Saturday, 31 October 2009

Al, Baby - debate please

"Al baby" Did I hear Monckton actually say that or am I having aural hallucinations? ROFL. Still think the whole 'Global Governance' / Bilderberg / New World Order / whatever stuff is a bit far fetched, but I'm perfectly willing to accede that something is up, and it sure as all fired ain't the temperature.

Any old road up; time for NCIS. I much prefer their one Goth girl of all trades technician to any of the CSI lot, and David McCullum is terrific as Dr 'Ducky' Mallard. Pass the popcorn.

Happy Halloween

"Ooo look! Trolls and zombies for Samhain!" Quoth I.
"Er, excuse me dear, but I don't think this lot are looking for sweeties." Mrs S replied.

Friday, 30 October 2009

View from the gutter.....

I'm sorry to keep going on like this (Not), but I get terribly frustrated with the whole business of climate change. Not so much the physics as the politics. The physics are pretty simple, but it's the politics that gives me cause for concern. Why the smegging hades are we as a culture bothering with trying to control the weather by taxation? What is going to happen to all the extra tax levied? Give it away in a pointless redistributive potlach of Brobdingnagian proportions? In the middle of the deepest economic crisis to hit the Western nations since the 1930's? To quote John Le Mesurier in his performance as the upper class Sergeant Wilson in the UK TV comedy Dad's Army; "Is that really wise?"

Well I don't think so. Anyone promulgating the view that civilisation has to be ended because we had a few warmer years (although it hasn't felt that way for a while) has to be several light years over the delusion event horizon and accelerating. The bit that really scrolls my knurd is that some of the organisations pushing this agenda get taxpayer Dollars, Pounds and Euro's. Not just a little, but millions. That massively pisses me off because we're being conned with our own flaming money.

Well this is going to be a Pyhrric victory for environmentalism as a whole if the sums proposed are actually spent in the manner outlined. Why? Because the money supply will dry up that's why. We'll all be too blasted poor to even afford environmentalism if these idiots get their way. Environmentalism only occurs when people are rich enough not to have to worry where your next meal is coming from. The economic strangulation of the western economies will have to be so great to achieve the proposed lowered carbon emissions that the infrastructure cannot be properly maintained. People will starve and die unnecessarily because of such policies. However, if they're not part of a tiny 'enlightened' elite, hey who cares? They're only peasants. Plenty more where they came from, huh?

I have a terrible vision, and it is not a pretty one; Britain (For one) will become, in the words of one of my characters from (Shameless plug coming up) 'The Sky Full of Stars'; "That wretched little poverty trap" and don't ask me about other western nations. From over here it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You can see events unraveling and although you want to, you just can't look away.

Sometimes I ask myself; is this whole business some form of political Götterdämmerung that taxpayers are unconsciously funding. Certain democratically elected leaders appear to have basically given up trying to be leaders and are basically saying "If we can't have it all our own way, then we'll completely screw it up for everyone else". Gordon Brown for example comes across as a completely delusional example of this mindset, possibly intoxicated. There's a thought. Can you be arrested and imprisoned for running a country whilst impaired by intoxicating drugs? Oh I wish because I've got a little list of complaints, and it's a doozy.

We in the western world should be looking upwards and outwards, or we will have failed as a species. I will expand this argument by example; look at any species of creature, from Mycoplasma genitalium to Balaenoptera musculus almost without exception, all creatures expand their territory. They need space to move, to grow, to reproduce. Humans are no different. To restrict our range and limit our population is to stagnate, and to stagnate is to reserve a premature place on the list of Earth's extinct species. We must expand as a species or die. All other courses lead to dissolution and genetic demise.

There are those who will say that this is a good thing, however, I believe them to be clinically insane if, like me, you think that future generations of humanity should actually have a future, both physical and economic. I have the luxury of light and warmth because previous generations contributed to the infrastructure of the western world. I would like the next few thousand generations of humanity to have expanded out towards the stars, not wasted our resources navel gazing in a poverty of our own making. To expound upon the theme of this quote from Isaac Newton; we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and should seek to raise future generations higher, not throw them into the turgid guilt-fest of a slough of environmental and economic despond.

Excuse the slightly unhinged tone of this rant, but I've just had to shell out for an air ticket for Mrs S to visit the UK, and almost half the cost of travel was in environmental bloody taxes.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

I concur...

Devils kitchen has a thoughtful rant which just about shoots the whole 'Carbon Dioxide is causing the heat death of the world' malarkey down in flames. He draws his source via PaAnnoyed's excellent writing at Counting cats, which simplifies the science to a laymans level.

Essentially, the 'greenhouse effect' we keep hearing about in the media is a gross misnomer and cannot occur for the following simple reason; greenhouses heat up because the glass stops convection, not radiation. This was empirically proven by R W Woods in 1909. The rest of the posts are a broad explanation of atmospheric physics as we currently understand them.

CO2 cannot act as a significant climate modifier, even if concentrations triple for the very simple reason that convection in the atmosphere would rapidly negate any such heating effect. Put even more simply; try the following experiment. Enter your greenhouse and open the roof vents and leave the door open. The temperature will drop rapidly, no matter the concentration of gases, because heated gas / fluid becomes less dense and rises because in becoming less dense it becomes lighter. Cooler air will flow in through the open door and displace the warmer air that rises from the open vents.

For carbon dioxide to act as a greenhouse multiplier, it would have to form an atmospheric layer transparent to radiation and resistant to convection, which it does not. It is a gas; all gases / fluids are subject to convection. This is an incontrovertible piece of basic physics. Carbon Dioxide would have to have the physical properties of a solid transparent sheet in order to prevent radiation / convection losses.

My major beef is, and always has been, why have so many people been taken in by the whole fiction? Why have so many politicians been hoodwinked (or even hoodwinked themselves) and imposed unnecessary taxation in times of economic hardship. When I finally get a vote over here, I will be actively campaigning for the immediate removal of any and all 'carbon' taxation.

If you can't understand that level of simplification, well I'm sorry, you're doomed and might as well leap off a high cliff anyway. You must understand however, that as I do not share your belief system, I will not be joining you as you plunge to your doom.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Blast from the past

Just taking time out from writing cover blurbs and cover artwork.

My all time favourite Mungo Jerry track. Good old sexist fun, but above all FUN.

Now I'm going off to have a lie down in a nice quiet dark corner. Mrs S will no doubt have word to say on the matter, so I must mentally prepare myself.

Another one for the apocalypse sweepstake

Latest entry in the apocalypse sweepstake;

Climate change will raise the price of a loaf of bread to over CDN$10 (6.50GDP) by 2030 according to a report from the Fiends of the Earth.

Now this one has a high probability of coming true, although not for the CO2 related reasons outlined. There is another, albeit relatively unpublished view based on some rather more established scientific principles; that the Earth will be in a cooling trend until around 2040. Cooling will mean shorter growing seasons for crops in northern and southern latitudes which will push the price of basic commodities and staples up.

