Sunday, 30 January 2011

Psychic disease

Over at EU Referendum, Richard North posits;
I am being increasing attracted to the idea of "psychic disease" – not mental disease, as such, but a corruption of the intellect which allows otherwise sane people to do dangerously stupid things.
I think what Richard is referring to is known as 'Cognitive Dissonance', or perhaps more correctly 'Cognitive Bias' which is common to just about every belief system / religion ever invented.

We all do it. Especially when at the theatre or at the movies, we ignore glaring inconsistencies in appearance, reality and plot for the sake of being entertained. Mostly this is quite harmless, and helps take the edge off the vicissitudes of real life. The real problems begin when certain people start to take it seriously. Go to a science fiction convention when the 'hard core' fans are there and you'll understand what I mean.

As humans we indulge in such behaviour to 'fit in' with a family or peer group. To be part of something bigger than ourselves. To not stand alone in the crowd, or even to look as though you're standing alone and trying to look really tough / intellectual / appealing to whichever sex you prefer. Been there, done that, not telling..

A classic example might be otherwise sane, productive people who learn Klingon like it's a real language (and fail to see the joke). What starts as good old fashioned healthy escapism somehow twists into obsession. Similarly, the Animal Rights movement is widely supported by people who believe that animals think and feel as humans do, even when it is patently obvious that said animals don't. They wouldn't be animals otherwise. These are only two examples of legion and often end up as self reinforcing Möbius loops of ideas. Such loops of thought are so commonplace we rarely give them a moments attention. If we do, we dismiss them as mere personal eccentricity, or more darkly "Well everybody else thinks so". Even when nobody has bothered to ask 'everybody' even though somebody said they had. Yet when even the slightest examination of the idea in question demonstrates that logic, deduction and proof have little to do with it, white hot denial by the believer will be the result. It's very human. I've seen it a lot.

Sometimes the decisions made whilst under the influence of cognitive bias (Hands up those with an embarrassing / now unwanted tattoo) runs away from whoever made it, and before long consequence has taken over. Rather like not getting on terribly well with one specific person, turning it into a rabid hatred for everything they are, down to burning down the entire street they live in. The problem being that even if it is decided at some point that said person isn't so bad after all, by that time matters are so far advanced there's nothing that will stop his street being burned down and his neighbours slaughtered, because that will mean the decision makers were 'wrong'. Most people don't like to be seen as 'wrong' because that is a direct attack upon their self esteem, their self confidence. They would rather topple civilisation and create a new dark age than be exposed as a purveyor of simple personal cock-up. The higher up any hierarchy you go, the more accurate this statement becomes; mostly.

Notwithstanding, 'Belief' is a curious and wonderful force. It can drive people to do and achieve seemingly near impossible tasks. Continents have been crossed, Oceans navigated, massive edifices raised, all on the back of belief. So it is not a force to be despised. Yet belief is what happens when we don't understand, so we hide our lack of understanding behind a comfortable fictional construct, or 'lie'.

Despite our wealth of knowledge about the planet we inhabit, many of its processes are still very much a closed book, so we make stuff up so as not to look ignorant or stupid. Others believe what they're told because they don't want to look ignorant or stupid. Hence we're currently in the mess we're in.

In this specific instance, Richard is referring to the continued apparent belief amongst UK (and other) politicians that 'renewable energy' is somehow environmentally friendly, and that man made CO2 emissions somehow (Through an incorrectly demonstrated mechanism) rule the climate. This article rather blows that meme out of the water, and confirms what I've always suspected to be the truth. That we in the 'developed' West have cleaner air and water because much of the manufacturing for our bright shiny consumer toys has been offshored to China and elsewhere. Rather like a great deal of livestock production for the UK has been offshored to Middle Europe, where they aren't so picky about Animal Welfare, and Animal Rights activists don't know, or as in the case of Halal slaughter, are often too frightened of being called 'racist' to care about.

Seen one way, Richard's contention of an endemic 'Psychic disease' is all too real. Looked at from another, such blatant cognitive bias appears closely woven into the basic fabric of humanity, with the law of unintended consequences following like a shadow. It drives and motivates, just not very often in the right direction, that's all. If there is one lesson the careful study of History can teach us, it is this.

