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May 30, 2012

Corruption in Local Politics

A red face bar stool habitué kept poking me in the chest this evening to emphasise his point that he knew that all local politics is corrupt because the bloody landowners are the ones who keep getting planning permission.

As you know I'm not one to go out of my way to defend any politician but even I felt obliged to point out that most people who apply for planning permission are landowners so his stunning discovery was not really that surprising. If most people applying are landowners then most permissions will go to landowners, all things being equal.

I failed to persuade him that his wasn't a valid reason to string them all up, though of course there are other ones...

Posted by The Englishman at 9:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 27, 2012

Last night in the beer garden at my local pub..

Posted by The Englishman at 8:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 19, 2012

Can We Say Producer Capture?

Revealed: Civil servants get extra three days holiday if they work over 36 hours a week - Telegraph

Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s former director of implementation, suggested that the size of the Civil Service could be cut by 70 per cent. The proposals are being strongly opposed by parts of the Civil Service, which is now attempting to take charge of the reform programme.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 18, 2012

Friday Night is Music Night (One Week To Go Edition)

"I was devastated to hear the news that my good friend and esteemed monitor engineer John 'Grubby' Callis had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but relieved that it was discovered relatively early and that he had received fantastic treatment from all concerned. I immediately agreed to support him and perform at 'Concert at the Kings' on Saturday 26th May which Grubby has organised 'with a little help from his friends'. He has pulled out all the stops for what I know will be a fantastic show; after about 30 years in the music business he certainly knows what that demands, and has the expertise to put it together. If all goes well we hope to raise up to £50,000 for cancer charities.

I will be playing some songs with the fabulous Kerry Ellis, and I'm looking forward to meeting some old friends with the SAS band including Midge Ure, Madeleine Belle, Chris Thompson, Tom Robinson, Patti Russo and the fantastic Fabba Girls. Plus a strong possibility of some other great and very well known artists who may surprise you all on the night, but you'll have to be there to see for yourselves!

Cheers

Bri"

Secret special guests? I'm not allowed to say any names but next week The Voice isn't on as Eurovision takes over BBC1, and you don't want to watch that so trust me and buy a ticket....



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Posted by The Englishman at 6:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Olympic Torch Arrival Video

How proud we all are!

Posted by The Englishman at 6:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not A Nanny State

No 10 guide to changing nappies and baby talk - Telegraph

New parents will be given government advice on changing nappies, breastfeeding and “baby talk” under a multi-million pound initiative to support family life.
A £3.4million digital information service, which begins today, will provide free email alerts and text messages with NHS advice “on everything from teething to tantrums”, Mr Cameron said.
Separate pilot schemes will offer couples with young children free parenting classes and subsidised relationship counselling to help cope with “tiredness” and “mess”.
Launching the initiatives, Mr Cameron said he “would have loved” more advice on how to look after babies before becoming a parent for the first time.
“Parents are nation-builders,” he said. “It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values.
“This is not the nanny state; it’s the sensible state.

Thank goodness he put me right, for one moment there I thought it was literally a Nanny State.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 17, 2012

Research Shows Water Is Wet

Men think meat is macho and salad is for wimps, claims research - Telegraph

Men are put off eating a healthy diet because they feel meat is masculine and vegetables are for wimps, new research suggests.

But it is and they are.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Anti-GM Protestors Run From Debate

Rothamsted Wheat Trial

3rd April 2012: The Director of Rothamsted Research wrote an open letter .

27 April: An open letter is sent from the scientists to the protestors.

1 May: The GM Appeal video is uploaded to YouTube.

2nd May: The protest group wrote a letter to us.

3rd May: Prof. John Pickett contacted the protest group and thanked them for their response of 2nd May. He also said he was pleased that the protest group agreed with the need for public dialogue and said he was happy to take their suggestions on a neutral chair and venue for a meeting. He noted that the points made by the protest group give a good structure to frame the dialogue and he added that he looked forward to meeting them in coming weeks.

