April 30, 2012
The O2 Olympic Venue Welcome Video
As an experiment, the Guardian attempted to shoot video footage of the O2 arena from a public road on its southern edge, only a few minutes' walk from the main entrance.
Very quickly the reporter was challenged by O2 security guards, who made a series of demands with no basis in law. They ordered that the filming stop â "We've requested you to not do it because we don't like it" â and that they be shown any existing footage. Asked on what basis they could demand this, one replied: "It's under the terrorist law. We are an Olympic venue." Another added: "You have, for want of a better word, breached our security by videoing it [the O2]."
At one point they refused to allow the reporter to leave. One said: "It's gone too far for that."
Guards are entitled to challenge suspicious behaviour and call the police. However, they have no additional legal powers on public land. While such overreach is not uncommon it is often followed by a management apology.
An O2 spokesman defended the guards' approach. He said: "On the basis that [the reporter was] filming areas of the O2 that are not usually of interest to the public, our security staff's approach and handling of the situation was entirely appropriate."
It was routine policy to intercept anyone filming the arena from public land, he added: "We work with the media and others to accommodate requests to film in and around the O2, which is situated on private property, but when we observe filming of the O2's infrastructure and access points it is our policy to approach individuals so we can take the appropriate course of action." The same policy was in force with people taking still photographs from public vantage points, he said.
The civil rights campaign group Liberty said it was alarmed. Its legal officer Corinna Ferguson, said: "There's no power stopping a person taking photographs on public land, let alone to arrest them or seize property, without reasonable suspicion they've committed an offence. Police officers or security guards who get this wrong could well find themselves in trouble with the law.
"With all eyes on London during the Olympics what a terrible message it would send if Londoners and tourists face harassment from the authorities merely for snapping the capital's landmarks."
Good Warming vs Bad Warming - Wind The Answer
Large windfarms can increase local night time temperatures by fanning warmer air onto the ground, new research has revealed. The study used satellite data to show that the building of huge wind farms in west Texas over the last decade has warmed the nights by up to 0.72C.
"Wind power is going to be a part of the solution to the climate change, air pollution and energy security problem," said Liming Zhou, at the University of Albany in New York; "The warming might have positive effects, Furthermore, this study is focused only on one region and for only 9 years. Much more work is needed before we can draw any conclusion."
A note of unusual caution , or application for research funds as it is normally known - as he grapples with positive warming to beat nasty climate change.
April 29, 2012
Guardian - "there is now little to distinguish a supposedly well-meaning, leftist Green from a far-right eco enthusiast."
Debunking the popular view that equates eco-friendliness with cuddly, left-leaning greens, ...Hotbeds of far-right eco-warriors are to be found throughout Germany. In the Mecklenburg region in the north, they have been quietly settling in communities since the 1990s in an effort to reinvigorate the traditions of the Artaman League – a farming movement whose roots lie in the 19th century romantic ideal of "blood and soil" ruralism, which was adopted by the Nazis. Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, was a member.
At the same time as it was butchering millions of people, the Nazi party supported animal rights and nature conservation. But it is disturbing for many Germans to think that while they support local producers and reject genetically modified food, pesticides and intensive livestock farming, there is now little – superficially at least – to distinguish a supposedly well-meaning, leftist Green from a far-right eco enthusiast.
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
April 28, 2012
The Brave Green Future
THE residents of Foula, Scotland’s most remote inhabited island which achieved a remarkable first by becoming 100 per cent self-sufficient with renewable energy, are now forced to endure black-outs.
An all-night black-out has had to be brought into force for the 22 homes on the isolated Shetland community, because of teething problems in the island’s £1.5 million hydro and solar power schemes.
Foula’s three wind turbines have been out of action since Christmas, when 100mph winds damaged the blades of one of the turbines.
Now islanders are back to relying on costly diesel generator until the faults can be rectified.
Two years ago the islanders, who live 20 miles from the Shetland mainland, were awarded £200,000 in funding from the Big Lottery Fund towards their combination of wind, solar and hydro power, enabling Foula to become the first Shetland community to become self-sufficient in energy. The final phase was completed last October.
But it has been revealed a series of problems with the pioneering green energy scheme has left the islanders having to rely on back-up diesel generators to power their homes.
And, because of crippling fuel costs, they are operating a blackout from 12:30am to 7am.
April 27, 2012
Friday Night is Music Night (Reminder To Buy Your Tickets Edition)
Saturday, 26th May 2012
The Kings Arms, Pub Lane
All Cannings, Wiltshire SN10 3PA
CONFIRMED TO APPEAR
** COMPERE - BOB HARRIS **
THE DAVE KELLY BLUES BAND
SAS BAND + SPECIAL GUESTS
Brian May, Kerry Ellis, Madeline Bell, Midge Ure, Tom Robinson, Chris Thompson, Patti Russo, & The Fabba Girls
BBC Radio presenter & DJ
Certain artist's contractual obligations with other events in the South West means we are not allowed to announce that they WILL be performing at this concert.
How's That Forecast Working Out For You?
SUMMARY - PRECIPITATION:
The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier-than-average conditions for April-May-June as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the
driest of the 3 months.
With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April-May-June period.
The probability that UK precipitation for April-May-June will fall into the driest of our five categories is 20-25% whilst the probability that it will fall into
the wettest of our five categories is 10-15% (the 1971-2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).
Boo Hoo Cries Climate "Scientist"
An Australian television documentary that gives equal weight to a climate sceptic and a believer has been strongly criticised by scientists as unfairly skewing the evidence on global warming.
Scientists and environmentalists say the film gives the misleading impression that the debate on the science of climate change is not settled.
"At best, only a couple of per cent of the world's climate scientists query the basic science so having an equal proportion of sceptics on any programme totally biases the debate," said Professor Andy Pittman, co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
"The problem with people like Morano is that they have a very forceful way of putting their arguments, even though each one of them is wrong. Because he comes across as very slick, people believe him," he said.