Apparently this cooling phase will occur because of a number of factors; variation in Earth's orbital tilt, minor changes in solar output and subsequent alterations in atmospheric circulation with an approximate 65-70(ish) year cycle. Add to that increased cloud formation due to cosmic rays (As pioneered by Charles Wilson in the early 1900's) during periods of lowered solar output as at present. If true, global temperatures will reduce to the levels of the 1970's by around 2040-50 before starting on an uptrend to peak around 2090. Historical correlation can be found by reading anecdotal news coverage from the 1920's and 30's when the global temperature last appeared to hit peak, and subsequent cooling until the 1970's when everyone was freaking out over new ice ages.

I won't be around to see that happen of course, but hopefully my great grandchildren will subsequently reap the benefits of a warmer phase for their descendants. Providing of course the Greenies don't screw it up for everyone by successfully lobbying for pointless Carbon Dioxide mitigation legislation. If they succeed, we in the western world will be sooo screwed.

In the meantime it's going to get rather chilly. Snow tyres on the van - yep. Thermal underwear - on order. Now where'd I put those ski's?

Addendum: Anyone miss the big asteroid explosion over Indonesia 8th October? Tsk. People are so busy with this CO2 nonsense that a real close encounter with a possible apocalypse completely misses the news. I mean, miss the real end of the world? Goodness me, that's social death my dears.

Monday, 26 October 2009

They shoot Nazi's don't they?

Local stuff; a man described as a 'Neo-Nazi Environmentalist' was shot dead by the RCMP on the 23rd. It's been all over the local news.

My friends locally are quite shocked. Shootings in the mid-island? Good gravy! The only shootings that generally happen around here result in a nice Venison stew. Now the RCMP are shooting Nazi's? Well bless my soul. Just reinforces the twelfth commandment; 'thou shalt not piss off the Mounties'. We have reasonable laws, and it is their job to enforce those laws. Policemen, at least in my experience, do tend to think the worst of the public in general because they mainly deal with law breakers rather than the law abiding.

Now not having been at the incident in question, I can only take an educated guess based upon my years footslogging as to what happened. The reports say that there was a noise complaint and the Police turned up to investigate. The reports say that having been asked to 'turn it down' there was an 'altercation' with the gentleman concerned after which the RCMP withdrew to wait for a Police dog unit. The reports further state that the 'victim' was a 'gun enthusiast'. The RCMP would be aware of this, as the gun laws round here are pretty strict, and they like to know who has what kind of firepower and where it is. Handguns are allowed for target shooting, but the movement and storage of said firearms is strictly regulated. Therefore; if said 'victim' kept his guns at home, then the local detachment would have known this, and been ready for trouble.

Policemen the world over are like the rest of us, and don't like being shot. I too share this prejudice. Being shot at is not very nice, and if anyone were to even threaten me with such an action, I would like the opportunity of being a) completely out of range or b) behind something highly resistant to bullets, or c) to shoot them before they pulled the trigger on me. Call me an old silly but my preference is for a). However, if it is your job to take guns off people who are behaving in less than a reasonable fashion, then being armed and prepared to use those arms, as in option c) is only fair and sportsmanlike.

However, one of his neighbours has indicated that said 'Neo-Nazi environmentalist' periodically 'came off his meds' and was at those times less than the nicest person on gods earth. Bearing this in mind, it is no giant leap of the imagination to work out that he did not take kindly to being asked to turn down the noise, got the hump at being told what to do, started to argue the toss with the RCMP, then made (apparently) to go for his gun(s). At this point, elf 'n safety rules would have come into play, knowing that the 'victim' in question had guns at his disposal and rather than be used for said 'victims' target practice, the policemen in question would have shot first. Simples.

Having had nuisance neighbours, and consequently suffered sleep deprivation because my work / life cycle did not mesh with theirs, and their desire for loud music / partying / domestic rows into the early hours; I can readily sympathise with the victims afflicted neighbours. Just because he was an 'environmentalist' of whatever political kidney does not excuse said 'victim' from anti-social behaviour. If he behaved like these environmental protesters, as far as I'm concerned, the Police were quite welcome to tazer his ass until it smokes.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Dear Mr Harper

FAO The Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Prime Minister, Canada.

Dear Mr Harper,

I am not yet a citizen of the great nation of Canada, though I hope to attain that status in the next few years, all things being well.

It is as an aspiring citizen that I would like to respectfully request of you the following; Please do not go to the Copenhagen 'climate' talks, or if you do, please do not sign the Copenhagen Treaty. It is my considered view that it is not in the best interests of Canada, or the rest of the world, to be signatories to such a document.

I could bore you with endless appeals about the economic insanity of handing over part of Canada's GDP to other countries who do not share the dreams and aspirations of many Canadian citizens. I could point to the issues of sovereignty surrounding paragraph 38 on page 18. I could reiterate the lack of empirical evidence regarding anthropogenic climate change, the flawed studies thoroughly debunked by Canadian scientists and statisticians, and the foolishness of relying upon incomplete computer models for information upon future weather.

Instead I would simply like to ask; for the benefit of all Canadians, aspiring or otherwise; the proposed Copenhagen climate treaty is a really bad idea. Please do not sign.

Respectfully yours

The Author.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Irony, anyone?

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails
Reminds me of a guy who used to turn up to protests with a blank sign. Everyone always used to think he was on the counter-demonstration.

Apocalypse sweepstake; New addition

Hot off the press for Copenhagen from the UK Daily Telegraph ;
The 'Day After Tomorrow' map shows what the world will look like if temperatures rise beyond four degrees C (7 degrees F). It was produced by the Met Office, that predicts temperature rises may reach the dangerous tipping point by 2060 unless more is done to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Full of crap of course. 'Produced by the Met Office' - Hah! That guarantees its accuracy doesn't it?

However, I am not going to be a complete naysayer; Gordon Brown, that great seer of all things ecological, has prophesied that Climate Change could cause more damage than two world wars. Spot on Gordo. Couldn't agree more. Absolutely in complete concurrence with one teensy minor near insignificant alteration; all the proposed climate change mitigation policies that politicians dream up to try and con the rest of us to vote for them will end up causing more damage than two world wars. Nice to see you getting one correct(ish) for once.

Meanwhile, the Swedish authorities have found a brand new renewable energy source. That's nice.

Der Kommisar

One of my 1980's favourites, a little number from After the Fire, originally written by Falco (Austrian Version below) I believe.

Busy travelling to and from Victoria over the past day or so, so haven't had much time to read and get annoyed / amused / arsed to comment about. Which in it's own way is not a bad thing I suppose.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Apocalypse sweepstake; Earth day predictions 1970 - FAIL

Well, I'm thinking about reviewing Clarke's first Law of prediction which states; "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
"Whenever a distinguished Ecologist makes doomsday predictions, he is almost certainly wrong"

My reasoning; Earth Day Predictions 1970.

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
Kenneth Watt, ecologist
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

George Wald, Harvard Biologist
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist
“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University
“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
Life Magazine, January 1970
“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones.”
Martin Litton, Sierra Club director
“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
Sen. Gaylord Nelson
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

These entries are hereby excluded from the Apocalypse sweepstakes.

