July 31, 2011
What length o' graith will ser'e a woman duly?
Doctors have calculated the length of a typical fellow's manhood - and found those north of the border are among the longest.
The doctors, writing in the British Journal of Urology International, took a range of measurements from 609 men and found that the average length, extended as far as would be comfortable, was 5.6 inches.
Other studies worldwide have found relatively smaller sizes and the Scots were second only to the French, who measure in at 6.5 inches. A previous study of men in England put them at just 5.1 inches. The measurements were bigger also than those from men in countries such as the US, Italy, Germany, Israel, Turkey, Korea, Iran, India and Greece.
Nine Inch Will Please a Lady
by Robert Burns
Come rede me, dame, come tell me, dame,
My dame, come tell me truly,
What length o' graith, when weel ca'd hame,
Will ser'e a woman duly?
The carlin clew her wanton tail,
Her wanton tail sae ready;
I learn't a sang in Annandale,
Nine inch will please a lady.
But for a countrie cunt like mine,
In sooth we're nae sae gentle;
We'll tak' twa thumb-bread to the nine,
And that's a sonsie pintle.
O leeze me on my Charlie lad!
I'll ne'er forget my Charlie!
Twa roarin' handfu' and a daud,
He nidg't it in fu' rarely.
But weary fa' the laithern doup,
And may it ne'er ken thrivin';
It's no the length that gars me loup,
But it's the double drivin'.
Come nidge me Tarn, come nodge me Tam,
Come nidge me o'er the nyvle;
Come louse and lug your batterin' ram,
And thrash him at my gyvel.
July 30, 2011
Inconvenient Truths About The Old Pulteney Row To The Pole
Around August 1 a five-man team led by seasoned adventurer Jock Wishart will depart from Resolute Bay, Canada in an attempt to row 724 km (450 miles) to the magnetic North Pole....as certified in 1996, is located at 78°35.7N 104°11.9W / 78.595°N 104.1983°W and was first reached by Sir James Clark Ross of the British Royal Navy in 1831.
During the course of the expedition, sponsored by Old Pulteney whisky, the crew will be using a satellite-positioning system known as Yellowbrick to track their progress. This satellite-positioning system will then automatically update a map on the official Row to the Pole website, allowing members of the public to track the team's voyage.
Mr. Wishart and his crew's attempt to row to the magnetic North Pole has only recently become a possibility due to the dramatic climatic changes taking place in the region which have decreased the size of the ice sheets and left large areas of the ocean unfrozen.
Great picture they use to show them rowing in the balmy open waters....
And of course Ross found the Magnetic Pole on dry land, on the Boothia Peninsular and where the rowers are aiming for isn't where it is now. The Magnetic North Pole is on the move in a northwesterly direction at about 37 miles each year.
So their target is about 500 miles short and they won't be rowing all the way - so much for it being a Row to The Pole. And let's not mention the convenient confusion between the Magnetic and Actual Pole in people's minds.
July 29, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Reise Edition)
The German relatives are staying - sometimes only Rammstein will do...
Salt Torturing The Data To Fit
Cutting down our daily intake by just 2g can cut our chances of cardiovascular events by up to 20 per cent, leading experts said in an article published in The Lancet journal.
Research from Exeter University published two weeks ago claimed there was no strong evidence to prove the benefits of a reduction in salt in your diet, prompting reports that salt had little or no effect on the chance of suffering strokes or heart attacks.
But a reanalysis of the same data has shown that there is indeed a significant benefit to be had from limiting the amount of salt we eat.
The figures add to the “already overwhelming” evidence that salt is the chief cause that raises blood pressure, which in turn is the largest cause of stroke, heart attacks and heart failure, experts said.
Prof Graham MacGregor, one of the authors of the Lancet commentary, said: “Contrary to the claims by [Exeter scientists] and many press headlines, these new results, along with all the other evidence, clearly demonstrate that a reduction in the whole of the UK population and worldwide, is immensely important.”
That would be The MacGregor who flogs books extolling low salt diets...
and is Chairman and founder of the mysterious Consensus Action on Salt and Health which seems to just be a "group of experts" which doesn't publish accounts and solicits donations.
July 28, 2011
Parking in Wiltshire - They Are Having A Laffer
CONTROVERSIAL increases in car parking charges by Wiltshire Council are set to result in a loss of income of half a million pounds.
Just three months after the charges were introduced the Conservative run council says fewer motorists are using the council’s car parks and is predicting a potential shortfall of income of £500,000.
The new charges, which are deeply unpopular among businesses who say trade has been affected as a result, were designed to bring in just under an extra £1.5 million in car parking revenue to the council.
Not just tax revenues that have a maximum yield.
July 27, 2011
No Flowers Please
Cecil Coley, 72, is in police custody today after dramatic scenes at a florists on Shewsbury Street, Old Trafford, at 9.40pm last night.
It is understood the shop was closed at the time and Mr Coley, a well-known Jamaican man known as 'Papa' in the community, was playing dominoes with a friend inside when two men armed with guns broke in.
A struggle followed which saw one of the raiders, a 30-year-old man, fatally stabbed in the chest.