"People watch a programme like this and they think there's a scientific debate. It's a lose, lose situation for climate scientists," he said.
Guess which side is losing in the poll the programme is running...
April 25, 2012
Biodiversity - the replacement scare.
Twenty years ago, the Earth Summit in Rio resulted in a Convention on Biological Diversity, now signed by 193 nations, to prevent species loss. But can we tell how many species are becoming extinct?
One statement on the Convention's website claims: "We are indeed experiencing the greatest wave of extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs."
While that may (or may not) be true, the next sentence is spuriously precise: "Every hour three species disappear. Every day up to 150 species are lost."
Even putting aside the apparent mathematical error in that claim (on the face of it, if three species are disappearing every hour, 72 would be lost every day) there is an obvious problem in generating any such number. No-one knows how many species exist. And if we don't know a species exists, we won't miss it when it's gone....
It is possible to count the number of species known to be extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) does just that. It has listed 801 animal and plant species (mostly animal) known to have gone extinct since 1500.
But if it's really true that up to 150 species are being lost every day, shouldn't we expect to be able to name more than 801 extinct species in 512 years?
...That's why scientists prefer to use a mathematical model to estimate species loss.
Recently, however, that model has been attacked in the pages of Nature. Professor Stephen Hubbell from the University of California, Los Angeles, says that an error in the model means that it has - for years - over-estimated the rate of species loss....
The level of uncertainty faced by researchers in this field means it is perhaps not surprising that no-one can be sure of the scale of species loss. It also means that when a representative of the Convention of Biological Diversity claimed "every hour three species disappear" he must have known it was too precise.
But the fact that the precise extinction rate is unknowable does not prove that the problem is imagined.
Braulio Dias, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, says: "We know that the drivers behind species loss are mostly increasing - land conversion and degradation, pollution, climate change. And of course the human population is still growing and consumption is growing - and most of that consumption is not sustainable."
Professor Hubbell, too, thinks species loss is a serious issue, even though he believes it has been exaggerated.
According to IUCN data, for example, only one animal has been definitely identified as having gone extinct since 2000. It was a mollusc.
Exaggerated numbers, wild estimates from inadequate models, spurious precision of urgency of problem, non-sustainable consumption and human population growth to blame, why does this all sound so familiar.
April 24, 2012
Traveller Update (The Last One I Hope)
Plod refused to use their powers so I contacted some very nice gentlemen in the morning who operating under the Common Law rights of Landowners came down in the afternoon and gave the travellers a notice and a promise to be back today with a tow truck.
The caravans went very quickly.
Note to self - Don't bother even phoning the police next time.
EU Teaching Kids About Climate Change Resources
Eu - Teachers' Corner - 0 to 9 years
What scorching weather!
This book explains the causes and effects of climate change through the story of a boy who helps firemen extinguish a forest fire and save his friend Lila the fox.
And so on...pass the sick bag. - but they also say "You are welcome to tell us what you think about the teaching resources on Teachers’ Corner. Click on “Your review” and then rate or comment on a resource."
Peter Stott - Met Office - On Climate Models
Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the U.K.’s respected Met Office Hadley Centre, agreed Lovelock had been too alarmist with claims about people having to live in the Arctic by 2100.
And he also agreed with Lovelock that the rate of warming in recent years had been less than expected by the climate models.
However, Stott said this was a short-term trend that could be within the natural range of variation and it would need to continue for another 10 years or so before it could be considered evidence that something was missing from climate models.
Stott said temperature records and other observations were “broadly speaking continuing to pan out” with what was expected.
He said there did need to be greater understanding of the effect of the oceans on the climate and added that air particles caused by pollution – which cool the Earth by reflecting the sun’s heat -- from rapidly developing countries like China could be having an effect.
So the oceans which hold gazillions times more thermal energy than the air might not be modelled correctly, as Bob Tisdale says elsewhere today but otherwise all is tickety boo for the next ten years
when I can retire and collect my pension..
April 23, 2012
Solar Thermal Economic Madness
I have just had a quote for a 1403kWh/a solar hot water system land on my desk - the figures are very similar to the official website which is trying to sell us the systems.
The cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is around £4,800 (including VAT at 5%). Savings are moderate - the system could provide most of your hot water in the summer, but much less during colder weather.
For peace of mind some installation companies offer an annual service check.
You should have your system checked more thoroughly by an accredited installer every 3-7 years, or as specified by your installer. It is likely that after this period of time the anti-freeze that is used to protect your system in the winter months will need to topped up or be replaced as it breaks down over time reducing the performance of your system. Anti-freeze lasts better if the solar water system is used throughout the year and not left unused during the warmest weeks of the year. This cost of replacing the anti-freezer is usually around £100.
The other thing that your installer should check is the pump. In a well maintained system, pumps can last for ten years plus and usually cost around £90 to replace.
Based on the results of our recent field trial, typical savings from a well-installed and properly used system are £55 per year when replacing gas heating and £80 per year when replacing electric immersion heating; however, savings will vary from user to user.
Typical carbon savings are around 230kgCO2/year when replacing gas and 510kgCO2/year when replacing electric immersion heating.
Am I missing something here? £4800 to save a maximum of £80 a year, except the costs of servicing will be about £10 a year on the pump and £20 a year on antifreeze all plus labour. So the servicing will probably cost more than the savings. Life expectancy of system? 25 years?
There is a £300 grant on installation and the promise of a renewable heat incentive in the future but it all appears to be madness. All to save half a tonne of CO2 a year which I could buy for about £5.
23rd April - This Day In History - Freedom
"The Germans abandoned the camp shortly after midnight. During the night we heard artillery fire not very distant, and machine gun fire just outside the camp. Russian cavalry rode into camp at 0745 hrs. The red flag was hoisted on the highest building, and flags of all other nationals were also flown. Russian and Serbian X P.O.W. marched out at 1000 hrs."