The BNP - a modest proposal

I've been watching the news, shaking my head in abject disbelief over the idiocy surrounding the appearance of a minority politician on the BBC's question time. In the red corner, you have the totalitarian leftists(Don't take my word for it; read their manifesto), and in the other red corner, another bunch of totalitarian leftists. The only real political difference between them seems that the one set of totalitarian leftists doesn't think much of people whose skin just happens to be another colour (Work out for yourself which is which). All the aforementioned despite some pretty solid science strongly indicating that humans originated in the Rift valley of central Africa. Well, in a world where so many believe in global warming and astrology, I can't say that I'm all that surprised.

What both sets of totalitarian leftists seem to miss completely is the old adage; 'the truth will set you free'. By holding the belief systems of both sets of totalitarian leftists up to a free and frank debate, with no distracting slagging off of the other party, it can be proven that both parties politics are totalitarian. Totalitarianism is anti-freedom, therefore both sets of totalitarian leftists are as bad as one another. Apart from the racism (admitted or not), the only significant difference is in the tribalism of both sides. The logic, as they say, is inescapable.

Personally, I'd like to see both sets of totalitarian leftists put into Wembley stadium and walled in so they can have a decent punch up without interruption and let the rest of us mere mortals get on with our lives in peace. Perhaps we could do the same with all violent protesters. Coop 'em up, leave a pile of machetes and baseball bats in the middle of the pitch and let 'em fight it out; then machine gun the survivors. Well you can't let them get away with murder can you? Should please the Greenies too, as they're always bitching about the world having too many people.

Bingo! No more Fascism. The world's had quite enough of that last time round, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Edible pets?

Came across this little article at wattsupwithat and thought; "These horrible people are seriously out of their tree."

The whole scheme is utter insanity for one simple reason. Pets are not livestock, and livestock are not pets. Ever tried taking a chicken for a walk? House training a cow, turkey, rabbit or goose? What about the slaughtering? "I'm sorry kids, we have to eat and it's Flossy for the chop after walkies." Simply to reduce your mythical 'carbon footprint'? The emotional fallout would be in the megaton range.

My second thought was; "Did they obtain public funds while writing this book?" If so, off with their funding. Truncate their tenure. Let these silly people go and find useful work that truly benefits the environment. Cleaning toilets perhaps?

As for the mythical 'carbon footprints'; reduce the number of people on the planet is the usual answer such Malthusian monsters trot out. Well all I have to say on this topic is "No, no old fruit. After you. Please, I insist."

There used to be a highly effective European facility for this very purpose. Hmm, now what was it called? Oh yes - Auchwitz. Is that what the Greenies really want to resurrect?

Apocalypse update

24th November 2009 Large Hadron Collider restarts.
6th (5th) December 2009 Gordon Brown 'Fifty days to save the world'.
21st October 2011 (Begins Friday 21st May 2011, bring own sandwiches), Biblical.
21st December 2012 End of everything, Mayan (Ticket only. If wet, indoors).
Summer 2013 - ice free Arctic - Al Gore. (Snowsuit and snow shoes compulsory)
2014 - the whole world 'beyond repair' - World Wildlife Fund.
December 2017 - the whole world and everything all beyond repair - 100 months prediction.
Summer 2019 - ice free Arctic - Pen Hadow.
Late 2029 - loss of Great Barrier Reef - marine scientist Charlie Veron.

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.

A little local entertainment

I do so love living in this part of the world. There are so many things to amuse, especially if you're a sarcastically minded old sod like me.

To enlarge; Canadian drivers are, at least here on the Island, not the most lean mean and keen I've ever come across. Especially at traffic lights. Even the boy racers have the response time of a lightly stunned slug. Reflexes which would see them roundly admonished by the horns of drivers behind in the more aggressive driving conditions of London or New York.

Oftentimes I, driving our lumbering old automatic transmissioned 1998 MPV which couldn't leave skidmarks on a pair of ancient underpants; find myself on pole position at the lights with some boy racer. You know the drill; spoilers, large engine, oversized exhaust, go faster stripes, the works. Yet my reflexes, conditioned by many years driving in the UK and Europe still appear about twice as fast as a local person half my age.

I know this comes under the heading of general male willy waving, but I still get a boost out of listening to all the antics, revving engine, false starts etc by the souped up Pontiac whatever, and still beating them away from the lights.

Last night Mrs S and I were on our way home and there was one such boy racer in his pride and joy sitting alongside us at the lights. We were in the outside lane having missed the previous light change. I'd observed his approach in my rear view and side mirrors moments before, as he surged forward and cut up a couple of other drivers like a NASCAR driver. Boy racer draws up alongside as the lights are on red, revving engine like he's Jensen Button or whoever, creeping forward onto the crosswalk and showing off his prowess to all those who could be bothered to watch. "Oh gawd, another one." Opined Mrs S.
"Yes dear." Quoth I, catching the hint.
Light flicks to green and I heave our Apatosaurine minivan into motion, smoothly accelerating up to the speed limit before checking my mirrors. Chummy is at least two hundred metres behind. Not wishing to rub matters in (hah!), I indicated right and pulled over to the nearside on the Parkway. Twenty seconds later, chummy has sped past us at about thirty klicks over the speed limit. "He'll never make it as a drag racer." Commented Mrs S.
"Oh I don't know." Replied I. "Something long and flowing with matching accessories might be just the thing." This timeworn witticism elicited a short bark of amusement from Mrs S.

We caught up with said boy racer at the next set of lights five kilometres on, just as the lights turned green. He was tailgating a pickup away from the lights, and didn't notice the laughter coming from the beat up old minivan that drew level with him before he could cut and swerve his way up the parkway, annoying other drivers as he went. We caught up with him again as he was waiting for a left hand turn off the Parkway, caught in a queue of vehicles at the Fifth Street / College Drive intersection. At no time had we exceeded the speed limit (Honest Officer), having driven steadily but briskly along the highway.

It's what passes for amusement in our daily round.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Not long now

Forty eight, or is it forty nine days now to 'save the world'? According to Jonah Brown, British Prime Minister, that is. Some of us lead busy lives and want a little detail on this, please. How are we to fit the end of the world into our packed social schedules?

For example is it a lunchtime apocalypse? Could I get away with a leisurely late breakfast before said cataclysm? Is it an all day thing or just a "What's that glow on the horizon - whoops!" Is it one of those inconvenient midnight apocalypses? In which case I'd want to stay up late and lay in a bottle of decent plonk for the occasion. Some sort of schedule would be a help.

What is going on in No 10? Is the scenario like in 'Whoops Apocalypse' where the British Prime Minister thinks he is Superman, and misses Prime Ministers question time because Braniac is stuck in the Phantom Zone? If so, I'd hate to be one of the Downing Street animals, just in case they get thrown out of an upper floor window for their usual 'fly round the block'. Could that be what happened to Alistair Darlings poor moggy? I think we need to know.

I know Ex British Prime Minister John Major was often depicted in caricature wearing his underpants outside his trousers, but is Brown doing it for real?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Pandemic strikes! Not.