Please note; None of the above has been 'peer reviewed' but has been through extensive real-time axiom destruction testing. Empirical proofs can be made available, or made up to suit, whatever......

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Now if only....

Got an email from a friend regarding the draft of a science fiction MSS I'd sent to him. He liked it, and is eagerly awaiting the next in the series.

Considering I've been very remiss on the serious writing side of things over the past four months, I was quite pleased with his response. I was rather expecting "Nah Bill. Load of crap." So I was quite pleasantly surprised.

I'm about half way through the sequel, and I've already plotted out the paths to the final denouement in the third MSS. Yet recently there's been too many distractions to buckle down and finish what I started.

Now if only I could get a mainstream publisher interested..... Bugger! where'd I put those plot and character notes?

Hot spots

Having had a look at what Al Jazeera have been covering, it's interesting to see an overall pattern of effective revolts going on throughout the Middle East. Egypt of course is the biggie in the news, but Tunisia hasn't gone away, Jordan has a similar situation to Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen. Iran has been hanging political activists, and recent upheaval has left the Algerians considering a reshuffle and cutting food prices. A political ripple effect looks to be shaking up the entire region. Red underlined countries on the map indicate significant social and political unrest pushed by food shortages. The major riot flashpoints in the region appear to be driven more by hunger than politics. Although Iraq looks like an undeclared war between Sunni and Shia.

Re Egypt; Mubarak's wife and his two sons have jumped ship for London. The odds are that he will follow shortly. The people he has announced in his new government appear to be US-Friendly not because the USA needs stability to preserve the regions oil, but probably because the region needs US food exports. Certain nations have already begun stockpiling.

The riots don't surprise me. Poor grain harvests from Russia, Australia and Canada this year. Food production is being sidelined for so called 'eco-friendly' (although not really) biofuels. Agricultural runoff from the intensive agriculture to produce biofuels damages coral reefs and increases toxic plankton blooms amongst other things. Yet we in the developed west are constantly being urged to become more 'sustainable', based on the fantasy that by reducing our output of food and energy we would somehow be doing the Earth a favour.

Looks like a lot of these 'Green' policies are actually unsustainable, as the current problems amply demonstrate.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Internet down

No, not mine. Apparently the Egyptians have pulled the plug on their Internet and Cell Phone networks.

Considering that the Americans are thinking about giving their boy president an 'Internet kill switch' to play with, the next few hours will demonstrate how good or bad an idea it is to give someone that much power. Because if the yanks pull the plug, everyone loses it. (H/T Budwar) This is because Verisign and (I think) all the rest of the root Domain Name Server owning companies are US owned. If the companies concerned are told to shut their servers down by Presidential Order; no DNS resolution, no dot coms, dot orgs or any of the other top level domain extensions. So, no Interweb. Well not one worthy of the name unless a lot of other countries have got reserve DNS root servers tucked away, just on the off chance. That's my understanding of the situation anyway.

More updates as it happens via American Power and Theo Spark

Latest: Hosni Mubarak 'has asked government to step down'. See above for links. Refresh often. Al Jazeera has constantly updated coverage.

Todays earworm is....


Hits you when you're perusing seven and eight year old photo albums. Still can't find the one of Mrs S and I in the brand new motorcycle leathers I'd just bought for us. It's in here somewhere, dammit!

Oh yes, and I took this mornings test with a stinking head cold and still scored over 90%. Another one for the CV.

Thursday, 27 January 2011


No wonder I've been feeling out of sorts for the past couple of days. My recent mild sense of disconnectedness and distraction has morphed into a nose that was not so much running as speeding, sore throat, mild fever, and general feeling of malaise, as in run down - by a truck. One of the many seasonal lurgi has come to call. Nothing major, just enough to put me off my game for a while. The fever broke about half an hour ago, potions have been employed, and full health is but hours away.

