Monday, 29 November 2010


Wind warning for the Eastern side of Vancouver Island means the rain and wind are howling round the houses this evening. I can hear it washing the last of last weeks warble gloaming into the ditches. Never mind, we're due for some more sometime around the weekend. Feels like that first snowfall was just a rehearsal.

Inside the Sticker household all is cosy. Log fire pumping out heat while I laze on the sofa. Dog snoozing at my feet, ear half cocked at the clicking of my old laptops keyboard. I'm having a nice evening after a pleasant supper of Cottage pie. Although if you listen to some creeps currently chuntering at Cancun, that should be a crime. They want WW2 style rationing to 'save the planet'.

Well I've got an idea, why don't we ration climate conferences? You know, on the WW2 basis of 'is your journey really necessary?' Let's have austerity level budgets for certain faculties. Post office bicycles only for tenured professors, research assistants have to get a bus with all the heaters removed. Perhaps if it's getting so warm, globally speaking, let's make some 'carbon friendly' savings by cutting off the heating and air conditioning to particular Climate research faculties. Set an example you chaps. Put your money where your mouth is. Show us how to live in austerity. Do some actual physical poverty research to calculate real-world impacts. A proper empirical study should do the trick. Say a ten year programme to monitor specific effects of long term austerity programmes. This is stuff we need to know. Do climate scientists make good popsicle material when you've removed all their doors and windows? I'm sure there are many who'd like to see what happens to those at Hadley CRU and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change when the notorious East Anglian 'lazy wind' blows unfettered through their department all Winter. This is cutting edge stuff here, and in addition it's truly, eco-virtuously 'carbon neutral'. Come on guys, show us how it's done. You never know, we might even follow your example. On the other hand of course.........

In the meantime, I'll just keep on being cosy. Ho hum. Time for another log on the fire. Life is so hard.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Hottest year on record......... Not

Keep on hearing that this year is apparently the 'hottest on record'. Where? Certainly not locally or in the UK, despite hearing that politicians with all the intellectual nous of roadkill are committed to the 'low carbon economy'. Or should that read 'should be committed'. What with the current cold snap, the declarations that it's been the 'hottest year ever' look increasingly like someone's 'avin a larf.

Summer was definitely cooler this year, both in the UK and on Vancouver Island, not to mention in the southern hemisphere, where sub tropical rivers lost half their reptile population to the cold. Sorry guys, I just can't see this global warming that's going to kill my grandchildren. I can forsee them having to take up Winter sports for much of the year, but drowning because the sea levels are rising, or dying of heat exhaustion? No.

Tell you the truth, I'm more concerned that the North Korean business will turn into a real shooting war with genuine value added nuclear fallout with a side order of Iranian attack and Israeli pre-emptive strike. That Ahvegottadinnerjacket character with all his talk of 'Ambassadors of Death' might just prove nutty enough to pull the nuclear trigger, as might the North Koreans. The fallout from that little show would definitely put a crimp in everybody's day.

Although having looked at the situation a bit more closely, I get the impression that the current North / South Korea spat is one of those high testosterone bits of sabre rattling that the North Koreans appear to be fond of. Same for the Iranians.

Perhaps we'll all get lucky and one of their cheap 'n nasty missiles will detonate on the pad, demonstrating to the world how flaming dangerous these things truly are, and why little boys should not play with such fireworks. A few square kilometres of vitrified landscape might prove a sober reminder to such regimes that Nuclear war is the biggest lose-lose scenario going, and besides dahlings, it's sooo twentieth century.

On the upside, such an event would certainly put the whole global warming bandwagon on the back burner. With even the loony Huhne in Cancun and cohorts might be given pause. Additionally I'm told the weather down there ain't so hot as it usually is. Currently cloudy and wet all week, according to the local forecast. Those delegates who'd planned to hit the beach are in for a disappointing stay methinks.

You know, on reflection, it would be even more apposite if Al-Quaeda managed to smuggle a warhead into the climate conference and set it off. A bit of a shame for Cancun, as I'm told it can be very nice down there, but getting rid of all those delegates would mean that the average intelligence of politicians might go up a percentage point on average and take people's minds off the current wikileaks scandal.

Hmm. There's a thought to conjour with. Think of it as evolution in action.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Friday, 26 November 2010

David Cameron's party just lost my vote for good

I wrote to my UK constituency MP (A Conservative) raising a concern. Specifically about the funding of torture child porn on the taxpayer dollar. Particularly the recent controversial 10:10 video. By way of a reply I was deliberately insulted. In an official reply on House of Commons notepaper. I was patronised as well, but that I can cope with.

Now having taken gigatonnes of verbal crap on the streets of Britain for three years, you might think that I'm relatively immune to insults. Not so. You develop a thicker skin for the workaday, but there are places you don't expect abuse from. Your MP is one. It comes as a bit of a shock. Revelatory even.

As for returning the insult a la swearblogger, I think not. I will not return that specific insult because to play that game I'd have to turn my brain off.

If that particular MP wants votes at the next election, he might have to work very hard indeed to win his safe seat back. Reputation counts for a lot in my old stamping ground, and I'll be busy spreading the word in private. Disrespecting your constituents, even expatriates, is a lose-lose game.

By contrast, my local Canadian MLA and MP are both NDP, and although I don't agree with their politics, they are both splendid people who put constituency first. In the absence of a worthwhile opposition, they will have my vote. When I finally get one, that is.

In Britain it seems views not in keeping with party policy are often treated with open contempt. By Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems, anyone not an independent. Gordon Brown did it in public, the rest of them do it out of the public view. So long as they're in power it seems, they don't give a monkeys.

A good reason not to use Facebook

One of the news services I subscribe to is the specialist legal site run by legal eagles Pinsent Masons which can be pretty useful for keeping up to date with the latest on legal matters pertaining to the jolly old interweb.

