."
The conditions suggest that anyone wanting to bring a picnic to a venue – a tradition that many British sports fans indulge in at Lord's Cricket Ground or while watching the tennis at Wimbledon – will find themselves banned from entry. Mobile phones, which most people now find invaluable, are also not allowed.
A spokesman for Locog said the organisers wanted spectators "to have lots of fun".
"Fun", after being queued to be x-rayed, patted down and stripped of your bottle of water, so the corporate sponsors can then resell you one at their price inside the bug infested concrete caverns. But at leat you know Lord Snooty Coe and chums will have fun as they are whisked pass the common people in their special Zil lanes with synchronised traffic lights to their full hospitality suites.
Poking your eyes with knitting needles will be more "fun".
March 17, 2011
Global Warming To Cause Global Warming
The analysis, published in the journal Science, revealed the unprecedented nature of the 2010 heatwave using temperature measurements dating back to 1871 and estimates from tree rings and other proxies going back to 1500.
I was beginning to miss global warming scares being about global warming, nice cuddly retro feel to the story. Comforting in these dark days.
Talking About My Generation
Baby boomers want decent pensions and a modern health service, but are not putting enough aside to pay for them. That was the message from the boffins who have been mulling the ongoing transfer of wealth from the baby boomer generation to their children.
We are taking out more than we put back, and on a massive scale. If the situation continues, younger people, and the unborn, will have to pick up a tab that by 2030-40 – when the boomers are on Saga holidays or in nursing care – will be overwhelming.
David Willetts reckons that the average boomer will get 118% more in benefits and services over the course of their lives than they have paid in taxes.
We can argue over how and who to tax, but more money for health and pensions needs to come from somewhere.
Or maybe not tax?
Thames Water plans to build a 24-mile long super sewer at a cost of £3.6 billion has generated anger across the capital.
Needed to carry millions of tons of raw sewage, the scheme will be completed in around 2021. But it is feared anyone living near the project will face noise around the clock.
I suppose she is a star so her shit doesn't smell. Bazalgette did a wonderful job, that is the Bazalgette who piped crap out of people's homes not the Bazalgette who pipes it in, but it needs up dating. And crap comes out of your back yard so Nimbyism is just stupid, so put up with the work because the option of not having a modern sewerage system is a lot worse....
Time To Wean Them Off The Teat
Another year. Another Six Nations flop. Like the failed and debt-laden bank whose fallen crest is emblazoned on the field of play, our national rugby team has suffered a catastrophic collapse. From Five Nations Grand Slam-winning amateurs playing it professionally in the 80s and 90s to a group of very well-paid professionals looking decidedly amateur, fighting over the wooden spoon.
This sad decline in rugby reflects a wider malaise in Scottish professional sport, ironically driven by huge injections of cash. Inversely proportional to the level of funding invested, a number of Scottish sports have fallen into a spiral of performance decline. As funding has increased exponentially, we have seen a reduction in competitiveness in both football and rugby....
These two sports have squandered huge cash injections, imitating real life where the unprecedented increase in Scottish public expenditure has not seen a consequential improvement in public service standards.
I couldn't see anywhere in the rest of the article where the obvious lesson is drawn, instead it is a call for more Government intervention to make them less dependent on Government intervention...
March 16, 2011
How To Fill In Your Census Form - Video Help
Atomkraft? Nein, danke!
I don't know what the outcome of the Japanese reactor problems is going to be, Nor does the MSM and especially nor do the politicians.
Here seems to be the best source of information I can find.
In summary it seems unlikely that the accident will kill as many as erecting a couple of hundred wind turbines or that reactors not built on the seashore in earthquake zones have many lessons to learn from it.
Of course this is a greenie wet dream come true and no chance to beat the one realistic non fossil fuel source of energy about the head will be passed up.
Back to the Stone Age will be the preferred option.
"The launch of the Omega countdown clock is an important milestone for any Olympic Games and is something of a tradition within the Olympic movement," said Locog chairman Lord Coe before the launch. "It will be a daily and hourly reminder to everyone who visits Trafalgar Square that the countdown to the start of London 2012 has well and truly begun and that the
most boring, drug addled, narcissist, fascist, taxpayer bleeding waste of money greatest show on earth is soon coming to our country."
Celebrate The Decline And Fall
Title: Blogging: Yesterday's news?
Speakers: Tim Montgomerie (ConHome), Douglas Carswell MP (TalkCarswell.com) and Harry Cole (Guido Fawkes blogger)
Date: 21st April 2011
Time: 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Location: The Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, SW1P 3DW
Tim Montgomerie, the editor of ConservativeHome, will be joined by blogger and MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, and former ToryBear and current news editor of order-order.com, Harry Cole. In the light of the decline of centre-right bloggers and growth of mainstream media blogs they will discussing the future of the blogosphere.
Blogging, it was fun whilst it lasted, I suppose this is the official wake for it.
Sign The Pledge
The People’s Pledge is a campaign that brings you together with others in your constituency to demand your MP supports an EU referendum.
Some sayit is amateur night out , I think everyone realises it won't lead to its desired outcome of a referendum. Will the campaign be counter productive? I don't think so. Will it make a few MPs a bit nervous, maybe?
Consider it a chance to run up to their letterbox and shout rude words through it at them. Unlikely to do much good but satisfying fun.
March 15, 2011
Global Warming Will Cause Instant Ice Age - LSD Guru
Owsley Stanley, who died on March 13 aged 76, was the “outlaw-acid-chef” whose production of industrial quantities of LSD helped fuel California’s 1960s counterculture; his chemical wizardry was immortalised in song by Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead, and in prose by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
By the early 1980s Owsley had left San Francisco for the Australian state of Queensland, apparently to avoid a new ice age destined to engulf the northern hemisphere. There he established a business selling enamel sculptures and adhered to an all-meat diet.