Although you wouldn't have thought I was poorly at work today, hands and body just got on with things whilst Mr Brain took a day off. Fortunately most of todays tasks did not require any high level cogitation, or dealing with less than forgiving mortal mouths, and I could just wing it in comfort.

Passed an exam with flying colours yesterday, despite feeling slightly crook. Probably got a higher mark because I went through the whole thing twice, just to be certain. Still kicking myself over two silly mistakes, but when it comes to real life, I don't miss much so I'm not really fussed. Another piece of paper, and something I can use as leverage for a rise. It's all good. I've got another test on Friday, not such a hard one, but still tough enough to keep me on my toes. A quick skim through the text book at bedtime tonight should be sufficient to load the neurons with the necessary patterns to recognise. The rest, as they say, will be in the lap of the examiners.

Can't be arsed with all the idiocy in the news. I'm sure theres a lot of stuff flung out into the public domain just to see who bites, and at the moment I'm simply not that interested. Got told I was 'another weirdo' who didn't watch TV, by guess who, another self confessed non-TV watcher. Although I think he was kidding me, but I was too foggy headed to care.

Still tripping over boxes of 'what the hell did we ship this for'? My mother has for some reason packed two of my Dad's old golfing trophies. Maybe it's a hint, although I still share Sam Clemens opinion that Golf is a waste of a good walk. Whenever asked by a golfing friend what my handicap is, I always answer truthfully "My Swing." Well, you're good at what you do well, and golf will have to remain one of those things I don't do well. Many small white balls may have reason to be truly thankful for this small mercy.

Tried out my small hunting bow, only to have the old bowstring go 'kerchiong' on me at full draw sending the bow leaping out of my hand to bounce off the wall nearly twenty feet away. Well, it had been in store for the past four years, I suppose the damp must have got at the Dacron bindings. Mrs S gave a shout (God alone knows why, she was in the next room), and I retrieved my 45lb draw toy with a slight expression of embarrassment. I suppose the local Deer will be safe until I get a new bowstring made and shot in properly. That will have to wait for the weekend.

Time for bed.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New link

For those of you who share my interest in matters volcanic, I've added this link from NASA's Earth observatory to the sidebar under Some Climate and Volcano Links.

While everything seems relatively quiet on the Icelandic front, there's still a number of active eruptions going on at any given time. I find it fascinating, and for those that don't; this ain't your blog chummy.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Today's word is irrevocable, that which may not be revoked, or a position from which there can be no retreat. A watershed, a Rubicon if you will.

Today we unpacked the last of our 'settlers effects'. A lot of books and photo albums, framed pictures, half written MSS, my second Bow and enough arrows to fight a small medieval war. Enough kitchenware and crockery to open a small restaurant, and various sentimental items.

Maybe it was because I was so distracted that I forgot to drink my morning coffee, but right this minute I'm feeling a little disconnected. A trifle lost. The big project of emigration has come to a close and I'm not 100% sure of what to do now apart from what I was doing anyway.

Oh sod it, that will have to do until I and our girls are eligible for citizenship.

What do they expect?

If a public body recruits almost exclusively via a left leaning publication, isn't it a given that the staff will tend to have a specific political bias?

Just saying, that's all....

Monday, 24 January 2011

So, this religion of peace thing....

You know, what with suras in the Al'Quran forbidding the murder of innocents or suicide, I don't think there's really a paradise for Islamist suicide bombers. Just a one way ticket to hell.

Boom! Don't pass 'Go', don't collect 72 virgins (Or raisins), no milk or honey. Simply straight on down to burn for eternity. In kit form.

It's just a pity they wantonly kill so many other poor SOB's of all creeds and colours. It's all so bloody pointless, and only gives the powers that be more excuse to crack down on everyone.

Katla seismic activity

A number of small tremors at the 1km depth near Katla's western lava plug in the past 24 hours. Usual caveats about tremors and eruptive behaviour apply. The old saying "A watched pot never boils." has a certain synergy.

Have cropped and annotated the original Katla vent system diagram to give an idea of what features exist under the glacial cap and the approximate location of the current activity.

Some people

Some people are always looking a gift horse in the mouth, even in their sexual relations. Although I find myself wondering if those protesting 'eco-activists' were disappointed because they'd been left out of the all the shagging.