So H1N1 variant swine flu isn't the big bogeyman we've been told? It's just a variant of your basic influenza virus that has been around since the late 1970's? No wonder the promised pandemic is failing to arrive. Well that's the considered opinion of the BMJ (British Medical Journal)

I was going to add Swine flu to the list of apocalypse sweepstake listings. No more. Bummer.

H/T Small Dead Animals

Bad taste betting

Rather amused with all these predictions of doom and how the world will 'end' in name your time period. Bearing this in mind I would like to propose the ultimate betting experience; the 'end of the world' sweepstake. Winner takes all.

To enlarge; what is proposed is to compile a list of all those wonderful apocalyptic predictions of doom and disaster, and put them in a definitive time frame so that people can track whatever bets they make. It's all very well whatever public figure making said prediction, but who is keeping track of them all? I think we should be told. The end of the world is an important event which I'm sure none of us would ever want to miss. The social event of the millennium? How could you want to be left out?

Imagine the embarrassment, nay the humiliation, of being caught out the day after. Find your local supermarket out of special offers? Turn up at the checkout only to be told; "World ended yesterday, didn't you know?" See? you'd have missed the opportunity of their promotional 'end of days' final reductions, and how stupid would you feel then, eh?

Enough prevarication; to the list itself. Top of the current list, subject to amendment is the British Prime Minister, Jonah Brown, with 50 days; or is that forty nine now? He's eight time zones away. I do so wish these doomsayers would be a bit more specific. You have to plan for these things. How can you have a decent end of the world party when everyone else has booked all the best caterers?

Any old road up. Here we go with a small sample of more half baked prognostications;
21st October 2011 (Begins Friday 21st May 2011, bring own sandwiches), Biblical.
21st December 2012 End of everything, Mayan (Ticket only. If wet, indoors).
Summer 2013 - ice free Arctic - Al Gore. (Snowsuit and snow shoes compulsory)
2014 - the whole world 'beyond repair' - World Wildlife Fund.
December 2017 - the whole world and everything all beyond repair - 100 months prediction
Summer 2019 - ice free Arctic - Pen Hadow.
Late 2029 - loss of Great Barrier Reef - marine scientist Charlie Veron.

Many thanks to the Angry Exile for highlighting some of the above mentioned dates.

A list of biblical apocalypse (or should that be apocalypses, does it rate a plural?), past and to come, can be found here.

Please leave additional predictions in the comments. Although climate change is the main focus here, giant comets, messiahs and other stuff are allowable under sweepstake rules. The guiding principal is that the prediction has to be apocalyptic. Game on.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

It's official

The world isn't going to end 21st December 2012. It's just a (truly) stupid movie. Terrific special effects, but still a stupid movie based on yet another lame doomsaying prediction.

Even NASA are saying so. However, if you're one of the people who think it's true and are going to kill yourself before the due date, console yourself thus; at least you'll be pleasing some people.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

A small announcement

For the odd person out there interested in new science fiction, I would like to direct you to this blog.

The new blog, under the name of John M T Morrow will contain synopses, MSS samples, and notes about work in progress for the manuscripts 'The sky full of stars', 'Falling through the stars' and the final in the planned trilogy, 'Darkness between the stars'. The aforementioned will receive no further reference on this blog which will remain dedicated to 'Uncle Bill's' sporadically sarcastic scatalogical wibblings.

All of a sudden...

For the past twenty four hours it's been raining steadily. The sky has been a uniform grey and there's been a relentless drumming on the skylight. I've been working steadily on the latest part of my current sci-fi MSS and been so absorbed in character development and filling in some of the backstory that I failed to take a break. I also failed to notice that all of a sudden the rain (Good old BC sunshine) has stopped, a massive patch of blue has materialised, and rain soaked roofs and wooden fencing are steaming like they are on fire.

Now the patch of blue has disappeared. Hmm. Time for tea, then.

Some people just dont get it

I see the soap dodgers are trying to shut down the UK's electricity supply again. Honestly, these protesters are thicker than a banquet of plank sandwiches. Guys, the whole climate change thing is bunkum. Look at the studies. All around you people are dropping carbon trading, the hockey stick is in matchsticks, the world is less stormy, and St Al is being mocked to his face over his specious claims of impending disaster. Carbon Dioxide is not the problem. Game over, case closed.

However, if you're a UK resident and you want to blame someone when your granny freezes to death because of rolling power cuts over the next few years, you may feel tempted to pay the organisations below a visit and explain unto them the error of their ways.

Climate Rush
Plane Stupid
Campaign Against Climate Change

No rough stuff now, that's what they want. Might I suggest you take a good lawyer with you instead, and sue all their sorry asses to perdition. Arf. Now what a class(y) action that would make.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Not with a bang...

Okay, well the good news is that this climate change malarkey appears to be dying a slow but inexorable death. Today one 'Eco-tourism' company was dropping their carbon offsetting option. Elsewhere, the tide of 'it's all AGW' stories in the mainstream seems to be past high ebb and is receding, leaving fanatical eco-mentalists gasping on the media beach. Even Greenpeace appears to be putting up it's hands and saying Carbon Offsetting doesn't work. Friends of the Earth have also been critical of Carbon Offsets and appear to have woken up to the ugly truth about 'biofuels'.

Well boys and girls I don't want to sound smug about this, but those of us of a sceptical bent did try and tell you so. We told you 'the physics are wrong', and got compared with holocaust 'deniers' for our troubles. We pointed at real threats to the environment like overfishing and pollution. No, no, it was all the fault of carbon dioxide you said and indulged in even more name calling. We pointed to empirical evidence of continuous non-anthropogenic climate change and kept on getting 'peer review is proof' thrown back in our faces. Hockey sticks have been broken, disastrous economic policies are being instituted, yet despite all the evidence against, certain of you still insist that it's all CO2.

Writing as a 'climate change sceptic', I am willing to pardon those excesses. Like a loving parent forgives a wayward child who realises they were wrong and wants to come home.

I would address the following remarks to even the most fanatical proponent of the Anthropogenic climate changers amongst you; come in from the burgeoning cold, admit your erroneous ways and all will be forgiven. There are real problems in this world that need your urgent attention. Illegal toxic dumping, proper mass recycling of waste, overfishing, deforestation without subsequent replanting.

Think about how engineering can improve the world and provide mankind with sufficient energy whilst cleansing the air and water. Forget your Malthusian fantasies; do the simple stuff like lobbying for new and more efficient sewage treatment works, for better, faster transport and communication systems. For research so more people can live better lives. Build and improve, not wantonly destroy. Forget about the global warming nonsense, and together we can make this world a better place for future generations.


Delcatto wrote in the comments of my post about the way things are done with home education in British Columbia, and my little retrospective on how my life has moved on since my 'Walking the Streets' days;
"Good for you, making the decision to change your life and going for it."

First off; thanks Delcatto. I really appreciate that. As far as life in the UK was going, I'd sunk as low as I was willing to tolerate, and felt forced to play well below my talents and abilities.

