Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hottest decade ever, eh?

One can become a bit teed off with all the propaganda about it being the 'hottest decade / year / century ever. Especially when the Weather fails to deliver. I mean what's the bloody point of me investing in extra strength sun cream when it fails to be as hot as the doomsayers claim? Never mind about there being no provable causative link. I made that remark to a guy the other day who remarked; "So you're calling David Suzuki a liar?"
To which I responded politely; "Mister Suzuki is a Zoologist, not a physicist or Engineer."

Frankly, I don't care who it is making the claims. All I'm lathered about is how wrong all these claims and predictions about climate and weather turn out to be.

Gulf oil spill

As far as the politics goes, I've been mostly ignoring the stories about the Gulf oil spill, because far greater minds than mine are all over it like a cheap suit. However, with all the talk about BP this, and BP that, where does the rig operator, Transocean, figure in all the media hype? Why doesn't President Obama talk about 'kicking their ass', or is his only real skill spoon fed rhetoric? Perhaps it's easier to focus on a foreign multinational than an American company suspected of pushing the envelope. As in Hollywood, the best villains always have British accents.

There is also the issue of an estimated twenty seven thousand abandoned wells in the gulf area. BP own 600 of these, many more are owned by companies like Chevron, and occasionally, deep draught barges bump into them. Although I would have thought abandoned oil wells should be properly marked on nautical charts so that seaborne traffic can steer clear. Then again, maybe that's just me being too much of an optimist in these matters. Human nature being what it is.

Perhaps there's even a case for reopening said abandoned wells with more modern oil recovery technology. After all, the wells are already there. Keep the rigs and recovery platforms closer inshore, and drill laterally. Providing ownership of mineral rights could be established / bought of course, as ownership of some of these wells is sometimes hard to establish. Who owns the abandoned well of a bankrupt oil company? Who do the rights revert to? The State? The Federal authorities? Could the pollution from these abandoned wells be turned into valuable resources? Just a thought.

Current satellite photo's of the spill, to back up the 'Where's the oil gone?' articles can be found here at the NASA website. Other news and images can be found via the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries web site.

There is much talk of 'devastation' to the gulf fisheries, but if that's true, why are said fisheries being reopened? Interesting, n'est-ce pas?

Friday, 30 July 2010

You learn something new every day

Popped over to this article on I hate the Media about some 40 terrorists who allegedly got their just desserts when trying to work out a delivery system for Bubonic Plague.

Now, the post had this picture of a foot with a massive dose of gangrene (Do not view if of a delicate nature - very yucky picture). I posted almost reflexively that the foot looked like it was gangrene due to Frostbite, and that there being no lymph nodes in the foot to infect and swell, so maybe it was the wrong photo. Someone else posted that no, it was genuine and posted the aforementioned link from the University of Iowa. Apparently advanced Distal Necrosis is a symptom of Bubonic plague.

Must have been a very nasty way to die. Incredibly painful. Yet I would posit thus; if the people who contracted the plague were trying to develop a delivery system to spread said nasty disease, then they deserved all they got.

As an aside, before the modern conventions on biological warfare were drawn up, all sides in the Cold War had been experimenting with diseases to wipe out the predominant ethnic group of the other nation. A US Military treatise on Biological warfare can be found here.

What the jihadi terrorists forget is, as was found out during the cold war, Biological weapons are very much a two edged sword. They kill indiscriminately and tend to kill the attacker as often as the attacked. Should Al-Qaeda again contemplate using such diseases to kill as many Christians / Jews / Everyone as possible; they should always bear in mind that what can empty the Temples, Churches and Synagogues of the infidel or kufar will also empty Mosques. Such diseases are that indiscriminate.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Still grumbling away

A quick visit to the Icelandic Met Offices web site shows that the state of play with the Tjörnes fracture zone hasn't changed much. Lots of small earthquakes, or 'continuing low level activity'. By the way, the dotted black ovals are ancient volcanic Caldera.

As an aside; for those seeking a more in depth view of the area than I can ever hope to give, please visit either one of John Seach's blogs or Tobias Weisenberger's web site. Most instructive.

A little rumour from Reuters

Have the Chinese just bought out Britains power grid? From a rumour of a confidential deal comes the revelation that Hongkong Electric Holdings and Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings have purchased three Electricity grids from EDF for a sum quoted at over five and a half billion pounds. One wonders if one of the first things those canny investors will do is sell off those bits of the grid servicing wind installations before the green money train vanishes in a puff of Warble Gloaming.