Owsley Stanley: The King of LSD | Rolling Stone Culture In 1984, Owsley appeared at Phil Lesh's house with a map of the world showing the mean temperatures at the height of the last ice age. Long before global warming became an international hot-button issue, he delivered what writer David Gans described as "a ninety-minute lecture on a thermal cataclysm that he said would begin with a six-week rainstorm and leave the entire Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable." Passing around Australian visa applications, Owsley then urged all those present to join him in the Southern Hemisphere. Much like his theory that human beings are meant to eat only meat, Owsley's concept of climate change is at odds with most current scientific thought on global warming. In highly abridged form, what Owsley believes is that the phenomenon is real but that it comes from "the steadily increasing movement of large amounts of heat from the tropics across the temperate zones to the poles. 'Global warming: the panic,' is based exclusively on temperate-zone land measurements and ignores the fact that the planet is seventy percent ocean. The Arctic and Antarctic are soaking up the moving heat and the ice caps are melting, but the cause of the heat's movement is a buildup of energy as the prelude to a massive, planetary-scale cyclonic storm, which will build the new ice age glaciers." Because this is a natural cycle, Owsley believes that carbon and methane emissions from human activity have little effect on the process and do not cause the greenhouse effect. "Our planet's heat balance and temperature are buffered and controlled by water and water vapor, which also washes CO2 out of the air and not minuscule fractions of a couple of gases, one of which is very soluble and the other unstable. Not a single atmospheric scientist subscribes to the concept of greenhouse gases or global warming — they all know the truth." Owsley contends there is nothing people can do to prevent the coming of an ice age storm that he describes as "a kind of a gigantic hurricane, a cyclone thousands of miles in diameter, turning with winds of ultrasonic speeds that is one-half the planet in size." This is the Biblical 'flood of Noah,' and the entire portion of the planet underneath the storm will be blown flat and buried under water. "Based on past evidence, the sea will rise 300 meters, and life in some places will be entirely destroyed. I don't see how anyone in the Northern Hemisphere could survive the storm. But there are areas on the planet that are safe, and I hope I'm in one of them."
Sadly not it seems. Whether his drugged addled forecast was any less realistic than other forecasts I will leave to you.
Politicians In Fear
Politicians in California say their working lives are now so dangerous that they should be given special dispensation to carry concealed guns to their offices in order to protect themselves.
1: Wonder why politicians are so hated they are in fear.
2: Wonder why politicians demand extra for themselves that they deny the voters.
3. Goto 1
March 14, 2011
Huhne & Other Idiots Plan To Destroy Prosperity
Chris Huhne has won the support of six other European governments to push for a toughening of the EU's climate targets, to be discussed in Brussels on Monday . The energy and climate secretary is spearheading a growing movement in favour of a target of 30% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, instead of the current 20%.
Letters: Europe, Japan and energy options | From the Guardian | The Guardian
At a time when the price of oil is soaring, putting in place an ambitious plan for Europe's low-carbon future has wider benefits than tackling climate change. It will increase the continent's resilience against oil price spikes and reduce its dependence on imported energy. And it will help Europe compete with emerging economies in the fast-growing markets for green goods and services. We know that some industries are worried about how they will adapt, but solutions are available. In the best traditions of European co-operation, we can work together to overcome these challenges. We call on all member states to enter into this urgent debate on Europe's future and agree how the road map is put into actionâ ensuring that Europe gets to the front of this low-carbon race, rather than falling behind.
Chris Huhne secretary of state for energy and climate change, UK, Tina Birbili Minister of environment, energy and climate change, Greece, Andreas Carlgren Minister for the environment, Sweden. Lykke Friis Minister of climate and energy, Denmark, Rosa Aguilar Rivero Minister for Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, Spain, Humberto D Rosa Secretary of state for environment, Portugal, Dr Norbert Röttgen Federal minister for the environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Remember the guilty names.
Calling Prince Andrew
India spends £20bn a year to lead world in arms imports - Scotsman.com News
The vast majority of those imports, 82 per cent, come from Russia
Get Prince Andrew out there - that's his job to be the Golf Club bore in a blazer telling dodgy jokes to greasy businessmen and getting the orders. We give them enough foreign aid, we ought to get the orders.
No Trust In Politicians
Only 6% of people across Europe say they have a great deal of trust in their government, 46% say they have not very much and 32% none at all. Only 9% of Europeans think their politicians – in opposition or in power – act with honesty and integrity.
The lack of trust in government is greatest in Poland and France, where distrust outweighs trust by a net 82 percentage points. In France, the net negative score is 78 points and in Germany 80 points. Only Britain breaks the consensus somewhat, with a net negative score of 66 points.
Even fewer Europeans think their politicians are honest. In Poland, only 3% of those questioned agree; in Spain 8%; in Germany 10%; in France 11%; in Britain 12%. Overall, the percentage of those who think politicians are not at all, or not very, honest outweighs those who disagree by a massive 89 percentage points.
I'm not sue if it makes us lucky or not but our politicians tend to be stupid rather than personally corrupt. Maybe it would be better to have clever crooks instead.
March 13, 2011
As Happy As A Cardiff Pizzeria
Two fantastic finishes yesterday - we don't want any of that nonsense today - just regular slotting of points away against the Sweaties as I sup my ale in the pub, please.
Caroline Lucas Tax Muddle
...it would result in a significant drain on public finances. A report commissioned from the Policy Studies Institute for the Green Alliance calculates that using a fuel duty cut to bring pump prices back to December 2009 levels would cost the taxpayer almost £6bn in the first year alone.... the Greens would scrap the recent VAT increase – which is set to cost the British public £12.5bn. The reduction in general tax take from reducing VAT could be met by a combination of a Robin Hood tax, a measure this week endorsed by the European Parliament, and a serious crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, as well as additional levies on huge bankers' bonuses.