One of the latest wheezes with regards to using those apparently oh so user fiendish friendly NHS services is if you have a Facebook profile. The bulk of the story is here, and includes this quotation*:
"Facebook capturing data from sites like NHS Choices is a result of Facebook’s own system," said a Department of Health statement. "When users sign up to Facebook they agree Facebook can gather information on their web use. NHS Choices privacy policy, which is on the homepage of the site, makes this clear."
Apparently if you haven't logged out of your Facebook profile properly (Just closing the browser window doesn't count), then go browsing the NHS database for details of an embarrassing little ailment you'd rather no-one else knew about, Facebook get to know all about it. Isn't that sweet?
Now you know why I went to extremes to delete my entire Facebook profile.

*Published under the 'fair use' provisions of the copyright act to draw attention to or comment upon the article in question, so there guv'nor, gor blimey, luv a duck, it's a fair cop, innit?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Activism masquerading as news

Blood and sand. Just when you thought that it was all over, the hydra of catastrophic man made climate change grows another head. No doubt those very clever chaps over at Wattsupwiththat will take one look and go "Nonsense." before systematically deconstructing the paper in question. In the meantime, lazy cut and paste journalists will repeat the assertions without fact checking, but what's new?

It's just another example of activism masquerading as news. Blatant misrepresentation if you will. No wonder trust in the lamestream media is draining away faster than water from a plugless bathtub.

You don't see the far more well constructed work of Henrik Svensmark given such uncritical treatment in the press. Well, maybe it doesn't fit the agenda, eh? Anyone who doesn't agree with said agenda is automatically tagged with the sub literate soubriquet 'denier'. Which just goes to show that the whole catastrophic meme is politics rather than science, activism rather than real news.

"Nooooo, it's still getting warmer!" Claim the activists as they see the money tap begin to run dry. Yet the weather continually makes mockery of their assertions. Single weather events like the current cold snap may not be climate, as the activists are fond of telling everyone, but climate eventually becomes made up of weather. There have been too many colder than usual years recently to blithely dismiss like that.

Oh well, throw another log on the fire. Have to keep from freezing to death somehow.


A minor thaw has set in this afternoon, which has meant tranches of snow is sliding off the roof with a sound like someone is shifting particularly heavy items of furniture about up top followed by mini avalanches grumbling down onto the deck. Dog is fretting, and has taken to skulking in the bathroom with his head tucked behind the toilet. God knows why he does this, because this fright of loud noises isn't anything he got from us.

It being what we call a 'snow day' when everything bar essential services shuts down, I've been upping my intellectual input by watching 'Jude the Obscure'. Unfortunately, our technology has given up in protest, and our cheap little DVD player refuses to play any more. Got to the scene where Jude's illegitimate son is paraded in front of his new wife to be before it stopped and the power light began to flash rapidly. Who says machines don't have some sensitivity? Apparently ours baulks at overlong BBC productions of Thomas Hardy novels, although it will quite cheerfully play Ciaran Hinds' performance in the 'Mayor of Casterbridge'. Yet stuff what is a visually unblemished copy of Jude the Obscure in and the damn thing goes on strike. Definitely weird.

Yet another post on intrusive security checks

Now as far as I'm concerned, if one person has to go through a full security screening, there should be no exceptions. No politician, celebrity, anyone should be spared the indignity of a full body scan / 'pat down' if all the rest of those passing through an airport have to do so. This includes their entire entourage.

If there's no discrimination for us 'lower orders', then there should be no exception for anyone else. Only fair isn't it? Anything else is just elitist, and isn't that very bad?

What use is a dog?

Now I'm a 'dog' person (I also like cats, but that's by-the-by), I grew up with a dog in the house, and feel that a dog is the best barometer of a household. I've also formed the opinion that a place where people live is less of a home without a dog. They are a symptom of life and useful gauge of happiness. Especially a crossbreed or 'Mutt'. Pedigrees are a bit more tricky, having been bred mostly to a specific function and generally speaking host to a temperament which can be best described as 'Mercurial'.

Notwithstanding, my own preference is for a 'Mutt', with all their eccentricities. If dogs can be used as a reflection of their owners nature, then mine is a friendly and sometimes over enthusiastic goofball. However, when it comes to being useful, that ball of fur slumped in the office doorway earns his home and comfort just by being who he is.

My dog more than earns his keep as guardian and friend. Apart from his predilection for silent but deadly farts when Mrs S and I decide to watch a little televisual entertainment, he makes a great footwarmer on cold evenings. His hearing is many times more sensitive than a humans, warning of visitors before they get halfway up the drive. His sense of smell has an acuity many times more than the most accurate human, and possibly way more discriminating than any man made device. Although what is Chanel No 5 to him (Bear and Deer droppings) are something he and I will have to disagree on. Yet his sense of smell has prevented household fires and several other potentially hazardous situations. Yes, a good mutt is hard to beat, and mine is a good 'un.

It matters not that his lifespan is much shorter than mine, and that I will grieve terribly when he dies at the age of 17 or so years. More so because it will be me who finally has to hold him in my arms as he draws his last doggy breath. We will have had the shared joy of life, and a new pooch will have been found before then both to give him company and for him to train in the ways of master and house in his declining years, and so our parting will not be such a yawning chasm of loss.

On a slightly connected topic, having watched the growing furore over the invasive and insensitive TSA body searches and scans wonder why the hell more dogs have not been employed in US airports. Yet for all their shortfalls, as a first line of defence they are the best tool in the box. Instead of the tiresome 'everyone has to be scanned' mentality, why aren't the Yanks using a more layered response? At Vancouver airport there's always a dog or two on patrol, and being walked past a trained animal who can detect explosives more readily than a human with a backscatter x-ray device should be more effective. One or two animals walked around the departure gates are not only a first line alert for filtering out the bad guys, but also get round the massive queuing issues that make air travel such a chore.