9th May: Rothamsted Research contacted the protest group again to check if the email from the 3rd May had been received, as Rothamsted continued to await a response. Rothamsted therefore offered another point of contact to help arrange the logistics of this neutral meeting.

15th May: Prof. John Pickett contacted the protest group in response to their email on the same day saying that he was looking forward to meeting them on the Newsnight programme, but thought it important to allow sufficient time for us all to have a thorough and considered discussion and to go through the points highlighted in their letter. Whilst short debates on the radio and television can be insightful, he felt it did not allow sufficient time for us all to have the detailed discussion required. As the protest group had not put forward suggestions for a nuetral chair and venue, he therefore suggest a neutral venue (Friends Meeting House) and neutral chair (George Monbiot) on the 22nd May that he believed they would find acceptable. He also agreed to book and pay for the venue. He asked if they could get back to him by 13:00 the following day with a view to announcing this in order to give people a chance to attend in the few days left. He suggested a joint notification through our respective websites and social media. He said, this way we would have two hours for a much more detailed discussion and the chance to take questions and contributions from an audience which can include environmentalists, scientists and anyone else who would like to attend.

16th May: Prof. John Pickett contacted the protest group following a further email from them saying that they would have to decline attending the event on the 22nd May due to a lack of capacity. Prof. Pickett wrote back to them that day, asking them to reconsider. He reiterated his concerns that the information they had put out in the public domain contains inaccuracies and they were therefore encouraging people to destroy our experiment without giving us a chance properly to address these issues in a neutral venue. He urged them not to deny us both and the public a chance to put forward our cases openly, in advance of their planned direct action to "decontaminate" (which we understand would mean destroy) our legally approved experiment.

Can't talk the talk, cowards.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 16, 2012

Taxing Sins

The Wages of Sin Taxes by Chris Snowdon

...Although there is ample evidence that sin taxes of this kind do not work, we run the risk of accepting the medical establishment’s terms of debate by even discussing it. The real argument against this kind of state interference is that what we eat and drink is simply no one’s business but our own. As he shows in The Wages of Sin Taxes, the claim that obesity is an economic time-bomb which forces the slim to pay for the sins of the fat is fallacious. Without that justification, the meddlers are exposed as the ugliest brand of paternalists. It is time to call these taxes what they are - fines for living in a way that displeases the British Medical Association. But since it is clear that these doctors won’t be happy until they can issue us with ration books, perhaps it time to remind these public servants who their masters are.

It might be worth printing out a copy or two and leave them in your Doctor's waiting room...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wikileaks The Hangman's Helper - The Story The Guardian Hasn't Covered.

WikiLeaks cable ‘may have led Tehran to hang kick-boxer for scientist’s murder’ | The Times

An Iranian who was hanged yesterday for allegedly murdering a nuclear scientist on behalf of Israel might have lost his life because of a confidential US Embassy cable that was published by WikiLeaks, analysts said yesterday.
Majid Jamali Fashi, 24, was arrested one month after the unauthorised publication of a cable from the embassy, in Azerbaijan, which described one of its sources as an Iranian martial arts expert. Mr Fashi had visited Azerbaijan the previous month for a kick-boxing tournament.
The leak “could have raised Iranian suspicions” about Mr Fashi, Scott Lucas, a Birmingham University professor and an authority on Iran, told The Times. “Alternatively, it could have been used as a pretext against him; to set him up as a person who could take the fall for the assassination.”
Ali Ansari, head of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews, said: “I have always considered the release of the WikiLeaks files, without consideration for those consciously or unconsciously named in them, to be grotesquely irresponsible.”

Strange, I couldn't find anything about this story on Wikileaks biggest fan site The Guardian....

guardian.co.uk | Search | Majid Jamali Fashi wikileaks

You searched for 'Majid Jamali Fashi wikileaks'
0 results

Posted by The Englishman at 6:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

NIMBYs Cause Misery

New houses are too small, research finds - Telegraph

A study of people’s living spaces by RIBA found that people are going to “extreme” and “absurd” lengths to cram their belongings into their houses.
The research found that many British homes lack the storage space for basic day-to-day items, such as rubbish bins, household appliances and food.