Mrs S and I dreamed of doing our big 'leap of faith' back in 2001. We had (and still have) eyes in our heads and brains between our ears, and saw the direction the UK was taking. We have friends and family over this side of the water, and looked at how gosh darned big it is over here. 'Surely', went our thinking, 'there is room for one small family to dig in, contribute, lay down roots and grow' in relative comfort against the future economic storms yet to come.

The latest news on the immigration front is that our last piece of paperwork is in, and we now await the judgement and call for medicals etc. Although if Canadian Immigration refuse our permanent residency bid, I'm going to appeal on the grounds that we've both found day jobs in a pretty dire economic market, and have never, ever made any request for assistance (Apart from advice at our local immigration offices). Furthermore we have no intention of claiming any Provincial or Federal assistance unless it's tax relief on building our planned new home.

Under my real name, I've had work published in the mainstream press (Stuff you could have picked up in any reasonable UK newsagents); not enough to earn a living mark you, but enough to justify the claimed title of 'writer'. None of that output has made it's way online sad to say. On the other hand, perhaps that's just as well.

I shall continue to rant as 'Bill Sticker' for as long as there is stupid stuff in the world to rant about. As that state of affairs is sure to continue, humanity being what it is, 'Bill' will continue to post his half assed brain dumps online.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Catlin; what's not to get?

The 'evidence' from this years Catlin expedition has surfaced yet again with yet another doomsaying prediction. So why don't I ascribe any credibility to the 'news'? Simply this; Catlin Insurance, the expeditions sponsor, specialises in 'Catastrophe Insurance'.

Now for those of you who haven't connected the dots yet, here's how I'd do it if I were marketing director of a company that makes money off betting against man made CO2 emissions causing global climate change, and insuring against subsequent losses.
"Okay guys, sales are down on our Catastrophe packages, we need to generate way more. Why don't we send someone like, er, who's that guy who says the Arctic is going to melt? Yeah, him. Is he available? Okay. How about sponsoring an expedition to the Arctic that proves the ice is thinning, so we can get more people to insure against catastrophe's caused by this CO2 stuff."

"We have a funding proposal for an expedition that has a great deal of synergy with our Catastrophe package marketing strategy. These people want to go to the Arctic to prove that the ice is melting because of CO2 emissions. If they find that the ice is thinning up there, we can use it as a sales tool for our 'Catastrophe' range of products."

The 'expedition', as is being pointed out repeatedly in the comments section of the article in the online Daily Telegraph; found what it wanted to find and looked no further.

As I posted at 'wattsupwithat'; great marketing, poor science.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Book learnin'

I see via Bishop Hill that UK Home Educators are coming under the totalitarian spotlight yet again. The furore over the Badman report continues to rear its ugly head.

What many UK politico's seem to miss is that the majority of people who 'Home School' are often more committed to their child's future well being than those who utilise the state system. Yet there is a vociferous 'child protection' lobby that appears to think that all adults have evil intentions towards their own offspring, or that children will suffer if not dumped in with mixed ability classes and 'socialised'.

Here in BC we have a system that does not penalise the home schooling parent if they are doing their job properly. Anyone who wants to home school has to sign up for one of several 'programmes' which have proper academic monitoring built in. For this the parents receive funding for academic materials, textbooks.etc. Works out at around eighteen hundred pounds a year. How it works is as follows, the parent is responsible for ensuring their children get on with learning at their own pace. The parent gives in brief weekly reports to their teaching support worker who is usually a part time teacher who does 'supply' or is semi retired. The teaching support worker talks to the parents on a weekly basis if need be, helping them past problems if they have any, and ensures that reports are passed on so that funding flows to support the home schooled childs education.

Home visits by support workers are usually only at the request of the parents. Most parents get the chance to spend an hour or two with the teaching support worker they choose at the start of each academic year getting to know them and deciding whether they like them or not. Discussions are held re curriculum and at what pace the child is capable of learning and the rest is down to the home schooling parent. The support worker is there to advise and work with the parents. It's all done with a very light touch. Each child gets as much or as little assistance as the parent sees fit.

The problem with the UK is with the lightness of touch. Most of the time that approach doesn't exist. There's no in between, no compromise, no quiet 'word to the wise'. The box tickers have to justify their existence and that means penalties, regardless that any particular so-called infraction isn't really a problem. Failing that they don't act at all. No inbetween. One off duty day in the UK I had an 'inspector' try to barge into my house, telling me I had to let them in because it was 'the law'. All right, it was someone from 'child services', but if I were a home schooler I would find that type of high handed intrusion extremely offensive to say the least. There would be a distinct probability that anyone showing me or my family that kind of disrespect in my own home would be abruptly manhandled out of the door with my size 12 firmly and sharply applied to their sorry buttocks.

Addendum; I was looking for the blog post detailing the events I've referred to in 'Walking the streets'. Did I really take that much shit on a daily basis and still emerge with my beliefs and values intact? Bloody hell, I must be one heck of a guy. How I didn't just turn around and let rip sometimes is in retrospect completely beyond me. The sheer casual rudeness I faced day on day just for doing an unpleasant job now staggers belief. I remember hating being dragged down towards that level, and taking what delight I could in all the little victories I could score against both the system I worked under, and the people who really were the authors of their own undoing.

From Hunter S Thompson's Hells Angels I recall the following quotation; "I'm bound to go to heaven 'cause I've served my time in hell." which in turn originates from a ditty penned in WWII by a US Marine. Reading my old blog and looking out of the window this afternoon, I see this saying contains both synergy and elegance enough to raise a smile on my face. I've done my version of hell, now I have my own version of heaven right outside my door, even if it has been raining today.

The irony is so utterly delicious. All the people who ever threw unjustified insults in my face, all the ones who left their poisonous bile in the blog comments; all the ill-wishers and knee jerk spite merchants. They are probably still stuck doing the same old day to day in the UK; while I, the object of their opprobrium, now live and work in one of the best places on Gods Earth. There is justice in this life. You'll forgive me, but Mrs S has just poked her head round the door, wondering what the hell I'm laughing at.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

What if......

Found myself wondering at the widespread dumping of toxic waste of the Ivory coast which emerged on to Wikileaks the other day, and two thoughts just happened to bump into each other in the tortuous passageways of my rather convoluted consciousness.

What if, went my unruly reasoning, what if all the scare stories we get fed via the media are diversionary tactics to keep the Environmental lobby otherwise occupied? Keep the Eco-Wienies wound up about CO2 causing the heat death of the Universe and they’ll be so happy with all the funding ‘saving the world’ throws their way, no-one will notice a nasty little secret poisoning the oceans off the almost lawless lands of West Africa, and maybe other, similar countries?

What if said toxic dumping is only the tip of a very large and particularly dirty iceberg and the whole Global Warming scare was a blind to divert public attention from the real risks to the planet?

Just a thought……….. Sleep well now.

Update: Just in case you thought toxic waste dumping is only restricted to the West African coast. How about off Somalia, and in the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans?