I'm sure there are people out there who are cynophobic, or have a cultural bias against dogs, but they are in a minority and would have to go through the body scanner regardless. I know dogs aren't infallible, but they're a good first line of defence. If everyone goes through the metal detectors anyway, the airport queues move faster and still filter out the nutters who think that blowing aircraft out of the sky with them on board is somehow very intelligent. This may be unfair to some, but far better a little unfairness to a few, than a great deal to many, as at present.

A well placed dog can help get round quite a number of security issues on a number of levels. Either as a detector or deterrent. So, dogs are useful. Even flop eared, goofy, and occasionally smelly pets like mine. We need more of them. Especially when the enemy doesn't like them much.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Just picked this little weather warning up for the next 24 hours. Now the guys on the prairies will view 5-15cm of snow as risible and barely worth a mention, but they tend to get a more powdery snow than us in our more maritime climate. Snow over on the Island tends to be heavy and wet by comparison to the stuff they get further east. It also compacts into ice very quickly, which compounds any hazard.

However, chez Sticker is fully equipped for all eventualities, even student protests, although the one we mainly get is along the lines of "Awwww Mum!" Our two have their flights booked and paid for, and are busy trying to get themselves organised enough to spend the festering season with us, grandparents, Aunts and friends. That's Canada, Northern England and France. All right for some, eh?

Them that's fightin words

The following rebuttal is mine alone. I do not speak for my husband, for my friends, for my children, but solely for myself.

I am tired of being told to sit down and shut up.

I am tired of being told what I can and can not say.

What is “acceptable”, while my ideas and values are mocked and trampled.
Wow. That's one pissed off military mother. The lady's plain, no-nonsense eloquence is quite frankly startling.

H/T Celestial Junk

Baby it's cold outside

Minus six to be precise, and no surcease forecast for the next day or so. Now I know for our hardier brethren out on the prairies that's still shorts and T-shirts weather, but for us softies here on Vancouver Island it's cold!

Log fire is lit 24/7, and yesterday our venerable old Battlebuses starter solenoid was frozen solid, so last night I rigged up the block heater to prevent the wind chill freezing the engine. For those not familiar with the device, a block heater is an electrical heating system you plug into the mains which keeps the engine compartment above freezing for easy cold starts.

Aside from that, it's business as usual. The new Winter tyres are making easy travelling on the snow and ice, and we're getting where we need to be. No problemo.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Oh no they're not....

From the seemingly never ending archive of warble gloaming pantomime, this blast from the past.

The view from my kitchen window 21st November 2010 around eight in the morning....

Yeah, right....

Respect and H/T to Donna Laframboise

Temperatures went below minus five Celsius this afternoon, and are prophesied to hit below minus 12 tonight. More warble gloaming expected on Friday and Saturday. My snow shovel is at the ready, all weather tyres are on the Battlebus, and the log store is full of seasoned wood. Warm clothing has been purchased. About the only thing we haven't got for the cold weather is a pair of skis and we're on the same damn latitude as here.

No more snowfalls - my arse!


Picked up via Drudge. They employ perverts at airport security checks now?

Is this real? What half witted excuse for a perverted paedophile thought they should strip search a child in public for heavens sake? What the hell do the TSA think they're doing? There's a classic class action waiting for an ambitious Tort lawyer right there.

It goes without saying that the child in question was not an 'ethnic'. The cack-handed TSA is becoming America's shame.

Our girls are coming over for Christmas, and one connection on a very reasonably priced flight, meant that they would have to go through such a security check as the connection was at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Needless to say, we went for the very much more expensive direct flight option. My Sister in Law will be here for Christmas, and she's talking about driving all the way from Minnesota rather than submit to these unnecessary procedures.

For crying out loud, one guy got arrested for stripping as a protest at the crotch level pat downs. This situation has gone past satire into WTF! territory without breaking step.

One is minded to remark at this point that Israeli flyers have the highest security risk in the world, and their checks are far less intrusive, and far more cost effective.

P.S. Here's the Eyetube version if Youtube shut the vid down.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Winging it

Well, if you listen to some sources, those who believe in the sovereign rights of the individual are filthy 'right wing' scum. Ookay, does this mean that the following tenets of liberty are evil, such as the right of individuals to;
a) Control their own lives and bodies
b) Own pretty much what they want from their own efforts
c) Talk to who they like, when they like
d) Go where they want
So long as no one does witting harm to others, and makes reparation for same if they do.

So that belief set is somehow very bad, eh?

Hmm....... Yet when you weigh up the alternatives, like;
a) Cradle to grave subjugation by others
b) Collectivisation, regardless of contribution
c) No right to opinions or associations but those approved by 'superiors'
d) Travel and recreation only if sanctioned by 'superiors'
Well, that doesn't seem so great to me. Besides, hasn't this type of society been tried several times during the 20th century and failed miserably? If it was so great, then why did the Soviets need Gulags for dissidents?

No, if Liberty and belief in the rights of the individual is 'right-wing' then I'm a filthy right wing scumbag (Swivel-eyed only when specifically called upon - as my Mum said; "If the wind changes you'll stick like it") and proud of it.

Here endeth the Sunday sermon.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Comment moderation

Following yet another attack of comment spam, my reader is reminded that comment moderation only applies on posts over 48 hours old.

Usual rules apply; pointless ad homs and commercial spam, no matter how disguised, will be deleted without publication. Pertinent, even opposing views, will be published providing they play the ball, not the man. How much more simple do you want?

Won't work mate.....

Much as I share some of the widespread distaste for Bankers' economic misdeeds, I can't help but feel Holby's latest wheeze won't work, even if it is sanctioned by such luminaries as Eric Cantona.

The plan appears to be that everyone should go to their bank or building society on the 7th of December 2010 and withdraw as much money as they can, thus causing the banking system to implode or collapse. The idea presumably is to somehow punish all those greedy bankers for causing the current economic crisis.

If anyone can be bothered to read this, might I say that everyone withdrawing all their money might turn out to be a massive economic own goal.