Ben Page, the chief executive of Ipsos Mori, said: “The research graphically shows just how cramped and poorly planned much of our housing is today, and the extraordinary lengths people go to cope with it.”

And why? It is not the cost of building bigger houses, that is minimal. It is the cost of the land with planning permission. It is an artificial shortage created by planners backed by NIMBYs. (There is also an element of green thinking here with the belief that no one needs more than one car per family and that we like to huddle up to our neighbours to keep warm.)

Posted by The Englishman at 6:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2012

Caravan Of Climate Change

Energy and Economic Crises SOLVED! | Watts Up With That?

This story is from the “you can’t make this stuff up” file. Some of our British cousins have figured out a way to solve it all. They have set up the One Million Jobs Caravan, as part of a “Campaign Against Climate Change” … I’m not sure how they plan to stop the climate from changing, but apparently it takes a million people to do it. To fight against CO2 emissions, the backers plan to get into fossil-fueled vehicles and drive, the lot of them, from city to city all around England and Scotland. And then back again....

Unfortunately the website seems to be down at the moment as I would love to read their pamphlet http://www.climate-change-jobs.org/sites/default/files/1MillionClimateJobs_2010.PDF explaining how creating one million unionised government jobs to do "green" things is going to rescue the economy and world. But I do note the date of the report is 2010 and it has taken them two years to organise a couple of caravans to publicise it.

And haven't we learnt over the last two years how effective creating green jobs is?...

Posted by The Englishman at 6:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Olympics Shut Down Whitehall

Whitehall gets seven weeks off for Olympics | The Times

Civil servants have been told they can work from home for seven weeks during the Olympics, prompting incredulity from ministers, MPs and business leaders.
Tens of thousands of civil servants based in Central London will be allowed to work from home from July 21 — six days before the opening ceremony. Flexible working arrangements will remain for the 15 days between the Olympic Games and the Paralympics, ending on September 9 after the second closing ceremony.

On one hand having the bureaucrats lounging in their gardens with a laptop might prevent them interfering with the country's recovery on the other wtf?

Posted by The Englishman at 6:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2012

Friday Night is Music Night (A Message From Brian May Edition)

"I was devastated to hear the news that my good friend and esteemed monitor engineer John 'Grubby' Callis had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but relieved that it was discovered relatively early and that he had received fantastic treatment from all concerned. I immediately agreed to support him and perform at 'Concert at the Kings' on Saturday 26th May which Grubby has organised 'with a little help from his friends'. He has pulled out all the stops for what I know will be a fantastic show; after about 30 years in the music business he certainly knows what that demands, and has the expertise to put it together. If all goes well we hope to raise up to £50,000 for cancer charities.

I will be playing some songs with the fabulous Kerry Ellis, and I'm looking forward to meeting some old friends with the SAS band including Midge Ure, Madeleine Belle, Chris Thompson, Tom Robinson, Patti Russo and the fantastic Fabba Girls. Plus a strong possibility of some other great and very well known artists who may surprise you all on the night, but you'll have to be there to see for yourselves!

Cheers

Bri"

Secret special guests? I'm not allowed to say any names but trust me and buy a ticket....



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Posted by The Englishman at 5:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 10, 2012

Olympics Fail From The Start

Whoops! I bet the original Olympic Flame wasn't allowed to be blown out...

The Nazi Origins of the Olympic Flame Relay - Max Fisher - International - The Atlantic

Though dressed up as an ancient Greek tradition, the torch relay ceremony was originally designed to further Hitler's nationalist propaganda.


Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 9, 2012

Green Olympic Art Project - What's Not To Like?

Olympic Arctic art project Nowhereisland deserves to sink | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Just what was the Arts Council thinking when it agreed back in 2009 to hand over £500,000 to the artist Alex Hartley in order for him and 18 volunteers to create Nowhereisland?

The creative idea itself is actually rather captivating: find an Arctic island that has recently been exposed by melting ice and then break off some rocks to form a new "island nation" which can then be transported to the waters off the UK in time for the 2012 Olympics.