Residents found him lying in the street outside and tried to resuscitate him but he died a short time later after being taken to Trafford General Hospital.
A second man, who was wearing a mask, was seen running away from the premises.
It is thought he went to Manchester Royal Infirmary later where he was treated for a stab wound.
In a just world he would be only held in police custody long enough for the boys in blue to get a few pizzas and cases of Red Stripe in and get the celebration party started.
July 26, 2011
Go Green Go Ryanair
Low fare airline Ryanair plans to radically change its tack on global warming by launching its first green campaign and promoting itself as a low emissions carrier. Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary previously described global warming as “bullshit” and green activists as “Luddites”. He also labelled environmentalists “lying wankers” and said that the best thing that can be done with them was to “shoot them” as they seek to make air travel the preserve of the rich.
So Michael tell us what you really think as you drape the green cloak of righteousness over your tawdry business.
The Value Of A University Education
As you know, I have sometimes wondered if our academics are fucking idiots in disguise. But this cruel and cynical jading is with me no more as my understanding of the bleeding obvious has been illuminated by geniuses of the Universities of Leeds, Oxford and Milan.
Brainboxes from these hallowed garrets of intellect today published a report which I am certain will rival Newton's and Einstein's theories of the universe. The Eureka report was summarised on the BBC News thus:
'Medieval suits of armour were so exhausting to wear that they could have have affected the outcomes of famous battles, a study suggests.'
I know what you're thinking - 'fuck me, I'd never have worked that out; thank God for science' - and I am sure that many millions share your astonishment.
Get this, it will blow your mind also. Led by chief researcher Dr. Graham Askew of the University of Leeds, the study group used high-end technology to work out that a soldier weighed down by so much armour [50 kilos] he could barely move faster than a pensioner in a post officer was not half as nimble in battle as an enemy who didn't come dressed like a shoplifter at a Le Creuset closing down sale.
Pay attention, you are spending £9,000 a year for your kids to study at these places and you might want to pull them out of their second year and send them to learn more by talking to ants instead.
Guardinistas Exploding On Streaming
A secondary school has divided its students by ability, complete with different uniforms. Innovative way to lure the middle classes, or worrying segregation?
The Head "Mixed-ability teaching in state schools has patently been shown to have failed – our model allows all students to work at their own level and get the support they need."
Read the comments for a disturbing view and proof why Guardian readers should never be allowed to be teachers...
"Nice to see apartheid is alive and well in the UK education system"
"This headmaster needs to be sacked before he can get near another child. What a cruel bastard. Maybe it would be easier if he just tattoed their forearms: "Smart" "Medium" "Dumb"
Actually, Mr. Murphy, mixed ability and mixed age groupings are the proven route to success, but, of course, that requires actual educators, instead of a Thatcheresque marketer."
"Why not make them wear yellow stars instead? This is very Brave New World."
"The fascists aren't even trying to hide what they're doing now."
"This headmaster is ... branding pupils in a way that disgusts us all (we all remember the Nazis using this method)
The reason councils and the people quite rightly controlled the powers of head teachers was because give any one person too much power and it will corrupt.
These are children this man is branding and limiting the education of - just to suit his own ego.
Time for the council to step in and ensure that all capable pupils get the same educational opportunities at the same school."
July 24, 2011
It's The Morning After
Now that's what I call a lamb roast - it was delicous, and the music from The Bath Blues Brothers was fantastic.
Thanks to everyone who came and especially those who helped.
July 23, 2011
A. J. P. Taylor wrote this memorable passage in English History, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970):
Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent. of the national income. … broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.
via the ever excellent Maggies Farm
"Is the green movement a leftwing, anti-capitalist movement?" your article asks. "Mark Lynas believes it is, and that those who style themselves as greens should be marginalised and allowed to die off so that they can be replaced by a new breed of market-friendly environmentalists like him." Is this really the future of the green movement? If so, it's one of defeat.
Along with human overpopulation, the principal driver of the accelerating eco-crisis – anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity crash, destruction and degradation of wild habitat, and a virtual holocaust of animal species – is precisely capitalism. Far from being realistic, to propose as a solution more of what is causing the problem is nothing less than delusional. Any green movement worth its name must therefore resist industrial capitalism....
Greens urgently need to engage with people's ecological intuitions, impulses and aspirations. Only that deserves to be called realism.
That is a definition of realism I haven't come across before, distinctly Dagenham.
Markets welcome bail-out for Greece as euro recovers - Scotsman.com News
22 July 2011 10:34 PM
Euro drops as markets digest details on bail-out for Greece - Scotsman.com News
22 July 2011 8:11 PM
July 22, 2011
All Hail The New German-Hungarian Empire
In a move hailed by President Sarkozy of France as a key step towards the creation of an EU treasury in the form of a “European monetary fund”.
He said: “By the end of the summer, Angela Merkel [the German Chancellor] and I will be making joint proposals on economic government in the eurozone. Our ambition is to seize the Greek crisis to make a quantum leap in eurozone government. We have done something historic.