My reasoning is as follows; Because money is the means of exchange, it's value is relative. In itself, it is not a commodity, but rather an enumeration of work done. Linking it's value to a specific commodity, say gold, is only useful as long as gold is esteemed at a certain value. If gold were to become worthless because it was no longer considered as a valid means of exchange, then any currency linked to it would also lose it's purchasing power. Therefore; money is not a commodity in itself, more a measure of relative value. In short; a currency is only worth what is agreed. If enough people decide that a currency is worthless and sell lots of it for other currencies, its value drops like a rock into a gravitational singularity.

Furthermore, if people do like Holby suggests and withdraw all their money, in order to safeguard the interests of those people who own the banks and various politicians will take steps to 'safeguard the money supply' by ordering the printing of more money so that the banks don't go short. The resulting inflation will only hurt those who withdraw their money only to stuff it into a metaphorical mattress. Likewise, buying items that may hold their worth against inflation, such as land or other commodities, will only protect their investment so long as those commodities are 'agreed' to be worth that much.

So making an assumption that Holby and chums do manage to crash the banking system, the money they've withdrawn, without the backing institutions as personified by those 'eeevil bankers' automatically becomes valueless, and all the poor buggers still with savings lose everything. Take enough money out of an economic system and you end up rather like in Weimar Germany. Because, rather like Space and Time are inextricably bound together, so are Banks and Money. Whether you like it or not, the Banks are the money.

Kind of like trying to stop time, and then finding out all the rules supporting your little pocket of space / time no longer apply, and so by proxy, neither do you. Especially true for those with an urban lifestyle and no real material holdings in land or foodstuffs. That's if you ask me. Not that anyone will of course.


We have snow, at sea level. Yesterday, on the road from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan and Duncan we saw snow up on the logging roads, this morning it's down at our level to the waterfront. Only a couple of inches, but we don't normally get snow this early.

As all our neighbours say with a derisive laugh; "Global warming, eh?"

No-one is fooled any more. Man made Climate Change / Global Warming / Climate Disruption was never about science, only politics and the biggest theft in history. Anyone who still claims it will be the death of us all deserves a snowball in the face. With a rock in it as a courtesy extra. Just to drive the message home.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Proof that I live in a truly civilised country

....can be found when the Canadian Senate votes down economically suicidal legislation.

H/T to Wattsupwiththat.

People who know sod all about sharks write misleading nonsense

Oo look, people who want to pin the world's woes on climate change strike again. Failing that, their paper is being woefully misrepresented in the lamestream. Sad to say, all the articles I've seen so far written on the subject are complete and utter rubbish. Sad, lazy cut and paste journalism strikes again.

Here's why;

The Great White Shark, or Carcharodon carcharias, is a carnivorous predator that generally feeds on various sea mammals of all sizes, including snacking on the occasional unwary surfer or scuba diver. They've even been observed attacking some species of Whale. According to my old Game Fishing tome, written by a long time hunter of Sharks, Great Whites can be found as far north as the North Atlantic drift goes, right down to the equator, thence south of Cape Town. Their distribution is global, eschewing only the coldest waters. They follow the migrations of Tuna, Sea Lions, Seals, Turtles and anything remotely shark bite sized. To blame their distribution solely on changes in the climate is quite frankly, nonsense.

Whites are, for their single minded drive, a species with a remarkably developed sensory system. To say that the Mediterranean branch got 'lost' is misleading. Changes in temperature might have altered the food chain so that the various prey species altered their migration paths, but the Whites never got directionally challenged, waylaid, or distracted by a particularly attractive shoal of Mullet. They knew exactly what they were after. Food. Much of it Sea Mammals.

Bloody hell. I haven't even got a degree, and even I know that much.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Blog rage

Not that anyone really reads my frequent forays into frustration with the world, but then this blog is my daily toxic thought dump, a venting of the frustrations that would otherwise cost me a fortune in shirts and furniture.

For example, the latest little annoyance is the news that we may all be subject to interrogation over a 'happiness quotient'. Which ironically may well become a cause of more unhappiness than intended, the law of unintended consequences being what it is.

Imagine the following scenario. Our hero Bill Sticker, humming a happy little tune to himself as he works, has his train of thought momentarily interrupted by the telephone ringing. Being an innocent soul (Heh), he picks up the handset and answers cheerily, as he is wont to do. "Y'ello!" (Don't ask me why, I just do, okay?) Only to be met by one of those awful autodialler pauses before a young female telemarketers voice greets him. At this juncture, Bill's usual cheery demeanour undergoes a sudden sea change. Driven by a sinking prescient feeling, his brow tightens, his eyes redden, teeth clench and muscles knot.
"Hi!" Says the friendly telemarketer. "I'm conducting a survey on people's happiness."
"I was fine until you called." Vouchsafes the hero of this piece.
"Oh." Says the manically chirpy telemarketer.
"Good day." Bill speaks in tones of disdainful dismissal before shutting off the call. He stops for a cup of tea before settling down to work once more. An hour later, he is busily 'in the zone' and humming contentedly as he works. Again, the phone rings, again he answers it cheerily before the autodialler pause kicks off another mood swing.
"Hello" Says the chirpy person on the other end of the line. "Is that Mr Willyam Striker?"
"Sort of." Responds our hero dubiously. Third hand mailing lists strike again.
"This is the UK Government calling to see if you're okay."
"Why?" Huh? A transatlantic call for this?
"Well we just want to know how happy you are." I was until you called me.
"Why?" Is this taxpayer funded?
"Well, er, it's important to us."
"Why?" You're using taxpayer dollar for this idiocy aren't you?
"Well, it's part of a National survey on happiness. Can you tell me on a score of one to ten how happy you are, using one as very unhappy and ten as very happy indeed?"
"Right now?"
"Yes please."
"You interrupted my work, which I was quite enjoying, to ask me a stupid childish question like how happy I am?"
"Minus ten." You just had to ask didn't you?
"On a happiness score of one to ten, I'm telling you my happiness score, right at this moment, is minus ten." Now go away.
"I can't report that."
"It is the only figure I am willing to give you. I was content, now I am not."
"So you're saying this call has caused you discontent?"
"Yes." Now leave me in peace, please.
"How would you score your contentedness when you were content, then?"
"AAAAAAARRRGGHHHHH!!!!!" A sudden dopplering noise followed by a crash of plastic and a dying electronic bleep signals the premature death of an innocent telephone handset. There is the sound of ripping cloth, a deafening snarl or pure rage, followed by the heavy breathing grunt of bellicose incandescence along with smashing masonry and receding heavy footsteps. Dog hides under sofa.