During its conception, Hartley billed it as a "travelling embassy" intended to highlight issues such as climate change and land ownership....

So bad even Leo is against it!

http://nowhereisland.org/ should be on the National Health as it is such an effective emetic... and there is more...

I feel purged now.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Secret Green Group Attacks Secrecy - @CandBP

Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama's clean energy strategy | Environment | guardian.co.uk

"These documents show for the first time that local Nimby anti-wind groups are co-ordinating and working with national fossil-fuel funded advocacy groups to wreck the wind industry," said Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances, the accountability group which unearthed the proposal and other documents.

Conspiracy! shouts a secretive group with undeclared funders. They claim to be "Holding government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public" but reveal nothing about themselves.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 5, 2012

Denial - Caused By Right-brain Deficit Disorder

Left brain good, right brain bad? I’m not so sure . . . | The Times

Ben Mason

In his recent book The Master and his Emissary, the neurologist, psychiatrist and philosopher Iain McGilchrist highlights some intriguing differences between the right and left hemispheres of the brain when it comes to certainty. The left-brain, it seems, demands it. Only the right-brain is adept at holding several ambiguous possibilities in suspension. So far, so good. ...Straight answers to questions are, after all, no bad thing.
Or are they? There is a dark side to this drive for certainty. Unchecked, the left-brain rejects information that doesn’t fit with its accepted theory, is an expert at denial and has a penchant for delusional optimism....
Nuanced understanding and a circumspect position are signs of weakness. Take the “uncertainty” and “unprovenness” that climate sceptics assure us exists around climate science. No matter how patiently scientists talk of overwhelming likelihoods and near-total consensus, there’s a lingering sense that the sceptic has still won the argument....
Unreasonable demands for certainty are met with bogus claims of it.
While happily disregarding inconvenient evidence, the left-brain not only shows exaggerated optimism about outcomes but also about its own ability....
Let’s suppose that today we are facing a set of unprecedented challenges. Reaching for the same old solutions won’t help; nor will denial....
If it is true that these challenges require new thinking, it could be that a move away from our sinister obsession with certainty is important. Of course decisions still need to be made, but it’s legitimate to make the best judgment on the evidence and the understanding that we have.

So demanding boring old evidence is a left brain problem, but so it seems is Alarmism...

One researcher studying head injuries writes: “Children with right-brain deficit disorder ignore task obstacles, accept impossible challenges, make grossly inadequate efforts and are stunned by the poor outcomes.”
The left-brain is dogmatic, preferring to rely on theory rather than evidence. Researchers experimenting on split-brain sufferers showed them a series of lights, mainly green and occasionally red; the patients had to predict what came next. Those with access only to the right-brain adopted the most successful strategy of picking green every time; those stuck with the left developed complex theories and insisted upon their merit, despite much lower success. When the researchers then rigged the experiment, so that the guesses all turned out to be correct, the right-brainers admitted to doing nothing differently, but the left-brainers assured the researchers there was a pattern and they had finally cracked it.
Patients with right-brain injuries will make up convincing answers to questions, rather than admitting they do not know, and show what the California-based neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran calls “an unbridled willingness to accept absurd ideas”. The left-brain prefers theory to observation, and prefers what it already knows

Posted by The Englishman at 7:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 4, 2012

Us And Them In Engerland

Joyce McMillan: Rulers ill at ease with Engerland - News - Scotsman.com

RULING metropolitan elite are not only out of touch with the ‘provinces’, but find Englishness alarming too

IT HAPPENED again, one evening last week. I’m in a bar in Edinburgh, chatting to a high-powered, Left-leaning woman from London about life and politics; the conversation turns towards Scotland’s independence referendum, and she begins to tell me that she is “not really English”.

That she is English doesn’t seem in much doubt, to me; she was born there, she lives there, she has an English accent. Yet among the English people I meet – mostly, I suppose, creative or academic types on the centre-left of the political spectrum – this denial of the word “English” is so common as to be almost universal. As soon as the issue of identity comes up, they start talking about the Scottish granny, the Welsh roots, the Irish or Caribbean migrants a few generations back; it seems they have lived all their lives in England, without ever acknowledging to themselves that they belong there.