Britain is broke. It can't afford the 'Green' subsidies any longer, no matter what Cameroid and Cleggsky think. And printing money to quantatively ease the situation will only work for so long. It makes me wince just to think about it.

When I was growing up we were in the middle of the Cold War, and 'Reds were under the bed'. Now it looks like the Chinese, like the Russians, have doffed their collectivist bias and are laughing up and down their commercial sleeves at the old colonial powers. Looks like they have learned that free market capitalism can be wonderful and now own the bed. So unlike the UK and USA, who both seem hell bent on going in the opposite direction.

I dunno. Spend half your life worrying about the 'Red Menace' and you find they've turned into a mirror image of their decadent one time enemies in the West and bought the mortgages. Life; isn't it ironic?

Update: It's official.

How long has this stuff been about....?

Technology has history. All the devices we use in our day to day lives have roots which go back centuries; without certain developments in previous eras, the level of technology we enjoy today could not exist. Most technology, from a historical standpoint, has not needed state subsidy to be embraced by the public.

The reasoning behind today's ranting little mini-polemic is brought on by the news that the UK Government plans to subsidise buyers of 'green' electric cars. Hang on a minute. How can they do that if they're broke?

Nevertheless, if a technology for use by the individual is viable, then it will be embraced. Surely either the product will be purchased or not if it is of merchantable quality and price? Examples such as Mobile phones, Personal computers, Plasma screen TV's, Motor cars come most readily to mind.

Only the outsize and unwieldy, inefficient and / or inflexible require funding from the public purse to make it either partially or wholly viable. Public utilities, including Public Transport (Bus, Rail, etc.) for example, large infrastructure essentials like water, roads, sewers, all these are within the remit of Government. Where Government steps outside its essential brief is the realm of subsidy to pay people to buy a particular product. In this case, electric cars.

Electric cars are nothing new, they've been around since Edison and before. They were originally out evolved in 1908 by the more flexible and economical Model T Ford. Yet the idea of a long range, flexible electric car keeps coming back like a bad curry.

The main drawbacks with electric vehicles are and remain, range and refuelling. There's no stopping at the nearest gas station for a quick tankful as with an internal combustion engine, then pootling merrily on your way. Charging even the most high-tech batteries needs time. Even small cordless electrical appliances need around 60-90 minutes to bring them up to charge. Can you imagine sitting at a refuelling stop for three or four hours with a bunch of kids whining "Are we there yet?" from the back seat. Then you have to devise a relatively foolproof way of ensuring that impatient Mr or Ms Average can safely charge their vehicles, not forgetting that in our busy lives we easily tend to forget things like putting gas in the tank and not pay attention to the fuel gauge. "Honey, did you put the car on charge?" is just one more thing to forget, and running out of electricity on a longish mornings commute would be all too easy to do. So far, Electric cars have yet to jump this important hurdle.

Until the charging and range issues are resolved I have a distinct feeling that there may be a future for Electric Cars, but in it looms a tow truck. Subsidy or no.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Bubbling under

Ever since the Mt unpronounceable eruption in May, I've been watching the seismic situation in Iceland with some interest. Particularly the apparent swarm activity North East of Grimsey in the Tjörnes fracture zone. Now while I readily understand that seismic activity alone means nothing, one of the indicators for an eruption is a rapid shallowing of small earthquake events. Most of the small shocks in this small area have been down at the 10km+ level, bubbling around like an old fashioned coffee percolator. Today I noted two recent events specific to the area in question at the 1.1km level. Admittedly, the 'quality' of both events marked is less than ideal.

However, I'm intrigued. As I live in a volcanically active area and on clear days have a brilliant view of Mt Baker, I'm watching the Icelandic events closely to see what I can learn from the raw data.

'Proof' eh?

Popped across to the Torygraph and found this bit of propaganda on the front page;
Met Office report: global warming evidence is 'unmistakable'
Two reasons to treat with suspicion;
1) The report comes from the UK Met Office whose record on predicting weather is something of a national joke in the UK.
2) The article is written by Louise Gray.
Dr Stott said the sceptics can no longer question the land surface temperature as other records also show global warming.
Apart from him failing to notice that the temperature record is based upon a less than comprehensive base data set. One example of which is the corrected 'Arctic' temperatures are based on very few recording stations. Tell me again, why do more recent temperature records, especially those from semi urban locations need 'correcting' upwards?