You know, if a government tries to meddle in people's lives at this level while the economy is in the toilet and public spending is still out of control, I'd say they'd just passed their sell by date.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

There's a kind of hush....

..... Falling over certain Libertarian corners of the blogosphere. If the disparate web pages hosted on servers all over the place can be said to have corners. In particular the swearbloggers appear to be losing their voices in despair over the continual, if predictable, failure of politicians to heed the many voices of warning. Mr Eugenides has shut up shop, Obnoxio the Clown, even the near indefatigable Devil's Kitchen Knife says he's having trouble with mustering the anger any more.

Can't say I blame them. The time is long since past to be making plans and garnering resources to pack up and ship out of what may well become the next great prison-state.

My own visit to England a few weeks ago brought it home with a bang. Even a train journey into a medium sized British city showed a land blighted with CCTV and excess security checks. ANPR cameras all over the place around the major urban centres, the insidious Average Speed Cameras. Rarely did I see a proper policeman on foot patrol. Just the blank, anonymous, unremitting glassy stare of wall to wall surveillance. Even if the images are little better than useless at catching the real bad guys.

Another sinister pointer is when the powers that be think they can interfere in the appointments of a minor political party, you know the system is going to hell.

The whole of the UK is encrusted with rules upon rules, layers upon layers of suspicion that made me feel grubby after only a few minutes. It also left me with the distinct urge to scrub my skin clean from the inside every time I got back to our hotel room. A kind of patina has covered the land of my birth. A scummy layer that pollutes everything it touches. Those within it's cloying embrace will not notice because the changes have been so gradual, but changes there have been, and not for the better. Even old friends seemed tarnished by living there. Such is the New Labour legacy, and the Coalition appear to be continuing down the same sorry street.

It's the same shit, different day. No wonder some of the strongest voices are falling silent.


Dropped by the Icelandic Met office site today to see this interesting little patch of tremors. The volcano in question is Öræfajökull (I think) which had its last big eruption in 1362. As always, the caveat remains that tremors alone do not an eruption make. Without data on ground deformation, yadada, yadada, no prediction can be made. So there. Although the seismic activity is several kilometres down, so for the moment an eruption seems unlikely. However, that judgement call is for the real volcano experts, not a dilettante like me.

You know what? I love these Icelandic place names, if only for the perverse schadenfreude of watching lamestream media newsreaders and various pumped up pundits swallow their own tongues trying to pronounce them.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Reading, Rioting and Arithmetic

Having watched footage of rioting students in London, I'm minded to make one of my 'modest proposals' with regards to University education. Whilst I never had the privilege of going to University, for privilege it is, I've formed the opinion that some things are best taught at University and others are just a waste of classroom time.

Universities down the centuries have nurtured great minds and helped make superb advances in some subjects, but in others, I wonder why they bother. Now subjects like Medicine, Law, Physics, Geology, and all the 'hard' science courses, even Engineering, can be taught to degree level. No problem there. I even think there is a very sound economic case for free education for those who will contribute to the wealth and well being of society far better for having had highly specialised teaching. Even commercial courses should have some discounted fee structure, this is only sensible and proper. It also makes sound commercial sense. Certain cultural courses like Languages, History, and what are called 'The Classics' are not without value and should likewise be well funded by the public purse.

On the other hand, there are subjects which Universities should receive no funding for whatsoever, and no grants or loans should be available for them. The ones I have in mind are PPE's (Political Science) and the various 'soft' subjects such as the 'Social Sciences'. Whilst there will always be a need for Physicists and other scientific researchers, Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and Business Managers, the rest can go hang. Why should the University system be used to fund what are little better than vanity degrees? It merely devalues the degree as a mark of academic excellence.

I'm in favour of a free higher education for those of an academic and / or high level technical bent. What I'm not in favour of is sending the world and his / her / it's partner of choice through a system better suited for the brightest and best.

A change in the tide?

Today, with a light frosting of snow on nearby mountains, I'm taking time out to briefly review what is happening that may be cause for real hope and change, not the ersatz stuff promised by a certain politicians speechwriters.

The infamous Digital Economy act, one of the last spasms of the much despised UK Labour Government, is up for judicial review.

All around, the proponents of man made Catastrophic Global Warming / Climate Change / Disruption have discovered the feet of clay attached to their god. The consensus that never was is shown up for the fraud it always has been.

In the US, the statists have found themselves dethroned by a loose coalition of activists. The advocates of individual freedom and responsibility, long despised and disparaged, are gaining mainstream credibility.

It's more a feeling than anything else, but I'm hopeful enough to think that this is an 'El Alemain' moment. Not a victory. For the war against the statist busybodies is far from over, but a turning point nonetheless. The statist bandwagon, having reached its highest ebb, has run out of money. It has no choice but to retreat.

Now that is hope and change I can believe in.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A final word on remembrance day

A little anecdote is in order here;

Mrs S and I were test driving 4x4's yesterday, and got to off topic conversation with the salesperson as we put a couple of vehicles through their paces.

"So." Says our very chatty salesperson. "How does it work with remembrance day in England."
"It's usually the closest Sunday." Said Mrs S as we swung through a short series of S-bends and briskly up a hill with my foot moving floorwards.
"So does everything shut down like over here on the eleventh?"
"No. It's business as usual." Replied Mrs S. There was a slight pause.
"But that's disrespectful." Said slightly shocked salesperson.

Me, I just smiled and kept driving. God, I love this place.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Some remembrance day thoughts

....About the poppy.

The symbol of our forefathers gone. A name concurrent with my own is on the Menin gate.

About generations sacrificed to the mad ambitions of others.....

About the people who were forever changed, melted in the crucible of war, hardened by the austerities that followed, and tempered by experience....

Yes, the poppy worn on remembrance day should be red as blood, with a black spot of mourning at it's centre......

Anyone who wears a white poppy on Remembrance day might as well be wearing a white feather......

Anyone breaking the two minutes silence with profanity or insult is a coward and unworthy of civilised company.......

Anyone who stands silent is keeping faith with those who died so that future generations might have the right to praise them.......

The red poppy gives thanks for peace, and the almost vain hope that we will not make the same mistakes again.......

The red poppy is a symbol of thanks for family and friends who return safely from harms way.......

Wearing the red poppy declares brotherhood with those gone before.....

Buying a red poppy raises funds for those wounded in the service of others......

Now silence, head bowed, and a prayer for your forefathers, no matter what their god or yours. We are their beneficiaries and should show proper gratitude.... It is their due, and our tithe.

Lest we forget.

Revolting natives

The current student protest in London has been almost inevitably hijacked by rentamob who are venting their pointless fury on CCHQ The news the rentarioters didn't do it to Labour when tuition fees were introduced in 2004 is no surprise.

I know our kids aren't there as we've just been talking to them on Skype. They're in their final year and already funded. They've also been doing some voluntary work today. Even though the hike in fees has left them feeling rather ticked off.

Mostly the protesters are, according to youngest, "Politics students." Who are being bussed down to London.

I'm just glad our two have found better, more positive, things to do than simply shout and bust things up. They're also too busy making plans for Christmas parties in Vancouver this year. The rewards will come to them as they're putting in the graft rather than wait until two weeks before finals and panicking.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

There's nothing new, philosophically speaking

Today I have been reminding myself of the work of poets and authors two millennia gone. How apposite their meaning is even now.
I itch to depart for the West and the limitless sea,
Each time green pretenders to wisdom and virtue
Who live in falsehood, dare spout of 'denial'.

The opening lines of Juvenal's second Satire. Paraphrased and bowdlerised to extinction by me.

For anyone vaguely interested, the actual opening reads like this;
Vltra Sauromatas fugere hinc libet et glacialem Oceanum,
Quotiens aliquid de moribus audent
Qui Curios simulant et Bacchanalia uiuunt
Yet the railing against hypocrisy and falsehood remains the same.

For there is little I find, outside technology, that is truly new.
If ancient poets were now reincarnated, they would be bloggers of a Libertarian hue.

On the nature of good and evil

Statement: Evil is the treatment of people as things, for use, control or disposal.

Conclusion: All totalitarian regimes which use, control and dispose of people at will without their freely undertaken volition are fundamentally evil.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hanging on to a learning curve

I'm currently climbing a very steep learning curve regarding bowhunting. What is the best tool for the job? Has been the question sitting in my forebrain since a long in depth talk with one of the local experts who bade me look up the work of a Dr Ed Ashby.

Having read through the study documents twice, I'm drawn to the conclusion that a chisel tip two blade broadhead made of 58 Hardness Stainless Steel like this on a 680 grain arrow will fill the freezer nicely. There's a lot of information to digest, and still more practice to do before I'm ready for a real hunt. I'm utterly fascinated by the sheer weight of information compiled by Dr Ashby. I'm hanging on to the steep end of a learning curve, culturally speaking, trying to keep my grip. I can't see me being ready until some time late 2011. My little 45lb recurve won't be here until February as it is currently at the shippers awaiting the next container westbound.

For those interested, Dr Ashby's conclusions can be read via or via the links below.

Arrow lethality part 1
Arrow lethality part 2
Arrow lethality part 3
Arrow lethality part 4
Arrow lethality part 5
Update part 1
Update part 2
Update part 3
Update part 4
Update part 5
Update part 6

I have a great deal to learn. So, it would seem does a person apparently hunting with a crossbow in an urban area. Dozy wassuck. Semi rural areas fine; suburban most definitely not. Although it is possible that the shooter was hunting in the farmlands and woodland to the north of the area cited, so maybe I'm being a little harsh.

The thought does occur that hunting where the 'muddled moderns' have their semi sanitised playgrounds is nonetheless counter productive. It doesn't do to antagonise the squeamish. Especially those who don't or can't understand where those delicious meats come from on their local deli counter.

I think they're missing the point here.....

From those very clever chaps over at Wattsupwiththat we hear that;
"Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics."
Yeah but guys, isn't this a case of shooting the messenger(s)? If your damn postulation carried any weight then at least some of your predictions should have come true by now. Shouldn't they?

Maybe these soi-disant 'climate scientists' should be revising their alleged 'theory' to reflect reality instead of going on the warpath against honest doubters.

Sounds like someone has seen their funding in danger of slipping away.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The last word on 10:10

Have received all the replies I'm going to get from my 'Write to your MP / MEP' campaign over the abusive images of children in various 'Green' publicity as funded from the public purse. All of the responses have been pretty anodyne, and vaguely patronising, although my local MP in the UK (An apparatchik parachuted in from party HQ, not selected at local level) didn't deign to reply at all. Well there's a surprise. Still, five responses out of seven wasn't too bad, although to my total lack of amazement, there was no response from the office of the Energy Secretary. Probably too embarrassed at the furore created with their money to respond to the outrage.

Despite the lack of political reaction, I'm encouraged by the apparent dearth of further propaganda emanating from the serried sources of climate campaigners. Maybe the money supply to these parasites has been much reduced, or the word has been passed, "Don't use kids again". Maybe they were just made part of the recent UK public sector cull. Perhaps they're just regrouping. Whatever the reason, I'm calling the skirmish over 10:10 a result and applauding all the others who wrote to their MP / MEP to complain about said abuse of public funding. Also kudos are due to the 'No to O2' campaign, and all those who expressed their outrage to the commercial sponsors of what I'm calling 'climate child abuse'. The word is out, and the word is 'don't'.

In other quarters, even the most rabid greens are having the scales peeled from their eyes to realise that all the works of man are not an abuse of the environment. There's been far too much readiness to blame mankind, and not enough research to find the real root causes. Too much "Well we can't think what else it could be." and spectacular performances in the 100 metre conclusion jump.

Overall, I'm encouraged that the scientific method is arising from the ooze in which blinkered campaigners have smothered it with their 'consensus' bullshit, and open discussion is once more (slightly) in favour. Empiricism is being restored to it's proper place. Mostly. Maybe. I hope.

All I have to say is; good show chaps, but heads up and keep those vorpal bayonets fixed. The bastards will return for another go at freedom of speech and thought. Maybe in another guise, but they will be back. Upon that you can depend.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Grimsvötn blows? Or clouds?

Is this what I think it is? Inside each of the red circles is a small grey smudge first observed around 3:00 (2:00 UTC) and growing in length. In the case of both the highlighted smudges the point of origin appears to have stayed static, unlike the lighter smudge to the right of the circles, which appears to be a cloud tracking slightly west of due south.

This may be a combination of wishful thinking and poor satellite imagery, or it could be the real deal. Grimsvötn and that active patch Northeast of Langjökull may have just blown their stacks, or I'm mistaken and it's some kind of anomalous cloud formation. Will watch the situation for the next couple of hours to see how, or if, it develops further. Image sourced from here.

Update: Nope. Looks like just plain old workaday cloud formation.

More Icelandic bubbling under

The geothermal field Krisuvik on the Reykjanes peninsula is busy with small and relatively deep tremors right at the moment. Grimsvötn is merrily bubbling away under Vatnajökull.

Nothing massive going on at present, but as no-one has come up with an accurate system of forecasting eruptions, it's so hard to tell.

Katla keeps bubbling under like a coffee percolator on low heat, but no other data to indicate anything untoward is happening. So no fireworks here at the moment. Thank goodness for that.


From the denouement of 'The sky full of stars'
Incandescent, unfiltered sunlight brought him to his senses as his orbit swung Baskerville One out of Earths shadow. Still panting, Richard pulled himself carefully into the upper cabin airlock, unclipped the safety line and let the now-dead Cyborg float away to join the rest of the orbiting space junk.

Returning to the control cabin, he closed the airlock, crawled into his command chair and strapped himself in. He stared at another ‘incoming message’ icon and tapped the screen to cancel the alert. He looked at the atmosphere and fuel readings again.

Exhausted with stress, he tried to think straight. There could be no peace for him while he lived. That much was obvious. He looked at the readings again, then at the sunlit Earth beneath. Not much of a choice really. Stay here and die of suffocation in the next two weeks, or do something. Stop running and strike back.

He checked the fuel readings again. Just enough for one last, quick and dirty fireball re-entry.

“I’m dead.” He said simply to himself. “Fuck it. I’m just dead.” He shook his head slightly. Any way you added up the figures it all came to the same answer.

Slowly and deliberately, he began to turn Baskerville one nose down towards the Earth then fired the braking thrusters. “Might as well.” Everything he knew and loved was gone, burned and destroyed, and for what; so some fat greasy bureaucrat could strut about like some overweight Turkey cock because he or she could make you do exactly what they wanted, no matter how stupid it was. So some politician could expand his power and influence, then claim he was doing it ‘for the faithful’? Lying bastards, Richard thought bitterly before he corrected the delta-v and made a few rough mental calculations. He put one hand on the manual attitude control and the other on the manual throttles. “Ready or not, here I come.” He said calmly. Baskerville one began to lose altitude and the scrolling on screen altitude overlay began to spin like a hyperactive slot machine. He engaged the secondary drive and let that deal with the friction heat of re-entry for a while. Four percent reactor fuel, Ninety three percent battery. Reactors and VASIMIR drive at full power. Internal atmosphere point eight bar, O2 nominal. All other functions marginal at best. Two minutes to impact. He idly wondered if the remaining hydrogen in his fuel tanks would fuse and detonate when he hit. It would all be academic anyway. A simple impact would at the very least kill him, and that would solve everyone’s problems. Hah!

The screen relayed the image of central Brussels, a building by a park with a brown watered lake at full magnification, looming larger by the second. He reset the targeting software to a new impact point, scrolling back the magnification as Baskerville one screamed down through the stratosphere. Still in his EVA suit with the backpack running Richard casually folded his arms and leisurely watched the ground approach as if this was some unconvincing virtual entertainment show and not certain death.

There were ordinary, honest people down there, but they were all guilty by association, all part of the massive bureaucratic machine that ground others down into nothing. Lawyers and politicians all. He was doing himself and the world a bloody big favour. Screw me, screw them, and screw them all. Useless totalitarian bastards. “Mum, Dad. Vicky, Tiggy. I’m coming home.” He said softly, a single tear tracking across his right cheek and down the side of his face.
* * *
Baskerville one’s stubby black torpedo hull soundlessly punched through the clouds at over a kilometre a second, outpacing the sound of it’s grumbling hypersonic shockwave. With the suddenness of a searchlight, in the middle of a pleasant midweek Brussels morning a massive fireball bloomed at the junction of Wetstraat and Kortenberglan, right over the old Kortenbergtunnel.

In the same moment the massive bulk of the oval EuropStaat building ceased to exist and all of the surrounding Ministerial Palaces shredded within a nanosecond along with the living bodies of a half million EuroGov office workers. Within the primary impact zone everything was reduced to superheated dust.

