Sunday, 30 May 2010

Not before time

The writing, from an empirical point of view at least, has been on the wall for some time. Now the Royal Society has been forced into a climbdown over 'Global Warming'. All this despite a good deal of advocacy from various anti-science lobby factions promulgating Armageddon via press release. You know the sort of things, telling everyone that the Arctic will be ice free, that the glaciers are melting, and that we're all doooomed!

This is only to be expected, as the whole catastrophic CO2 caused climate change boondoggle was a house of cards anyway. The Physics of the contention simply never stacked up, the energy levels were all wrong. As I've probably posted before, believing that CO2 controlled the climate seems rather like expecting to be able to warm an Olympic size swimming pool with a kiddies toy hair dryer.

As might be expected, anyone who disagrees with the warmist doomsayers has been labeled 'anti-science' or 'denier'. However, all that is just a load of hot air. One thing which we've had a local shortage of recently. Temperatures have been running anything from two to four degrees below average since the turn of the year. Plenty of rain to boot. Our solar heated swimming pool should have been up to temperature a fortnight ago, but is still only vaguely tepid. Not that our local weather has been conducive to going out for a splash around. So the cover is staying on for another week or two. Warming? Not here it ain't.

Anyway; Youngest is coming over in two weeks for half the Summer, before pootling off southbound to Sister in law's place to swelter in Minnesota. Mrs S has spent quite a lot of time on Skype 'counseling' Youngest while she goes through her end of year exams. Those who have had this delight will understand the extended discussion of technique for attacking exam papers, sharing tips and tricks gleaned from a lifetime of taking tests, then comparing and contrasting them with what the Lecturers have been saying.

While Youngest is here we have a 'chill' programme worked out for her to recharge her batteries going Whale watching out on the Western or Northern end of Vancouver Island. Shopping in Vancouver and Victoria. Perhaps playing in our pool or simply sitting in the sunshine with a large jug of chilled Margeritas, whenever our usual consistent sunshine deigns to turn up. I'm sure this time last year was much warmer and sunnier. Must be all those volcanoes up in Alaska and the Aleutians belching particulates into the atmosphere. Never mind Mt Unpronounceable in Iceland, or even the current double header in Guatemala and Equador.

Talking of which, despite all unverified speculation, armchair quarterbacking and wishful thinking, there are still no indications at the time of writing, that the much hyped Katla is going to erupt.

Well, that's more than enough from me. I'm off to erupt elsewhere. TTFN.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Is wind power for the birds?

Considering that the promised output from Wind Generation 'farms' often falls far below that promised, and reports of bird and bat mortality around certain sites, do the massive subsidies required for wind farms justify spending more on them? Especially since 'Global warming' seems to be a non-problem, or at best highly debatable.

Maybe it's time for a rethink on wind power.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Bárðarbunga next to blow?

See the image below? Those little red dots are a small set of 'swarm' type earth tremors which have been tracking southwards down the mid Atlantic spreading zone towards a Volcano known as Bárðarbunga. While the eyes of the world were on Eyjafjallajökull, concentrations of swarm type quake activity have been observed North of the big Vatnajökull glacier and moving slowly South along the mid Atlantic ridge.I'm not the only one to have noticed, either.

Could be something, could be nothing, as one Icelander asked his girlfriend "Did the Earth move for you?"
To which she replied: "Sorry, I thought it was an Earthquake."

Home truth

Saw this article by the much disdained Mark Steyn and found myself nodding sadly along to every paragraph. 'Green' jobs, 'Rights' culture, Multiculturalism and various other modern day fairy stories.
The green jobs, the gay parades, the jihadist welfare queens, the Greek public sector unions, all have to be paid for by a shrinking base of contributing workers whose children and grandchildren will lead poorer and meaner lives because of the fecklessness of government. The social compact of the postwar era cannot hold. Across the developed world, a beleaguered middle class is beginning to understand that it’s no longer that rich. At some point, it will look at the sheer waste of government spending, the other shoe will drop, and it will decide that it no longer wishes to be that stupid.
Although I'm not holding my breath on the last sentence coming about in a hurry. If there's one thing many people dislike, it's having how very wrong you've been rubbed right in your face.