So it’s hardly surprising that when they hear talk of the break-up of Britain, they experience it as a huge existential threat; it’s as if they were suddenly being forced to take up residence not in the vague borderless Britain of their minds, but in some “Engerland” that they would rather not think about, full of face-painted football fans with dodgy views on race.

“Don’t leave us,” pleaded the woman in the bar, towards the end of the conversation. “We’ll be governed by the Tories for ever!” And when I protested that the English people, given their history, would hardly put up with an eternity of one-party rule, she shook her head sadly, as if my confidence was woefully misplaced....

...Yet in the end, the cultural deafness of Britain’s metropolitan elites – their assumption that their identity is “normal”, and that all others are in some way irritating or suspect – is part of a much bigger picture of contempt for ordinary people in all their local diversity, and of sheer presumption that Westminster and Whitehall know best. It’s against that culture of contempt, and of arrogant government collusion with the self-interest of an overweening economic elite, that all the peoples of Britain now need to begin a long, democratic rebellion.

And along with the continuing debate on Scottish independence, the redefinition of England as the rich, beautiful and infinitely diverse modern nation it now is will be an inevitable part of that process; not to be avoided or denied, but to be lived through, struggled with, and enjoyed.

Posted by The Englishman at 8:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mandy Calls For EU Referendum

Get ready to join euro, says Mandelson | The Times

Britain should be ready to join the euro within a decade, Lord Mandelson will say today when he calls for a referendum to reshape the UK’s relationship with Europe for the next generation.

“A nation of ‘reluctant’ Europeans will have to confront a choice between taking part in greater integration, including joining the euro, or an uncertain future.”
Staying outside such a bloc or quitting the European Union altogether would amount to the same thing, Lord Mandelson will say. Either way, Britain would have to meet EU standards to trade with Europe but would have little or no voice in defining them.
The peer is also expected to say that the public needs to engage with what is at stake. He is the most senior Labour figure to back a referendum on Britain’s future relationship with Europe, arguing that the mandate secured by Edward Heath in the 1970s has run out. “It belongs to another time and another generation.”

Posted by The Englishman at 7:40 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

The Scream At Global Warming

I see more death and less life — but I’m happy to get $120m for a Scream | The Times

The seller was Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend of the artist. Mr Olsen grew up with the image hanging on the wall of his family farm south of Oslo. “The Scream for me shows the horrifying moment when man realises his impact on nature,” he said, as the hall emptied. He foresaw greenhouse gases triggering “feedback mechanisms that lie latent in the physics of nature”, leading to the doom of mankind. “More death, less life,” he said. “And very few lifeboats left as we go down.”
On the other hand, he had just sold a painting for $120 million. “Yeah, I’m pleased with that,” he said.

Posted by The Englishman at 7:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Where Are The Liberals When You Need Them?

Stick up for fags, booze and porn, you Liberals | The Times

Philip Collins

Alone of all the people in Downing Street at the time, I opposed the ban on smoking in public places. I derided the legal anomaly by which smoking would join flashing as one of those activities that are legal (indeed, rather fun) in private but illegal (and wrong) in public. I pointed out that most of the damage done by smoke happened in the home, not the pub. And I deplored the arrogant assumption of power. I have never smoked, but nothing makes me want to start more than the Government telling me that I have to stop.
I never liked the Labour Methodism that tolerates spontaneous fun only so long as it is properly planned. I can’t abide the do-gooders who try to bully me into being better. Before you can say “leave me alone” you find the gentleman in Whitehall is giving you a nudge and, when the nudge doesn’t work, he’s following up with a smack. And if you still don’t listen, he uses the law. Conservatives are strangers to doubt about whether they have the right to govern your smaller pleasures and this is now a subject on which they are splitting from their Liberal Democrat partners in the coalition.
Yesterday the Prime Minister hosted a summit on internet pornography at which these meddlesome instincts were on display. The Government is investigating what one insider has called “the Chinese option”, by which a device is installed in every new computer ....

