Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Citizenship and the EU

You know, I often find myself wondering about this. I've said before that as soon as I'm eligible I will apply for Canadian Citizenship, and this remains my intent. The question being; do I wish to remain a citizen of the UK, and thus a citizen of Europe? Will I want to maintain dual citizenship status? While I don't, and have never really minded the notion of being a citizen of Europe, I don't like the way a closed circle of unaccountable politicians and bureaucrats are taking it.

When a torrent of micro managing regulation goes onto the statute books without so much as a bye, leave, or thank you. Then I don't want to be a citizen of the EU. If legislation can be cut and pasted from directives originating from within the undemocratic cancer that is the EU Commission without so much as a sneeze from the elected body. Then I don't want to be a part of the European Union. When I watch the insane debt bubble looming over the countries that are part of the Euro, then I think I'd be better off not being a citizen of the EU.

Don't get me wrong, I love Europe. All of it. I love most of the places, and most of the people I've met on my travels. Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Luxemburg, and yes, even Belgium. I'm sure a lot of Germans, Italians, French, Spanish, Dutch, Luxemburgers and Belgians feel exactly the same way.

There are things that are done far better in Europe than the English do. The TGV's (Ironically, many engine and coach units built by British Manufacturers) that zip across France and Spain. Much more comfortable than flying. European Motorways, and I have many fond memories of French N and D routes. Airports.

My head is crammed with delightful European memories like the almost overpowering liquorice tinged smell of Basil on the road from Florence to Genoa. The dusty glory of a Tuscan summer. Champagne cellar tours in Rheims, the dazzling brilliance of the Mont Blanc glacier on a sunny day. The dusty expanse of the Saarland and Rhine Valley in midsummer. Little family roadside restaurants off the beaten track. People who readily forgave my poor language skills, but didn't mind so long as I made some effort (However awkward) to speak their language.

The sheer weight of european history and culture is tremendous and never less than impressive. Yet all that is good in Europe is slowly dying of bureaucratic poisoning. A stolid, boneheaded, ignorant top down political delusion that assumes one code of law will do for all. If it were general law, like don't steal or don't cheat, I'd be all for it, but what bugs me is the increasing micro management foisted upon the majority by vocal lobby groups. Chair polishing time wasters passing law after law without any real thought for the consequences. A system of governance that reduces the rights of the individual to whatever largesse an overweening state can be bothered to hand out. With every new piece of legislation the system becomes ever more inflexible.

To compare; in general terms of materials science, the stiffer a substance becomes, which mostly mean becoming more tightly grained, the more fragile and prone to shattering it becomes. So it is with law. The more constricting and inflexible law becomes, an increasing number of people keep will slamming into it until a social critical mass is reached, and something has to give. At that point either the edifice collapses under it's own internal pressure, or enough people get together to form a hammer. As is happening right now throughout the Middle East at present where tired, inflexible regimes are cracking under the strain. The EU are interfering because that's where most of their oil comes from. Yet their interference is actually making things worse.

For example; outside intervention is giving Gaddaffi's main power base, his alliance of tribes something to rally against. Where he might have slunk off to Venezuela with a couple of billion in unmarked bills in times past, that door has been shut to him. With no exit strategy he has to fight. More Libyans will die because of it. All because of short sighted, posturing EU intervention. I do not support this, nor do I agree with what is happening within the EU. Not too chuffed about Canada being dragged in, but that's NATO for you.

There is no course of remedial democratic action open to me. My UK MP is a buffoonish rubber stamp who does not care about his constituents views. My UK MEP is so remote and unaccountable that they might as well be located out in Lunar Orbit. Therefore I do not want to be a citizen of an enlarged EU.

At some time in the next three years I'm going to have to make a decision about citizenship. If, once a full citizen of Canada I renounce my citizenship of the UK, and thus Europe, if I get stuck in Europe for any legal reason I will always have the option of deportation back to my new home. Yet if I have dual citizenship, that choice might not be so readily open to me, and any protections I might have as a Canadian citizen might be somewhat diluted.

The Canadians look after their citizens, you see. The tacit constitutional contract between state and individual is largely intact over here. You have to really want citizenship, and therefore it's not an easy road to travel. That is where its value lies.

Upon sober reflection I think I'll have to plot this one through carefully. It has been said that those who wish to give up citizenship of the UK should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. But what is insane about wanting to renounce a country that has changed the terms and conditions of citizenship without consultation, leaves sizeable tranches of its populace effectively disenfranchised, where people can be imprisoned without trial, their families dismantled, yet has the effrontery to describe itself as 'democratic?'

From where I stand at present, with no other door open to me, the renunciation of everything I was brought up to believe in may be the most potent protest I can lodge.

Friday, 13 May 2011


Blogger censors blogs. 3 Comments and an update missing from the last post.

Sod you lot, I'm off to Wordpress.

Update: So it was cock up rather than censorship. I stand corrected. I'm still off to Wordpress.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Romequake! (Not)

Just took this screengrab of the area surrounding Rome following the scare story that the current alignment of planets (Meaningless apart from it being nice to see a tidy solar system) might cause a large earthquake near Rome. Well, according to all the online resources, no earthquake. So those who left the city and headed for the hills may have been a tad ill advised. Although heading for the hills might have been a teensy error of judgement, considering where the last largish quake occurred. My annotation.

Hi ho, gotta go. Duty calls.

Hi ho

There are some days when the world has a definite "Oh, FFS!" air about it. Thoughts don't gel, arrangements are difficult, research leads to too many dead ends. Today is one such day, hence the old Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band number. You have to cheer yourself up somehow.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

When is a volunteer not.....

What is a Volunteer'? I'd always thought it was someone who gives up some of their time to good causes instead of vegetating in front of the idiot box. Voluntary work is what I do on average for eight hours unpaid each week, sometimes as much as twelve or fourteen. For the accepted usage of the term, see the definition below, which is derived from several sources.
  1. A person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
  2. A person who performs a service willingly and without pay.
  3. Military . a person who enters the service voluntarily rather than through conscription or draft, especially for special or temporary service rather than as a member of the regular or permanent army.

obsolete French 'voluntaire' (now volontaire), from voluntaire, adjective, voluntary, from Old French, from Latin 'voluntarius' (Adjective; willing)
First Known Use: circa 1600
Now nowhere in that lot does the phrase "Made redundant then asked to come back by your ex-employers to do your old job for zip."

Someone needs to send the UK Cameroonies and their 'big society' a dictionary. Dozy lot.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The evil of PAF C23

Back in the bad old days of slavery in the United States, there was a thing called the 'Underground railroad' which spirited escaped slaves over the border into the anti-slavery (Abolished in 1834) British run Province of Canada amongst other places. Many into Ontario, although a number of notable families who can trace their lineage back to those days ended up in BC to make their mark in a free (ish) country.

The 'railroad' hit its peak during the US Civil War years with estimates of up to 100,000 freed slaves being bandied about, although sources indicate that the successful number is closer to 30,000, or even as low as 6,000. Considering the network of safe houses was mostly informal, the lowest figure seems the most likely.

The reason I bring this up is the continuing furore about 'secret courts' and forced adoptions in the UK, the most high profile of which is the recently leaked case of Vicky Haigh, which may only be the tip of a very large and polluted iceberg. From what I can see, various UK Social Service departments have been operating against basic human rights laws, and the Police have been complicit. Although in their defence I'd say that the Police are fed a line, and are bound to comply with the demands of Social Services. All Social Services have to do is make an allegation, and the blind juggernaut of Police and Courts rumbles into action.

The heart of the problem lies with PAF C23, which sets out 'targets' for adoptions and care orders. At this point I blink heavily and suppress the need to go "WTF?" How can you set targets for Social Service driven adoptions like a commercial sales operation? What complete fucking genius came up with that crazy idea? What affectioned time pleaser first mooted Key Performance Indicators for adoption? Which sectionable bunch of cretins put it into action? Who insist that the practice continues? Ofsted, that's who. I discussed the matter this morning with Mrs S, who opined that giving Social Workers 'adoption targets' was a licence for corruption. To quote from the UK Parliament early day motion;
Ofsted continues to put pressure on local authorities to increase the number of adoptions; recognises that the only significant way in which this can be done is to increase the adoptions of babies and toddlers
Such is the motivation for stealing unweaned children from their parents almost literally at birth. One of the cited reasons for such evil is an unverifiable 'risk of emotional abuse'. Now being a parent, I know that low level 'emotional abuse' is pretty much a two way street in any family. I've been on the receiving end, and tried very hard not to pay back in kind (Not always possible). And it's a pretty flimsy excuse for such a draconian measure.