Friday Night is Music Night (Twang Edition)
July 21, 2011
The Green Police
A special meeting of the United Nations security council is due to consider whether to expand its mission to keep the peace in an era of climate change.
Small island states, which could disappear beneath rising seas, are pushing the security council to intervene to combat the threat to their existence.
There has been talk, meanwhile, of a new environmental peacekeeping force – green helmets – which could step into conflicts caused by shrinking resources.
Create a crisis, create a "police force", then move in to "solve" crisis. Round up the dissenters. Why does that sound familiar?
Prof Jones (The Other One) Insults Sceptics
Professor Steve Jones, who reviewed the broadcaster's science coverage at the request of the BBC Trust, said: "For at least three years, the climate change deniers have been marginal to the scientific debate, but somehow they continued to find a place on the airwaves."
He may be right, I hardly ever sample the BBC's output, but I wonder who these "deniers" are. Do they dress up in Brownshirts and parade with flags or is his impartial face slipping when he describes concerned sceptics with the term?
July 20, 2011
Been there - I need the T shirt
Did you once have a great idea that you failed to implement?
Were you around when the Internet boom started and didn't register that domain when you had the chance?
Are you embittered by seeing 23 year olds who've made a fortune from something so trivial you can't believe anyone fell for it?
Apollo 11 - I Was Wrong
At 02:39 UTC on Monday July 21 (10:39pm EDT, Sunday July 20), 1969, Armstrong opened the hatch, and at 02:51 UTC began his descent to the lunar surface. The Remote Control Unit controls on his chest kept him from seeing his feet. Climbing down the nine-rung ladder, Armstrong pulled a D-ring to deploy the Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) folded against Eagle's side and activate the TV camera, and at 02:56 UTC (10:56pm EDT) he set his left foot on the surface.
I went away to boarding school in 1969 and my first clear memory of the school was us being woken up in the dormitory and taken downstairs to the library to watch this live. I stood at the back in the corner by the Psmith books.
Coincidentally I was talking to an old friend who also went away to another boarding school in 1969 and has the same memory, though a different TV in another library.
Strangely we both went to school in September 1969.
Neither of us can explain our false memories, we don't think it was a later Apollo mission and don't remember doing a couple of induction days at the school at the end of the summer term before. There must be an explanation but whatever it is what we both would would have sworn as to what and when we witnessed was wrong.
It's Chilli Cook-Off Time This Saturday
6 lbs. beef
3 bell peppers
2 minced jalapenos
3 cans beef bouillon
24 oz. tomato sauce
4 Tbs. ancho chili powder
4 Tbs. chili powder
2 Tbs. Mexican oregano
4 Tbs. cumin
4 cloves garlic
1 bottle Icehouse beer
1 tsp. sugar
salt/pepper to taste
Brown meat. Sauté vegetables. Combine and add the remainder of the ingredients. Simmer 2-3 hours.
It will be something like that down at The King's Arms on Saturday lunchtime.
Of course if you have a better recipe, please tell me.
And the band is confirmed for the evening do.
Guardian Discovers Supply And Demand
It took 27% of last year's corn crop to meet the demand for corn ethanol....
You don't say! Why do you think farmers and their politicians are so supportive of the program?
If Lucas Opposes...
Plans for badger cull pit farmers against animal rights activists - Nature, Environment - The Independent
Farmers will be able to form syndicates to cull badgers over large areas. Some 70 per cent will be culled by trained marksmen with powerful rifles
Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, spoke of "a barbaric slaughter of badgers". The RSPCA said the decision marked "a black day", and the League Against Cruel Sports said that "all the evidence shows that culls do not work".
I wasn't sure the cull was the right way forward but those recommendations it must be.
July 19, 2011
Leo Hickman and teh Climate Wiki
Heartland Institute launches a 'closed' climate change wiki
A climate change wiki is a good idea - but not if its climate sceptic organisers block alternative views
Dear old pointy headed Leo completely misses the point, as usual.
He is all huffy because the changes he has suggested haven't made it to the wiki.
A quick peek at the Recent changes - ClimateWiki shows that this month it has only been one bloke, Bob, doing a few bits on the wiki.
No one else's changes or additions have made it through.
It looks like yet another one of those good idea web projects that is rapidly dying, not the vast well funded denial machine he assumes it to be.
Cock-up not conspiracy.
Your Food Choices Affect the Climate...
Lamb comes out as the "worst". I presume this is some sort of factory farmed American lamb because I'm fairly sure those scraggy beasts roaming the hills over here use very little fuel.
Of course on Saturday I will have three of them slowly rotating over a virgin forest wood fire at the party. They will taste even better now.
News From The Stone Age
Neanderthals, one of the last extant hominid species other than our own, left Africa somewhere between 400,000 and 800,000 years ago and settled mostly in Europe until they went extinct 30,000 years ago. Early modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago, meaning they overlapped with Neanderthals in time and place for at least 20,000 years.
... answer came with the first sequencing of the Neanderthal genome last year. Dr. Labuda compared 6,000 chromosomes from all over the world to the corresponding part of the Neanderthal sequence. With the exception of people from sub-Saharan Africa - whose ancestors would have been unlikely to come into contact with Neanderthals, since their territories didn't overlap - every chromosome featured evidence of the Neanderthal sequence.
That even includes particularly far-flung groups of humans like native Australians, who are thought to have reached the island continent by as far back as 40,000 years ago. For that sequence to show up even in such geographically isolated groups, it suggests that there was a lot of interbreeding between the two hominid species, and that pretty much all ancient humans that left Africa passed through Neanderthal territory and had close interaction (read: a ton of sex) with their evolutionary cousins.
Surface to Air Land Rovers
A gamekeeper could have killed two Army helicopter pilots when he drove his Land Rover straight at the low flying aircraft, a court has been told.
The pilot of a squirrel helicopter avoided disaster when he saw Malcolm Hughes' car driving towards him.....
And this has gone to court? I hadn't realised before how driving Land Rovers at a our Top Gun pilots in their flying machines was the way that they were brought down.
I remember my father seeing off an American chopper which was too close to his lambing ewes with his old Series II. They were obviously made of sterner stuff because he got an immediate fulsome apology and an invitation to a Mess Dinner where he was treated with the respect due to a "combat veteran" and the evening ended with a singing of The Vly ...
July 18, 2011
Today I have mainly been hedging - if the euro is worth more than 86.6p on 30th Sept 2011 I have made a bad call.
I don't think I'm too worried.
The Guardian And Greenhouse Gasses, The Truth And What It Prints.
Martin Cohen...complained that for many years the Guardian had been deviating from its founding principles – in regularly failing to distinguish between fact and comment – and he questioned the role of the Scott Trust in upholding them. ....suggested that he was making a series of rather general points and ...needed specific examples of breaches of the principles...agreed to focus on one issue.
Dr Cohen's position:
"I alleged that a significant factual error, with consequences for the debate about climate change science, was being regularly made in the paper. I gave you a list of articles and dates.
"The claim was that CO2 is the major element in the atmospheric greenhouse effect and my point was that it is not. This being a fact, it should have been reported accurately, whether in 'comment' pieces or 'news' stories." Cohen states that water vapour is the major element in the greenhouse effect
And yes the paper agrees he is right, but only in a boring factual sort of right way, not in a sort of way that it writes stories..."feeling is that as reporting on climate change has matured, reference to carbon dioxide as the most important greenhouse gas has fallen into common usage."
So that is all right then, once an error becomes accepted then it is OK for the paper to continue to propagate it.....
July 15, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Shame Edition)
July 14, 2011
Paying For Carbon Agit-Prop
The working budget for the council's climate change programmes has been cut by at least 43% to £2.1m, the investment budget from ｣500,000 to ｣3,000, and there is no budget for next year.In contrast, the FCO, which provides all the council's government funding, is increasing its spend on climate diplomacy. "Our successful programme which promotes the global transition to a low-carbon economy is intended to increase the prospects of reaching a global climate change agreement," said the foreign secretary, William Hague, in February.
The cuts are "dangerous to the UK," said David Viner, who led the council's climate change programme until last month. "Our work was described as 'national asset'. But these cuts will impact on the UK government's agenda to drive forward a global deal on climate change.... Viner added that global action is essential "to protect the UK government's own agenda" of deep domestic carbon cuts, which will falter if other nations do not follow suit.
Chilli CookOff 23rd July 2011 King's Arms All Cannings
I look forward to seeing you there.
Music in the evening for friends and readers....
July 13, 2011
These Things Happen
The three cheetahs - Savannah, Boumani and Zena - were being filmed by park workers to "prove" to local council bosses at Sevenoaks District Council that they were 'safe' for visitors to get close to.
The big cat bit both men several times before swiping its massive paw at Mr Foreman, ripping his shorts off and leaving him with scratches down his leg.
Both men were taken to hospital for treatment and given jabs and had their wounds treated, but were back at work on Monday.
Eagle Heights boss Alan Ames, 55, said the attack was 'no big deal' and said that the cheetahs were 'safe'.
He said: "Its an occupational hazard.
What happened is very unfortunate and we take it very seriously, but its not like someone getting their arm ripped off by a gorilla.
You can take all the precautions in the world but these things happen.
I dont know what people expect - if they want to live in a perfect world, they are deluding themselves.
I wonder if the council takes such a sensible view? Would you like to bet on it?
H2O - Just Say No
The benefits of drinking water have become so exaggerated that people who follow official advice may even do themselves harm, a doctor warns.
Bottles of mineral water are now so ubiquitous that health-conscious people cannot make even a short journey without one. Yet the warnings about maintaining fluid levels are "not only nonsense, but thoroughly debunked nonsense", Margaret McCartney, a general practitioner in Glasgow, said.
Official advice issued by the NHS says that people should "try to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other fluids) a day to prevent dehydration". Many schools also require pupils to bring a water bottle to school.
The idea that we are all short of water is thought to derive from a 1945 recommendation that adults should consume 2.5l of water daily, 1ml for every calorie consumed, though this advice has only caught on in the last decade. But the crucial part of the recommendation is usually ignored – that "most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods".