...The desire to make everyone conform to your prejudice is the cachet of the authentic Conservative. Mr Cameron has bravely moved his party on issues such as gay marriage. But there is a streak of the socially severe magistrate about him too. There is a genuine chasm here between the top Conservative and the top Lib Dem.
This is not exactly the high road to popularity for Mr Clegg. On a demolition day for his party in local government. I bet he will be delighted to be told that he should become the champion of lap dancing, tab smoking and binge drinking. But these are tests of his credentials as a liberal. The virtue of liberals in government is that they are there to stop conservatives from trying to tidy up the mess.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sea Level Predicition Not A Prediction

Sea-level rises 'may not be as high as worst-case scenarios have predicted' | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Jonathan Bamber, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol, and not part of the research team, said: "The study provides a lot of rich detail about the variability in ice sheet dynamics, but does not dramatically change our overall understanding. The new work shows the situation is not as bad as the worst possible case, but it is still serious for future sea level rise and is certainly more complex than many of the models suggest."

Other recent satellite science has revealed complexities in other parts of the world, with the world's greatest peaks in the Himalayan mountain chain revealed as having lost no ice in the last decade. Another study showed the Karakoram glaciers as having grown over the last decade. However, the contribution to sea level rise of these and other mountain chains such as the Andes and Alps are dwarfed by Greenland and Antarctica and, globally, 443-629bn tonnes of meltwater are added to the world's oceans each year. This is raising sea level by about 1.5mm a year, in addition to the 2mm a year caused by expansion of the warming ocean.

Earlier analyses of Greenland's glaciers found their speed has doubled in 10 years and were accelerating. Extrapolation of that doubling implied glacier loss in Greenland would drive up sea level by 9cm by 2100, leading to an overall rise of 80cm. Another extrapolation imagined a tenfold rise in glacier speed, leading to 47cm of sea level rise from Greenland and 2m overall. The new research shows glacier acceleration remains "well below" even the lower scenario.

"A doubling in all glacier speeds was never a prediction for Greenland, it was a thought experiment, a "what if" scenario," said Bamber.

It wasn't a prediction so it wasn't wrong. See.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 2, 2012

Sceptics To Die Quicker - Yeo

Leadership is the answer to the right's problem with climate change | Damian Carrington | Environment | guardian.co.uk

As climate change most directly challenges extreme ideas of personal freedom and unfettered markets, it is this fringe that ends up in denial.

But what struck me most was how these fringe views influence the debate in direct contradiction to what most people want. Politicians and newspapers pride themselves on being in tune with the popular mood.....
So what happens next? Presumably this yawning gap between what the public think and what right-wing politicians and newspapers do will lead to lost votes and circulation. That's the sort of evidence that does change minds, eventually.

An alternative, as Yeo has pointed out on a previous occasion, is to simply let nature take care of the elderly sceptics, who will go to their graves sooner than the rest of the population. The question is will either happen quickly enough to avoid the six degrees of warming to which the IEA says our current path will lead?

Posted by The Englishman at 11:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Defend Science

Anti-GM activists urged not to trash wheat field | UK news | The Guardian

Crop scientists have appealed to anti-GM protesters not to trash a field trial of genetically modified wheat at a day of action later this month.

Researchers wrote to campaigners on Tuesday and also recorded a video plea, making a move to address the concern of campaigners and thus save their experiments. The plant biologists at Rothamsted Research, the government-funded agricultural centre in Hertfordshire, invited protesters to discuss their objections instead of uprooting the crops on 27 May.

They took the unusual step of filming an appeal after campaigners, with the slogan "Take back the flour", pledged to pull up the wheat plants.