There's also the accusation that certain people are using the Foster Care system as a regular source of income. At twenty thousand pounds a year per child, all you've got to do is foster two or three and it's easy street, at least financially speaking. Decline the unruly teens (Who the unscrupulous would just dump back into the 'care' system) and go for the toddlers. Three children, and you can live quite comfortably. Mrs S and I brought our two up on a net income of almost half that. We never starved.

Some families under threat of such child theft leave the UK and often flounder in new circumstances. Others, like Miss Haigh, have a wide circle of friends and associates overseas who have perhaps assisted her with tips about where to find accommodation, shielding her identity / location from officialdom where necessary. Others may seek practical assistance from Ian Josephs 'Forced adoption' website. Although I think Ian could do with a little assistance in creating a more user friendly site. Too many words Ian. It needs restructuring into something a little more practical and user friendly.

Here in Canada, we are still recovering from the scandal of 'Residential schools' where First Nations children were taken to Borstal like establishments to be 'educated'. The fallout is still making money for various ambulance chasing lawyers, who up until 2009 had big billboards up on Highway 19 north of town with wording like "Victim of Residential School system?" The scandal has cost the Canadian Taxpayer not far short of a billion dollars;
Total Compensation as of March 01, 2011: CAD$960,247,668
Taken from the original source here. When the scandal finally breaks (As break it must, injunctions or no) in the UK, guess who will be picking up the tab? Got it in one - Taxpayers

Perhaps the powers that be should recognise that, like with slavery, people (Even small and helpless ones) are not property.

Although I won't be holding my breath for that penny to drop.

Cross posted at Orphans of Liberty. Or rather not.

Friday, 6 May 2011

For weekends, everywhere

One from the very, very, early days of a mis-spent youth. Full volume. From one of the classic albums of all time.

Every screen grab tells a story

Over 2 to one against. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

UK Referendum results

Official UK referendum results will be found on this web page, here. The results should start coming up at 4pm UK time, that's 8am Pacific Standard time. So I shall have a leisurely breakfast and watch the fallout from the Wet Coast of Canada, as my shift doesn't start until 10am local time tomorrow.

As for the local stuff and by elections, the Tellytubbygraph have a nice little map thingy which is already showing some results. There's also a page for the Scottish elections, here and the Welsh elections here.

Pundits are predicting a caning for the Lib Dems. Scottish safe seats are trembling in the face of a possible SNP majority. The fat lady hasn't sung yet, but hearken! Are those vocal scales I can hear being practised from the backstage dressing room?

Oooooh dear.

Canadian Census 2011

Have just completed my first ever online census for Canada. Not all that onerous, and about as basic as it gets. Essentially it boiled down to these questions;
  1. Who are you?
  2. How many live there permanently?
  3. Who are they?
  4. Is this your correct address?
Remarkably painless. Five minutes. I can do this.

Hate sites and the law

The new Harper Government here in Canada may be about to make rather a large mistake. In their proposed new crime bill C-51 there is a clause that will effectively make it an offence for a Canadian web site owner to link to a 'hate' site, or one deemed to have 'offensive' material. From the Parliamentary publication here; Hate Propaganda (Clauses 4 and 5)
Hate propaganda offences must be committed against an “identifiable group.” Clause 4 of the bill adds “national origin” to the definition of “identifiable group.”8

Clause 5 of the bill provides that the offences of public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred may be committed by any means of communication and include making hate material available, by creating a hyperlink that directs web surfers to a website where hate material is posted, for example.

Okay. I can see a few potential issues here. As one who occasionally writes "Fuck" or in an exasperated expostulation "What the fucking hell were they thinking of?" does this make this blog a 'hate' site? A number of the web sites and blogs I link to regularly use pejorative language on various topics. They also express what some (but not all) might call 'extreme' views on various issues. Which I link to because it's interesting / howlingly ridiculous / amusingly apposite. I cannot control their content, and if that content changes without my knowledge I have no say in the matter. If I might not wholly agree with someone's point of view or the way they express it, does that mean I have to remove all reference from this or any other blog I contribute to?

Such a policy is unworkable, and here's why. Even the most vaguely web savvy person knows about the Wayback machine where everything is laid bare. So if the authorities were to send me a nasty email threatening prosecution about such an errant link or post, even if said 'hate' link or post is taken down, it's already too late. The material will still be available for as long as those cacheing servers exist. Seeing as they are based in the USA (as are the servers upon which this blog is based) and all over the world, such a threatened prosecution would be pointless. I couldn't really comply, even if I wanted to. The offending material would remain.

It's worth noting that the authorities in Canada have tried to prosecute bloggers in the past over 'hate' material, one 'hate' blogger has even done time pre trial, but I understand no prosecutions have taken the offending content down. All they've actually done is kept some lawyers in work.

The idea of trying to regulate an international medium based on a domestic standard is on a hiding to nothing. Firewalls leak (Great Firewall of China). News gets out (Like from Iran and Syria). The only way to stop people saying things you don't like is to pull the plug entirely. No Internet at all. In today's web enabled world, is that workable?

As far as offensive content goes, my own take is that everyone is entitled to say what they damn well please on their own web space. It is their god given right to make a fool of themselves in a public forum, just as it is my right to ignore, highlight or hold them up for ridicule. The web allows everyone that privilege. In that way it's very democratic. However, if this clause in crime bill C-51 stays, that right of critique goes with it, because linking to 'hate' material, whatever that might be, and for whatever reason, may invite prosecution. Likewise discussing contentious issues regarding other cultures. Debate is essential. Democracy cannot really function without it. And 'hate' is such a very subjective term.

As always, the law of unintended consequences will be found grinning and lurking in the shadows where web related matters are subject to legislation. For example, the bit about 'harassing messages' in clause 11 may end up biting a few credit control companies in the ass. This could get interesting....

Cross posted at Orphans of Liberty.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Carbon Cycle

Shamelessly nicked from the Australian 'No Carbon tax' campaign site. Comes under the category of 'many a true word spoken in jest'.

You know it's weird. Despite multiple failures of prophecy, there's a strata of society who have got degrees and suchlike coming out of their ears who still support the premise. One is tempted to ask why. Do they know better than the rest of us? Observation would suggest not. Seems to me that the modern education process is missing something, like critical path thinking. Or perhaps more accurately that elements which should be considered are dismissed for purely idealogical reasons.

The weather consistently fails to do what us poor peasants are told it's going to do by the ever-fearful advocates. Those with a sceptical eye are told we're in the pay of some eeeevil secret clique of industrialists. Okay, where's my cheque then? Yet when you examine the millions being thrown at doctrinaire pro disaster activist groups by both governments and private trusts, you can't help but think 'what's in it for them'? The whole 'trace gas runs the climate' is such an arrant piece of tinfoil hattery that it's hardly worth pointing and laughing at. Yet policy makers the world over appear to be right behind it.

In short, as the diagram comically indicates, there's money to be made. The only problem is that in reality 'Carbon taxes' are a classic economic implosion in the making. To be succinct; reduction in productive activity (Industry) to prevent (unproven and unproveable predictions of) changes in climate will be followed by a shrinking resource base (Taxpayers) as industry shrinks and the 'green' economy fails to deliver. This will be paralleled by a massive redistribution of everyone else's wealth to god alone knows where, possibly via the Cayman Islands to the proverbial Swiss Bank Account. Thence into vaults for gloating over, big yachts, private jets, exclusive holiday homes that rarely see visitors (Including the owners), and other such essentials to the human condition.

It's not that I mind other people getting wealthy. It's just that I'd rather they worked for it, rather than having my tax dollars automatically siphoned into their pockets.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Alternative vote

After the recent Canadian Federal General Election, I was surprised to find out that the Alternative Vote system of election has been tried and discarded in British Columbia, Canada. In the early 1950's no less. Back in the UK, the Alternative Vote system is being touted as a 'fairer' system of apportioning the popular mandate, but is it really?

Taking the 1953 BC election as a yardstick, where AV was the voting system. This being a real world example of the practice in action, not theory or modelling, but real live, in your face numbers.

In 1953 the victorious Social Credit party started out at the first count with just under 38% of the total vote, which increased to just under 46% of the vote after 'adjustment'. The smaller parties who were knocked out after the first count had their votes allocated to the winning party, not spread amongst the others. See Wikipedia entry here. Er, hold the phone. So how is that 'fairer' than the first past the post system? Explain it to me. By that I mean explain it without any flim-flam, in words an ordinary voter can understand. Especially when we're voting for a specific person to represent us, not merely their party.

The words say 'fairer', but the numbers add up to something else. As far as AV is concerned, I'm not convinced. Needs more thought.

Cross posted at Orphans of Liberty.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Canada has a majority government

Have been watching the Canadian federal election results come in. Regarding the screen grab taken at 22:10 PST 2nd May 2011 (02:10 ET 3rd May). Looks like we have a majority government at long last. With over a 60% turnout, no less. Glad to see our local incumbent retain her seat, as she's a good solid constituency MP. The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois are pretty much toast, electorally speaking. The Greens have one seat in the lower Gulf Islands. Although their victory is hardly surprising out here on the hippy drippy West coast. From observations based on other countries it has to be said that Green MP's tend to have the electoral life span of Mayflies. Especially when the voters find out what all those eco-friendly policies really mean. They'll learn. With an overall majority in power the Greens are still pretty much irrelevant anyway.

Interestingly, a bunch calling themselves the Pirate Party of Canada fielded a candidate who won 331 votes locally, see their Manifesto here. Incidentally, the Libertarian party vote (A smidgeon short of 6,000) just (but only just) outstripped the PC Party.

Harper's Conservatives, regardless of their other (often hysterically over hyped) failings, have proved a steady hand on Canada's tiller of state in these economically straitened times, and have thus earned their (current) twelve seat majority. It was an eleven seat majority as per screengrab, but that's the thing about dynamic web content, you set your screen to auto refresh, and the news moves faster than the speed of blog.

All results culled from Elections Canada date and time as screengrab. However, these are only the preliminary polling day results. As a non-citizen I don't have a vote, but I will be watching the final results with interest in the morning.

Good grief

Have been asked to send the odd expatriate piece to the brand new group blog 'Orphans of Liberty'. Frankly I'm surprised they wanted an ex-enforcement officer and sometime 'agent of oppression' on the site, but there you go. However, I'm all better now, and my days of confronting the inconsiderate are almost four years in my past, which is slightly longer than I spent in that wretched job.

I see there is a lot of whining about the UK Police arresting known troublemakers to stop them getting in the way of last Fridays public celebrations. Oddly enough for someone of a (mildly) libertarian bent, I'm with Julia M on this. Julia posted that it was okay to keep known agitators away from the pomp and circumstance. I agree. That day was for the people who love and revere the Royal Family to express their devotion, not to have the day marred by some self aggrandising eejit haranguing them, lying down in front of Royal Coaches, and any other bit of childish attention grabbing mischief said self aggrandising eejits could generate.

If you don't like a party, that's fine, don't go. What is most definitely not fine is to spoil it for others. That's like stomping petty jackboots along a table laid out for a kids street party, kicking the jelly and sandwiches to the ground because their laughter annoys you. Liberty is right and good, but the line is most definitely crossed to oppression when you intend to interfere in the happiness of others.

As far as the celebrations were concerned, I'm an ex-monarchist. However, this does not entitle me to disrupt proceedings, no matter how strongly I feel that the terms of my UK citizenship have been altered without my consent. The old ways will decline and fade without my intervention. I will make my destiny elsewhere. That, after all, is what I left the UK to do.

As for the Alternate vote thing; hey, how come people in the UK get to vote on the voting system, and not on the greater issue of whether they want to be part of a European superstate? The only vote on the matter was back in the 70's, and that was for an entirely different beast.

Regarding AV, over here in Canada the briefly adopted Alternate Voting system was ditched after one election, and a Single Transferable Voting system proposed. Although we've still got first past the post as the 2005 referendum to adopt STV missed it's mark by 3%.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A day of modestly good news...ah

Having had the experiences with UK Social Services that I have, I'm heartened by the dropping of the planned Child database. Anything that gives these people, a number of whom have some very strange ideas indeed in my personal experience, less power can only be an improvement. The current scandal over the SS trying to seize the unborn child of Trainer and ex-Jockey Vicky Haigh has been quite alarming. Surely that sort of measure should only be applied if a child is in genuine danger, not just because Ms Haigh had a stand up row with her ex at a petrol station. A more sensible decision would have been to drag both parties before the beak and tell them to stay clear if they couldn't stand the sight of each other. Mind you, in my experience, UK Social Services don't always (some never) do sensible. My reflexive response to the statement "I'm a social worker" is generally to nod, smile, and look for the nearest exit without telling them my name.

On a more cheerful note, recent family discussions about the near to medium term, and what the next generation is going to get up to have all centred around Vancouver and the west coast. Youngest is talking about getting Canadian experience for six month after she's graduated to see if she likes it, as is Eldest. However, as a parent, one should always be aware that these are merely discussions. Although preparing contingency plans in case they both decide to turn up on the same day may be a good idea.

There's even more work than of late, so blogging has had to take a back seat. I just don't have the time to do everything.

The bagging of Bin Laden should come as good news to all sides of the religious divide. That is, if the news of his death is not an exaggeration, and not like the famous Nizam of Hydrabad, who was allegedly feeling 'much better' after his widely reported demise. Ironically, Bin Laden's boys have to date reportedly killed more Muslims than any other religious grouping. Funny that, seeing as they apparently want to 'defend Islam' against all us wicked 'Crusaders'. Not that I'm a 'Crusader' myself, my antecedents were all peasant and Yeoman farmers to a man (And woman). None of us C of E, either. As a historical note, most 'Crusaders' were the Templars and Hospitallers, who were driven from the Jerusalem area by the 1300's. Later on these groups were denounced as heretics, murdered and their fortunes plundered by the European Church and Nobles of the time. So the 'crusader' thing is a bit of a reach really.

Just as an observation, without Bin Laden and his cohorts ramming of Airliners into the World Trade Center, we might have been spared a couple of wars. So I for one am not sorry he's been slabbed. In a corner of Hell the fires will be burning a merry little glow of welcoming. The only trouble is, that he's probably inspired a lot more of the suicidal fruitcake fraternity to keep the pointless slaughter going for a while. The cell structure of Al Qaeda will remain without its figurehead, and many more will die for one man's vanity.

Oh well, what the hell, it's Canadian Federal Election day tomorrow, so I shall watch the results come in online, and although I can't vote yet, our local incumbent has my best wishes. She's a good constituency MP, and that buys my vote every time, even if I don't totally agree with her Party's policies.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The last Royal Wedding

Mrs S and I were discussing this particular topic today. The usual squishy smarmy media overkill, the hyped up 'threats' of a few people who really need to go out, get a job and do something positive with their lives. The whining about 'heavy handed policing' before the couple have even walked down the aisle.

I was particularly amused that Brown and Blair haven't been invited, and vouchsafed that the only thing that would make me watch is if at the end when the happy couple were making their vows, the two ex Prime Traitors were dragged off to the Tower for a little off the top. A new block and freshly sharpened axe being mere courtesy details. I'd love to have the ticket concession for that particular event. I could retire.

"We should be so lucky." Said Mrs S. "I could do with a giggle."
"I won't watch. Seen one Royal Wedding, seen 'em all." I replied.
"It'll be the last one." She opined.
"Really?" Quoth I. A little surprised.
"The Royal family will cease to exist in it's current form in the next ten years. The EU will see to that." She continued.
"I know Charley boy is getting cosy with the Commission. You don't think someone has offered him the top job do you?" I posited.
"All a bluff. No politician worth his salt wants a hereditary hierarchy, unless of course it's his progeny." Mrs S shrugged.
"So you reckon it's game over for the Windsors?" I asked.
"Afraid so." She said. "I used to be quite fond of the Royal Family."
"I still won't bother watching." I said. "Even if it is the last."
"Got enough DVD's for viewing this week?" She asked.
"Sure." Said I, and that was the end of the discussion. Red Dwarf and the latest series of House MD it is, then. I'm working that day anyway.

By the way: It can (and has been) cogently argued that Queen Elizabeth the second has broken her coronation oath. Therefore, if said oath was ever a two way bargain between Monarch and Subject, one could be forgiven for thinking that neither she and the 'firm', nor the government of the UK, has any sovereignty left over UK born residents at all.

As an additional thought; to show loyalty, one must swear or affirm it in front of witnesses. An oath of fealty to any authority can never simply be assumed without at least some tacit or overt agreement from all parties.

Funny things, oaths and promises.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Maastricht and Lisbon

A small penny dropped this afternoon. Perhaps it's just me being thick and getting the joke long after the punchline, but the thought occurs that both the Treaty of Maastricht and the Treaty of Lisbon were signed and ratified by UK Prime Ministers who had taken over from the previous incumbent without a general election to give them a proper mandate.

Major who took over from Thatcher signed the Maasstricht treaty.

Brown who had his Buggins turn after Blair signed the Lisbon treaty.

Gentlemen (and of course non male gentlefolk) draw your conclusions. Could both treaties be invalidated on these grounds? Probably not, but we can wish. can't we?

Biggest joke is Soros trying to shoehorn Brown into the top IMF job. I think Soros must want the IMF to collapse. Because such an event is certain with such a complete fiscal idiot as Brown at the helm. Or has Soros lost so big on the flatlining Carbon futures market that he's desperate to make money some other way? Mm-hm.

Whither Democracy?

I'm currently ploughing my way through the writings of Tom Paine (The 18th century Radical - not this guy), and one thing strikes me; one of the problems with democracy is voters. The people who will support a particular party no matter what, or people who have insufficient reading skills to understand the issues. Those who vote for a specific candidate because they're told who to vote for. They all warp the process.

Paine appeared to believe in Rousseau's postulate of the 'Noble savage', and advocated the extension of voting to everyone over a given age. Which is where the major problem with Democracy lies. We humans aren't all equal. As I have probably posted before, only 15% of a given human population can be described as fully self aware all the time, and thus cognisant of the effects of their choices. Most people aren't. We do things like substitute behaviour response loops or opinions for thought, and often can't tell the difference. Democracy needs people capable of thinking clearly to work effectively.

Longrider had a bitch about a silly Grauniad posted proposal to give two votes to pregnant women, and I'm inclined to agree. So I posted the following comment;
I’m increasingly of the opinion that the franchise should only be extended to those who can pass a voter comprehension test. Say a simple paragraph and ten related questions, in English (Or the host language of your country), to be completed when you turn up to vote. You pass, your vote counts. You don’t, it doesn’t. Simple.

This way the opportunity to vote could be safely offered to 16 year olds who have sufficient comprehension skills to understand some of the issues.
Or of course be 'bovvered' to turn up to vote. This way those who want the franchise and are capable of participating can do so. Such a scheme may result in fewer votes actually counting, but there are advantages to that, too.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Good Friday?

- Or as one man said as they were nailing him to a tree...

"I don't see what's so bloody good about this."

A rather simple shop assistant made the cardinal error of wishing me 'Happy Earth day'. My response was, "Am I supposed to find the nearest piece of dirt and wish it happy birthday?" Sorry, but it's Easter. I don't do fatuous crap for the gullible like 'Earth day'.

I really shouldn't take the piss out of the credulous idiots who think 'green is good'*, but dear god almighty they do sit up and beg for it so.

*Although if you can explain to me what is 'good' about regressing our technological base to pre industrial levels and the deaths of several billion people I'll be amazed. After I've called you a 'genocidal knobhead' to your face of course.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Points of law

You poor buggers back in the UK may have some cause for a little sigh of relief. The heinous Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which gave people who should never have that kind of power; to wit, local authorities and social services, the right to snoop into your deepest areas of privacy without requiring any form of justification or evidence. Often for the pettiest of matters. As could have been predicted by a two year old, said powers have been abused. This article from Pinsent Masons Out-Law site brinks a chink of light.

A home office reform is coming which will require permission for such intrusions in the form of a warrant, presumably sworn out before a Judge or Magistrate. Failure to comply will mean up to a fifty thousand quid fine from a body known as the Interception of Communications Commissioner. This will also apply to Telecomms firms. So read those End User Licence Agreements carefully for little snippets about 'gathering data' and other such innocuous phrases which will effectively allow a service provider with a licence to eavesdrop. Although it is worth noting that RIPA allows Telecomms providers to snoop for purposes connected with providing or operating their service, or 'enforcement', which presumably means making sure no one uses their services without stumping up for same. The permission under RIPA to retain your personal details / activity presumably remains unchanged.

While the 'requiring permission' move is a positive step, I'm still of the opinion that RIPA was a typically poorly thought through piece of New Labour legislation which should be axed. That and the Civil Contingencies act, where a UK Government can suspend elections for unspecified periods. Both are, as I have repeatedly blogged, evil and unnecessarily repressive pieces of legislation wide open to abuse.

The row over Super-Injunctions rolls on with a 'for the cheeldren' justification. Although I think that matters before a court should automatically require a ban on mainstream reporting until the case is over with anonymity for Defendant, Victim, and Witnesses. Jurors of course are bound to keep schtum, and rightly face prosecution if they don't. In the case of Parliament, as Parliament forms part of the regulatory mechanism, debate on an issue which would normally be considered Sub Judice should be allowed as a form of oversight. Such a principle, applied with no exemptions might be better than the current mess, where defendants can be stopped from contacting their MP or even mentioning that they are subject to an injunction. You can't tell me that's right.

A third issue, to do with the panic stricken flight cancellations due to last years Mt Unpronounceable eruption, means that even if the powers that be decide to cancel all flights as a wholly unnecessary precautionary measure, the cancellation clause in your travel insurance may not apply. So, no test case. So, even when the 'risk' is an over reaction, there's no redress? Hardly worth stumping up for the extra cover is it?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Gas and other bubbles

Speculators are driving up the price of Gasoline again, even though there's no hint of a shortage. No 'peak oil'. According to some sources there's actually a glut. A full thirty seven days surplus.

Having read this piece of excellent journalism courtesy of Al-Jazeera's Danny Schechter, we're informed via investment insider Phil Davis that speculation is driving the market, not scarcity, and Josh Clark's informative article over at Howstuffworks.com. Phil's recent piece on oil prices can be perused here. Bubble, next Oil, burst, when, the, will. This was a store bought sentence, and you know how they sell everything in flat packs nowadays. Some self assembly required.

The mystery of the number of ships hanging around idle in Nanaimo Harbour is solved. Apparently CN rail are having trouble getting the grain shipments across the Rockies from the Midwest, so the ships are having to wait longer than they should for their cargoes. Food prices will rise because of this I've no doubt. Speculators will also no doubt be delighted. Although I'm informed that the grain producers aren't terribly chuffed.

You know, I don't see informed stuff like this in the UK press. All the news is full of puff pieces, poorly cut and pasted press releases, and complete Fark. Oh yes, and lots of stuff about some couple getting married on April 29th this year. Good for them, say I. Although I'm not too impressed with the nutters who think that chucking rocks at people getting married makes a valid political statement. P.S. I haven't been invited. Not that I'm going to watch any of the endless hoopla, although I did hear some porn producer was angling for the rights to film the Royal Conception. What the hell, they'll be videoing everything else.

Time for bed.

Monday, 18 April 2011


It's Spring. There's lots to do outdoors. Bowstrings to shoot in, fish to hook. You know how it is.

Oh, and cleaning. Clearing log stores for next years supply. Evicting the spiders webs. Cleaning the pool. Getting ready for Summer.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Who's afraid...?

Via Autonomous mind, this piece on Fukushima and related matters by Lewis Page over at The Register.
"Some of us at least are getting a bit sick of the idea that you simply aren't allowed to tell frightened people quite bluntly to act their age – and we're getting more than just a bit sick of irrational or unscrupulous fairytale-spinners making them frightened in the first place."
I second that.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Nitrogen as 'pollution'

First spotted via 'An Englishmans castle' the latest nonsense dressed up as a scientific study has hit the lamestream media. Nitrogen is now, according to them, a 'pollutant'. Well bust mah britches! Now Nitrate pollution yes, that is a problem. Agricultural Nitrate runoff (Often linked to biofuel production) has been linked to plankton blooms, coral reef bleaching and other serried unpleasantries.

Note the differences between Nitrogen, Nitrates and Nitrites.

Nitrogen, according to the encyclopaedias, is;
A mostly inert element with the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. A colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere.

Nitrate, according to the self same references, is;
A polyatomic (several atom) ion with the molecular formula NO−3 and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. In organic chemistry a nitrate is a functional group with general chemical formula RONO2 where R stands for any organic residue. Nitrates have a wide range of uses; Ammonium Nitrate, a fertiliser, when mixed with the right concentration of Fuel Oil, becomes ANFO, a powerful explosive still favoured by nutty dissident Republicans in Northern Ireland.

Which should not be confused with Nitrites;
The Nitrite ion has the chemical formula NO2−. The anion is symmetric with equal N-O bond lengths and a O-N-O bond angle of ca. 120°. Nitrites are often used, as salts, in meat and other food preservatives.

"Yes." The researchers responsible might opine. "But they've got eevil Nitrogen in, yeah?" I think someone failed (Or never studied at all) basic Chemistry. They've looked at Nitrogen fixing as a process, ignored basic issues and processes, and then done the 100 metres semantic conclusion jump. FAIL.

Examine the following statement (Amongst others) from the report:
"It's much more efficient to obtain protein by eating plants rather than animals." Ah, so it's a 'Go Veggie' puff piece dressed up as science.

I think a vegetarian diet must do something to the mind. While humans are capable for subsisting on vegetables alone for months or even years at a time, they will always need supplements of elements which a vegetarian diet is naturally low in. However, such a diet is specifically low in the various Omega fatty acids and various enzyme components which fully nourish the human body. These protein chains are specifically useful for both aiding the development and keeping nerve and brain tissue healthy.

Humanity is, like so many other species, omnivorous. Our digestive systems say it (Adapted for a mixed diet), our dentition says it (Incisors and canines are for cutting and tearing). Man has not evolved to live on Fruit and grains alone.

Humans need the protein chains generally found in meat and fish. As for fats, ever heard of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K? Yet ignorant people would have us think all fat is 'bad'. Excuse me, who has to buy dietary supplements? Not omnivorous I.

Whilst Vegetarianism or Veganism may be a lifestyle choice for some (Hey, be vegetarian if you want - nobody really minds), they should not foist their choices on others. Especially through dodgy reports like this.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sunday summary

Living where and as I do, I've decided to take a far more relaxed attitude to the scaremongers and puritans of this life. In similar vein, comedian Robin Williams had useful advice for young women in danger of being involuntarily deflowered; "Point and laugh." Although kicking purveyor of unwanted affection in the family jewels, then running like hell might be a good addendum to this concept. Pain, as is often observed, is a great teacher.

In the UK, Camerons clowns continue to throw taxpayer dollar at gruesome 'green' policies while indulging in swingeing defence cuts. Then they undertake yet another grandstanding military mission in foreign lands. Why not just cut the green subsidies altogether and not have to sack members of the armed forces (on active duty, via e-mail - WTF!). Jeez, some people just cannot wake up and smell the coffee.

Facebook 'reminders' on a profile I asked to be deleted many moons ago are still ending up in my spam filter. It seems that their espoused 'ethics' of freedom of expression are as wafer thin as their ability to delete profiles when requested. Especially when the Facebook pages of those espousing an overtly sceptical bent have been suffering censorship. Porn is one thing. Dissenting opinion another. All together now; point at Facebook, and in hissing tones, shout "Hypocrites!"

Over at the doughty Inspector Gadget blog the saga of how Diversity Coordination appears to be more important than core function continues. This appears to be a local authority infection, raging unchecked. A massive injection of P45's into the upper echelons and affected areas appears to be the only possible cure. Immediate high amputation may result should symptoms persist, Failing that, the demise of the entire organism.

The Netherlands US and UK intend to take legal action against the Icelanders regarding their bank collapse. The Icelanders decision not to sell future generations into tax servitude, and who the money is owed to comes under the magnifying glass (via Old Holborn) here.

All the time, those in power try to cover their arses (and their larcenous tracks) by inserting get out of jail clauses (Via the Ranting Penguin) for MP's into fraud legislation. Hang on a minute, doesn't that directly impact on the law's impartiality? Effectively creating an unaccountable ruling political class? That's very brave of them. Especially considering how similar regimes always seem to end up.

Ah well. Time for coffee.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Tell you the truth, of late I've gotten bored with the idiocy of the current UK administration. What a bunch of losers!. Instead of fixing the economy they're whining apologies to all and sundry about what our ancestors did or didn't do. Just as bad as the last lot.

Then there's all the scare stories about things which might give you cancer if you have a specific genetic weakness and if you ingest 100 times the usual daily input in a very short time frame. Shock! Horror! Probe! Yawn.

As kind of an antidote to the above misery I've been spending cooking time playing with food. Mrs S came out of hospital with a liking for Jello (Jelly). So I have been obliging this revived taste. Being the inventive type, I've been trying things out (See picture) just because I can. Layering Jello is remarkably easy, and as you can see I've been embedding fruit in the dishes. Although I'm told Pineapple is a big no-no. Does something to the setting properties of the stuff we use over here I'm told. Have already tried chocolate (Dark chocolate doesn't work so well - too bitter). Strawberries are exactly right, and turning out a jelly mould without having the moulded jelly disintegrate or delayer is just a matter of the judicious application of hot water to the outside of the jelly mould. Dead easy, and the end result gets demolished with gusto.

Far too much fun for kids.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Killer comment

Seen in this Wattsupwiththat comment thread on the Courtillot presentation video currently doing the rounds:
RockyRoad says:
April 5, 2011 at 7:00 am
As far as climate goes, the sun is a leading indicator; carbon dioxide is a trailing indicator. It’s as simple as that, folks.

All the modelling and protestations to the contrary cannot make it otherwise. Even if there are powerful political and financial lobbies still pushing the 'it's all CO2' agenda. Said lobbies have got a lot of their capital (Fiscal and emotional) tied up in the related Carbon trading and similar schemes, and simply cannot allow it to fail or they'll have lost money and / or face, possibly both.

Expect more shouts of 'Denier' / 'Heretic' - Whatever.

Lets face it, if 'Carbon taxes' worked to improve the environment as posited, we'd already have seen more benefit from them by now; apart from the increases in the cost of living they have been responsible for.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Arrangements made.

After a full day spent making arrangements, booking flights, cars, hotels, relatives back bedrooms and sundry divers means of transportation, Mrs S and I are lighter in pocket but easier of mind. Well, at least she is. I'm just the designated driver on this particular mission.

We will be arriving in the UK this Summer for a brief familial sojourn attempting to studiously ignore every negative, while spinning the positive. I do not intend visiting any of my old stamping grounds, apart from a side trip to visit parent and pick up a passenger, and will be looking for such diversions in the way of lounging around, either in a pool, sauna, or with a book, avoiding watching Television, and not giving the proverbial tinkers cuss about anything but the specific task in front of me. Fortunately, every hotel we are booked into have pools and saunas. My swimming shorts will be packed.

Will be spending as little time as possible in shopping areas. Will drive at or slightly below the posted speed limit. Will avoid contact with anyone in a uniform or having even the vaguest whiff of officialdom about them. Will give Charity Muggers a brief withering look of contempt before ignoring their protestations and going about my own business. Of course there will be the tedious ministrations of Airport Security, but as I intend carrying nothing but my duty free allowance across the various borders I must cross, they will have no cause to give me grief. I may be caught pointing and laughing at the odd Windmill, and privately marvel at the delusion that caused its consideration as a means of effective electrical generation. I will probalby gasp briefly in amazement at the cost of living in the UK. I may be heard softly sighing with relief as the plane taking me home to Canada exits UK airspace.

At various junctures I may snore pointedly, at which point Mrs S will stick an elbow in my ribs. The die is cast, the money spent, and I have my own thoughts about what will please me.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Blogging excuse

Currently in the middle of plotting and planning a trip to the UK for an important family event this Summer. Not that I really want to go, but Mrs S is driving me crazy with her never ceasing picking over fine details. My own inclination is to take a look at the available options and make a decision within two minutes. She spends hours agonising over each small facet, insisting that I am at her side to advise every two minutes and thirty seconds. Regardless of what I am doing.

This has led to an almost complete halt in writing activity, as what my Landlord laughingly calls the "Honey-do" list grows by the day. In addition having my wife click on a 'Scareware' link that took me (Why me? I didn't screw it up.) the best part of a day and a half to fix and recover all her documents and re-secure her laptop. My life has not been my own.

There is a risk that frustration levels may reaching meltdown status, and there has already been one minor explosion. Core chilling is required.

At this rate I'll need a damn holiday to get over planning a bloody holiday. Grr!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Census tale

Talking with Youngest via Skype this morning. She recounted her experience with a Census official at her student dwelling.

FX: Knock knock. Front door of house shared by five Students is opened by Youngest, shivering in the cold. Outside is a Census Official.
CO: "Have you filled out your Census form yet? You have to you know, you can be fined if you don't."
Youngest: "Yes."
CO: "It's a criminal offence not to fill it in and return it you know."
Youngest: "Yes we filled it in. Yes we posted it."
CO: "Fines of up to a thousand pounds."
Youngest: "I know."
CO: "You have to do it properly you know, or you can be fined."
Youngest: "What?"
CO: "It's a criminal offence you know."
Youngest: "I know. We filled it in, we posted it."
CO: "Oh." Apparently having delivered the supposedly intimidating spiel, said Official was apparently quite crestfallen at having delivered it to someone who'd actually filled the wretched thing in. Door is firmly shut in said Officials face.