Well it made me laugh.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Shutting up

Over the past week or so I've found myself deleting post after unpublished post. It's not that they were that bad, it's just that by the time I've got round to putting my own spin on a subject, someone else has done it better. Like the boy in class whose hand is just one nanosecond too slow, I find myself mute. Nothing new to say, and no reasonably apposite way to say it.

A couple of domestic problems are proving distracting and they must claim my close attention before all else.

Also Blog editorial policy is under review.

In a while.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Shutting down

Saw the news via Bishop Hill that the European Carbon Exchange has been closed due to widespread fraud. Considering that the Chicago equivalent has been flatlined at 5 cents a tonne for some time and much of its staff laid off for the past six months, I'm not surprised.

You have to be pretty hard of critical thinking to buy into the whole Carbon-Dioxide-as-pollution meme anyway. As for altering the climate? Well, read up on major climate / weather events and their variability throughout recorded history and you'll understand.

A lot of people have talked and written landfill loads of scare stories. Some quite 'eminent' people too. For CO2 to behave as they claim, the molecule would have to act like a half silvered mirror when reflecting / absorbing heat energy. In considerably higher proportions than the trace gas levels currently present in our atmosphere. The so called 'Noble' gases, especially Argon, have a significantly higher percentage presence in Earth's atmosphere than CO2 at 0.934% (Almost 3 times the level of CO2).

So, a scheme to 'sell pollution' is suspended. Well, it's a start.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Real life and learning

Eldest on Skype this morning was tearful because she'd performed poorly (For her) in a test. She's passed, but she wanted to do better, and being who she is was getting pretty wound up. Mrs S began the talkdown, and I pitched in with some helpful hints upon how to address the issue. Go talk to lecturers and markers, we advised. Find out exactly what they want, not do the 100 metres conclusion jump and end up stuck in some emotional slough of despond. Eldest calmed down a little and we talked her through the process.

This triggered a number of memories about my own college studies and mentoring Mrs S through the last two years of her degree course. Now I went to Technical college and night school, not University, to get my inch thick stack of work related certificates. I'm a working stiff who expects to pay his own way, but I digress.

One of the first modules Mrs S got bogged down on was on system security. On the first test in the module, she scored a disappointing fifty six percent, and just like Eldest, got all emotional and tearful about it. She knew she had all her facts right, she could backtrack to the source information, and yes, it said exactly what she wrote down in the essay. The facts were definitely there. In our estimation the test mark should have been far higher. It was down to me to give her a hug and do the 'there, there' thing even when I should have been doing my own stuff. I pointed out that maybe it wasn't the core information, it was her presentation that was at fault. "But that way it doesn't make sense!" Mrs S protested. "I've tried that in my job and it doesn't work!"
To which I replied; "Yes dear, but perhaps that's the way they want your information presented."
"We did that two years ago. It's crap!" She said angrily.
"You know it doesn't work. I know it won't work, but this is University, not real life." I responded, wondering idly if the off licence was still open so I could buy more Whiskey. What with the emotional fallout from the course and teenage stepdaughters I tended to need the odd large drink during those years.

After a great deal of grumbling, I got her to ask her course advisers a number of pointed questions specific to the text in the low mark essay, and together we formulated a strategy. Mrs S restructured her subsequent submitted pieces of work to the required format and guess what? After a couple of tries her marks shot up to eighty six percent. A clear thirty percent increase, all because she asked the Lecturers how they wanted the essay submissions structured. Her marks throughout the next two years never dipped below seventy nine percent per essay (Including finals), for which she got a respectable 2:1.

After that, Mrs S went back to her job and carried on as she had before. The degree certificate is mounted in a nice frame, but the learning it took to get is hardly used. Mainly because the gulf between academia and real life is often quite a broad one.