The video the Guardian fails to link to is here:

Defend science キ Sense about Science

Add your support here


#defendscience

Posted by The Englishman at 6:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 1, 2012

Welcome The Academic Spring

Wikipedia founder to help in government's research scheme | Technology | The Guardian

The government has drafted in the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to help make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to anyone who wants to read or use it.
A government source said that, in the longer term, Wales would help to set up the next generation of open-access platforms for British researchers. "He's also going to be advising us on the format in which academic papers should be published and data standards. One of the big opportunities is, right now, a journal article might be published but the underlying data isn't and we want to move into a world where the data is published alongside an article in an open format, available free of charge."
The move will embolden what has been dubbed the "academic spring" – a growing campaign among academics and research funders for open access in academic publishing. They want to unlock the results of research from behind the lucrative paywalls of journals controlled by publishing companies.

And from the grasp of "scientists" who don't want to share with people who might find something sloppy with their work?

Posted by The Englishman at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stars Line Up

Duran Duran headline Olympics gig: this lineup could not be worse – Telegraph Blogs

Duran Duran will headline the opening Olympic concert. The UK representatives will be joined by Snow Patrol for Northern Ireland, the Stereophonics for Wales and Paolo Nutini for Scotland.
So our choice of excellence are a bunch of irrelevant rockers who got together in 1978, a four piece who could be the most boring band that ever existed, the Welsh contingent who were OK in spring 1998, and Nutini, more gap year casualty than rock star. I guess it's no surprise that the committee's first choice was Keith Moon...

Keith Moon - even though he hasn't been very active on this earth for the last 34 years he would still be a better choice. Do we get a hint that the boring farts in charge haven't got a clue?

Whereas at my local they have:

CONCERT AT THE KINGS ARMS

Saturday, 26th May 2012

THE LINE UP & RUNNING SCHEDULE -
 
GATES OPEN - MIDDAY
 
** COMPERE - BOB HARRIS **

THE DAVE KELLY BLUES BAND
THE WURZELS
THE STRAWBS
THE SWEET
SAS BAND SPECIAL GUESTS
MIKE & THE MECHANICS
BRIAN MAY & KERRY ELLIS
MADELINE BELL, MIDGE URE, TOM ROBINSON
CHRIS THOMPSON, PATTI RUSSO
& THE FABBAGIRLS

+ More special guest stars to come!

Have you got your ticket yet?

Posted by The Englishman at 12:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Up The Workers

Pay teachers according to performance, MPs propose | Education | The Guardian

Teachers' pay should be more closely tied to the value they add to pupils' performance so that the best are rewarded while the weakest are discouraged from staying in the profession, MPs on the education select committee are to recommend.

The MPs say there are "huge differences" in the performance of teachers but express concern that the pay system rewards poorly performing teachers at the same levels as their more successful counterparts.

In a report, the committee urges ministers to develop proposals for a pay system that rewards the teachers who add the "greatest value" to pupil performance.

The report says: "We believe that performance management systems should support and reward the strongest teachers, as well as make no excuses (or, worse, incentives to remain) for the weaker."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: "Payment by results is total nonsense. Performance-related pay [PRP] is not only inappropriate but also divisive."

Divisive is good, we want to drive a post between the good and bad teachers, the ones that go the extra yard and the workshy. It's what our kids deserve.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:56 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Pen Hadrow Off Again.

Explorer to survey sea ice in the Arctic - Environment - Scotsman.com

BRITISH explorer Pen Hadow has announced he will make a scientific survey of the Arctic sea ice while attempting the first unsupported solo crossing of the Arctic Ocean.

The 1,000-mile coast-to-coast traverse of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada, via the North Pole, will take place in February next year.

“It’s all about combining the spirits of adventure and science to get the important message out that the Arctic Ocean environment is rapidly changing, and the impacts will be coming to many of us, sooner rather than later,” said the Old Harrovian.

Poor old Pendrill seems to have got stuck in a job which is getting increasingly difficult for a man of his age. All his other Rupert and Nigel chums from Harrow, 1st XV an 1st XI, Geography or Land Economy at Uni, either made millions flogging houses or are on an Army Pension. But dear old Hadders has to drag his weary body across the ice yet again to try and drum up interest in the melting Arctic, which refuses to follow the script.

If anyone wants to start a book on how far he will get before needing to be rescued put me down for 200 miles.

Posted by The Englishman at 6:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack