June 28, 2012
Sometimes stories make me very happy.
June 27, 2012
High Priest Of Climate Change Says We Is Not A Religion
Of all the blithering nonsense climate deniers throw at the environmental movement, there is perhaps one criticism that does real damage – that "green is the new religion".
We can handle the scientifically illiterate and ethically questionable attempts to undermine evidence of climatic change using cherry-picked data and discredited theories, just as we can counter the increasingly futile attempts to question the importance of the green economy and the efficacy of clean technologies. The scientific evidence linking greenhouse gas emissions and potentially dangerous levels of climate change is now so well proven, and the physical demonstration of effective clean technologies so prevalent, that the guileless smears attempted by self-styled "climate sceptics" lack their former sting.
They are fighting a losing battle with science and evidence, hence the increasingly vocal suggestion that green is the new religion. This line of attack is hugely effective and highly damaging....
Looks like a duck walks like a duck and sounds like a duck but tastes of chicken apparently.
June 26, 2012
Olympics Summary Justice
People who commit offences linked to the Olympics will face “instant justice” under plans to deal with troublemakers and bring them to court within 24 hours, The Times can reveal....Prosecutors will be on call 24 hours a day to assist with charging and virtual courts, already at Camberwell and Bromley, will be used heavily, with up to 22 planned hearings a day, to cut the movement of prisoners across the capital.
“Offenders will be ‘beamed’ into a hearing to avoid dealing with traffic disruption,”...
A few of the offences that will get right up Sir Sebum Coe's nose are outlined here. Basically anything that mentions London or 2012 or anything at all that the sponsors don't like will have you in chokey quicker than a IOC Committee member chases a chambermaid down the corridor.
The Olympics, doncha love 'em!
June 24, 2012
We Pay £50k per Tourist.
Studies have shown that an estimated 294,000 tourists were likely to visit London from overseas during the Games period.
Is that right? If we believe that the Games will only cost us £9billion, a naive charming belief on par with that of the tooth fairy, then that is over £30,000 a visitor. And they are displacing more tourists who would have come anyway.
Is it really as mad as that?
Against A Scientific Consensus
The descent of Edward Wilson
The science in our argument has, after 18 months, never been refuted or even seriously challenged...While many have protested..., many others of equal competence are in favor of the replacement proposed. In any case, making such lists is futile. It should be born in mind that if science depended on rhetoric and polls, we would still be burning objects with phlogiston and navigating with geocentric maps.
(In this case I happen to think the consensus is right and E O Wilson wrong, but he is on the money in saying that listing who believes is no judgement as to correctness)
Not All The People All The Time
Less than half the public believe climate change is man-made, according to a new poll.
The YouGov survey for The Sunday Times reveals just 43% think human activity is making the world warmer. This compares with 55% when the same question was asked in 2008.
The number who believe the world is not becoming warmer has risen from 7% to 15%.
June 20, 2012
Government Propoganda We Love
Fill your boots. All available to download or copy.
June 18, 2012
And The Memo Is To Spend £20million On A Non-problem
It started as a stonemason's visionary idea – to commemorate all the species that have ever existed and are now extinct. Now it's a £20m project supported by The Royal Society and taking shape in an extraordinary new building on Dorset's Jurassic coast.
... What we are witnessing is "the sixth Mass Extinction Event" an event being caused by us.
Sir Crispin Tickell, chairman emeritus of the Climate Institute in Washington and a patron of the project, believes that the current rate of extinction makes our geological epoch, the Holocene, comparable to the Cretaceous and its great dinosaur holocaust. ...the 10ft-diameter bell that will be tolled in the Memo belltower to signal the demise of yet another species. At the rate we are going, it's going to be as regular as Big Ben. ..
The project has now been greenlighted to go ahead on land owned by the Albion Stone and Crown Estate. The cost: £20m. The timetable: 18 months' fundraising (starting now), another 18 months to complete. Yet it already has a soul. And I can't help wondering: what manner of creature will remain to toll the bell when the species that has already destroyed so much is finally itself destroyed? When the final homo sapiens go the way of the dodo? For this, surely, is what that old lady and I realised when we looked into one another's eyes and listened to the tones of that beautiful bell: send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
The Memo bell will toll in Portland on Wednesday to mark the Earth Summit in Brazil (see memoproject.org)...