Mind you, she told us with a knowing smirk, she didn't actually tell him what answers they'd given. Tsk. Students, eh? No respect for overweening authority. I blame the parents.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Very well then...

Howls of derisive laughter about the Cleggeron saying that because of fears highlighted over the problems at the Japanese Fukushima Nuclear power plant, more modern nuclear power stations will possibly not be built in Britain. Oh my giddy aunt! Where do my ex-compatriots find these people?

Is Britain on a the edge of a major subduction zone like Japan? No.

Does Britain need more generating capacity over the next five to ten years? Yes.

Can Britains current power needs be met solely by 'renewables' like wind or solar, or will they ever be? No.

Very well, you'll freeze.

As elder sibling reminds me every time we talk - "The lunatics are in charge of the Asylum." I cannot but help but agree.

Cartoon adapted from the famous original by Low.

Monday, 28 March 2011


There is a trite little aphorism that states "The future is a journey". Our futures are always journeys of one sort or another, from simply walking down the street, to stepping onto a flight to a new way of life in a new country.

This article in the Tellytubbygraph annoyed me with its patronising assertion that satellites or robotic probes could do everything mankind needed outside of this thin little biosphere we call home, and that manned spaceflight is simply showmanship and hubris.

I felt moved to leave the following;
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky once said; 'The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but mankind cannot live in the cradle forever'.

This was the promise of those early orbital flights. It is also said that "The future is a journey". This rather begs the corollary that "If you don't try, you won't ever go anywhere." Satellites alone won't do that.

At least China and India are trying.
Although I may have warped the original Tsiolkovsky quote slightly. Nonetheless, the truth of it remains.

This is what occasionally gets under my skin when talking to people who think we should 'take care of problems here on earth first'. To me, the people who trot out such sayings are short sighted, narrow minded, and don't understand much about the nature of humanity at all. They're not very historically astute, either.

Voices from the anti manned space flight faction would have you think that mankind will, or can actually deal with things like world poverty, famine, and the other excuses they trot out. They don't seem to get that the main drivers of poverty and famine are the self same people they claim will provide the 'answers'. This is the lesson of History, and gets repeated rather too often for my liking.

I've said it before, and I'll keep on saying it as long as I have breath; we are an expansionist species. It comes from our hunter / gatherer heritage. Humans need space to expand into and exploit, because if they didn't, well they wouldn't be human for a start. Manned space flight isn't a luxury item, it's an essential. Because if we don't at least try to get off this rolling ball of rock and take a look around, then we as a species are just marking time to extinction.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

E Books

Over the past few days I've been looking at various means of expanding my library without choking up the house with bookshelves. Enamoured as I am with the sheer pleasure of handling words on good old low tech paper, I've got to thinking that my addiction for the printed word might need some modification. Whilst a good book is like a solid single malt, a good meal or a fine wine, there is something to be said for more workaday reading (Classed in my eyes like a reasonable plonk, a solid bacon butty, or a Jamesons) reduced in its physical bookshelf size.

My reading rate has been clocked around the 1200 Words per minute rate on average, although my typing remains at a lowly 15 words per minute max, despite all efforts to teach myself touch typing. This means I read. A lot. Always have done, from pulp Sci-Fi to Camus, Kafka and Voltaire and all stations in between. Including technical manuals. My parents were always critical of this need to read, but the more I got scolded, the more I wanted to curl up with whatever I happen to be reading in a cosy little corner. As a child I used to read underneath the blankets with a torch, hiding in the back seat of the car in the garage, while walking the dog, in bed, wherever. To me, part of heaven is an entire library all to myself with no chucking out time.

Ergo, one of the things I've been considering is a E-reader like a Kindle or similar for general leisure time reading. There's something called a Kobo which I found interesting, and a whole bunch of other E-readers from the petite and basic to Netbook size, many of them with their own web browsers built in. The only real issue is catalogue and flexibility. The last thing I want is a 'content incompatible' type warning when loading a pdf or similar from outside the e-readers host catalogue. If Barnes and Noble have what I want, but Amazon don't, I want to be able to read content from multiple suppliers. As an aside, I find all these 'locked down' formats a big turn off, I mean what's the point of buying something you can't port across to another media for your own private use? Whoever comes up with the closest thing to a multi-format reader may find a ready market in me. Expandable content is also a must, so I can dump stuff I'm really not interested in onto an SD card or via a Mini USB link to make room for others.

Thinking aloud, the text to speech thing I'm not interested in. I can read, so why the hell do I want anyone else to do it for me? Audio books are only for in the car on long road trips, which I'm not doing at the moment. Don't listen to Radio in the car, and have my own music (Mainly prog rock to classical) on a 4Gb data key. This is probably why the latest pop thing (Whatever recycled pap that currently is) kind of passes me by.

Replaceable batteries are also a plus, as the last thing I want is my workaday reading list rendered inaccessible because the e-reader battery has gone down quicker than a cheap hooker on payday, forcing repurchase of a whole new e reader (and catalogue of text). Electronics fail for various reasons, and catch you out even with the best possible backup and restore policies. Something which runs off a replaceable cell phone battery might be a good idea. A capacity of 1100mA sounds more than sufficient. If one can adequately power an ageing Nokia 6310i cell phone after nine years, then maybe I should be looking for one with that kind of option.

Despite my initial resistance to the idea, a quick arithmetical exercise quickly persuades me that an e-reader may be an economical proposition. Book shelves cost to build and fill, never mind the actual cost of the book itself. Say if I want to buy three months reading, say around twenty or so volumes, I need a new half bookcase a year. That's not including all the technical magazines and periodicals I like to browse for various snippets. Cost can ramp up into well over two hundred bucks a quarter just to feed my general reading addiction. That's even with bi-weekly visits to the library for one off reads. A couple of hundred for an e-reader followed by 3-5 bucks per download soon drops the average price of my word fix.

Although there's still a good deal of information sifting to be done based on portability, durability and sheer basic functionality, I found this list a good basic guide.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Pass it on

As an antidote to all those hair short wearing alarmist guilt mongers. Celebrate the human ingenuity that keeps most in the Western world warm and cosy by not turning out the light of the world. Human achievement hour.

Feel free to copy and pass on (Didn't put pictures of the Internet and computing stuff because I couldn't find any images I thought were suitably sexy).

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The next Tolpuddle Martyrs

Back in the real bad old days before protective associations and Trades Unions were allowed to exist. A bunch of 19th Century agricultural labourers in Dorset, so ticked off with their treatment, formed a 'Friendly society', refusing to work for less than a set rate. The leading members of this association were James Brine, James Hammett, George Loveless, James Loveless, Thomas Standfield, and John Standfield. For their 'crime' of standing up for themselves, they were arrested and sentenced to Transportation in 1832. Their trial and sentences were essentially a warping of the law to serve a vested interest, seeing as the legislation forbidding such associations was repealed in 1825 (But what's really new about that, eh?).

History has a tendency to repeat itself in slightly different ways, because the mistakes made have a tendency to be forgotten by those who consider themselves to be in authority. In like fashion I see this 'Lawful rebellion' thing sizing up to be the basis of a similar movement. Of course the Martyrs were only one of many such groups looking to protect themselves from overweening authority, but they put their checkmark in the History box before all others.

In similar fashion, Ranty and his growing band of like minded people are busy using the legal system to fight everything from excessive council tax bills to a parking ticket. Facing arrest, Bankruptcy and other serried consequences, they have picked up the mostly quenched torch of liberty and blown on its embers. I foresee their actions making great changes sometime in the future. So long as they stay on topic and don't alienate people by wittering on about stuff better left in the X-Files.

However, I make this one caveat. It took generations before the Martyrs actions brought about a better life for their heirs and successors. Their beginnings changed the socio economic landscape between employer and employee, master and servant. In some ways for the better. In others, their nascent movement was hijacked by those with a more sinister, destructive political agenda.

To conclude; There is a paradigm shift beginning. Away from the inefficient, incompetent collectivist ideals of the 19th and 20th centuries, perhaps towards a more 'people centric' future where grass roots movements hold the balance of power. I'm not sure where the 'lawful rebellion' movement is going to end up, but I have the distinct feeling that a smart young politician who hitches his coat tails to this particular comet will go far.

Do you believe....?

Seen over at Jo Nova's blog. From her speech to the 'No CO2 tax' protest in Australia.
  • CO2 feeds plants. It’s the only” pollution” pumped onto farms to grow food. Did you know plant life goes dormant if CO2 falls too low? Farmers don’t just pump in an extra 5 or 10% either, they ramp up the concentration 4 or 5 fold in greenhouses. Did the government scientists forget to mention that?
  • Australia is the largest exporter of coal in the world. But did they say that China digs up nearly 10 times more coal than we do?
  • The famous ice core graphs of Al Gore — expanded to 20 meters square — turned out to show the opposite of what he claimed. Temperatures drive carbon and lead it by 800 years. Worse,iIt was well known, and not contested two years before he made his movie.
  • 'Global warming' stopped, and none of the models predicted that.
  • The endless droughts — ended.
  • All that CO2 and Global storms hit their lowest level for 30 years.
  • And you have to wonder: nearly 90% of the thermometers in the US are too close to artificial heat sources. 90%. How much do the climate science team care about the science?
  • 75% of thermometers used in the 1980’s have dropped off the official record. All that money, and less instruments to measure with…
  • They adjust the data — sometimes 50 years after it was recorded. Think about that. The 1970’s kept warming for the next 30 years.
  • 3000 ocean buoys looked and couldn’t find most of the missing heat that our planet is supposed to be storing.
  • 6000 boreholes tell us the world was warmer 1000 years ago, and even warmer again 5000 years ago. None of the models can explain that.
  • all the models predict a hot spot, and 28 million weather balloons can’t find it;
  • 31,500 scientists don’t think we need a carbon tax. That includes 9000 phd’s. There’s a grassroots revolt going on out there. This was done by volunteers, and done twice. There’s never been another petition like it in science, ever. Did the media forget to tell you that too?
  • For every dollar paid to a skeptic, big government paid 3500 to global warmers.
With citations and links to empirical observations. This is not tinfoil hat territory, this is 'Stop taking the piss you bastards' territory.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, 'Western' nations are still pursuing the weird idée fixe that a reduction in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide will somehow 'save the world'.

This begs the question; is a warmer world better or worse? I think that colder is worse, and in spite of all the predictions, the 'warming' isn't happening as predicted. At this juncture one is tempted to ask; "What do they know that we don't?" or more likely; "What the fuck are they on?"

It's quite plain to see that the models upon which Green policies are based don't mesh with reality. Every time one of these half-assed postulations bites the dust it's because 'It's getting warmer'. Well it isn't. The Winters aren't warmer. Neither are the Summers, despite the hogwash pumped out by much of the lamestream and various pressure groups. It still snows - despite assurances to the contrary there is snow in places it doesn't normally snow. There are no more Hurricanes or typhoons. Fewer than 'normal' in fact. Everything points to a cooling planet. Atmospheric ice crystal phenomena like Sundogs are growing more common in lower latitudes than we're used to. Certainly more often observed. Heavy and prolonged frosts in subtropical growing areas like Florida.

People are beginning to notice, and it's only a matter of time before the money hurled over the beached dead whale of 'Green' policies forever condemns the Western Nations to a historical footnote. Mind you, I think we're due for a major economic upset anyway. Money is being spent on Green policies that the West hasn't a hope in hell of repaying, and the only door at the end of that particular path is bankruptcy. This means no more money for new infrastructure, which means a decaying return on basics like water, sewage and power. Real poverty. Real people starving. Real population dieback. But that won't matter, as it will only be the 'little people' who will suffer because their 'leaders' got it completely, magnificently and utterly wrong.

Writing as one of the 'little people', I'm not impressed.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Yeah...... tools

To help ameliorate that yawning feeling of despair many in the UK may be feeling after finding out that the latest budget was more of the same pain repackaged, here is a great song and an amusing video. Oh, and great tools, yeah?

Even if it does get cut a bit short at the end. Now I need a lie down in a darkened room.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Fear and loathing

Now I've been drinking, so the following post may be even less lucid than my usual febrile ravings. However, I think I'm at that nexus that falls under the category of 'in vino veritas'

One of the problems I currently see with humanity in general is that we live in a near perpetual state of fear. We're trouser fillingly terrified about everything. There are some folk so scared that they can't set foot outside their own front door. We're scared of what the neighbours think of us, what our parents or family think. We're petrified for future generations or shitting ourselves about the state of the planet, which incidentally can do quite well without us.

Well the Bill Sticker take on it is; "Auchtahellweit!" Mind you, that's easy for me to say. I've faced my fear and stepped on its twinkling little toes. Not that I'd readily do it often - jeez louise - I'm not bloody stupid. Had I been an old scaredy puss, me and Mrs S would never have even considered emigration.

The problem is that we let irrational fears rule our lives. Fear of strangers; most surprisingly nice - providing you aren't going to try and be all huggy with the weapon toting basket case from the bad neighbourhood. Fear of the future? Well, you know; the future is the end result of good or bad decisions. Good or bad can come from both - depending upon how you as a person are willing to look at the outcomes. As far as irrational fears go, my two biggies are spiders bigger than my fist, and sheer drops over two hundred metres straight down. Also not terribly chuffed about people sticking guns or knives in my face with menaces. Not scared about media driven scare stories like Bird / Swine / Whatever Influenza, Cancer (Been there, done that), Pain (Likewise) and big earthquakes. I've trained myself to be competent in various survival techniques if everything goes pear shaped, and if pressured into a real scrap I'm no pushover.

This is not to say I wouldn't be scared, this isn't about the fear, it's about how you react to any given problem. You 'pull your big girl panties on and deal with it'. So instructs one of those amusing motivational sayings my Sister in law has posted on the wall at her place up in town. Anything new can be scary, but if you're going to do the old Rabbit staring at headlights trick, then unfortunately (For you) you might be bucking for a Darwin Award. From whatever standpoint.

Fear makes you vulnerable. Mostly to the next Snake Oil Salesman who says his / her product is the answer to all your ills, real or imagined. Understanding your fear makes you capable of kicking said Snake Oil Salesman in the metaphorical crotch and walking away whistling a happy tune.

As I said, I've been drinking.

Time for bed.

Monday, 21 March 2011


Recently heard the word Syzygy referred to in the context of the close approach of Earth's moon, or 'Perigee Syzygy'. The only other time I'd come across this word (No, I don't follow the X-Files) was in Joe Haldeman's 'All my sins remembered', so I did a little digging.

Here are the main definitions;
  1. (astronomy) A kind of unity, namely an alignment of three celestial bodies (for example, the Sun, Earth, and Moon) such that one body is directly between the other two, such as occurs at an eclipse
  2. (psychology) An archetypal pairing of contrasexual opposites, symbolizing the communication of the conscious and unconscious minds
  3. (mathematics) A relation between generators of a module
  4. (medicine) The fusion of some or all of the organs
  5. (zoology) The association of two protozoa end-to-end or laterally for the purpose of asexual exchange of genetic material
  6. (zoology) The pairing of chromosomes in meiosis
  7. (Literature) In ancient prosody, a group or combination of two feet. Ancient metricians varied in their use of this term. Some use it regularly for a dipody or (dipodic) measure. Others call a tautopody, or double foot, a dipody, but a combination of two different feet a syzygy. Some, accordingly, giving the name syzygy to tetrasyllabic feet (regarded by them as composed of two dissyllabic feet), speak of an iambic or a trochaic line as measured by dipodies, but an Ionic line as measured by syzygies—that is, by single Ionics considered as combinations of trochees and pyrrhics. A peculiar use is the restriction of the term syzygy to compound feet of five or six syllables.

Yes, it's a good ten dollar word, but not one I'd care to use.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Radiation poisoning

Locally, there have been items in the press about people rushing out to their local pharmacy for doses of Potassium Iodide, and getting very cross when told there isn't any.

Said persons would be well advised to examine this chart before going into headless chicken mode.

Latest on the stricken plant has issues with Fukushima's No4 reactor, which like 5 and 6 was supposed to have been shut down for maintenance and refuelling at the time the Tsunami hit. Containment 1 and 3 buildings have had the roofs blown off by Hydrogen gas build up and ignition, and there has been some radiation release. Although when you compare the doses recorded so far to the exposure from a single Computerised Tomography scan, I think those concerned about Radiation exposure over here in BC might justifiably be accused of over-reacting. What the hell, it's their money.

Warning: Large doses of Potassium Iodide during pregnancy can harm a developing foetus. Also acts as a skin and eye irritant.

Hyper and Super Injunctions?