Yes, yes, I'm sure those producing said report will tell us it's all too complicated for common mortal man to comprehend. You don't need to be a genius to spot a fiddle, and I think there's more fiddling going on with this climate business than in the string section of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Regarding Louise Gray and Geoffrey Lean, what the hell are a pair of rampant warmista's doing writing for the right of centre Torygraph? Surely their natural habitat is the left of centre Grauniad?

It's not the end of the world you know....

In some of the 'science' press, usually during the 'silly season' which runs from July to September, someone will post an article that the 'end of the world' is approaching. The apocalypse usually takes the form of a immense new star massive black hole mutant stargoat giant asteroid hurtling towards our poor dear, defenceless ickle planet and OH MY GOD we're all gonna DIIEEE!

Yes, possibly. Well maybe. Or then again maybe not. Well certainly not in 2012. Tell you what, if the Earth gets destroyed by a major asteroid in the next forty years I'll give five thousand dollars to the first person to tell me 'I told you so'.

The next close approach of a sizeable, (595m diameter) asteroid (Designation 2003 UV11) is estimated to happen on 30th October 2010. Now 595 metres is a fair size, and would take an able bodied person around eight minutes or so to walk, assuming they walk at about 4.8 kilometres and hour (3mph). However, said object is going to miss Earth by an estimated 5 Lunar Distances. A lunar distance is 384,403 Kilometres (238,857 miles), which makes the miss 1,922,015, or almost two million kilometres or 1,194,285 miles. That's a longer stroll, in fact you'd have to keep walking non stop for over 45 years to cover said distance. Phew, close one, eh?

Most of the time we miss most of the various bits of rock on a final kamikaze into Earth's atmosphere simply because they fall when and where nobody is looking. It is estimated in some quarters that over 100 to 3000 astronomical objects or meteorites 'hit' the Earth every day, and have been doing so since before life evolved on this planet. Most are relatively small, and if you count micro meteors, estimates rise to 500,000 events entering Earth's atmosphere a day.

Funnily enough, we ain't dead yet.


I thought this PJTV Video: "PRAISE THE GORE: Chill Out With Ice Queen Deanna Joy in the Church of Climate Change" was interesting hilarious and hope you do too.

Those eeeeeevil volcanoes. Arf.

I'm just wishing there was a public version up on Youtube.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Is this a Seamount I see before me?

After a relatively quiet weekend there's been a sudden uptick in seismic activity in a specific area in the Tjörnes fracture zone north of Iceland. The second screengrab shows the location which is just off the main fracture zone, where most of the activity appears to be occurring. Also hard to tell if the depth of quake is decreasing, which might indicate rising magma.

My problem is putting the pieces of of an incomplete jigsaw together. Is it a Seamount? Is it growing? Without charts and soundings from those waters I can't hazard an answer. It's very frustrating. While seismicity on its own means nothing, it does look as though something vaguely volcanic is going on. Wonder what it is?

Update: Keeping an eye on the situation appears to be nigh on impossible at present, as the Icelandic Met Office's web site is groaning under the strain.

Jane Austen socks!

Now if we'd been given this as a text for A-Level, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it much more than all the other turgid 19th Century Bronte / Austen literature on the syllabus.

Sometimes everyone wants to kick over the traces, amongst other things. It must be the silly season.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Swarm continues

Just checked in at the Icelandic Met office to see last nights Earthquake swarm still going strong. Tremor depth looks fairly consistent. Not sure what that means as yet, if anything.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Now that's an Earthquake swarm

Just picked this up at the Icelandic Met Offices site for the Tjörnes fracture zone, a set of submarine volcanoes just North of Iceland close to the Mid Atlantic fault system.

Now whilst it is often observed that swarm type earthquakes alone are not an indicator of an impending eruption, I'm posting this one and will check in the morning to see if there have been further developments.

A small request

To the few interested souls who pass this way, I would like to draw your attention to this small cri-de-couer from the Pacific.
Feel free to make a comment but go easy on the sympathy shit. I don't really need it. I have no regrets. I only ask for one very small favor. As long as you are alive, please celebrate my birthday (November 13th) by having a party and raising a toast to me. That's not too much to ask, is it? Call it Wil's Day. Maybe the idea will catch on globally and it could mushroom into a big event at some point in the future. The theme will be "Screw the multi-nationals and the governments they run. Spit in the bastard's eye."
Wil is a thoroughly decent fellow and if he doesn't make it through the next twelvemonth, I will be honouring his wish. What the hell, even if he's still alive and sinning I will celebrate and raise a glass remembering good people like Cass Brown, and several other bloggers who are no longer with us.