MEMO is an educational charity dedicated to building a beautiful monument to species going extinct worldwide, together with a biodiversity education centre. Conceived as a continuous spiral of stone, it will be lined with the carved images of all 850 species to have perished since the dodo in the 17th century.
It might be uncharitable to say it but a piled up "continuous spiral" of soft brown stone does look remarkably like what my dog does first thing when he is let out.
But more importantly "How many extinctions are actually happening?"
We are due an update any day but last year the answer was that in the previous twelve months the answer was -1. That bell isn't going to get much use at this rate.
Shortest Jury Deliberations Ever?
A grand jury will weigh whether charges should be filed against a Texas father who killed a man he found sexually abusing his 5 year old daughter, local authorities said.
According to the Lavaca County Sheriff's Office, the 23-year-old father and his family were enjoying a barbecue last Saturday at their ranch on Shiner's outskirts where they keep horses and chickens.
His young daughter had gone off toward the barn, to feed the chickens. Then her father heard screaming and ran. He found a 47-year-old man in the act of sexually abusing his daughter, according to Sheriff Micah Harmon.
The father stopped the alleged abuser, then pounded him repeatedly in the head.
"At this time I believe the homicide investigation should be sent to the grand jury. Sheriff Harmon made the right decision in not arresting the father at the time of the incident. All of the evidence surrounding this homicide will be presented to the Grand Jury as soon as possible," Lavaca County District Attorney Heather McMinn said in a statement Friday.
I don't think that reaching a verdict on that will trouble the good people of rural Texas much, though they may have some creative suggestions as the alternatives the father could have utilised.
June 15, 2012
Friday Night is Music Night (Date For Your Diary Edition)
Concert at The Kings will be back next year - Late May Bank Holiday weekend.
This was one of the best songs played in the beer garden of my local.
And the Woodstockian finale featuring
SAS BAND + SPECIAL GUESTS
BRIAN MAY & KERRY ELLIS
MIKE & THE MECHANICS
MADELINE BELL, MIDGE URE, TOM ROBINSON
CHRIS THOMPSON, PATTI RUSSO
& THE FABBAGIRLS
(Can you spot the non playing drummer?)
Fascist, Higher, Stupider
If I were a drama queen I would say that this is how fascism starts. One of our top choreographers, David Bintley, has been forced to change the title of his new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet — because Olympic organisers said so. No, it wasn’t called Sod the Olympics. Oddly enough, that would probably be legally OK. Perhaps he should consider it as an alternative.
No, he titled it Faster, Higher, Stronger — a witty and (one would have thought) harmless allusion to the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius. But so desperate are the London Games organisers not to upset the International Olympic Committee that they are employing an army of lawyers to stop “unauthorised” use of phrases with an Olympic ring (as it were). For instance, I wouldn’t be allowed to use the phrase “London 2012” in a commercial context, even though I live in London and it’s 2012. Thank God we are six months away from London 2013.
And Lord Coe’s henchmen have certainly made a Mad Lawyer’s Tea Party out of protecting the phrases they “own”. Even a little greasy spoon called “Café Olympic” had to change its name. Birmingham Royal Ballet is only the latest victim of this linguistic purge. Bintley, who describes the crackdown as “quite nonsensical”, will now call his new piece simply Faster.
But if Coe’s apparatchiks are worried about upsetting the IOC, they are utterly paranoid about offending their commercial sponsors. The catalogue of inanities gets bigger by the day...... So why are our freedoms as British citizens — freedoms of trade, choice, speech, artistic expression and even movement — being so restricted to appease commercial interests?...
Uses For A Used Gordon.
We can’t let the former PM degenerate into Ted Heath. He should resign his seat and find a new purpose
Suggestions on a postcard please.
Rachel Carson Celebration
Silent Spring at 50 - A lengthy review to download.
Not a lot to celebrate actually....
June 14, 2012
Top Plod Pleads Trust Me With Your Data
The police must have access to all modern data. It really is a matter of lives and deaths..
communications data has played a role in every big counter-terrorism operation over the past decade and in 95 per cent of serious organised crime operations. A quarter of Metropolitan Police Service requests for access to data in the past five years have been in murder cases.