Another five kilometres from the epicentre the detonation’s shockwave blew out windows and shattered loose masonry like a nuclear fireball, the friction heat shock starting small spontaneous fires. Glass sided office buildings became death traps for the government workers and officials within. Supersonic shardstorms of glass fragments like glittering shotgun pellets shredding anything remotely organic in their path. A massive shockwave propelled incandescent air through the underground heart of the city. The ornate domed central Gaian Temple blew away like it was made of paper, ancient Churches toppled as though made of sand, and the ground for five kilometres momentarily boiled as though it was water. Nothing survived.

At it’s epicentre the detonation instantly created a three kilometre wide crater almost half a kilometre deep surrounded by a forty metre high bund of debris, walls steaming and glowing in a myriad places. In the centre a small pool of lava surrounded by fused soil and rock oozed and began cooling. After a few moments, water from underground aquifers began flooding into the massive hole, flash boiling into sudden jets of steam as it ran over molten rock, which was already making loud pinking noises as it cooled.

A huge dust pall mushroomed up above the stricken city, punching through the clouds towards the stratosphere. Shockwaves and groundwaves rumbled out at the speed of sound, knocking people off their feet at up to forty kilometres away, raising a five metre tsunami running west and northwards from the Belgian coast. Up to a further twenty kilometres away people caught out in the open suffered nosebleeds and went temporarily deaf. Buildings shook, some tumbled.

Minutes later, from Margate and Broadstairs in the South to Scarborough in the north, deserted English beaches were inundated by a five-metre tsunami. Low lying coastal towns like Lowestoft were completely washed off the map. Square kilometres of land were washed away; Dykes burst, rivers flowed backwards, and land flooded as far west as Ely. Holland suffered worse as a massive tidal surge almost instantly destroyed its sea defences and inundated the fecund polders it’s sea dykes had once protected.
* * *
The last remaining Geostationary Weather Satellite recorded the event from above. President Friedman stared at the relayed image of the blossoming mushroom cloud that was once the European capital in horror. “Oh my dear God.” He breathed. “What have we done? What have we done?”

Vincent Dern, standing quite still in the Oval office, broke the horrified silence. “Only what we were pushed into doing sir. Only what they made us do.” Hamilton looked shocked then glanced reprovingly at the White House Chief of Staff. Vincent raised a bushy salt and pepper eyebrow and shrugged as he looked stoically back at the wall screen relay. Friedman could only stare hopelessly at the emerging devastation

That concludes this evenings Nov 5th blog fireworks...

The belief that dare not speak it's name..... not

From those very funny chaps at Minnesotans for Global Warming.

H/T Wattsupwiththat.

November fifth. Exactly the right date for a kind of bonfire of inanities such as the belief in Man made global climate disruption and similar nonsense.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Holy smoke and buckets of blood me hearties! Gordon Campbell has announced his intention to resign.

Wonder if he said; "Either that tax goes or I do"? Nah.....

H/T Small Dead Animals

US Mid terms, some observations

Still trying to get my head around the near revolution going on south of the border, but it looks like a caning for the Incumbent from the electorate at Congressional level. The Republicans have taken the Senate, and what looks like a slim majority in the Governor's Mansions.

No doubt the minions of the various spinmeisters will be out in force, trying to put their stamp on the results. Lamestream media pundits will be out trying to tell everyone what to think; i.e. that this is either Racist, or in some other way challenges the supremacy of their God.

The Tea Partiers have, no matter what claims to the contrary, had significant impact on these elections, and from their beginnings back in 2007, have come a very long way in a very short time. In spite of considerable lamestream propaganda, one might be forgiven for adding. In some ways the clumsy assaults on their credibility have had limited effectiveness, in others totally counter productive. Because one neither needs to be a towering intellect to see where the blinkered ego's who think the world owes them their living have tried to take the USA, nor an Economic mastermind to see the damage done. Yet this is where the self-declared towering intellects have brought the West.

To recap; the current crisis has it's roots in Carter's Community Reinvestment act, extended under Clinton, and when the Banks sold on the ever expanding poor risks, it only took a modest downturn to create the current situation. The current Democrat led administration has done what the previous Republican one did, which was throw money at the problem because they were prevented from staunching the flow by a congress hooked on buying votes. The fallout is as we see. The bailouts essentially failed, with the irony that the Chinese, once cold war enemies opposed to capitalism, now virtually own America.

The road back to US prosperity will be a long hard one, and the only way Government can stimulate a 'recovery' is to do some infrastructure projects on the scale of the Interstate highways or Hoover Dam to provide some sort of demand. Failing that, get the hell out of the way and cut taxes and regulation to the point where the middle income bracket can afford to spend on consumer goods, and give tax breaks to small and medium sized companies willing to invest. It's what I'd recommend. Not that anyone is going to ask of course.

Up here in the not quite frozen north, the Provincial Premier sent cheques for CAD$154.00 to young people, funded from the highly unpopular HST. Considering it probably took something like double that to actually collect the tax, possibly more, the extra money gained for the exchequer might as well have stayed in people's pockets. As is well established; government is an horrendously inefficient means of transferring money around.

Hi-ho. Better log off and go and do some work. TTFN.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

US Mid term results

There is a map showing the results as they are called here.

Live twitterers and election blogging here.

The only question remaining is how big this Tea Party thing is going to be?

Katla 2nd November 2010

Just when we thought it was safe to take your eye off the volcano; a quickie on the latest status of Katla in Iceland. Over the past 24 hours there's been an increase in tremors less than a kilometre down. The usual cautionary note about tremors on their own meaning little without additional data applies. I'm waiting to hear what the real volcanologists are saying.

Will be watching this space, amongst others. Also the Katla Webcam.

The more I think about it....

The more I think about why this man wasn't the first non-caucasian President of the United States. Instead of the current incumbent.

Powell has more statesmanship and financial acumen in his little finger than Obama and his entire team, yet Powell actually endorsed him. Hmmm.

Just the idle thoughts of an expatriate Englishman trying to make sense of American politics on Mid term election day.....
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