From Go on, read the whole thing. H/T Small Dead Animals.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

High Noon Nanaimo

Went to do my usual volunteer stint on Wednesday to see one of the neighbouring streets taped off with yellow 'crime scene' tape. Apparently two guys had a falling out over money and decided to shoot it out wild west style. One of the would be Wyatt Earps was killed. The other was wearing a bullet proof vest. A passer by was also shot in the leg during the melee which was reported as follows in the local press.

Now in a town where you can buy Rifles and Shotguns over the counter providing you've jumped through the permit hoops, this sort of thing happens once a lifetime, if that. On the mainland it's a different story, but even with the tightest of gun laws, if two fools want to play gunfighter for real, there's not much that will stop them. There is the odd incident where armed Police shoot a suspected or wanted felon dead, and a murder that would have happened whatever the implement. For the rest of us locals, gunplay is happily something that does not figure large in our lives. In the three years I've lived in the area, the only guns I've seen have been in sporting goods stores while I was looking over Archery kit, or at the Fish and Game protective society.

If this was the UK, no doubt there would be an outcry, and heated demands to 'get rid of all the evil guns'. Which doesn't really fix the problem of violent crime. My vote would be to look a little deeper. Were the weapons legit and licensed? If not, then a ban would be completely pointless. If said guns were legal, then perhaps enforcement should be beefed up and the bar for holding such a weapon tweaked upwards.

It is a sad fat that those who tend to ignore the mores of civilised society, to wit, no shooting people in the streets, also have a distressing tendency to ignore the gun regulations. Shock horror! Whatever those happen to be at the time. The UK is a salient example. Gun crime is still a big problem, but handguns are illegal and even the UK pistol team has to practice overseas. Yet shootings still occur.

As regular drug busts will attest; with every seized cache of dope semi-automatic weapons reportedly turn up. A ban would therefore be nothing more than a political sop to keep the wailing willies quiet. It doesn't take guns out of the hands of criminals or anti-social. Only attacking the root causes will do that.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Free range kids etc.

When I was young, oh so many years ago, from the time I could walk I was a wanderer. As early as four years old I wandered to friends houses, the hidden playgrounds of disused garages, down to the banks of streams to fish for Minnows and Bullheads. My Mum even caught me selling my unwanted books door to door (Age 5). My friends and I built dens in the woods and formed our own secret 'clubs' away from the eyes of grown ups. We rode bicycles, fell into ponds, out of trees, collected bruises and fought our friends and enemies alike. From after breakfast until dusk in the Summer months, we were outside, playing without adult supervision. In short, I had a free range childhood.

By the same token, I have viewed the recent press led paedophile paranoia with astonished perplexity. Our own girls grew up allowed to visit friends houses, although I did get called out on a couple of occasions when they got too boisterous, but as far as I was concerned that was mere inconvenience. They had instructions to let us know where they were, and sleepover privileges were used as a kind of sanction. We let them grow up with a little independence and it seems to have paid off. Two maturing human beings with as bright a future as we can help them with (Or they would want us to). Parental result!

Alternatively we could have subscribed to the hysteria and let people like below order their waking hours;

It is thus with a certain feeling of vindication we hear of the 'Free range kids' movement, where parents are encouraged to let their children off the leash a little and, well, be children. Boisterous, harmless kids who come home in time for tea and don't stop out all night. Like I used to be.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A sound recommendation

For those of you finding communication between the sexes a little fraught, or wondering why you can't seem to communicate with the opposite sex; Mrs S and I would like to recommend 'Why men don't listen and why women can't read maps'. It's down to earth, absolutely hilarious and above all, true. Unlike all those other tendentious tomes about male to female communication on the bookshelves.

Shrieks of hilarity are coming from the other room as I type. Mrs S likes it.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Eyjafjallajökull update

Webcam screenshot taken 2pm
PST 23rd May 2010. Doesn't look so scary now.

Arrogance,ignorance and greed

The song says it all............