However it is not just serious crime where this type of data is invaluable. It is regularly used to tackle criminals whose activities affect the wider community, such as repeat burglars, robbers and drug dealers. Put simply, the police need access to this information to keep up with the criminals who bring so much harm to victims and our society.
Gaining access to communications data is no longer a sophisticated means of gathering evidence. Just as mobile phones, e-mail and social media have become part of our lives, so this kind of work has become part of daily policing....
I fully support public debate about this issue and understand concerns about privacy. That’s why I think it is really important to be clear: I do not see this proposed legislation as being more intrusive than the laws we currently have. Police already have access to communications data; the problem is that for some services it is not currently collected and stored by the service provider.
In the UK we police by consent. This phrase is used often, but I firmly believe in it. That’s why we would use access to any further information responsibly, fairly and proportionately.
The proposed changes do not give police unlimited access to new forms of data. Nor will the police routinely store this information. This is only about ensuring that if and when we do need it, we know the data has been stored by the service providers....
This is not about giving the police or anyone else greater power; it is about giving police access to information that will help us to catch criminals, protect victims and keep the public and our communities safe.
Bernard Hogan-Howe is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
It is all about murder and terrorism and then he drops in "
it is not just serious crime where this type of data is invaluable. It is regularly used to tackle criminals whose activities affect the wider community, such as repeat burglars, robbers and drug dealers. Put simply, the police need access to this information to keep up with the criminals who bring so much harm to victims and our society.
Gaining access to communications data is no longer a sophisticated means of gathering evidence. Just as mobile phones, e-mail and social media have become part of our lives, so this kind of work has become part of daily policing"
Routine in other words.
GM Good For Environment Says Guardian
Crops genetically modified to poison pests can deliver significant environmental benefits, according to a study spanning two decades and 1.5m square kilometres. The benefits extended to non-GM crops in neighbouring fields, researchers found...."Insecticide use usually kills the natural enemies of pests and weakens the biocontrol services that they provide," said Professor Kongming Wu at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, who led the research team. "Transgenic crops reduce insecticide use and promote the population increase of natural enemies. Therefore, we think that this is a general principle."
Professor Guy Poppy, an ecologist at the University of Southampton, said the scale of the work gave "robust" results that ended a long-running debate pitting plant scientists against ecologists. ..
But not with your average Guardian commentator..
13 June 2012 6:23PM
Luddite I may well be. I do not want GM crops,I do not see them as `progress`, we have to get it ito our heads that just because we technologically can do something, we should ask ourselves should we do it. The whole debate about GM and whether it is good or bad has no relevance if the planet suffers, our earth and all the things within it. I don`t care if we feed more people, there are already too many of us to make our race sustainable and we cannot continue in our ridiculous idea that no matter what we want to do will have no long term effect on this fragile eco system, Come back and tell me, dear scientists, that after 100 years of trials all is well and keep all your research open for all to cross check and away from commercial manipulation, then I might believe you.
June 12, 2012
Olympic Opening Ceremony To Feature Fly-tipping, Incest and Badge Baiting
The Olympic Stadium will be transformed into the "British countryside" for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games on 27 July.
The set will feature meadows, fields and rivers, with families taking picnics, people playing sports on the village green and farmers tilling the soil.
Real farmyard animals will be grazing in the "countryside", with a menagerie of 30 sheep, 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese and three sheepdogs.
I'm waiting for my invite to show the world the real British Countryside..
For years, drivers who pass a police speed trap have flashed their headlights at oncoming cars to warn them to slow down.
But this spirit of friendly co-operation could become a thing of the past after one police force caught almost as many drivers who flashed their lights as actual speeders.
In an anti-speeding campaign, Lancashire Police handed out 23 tickets for breaking the limit - and 20 for 'misuse of headlights'.
...the police insisted that warning other drivers of a speed trap was ‘a dangerous practice’.
Lancashire traffic officer PC Antony Gray said: ‘Potentially they are putting lives at risk.
'Flashing your lights at someone may make them slow down for a second, but it will not make them change their habits.
‘Speeding motorists need to be spoken to so they will seriously consider their irresponsible driving.’
7 Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Did not one of those handed a £30 ticket for flashing their lights not have the balls to just say no, see me in court. Because I bet Plod would have backed down like any other classroom bully when faced with having to justify their action.