But if the British POWs had expected instant repatriation, they were soon disappointed. The American lines were still 25 miles to the west, and the British and American POWs were now in Soviet-occupied territory. The frustration with the bureaucratic Russians, and the sense that games of politics were being played, would mount over the next few days until some of the soldiers - Robert Otterson among them - would take matters into their own hands. His account is here.
My father's story was very similar.
St George's Day - A Speech
...(An) Englishman is like a built-up gun barrel, all one temper though welded of many different materials, and he has strong powers of resistance. Roman, Dane, Norman, Papist, Cromwellian, Stuart, Hollander, Hanoverian, Upper Class, Middle Class, Democracy, each in turn through a thousand years experimented on him and tried to make him to their own liking. He met them each in turn with a large silent toleration, which each in turn mistook for native stupidity. He gave them each in turn a fair trial and, when he had finished with them, an equally fair dismissal. As an additional safeguard he devised for himself a social system in watertight compartments, so arranged that neither the waters of popular emotion nor the fires of private revenge could sweep his ship of State from end to end. If, in spite of this, the domestic situation became too much for him he could always take a ship and go to sea, and there seek or impose the peace which the Papal Legate, or the Mediaeval Trade Union, or a profligate Chancellor of the Exchequer denied to him at home. And thus, gentlemen—not in a fit of absence of mind—was the Empire born. It was the outcome of the relaxations of persecuted specialists—men who for one cause or another were unfit for the rough and tumble of life at home. They did it for change and rest, exactly as we used to take our summer holidays, and, like ourselves, they took their national habits with them. For example, they did not often gather together with harps and rebecks to celebrate their national glories, or to hymn their national heroes. When they did not take them both for granted, they, like ourselves, generally denied the one and did their best to impeach the other. But, by some mysterious rule-of-thumb magic, they did establish and maintain reasonable security and peace among simple folk in very many parts of the world, and that, too, without overmuch murder, robbery, oppression, or torture.
One secret of the success of the English was, perhaps, their imperturbable tolerance. A race that has been persecuted, or—what comes to the same thing—bored, by every persecuted refugee to whom they have ever given an asylum, naturally learns to tolerate anything. Their immensely mixed origin, too, made the English in a very real sense “akin to all the universe”, and sympathetic in their dumb way with remote Gods and strange people. Above all, their long insular experience of imported brain-storms had taught them that men should not try to do better than good for fear lest worse than bad might follow. And there has been enough of worse than bad in the world for the last few years....
You can't improve on the master, the rest is worth reading.
Full text below:
England and the English - Rudyard Kipling
Speech to the Royal Society of St. George given by Rudyard Kipling: April 1920
I THINK this is an occasion on which it behoves us all to walk rather circumspectly. If you will let me, I will try and tell you why. About sixteen hundred years ago, when Rome was mistress of the world and the Picts and the Scots lived on the other side of the Wall that ran from Newcastle to Carlisle, the story goes that Rome allowed all those peoples one night in the year in which they could say aloud exactly what they thought of Rome, without fear of the consequences. So then, on that one night of the year, they would creep out of the heather in droves and light their little wandering fires and criticise their Libyan Generals and their Roman Pontiffs and the Eastern camp followers, who looked down on them from the top of the great high unbreakable Roman Wall sixteen hundred years ago.
To-day, Imperial Rome is dead. The Wall is down and the Picts and the Scots are on this side of it, but thanks to our Royal Society of St. George, there still remains one night in the year when the English can creep out of their hiding-places and whisper to each other exactly what we think about ourselves. No, it is not quite safe to criticise our masters—our masters who tax us and educate us, and try us, and minister so abundantly to what they instruct us our wants ought to be. Since these masters of ours have not yet quite the old untroubled assurance of power and knowledge that made Rome so tolerant in the days when the Picts and the Scots lived on the other side of the Wall, we will confine ourselves to our own popular and widely recognised defects.
Some of our severest critics, who, of course, are of our own household, have said that there never was such a thing as the English Race—that it is at best the intolerably insolent outcome of ancient invasions and immigrations, freshened with more recent Continental gaol-deliveries. Far be it from me to traverse such statements. I give them on no less authority than that of the late Mr. Daniel Defoe, Liveryman of the City of London, author of Robinson Crusoe and of a pamphlet called The True-born Englishman. He deals very faithfully with the English. So faithfully that, in deference to the susceptibilities of some races, I will not give his version of the Englishman’s pedigree, but in his summing up of the true-born Englishman, Defoe says:
A true-born Englishman’s a contradiction,
In speech an irony, in fact a fiction,
A metaphor intended to express
A man akin to all the Universe.
In that last line it seems to me that Defoe slips into a blessing where he meant to curse, because a man “akin to all the Universe” cannot be wholly lost. He must have some points of contact with humanity. And the Englishman has had several.
The Phoenicians taught him the rudiments of shopkeeping; the Romans taught him love of sport by hiring him to fight wild beasts in their arenas. Under the Heptarchy he studied Social Reform, which in those unenlightened days consisted of raising levies on capital in order to buy off the Heathen of the North from taking direct action against English industries. He next took a three-hundred-years’ course of colloquial and Law French under eminent Norman teachers. He did not learn that language then or since, but it left him with a profound respect, based on experience, for his neighbours across the Channel, and a conviction, which time has deepened, that they were the only other people in the world who mattered.
For five hundred years his affairs, domestic and foreign, were controlled by French, Italian, Spanish, with occasional Austrian, politico-ecclesiastical authorities, who tried to teach him that “this realm of England” was but part of a vast international organisation destined to embrace, protect, and instruct all mankind. He escaped from those embraces only to find himself subjected to the full rigours of the Puritan Conscience, which at that time was largely directed by gentle men from Geneva, Leyden, Amsterdam, and the Low Countries. While thus engaged he was, under pretext of union, finally and fatally subjugated by the Scot. A few years later he embarked on the swelling tide of party politics in all their attendant purity; since which he has seldom been allowed to look back, and never forward.
I submit that such a nightmare of national experiences would have driven an unmixed race to the edge of lunacy. But the Englishman is like a built-up gun barrel, all one temper though welded of many different materials, and he has strong powers of resistance. Roman, Dane, Norman, Papist, Cromwellian, Stuart, Hollander, Hanoverian, Upper Class, Middle Class, Democracy, each in turn through a thousand years experimented on him and tried to make him to their own liking. He met them each in turn with a large silent toleration, which each in turn mistook for native stupidity. He gave them each in turn a fair trial and, when he had finished with them, an equally fair dismissal. As an additional safeguard he devised for himself a social system in watertight compartments, so arranged that neither the waters of popular emotion nor the fires of private revenge could sweep his ship of State from end to end. If, in spite of this, the domestic situation became too much for him he could always take a ship and go to sea, and there seek or impose the peace which the Papal Legate, or the Mediaeval Trade Union, or a profligate Chancellor of the Exchequer denied to him at home. And thus, gentlemen—not in a fit of absence of mind—was the Empire born. It was the outcome of the relaxations of persecuted specialists—men who for one cause or another were unfit for the rough and tumble of life at home. They did it for change and rest, exactly as we used to take our summer holidays, and, like ourselves, they took their national habits with them. For example, they did not often gather together with harps and rebecks to celebrate their national glories, or to hymn their national heroes. When they did not take them both for granted, they, like ourselves, generally denied the one and did their best to impeach the other. But, by some mysterious rule-of-thumb magic, they did establish and maintain reasonable security and peace among simple folk in very many parts of the world, and that, too, without overmuch murder, robbery, oppression, or torture.
One secret of the success of the English was, perhaps, their imperturbable tolerance. A race that has been persecuted, or—what comes to the same thing—bored, by every persecuted refugee to whom they have ever given an asylum, naturally learns to tolerate anything. Their immensely mixed origin, too, made the English in a very real sense “akin to all the universe”, and sympathetic in their dumb way with remote Gods and strange people. Above all, their long insular experience of imported brain-storms had taught them that men should not try to do better than good for fear lest worse than bad might follow. And there has been enough of worse than bad in the world for the last few years. Our national weakness for keeping to the easiest road to the latest possible minute sooner than inconvenience ourselves or our neighbours has been visited upon us full tale. After ninety-nine years of peace the English were given ninety-six hours in which to choose whether they would buy a little longer peace from the Heathen of the North, as some of their ancestors had done, or whether they would make peace with them as our King Alfred made it with the Danes. It was a race that had almost forgotten how to say “No” to anybody who said “Yes” in a sufficiently loud voice. It seemed as if it had quite forgotten that it had broken a Church, killed a King, closed a Protectorate and exiled another King, sooner than be driven where it did not want to go. But when its hour came, once again it decided to go its own way, and once again by instinct. For it had prepared nothing—it had foreseen nothing. It had been assured that not only was there no need for preparation against war, but that the mere thought of preparation against war was absurd where it was not criminal. Therefore, through the first two years of the war, it was necessary to throw up a barricade of the dead bodies of the nation’s youth behind which the most elementary preparations could be begun.
There has been no such slaughter of the English in English history, but the actual war was no more than a large-scale repetition of previous national experiences. If an Elizabethan Statesman (or adventurer) could have returned to England during the war he would, I think, in a very short time have been able to pick up his office work almost where he dropped it. His reports and his maps would have been a little more detailed, but he would have been surprisingly abreast of the whole situation.
Where the old English influence had struck deep all the world over, he would have seen help and comfort hurried up to all the fronts from all the world over without count or tale, without word or bond to limit or confirm it. Where the old alien influences that he knew so well had persisted, or where the new influences directed by the old were at work, he would have seen, as he would have expected, all help for the war denied, withheld, or doled out grudgingly, piecemeal at a high price. He would have recognised that what held firm in the days of the Armada held firm at Armageddon: that what had broken beneath his hand then was rotten in our hand now. Bar a few minor differences of equipment, he would have felt just like any sailor or soldier returning to some bitterly familiar job of sea-patrol or trench life between ’14 and ’18. Like those men he would have taken for granted a great deal upon which other nations might have wasted valuable thought and attention. Our stories of Coronel and Zeebrugge, of the English county battalions not one year old that died to the last man as a matter of routine on the fronts that they were ordered to hold, would have moved him no more and no less than the little affair of Sir Richard Grenville off Flores, in the Revenge. That troopers of County Yeomanry in Mesopotamia, picked almost at random, could, single-handed and by sheer force of character, control and conciliate in a few days a turbulent Arab village, would have amazed him no more and no less than any tale of Panama, or of our first venture across the world, told him by Sir Francis Drake or any forgotten captain of the same age. Being of the breed he would have known the breed and would have taken the work of the breed for granted.
And herein, as I see it, lies the strength of the English—that they have behind them this continuity of immensely varied race-experience and race-memory, running equally through all classes back to the very dawn of our dawn. This imposes on them unconsciously, even while they deny or deride it, standards of achievement and comparison, hard perhaps, and perhaps a little unsympathetic, but not low—not low—and, as all earth is witness, not easily to be lowered. And that is the reason why in the things nearest our hearts we praise so little and criticise so lavishly. It is the only compliment which an Englishman dare pay to his country.
As you know, our standards of achievement and comparison do not appear on the surface; nor are they much in men’s mouths. When they are, they are mostly translated into terms of sport or the slang of our various games. But whenever the English deal in earnest with each other, or with the outside world, those standards are taken for granted. And it is by the things that we take for granted without word that we live. It was taken for granted during the war that every day was St. George’s Day, on one or other of our seven fronts.
And now, we and our kin, after these great years, are sick, dizzy, and shaken—like all convalescents, a little inclined to pity ourselves, a little inclined to stay as long as possible on a diet of invalid slops, and a little more than inclined to mistake the hysteria of convalescence for the symptoms of returning life and thought. Here also instinct tells us that the weight, the range, and the evenly spread richness of our national past should ballast us sufficiently to navigate through whatever storms—or brain-storms—there may be ahead. And we are threatened with several.
One school of thought, Muscovite in origin, holds, as the Danes held twelve hundred years ago, that rapine and scientific torture will elevate our ideals, which up to the present have merely taught us to try to do our duty to our God and our neighbour. Others are content to work for the organised bankruptcy of whatsoever is of good repute, including the systematic betrayal of our friends, very much on the same lines as some people used to panic after every Crusade and every visitation of the plague. We are further promised an unparalleled outbreak of education, guaranteed to produce a standardised State-aided mind. The Church evolved almost a parallel system in the Middle Ages, which, much to her surprise, produced the Reformation.
Lastly, lest we should ever again lapse into our “pathetic contentment”, the breed which organised at a week’s notice to achieve the impossible and achieved it—by earth, sea, and air achieved it—is now, as a reward, to be ruthlessly reorganised in every detail of its life, walk, and conduct. That great work was begun by William the Conquerer, Anno Domini 1066, and has been before Committee or Commission ever since.
Norman, Papist, Cromwellian, Stuart, Hollander, Hanoverian, Upper Class, Middle Class, Democracy, have each in turn tried their fleeting hand on the “man akin to all the Universe”. From each in turn he has taken what he wanted; to each in turn he has given a fair trial; and, when he has quite finished, an equally fair dismissal.
What will he do in the future?. We are too near to the dust of the main battle to see clearly. We know that England is crippled by the loss and wastage of a whole generation, and that her position, from the civil point of view to-day, is the position of our armies in the darkest days of the war. That is to say, all leave is stopped for any man who can manage to stand up to his job, no matter how sick or stale he may feel himself to be, and there is undreamed-of promotion for untried men who, simply because they are not dead, will now have to face heavier responsibility, longer hours, and criticism that certainly will not grow milder as the years pass. But no miracles have occurred.
This world of ours, which some of us in their zeal to do better than good have helped to create, but which we must all inherit, is not a new world, but the old world grown harder. The wheel has come full circle. The whole weight of the world at the present moment lies again, as it used to lie in the time of our fathers, on the necks of two nations, England and France. The sole force under God’s good Providence that can meet this turn of our fate, is not temperament, not opportunism, nor any effort to do better than good, but character and again character—such mere ingrained, common-sense, hand-hammered, loyal strength of character as one humbly dares to hope that fifteen hundred years of equality of experience have given us.
If this hope be true—and because we know the breed in our hearts we know that it is true—if this hope be justified, our children’s children, looking back through the luminous years to where we here stumble and falter, will say to themselves: “Was it possible—was it possible that the English of that age did not know, could not see, dared not even guess, to what height of strength, wisdom, and enduring honour they had lifted their land?”
But we will be circumspect! My lords, ladies and gentlemen—for what there is of it—for such as it is—and for what it may be worth—will you drink to England and the English?
April 22, 2012
Update - apparently the local Inspector isn't going to do anything because he decided on Friday afternoon that no criminal damage has occurred. He defined criminal damage as permanently depriving of property, which as any fule knows is the definition of theft - Criminal damage is defined by the Criminal Damage Act 1971 which provided a definition wide enough to apply to any tangible property. By section 1(1) of the Act:
A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.
The inspector apparently only works Mon-Fri 9-5.
Earth Day Celebrate With A Tree Hugger
Bioaerosols - the new scare
there are fears that the bioaerosols produced by such waste could be damaging to health...Bioaerosols can contain fungal spores and bacteria are harmful to human health..... They’re everywhere, particularly in rural environments, and include fungal spores and bacteria. Commercial scale composting activities tend to generate large amounts of them.
April 20, 2012
Friday Night is Music Night (Mr Guitar Edition)
The Dot Green Crash
Andrew Shepherd-Barron, a specialist in the clean tech sector at brokers Peel Hunt, has just come up with a review of share price performances and describes the green scene as a "graveyard" for investors globally. He claims alternative energy, water waste and carbon companies have performed "worse even than the dotcom experience". A year ago, 18 of 27 early-stage clean tech stocks tracked by Peel Hunt had disappeared from the market after floating, with minimal returns to shareholders. The remaining third have survived the intervening year, although not one has seen its share price rise.
Which is probably why such companies depend on taxpayer money rather than investors.
Polar Bear Survival
Endangered predator may be particularly vulnerable to rapid climate change.
So the fact it has survived 600,000 rather than just 150,000 years of whatever weather the Arctic throws at it makes it more vulnerable?
But the Indy reader has it all worked out...
Since polar bears are white, you might have thought the climate deniers over on DT comment sections would be more concerned about their fate.
Climate Change Deniers are white racists obviously...
April 19, 2012
Busy Defending The Castle
These charming gentlemen of the road set up camp last weekend in my lane (there are another couple of vans unseen in the picture).
I have had trouble persuading the Police that I own the land, the public merely has a right to use it as a Byway to pass and repass along it. The highway agency have confirmed this but the Police do not want to use their powers under Section 61 CJPOA 1994, even though criminal damage is occurring, and so are prevaricating. (See below)
I have officially asked the travellers to leave nicely and been officially reasonable by giving them a couple of days to do so.
They don't appear to want to so I may have to assert my rights.
I may be busy for the next few days.