Hydration for Health, an initiative aimed at medics to promote the drinking of water, which was created and is sponsored by Danone, the French maker of Evian, Volvic and Badoit bottled waters, says "many people, including children, are not drinking enough". It recommends "1.5 to 2 litres of water daily is the simplest and healthiest hydration advice you can give".
Yet there is no evidence that people need to drink that much and it could be harmful by causing hyponatraemia (low salt levels), water intoxication and even death, according to a review in the American Journal of Physiology.
Dr McCartney, a medical columnist for a newspaper, has especially harsh words for the Water is Cool in School campaign; its aim to persuade children to replace sugary drinks with water is commendable but it goes too far when it claims mild dehydration – the sort people experience when they are thirsty – can result in a decline in mental performance.
Dr McCartney said people should "say no" to organisations that like to tell doctors and patients what to do.
Neeps And Tatties
That's a lot of deep fried Mars Bars and Irn-Bru.....
Chris Huhne - Utter Cut
Big changes in the way Britain organises its electricity production were announced yesterday to meet the triple challenge of climate change, high bills for householders, and security of energy supply.
The programme will put about £160 per year on to the average energy bill by 2030, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, said yesterday, compared to £200 without the changes.
The ultra-free market which has been in place since electricity was privatised 20 years ago is to be drastically modified, with the Government offering generating companies long-term contracts at fixed prices to produce low-carbon power – that is, from renewable sources and nuclear installations. Going back to what is effectively a form of central planning is seen as essential ...
An increase of £160 is described as a "cut", that's very close to the word I think of when I see a picture of Chris Huhne.
July 12, 2011
The Twelfth - A Glorious Day to Celebrate Freedom
The Glorious Revolution is arguably the most significant single advance in the provision of good government that the world has ever seen. This has been overshadowed by concentrating on its quite peripheral impact on the divisions among Christians. But the Calvinist Prince of Orange who became William III was driven by his fear of absolutist French hegemony over Europe, not by worries about Catholicism whose leader, the Pope, was his temporal ally.
The point is that the freedoms ensured and the benefits gained from the Glorious Revolution far exceed anything gained from any other single event , including the mistakenly more celebrated French Revolution.
The Reign of Terror in the French Revolution was bad enough; but the loss of life from the resulting years of war which ended only in 1815 compares with the First World War, and that with a smaller population. The other great so called Revolution, the Russian, was more a coup d’état by the Bolsheviks, with equally disastrous imitations in Europe and Asia which led to the death of about 100 million.
The American Revolution was derivative and confirmatory of the Glorious Revolution.
The Glorious Revolution was in many ways England’s great gift to the world. It established those fundamental principles of good governance which best allow man to achieve and to exercise his fundamental rights.
It is of particular significance not only in the constitutional development of Britain and the Commonwealth, but also the United States.....
...since the Glorious Revolution, the Anglo-Americans have been on the winning side in every major international conflict. .
This indicates some advantage in the Anglo-Saxon system of governance. There is no evidence that this has anything to with race but rather, it is to do with the endorsement of what we may call political culture. Mead makes the point that not only is the United States a nation of immigrants, but so was England even at the time of the Glorious Revolution. This augurs well for the current massive immigration into the Anglo-Saxon countries. Good sense will make most realise that the system they have come to works and works well – the great majority will have little inclination to change it.
It is important to stress that the great advantages of the Glorious Revolution were not the result of some philosopher sitting down and designing them. That was what directed the French and Bolshevik Revolutions, near crazed men designing schemes to save the world that came close to ruining it. The style of the Anglo-Saxon is pragmatic; the style of the major continental powers has hitherto been more theoretical.
The wisdom of the Anglo Saxons has been in allowing institutions to evolve gradually over time and through trial and error. By way of contrast to continental thought, I would refer to the story of the French énarque who when the benefits of something we are familiar with were shown to him said: “Yes, it may well work in practice, but does it work in theory?” .....
Beddington - Use Disasters To Pass Green Laws
Climate-related disasters overseas should be used by the Government to persuade British voters to accept unpopular policies for cutting carbon emissions, says Sir John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientific adviser. Droughts, floods and storms in foreign countries could be used as “policy windows”, making it easier to introduce “bold actions” that would otherwise be politically unacceptable.
Sir John yesterday published a report entitled International Dimensions of Climate Change, which identified “a very real gap between people’s expressed concerns about the environment and their actions”.
The report concluded that the Government must find ways of overcoming growing scepticism and “fatigue with climate change as an issue” to convince the public of the need for “costly environmental policies”.
It said the impacts of climate change on Britain would be too modest over the next two decades to convince people of the need to place the country on a “war footing” to address emissions. Politicians should instead take advantage of disasters overseas in the same way that their predecessors had used natural catastrophes in Britain to push through expensive measures.
“These would allow legislators the licence to take specific bold actions which they ordinarily believe would not otherwise be possible or politically acceptable, such as the introduction of the Clean Air Act after the London smog, and the development of the Thames Flood Barrier after the flooding of East Anglia in 1953,” the report said.