One tax costs the public, a different tax cut would cost the public, or the taxpayer or not - who let this muddleheaded loon out in public without a nurse?
Polly or Dave - Time To Choose
Here is the win or lose political battleground of our era. The public realm is either a precious, civilising embodiment of our best collective endeavours – or else it is, as David Cameron described it last week at his party's spring conference: "the enemies of enterprise … Taxing, regulating, smothering, crushing, getting in the way … the bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible".
Polly or Dave? I'm surprised it is possible to slip a fag paper between them but as she declares it is the seismic fault line for once let me declare I'm on Dave's side.
March 11, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Classy Edition)
Honoré de Balzac - The Guardian's Economic Guru
Economics textbooks, along with Fox News and shout radio commentators, spread the myth that fortunes are gained productively by investing in capital equipment and employing labour to produce goods and services that people want to buy.
One need only to turn to the 19th-century novelists such as Balzac to be reminded that behind every family fortune lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered.
Honoré de Balzac was a highly conservative Royalist; in many ways, he is the antipode to Victor Hugo's democratic republicanism. Nevertheless, his keen insight regarding working class conditions earned him the esteem of many Socialists and Marxists. He was the favorite writer of Engels.
An old dead French playwright is a better economics teacher than the textbooks. I think that is the problem of letting Guardian columnists loose with their crayons on anything other than the arts pages.
Scientists Look Into The Wine Dark Sea For Climate Change Answers
They have tied in their jaunt with investigating Climate Change of course, but Homer has already answered the question - ωνοψ - or "wine-dark". It seems the Ancient Greeks saw colours very differently to us.
William Gladstone wrote a three volume treatise on Homer's Oddessy and Iliad. A chapter in the third volume looks at color in Homer's works. Gladstone's conclusion is: there isn't much and what there is, is peculiar. The sea is wine-colored. So are oxen. Honey is green. The sky is black. Blue is never used, and despite Homer's rich descriptions about many aspects of nature, color is almost absent. Gladstone hypothesized that humans 3000 years earlier weren't advanced enough to perceive as many colors modern folks.
In 1898, W.H.R. Rivers went on an anthropological expedition to the islands in the Torres Straits between Australia and New Guinea to study a group of people who'd only been exposed to outside Western culture in the previous 30 years. He found their color words to be very similar to what was found in Homer and other ancient writings - black and white, reddish, green which included blues, and just different ways of using color labels - including black sky.
This seems to be true of other primitive cultures as well. It is not because their retinas haven't evolved as some suggest, they are as good at distinguishing colours as we are, they just don't have the language for it.
I wonder when our descendent look back at our crude descriptions of climate change if they will pity us for our inability to describe the natural world because we don't have the language for it yet.
All Heil The Olympics
Olympic ticket touts face £20,000 fine | Sport | The Guardian
Theresa May announces quadrupling of penalty....
There used to be a party that believed in free markets and the right of people to dispose of their own property as they wished, who welcomed the activities of traders in improving the efficiency of a market and applauded if their risk taking and entrepreneurial spirit made them a few quid. A party that stood up against monopolies and fascist movements.
I wonder whatever happened to that party.
March 10, 2011
What A Complete And Utter
How was I meant to know he didn't like being called an onanist with other people's money, luckily a slip of the tongue saved me.
Fred Goodwin gets superinjunction to stop him being called a banker
Jill Duggan - The Transcript
The two basic questions with any purchase. How much does it cost? Will it do the job?
Jill Duggan is from the European Commission’s Directorate General of Climate Action. She is the EC’s National Expert on Carbon Markets and Climate Change. She was head of Britain’s International Emissions Trading. She is in Australia to tell us how good Europe’s emission trading system is and why we should do something similar.
No one, therefore, should better know the answers to the two most basic questions about this huge scheme. The cost? The effect?.
So on MTR yesterday, I asked them. Duggan’s utter inability to answer is a scandal - an indictment of global warming politics today.= (listen here):
AB: Can I just ask; your target is to cut Europe’s emissions by 20% by 2020?
AB: Can you tell me how much - to the nearest billions - is that going to cost Europe do you think?
JD: No, I can’t tell you but I do know that the modelling shows that it’s cheaper to start earlier rather than later, so it’s cheaper to do it now rather than put off action.
AB: Right. You wouldn’t quarrel with Professor Richard Tol - who’s not a climate sceptic - but is professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin? He values it at about $250 billion. You wouldn’t quarrel with that?
JD: I probably would actually. I mean, I don’t know. It’s very, very difficult to quantify. You get different changes, don’t you? And one of the things that’s happening in Europe now is that many governments - such as the UK government and the German government - would like the targets to be tougher because they see it as a real stimulus to the economy.
AB: Right. Well you don’t know but you think it isn’t $250 billion.
JD: I think you could get lots of different academics coming up with lots of different figures.
AB: That’s right. You don’t know but that’s the figure that I’ve got in front of me. For that investment. Or for whatever the investment is. What’s your estimation of how much - because the object ultimately of course is to lower the world’s temperatures - what sort of temperature reduction do you imagine from that kind of investment?
JD: Well, what we do know is that to have an evens chance of keeping temperature increases globally to 2°C - so that’s increases - you’ve got to reduce emissions globally by 50% by 2050.
AB: Yes, I accept that, but from the $250 billion - or whatever you think the figure is - what do you think Europe can achieve with this 20% reduction in terms of cutting the world’s temperature? Because that’s, in fact, what’s necessary. What do you think the temperature reduction will be?
JD: Well, obviously, Europe accounts for 14% of global emissions. It’s 500 or 550 million people. On its own it cannot do that. That is absolutely clear.