Section 61 CJPOA 1994 If the senior police officer present believes that: a) Two or more persons have entered land as trespassers with the common intention of residing there for any purpose; and b) reasonable steps have been taken by or on behalf of the occupier to ask them to leave; and either; i) any of them has caused damage to the land or property on the land, or ii) any of them has used threatening, insulting words or behaviour to the landowner or a member of his family, or iii) they have six or more vehicles on the land, he may direct those persons, or any of them, to leave the land and to remove any vehicles or other property they have with them on the land. These provisions are also extended to cover all rights of way on the definitive map and land to which the public has access including common land. A direction to leave may also be given where temporary consent had been given by the landowner for persons to reside on his land and that consent had been breached. The offence occurs if a person knowing that such direction has been given which applies to him/her and either: Fails to leave the land as soon as reasonably practicable, or having left, again enters the land as a trespasser within the period of three months, beginning with the day on which the direction was given. Section 61 and 62A-E confer powers on the police not a duty. Police guidance does acknowledge that the power under section 61 does not require the landowner to have applied for a court order for possession nor should it be used as a last resort. The Act does not define damage but makes reference to the Criminal Damage Act 1971 when defining property. Police guidance recommends a common sense approach and states that damage has included: Churned up ground caused by heavy vehicles; diesel, spillages; animal and human excrement; destroyed fencing and spoiled crops. Police guidance specifies that the dumping of litter and rubbish may fall within the category of damage depending on the severity of the particular situation and each case must be looked at on its merits.
April 18, 2012
The Olympics - A Suitable Symbol The £5000 Castle Built On Sand
The giant sandcastle built in Weymouth to mark 100 days until the Olympics has been taken down already over of safety fears.
It took four days to build and cost the London Games Organising Committee £5,000.
They tell us though they were only going to keep it there for a short time so they could take photos.
"This extensive coverage , linked to the London 2012 Games, helps to promote Weymouth & Portland and Dorset around the world in print media, online and on TV. Paid for by LOCOG, the image has secured tourism coverage valued way in excess of the cost of building the sandcastle and staging the photo shoot."
Wasting £5000 on a photo-op - how very suitable a symbol for the Perspire A Generation Olympics.
Bees, try taking more water with it.
Honey bees that dance to give directions to flowers make more errors when performing horizontally due to gravity, say researchers.
Saturday night, haven't we all made a few more errors due to "gravity" when we try to dance horizontally....
@leohickman #eh Brings Us Good News Every Day
Environment news, comment and analysis from the Guardian | Environment | The Guardian
leohickman: Reuters: UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed 1,000 trillion cubic feet http://t.co/BluUJcTf #eg
about 16 hours, 15 minutes ago
leohickman: Just what Oz needs: it's own branch of Taxpayers' Alliance (w/ climate sceptics on board of advisers, natch) http://t.co/1yVrq4BG #eg
about 20 hours, 57 minutes ago
leohickman: Another day, another right-wing politician doubts climate science. This time: Canada http://t.co/vhSOQEHO #eg
about 21 hours, 19 minutes ago
UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet. - Wow!
The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance is a unique grassroots advocacy & activist organisation, dedicated to standing up for hardworking Australian taxpayers. We oppose the high taxes, wasteful spending, and crippling red tape that are hurting Aussie families and businesses, and provide a voice for everyone who opposes the big-government agenda. Our first priority is the repeal of the unnecessary and destructive Gillard-Brown tax on carbon dioxide!
Sign me up Cobber.
The woman leading a front-running party in Alberta's provincial election has cast doubt on the widely accepted scientific theory that human activity is a leading cause of global warming.
"We have always said the science isn't settled and we need to continue to monitor the debate," said Smith in response to a direct question from a reader.
A sensible answer. Great to hear from a politician.
I suppose he thinks they are good news stories, doesn't he?
April 17, 2012
Greenpeace - No Free Speech For Deniers
Don't the deniers have a right to free speech?
There's a difference between free speech and a campaign to deny the climate science with the goal of undermining international action on climate change.However, there's also responsibility that goes with freedom of speech - which is based around honesty and transparency.Freedom of speech does not apply to misinformation and propaganda.
Scary that they put this on their website without a worry.
April 16, 2012
Whose Money Is It?
....if you think the principle of the government butting out of your life is so valuable that ministers should just stand by and allow you to burn your own money..(This is a point of) view which really stuns...
Yes Damian I do believe that the Government should butt out of my life if I want to set fire to a pile of fivers, or spent it on women and song, or buy a racing bike or even splurge out on a copy of the Guardian.
And that makes me an extemist?
April 10, 2012
No Climate Change Effect On US Forest Growth
When the group first set their hiking boots in New Hampshire’s Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), they thought they would find a clear effect of climate change on the dramatic 90% nitrogen level drop in temperate forest watersheds over the last 46 years. As a powerful driver of ecological processes, warming was a prime suspect, particularly given the higher soil temperatures and longer growing seasons of recent years. Instead, they found that the fall in nitrogen levels stems from a cocktail of human influences, including heavy logging, air pollution, and agricultural fertilizer as well as climate change—and that these inputs are obscuring the true baselines against which we can meaningfully judge any “change.”
“We have to be very clear about what a baseline is, and we cannot just assume a simple effect due to climate change,” Hedin said. He stressed the importance of scientists providing the public with accurate representations of how social and ecological factors are tied together within an ecosystem. “The process of science is often divide and conquer, but when it comes to climate change it’s the interactions that really matter.” That’s a crucial message not just for scientists, but also for policymakers and the public: that a single focus on a single issue doesn’t really work in the real-life laboratory. The world outside the test tube is a complex one – largely because of our presence in it – and when we put together our natural experiments or concoct climate legislation it’s worth remembering the messy fingerprints we leave behind every day that are muddying every equation.
“Most startling is perhaps the lack of any evidence for direct effects of climate change on net vegetation growth and plant [nitrogen] demand,” the scientists wrote in their paper, published in a February issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
So they wanted to find an effect, were honest enough to report they couldn't find one but witter on as though they did..