It pointed out that people needed to be persuaded to take personal responsibility for climate change. A survey last year found that only 10 per cent of people thought that the main responsibility for action on climate change lay with individuals and their families.
The report said that the Government should also seek to use voluntary groups and campaigning organisations to help to persuade the public of the need for action on emissions. It said these groups could be more trusted on the issue than politicians.
“If public trust in government messages and authority remains relatively low, it might be necessary to put more effort into indirect influencing via trusted third parties in civil society, through new forms of public engagement and policy dialogues,” the report said.
It conceded that it would not be possible to justify curbs on emissions by claiming that there would be significant direct impacts on Britain’s climate by 2030. It stated: “The UK, compared with many other parts of the world, is not expected to experience significant adverse direct climate change effects over the next two decades.”
More behind the paywall - the report referenced is here.
July 11, 2011
Environmental groups have urged Brussels to block a German CO2 labelling plan that will rate some of the largest gas-guzzlers as just as green as tiny town cars.
A plan being voted on in the German upper house, calculated to favour hefty German off-roaders and limousines, works out a car's green rating in relation to its weight.
The maths means that, instead of being marked down in the compulsory showroom labelling, big high-emissions vehicles would emerge with flying colours.
Green transport lobby group Transport & Environment used the sums to show that, if the legislation goes through in a vote in Berlin on Friday, a Smart car with CO2 emissions of 103g per km would be in the same "green" category as a Panzer tank, which emits 5,850 grams of CO2 per km.
The levelling factor is the relative weight - the Smart at just 750kg, and the tank at 62,000kg. For its weight, therefore, the Panzer tank is deemed worthy of a "green" badge
I'm going green in that case!
Your Cycling Economics Question Answered
Lots - there is no point in saving up for a pension for a start. Set aside a bit for a nice slab of granite with your name on it is the only long term planning you need.
Was He Dropped On His Head As A Baby?
DOMESTIC energy bills could soar by over 30 per cent following dramatic energy market reforms set to be announced tomorrow, experts have warned.
Britain would end up with the highest energy prices in Europe, according to a report on the effects of the EMR for the Consumers' Association by the Energy Policy Research Group at Cambridge University, as a result of subsidies to promote the building of new nuclear power plants and wind turbines for the renewables sector.
But energy secretary Chris Huhne, who will launch a white paper tomorrow on changes to the energy sector, insisted the UK had the lowest prices in Europe and rejected suggestions of massive rises ahead.
Dyscalculia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Dyscalculia (or math disability) is a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending simple mathematics. It is akin to dyslexia and includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning math facts, and a number of other related symptoms (although there is no exact form of the disability). Math disabilities can also occur as the result of some types of brain injury, in which case the proper term is acalculia, to distinguish it from dyscalculia which is of innate, genetic or developmental origin. Although math learning difficulties occur in children with low IQ dyscalculia can also be found in people with normal to superior intelligence.
I understand the numbers on tachometers can also confuse.....
July 10, 2011
Not a Human Tragedy - A Human Triumph
South America's "green hell" – the Chaco...what has happened in that unbearably hot, ecologically fragile, insect-infested thorn-desert, in the past year? The answer is the Chaco – which stretches across Argentina and Paraguay – is now being ripped up and converted to US-style ranchland by bulldozers even faster than it was before and the few Indians who live there have never felt more threatened.
This year, the immense Al-Khorayef conglomerate announced it was to spend $400m "irrigating and developing" nearly 200,000 hectares to grow food for Saudi Arabia.
But the conservationists have not given up. The small but effective World Land Trust, has, with local partner Guyra Paraguay, tried to hold a line and now owns 2.5m ha, an area roughly the size of East Anglia.
Today's transformation of the Chaco is an ecological and human tragedy
A human tragedy? Transforming millions of hectares of desert into food producing farms. Upsetting a few nomads, who probably prefer driving air conditioned John Deeres to scratching for bugs to eat in the sand, is a price worth paying to feed millions of hungry mouths.
July 8, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Charlie Watts Edition)
One of the best evenings of my life was the one where I saw his Big Band and Ronnie Scotts, Ringo and Barbara were on the next table and the drive home was great.
Mourning The News of The Screws
The real reason for the Guardian-BBC assault on News International « Autonomous Mind
Make no mistake, I carry no brief for Murdoch. But I cannot stand seeing the British people being misled by his opportunist opponents who have a self serving agenda that is not in the interest of the public.
The hypocrisy and double standards at play here are incredible. The Guardian has not pursued this story for the noble aim of getting at the truth, but in a desperate effort to undermine Rupert Murdoch, with the full connivance of its broadcast arm, the BBC. The phone hacking scandal, while criminal and disgusting, is nothing more than a rider for a campaign where something far greater is at stake - maintaining the left-liberal media consensus that holds sway in this country
DUFF & NONSENSE!: British liberty takes another hit
The political class, of course, are jubilant. On Sky News just now 'Lord' Prescott looked and sounded as excited as he must have done when he was shagging his secretary over his ministerial desk five years ago. To obtain the full, rank measure of this fat, useless, immoral, old has-been, or perhaps never-was, is a better designation, let me tell you that he sneered at the British press for wanting to follow the American way of being allowed to print anything, which they do, of course, because it is enshrined in their constitution, freedom of speech being considered crucial to a civil society by the Founding Fathers. Prescott speaks for virtually all the political class and you can expect a raft of new regulations designed to limit the ability of the press to investigate anyone, particularly if they are important. They will be aided in this endeavor by establishment judges sucking up to European law by strict interpretations of the law of so-called 'Human Rights'. The death of the NoW is merely the beginning. That's one down, they are thinking, now we can go for the rest of the rat-pack, starting with The Sun.