AB: Have you got a figure in your mind? You don’t know the cost. Do you know the result?
JD: I don’t have a cost figure in my mind. Nor, one thing I do know, obviously, is that Europe acting alone will not solve this problem alone.
AB: So if I put a figure to you - I find it odd that you don’t know the cost and you don’t know the outcome - would you quarrel with this assessment: that by 2100 - if you go your way and if you’re successful - the world’s temperatures will fall by 0.05°C? Would you agree with that?
JD: Sorry, can you just pass that by me again? You’re saying that if Europe acts alone?
AB: If just Europe alone - for this massive investment - will lower the world’s temperature with this 20% target (if it sustains that until the end of this century) by 0.05°C. Would you quarrel with that?
JD: Well, I think the climate science would not be that precise. Would it?
AB: Ah, no, actually it is, Jill. You see this is what I’m curious about; that you’re in charge of a massive program to re-jig an economy. You don’t know what it costs. And you don’t know what it’ll achieve.
JD: Well, I think you can look at lots of modelling which will come up with lots of different costs.
AB: Well what’s your modelling? That’s the one that everyone’s quoting. What’s your modelling?
JD: Well, ah, ah. Let me talk about what we have done in Europe and what we have seen as the benefits. In Europe, in Germany you could look at, there’s over a million new jobs that have been created by tackling climate change, by putting in place climate policies. In the UK there’s many hundreds of thousand of jobs.
Read on for the full transcript,
Not Banned Here
Don't let the door hit you on the back as you go
Civil servants can currently take early retirement at the age of 55, or 50 if they are in a scheme which closed in 2006 and have more than five years’ service.
"The BMA believes that an increase in the normal pensionable age for existing NHS staff would be unacceptable. There would be a real risk of a staff exodus, as doctors in their fifties – many of whom are eligible for voluntary early retirement – consider their futures.”
So if you don't let us retire we will leave? And the problem with that is?
The Decline of Cheese Rolling
Gloucestershire's famous cheese-rolling spectacle could be turned into a ticketed festival held over two days.
Organisers said the event "needs to change dramatically" if it is to survive...Members of the committee have now called in Cheltenham-based Events and Management Services to organise the new-look two-day festival for 2011 and has appointed Moose Marketing and PR to handle marketing and help raise sponsorship.
Peter Allison, director of E&MS, said: "We will be looking at ways to include live music and country crafts and we are planning to change the date from Spring Bank Holiday to the weekend of June 11/12.
"We would also like to reintroduce the 'wake' series of rustic games and competitions, like shin kicking, tug of war, dancing for ribbons, wrestling for a belt, grinning through horses collar for a cake, ducking for oranges, bobbing for penny loaves, climbing the maypole and coconut shies.
"We have been in continuous talks with police and emergency services, highways agency and local authorities and we are also in consultation with the immediate Cooper's Hill community.
"Whatever happens, we are determined to make it a family orientated event with proper parking, crowd control and traffic control, with public safety as a priority.
"All this will cost money so, inevitably, we will have to charge an entrance fee for the festival and it will have to be over two days to make it financially viable.
How lovely and twee! Nice safe sanitised countryside. Bollocks to them, I'm with the "unofficial" racers who will still turn up on spring bank holiday and risk all for the chance of winning a tenner.
("with" as in "watching from a safe distance" - I'm not stupid.)
Blaspheming Against The Goddess Diana
An animal rights activist whose long-running campaigns made him notorious in hunting circles has won a landmark ruling that his anti-hunting beliefs should be protected from discrimination in the same way as religion.
The judgment follows a similar ruling in November 2009. Then, a judge ruled that climate change campaigner Tim Nicolson's beliefs were so deeply held they were entitled to the same protection as religious beliefs under employment law.
Are any of my deeply held beliefs entitled to such protection I wonder. I didn't think so...
March 9, 2011
Don't know what it will cost, or what it will achieve
Andrew Bolt chats to Jill Duggan, from the directorate-general for climate action at the European Commission, who says the opposition here to a carbon dioxide tax is "slightly bizarre" when Europe has no problem with its own price on carbon dioxide. Really, I ask, with European unemployment at 10 per cent and growth at just 1.6 per cent? So I ask this salesman of the EU emissions trading scheme the two basic questions everyone should ask of anyone selling anything: how much does it cost, and what will it do? How many billions will Europe spend on this scheme to cut its emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, and by how much will that cut the world's temperatures by 2100? The interview suddenly goes very pear-shaped for one of us - and is a stunning indictment of the EU's foolishness. The question about job losses caused by Europe's green schemes goes no better.
- We play a grab from an interview with the head of Britain's electricity network who outlines the likely result there of the green policies Duggan supports - power only when the wind blows, and not when you need it.
Listen here. About two thirds of the way in.
Connie the Cut
Spot the difference: One wants to destroy British Industry and the other is a Luftwaffe plane.
The Dose Makes the Poison
There is no safe dose of alcohol for these reasons:
• Alcohol is a toxin that kills cells such as microorganisms, which is why we use it to preserve food and sterilise skin, needles etc. Alcohol kills humans too. A dose only four times as high as the amount that would make blood levels exceed drink-driving limits in the UK can kill.
Replace the word "alcohol" with "salt" to see what nonsense that is;
Acute oral LD50 for male humans for sodium chloride is 1 gram per kg.
http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/SO/sodium_chloride.html if 100 75kg men selected at random each eat 75 grams of salt in one hit, 50 will die, assuming no follow up medical care. Average salt intake is about 7.5g per day. 10% of the lethal dose of a bug killing chemical.
Average oral acute LD50 for men for whiskey is two bottles, each of 26 ounces or 750 mls, drunk quite quickly, 600mls of alcohol. Average daily consumption 30mls. 5% of the lethal dose of a bug killing chemical.