Comparisons among stations should be made with caution because data have not been corrected for possible instrument bias. -99.0 is the missing value when the weather station is not operating. Otherwise if a day is missed, the value for that day has been estimated from values at the other stations. Estimated values are not flagged. The Fahrenheit to Celcius conversion and rounding to whole degrees Centigrade leads to considerable underrepresentation of -5, 0, 5, 10, etc. values.
April 9, 2012
Never Mind The Facts Just Act On Sustainability
It's a question many people have probably asked themselves, seeing the ever-increasing environmental degradation around the world: why aren't we doing more to protect our planet?
Achim Steiner has an answer of sorts. He thinks things are so bad that people can't quite grasp it.
He is worth listening to, because there are not many individuals who could be said to have a truly comprehensive overview of the state of the planet. This 50-year-old Brazilian-German is the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), the part of the UN family that deals with planetary ills, and he has spent a long career trying to help communities across the world...
He can see the trends, quite clearly, because it is his job to, and he talks about them vividly: agriculture which is no longer "a management of that one metre of arable land on which we depend for virtually everything that grows" but a process which "very often has become a mining operation"; oceans which have been overexploited to the point where "two-thirds or more of the fish stocks are either at maximum offtake or actually depleting"; carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere "to the point where we are actually fundamentally changing the climate prospects of our planet"....
"A classic illustration is the ... luxury of this continued debate about scientific uncertainty with climate change. If even 10 per cent of what the IPCC [the UN's Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change] said were to come true, it should actually make us sit up and say immediately, 'change course!'."
But we don't say that, Mr Steiner believes, because "there is an accelerating set of trends, from the atmosphere to the biosphere, to our ability to feed ourselves in a world which will soon have nine billion people, that gives us a sense of what will happen in the next 20, 30, 50 years, that we have simply not yet begun to appreciate".
Yes the trends - better able to feed the growing population, cleaning up the biosphere where prosperity is allowed to flourish, the trends actually look pretty good. Not what the Rio summit wants to hear of course. So the increasing level of CO2 will be used as a a proxy for general gloom and doom for future sustainability, without allowing the "luxury of this continued debate about scientific uncertainty with climate change".
Tax The Dumbbells
injuries caused by workers trying to follow a New Year fitness resolution have led to a big increase in sickness absence in the past few weeks, according to research.
The problem of ambitious exercise regimes is causing headaches for employers having to deal with staff taking time off to recover, it was warned.
Mark Fletcher, clinical director at Physio Med, said: “Musculoskeletal injuries are currently the number one reason for long-term sickness absence in the workplace.
Keep fit eh? It seems to me that all the lycra clad fools I ever meet are hobbling to or from their weekly visit to the quack. I'm convinced they are a drain on the NHS and should be taxed heavily.
April 8, 2012
Full Steam Ahead And Damn The Tosser
Australian-born Trenton Oldfield, 35, a one-time public school oarsman who graduated in contemporary urbanism at the London School of Economics. He had worked as a council co-ordinator for river strategy along the same stretch of water where he stopped the race.
Oldfield describes himself variously as an “urbanist” and a “guerrilla architect”.
It emerged last night that an organisations he runs, This Is Not A Gateway, is partly funded by the Arts Council England. Another of his campaigns is aimed at removing fences and railings from London’s parks.
Although Oldfield rages against “elitism”, he went to one of Sydney’s exclusive private schools. He claimed the school was “mass producing yuppies”, threw out his uniform and grew a goatee beard. After he left, Oldfield complained that he missed rowing at the school.
Race organisers said he was lucky not to have had his head sliced open by an oar.
Oxford paid the price of stopping down for him, he should have been treated as any other piece of flotsam. Maybe a suitable punishment now would be half an hour in the team shower, but he might enjoy that.
April 6, 2012
Friday Night is Music Night (On The Run Edition)
One you have never heard before and one you have..
OK - once more, it was a joy to be young those days.
Gone Beyond 11
April 5, 2012
Stand Your Ground
Rising numbers of civilian justifiable homicides across the US are closely linked to states with both weak gun controls and stand-your-ground laws, according to a Guardian analysis of FBI and other data, which show a 25% increase in such killings since the controversial self-defence laws started being introduced around 2005....
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, said: "This research demonstrates a fundamental point. Stand-your-ground laws are dangerous on their own as a mentality. But when combined with weak gun laws they become a recipe for tragedy."..
But Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University,...said that one desired effect of SYG and the right to carry (RTC) laws was to deter violent criminals and reduce violent crime. In an email response to the Guardian's data, he pointed out that violent crimes had fallen.
"In 2006, the rate of murders and non-negligent homicides (all the criminal homicides that the FBI counts) was 5.8 per 100,000 population; in 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), the rate was 4.8 – a 17% decline in four years. The robbery rate also declined by an identical 17% over the same period, from 31.6 to 27.5."
Kleck said: "The decline in crime that paralleled the enactment RTC and SYG laws cannot be considered proof of the effect of these laws. Indeed, I think RTC have no net effect on crime rates. My point, rather, is that these are the same kinds of correlations concerning CJH increases and enactment of these laws that your analysis has produced, and are equally ambiguous in their meaning, and equally relevant to a consideration of the effects of these types of laws."
So crime down, murders down, and justifiable homicides up as citizens get armed but don't draw any conclusions. But I might unscientifically privately.
Eu Ban On Cheap Meat Helps Consumers
The price of burgers, sausages and chicken nuggets will rise after a technique for removing cheap meat from the bone was banned, the industry warned yesterday.
Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA, said there were no food safety grounds for reclassifying desinewed meat. “There is no greater risk from eating this sort of produce than any other piece of meat or meat product. The EU Commission has informed us today they do not consider this to be an identified public health concern,” he said.
He insisted that desinewed meat was indistinguishable under a microscope from meat cut by hand. “It’s meat,” he said. “Mechanically separated meat is completely different.”