So now we, the people, must open a new front against these despicable rascals who seek to flaunt their power over us. Now the bloggers and the tweeters must arise, especially those who are, or were, journalists, and use their skills and their knowledge and their contacts to maintain, like the skirmishers of the Napoleonic era, a constant barrage of sniper fire aimed at the massed ranks of the trough-swillers set above us. Never mind the bloody Arabs, it's time for a British Spring!
Aerosol is a word most people associate with the bathroom, the kitchen or the garden shed: we tend to use it to mean a spray can, for deodorants, cleaners, weedkillers or whatever. But it has acquired this meaning by extension, and what it originally signified was the fine cloud of particles which come out of the spray can nozzle.
People who still use the word in this original sense are atmospheric scientists....
Are you listening children?
The Noughties turned out to be a peculiar period for climate change, for during them the climate issue grew and grew around the world, as the science and the risks became better understood and familiar to more and more people; and then suddenly it burst, like an overinflated balloon.
Since the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009, the political will to deal with the global warming threat has become enfeebled, and the reason is that most ordinary people have come to consider it as irrelevant to them, as they can see no evidence of it. I mean, can you? After three sodden summers, and two freezing winters?
The great paradox of the Noughties was that, as the climate science became clearer, and the political engagement with it became greater, actual manifestations of warming seemed, to ordinary people anyway, to get fewer and fewer....despite all the kerfuffle about climate change, global temperatures have not noticeably risen during the last decade, and eventually, public concern has withered on the vine.
But, like Arnie, it'll be back. CO2 emissions are long-lived in the atmosphere, lasting for a hundred years; SO2 emissions are short-lived, and can fall out in weeks or months. As soon as the Chinese start fitting sulphur dioxide scrubbers to the chimneys of their coal-fired power stations, as they will, so that people in Chinese cities can ride their bikes without wearing masks, the aerosol will start to disappear, and the surging temperatures it has been holding back will start to make themselves felt.
Go outside. Look up into the sky. Ask yourself, where's all this global warming, then? The answer is, you're being shielded from it, at the moment, by Chinese sulphur.
It has not gone away. It is building up steadily, behind a Chinese pollution screen, and when that screen disappears, we are going to get a terrible surprise.
Boo! Now that was a surprise wasn't it! Don't cry because Nanny will look after you and don't worry you pretty little heads, just give teddy a big hug and we will make it all right.
July 7, 2011
£50 trillion To Stop Climate Change
Governments must invest three per cent of world GDP - about £1.2 trillion in 2010 - annually for 40 years to stop climate change and famine, according to the UN's department of economic and social affairs.
Seems you must be really, really sure of yourself to propose spending that sort of money. Unless it isn't your own money and you get the fun and power of spending it whatever.....
July 6, 2011
Robathan Lies On Repatriation Route Speed Bumps
BBC News - Andrew Robathan defends 'dignified' repatriation route
Mr Robathan said the route would go through the village of Brize Norton, but would not go through the nearby town of Carterton, which had narrow roads with speed bumps "which are not very suitable for corteges".
Speed bumps eh?
Of course it would be wrong to suggest that a dead soldier or two is worth a morning with a JCB scraping them flat. Couldn't do that could we?
But what about the village of Brize Norton?
Yes it has speed bumps and narrow chicanes. Click on the Google Streetview above to explore..
Mr Robathan claims he has personally checked out the route. So why use the excuse of speed bumps when the chosen route doesn't avoid them?
It's a lie.
(How hard is this investigative journalism lark?)
Climate Scientists Feeling Ignored
98% of working climate scientists accept the evidence for human-induced climate change. The voices of dissent reported "for balance" come almost exclusively from researchers who are not publishing in the field.
Unfortunately, this consensus over climate change is in danger of becoming the world's best-kept secret.
Those who have hitherto fought within the ivory towers to establish the science of climate change now need to muster up enough courage to take their fighting spirit out of the laboratory and onto the streets. Activist scientists will soon find themselves wondering why they cowered in the shadows for all those years. After all, as Bronowski also said: "dissent is the native activity of the scientist".
Poor brave scientists, everyone is against them, politicians ignore them, governments don't act, there is no money being spent....really?
July 5, 2011
Abrupt Climate Change
I have spent my few spare minutes over the last few days reviewing the Abrupt or Rapid Climate Change in the Holocene - in the last few thousand years.