Or take caffeine, spinach, Vitamin D....
Although most people do not become addicted to alcohol on their first drink, a small proportion do. As a clinical psychiatrist who has worked with alcoholics for more than 30 years, I have seen many people who have experienced a strong liking of alcohol from their very first exposure and then gone on to become addicted to it.
So in fact you haven't seen anyone "addicted" from the first drink, just they liked it and then became addicted.
The supposed cardiovascular benefits of a low level of alcohol intake in some middle-aged men cannot be taken as proof that alcohol is beneficial.
Not proven because only epidemiological association and not a randomised trial. Just like the thousand other health claims we are bombarded with every day. I have a feeling the danger from smoking is only a epidemiological association and no human randomised trials have been done either.
He may be using the word safe to mean entirely devoid of any risk, but that isn't useful. Crying wolf on risks is counter productive to warning about real risks. Hark unto Paracelsus
March 8, 2011
It's Not About Paul - Rock Bottom
On Amazon - Rock Bottom: A Fanchild's Revenge
Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to cut out the middlemen
Dave Miliband Has Some Good News And Launches Miliband Youth
We are living through a period of right-of-centre political dominance in Europe not seen in the whole age of democratic suffrage. In Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, six countries with good claims to represent the historic heartland of social democracy, there are now centre-right governments. This has not happened since the First World War. When it comes to the interwoven issues of self-interest and identity, wages and immigration, working-class voters see the Centre Left as at best suspect and at worst guilty. Middle-income swing voters, often young parents, are moving to the right. In Sweden only one in five Stockholm residents voted for the social democrats in 2010; and only half of trade unionists. The primary reason is tax and spending. These voters have a good lifestyle and don’t want to trade it for more generous welfare systems....he very success of social democrats in extending the role of government in tackling injustice has become a stick with which it is beaten; it has made the State more vulnerable to the charge that it is a powerful but incompetent ogre. That is why I support the Movement for Change, a new leadership academy for community organisers that aims to rebuild the labour movement. It is starting small, but with a big idea — to give 10, 000 people before the next election the skills to find and use power locally. (More £)
Pictured - Miliband as the Glorious Leader of the Movement for Change rallying his loyal supporter
s from his moral highground.
March 7, 2011
Bernard Ingham Writes To Chris Huhne
The former chief press secretary to Mrs Thatcher writes to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Dear Chris, I’ve been meaning to write this letter for some time.
I am assured on all sides that you have a very good brain and are “an evidence-based economist”. Unfortunately, this does not square with your energy policy.
It has more inconsistencies in it than holes in a colander.
I am not ungrateful now that you have cleared the way for the private development of nuclear power — my particular interest. You have certainly come off your untenable opposition to it, which is a blessing.
But to suggest that you are in favour of it is pure spin. You will contemplate it only if not a penny of public subsidy is involved. This would be fair enough, especially as the nuclear industry is not, to my knowledge, seeking subsidies, if you were not simultaneously pouring riches beyond the dreams of avarice at a time of straitened national finances into largely useless renewable sources of energy, notably wind and solar.
You are able to do this only because the taxpayer is not being asked to throw good money after bad. Instead, the consumer has to foot the mounting bill. So much for concern about fuel poverty.
I’ve space for only one more inconsistency. If you are in the business of the security of electricity supply, why wind (which is totally unreliable) and solar (no use at night)? Especially when engineers have serious doubts about how much wind the national grid can take without blowing a gasket.
In short, your energy policy sadly lacks evidence of brainpower. It certainly will not deliver your declared objective of securing low-carbon electricity supplies in an affordable way. Only nuclear can deliver that. It’s so elementary that I worry about you.
An English Rajah - RIP
Anthony Brooke - Telegraph
Anthony Brooke, who died on March 2 aged 98, was heir to the throne of Sarawak and briefly ruled the romantic jungle kingdom on Borneo with the powers of the last White Rajah.
Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke, always known in his family as Peter, was born on December 10 1912, the fourth child and only son of Bertram and his wife Gladys, the only daughter of Sir Walter Palmer, first and last Baronet – and thus heiress to a sizeable slice of the Huntley & Palmer biscuit fortune.
Anthony's mother was a restless exhibitionist who went through a number of religious conversions. In 1932 she converted to Islam while on a flight from Croydon to Paris, after which she went by the name of Khair-ul-Nissa (Fairest of Women).
She separated from her more retiring husband when Anthony was four but, having produced the longed-for son, remained in favour with her father-in-law, who ordered a 21-gun salute at Kuching when Anthony was born....
His life was beyond the imagination of any fiction writer, do read the whole obit and mourn a type we won't see again.
BEST Temperature Graph - Warmists Running Scared
The approaches that I’ve seen during my visit give me far more confidence than the “homogenization solves all” claims from NOAA and NASA GISS, and that the BEST result will be closer to the ground truth that anything we’ve seen.
But as the famous saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Different methods yield different results. In science, sometimes methods are tried, published, and then discarded when superior methods become known and accepted. I think, based on what I’ve seen, that BEST has a superior method. Of course that is just my opinion, with all of it’s baggage; it remains to be seen how the rest of the scientific community will react when they publish.
In the meantime, never mind the yipping from climate chihuahuas like Joe Romm over at Climate Progress who are trying to destroy the credibility of the project before it even produces a result (hmmm, where have we seen that before?) , it is simply the modus operandi of the fearful, who don’t want anything to compete with the “certainty” of climate change they have been pushing courtesy NOAA and GISS results.