Fuel Poverty _ The Cost of Going Green
We need to make people care sufficiently about climate change that they're prepared to pay more for energy in the short and medium term in order to avoid potentially catastrophic environmental, social and economic impacts in the long term.
If you're not convinced, just take a look at the recent analysis of energy bills by the Committee on Climate Change. Greens usually cite this document to show that wholesale gas prices are behind recent bill increases – and also that efficiency measures could limit future rises. Those are both crucial points. But the analysis also contains a less comfortable message: that over the next decade, renewable subsidies and carbon taxes will add far more to energy bills than rising gas prices are expected to. Indeed, if ambitious efficiency measures get implemented as we hope, then by 2020 clean-energy subsidies and carbon taxes will most likely account for more than a fifth of domestic electricity bills
What we have been saying all along, thanks for confirming.
Getting Rid of Turbulent Priests
The Bishop of Exeter has launched a stinging rebuke against alleged "abusive and bullying" tactics used by turbine protesters, which has forced the diocese to withdraw plans in order to protect clergy.
He said the diocese remained "deeply committed" both to the protection of rural Devon and to reducing its carbon footprint, but claimed clergy and officers had been subjected to "hostility", "outright verbal abuse", and "abusive and bullying tactics".
He said: "I and many of my colleagues have received very unpleasant letters and those who have attended public meetings in a genuine effort to explain the thinking behind our proposals have been shouted down and called liars."
The Diocese had previously said it was among the first wave of areas across Britain to be trialling the turbine approach in a Church of England bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
June 11, 2012
Warming Fact And Fiction
Data indicate China's carbon emissions could be 20% higher, prompting fears Earth is warming at a much faster rate.
"The sad fact is that Chinese energy and emission data as primary input to the models will add extra uncertainty in modelling simulations of predicting future climatic change," say the authors of a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Scientists say the world is already racing towards a warming of 2 degrees Celsius or more in coming decades because of the rapid growth in emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Adding another billion tonnes into computer models would accelerate the pace of expected warming.
Someone seems to have lost touch with reality. Temperature is measured with thermometers, not by the predicted output of computer models. They are just guesses, very clever guesses some of them, but they aren't reality.
50 Years of Silent Spring
The book that changed the world is a cliché often used but rarely true, yet 50 years ago this week a book appeared which profoundly altered the way we view the Earth and our place on it: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
When it began serialisation in The New Yorker on 16 June 1962 (it was published in full the following September) Silent Spring revealed to a horrified America – or at least, to those who did not know already – that its wildlife was being wiped out on a staggering scale by use of the new generation of synthetic pesticides, compounds made in the laboratory rather than from naturally occurring substances, which had followed on from the forerunner of them all, the chlorinated hydrocarbon DDT.
In particular, the songbirds of America's countryside and small towns were everywhere falling silent. They had been killed by colossal pesticide spraying programmes, usually from the air, sanctioned in the 1950s by the US Department of Agriculture, individual states and local authorities, and aimed at insect pest threats which turned out to be largely illusory.
There was no need for them; their real driver was the American chemical industry which had managed to convince US agriculture that its bright new range of deadly super-poisons, organochlorines such as aldrin and dieldrin, organophosphates such as parathion and malathion, were just the wonder drugs that farming needed – in huge doses....
Silent Spring and the furore it created gave birth to something more: the widespread, specific awareness that the planet was threatened and needed defending; and the past half-century of environmentalism, the age of Green, the age of Save The Whale and Stop Global Warming, has followed as a natural consequence.
Excuse me if I don't break our the bunting and champagne...
Here's one for the kiddies.
Here is a graph of the number of cases of malaria over a period of years. What does this graph tell you? What years did malaria minimize and maximize? Can you guess during which years DDT was used?
When "Rights" Meet Practicality
The United Nations is increasingly concerned at the spread in Europe of "baby boxes" where infants can be secretly abandoned by parents, warning that the practice "contravenes the right of the child to be known and cared for by his or her parents", the Guardian has learned.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which reports on how well governments respect and protect children's human rights, is alarmed at the prevalence of the hatches – usually outside a hospital – which allow unwanted newborns to be left in boxes with an alarm or bell to summon a carer.