H/T The Last Ditch

Friday, 21 May 2010

Watching the volcano

Regarding this blogs recent almost obsessive coverage of Icelandic volcanism; I have an ulterior motive. Youngest is coming across the pond in a few weeks and am mildly concerned about possible flight cancellations / delays during mid June. Ergo, I am watching the seismic and volcanic activity around Mt Unpronounceable with a wary eye. The recent seismic activity on the screengrab could be new magma rising to renew the eruption, or even magma draining away, signifying the end of this particular geologic eructation. Not being a proper volcano expert like this chap, I don't know. Tried both webcams, but I think it's raining heavily in that part of Iceland at present, so any remote visual observation is currently more or less impossible. The satellite view shows the ash cloud being shoved northwards, away from UK airspace, but Atlantic airflows vary, and I still worry.

Looking on the bright side, there have been no reports of aircraft dropping out of the sky following a plethora of flights over and around the main body of the ash cloud, so I'm booking hotels and ferries as if there will be no disruption. Although just to be on the safe side, I'm doing it with fingers, toes, nose and eyes firmly crossed.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Bit of a blow last night, which had me wandering around at half past one in the morning, securing all the outdoor furnishings which had decided to go walkabout. Mrs S kicked me out of bed with a sleepy; "Bill. Go and see what that noise is." Our fearless hound was cowering somewhere, and totally failed to accompany his master on this middle of the night chore. Our two beige plastic Adirondack sun chairs were making a hell of a racket as they grumbled across the decking like bizarre stop motion sail boats. I'm surprised the neighbours didn't complain. Although from some brief windblown curses from a neighbouring yard, I think they were having as much fun as I was. A set of bamboo wind chimes got shredded, but we were spared power cuts like on the mainland.

The weather seems to go like this, or so I've noticed in thirty years of outdoor activities like Motorcycling throughout the year and working outdoors in all English weathers. Never mind three years of foot patrol work.

If Spring is windy and wet you can expect a temperate to warm summer and a good growing season. If calmish, you can expect real heat followed by Winter snow. Maybe even crop wrecking Summer storms. Used to see the same kind of weather patterns in England, which, like Vancouver Island, has a mild temperate climate. An English windy Autumn meant a comparatively mild and wet Winter. A wet and windy Spring usually ran before a reasonably sunny Summer. An over warmish Spring generally presages a washout Summer. Rather like 2007, the year we left England. The climate shifts around paying no mind to activists and politicians, no matter what they say and do.

I know these observations are pretty generalised, and heavens to betsy haven't been peer reviewed. I mean gasp! The scandal of it all. Yet for me this vaguely folkloric principle works as a reasonable rule of thumb. Weather being the chaotic phantasm it so often is, perhaps that's all you can ever work with.

Mt Unpronounceable contrast and compare

Have a look at the two images. Is it me or is the Eyjafjallajökull ash plume much thinner than before? The Earthquake count in the area is down, and on the infra red webcam image, the only hotspot registering is sunshine on the lower slopes and meltwater.

Elsewhere in Iceland, there's plenty of rumbling and grumbling under the big Vatnajokull glacier; the Tijornes fracture zone and Reykjavik peninsula.

Meanwhile, according to the VAAC, Chaiten in Chile is still erupting and rated Red on the Volcanic alert scale. In Greece, well, here's todays screengrab off my Geological overlays on Google Earth.

Makes you think, don't it?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Whole lotta shakin going on in Iceland

Just as one Swallow does not make a Summer, a single Earthquake does not an eruption make. Sorry Kate, but the single quake showing at the site of the Eastern Katla lava dome in Iceland doesn't add up to much. According the the Volcanologists, even a 'swarm' of quakes doesn't mean an eruption is imminent. The Icelandic Met Office have even gone so far as to post the following quotation.
Katla is NOT erupting and there are NO indications that Katla is about to erupt.
According to the seismic activity, it may be that the Mt Unpronounceable eruption which has sent so many Air Traffic chair warmers into a flat spin, may be scaling down. It certainly looks a lot quieter.