Incidentally, I was very surprised to hear on the radio the other day that Victoria, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada, still discharges untreated sewage into the sea. Oh and local fishermen refer to a location off Start Point, Devon, England as 'shit alley' because of all the toxic waste dumping that has gone on there in the past. There are many, many, more. Fish for supper anyone?

Leaking like a sieve

One of the great things about the good old Interweb, is that apart from being the biggest library on Earth, nothing can be hidden. The major downside is that there is no indexing between fiction and non fiction and all stations in between.

A quick Google often gets you the background stories the mainstream newspapers won't (and sometimes can't) break. The suppressed report in this particular instance is located here and as it falls outside of the jurisdiction of British courts, cannot be shut down by legal action from clever lawyers. Unlike traditional mainstream media outlets.

Wikileaks is a moderately reasonable source for suppressed reports. Even the reports on how to stop information leaks have ended up there.

There is currently also one report on how court motions filed in California force Google to give up the IP's for investigative Journalists' Gmail addresses. However, if said reporters don't have a fixed IP, don't have a public and incomplete Google profile, post from multiple locations via free wi-fi hotspots and via anonymous 'cloud' proxies, then the information released under court orders rapidly becomes more expensive to trace. Even though Google has elected to keep extensive, non-anonymised records on its users, but not defend these records from disclosure. So if you're an investigative journalist trying to winkle out the details of some monumental Government cock-up, it is still possible to keep digging in relative secrecy.

Oh yes, that Pepsi iPhone App which currently has a certain section of the media up in arms. Actually looks quite handy, and although blatantly transparent as a 'pick up' aid, means that you can have a reasonable stab at keeping up with your chosen companions conversations / prejudices, and used judiciously, avoid any massively embarrassing social faux-pas. Pepsi should have done one for the girls along the same lines (Sporty dude, geek, whatever). Just for the sake of parity. After all, if your potential date has any areas into which you don't want to get drawn (like vegetarian restaurants or other serried unpleasantness), might not being aware of these be rather useful?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Global what?

Are there still people out there who believe in man made Global Warming? Apparently so.

Ahem. Record cold in;
BC Interior
90 records broken

But hey, this is Weather, not climate, right?

Perhaps not. Even the BBC has noticed. Yet they're still peddling the story that 1998 was the warmest year on record. What about 1934, huh?

Winter draws on......the media dam of lies is breaking. One should remind them of the biblical proverb about not building your house (of belief) on sand......

Now can we have all our 'carbon tax' money back?

On a personal note; I was talking to my brother in law two weeks ago about the hockey stick being discredited. At the time I made the prediction that the 'Global Warming isn't happening' story would finally break in 'about two weeks or so'. I feel rather vindicated. Wish I'd put money on it now.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving day

Reasons to be cheerful;

1. Going out for a long lunch with old friends so will not be posting much today.

2. That splendid chap the Salted Slug has resurrected Nightjacks old blog, which can be found here.

3. It is Canadian Thanksgiving, and a public holiday.

That will do nicely.

Trolling for fun

Mostly the rule is, and should always be; ‘don’t feed the trolls’. They’re sad, lonely people who quite frankly deserve to be, but without the Internet access. However, you find the odd one who is just so much goshdarned fun to bait. There is one such. His, for I believe ‘tis a he, major selling point is that he’s overblown with his own pomposity. He takes it all so seriously, and comes across as a right Malvolio if ever I came across one. He is enough to bring the Feste out in anyone with even the lightest smattering of a sense of humour.

Now, I’m naming no names, but I used to meet people who exemplified this stereotype every working day, mainly in Management. People who just had to control everything and threw dolly out of the pram if everyone else didn’t do exactly what they wanted right now. In their tidy, obsessive compulsive little world, every even slightly dissenting voice must be hectored and browbeaten until it is silent. They cannot stand other people who voice contrary opinions, and have no joy of the moment. They cannot banter or make comment without being vicious, and every so-called witticism is barbed and envenomed with their own internal gall; although in real life they are more often than not complete Andrew Aguecheeks. Or for those of a Red Dwarfish bent; complete Arnold Judas Rimmers, without the ‘Ace’ at the end.

Ergo; every so often I go troll baiting, which so long as you don’t overdo it is rather like licking cane toads. You can get a bit of a high off it, but the wise will limit their activities in this area as it can get addictive, and eventually damaging. No doubt there are those who will accuse me of being foolish for antagonising such people because they’re a spiteful, vengeful bunch with few redeeming features, yet I would take this quotation of Feste’s from Twelfth Night in my defence;
“Wit, an't be thy will, put me into good fooling! Those wits, that think they have thee, do very oft prove fools; and I, that am sure I lack thee, may pass for a wise man: for what says Quinapalus? 'Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.'.”

Foolish? Moi? Often; but to reply to would-be detractors might I quote Feste from later in the same scene…….
“Sir Toby will be sworn that I am no fox; but he will not pass his word for two pence that you are no fool.”

Good old Shakespeare. There was a Bill who knew the score.

As for the photo above, snapped that this afternoon in town. There's a deeper message there for anyone who cares to pay enough attention. For those who can't, well more fool you.

The English countryside, an expatriates perspective

Woke up early this morning and began to peruse the online Telegraph while trying not to burst out laughing and wake up Mrs S. Prince Charles and various others seem to have been complaining about various things pertaining to 'the death of the countryside', the dearth of fast Internet, the destruction of 'change' etc.

What these folk fail to appreciate is that the countryside has changed many times over the past few thousand years and yet the land still seems to be there. I personally know places where field boundaries have not changed since before the Enclosure acts and before.

Anyone with even the faintest appreciation of Archaeology will be able to 'read' a landscape and identify features which indicate the presence of many 'lost' villages and farmsteads. A lot of folklore often wrongly attributes the loss of said villages to something like the 'Black Death' when the truth of the matter can be found alluded to in Parish records and contemporary accounts. Industrialisation, the Enclosure acts of the 1700's, Landlords throwing tenants off their land for economic reasons like creating sheep pasture. The Spencer (Relatives of Saint Diana, or so I'm told) family from Wormleighton in Warwickshire seem to have been rather good at this back in the late 1500's. The dissolution of the monasteries was another, monasteries at the time being conclaves of early industrial activity. With a monastery gone, the villagers, serfs, villeins and cottars that served it had to move on, be moved on or starve. Generations could be uprooted by a change in ruling dynasty and ownership of a local manor. Earlier in English history, both pre and post conquest, raiding warbands of whatever faction would lay waste to whole communities, never mind the Vikings or Saxons.