, I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. I’m taking this bold step because the method has promise. So let’s not pay attention to the little yippers who want to tear it down before they even see the results. I haven’t seen the global result, nobody has, not even the home team, but the method isn’t the madness that we’ve seen from NOAA, NCDC, GISS, and CRU, and, there aren’t any monetary strings attached to the result that I can tell. If the project was terminated tomorrow, nobody loses jobs, no large government programs get shut down, and no dependent programs crash either. That lack of strings attached to funding, plus the broad mix of people involved especially those who have previous experience in handling large data sets gives me greater confidence in the result being closer to a bona fide ground truth than anything we’ve seen yet.
Interesting divergence of opinion here. In a brief summary; we have a team of super boffins who are promising to produce a new temperature record for the world using all the data they can find, make all their methods open and publish whatever the result. All the main "Sceptic" blogs are welcoming this without knowing what the results are going to be, it may show more warming, that the warming is more unprecedented, or not. But from the Warmist Alarmists we are getting vitriolic attacks on it - see the comments for instance on the Romm post linked above - what could they be scared of?
Zander of the LSE - Innocents Shouldn't Be Let Off
No, no, no: not guilty does not mean innocent | The Times (£)
Michael Zander, QC, Emeritus Professor of Law at the London School of Economics
Theresa May’s case for slashing the number of names on the DNA database is nonsensical
Theresa May was talking nonsense. She (and her advisers) should know better. It is nonsense because no one knows the number of arrested persons who are innocent. Someone who is arrested but not charged, or is arrested but not convicted, may be guilty. Indeed, it is reasonable to assume that a considerable proportion — perhaps a majority — are guilty even though for one reason or another they are not convicted or charged.
In most cases even someone who has been acquitted cannot properly be described as “found innocent” — though journalists commonly fall into that error. Occasionally, notably through DNA evidence, it is established that the acquitted person is in fact innocent. Usually, however, all one can say is that the defendant was not convicted. A Not Guilty verdict means not proved beyond a reasonable doubt to be guilty. That verdict covers everything from “completely innocent” to “lucky to get away with it”.
Misuse of the word “innocent” is not a minor matter. The word has a heavy emotional charge that is capable of affecting policy decisions. The cry that “innocent people should not have their DNA profile on the database” is far more appealing than “people who may or may not be guilty should not have their DNA profile on the database”.
The case for having DNA profiles of people who have been arrested on the database is very simple. Whether or not they are convicted this time, it may help to convict them next time.
He's the top legal brain at the LSE where it might be thought he would be better spent looking at innocence and guilt at the moment. I think what he is trying to say is that dodgy people get off when jolly nice policemen and lawyers like him know they are wrong-uns. So lets forget all this "innocent" stuff and tag them with having a guilty look about them.
If he wants to make the case for a universal DNA register then why not make it as Theresa May's proposal is to merely to shorten the time those charged and found not guilty have their DNA stored.
March 6, 2011
Benbecula Shakes The Money Tree Again
Climate change 'will wreak havoc on Britain's coastline by 2050' | Environment | The Observer
On Benbecula, they know all too well that rising tides threaten the UK's coastline. For the 1,200 inhabitants of the small, low-lying island in the Outer Hebrides, the sea's encroachment is becoming a serious problem, especially on its western shores.
Benbecula Historically this name is assumed to derive from Peighinn nam Fadhla "pennyland of the fords" as the island is essentially flat. The second element is a loan from Norse vaðil(l) "ford" which was borrowed as Gaelic fadhail (genitive fadhla)
Benbecula used to be famous, or notorious, for its fords leading to North Uist and South Uist: North Ford and South Ford respectively. An English visitor in the 1880s noted that in Benbecula the state of the fords replaced the discussion of the weather more common elsewhere in the UK.
South Ford was crossed by an 82 span concrete bridge between Benbecula and South Uist in 1942. This single-lane bridge was about 800 metres in length and crossed by eight spans from Benbecula to Creagorry Island and then on South Uist. It allowed Benbecula's new RAF base (now Benbecula Airport) to be connected by road to the ferry port of Lochboisdale. The bridge was deteriorating by the 1970s and was replaced by the South Ford causeway you drive across today, opened in a ceremony held in a severe gale on 18 November 1982.
North Ford remained a problem. For significant parts of each tide cycle it was too wet to ford, but not wet enough to cross by ferry. This all changed on 7 September 1960 when the late Queen Mother opened the North Ford Causeway. This five mile arc of single track road links North Uist and Benbecula via the western tip of Grimsay.
So it has always been low lying and suffering from high tides until the taxpayer poured in tons of money to build causeways. So why are they all concerned again. We know that there is no sign of any accelerated sea level rise, and it is rising at a tiny rate anyway.
I think this grasping for money from the taxpayer's teat might have something to do with this final line from the Wikipedia article on the island:
"After a protracted campaign local residents took control of parts of the island on 30 November 2006 in a community buy-out. "
£4.5m of grants were used by "the community" to buy the islands in 2006....
March 5, 2011
Annual Live Tractor Blogging
You Can't Polish A Turd
Baroness Ashton to spend £8.5m on PR - Telegraph
Baroness Ashton is to spend £8.5 million polishing the image of her new EU diplomatic service despite having four spin doctors of her own and the free use of the European Commission's 1,000-strong communications staff.
March 4, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Revolution Edition)
Labour's Bonnie Tyler's Moment
Ministry of Defence pay £22 for 65p lightbulb Army documents seen by The Sun have revealed.
Dim MoD bosses incredibly also pay £103 each for simple inch-long steel screws for the Army's Land Rovers for £103 each.
Exactly the same screw can be ordered online for £2.60.
Thank goodness we have a new Labour War Hero entering parliament with his inside knowledge of waste. Will he be part of the solution or the problem?
As Bonnie sang:
Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods ?
Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds ?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed ?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need
I need a hero, I'm holding out for at hero 'till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero....