I'm just happy the eruption failed to live up to my own wild speculations. Time for tea.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Iceland Volcanic eruption FYI

A little compare and contrast exercise with yesterdays post. The infrared picture from this mornings screengrab shows no visible hotspot and in the satellite screengrab there is a visibly well developed plume of ash extending halfway down towards Scotland. Have also included a temporary sidebar link to the Irish Aviation Authority website for news of airport closures. Will try and find one that gives links out to all the other European airport closure warnings, although there may be links via this index site. I tried to get a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) from Spanish Air Traffic control and it turns out you need a login and ID to do so. The site is also in Spanish.

Good luck.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Eyjafjallajökull webcam views 08:15 - 08:40 PST

Confused by all the news promising volcanic doom and disaster? You're not the only one, although you'll note all the 'coulds' and 'mights' in the various reports. Here's what was going on about eightish this morning Pacific Standard Time. Top is a screengrab of the live satellite plume view. 48 hours ago, the plume was a visible line on the view, this morning, nada. Second a false colour infrared view from an Icelandic Webcam. Third what the same view looks like in daylight.

Afraid? Why? This stuff goes on all the time all over the planet. Mind you, if you ignore the headline and read to the bottom of the Telegraphs piece, you will find the following remarks interesting.
Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller, who previously ran a German charter airline, complained that authorities have repeatedly grounded air services based on computer projections that turned out to be wrong. He said services in France, Germany and Switzerland should never have been disrupted this week.

Mueller said the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center "has been proven inaccurate several times and we have lost confidence in its reliability. It is now impossible to continue with it and we believe volcanic ash predictions thousands of miles away from the original eruption need to be treated differently."

Hi ho. Time for morning coffee.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Killing Facebook

Picked up this smart little article in todays UK Daily Telegraph on how to permanently delete your Facebook account. Have followed the steps and am hoping that in two weeks or less my Facebook account will be D-E-A-D. Permanently, irrevocably deceased. Electronically deleted, wiped, erased and gone. I hope.

The sun is shining, the beer is chilling, and it's Friday afternoon. The real life weekend beckons. TTFN.

Update: Received from Facebook.
Hi William,

We have received a request to permanently delete your account. Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days.

If you did not request to permanently delete your account, follow this link to cancel this request:

The Facebook Team
Needless to say, the request is not going to be cancelled.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A really nice day

Weather: Sunny day all day today. Which is nice. According to the weather pages temperatures have been running below average, despite the El Nino running throughout the Winter, which rather messed up the snowfall at one critical Winter Olympics venue.

The news from back over the other side of the world seems promising; A 'Great Reform Bill'. Home information packs scrapped. A bonfire of the Quangos also seems likely as the UK can't afford them.

Although I won't going back anytime soon. Life over here is too good. Plenty of living room, and there's none of the clamminess that I recall, leaching the very heat from your bones. It gets cold over here yes, but not the soggy, heat stripping, energy depleting chill that I recall from English Winters. Even with a foot of snow on the ground and five degrees of frost I've been in shirtsleeves clearing the drive with a snow shovel.

There's, for want of a better term, a silken feel to the air around where I live. Rarely harsh or dispiriting. Although getting Mrs S out and about on a less than ideal day proves difficult. "It's alright for you Bill, you've got a cold weather metabolism." She tells me.

Which is true to a point. You needed to be naturally warm blooded to survive Winter patrol work, which I much preferred to the endless whining, backstabbing and bitching that used to go on in the old mess room of my foot patrolling days. Still, I'm out of that game now, and doing much more interesting and stimulating work to earn a crust. A lot of neglected skills have come in useful, and I feel much happier. At least if you disregard the constant frustration of waiting for immigration to put the last tick in the box.

What the hell. It's been a gorgeous day and I'm feeling nicely chilled, figuratively speaking.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Twas ever thus

Re Cleggsky and Jonah talks for a new Lib-Lab pact;

In the words of an olde English ballad, originally bemoaning the banning of Christmas celebrations by Puritans following the English Civil War;
Listen to me and you shall hear, news hath not been this thousand year:
Since Herod, Caesar, and many more, you never heard the like before.
British voters are despis'd, new government devis'd.
Democracy is kicked out of Tow
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world's turn'd upside down.
With more than a nod of the head to the original English ballad 'The world turned upside down' as sung post Naseby.