There is a lot of evidence that rapid large climate shifts happened in human life expectancy time-scales. The Younger Dryas period, for instance, "collapsed to an extremely abrupt (years-decades) increase in temperature of c. 7 C over just 50 years."
Other step changes in the climate occurred over two or three years.
Rather than write up my notes let me point you to an excellent series of blog postings:
It is normally true to say that weather kills, climate doesn't. but these shifts are so large and sudden that the climate change becomes the weather.
We don't know what causes such massive climate shifts, we know some of the picture but not all.
These natural shifts and changes are greater than any AGW scenario, and if we can't explain them then our modelling has some way to go.
The rapid changes peaked and levelled out, the system shows that positive feedback is limited and doesn't runaway.
The climate is much more unstable than we are lead to believe, we should be prepared to suffer change and survive. And such change may be entirely natural.
So while it may be unwise to experiment with the sleeping tiger by poking it with a carbon stick in case it wakes and roars, it is surely unwiser not to expect that it may wake to bite us at anytime and so it is prudent to expend our energy in becoming richer and safer and bite proof.
July 4, 2011
4th July - A Presidential Celebration
A statue of Ronald Reagan will be unveiled near the US embassy in London on Monday. How did this come about?
Inevitably, the effort to "preserve and promote" Reagan's legacy comes with a big injection of political spin. A quotation attributed to Lady Thatcher, "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot," is etched on to the Reagan statue's plinth.
The epitaph glosses over the pair's good fortune in arriving in power just as the rot inherent in the Soviet system had fatally weakened the whole structure of the society.
On the domestic front, both succeeded in reining in the unions but ultimately failed in the larger goal. The welfare state in America and Britain remains in place and politicians tamper with it at their peril ....
Enough of that mean spirit....
Silvio's Bear Skin
Police have broken up a banquet of bear meat hosted by Silvio Berlusconi's powerful coalition partner in northern Italy after government ministers and animal rights groups described the event as scandalous.
Speaking at the event, Enzo Erminio Boso, a former League senator, said he suspected the raid had been arranged by members of Berlusconi's People of Liberty party who earlier demanded that League leader Umberto Bossi halt proceedings.
So it seems the headline could just as correctly been Berlusconi's Party Prevents Bear Banquet. But it seems the greasy slap head has to be villain of every Guardian story.
July 2, 2011
Bucket of cold water please
The formula for a perfect woman's foot is a size five, wearing three inch heels and red toe nail varnish, according to the study.
First thing I noticed about Mrs E was her feet. Of course, small hands are also very appealing, they are so flattering....
Unsettled Science On Stormy Link
Linking extreme weather to global warming scientifically, whether it is a particularly vicious hurricane in the Caribbean or a drought in the Horn of Africa, has been considered nigh on impossible. Until now.
Kevin Trenberth of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado is one of several climate scientists who believes it is time to look again at extreme storms, floods and droughts to see if a change signal can be detected.
He believes, for instance, that Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, was made much deadlier by the extra heat of the ocean and added moisture in the air.
"Instead of the observed 12 inches of rain they had in New Orleans [due to Katrina] they would have had 11 inches, but frequently these days the little bit extra is the straw that breaks the camel's back, it's that little bit extra that breaks the levy," Dr Trenberth said.
This type of thinking will infuriate the climate doubters who dismiss any link of an extreme storm, flood or drought with climate change. But there is little doubt some climate scientists now want to go on the offensive, believing global warming really is beginning to have an impact on people's lives.
Linking extreme weather with climate change is now to be investigated scientifically
Fair enough, Kev wants to look for a climate change signal in extreme weather events, not doubt that is a nice juicy research project but one that needs to be done. Just shows the science isn't settled, though from the headlines and quotes it seems that the researchers have a fairly clear idea what their research will prove.
July 1, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Original Good Year Edition)
I had never heard it sung by the songwriter before.
"This has the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally," wrote one official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose name has been redacted. "We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this. We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear."
The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, condemned the extent of co-ordination between the government and nuclear companies that the emails appear to reveal.
"The government has no business doing PR for the industry and it would be appalling if its departments have played down the impact of Fukushima," he said.
And Zac, how may people died from Fukushima radiation and how many will die from lack of cheap energy in the future? And all that guff about windmills or solar the government puts out in collaboration with the green energy industry, you are on the baricades against that as well?
Time to get Viking on them
Together with the United Kingdom, Denmark is playing a leading role in the international work to fight piracy. Recently the Danish government presented a comprehensive piracy strategy encompassing political, military, legal and capacity building measures. Any viable solution requires stronger national mechanisms for prosecution and incarceration of apprehended pirates.
Denmark is chairing the international working group under the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia dealing with these crucial legal issues. The group, consisting of representatives from more than 55 countries and organisations, met for the eighth time in Copenhagen this week.
The working group has contributed significantly to facilitating co-operation between states on the legal aspects of piracy. This co-operation includes inter alia common legal standards in several areas linked to the military efforts and the prosecution of suspected pirates.
Lene Espersen is the Danish foreign minister
Working parties meeting in agreeable cities... how very nice. There is a simpler solution to piracy which doesn't involve croissants and expense accounts.