...Perhaps the most taxing problem will be Germany, the powerhouse of Europe, which has about 80 baby boxes operating across the nation. The German constitution says all citizens have a right to "know of their origins" and fathers have a right to be part of a child's upbringing. Both are breached when a mother gives birth anonymously. Hatches are tolerated – but earlier this year German ministers floated the possibility of a new "legal framework for confidential births"....
In an email to the Guardian, Manfred Weber, German MEP and vice-chairman of the European People's Party – the largest grouping on the centre right – who signed the anti-UNCRC letter, said the issue was one of competing "rights". "Although I am convinced that a child is best raised within an intact family, the safety of children is of higher priority than their desire to know their biological parents," he said.
There is far too much guff talked about the right to know one's biological background, the idea that culture is genetically based is only mainstream in Social Services and far right parties. A happy and secure childhood trumps all the theory of the importance of "family".
June 9, 2012
Aftershave For Men
I chose from the bottom shelf.
June 8, 2012
Euro Juncker Bonds
Breaking with the decorum by which he is normally bound, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, used the word crisis six times as he surveyed the emergency now facing the eurozone. However he added that the eurozone would emerge “stronger than ever”, and predicted that the UK would join the currency.
Mr Juncker, 57, has been president of the Eurogroup, an informal caucus of the euro finance ministers, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, since 2005. He said: “With my European duties, I must not take part in the current alarmism. I profoundly think that we are capable of overcoming the structural difficulties of the moment.”
Then, switching from French to make his point slowly in English, he added: “I have to say that I am seriously concerned.”
Mr Juncker lamented “the impression that that we have hesitated at each stage” of the crisis. “We must impress the world with a record-breaking long-jump,” he said.
A leap towards fiscal and financial union will be outlined to leaders of the eurozone at a Brussels summit on June 28 and the plan must be complete by the early autumn,.....He said that he and the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission — Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso — expected to present proposals for greater integration by October.
The broker of countless pre-dawn compromises, including Britain’s opt-out from monetary union, acknowledged that while there was a consensus on pooling more governance, wide differences remained over the shorter-term means of relief.
Germany is resisting the majority wish to share debt through things such as joint “eurobonds”...
It was now clear that it had been an error for Germany and its allies to block pooled economic governance for the currency early on. “Even those who did not want deeper economic integration are now realising that this was an error,” Mr Juncker admitted.
The euro was born on hope. “We thought that the single currency would give birth to other European advances. I stick to my conviction.
“I foresee that at the end of this crisis, the European Union and the eurozone will emerge stronger than ever.”
He was equally sure of the UK’s destiny: “The moment will come when the United Kingdom, after looking at reality, will say to itself that it is better to be in the essential machine of Europe than to sit in the stand watching the action . . . I have always believed that, in spite of occasional bitterness, the European Union without Britain is no longer the European Union.”
He added: “For strictly national reasons and not out of any continental romanticism, the United Kingdom will become a member of the eurozone.”
Part Of The Union
What did the British ever do for the English? | The Times (£)
The argument for the Union, ...., is thus exactly parallel to the usual defence of Britain’s presence in the European Union. There is no European identity and even if there were, it would never attract the cussed dissidents across the Channel. But it does makes sense to be part of a trading alliance. It may even make sense to co-operate on security, crime, immigration and climate change. As long as the European Union is a service provider, the British will stomach it. But this rational case will never have any emotional resonance because there is no European identity. So, as soon as the British are asked for allegiance to an entity that looks and sounds like a government, their consent will be withdrawn.
For the same reason, I am not sure that Mr Miliband’s rational case for the Union can be made. There is, in truth, no great loss to the self-image of the English if Scotland departs the Union. Mr Miliband’s argument may even be self-defeating. It is possible that, the more he celebrates England, the more he undermines the case for the Union. The English may well conclude, flattered by his definition of them as stoical and quietly determined, that they are perfectly capable of remaining for ever England even if the Act of Union is repealed.
June 3, 2012
Reason 54 to Celebrate the Jubilee Weekend
- we are being given a break from hearing about the Olyawnpics. Bet Queen Sebastian Coe is stamping his little feet because he isn't on the front pages..
UPDATE - She still has it.