It is of little consolation to note that Lib-Lab pacts have always ended in tears. Like the song, it's almost a tradition.

Heavy sigh.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Still going....

Just in case anyone's still interested. Screengrab of Mt unpronounceable eruption around 4pm 9th May 2010 still going strong in Iceland, which is causing much travel inconvenience here and there. Looks like it'll rumble on for months, rather like the negotiations over who's going to sit in Number 10 Downing Street.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

They're kidding - right?

In talks between the Lib Dems and Conservatives re the UK election results, 'Vichy' Dave Cameron has apparently said he will make the 'low carbon economy a priority'. WTF!?!

Is the guy terminally stupid or what? The UK economy is in serious trouble and bozo brain thinks it's a good idea to torpedo it completely? What is he on? Does the idiot think that everyone cycling to government non-jobs and using windmills to power the country is the answer? Christ on a bike! If he really thinks that he's as big a cunt headed moron as that Scottish tit that won't take a hint and sod off out of number 10.

I despair, I really do. Despite all the 'reports' and other guff, there is and has been no proven direct causal relationship between CO2 and catastrophic changes in the climate. No proof. No evidence. Fucking hell, acting on the climate alarmists half baked 'information' is as fucking stupid as believing putting crystals around a malfunctioning computer will somehow calm the illar vettir (Evil spirits) within the casing and make it work properly again.

Cameron must think the UK populace all believe in fucking fairies for Christ's sake! What a waste of bloody oxygen some people are. Not a sodding clue. What is it with some politicians? Are their heads so far up their own arses they can't see what's happening? Labour have fucked the UK economy, now Cameroid and Cleggsky are going to finish it off? Blood and sand.

A 'low-carbon' economy means no economy at all. Perhaps this is what really did for the Dinosaurs. No big meteor strike or volcanic eruption, but a suicidal mass insanity that led to widespread starvation and subsequent depopulation. Fucking hell.

Apology: The blog owner appreciates that the profanity in this post may offend. However, on this particular occasion he feels it is thoroughly justified.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Heard Inside number 10

"Time to go, Gordon."
"No! Shan't!"
"You've lost, Gordon."
"No I haven't! Cleggsy will save me! Good old Cleggsy."
"Er, no. He's talking to the Tories."
"No he's not! Filthy bitch, I'll set Mandy on him!"
"Come on Gordon. Time to go."
"Let go of the chair Gordon. Please. Can someone help me pry his fingers off the desk please? Anyone got a crowbar? Please Gordon. LET. GO. OF. THE. CHAIR!"
"Mine! No! Not going! MINE!" (Hysterical screams, flying mobile phones)


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election night confusion

9:50 Pacific Standard time: Watching the UK election poll coming in from three sources; Sky, Times online, UK Daily Telegraph, and BBC News. What's currently scrolling my knurd is that all three show differing results.

Not surprised to hear about various voting irregularities. Voter intimidation in Londonistan. Postal vote fraud. Poll 'irregularities' and other such shenanigans. Not to mention people having the polling station doors closed in their faces. That should at least keep a few lawyers gainfully employed.

Still amazed that anyone with a functioning brain cell actually voted Labour, or maybe they were just afraid of the Tories, perhaps of losing benefits or jobs if the Tories were to get an overwhelming majority. Whatever happens it won't change the UK's economic situation. The blade of massive public sector cuts will have to fall sometime. Britain is broke, and the EU has just shot it's wad into Greece. so no help from that quarter.

Upon sober reflection, I'm given to thinking that a hung Parliament might not be such a bad thing. At least it may result in a stemming of the flood tide of bass ackwards laws. Hmm. There's something to look forward to. Although there will probably not be any 'great repeal bill', at least the silly season legislation the Labourites were wont to think good ideas won't get funding any more, and maybe the torrent of public money poured into so-called but not really 'Green' public sector projects may evaporate. Therefore I feel there is a little room for optimism, even if it is through the proverbial glass, very darkly indeed.

Oh well..... A hung Parliament could be a blessing in disguise, even if it is an extremely clever disguise. All I can say has been said before. Notably in this song.......