My point is that the British countryside changes, and you either embrace that change or suffer. Current 'predations' include various botched government interventions (Foot and mouth) put a number of friends of mine out of business. Eco-Warriors put people out of agricultural business and ironically force food production into areas where they aren't so fussy about 'animal cruelty'. I will cite a particular poultry farming friend who was having trouble with his contracted feed supplier bringing him poor quality feed. The nature of his contract meant he couldn't source another feed supplier that year. Said poor quality feed resulted in vitamin deficiencies in his birds which resulted in brittle leg bones. A bunch of these soi-disant Eco-warriors heard that he was having trouble of this nature, did their customary hundred metres conclusion jump, and besieged his premises making accusations of 'animal cruelty'. On several occasions said eco-wariors let his stock out, where the local foxes and predators had a field day on the 'liberated' fowl. A year later he sold up, his farm was converted into someone's country palace, and the land is in the process of being parcelled out to 'developers'. Last I heard, his customers were sourcing their poultry from countries now where they aren't so fussy about 'animal rights', and of the only poultry farmers still running in the area, one is of Asian descent, who the eco-warriors won't touch for fear of being branded 'racists', and the other is a keeper of large unfriendly dogs, whose premises sport a first rate security system. His lawyers are known to be quite aggressive, too.

Barn and farm conversions have become popular where farmers have been forced out of existence by Defra incompetence (Commonly referred to as the Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Affairs), EU Common Agricultural policies and associated influences. Oh yes, and local council planning policies have occasionally played their part.

During the late 90's, and early 2000's the only people making any money from farming in the area where I grew up were the auctioneers selling off bankrupt farmers farm machinery and premises. Whole families, who'd farmed an area for generations, simply dropped off the map. Sometimes you'd hear that they'd emigrated, occasionally you'd hear of a suicide and penury.

Urban living people don't seem to appreciate how fragile an existence farming in the English countryside can be. Rats, Foxes, ignorant politicians and Animal Liberationists can decimate poultry sheds, a storm at the wrong time can half flatten cereal crops, blowfly and similar infestations can ruin herds and flocks, late frosts prevent fruit development, 'inspectors' can (rightly or wrongly) demand the destruction of livestock and the compensation (if any) will always come too late. Media 'food scares', Supermarket buyers, changes in dietary fashion, scares over the price of oil or any basic commodity all impinge on how much of a crop farmers can sell and at what price. Interest rates can change and a 'bad year' or run of them can easily put mortgage repayments on land or machinery out of a struggling farmers pocket.

A farmer may 'own' land, and thus be considered 'rich', and some canny operators have become so by selling up and putting their money elsewhere. Some may even have have accrued cash reserves, but those cash reserves can and have been easily wiped out by any or several of the aforementioned causes. I've seen it happen.

Re rural Internet; being a techie, and understanding something about Internet Infrastructure, I know that there will always be places in England where fast broadband will never be found. The reason? Distance and lack of subscribers. It just won't pay. Economic circumstances are stacked against current levels of technology, although there is a case for directional antenna and wireless bridges.

Here in Canada however, the cable companies appear to be allowed to use the electricity and telephone utility poles to carry their cabling. Thus houses like ours, stuck way out in the boonies, can get cable TV, Digital Telephone, Internet and all the conveniences of modern electronic life, with only the downside of biannual well inspections and septic tank emptying every other year. In the UK, BT and the electricity companies would never countenance such arrangements without charging a virtual arm and a leg. Until that situation changes, 256k DSL, dial up or satellite is all you will get.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Blood and sand

Is there anything my damn dog won't eat? First apples, then Oranges. Today's surprise package was banana's. My dog likes bananas. You have to peel them for him first of course, but if you have a banana in your hand you are assured of his complete and rapt attention.

He'll sit there trying to look cute and looking sidelong at you with big, brown pleading eyes and his tail will twitch pathetically while his ears will be laid back against his head. His gaze will flick back and forth between you and the banana in a meaningful way until you relent and give him a piece. He'll cheerfully chomp on a carrot, and I've yet to try him with parsnips and broccoli, but it wouldn't surprise me if my mutt cheerfully tucked into those as well.

Could it really be that my dog is a closet vegetarian? Oh the shame, the shame.

Friday, 9 October 2009


So that's how they get those baby carrots....

Waste of taxpayers money

From an Englishman's Castle and Watts up with that. A waste of taxpayers money that even the pro AGW are branding the worst climate campaign ever. Fortunately the advert will be running during the commercial breaks in Coronation Street when everyone will have got up to put the kettle on and take a swift between-soap toilet break.

Personally, I think adverts like these are an insult to the intelligence. Especially since it's pissing taxpayers hard earned money up the wall. The empirical evidence is against the postulation of man made climate change, and this sort of thing reminds me of the most feculent animated offering where all the ickle fwuffy animals are all talking about how mankind wiped himself off the planet.

Stuff this, I'm getting the 4x4 out and going for a long drive, just as a form of existential protest. If I see anything remotely cute in the middle of the road I'm running the smug little sucker down. Har, har, har.

Peace prize?

I see in the press that the current US President, Barack Hussein Obama, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Wow. I mean I am impressed, no, seriously. He's only been in office how long? When were final nominations in?

Obama himself has said that he is surprised and humbled. Well I'll agree with half that. I'll go further and say that I'm bloody astonished. Gobsmacked, astounded and totally flibbled. He'd only been in office for twelve days when the nominations for said award closed. What is the Peace Prize committee on? Are there so few worthy people in the world that they give the prize by default to a newly elected bloody politician? Surely there are many more deserving of the honour. Oh blood and sand, I just remembered, they gave one to Al Gore so that just about shoots the Peace Prize committees credibility down in flames. Mrs S has vouchsafed that this award has devalued the Nobel Peace Prize to 'less than that of confetti'.

Now fair do's, I hold no brief one way or the other, but all the hoopla and charivari surrounding the boy president seems a little too contrived. A little too stagey if you know what I mean. He talks a good talk and makes all these big promises, yet perhaps because the opposition candidates were so poor, and the media campaign against the McCain-Palin ticket so concerted, the majority of the US electorate cast their vote in his direction. Personally, I had my doubts and tried to look past the rhetoric to see what was proposed. All I could do was wince because I could see what was going to happen, and it has. The 'Bailout' hasn't worked terribly well so far, and the asinine attempt to control the climate via taxation is a lead balloon waiting to fall, although now the empirical evidence against AGW is out in the open, maybe that will be quietly shelved. Although I'll try to be charitable and say so far I'd describe Obama's presidency as a no score draw.

Yet something stinks here. It stinks riper than an open sewer on a hot day. Every day I see items in the news and find myself thinking; huh? Who is bankrolling all this stuff? Is it just a common editorial policy or is someone taking money because their publications aren't making any? I hate thinking like this because I feel like I'm some conspiracy basketcase who obsesses about the threat of 'One world Government', the 'death of democracy', and a replacement for the current monetary system. Yet there are dots which cannot, be it rightly or wrongly, help but be joined up. In addition, the chorus of media voices hectoring, dismissing and even insulting their customer base seems somehow too well orchestrated, too partisan.

Now I have no concrete evidence, but it's like hearing screeching and crashing noises in the next street. You know damn well something's going on, but you're not sure what it is and are going to take a butchers anyway. In my streetwalking days I'd call it in to CCTV, and poke my nose around the corner, just to see what's what. Although my working life has changed, my instincts haven't.