May Day Replacement
Plan unveiled to switch May holiday - Scotsman.com News
The May Day bank holiday could be dropped and replaced by either St George's Day in April or Trafalgar Day in October under new tourism plans the Government has announced.
Moving it to St George's Day on April 23 would get the tourist season off to an earlier start, while putting it back to the October half term would elongate the tourist season.
Unless we get some global warming soon plans to extend the season won't work, it is too cold and miserable on those dates unless one is ensconced in a hostelry getting on the outside of a rib of beef and a pint of claret, and we don't need no government edict to do that.
Celebrating the Battle of Culloden would a bit early in the year on 16 April. But celebrating the Death of William Wallace on 23 August would be just right.
I commend it to the house.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, also concluded that just thinking about words related to urination triggered the same effect.
Their findings contradict previous research which found people who are forced to “restrain themselves” put more pressure on their brain and found it difficult exerting self-control
I'm not sure that late at night in the pub with a bladder backed up to my eyes I have made the best decisions in my life, when I have woken up with them in the morning "words related to urination" often come to mind.
UKIP Beat Tories and Lib-Dems in Barnsley
The coalition has been dealt a major by-election blow as the Liberal Democrats finished a woeful sixth place and the Tories were overtaken by the UK Independence Party (Ukip).
In a humiliating result for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Barnsley Central, his party finished behind not only Labour and the Conservatives but also Ukip, the British National Party and a local independent.
There was also embarrassment for Prime Minister David Cameron as the Tories saw their vote share slump dramatically and the anti-Brussels Ukip beat them into third.
March 3, 2011
HMRC Shows Its Economic Illiteracy
"Assets taken can realise less than their actual value at a public auction"
Really? Their "actual value" in the auction room is what someone is willing to pay for them, how else would you define their "actual value" Mr Taxman? It might be not as much as the owner or the greedy bastard bailiffs hope but that is the "hoped for value", and if I could pay off my taxes with the "hoped for value" of objects then Her Majesty would soon build a large collection of interesting pebbles I have picked up from the beach.
In Which Bob Ward Argues Johnny Ball Should Not Be Allowed To Tell The Truth
Throws toys out of pram when anything not previously agreed by him is broadcast.
A bizarre performance by former TV presenter Johnny Ball on Wednesday's edition of The Daily Politics show has once again highlighted the BBC's unsuccessful struggle to balance accuracy and impartiality when it comes to climate change.
Apart from his rant at the politicians, the former Think of a Number presenter also provided a blogpost and short video to promote his views, including his claim that "only 4% of the carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere is put there by man"....
Globally each year, the land and atmosphere exchanges about 120bn tonnes of carbon, while the oceans and atmosphere transfer about 90bn tonnes of carbon between them. In general this natural carbon cycle is more or less in equilibrium, such that there is no significant net change in the amount of carbon absorbed in the atmosphere, oceans and land.
But we also know that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, producing cement and destroying rainforests, have disturbed the natural equilibrium of the carbon cycle by emitting an additional 7bn tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year.
Roughly 210bn natural and 7bn manmade according to Ward - doesn't look too far off Ball's claim of 4% to me, but it is an inconvenient truth that Bob Ward has declared shall not be broadcast.
Princess on Expenses
Going through my receipts for ironmongery for my accounts I found this one. I don't remember buying her but it looks like I got a decent discount. I hope she is tax deductible.
Pay The Council Or Bambi Gets It
Blood money deal to save Bambi - Scotsman.com News
A FURIOUS row has erupted over a council's "blood money" ultimatum - raise £225,000 within ten weeks to prevent a major deer cull.
Aberdeen City Council was condemned by animal welfare groups after councillors voted to press ahead with controversial plans to shoot roe deer on a prominent hill overlooking the city.
Now that is how to fill the council coffers! And why are the bunny huggers unhappy at being asked to pay for their pleasures?
Freedom and Whisky gang thegither!
Scottish Alcohol and Tobacco Policy Summit
An opportunity to explore the links, differences and similarities
between tobacco and alcohol in society and public health
How can we innovate to change public attitudes towards tobacco
and alcohol and reduce consumption?
The Summit is organised by ASH Scotland, Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems
15th March 2011 The Grosvenor Hilton Hotel Edinburgh
I bet that will be a laugh in the bar afterwards
Climate Week is coming. If that means nothing to you, how do you fancy a "supercharged national occasion that offers an annual renewal of our ambition and confidence to combat climate change"?
Over the course of the week (March 21-27), it hopes thousands of events will take place across the country, and that many thousands of individuals will sign up for the currently unspecified Climate Challenge (50,000 have registered already).
The week has already been backed by a dizzying roster of supporters, which includes David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Kofi Annan and Al Gore, as well as hundreds of organisations both national and local, public and private sector.
But a section of the environmental movement that is concerned about the event's sponsors are mounting a counter-campaign which includes spoof entries for the awards and an anti-Climate Week Facebook group.
The Anti's are just bitching because it is a corporate greenwash event, not because it is a a stupid event, so maybe there needs to be an anti-anti-climate week group.
For some reason it reminds me of the way the extreme socialist parties end up in eternal fractioning and mutual hate.
March 2, 2011
The Coyote Law of Improved Technology and Inflation
You often hear people say that one of the main reasons for health care inflation is the cost of all the new technology. But can you name any other industries that compete in free markets where technology introductions have caused inflation rates to run at double the general rate of inflation? In fact, don''t we generally associate the introduction of technology with reduced costs and increased productivity?
Or look at medical fields like cosmetic surgery or laser eye surgery. Both these fields have seen substantial introductions of new technology, but have seen inflation rates not only below the general health care inflation rate but below the CPI, meaning they have seen declining real prices for decades.
The difference is not technology, but the pricing and incentive system. Cosmetic surgery and laser eye surgery are exceptions in the health care field — they are generally paid out of pocket rather than by third parties
I can think of one other industry where introduction of technology has coincided with price inflation well above the CPI — education. It is interesting, but not surprising to me, that this is the other industry, along with health care, most dominated by third party payer systems and public subsidies of consumers....
I dubbing this insight The Coyote Law as it suddenly makes clear a truth I had only dimly perceived before.
Roadblocks set up to catch drivers smoking - Telegraph
Police roadblocks are being set up to catch drivers who are breaking the law – by smoking at the wheel of their company vehicle.
Chris Kitchen, acting head of environmental services at Tendring District Council in Essex said: “Police together with council officers will be stopping business vehicles and public transport vehicles on the highway.
"We have noticed that people are smoking in commercial vehicles where in fact it's banned and we will be looking for evidence that people have been smoking.
He added: "We will be looking for ashtrays and whether the vehicle smells of smoke."
Ian Wilkins, environmental officer at Tendring District Council, explained that the scheme was intended to raise awareness of the law.
Anyone caught breaking the law faces a £50 fixed penalty fine or a possible court conviction, which carries a £200 fine.
The culprits’ employers will also be informed and also be heavily fined.
Climate Camp Fold Their Tents
Metamorphosis: A statement from the Camp for Climate Action
The near-collapse of the financial system; droughts in the Amazon, floods in Pakistan; a new government in the UK; a violent programme of unprecedented cuts; food prices rising and real incomes eroding; revolutions across the Middle East…
As a movement, to be relevant, we need to move with the times. Therefore the Camp for Climate Action has decided by consensus, after much discussion and reflection, to change. To that effect,
1. We will not organise a national Climate Camp in 2011.
2. We will not organise national gatherings as ‘Climate Camp’ or the Camp for Climate Action in 2011....
Yep - all the bankers fault or something if you care to read their pages of self justifying drivel. Nothing to do with any failure on their part, or that they were only expecting three scruffy men, a fat pregnant earth mother and a limping dog to their gathering this year.
The Day is Done
And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
Scottish Waste and Overruns Unexplianable
Quango at a loss to explain why £9m scheme cost £42m - Scotsman.com News
Transport chiefs have come under fire over their failure to explain a £33 million cost overrun for a new bus ticketing system.
Holyrood's public audit committee has also hit out after the electronic ticket machines, designed to monitor the national concessionary fares scheme, came in four years late.
Transport Scotland took over the ticketing scheme from the former Scottish Executive five years ago.
Muir Russell's financial incontinent legacy lives on....
Galliano Career Advice
Can't Save Lives For Safety's Sake
THE head of Scotland's largest fire brigade has said health and safety law is preventing firefighters from saving lives.
Strathclyde fire chief Brian Sweeney said current health and safety rules were having the "cumulative effect of putting firefighters in a position where they are more fearful of the legislation than they are of risking their lives".
Mr Sweeney's warning follows a fatal accident inquiry into the death of a woman whose rescue was delayed for safety reasons.
Alison Hume, a 44-year-old mother of two, died in July 2008 after falling down a 60ft mineshaft. She was trapped for six hours, and died of a heart attack.
Firefighters on the scene were willing to attempt a rescue, but were told they were not allowed to use their equipment to help members of the public.
I gather the equipment referred to was only for use to save firefighters..
HSE actually understands the risks that firefighters have to take and are probably not the problem, it is the moustachioed little man in a squeaky clean Hi-Viz who "interprets" Health and Safety on the spot that is the problem.
March 1, 2011
EU Finds Well Paid Whores Helpful And Close
Pacific island states on the frontline of climate change are to receive €90m (£76m)) in EU cash for climate-related projects in return for siding with the European bloc at international climate negotiations.
Such an injection of cash does not come without strings attached however. Piebalgs is to make the funding announcement at a high-level climate conference on Vanuatu organised by the European commission where the he will present an EU-Pacific action plan for the island states to sign.
The document requires the states to embrace "joint positions on the international stage" as part of a "stronger Pacific-EU political dialogue on climate change".
Isaac Valero-Ladron, the EU's climate spokesman, said that the bloc has had a lot of success in the region, which contains countries with some of the lowest GDP per capita in the world. "If we put money on the table, it really creates a constructive atmosphere and good policies. The Pacific islands are a very helpful, positive partner on the international level. Our positions are very close."
The Libyan School of Economics and Wikiaction
Of course Saif Gaddafi is guilty of far worse than plagiarism. But his history with the LSE is a black mark for the institution, and in particular for the examiners, such as Lord Desai, who approved his thesis. We may be able to forgive them some aspects of this â plagiarism is sometimes notoriously difficult to detect, particularly when you have only a small committee of experts doing the examining.
In the open-source software world we have a saying: "Many eyeballs make all bugs shallow." Similarly, many people working together to look for plagiarism can be dramatically more effective than only a few.
What we can't forgive, though, is Lord Desai's cowardly response to the allegations. Desai, who was urges the LSE not to disown Saif Gaddafi, despite it all. "The man is evil enough â you don't have to add that he's a plagiarist as well," he says. Actually, yes we do need to add that, but not for what it says about him, but for what it says about the lack of institutional controls at the LSE and, perhaps, most other institutions.
The opportunities for community action of a wiki kind are expanding daily, as more people become active online and as online activism matures beyond what has been quite properly derided as "clicktivism"
Climate Induced Mass Migration
..estimate that there are 5.5 million expat Britons, rising to almost 6 million if that figure is expanded to include those who live or work abroad for part of the year...Spain is the second most popular destination, with 761,000 expats, rising to 990,000 when second home-owners and other part-time residents are taken into account...
one in four had gone for a better lifestyle and climate.
And in the USA it is even worse with millions heading to Florida and Arizona to warm their old bones.