Of course I could be wrong..... on the other hand, nah.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

He's no Robin Hood

"It's me, Robin Hood" claims actor on a binge. He's not though. His Archery style looks like it was learned using a kiddies archery set. Not that the politically correct TV travesty he was in could get even a major historical detail like a flaming longbow right. As I've pointed out before, the style of bow the actor uses is a short recurve of a Turkish, Roman or Magyar pattern. Funnily enough not widely known in English medieval folklore or literature. Historically speaking, the Yew longbow superseded the Welsh Elmwood bow some time in the 11th century, at least as far as the English were concerned, and the Welsh pattern wasn't a recurve. A short recurve pattern bow was unknown in England at this time. We know this because no-one has ever found one in literature or sculpture. This does not say much for the period detail or research required to play the part of Robin Hood convincingly. 'Robertus Hoode' was a sodding longbowman widely thought to have annoyed local Yorkshire law enforcement during the 12th Century FFS!

Despite the aforementioned I actually like short recurves, and prefer them for bush or field shooting. There's less chance of the lower limb snagging in the underbrush and throwing your aim off. This modern Maple and Fibreglass model shoots very fast and flat, which amuses a purist Archer like me as I prefer to shoot without sights. There's a knack to field shooting with one of these smaller bows, as the classic slow draw and hold you learn for target shooting (and portrayed in the movies - try drawing and holding even a 40lb competition recurve for more than five seconds at full draw and you'll know what I mean) isn't the best technique for shooting a 45lb+ pull bow in the field. My own technique is to tend to keep the bow at half draw during the latter stage of the stalk, and draw slowly to two thirds for sighting, then final draw and release all in one motion. Looks like you're showing off, but it's actually very effective. Endless practice is the key.

Anyway. Russell Crowe shoots far better. At least he actually took the trouble to learn how to shoot a longbow.

I used to like Doctor Who as well (Until Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford), but like Terry Pratchett, who is still sharp despite early onset Alzheimers, I don't think the current BBC incarnation can honestly be called science fiction.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

At 8pm Pacific Standard Time Thursday evening 6th May 2010

...... it will be 4am in the morning UK time, and we will know if the grand vision of New Labour is dead or not. Mrs S and I will be holding an on line vigil from when the polls in the UK close, to the counts conclusion. By midnight here in British Columbia it will be eight in the morning, and the UK will have a clue about the next government, whatever that may bring.

We have a lot invested in this, namely our savings which we have been forced to keep in Sterling rather than bring over to Canada to invest because the immigration rules tell us we cannot bring 'settlement funds' in until we have our Permanent Residency.

Furthermore we have been restricted in the amount we can earn over here. Yet still we have a quality of life that we could not dream of attaining in our previous incarnations in the UK, especially in the roles we once fulfilled. For this reason alone I will not even contemplate a return to the UK.

The pound has taken a battering of late, reducing the value of our holdings from a Canadian Dollar perspective. Should the election results please the markets, the pounds value will rise as speculators and investors buy into the market. Should the results not be so pleasing, such as a narrow New Labour victory, Mrs S and I must resign ourselves to further financial losses.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Those were the days


Pathe Newsreel clip of the 1935 eruption of Mt Vesuvius, Italy. Never heard a volcano referred to as 'virile' before.

Then there's this from 'Trick of the tail'. Dance on a Volcano. Best thing Rutherford, Banks and Collins ever did.

Ah, nostalgia. Not what it used to be, eh?

Icelandic volcano plume and Irish airspace

Keep seeing lots of speculative stuff in the press about a possible closure of Irish airspace due to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. At the last look, the webcam showed the whole area looking very grey, and how can I put this; Icelandic. The last quake was an intensity 1.4, on 28th April 2010 at 03:36:57 1.1km underground, at least according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office web site. Current(ish) satellite view at this site, which will join the other links at the top right hand column. There is also another webcam view on the same page below the time looped satellite image.

Will try and post a direct link to the relevant VAAC updates when I can find them.

Update: Irish airspace has been temporarily closed for about 12 hours, but according to all the sources examined, transatlantic flights from the UK and Europe will not suffer.

What is up with that?