What sort of legal process is at work here? Picked up at Anna Racoons, this nasty little snippet, where legal injunctions have been granted that not only forbid the injunctee from mentioning it, but also forbid them from asking their Member of Parliament for help? Even to the point where a threat has been made to take the injunctee's children into 'care' if the injunction is breached. Isn't such a threat in itself illegal, no matter who makes it? Not only under the old Common law statue, but also under European Human Rights Law?

It's only over the past few years that we've heard about 'Super' injunctions which forbid mention in the Mainstream (Mostly to do with where idiot footballers are reputed to have parked their willies). Yet forbidding mention in the Houses of Parliament? Is that legal? Surely such an injunction would be a clear breach of Parliamentary Privilege, as we are led to understand it.

This speech by John Hemming MP is most enlightening. Clearly there are some UK 'Limp Dems', who are less limp than others.

Popcorn ready. Another one to watch.

Not that anyone will have noticed, but..

Life has been rather busy and self absorbed here at Maison Sticker. Mrs S, as I may have mentioned, has been quite poorly and as a result I've been doing my best blue arsed fly impersonation. Ergo, the blog has taken about fifth place in my list of priorities. It's been;
William this, and William that, and William where's my book?
And can you help me shower dear, if you promise not to look.
With many and deep apologies to this little ballad from Rudyard Kipling.

Those who have to care for an indisposed loved one will understand what I mean. I'm also on the home stretch of a Novel project, which should be finished in two weeks. Followed by attempts to sell same. Providing of course that I'm not still full time Nurse, Taxi Driver, Cook, Home Help, Personal Shopper and Majordomo as well as shift work.

The good news is that my better half is well on the mend and will be fully independent in another three to four weeks. Will catch up on comments and seismic stuff as domestic disruptions return to their normal level. Although I did pick up on this item on the Russian news service. The original vid is in Russian, but there is translation and a transcript.An interesting eight minutes and forty seconds. The Russians have an experimental Seismic Prediction system? Who knew?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Why Corbyn gets it right

One of the most risible suggestions from the pro-CAGW crowd is the assertion that changes in the weather, or rises in atmospheric CO2 are responsible for Earthquakes. In précis their explanation goes; More CO2 in Atmosphere - Atmosphere heats up - ice melts - more volcanoes and Earthquakes (You're alll doooooommed! - give us your money). Even under the scantiest of scrutiny this postulation falls down and bangs its head on a rock. Let me explain a few reasons why.

First; 'rebound' Quakes need to lose a lot of ice before they happen. Ice is a comparatively light material (919kg per Cubic metre) as opposed to water (Pure 1000kg per cubic metre). They also take a long time post de-glaciation to happen. In addition, unlike quakes in subduction and active fault zones they tend to be lower intensity. Also, ice loss is not thought to affect plate tectonics. Not that we're going to have a problem with less terrestrial ice if the current nascent (Early days at present) cooling trend continues for another few decades. Likewise the catastrophic claims of sea level rise don't (Ahem) hold water.

At the moment we are, despite claims of 'The hottest decade - ever' in the beginning of a cooling phase of the Earth's climate. The 'warmest decade ever' is a false claim. Historically it has been warmer - this is proven by clues scattered throughout historical records of the Medieval and Roman Warm periods, and that's just within recorded history. The extended Northern range of various settlements / cultivated crops like vineyards up near the Scottish border, and Medieval Norse settlements in Greenland. Other clues can be found within overlooked / ignored Chinese records still which range back up to 5000 years. No citations as my Mandarin extends to 'Good Morning' and 'Happy new year'. I'm as dependent on translations as the next Westerner. Mind you, Medieval Chinese records can be just as incomprehensible to the average Modern Chinese as Medieval Church Latin to the average current English speaker.

Piers makes the claim that the Earth is in the first stages of a cooling phase which will cover thirty years, and then stay cooler for around a century or so. He bases his claims on his understanding of the Lunar and Solar cycles. "Don't be silly!" The pro CAGW crowd scoff. "How can the Moon or the Sun affect the weather? What utter rot!" They tend to dismiss his work out of hand. To them he's a crazy old crank with untidy 'mad scientist' hair. How wrong they are. Which I will try, in my idiosyncratic laymans fashion, to explain.

Meteorology is a minor study of mine. Having been an outdoorsman most of my life, I like to know when to head for cover or leave the heavy raincoat at home. I've also worked with pilots, who have to make an in depth study of the weather, as their (and their passengers) safe passage depends upon their understanding of the weather. My understanding covers things like what a cold or occluded front is, and what it means. Why high pressure in certain areas means get out the sun tan lotion, and in others, put another log on the fire. Katabatic and Anabatic winds, all that sort of stuff. As for the Moon not affecting the Earth's weather? Erm, what about the Tides? Tidal changes are mostly lunar influenced and with variations due to various tricks of geography, circle the planet twice a day. Although the Sun is also well known to affect tides.

Now what many people don't seem to appreciate is that the figures given for the Earth / Moon's system orbit around the sun, which is a known variable star, fluctuate within a given range. Now here's a little thought experiment for you, a small demonstration of how heat diminishes rapidly as you move away from its source. Put your hand near a heat source, say an incandescent light bulb or fire. Move your hand away and notice how rapidly the sensed radiant heat diminishes. This is not a straight line relationship. Nature may abhor a vacuum, but it's not that keen on straight lines, either.

In a near vaccuum, such as our solar system, this radiant heat is, within an area often referred to as the 'Cinderella zone', sufficient to support life as we know it. This zone or orbital path is not all that wide, in astronomical terms. When you take into consideration the fact that the Moon does not only orbit the Earth, it influences the Earth's solar orbit. The laws of motion tell us it could not be any other way with two masses circling each other. The Earth does not follow a true smooth elliptical curve around the Sun, it wavers or oscillates in a pattern that can be plotted mathematically, a sort of elliptical shallow sine wave. Take into account the slight variability of the Sun's heat energy, and we can work out how much energy will be falling onto the Earth at any given time. With a little knowledge of Meteorology, any net variations can be plotted for to predict possible major events due to a greater of lesser amount of energy within the parameters of Earth's 'Cinderella zone'. Although compensations such as the known current weakening of the Earth's Magnetosphere will also need to be plotted.

Furthermore, a weakening of the Earth's Magnetospere, or magnetic shield may also allow more energy in, it also allows a greater influence of cosmic rays on cloud formation. Read up on the work of Henrik Svensmark, whose research has a known correlation with the well established cloud formation effect of 'cosmic rays' first observed by Wilson in the early 1900's. More cloud formation and cloud cover increase Earth's albedo, which reflects the sun's light away from the Earth, thus reducing the energy received at ground level. Doesn't have to be much, a tenth of a percentage point can affect weather / climatic patterns.

This is why any net effect of CO2 induced temperature variation will be lost. Whilst CO2, and more importantly methane and water vapour, form an insulating blanket as part of Earth's atmosphere. Major Climate variations also appear more influenced by orbital and until recently relatively overlooked Solar / Earth electromagnetic interaction. Which is another factor we don't understand the full climatic ramifications of.

Piers Corbyn so often gets his forecasts right because he understands the cycles of our planet as it wobbles and precesses around the solar system, and their net effect within the thin skin of Earth's biosphere.

Furthermore, the suggestions that there are positive climatic related feedbacks which mean a hundred or so parts per million of CO2 will turn the Earth's climate into a raging volcanic soup like Venus. These are demonstrably so far fetched they veer into serious tinfoil hat territory along with 'Chemtrails', crop circles, the Flat Earth society, 'born again' creationists and UFO's. There are few observable positive feedbacks in nature. Energy follows the laws of thermodynamics. The 'It's all CO2' assertions tapdance merrily all over established observable principles. The CO2 led models consistently fail to predict warming or cooling. Therefore I'm led to the conclusion that said postulation is too two dimensional an answer to a far more complex question.

In light of the above, I respectfully submit that the CO2 based hypothesis of Climatic variation is deader than a doornail that's just had the last rites following a surgical autopsy. I further submit that taxing 'Carbon' emissions is about as pointless as rearranging deckchairs on a sinking ship. For the sakes of the future economic well being of the world, we should stop. Now. Unless of course you're happy to see your great grandchildren growing up in a new self imposed medieval period. Although that might depend upon whether you see them as one of the Serfs or not.

* Please note that there are no references within this entry to either side of the 'Climate war' of words waged in Desmogblog, Wattsupwiththat, Realclimate or any affiliated web site. They were considered too partisan for the purposes of this blog. Wikipedia sources have likewise only been linked to if they were on non-partisan topics not directly related to climate, and therefore held as suspect.
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