However, he said that Britain had to comply with the ruling to prevent a “devastating” export ban on all British meat.
Bernard Van Goethem of the European Commission said that the decision had been made on legal grounds because the definition of desinewed meat varied around the EU. The consequent changes in labelling rules would help the consumer. “He wants to know if [his sausage] is made from mechanically separated meat or a real piece of meat that was cut into small pieces.”.
It is why the queue at the late night kebab shop is so long as the customers debate the provenance, breed and the farming system of the meat they are considering buying just like M.Van Goethem does at that very nice Brussels restaurant where he grazes on choice morsels.
Proof That Some Transported Criminals Carried The Stupid Gene
The productivity commissions of the two nations indicated a shared Trans-Tasman currency could reduce business costs but pointed to Europe as an example of possible downsides.
I think that may be an understatement and as we say out here in the bush the productivity commissions seem to be a few wanks short of an orgasm.
Shock Research - Poor People Buy Cheap Food
Customers of cut price supermarkets are likely to be heavier and fatter than those who shop at expensive city centre stores, say researchers....
There was a "strong interaction" between education levels and discount shopping. The association between shopping in a hard discount store and greater body weight was "markedly stronger for lower education levels" said the researchers. Conversely, people who shopped in organic stores were much more likely to have a lower BMI and slimmer waists.
Strategies targeting food-buying behaviour in specific supermarkets may be an "efficient strategy" because supermarkets "are the very place where dietary preferences are concretely materialised and translated into a definite set of purchased foods", they said.
Ghastly fat stupid people, we must tell them what to eat and buy, so they can become slim, rich and and beautiful like us.
April 4, 2012
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Britain is the 18th happiest nation in the world, coming below Israel, Costa Rica and the United Arab Emirates, according to a new World Happiness Report by the UN.
First World Happiness Report (download PDF), commissioned for the April 2nd United Nations Conference on Happiness (mandated by the UN General Assembly). The report, published by the Earth Institute and co-edited by the institute’s director, Jeffrey Sachs, reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness and absence of misery as criteria for government policy. It reviews the state of happiness in the world today and shows how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness.
Let's look at the actual report - available here:
The realities of poverty, anxiety, environmental degradation, and unhappiness in the midst of great plenty
should not be regarded as mere curiosities. They require our urgent attention, and especially so at this
juncture in human history. For we have entered a new phase of the world, termed the Anthropocene by the
world’s Earth system scientists. The Anthropocene is a newly invented term that combines two Greek roots:
“anthropo,” for human; and “cene,” for new, as in a new geological epoch. The Anthropocene is the
new epoch in which humanity, through its technological prowess and population of 7 billion, has become
the major driver of changes of the Earth’s physical systems, including the climate, the carbon cycle, the water
cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and biodiversity.
The Anthropocene will necessarily reshape our societies. If we continue mindlessly along the current
economic trajectory, we risk undermining the Earth’s life support systems – food supplies, clean water, and
stable climate – necessary for human health and even survival in some places. In years or decades, conditions
of life may become dire in several fragile regions of the world. We are already experiencing that deterioration
of life support systems in the drylands of the Horn of Africa and parts of Central Asia.
On the other hand, if we act wisely, we can protect the Earth while raising quality of life broadly around the
world. We can do this by adopting lifestyles and technologies that improve happiness (or life satisfaction)
while reducing human damage to the environment. “Sustainable Development” is the term given to the
combination of human well-being, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. We can say that the
quest for happiness is intimately linked to the quest for sustainable development.
Do you need to read any more?
The Happiness Index is published by the Earth Institute and declares that "happiness is intimately linked to the quest for sustainable development. "....
I guess that why I'm so miserable. Let's look at a random video of miserable people having a miserable time:
And we haven't even mentioned beer...
HUNDREDS of obscure laws which date back as far as the 14th century should be swept away in a bid to clear up the statute book, it has been claimed.
A joint report by the Law Commission for England and Wales and Scottish Law Commission said there are as many as 817 entire acts and sections of a further 50 that need repealed.
It's a start I suppose - can you think of any law passed in the last fifteen years that shouldn't be repealed as well? Anything?
April 2, 2012
Is That A Truncheon Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me?
You can write your own jokes...
Plod On Personal Possession
“From an early stage, the chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (Acpo) Drugs Committee was of the opinion that the solution to the particular challenge of legal highs did not lie in adding inexorably to the list of illicit substances”, the submission said.
The police also appear to question how far legislation is a realistic option to deal with the drugs and other substances taken by young people.
“A key question for the Government to determine is the extent to which legislation can realistically be used to address active choices being made by (predominantly young) people and to tackle the undoubted harms caused by the misuse of substances taken essentially for pleasure”, it added.
“The police will continue to focus their energies on serious criminality and take a less robust enforcement approach on matters relating to personal possession.”
Olympic Tarts Ban Competition
Prostitutes are being “cleaned off the streets” to make the Olympic boroughs in London more presentable, it is claimed.
Young people in skimpy clothes using their bodies to make money - can't have that at the Olympics. And as for the shady gangs of older people, usually men, pimping off their young workers no punishment is harsh enough.
April 1, 2012
Every Word You Write
THE government is to expand hugely its powers to monitor email exchanges and website visits of every person in Britain.
Under plans expected to be announced in the Queen’s speech next month, internet companies will be told to install thousands of pieces of hardware to allow GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, to scrutinise “on demand” every phone call made, text message and email sent and website accessed in real time.
Under the current law, companies must keep records for some traditional types of phone and electronic communication for a year.
The new legislation would extend this provision to cover a much wider field, including social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and online video games.
An effort by Labour to introduce a similar law was shelved in 2006 after fierce opposition from the Tories, Liberal Democrats and privacy campaigners.
Earth Hour - Impressive, Not.
I think Earth Hour was 20:30 - 21:30 last night...
Can you spot it?