Popped over to for my daily dose of climate related stuff to be greeted with this headline; “Catastrophic” retreat of glaciers in Spitsbergen. Good grief! I thought. Is there something going on that the satellite photo's and ice coverage maps haven't picked up? Was there really a melting of ice “unprecedented in the history of the Arctic” going on? Are there really ten degree temperature anomalies?

Well there were. In 1934 and 1935. Recorded observations from a Soviet report published in 1943. Milankovitch cycles anyone?

Denial? I see no denial. Just cycles. Which are the only climate cycles worth peddling at present.

H/T Wattsupwiththat

Sunday, 2 May 2010

New sleeping arrangement

Well I'm not publishing the details of Mrs S and I's sex life (Whaddya think this is, a sex blog or summink?), but what I am posting is the custom built (By me) headboard which makes sitting up for reading or serving Mrs S with breakfast in bed (She's such a slave driver) a genuine pleasure. The top, a generous 34 inches from the mattress top has a rollover pad which prevents the top of the board banging against the wall, no matter what we get up to. You know the sort of perverted activities I mean; reading, drinking hot chocolate, playing Quake II on my antiquated laptop, even (Gasp!) Scrabble. Goodness gracious me! Some of us even sleep! Unless of course my beloved drops me a gentle hint by digging her fingernails mischievously into my ribs. In which case, all bets are most definitely off.

Common knowledge, innit?

I keep on seeing people in the comments section of newspaper articles, which are often unintentionally funnier than the articles themselves, repeat this quotation, attributing it to an 18th Century 'Historian' Alexander Fraser Tytler (Not Tyler), from a book ('Cycle of Democracy' published around 1770) Having looked extensively for this title, I can't find any trace of via the various online catalogues I browse for research. However, the quotations provenance is probably far more convoluted, at least according to this researcher.

Now I'd always thought these remarks, or some like them, originally came from Benjamin Franklyn, which just goes to show how wrong you can be. The 'quotation' runs as follows;
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
Now this false attribution doesn't make the words any less true. Spend more than you've got, and you're cruising for a very bruising time financially. As our Greek friends are finding out the hard way.

Just as an aside, French political thinker and Historian, Alexis de Toqueville really did make this remark;
A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
Many people, especially those on the left wing of politics, don't seem to get the connection between prosperity and work done. They miss the fundamental truth that parties always end, and the bill has to be paid sometime. The bigger the party, the bigger the bill. This is one of the less pleasant financial 'facts of life'. You know what they are, the ones your Mum and Dad were always bleating on about and you didn't listen to. Remember them? Got it in one.

Being fiscally prudent, any non food purchases we make today are to come from Garage sales and the local 'Swap meet'. Just helping the local economy go round.

Am feeling particularly smug today because yesterday afternoon, with the help of our landlords workshop (The man is utter diamond), we built a custom padded headboard for our bed. Now I can sit up and read in languorous comfort without banging the back of my head on the wall. Very cosy.

An unfunny thing popped into my inbox

Just got this in my mailbox from an old mate. Stripped the .gif advert from it, and am posting the text only.
This is too true to be funny.

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were Living in the Stone Age.

D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

E. A billion Pounds ago was only 13 hours and 12 minutes, at the rate our government
is spending it.

Stamp Duty
Tobacco Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Income Tax

Council Tax
Unemployment Tax
Fishing License Tax
Fuel Revenue Tax
Inheritance Tax
Alcohol Tax
Marriage License Tax
Property Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Motor Vehicle Tyre disposal Tax.
Workers Compensation Tax


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...
And our nation was one of the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt...
We had the largest middle class in the world...
And Mum stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell 'politicians!'

I hope this goes around the UK
At least 100 times
What the hell happened?????
Ah, this old chestnut. The truth of the matter is that every time we vote for more public spending, more regulation etc, the price goes up to pay for it. Every time people want 'Government' to 'do' something, the tax has to go up to pay for it. Think there are too many smokers, fat people, drinkers, 'social' problems, global warming, high hedges, illegal parkers, speeding? Want the 'Government' to 'do something' about it? It's gonna cost you. But then you knew that, didn't you? Didn't you?
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