Twittering away

I know we all lead more vicarious lives than ever, but I have the feeling that this particular tide may be at it's highest ebb. My thoughts were triggered by the story that the young actress who plays 'Hanna Montana' in a teens / kids TV programme, has stopped her twitter account. Now I know a number of other bloggers like Tom Reynolds do Twitter, but then they have really interesting jobs that give them new material on an hour by hour basis. There's an immediacy about it, a rawness that stimulates or even tittliates (Or 'Twittilates', groan. Sorry).

I don't have a Twitter account, never really saw the point. Most of my 'tweets' would just vanish off into cyberspace only to haunt me if hauled up in front of the beak because said 'tweets' put me near the scene of a crime. That's a thought, is Twitter admissible evidence in a court of law? Anyone?

This is being written from a point of relative ignorance, but I really don't see the point. Can a 'tweet' that I've snagged my line or my line's got tangled while fishing help me unsnag or untangle my line? No? As for the writing, well, I always think that if I tell everyone every single bloody thing that I'm doing, I won't get time to do it properly. When writing you don't ask advice every five minutes or you disrupt your thoughtflow and never end up with anything meaningful. In the workaday I find it better to talk things over with real live colleagues who can actually see what you're trying to do rather than have to explain it in mini messages with a bunch of strangers, who, while enthusiastic and interested, may not understand and pepper you with 'advice'.

With regard to celebrities I suppose it's different, although I personally wouldn't like to live my life in a goldfish bowl, with everything you see and do up for public scrutiny. For me, visitors can get in the way of what I'm trying to do which eats up an otherwise productive working day, rather like constant meetings used to. Nothing really got done, it was often just filibustering and procrastination. However, slebs are human mannikins which we dress (and have dressed for us) in our own dreams of escape from workaday drudgery. The glitter distracts and diverts. Having the immediacy of mini 'tweets' must give the sensation that we are living their 'glamorous' lives. Although I really don't want to know that they're shooting the cat, or going to the toilet. However, there seems to be an audience for said stuff, so who am I to judge?

For such a high profile Disney 'celebrity' to stop 'twittering' is I think a relatively big deal. Her fans certainly seem to think so, and have a 'come back miley' hashtag doing the rounds. The point is, will this harm her career? Possibly not, as twitter can strip away the necessary mystique of celebrity and bring it crunching down to earth. For what is a celebrity? Someone who can do one particular thing very well, or can articulate a common thread? Are they more than human? Does twitter detract or enhance their distance from the rest of us mere mortals? Dunno pal.

In light of the above, has Ms Cyrus made the right choice? I'm not sure, although suffice it to say she is the first of the high profile 'non-twitterers', and being the first in celebrity circles will do her no real harm at all.

Update: Have just had an e-mail soliciting Twitter membership from a Ms Jessica Jones. Did I say I wanted to join? No? The originating domain has just gone on my spam filter.

While I'm thinking about it, I've come across a certain pompous troll (Aen't they all?) who is currently slagging off Inspector Gadget and P C Bloggs on the various Libertarian blogs. For this particular person, here is a personal message; if you happen to come sniffing around here cur, your comments will be automatically ridiculed when identified. Calling people 'cowards' for not wanting to be fired for writing about their work is hardly laudable. Remember, 'outing' cuts both ways, and the truth has a wicked edge.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Well, just in case you idle lot out there have missed all the hype, the world is going to end 21st December 2012. So for those of you who always leave everything till the last minute (Rather like our girls). Here's the date of the very last minute (Allegedly). Well, you wouldn't want to miss the all the fun would you? Imagine the embarrassment in the afterlife; "I was so busy I missed the end of all things - Was I embarrassed or what? Forget my own ectoplasm next."

Pass it on

Antarctic ice melt lowest since satellite observations began.

How many years to an 'ice free' Arctic / Antarctic? Anyone? No?

Panic over, back to your crayons.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

One for Delcatto

There is a Firefighters Catalina PBY flying boat based at our local airport. Tried to get a shot from the highway, but there's a shed and some trees in the way. The specific WW2 vintage Catalina PBY shown in the Google Earth shot (So I am told) is actually operational and used for fighting forest fires. The livery is yellow, not Orange as in the first photo.

Will post another pic when I get close enough to take a decent one.

Shock! Horror! OMG!

Advocacy Group Decries PETA's Inhumane Treatment Of Women

A little bowdlerisation

Have become a little jaundiced of late (Well, more than usual) about the state of the world and the futility of trying to get through to some people. Am taking a little time off topic to focus on the things I like. In particular, this 1980's number;

And after a few minor liberties with the lyrics;

After light, before dawn,
Behind you another blogger is born,
Don't look back,
Ask for fees,
Feel the pressure as fingers hit keys,
Your mind dancing in the moonlight,
Write the words,
And you're fisking in the moonlight,
Thoughts are blurred,

And you will blog your mind,
Showing the world that you aren't blind,
It is yourself that you will find......

Pass on the flame....

(Next chorus, adapt as appropriate)

Just as an afterthought, I have a distinct memory of this Manfred Mann's Earth Band number being included in the soundtrack of one of the two Philadelphia Experiment Sci-Fi movies. Just can't remember which.

Ah yes; also reminds me of the anthemic 1970's "Davy's on the road again"

Yes...... and not forgetting this one;

I feel strangely better now.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Was visiting one of the local sports outfitters after work to cast a critical eye over their archery stuff. Came out of the store and a Floatplane came buzzing overhead at less than a hundred feet in a tight port turn over the car park. It disappeared over the other side of the highway, I presume to make a landing at Long Lake in the middle of town.

Wouldn't you just know it! I'd left my camera in the car and missed an absolutely superb opportunity. The third law of Sod paid me a brief but unwelcome visit. However, I console myself thus; If I'd spent any more time in the store I'd have missed the spectacle altogether.

There's something about floatplanes that really floats my boat. I'm readily amused by the thought of taking a trip in one and every time I hear the familiar burring of a piston engine, be it radial or otherwise, I just have to stop what I'm doing and look up. Flying generally is something I look forward to, but for some strange reason I like float planes most of all.

So I was really ticked off at missing such a gift of a photo opportunity. Bugger.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Talk amongst yourselves

Not much happening. Have tidied up the sidebar and stuck the old graphic link to my first book down the bottom. I'm just trialling the link to make sure it works with this template prior to sorting out the next MSS. Nothing to fuss about.

Our girls are still pretty pissed off with their Dad over the surprise African offspring package he sprung on them just over a month or so ago. Mrs S will be hightailing it over to the UK to spend Christmas with them, which will leave just me and the dog moving house to our new place, snow permitting. However, new house has bigger rooms, a better view of the water and islands beyond. Oh, and a solar heated pool, which will be really nice.

I'm having one of those 'watershed' moments at present. It feels as if some milestone has been passed, Rubicon crossed, that sort of thing and I'm not sure why. Work proceeds apace, I'm delivering some test graphic samples for a display tomorrow to see what they look like on a projection rig I've built. Nothing terribly groundbreaking, just some basic engineering stuff. In my workaday we'll be delivering another project to a client shortly. Nothing special, just sound basic stuff with plenty of safety margin built in. There might be a little basic java and DHTML coding to do to make sure it all works properly, but that's it.
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