The loss of such voices diminishes us all, but new voices will rise to take their place. Go visit Wil. While he's still around to appreciate it. Why? Why ever not? The brevity of our span on this Earth should be reason enough.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I write like who?

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Apparently. Well now there's a thing, eh?

H/T Staghounds

My Science fiction Novel style ranges from:

I write like
William Gibson

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Results derived from a 5000 word MSS sample to:

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

From a 5000 word short story sample, to;

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

From the latest effort. Must try to be consistent and write more like me.

Chocolate to cost more?

Mrs S is in full growl mode. This is because a bunch of hedge funds have managed to corner the worlds Cocoa supply. Because the price of the base ingredient for chocolate has been forced up, it is not unreasonable to assume that the price of almost every woman's favourite comfort food will rise in the near future. Mr Rowntree, Mr Cadbury, Mr Lindt and those Nestlé chaps will have to pay more for the base ingredient, or water down their recipes. All because of finance.

Her first reaction was that such things 'shouldn't be allowed', and some form of regulatory mechanism put in place to prevent hedge funds artificially controlling markets via speculation. It 'wasn't fair'. Now where have I heard that one before?

Hedge funds are in my understanding, masses of money traded around to make more money. They bought and sold Mortgage derivatives before the crunch, now they're doing it with commodities. It's business. Commerce. The market in a given commodity will inflate until it reaches an unsustainable level, then all the 'clever money' will move out and the price of whatever will crash. Sometimes the clever money isn't clever enough and goes poof with everyone else's savings. All the rest of us peons can do is keep on truckin' and stop buying whatever until the market stabilises.

It doesn't matter what the commodity is, the rule stays the same. A value is only what people are willing to pay for an item. If they aren't buying, the price will have to drop before storage cost overhead outstrips profit. Non perishable stocks of course, follow a slightly different set of rules and can tip markets into imbalance. When that happens, the fallout is much worse than with perishables, like Cocoa. As we saw recently by staking the whole economy on property values. You end up with the situation where Price, Net Worth and Value come unglued and then it's sauve qui peut and the Devil take the hindmost.

Some of these financial markets seem to this poor commentator little more than a means for big ego's to keep score. Ever since Ug first decided that a particular valley was his, and maybe a couple of the others he saw on the way over; men, and occasionally women, have played ego games with land and possessions. This has led to the rise and decline of empires, the raising of massive edifices and occasionally the slaughter of millions. Anything set on domination, be it money or a political philosophy, eventually ends up the same way.

People continually try to manipulate markets to make more money. A case in point is the whole Carbon Trading thing, which is no more than a desperate attempt by some very rich people to make more money than Bill Gates, but without producing a real end product. Put money into a propaganda (Marketing) machine proposing that Mankind will destroy the planet unless everyone has to pay 'taxes' for, oo lemme see now, some colourless atmospheric trace gas. Anonymously fund research, usually via various witting or unwitting proxies, that 'proves' your point of view, and recruit a whole bunch of people without real critical thinking skills to fight your battles for you. Natural human tribal polarisation will do the rest. The Carbon goes up in price, and the people behind the proposition get so incredibly rich that their offspring will live in huge mansions and never have to work again. Nothing to do with 'saving the Earth' at all.

The Earth can get on without us. Anyone who does a little critical overview thinking about what causes the rise and fall of empires can tell you that. The ruined proof is all over the world, from Rome to Angkor, Ancient Persia to India and China. If Mankind were to vanish tomorrow, the Earth would still be orbiting the sun, only plus some interesting geological layers for putative alien explorers to puzzle over. It's almost comforting to think that in the long term, we're all Archaeology.

Back to Cocoa and commodities speculators; If Mr Ward and friends push the price of Cocoa too high, there is always the risk for him that people will simply stop buying the product and so impoverish the speculators. It happens. We are transient. Tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse. No matter what; Mrs S will get her chocolate. I will see to that.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

It's not their money

Jonah Brown was going to do it, now Cameroid and Cleggsky want to do it; use money from 'dormant' bank accounts to give to their favourite causes. Not yours, not mine, but theirs.

I object most strongly to this because;
a) I have a couple of UK Bank accounts in 'dormant' mode in case I visit the UK and need the odd hundred for emergency petty cash.
b) Taking money that does not belong to you is, and call me an old silly for thinking this; to put it bluntly, theft. Stealing. Unlawfully purloining the chattels of others. Taking without permission; call it what you will.

For Cameron to even suggest such a move is profoundly illiberal and against the concept of private property. That's like seeing someone else's car parked in their garage and selling it to line your own pockets. Taking what belongs to others is theft and there are laws against it. Or at least I thought there were, who knows nowadays? The last lot passed so many it's hard to be sure any more.

I do think that you poor buggers back in the UK have gotten rid of one bunch of elitist, illiberal, thieving tosspots and simply substituted another. If the money in 'dormant' accounts belongs to anyone, it belongs either to the person whose account it is, or their heirs and successors. Heirs and successors as a group emphatically does not include smooth talking slapheads who think they can do as they like because they were their political parties rubber stamp.

Maybe I should close everything down next time I'm in the UK and leave my financial bridges in flames, or just blow what remains on the Stepkids birthday bash in October. Cameron and Clegg can stick their 'big society' where the sun shineth not.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A fridge magnet or an attitude

It's too sunny a day to bother with how crap things are in the UK, or the war of words on who rules the climate. So today, this fridge magnet can be considered a summation of my attitude to the outside world;

I hasten to add that the picture is most definitely not a self portrait. I'm not as pretty as that.

Today is to be spent basking in sunshine and reading a Jim Butcher novel. One of the Harry Dresden series. It's rather good.

Comment spam; my crass commercialism

Have had to enable comment moderation on older rants because of a recent increase in advertising spam. Do the morons who post these barely disguised adverts not get the message? Advertising must be firstly approved by me, and secondly, paid for. The rest can take their sub standard tat and eff off.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Great minds think alike........

On the 14th, I wrote this post. My comrade in words Delcatto had a number of things to say on the topic.

Today, I had a look at the 'Your Freedom' website and found this posted;

After a rather heated debate from the 'entitled', one of whose comments was this;

The moderator suggested that suggestions of this nature might better be posted elsewhere.

(Yes, I too have been unemployed, and felt lucky to get what small help I did. I recall that stuff like the odd glass of alcoholic beverage and occasional cigar, which I had heretofore enjoyed, were pleasures I had to forgo until I found a new job and my cashflow improved.)

Other topics for UK cost cutting can be posted on this site. Get stuck in.

Prince of Wales accuses sceptics of peddling 'pseudo science'

Well. without appearing to be disrespectful, although it is very hard. HRH Prince Charles is completely out of his depth and looking at the facts of the Man Made Climate Change argument via some weird house of fun mirror.

Fact: The Earth's climate changes.
The world's climate is in constant flux. Sometimes places become warmer for a while, while others turn a little cooler. This can be readily observed.

Fact: We don't know why.
There is a body of opinion that says Carbon Dioxide, particularly man made emissions of same is the cause. Others disagree.

Fact: There is no definitive proof that increases in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide have more than a minimal effect, if any, upon the weather.
One medium sized volcanic eruption like Mt Pinatubo, for example, can actually cause a short term cooling over relatively short time periods. Carbon Dioxide alone, by comparison, shows no comparable effect. Airborne particulates demonstrate far more influence upon the weather by many magnitudes than a transparent, colourless trace gas. This too can be readily observed.

Fact: The Vostok ice core data graph, as used by Al Gore in his Movie 'An inconvenient truth' show temperature variations 800 years ahead of changes of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels.
Demonstrating that observed changes in average global temperature are more likely to cause fluctuations in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide rather than the other way about.

Fact: The temperatures cited as the 'warmest on record' have not yet exceeded those recorded in and around 1934.
Modern rises in temperature can be ascribed to highly selective data sets, and errors in siting Temperature measurement equipment. An effect called the 'Urban Heat Island' may also influence the base data sets'. Some people say that 30 years data is sufficient to 'prove' there is a warming trend. Others disagree, citing the 60 year Milankovich cycles.

Fact: The only pseudo-science on display is not being peddled by so-called sceptics or more insultingly 'deniers'.
'Denial' of man made climate change would indicate that an observable proof of the hypothesis is available. No such empirical proof is currently in the public domain.

Fact: The only 'proofs' of the 'Man made climate change' hypothesis come from extrapolations derived from Computer models.
None of said Computer Models have so far demonstrated predictive accuracy. See UK Met Offices consistent failure to accurately predict cooler, rainier summers in the UK during 2007, 2008, and 2009. It is therefore reasonable to deduce that calculations using the same type of model to predict weather a century ahead must therefore be viewed with extreme caution.

Fact: Researchers claiming that there is real 'Man made climate change' have been challenged over their lack of adherence to the classical 'Scientific Method'.
Said researchers have openly expressed frustration with their lack of 'success' at proving said hypothesis rather than actually challenging / amending the original question upon which their hypothesis is based.

Fact: Prince Charles appears to believe what he is told by his advisers.
Regrettably what his advisers tell him appears observably incorrect.

Conclusion: if asking for observable proof of a given hypothesis before accepting it as theory is 'pseudo-scientific', then I am happy to plead guilty of 'peddling' it.

Gentlemen, take away the fool.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Unemployment benefit; a modest proposal

In most industrialised societies there is a large unemployment problem. To wit; the people in receipt of 'benefits' don't always put those monies towards the purpose they were intended for. Essentially being fed and housed. It is widely acknowledged that those with less willpower are known to put the cash at their disposal not towards rent, seeking work or food for the kids, but instead investing in a bottle or five of cheap strong alcohol, or perchance something illegal; subsequently proceeding to get wasted and often becoming a less than productive, law abiding member of society.

Here's my idea; pay those on unemployment benefit or whatever via a special 'pre paid' credit card, rather like these 'Oyster' cards currently being trialled. Every week the unemployed person would get their money, not via cheque or cash, but via a limited credit account which they could then use for transport, food, and utilities. Rent would need to be funnelled direct to their landlords via a similar, but separate method. Like with ordinary credit cards, the bill could then be remotely monitored, and limits set in place. The methodology for such credit management is well established and deals for purchase tracking would readily be done with Mr Tesco or Mr Sainsbury, or as over here, Mr Safeway to honour said source of credit.

To placate the prohibitionists, purchases such as alcohol or tobacco and suchlike would not be allowable on said cards, but that's not what public money is for, is it? Such a card might be also usable for deep discounts on public mass transit and local facilities like Cinema, Theatre, Swimming pools, and fitness clubs, child care, night classes and training schemes etc. Said card might also be proof of eligibility for free medical assistance / prescription drugs. Payments made for non public facilities like pubs and clubs would be ineligible to take unemployment credit off said cards, therefore unemployed person on benefits therefore can't use unemployment credit for becoming more unemployable through drink, drugs, or daytime TV, as at present. People on unemployment benefit get fed, watered and allowed entertainment. No-one starves. Again, public money doesn't go where it shouldn't.

Of course there's nothing to stop those so inclined setting up a still or home brew setup for barter; that would involve actually doing something positive, and developing skills with a possible marketable value. Before the Excise man comes battering down the door of course. However, if said scheme was regulated by the revenue service, tracked purchases would mean the person bulk buying various ingredients might find authority figures politely enquiring what is flavour of the month sooner rather than later. Likewise; accounts would have similar safeguards to normal 'pre-pay' type credit cards put in place. User only with a secondary piece of genuine Photo ID for example.

I'm sure there are those who would decry the relatively minimal loss of civil liberties involved for the unemployed, but then, if the cash payments are hard to come by taxpayer dollar; whose money is it anyway?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A good word

'Geomythology'. Whenever one of those ardent enviro-whacko's comes at you with their hearts beating wildly on their sleeves for Mother Gaia and tells you that man is wicked and sinful and must pay for polluting / destroying / overheating our beautiful little blue green marble in space, just say; "Oh, geomythology." Smile, and walk away.

Crichton was right. The Man Made Climate Change / Catastrophic Global Warming hype is a religion, so any rational person should treat it and it's followers as such.

My ambition was always to be spotted preparing stuffed sheep hearts whilst wearing my black Kimono by the Jehovahs Witnesses or suchlike. Just to see the looks on their faces.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Calm down dear, it's only a commercial.......

Excuse the cheesy title, derived from an awful UK daytime TV commercial that once achieved near cult status, but I'm not too worried about the pronouncement of a certain Masha Bell regarding 'English being too difficult' for ickle kiddies to learn.

There's been a lot of knee-jerk blogosphere derision on the subject, but 20 seconds googling brought the following to my attention;

Masha has a book out, called 'Understanding English Spelling' Published in 2004 and a booklet called 'Rules and exceptions of English spelling'. Published in 2009. Pretty odd that someone would be supposedly calling for the dumbing down of language and simplifying spelling whilst having books published upon the very subject, don't you think? Rattus Norvegicus anyone?

The thought does occur that were English not so diverse and 'complicated', it would not be such an effective tool of communication, and much of our literary heritage would be consigned to the scrapheap. The thought also occurs; that like any author, Masha has a book to sell. I wish her well.

Returning to pool now.

What is British?

Went along to a festival of 'Britishness' yesterday in town. Mrs S and I came away with mixed feelings.

The festival was packed with nostalgia, a Punch and Judy Show, some guys having a manful go at some Beatles numbers, 'Eastenders' and 'Coronation Street' memorabilia, and lots of sweets from Mr Cadbury and Mr Rowntree. There were some splendidly preserved cars like an Austin A40 Countryman, Jags, 1960-70's MG's a Gorgeous little Sunbeam Tiger V8, and even a split screen Moggy thou. All apart from one car on display were imports with left hand drive. There was even a 'British club' which Mrs S and I decided wasn't 'us'.

Was all this 1960's and 70's nostalgia 'British' though? I found myself wondering. Do I come from a country without culture? I'm still wondering.......

Oh what the hell, the pool's warm and the sun's shining - TTFN.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Telegraph does weather satire

In the Torygraph last night, I spotted this little piece of amusement. About time all the 'elf n safetee non-job justification was held up to ridicule in a national newspaper.

OMG! Sunshine! Help, help! We're all doooomed!


Grumbling Katla?

Some speculation over at Wattsupwiththat about recent tremor activity under the Icelandic Caldera of Katla. The Icelandic Met Office still disagree that Katla is going to blow in the near future, because, as has been observed before, tremors alone do not an eruption make. There are other indicators.

Besides, this mornings screengrab shows no real 'swarm' type activity. For an eruption to be imminent, the tremors would also have to be far more closely spaced in time and depth.

But as Anthony rightly observes; "This may mean nothing, or it may be a prelude to an eruption. Either way it bears watching."

Exactly so.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Not so scary stories

If you follow the lamestream media, not a week goes by without some scare story and a hue and cry that 'Something must be done'! Usually by politicians. Oftentimes, the scare is based on poor science, or more often poor science journalism. In order to get a headline, the news media will publish an item whose headline will indicate one thing, when the original scientific paper said another.

For example 'Amazon-gate'. The original scientific paper in Portugese, referred to deforestation to the Amazon rain forest caused by forest fires and logging. By the time the story went into the media, it had somehow morphed into one of those interminable 'Global warming' scare stories.

Correction: The claim of 'probable' climate sensitivity to drought came from a defunct Brazilian advocacy site. See this article at Wattsupwiththat, Richard Norths EU Referendum and the Torygraph's Christopher Booker.

The IPCC reports are another case in point; in the references and citations, never mind the scandal of 'grey' literature, scientific papers have been referenced which add nothing to any burden of proof that the political phantasm of 'man made climate change' is a real problem. The originating papers often do not tell the story that the IPCC report tells. Politics appears to warp the real information into some weird looking glass version of the original data. We're talking about original studies with unadjusted data here, not merely statistical studies.

I like to take a more measured approach, and in between being an occasional commenter / heckler / assenting voice on various threads and forums, I try to keep up with what the really clever people say. The late Michael Crichton being one of the more articulate.

Over at Wattsupwiththat, there is a piece reposted from 2003 which is as true now as then, but how the world has changed unnecessarily since then. Here also is the famous 'Charlie Rose' interview.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Euro trouble?

Read this piece in the Torygraph financial pages by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Then I read this article. Now if what both articles say is true, then the IMF are telling the European Central Bank to buy as much Grease Greek bonds as possible, in order to do something which is, according to Mr Evans-Pritchard, specifically forbidden under the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty. Apparently there are no less than four legal challenges in the German constitutional courts upon this very issue. Oh dear.

Oo-er. All I have to say is this for those stuck with the final round of 'Club Med' bonds and Euro's.

Regrettably Allied Dunbar, last I heard absorbed by Zurich, are no longer around to help. Not that they could assist with the possible massive fallout from a collapse of the Euro. Swiss Francs? Pounds? Kroner? Anyone?

How about wrong?

An independent report released Wednesday into the leaked "Climategate" e-mails found no evidence to question the "rigor and honesty" of scientists involved.
Yes, but that doesn't mean the CRU team are right does it? As far as all their doomsaying predictions are concerned predicting man made climate Armageddon they and the IPCC are on a bigger losing streak than a bad gambler.

How often do they have to be wrong before they'll review the whole silly CO2 premise? Just because they can't think what else it could be, doesn't mean it's what they say it is. If we all had ossified thought processes like that, the Western world would never have got out of the stone age.

Stuff it. I've got work to do.

Off with their 'benefits'!

Seems to me that there are a whole heap of whiners, whingers and troublemakers who suck off the public teat, both here and in the UK.

Well, here's a solution; cut off the funding to NGO's and non-profits which provide no tangible benefit to the local community where they allegedly have their base. For example, purely political or religious advocacy. Why the hell such organisations should get public money when far more deserving causes have to scrimp and beg in public is, not simply baffling, but bloody annoying.

It occurs to even the meanest intelligence (Even mine) that we in the western world are to a certain extent the authors of our own misfortune allowing public money to fund religious, sexual or political advocacy groups. For my part, I would like to see all such activist groups of whatever denomination denied public funding. Religion, sex, and politics are private matters, and should therefore not receive monies from the public purse.

It is also with some satisfaction I see various 'pride' marches may be denied public funds. As a crusty old heterosexual I rather object to my tax dollars being given to causes inimical to my way of life. Whilst I have no prejudice about anyone else's sexuality, politics or religion, hey, it's your life; I do have serious objections about funding other peoples prejudices.

Pay your own way.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Summer is icumen ......oooohhhh.

Summer has finally arrived after a very long wait indeed. The pool is seeing almost daily use and is currently (At nearly 10pm PST) 87 Degrees Fahrenheit. At 6:20pm local time, the temperature in the shade (Side deck) was 80 Fahrenheit. Front of Deck was 91 Fahrenheit, and on the hottest point 98 Fahrenheit.

We have the fans on full, and are currently luxuriating in this long overdue spot of warmth. Jubbly.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Well there's a surprise (Not)

Lockerbie bomber may live 20 more years? Well, I'm not surprised at all.

The echo you can hear is the laughter of Satan (He's just dropped by for a beer and to swap fishing tales with God, our usual Sunday afternoon thing). God just cracked the one about which is smarter, a single celled organism or a single brain celled Scottish politician. He says at least the single celled organism doesn't pretend to be intelligent.

Good one.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Bloody box tickers

Three years since I left the UK, and haven't set foot on British soil since. Shortly after leaving I filled in the correct forms, countersigned by accountants as required, to say I was no longer domiciled in the UK. Yet still I keep getting demands saying 'send us your P60 for 2008/9'; What can I say apart from;
Look, you bone headed box ticking brain dead zombie alternatives to humanity, what do I have to do? I only have a Canadian tax return for that year which you won't accept as 'evidence' of tax paid, and as I completed a 'Non-domiciled' form back in late 2007 I don't have to (and haven't) filled out a UK tax return; which means no flaming P60 for the year in question! You never issued me with one.

Massive UK Civil service cuts; they can't come fast enough.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hyperbole or hot

Was up in Coombs the other day at the store which is famous for having a turf roof with goats on it.  While we were there, we perused the various 'Hot' barbecue sauces.  don't you just love the names?  Along with all the Jamaican hot sauces they sold the items on the right and left.  However, we came across the item in the centre at the Canada Day celebrations at the local park, and we essayed a small pot, just to test out how much Youngests student trained curry buds were shaping up.

As one with a digestive system tempered by various industrial grades of curry I was impressed.  Yes it is hot.  Hot enough at a mere tasting to engender respect from this ageing curry hound of a correspondent.  Youngest had barely enough to cover the end of a Starbucks stirring stick with her supper this evening, and has since emptied the fridge of beer.  I'm sure that if we had patterned dining plates, said pattern would now be burned off or discoloured.

On the plus side, as a condiment it leaves no chemical aftertaste, and yet is suitable for rendering even the most brazen barbecue bravo to a sputtering mess tipping a jug of ice water down his gullet.  Yes I will be buying more, but not very often, that's all.  You can have too much of a good thing.
Related Posts with Thumbnails