As an apprentice, I recall working alongside those more academically gifted and looking at the work they turned out. Oft was heard the plaintive cry of; "Yeah, but that's what the textbook said!" When flinty-eyed Managers asked why this or that had gone pear shaped. As a lowly apprentice, I hid my smirk and learned to trust the input of my senses, developing my 'Engineers feel' of metals and measuring tools. Happy to be a lowly Technician and not a high flyer. We used to reckon it took a good three to five years at least to get an Engineering graduate to a reasonable standard of competence, such were some of the howlers our graduates designed. A 12ft long, unsupported lateral shaft was one such classic (Massive vibration due to microscopic changes in material density would have shaken it apart), critically overloading phases in electrical plant another. Mostly these were fundamental errors we Technicians had learned about in our first year. You could almost hear our eyes rolling up into heads sometimes. However, as lowly spanner and screwdriver wielders, our opinions were not required because we weren't educated enough. Indeed.

This of course was in the days pre Blair's 'Ejucashun, educayson, edcashun' when academic rigour was more, well, rigorous. This is not to disparage Degree courses, but my point is that academic excellence does not always equip one for the outside world, which has let's say, broader boundaries. The world is a far more complex place than University alone can prepare you for. Rather like not every member of MENSA being a millionaire.

Ergo, it is my contention that not everything that emerges from say purely academic 'peer review' should be taken as gospel. Particularly studies based upon pure statistics. Interesting? Yes. Worth discussion and evaluation? Of course. Implementation without testing? Definitely not. That is what 'Science' is for, a process of weeding out the unworkable and just plain impossible to produce something that works. Axioms must be tested, dogmas challenged. All else is Alchemy, which produces nothing but some odd smells, lost fortunes, and perhaps some heavy metal poisoning.

Yet every day the media leaps on some published academic 'study', which should be no more than the starting point for discussion and testing, and posits that this is the answer to life, the Universe and everything. From medicine and disease to mass extinctions and our ever changing climate. No matter how many times cataclysmic predictions fail, like a legion of zombies they are dusted off, stood up again, and sent lurching back into the public domain. A whole stage of the scientific method is bypassed by scientifically semi literate campaigners, a sensationalising media and grant-hungry researchers. Guess who our politicians react to in their ignorance? Got it in one.

It's probably why the UK has a plague of near-useless Wind Turbines, why unvaccinated children die of otherwise preventable diseases, basic liberties have been eroded, and people take pills that may be doing more harm than good.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Don Cherry

There is a bunch of people in Vancouver who want Hockey pundit Don Cherry off the air. Mainly because of his right of centre politics, which he occasionally shares with the viewing public when commenting on TV Hockey games.

I like Don, he's down to earth and great fun. He's part of the Canadian sporting psyche. There is no way he should retire. Especially as the proposal to get rid of him comes from a bunch of wasters. Don is part of the spirit that built Canada. His detractors are a bunch of pantywaisters who are an embarrassment to British Columbia. Don would be sadly missed. No one really cares if the people who want him off the air exist.

I propose forming the Society for the preservation of Don Cherry.

Don is a national treasure, and one that should never be buried.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Looking East

Based as we are on the West coast, China and the Sinosphere in general are major players when it comes to BC's economy. So it was not with a happy pair of eyes that I viewed the pessimism alluded to here. There're also concerns over the current high price of gold, which some are predicting will go 'pop' in the near future.

Now such economic doom and gloom is rather like the tide and winds. It comes and goes, and whoever watches carefully may, and indeed do make fortunes.

Regarding China, I look at the current economic boom and wonder how long it can last. Also, what are the ramifications for when it does go belly up? My reasons for thinking so are as follows;

1: China Manufactures, and is dependent for its increasing wealth on how much it can sell to everyone else.

2: China's biggest market is the USA. The presses at the US mint must be running red hot to supply enough dollars to pay for the consumer goods China produces.

3: The only reason 1 & 2 happen is because the US Dollar is the World's reserve currency. It is the 'Gold standard', and with it all else rises or falls.


4: China is the biggest buyer / holder of US sovereign debt. Which means it is effectively keeping the US economy going.

5: If the US Dollar, for whatever reason, ceases to be the worlds reserve currency, where is a market for China's goods big enough to replace it?

6: Given that if the Dollar does go haywire (All right, more haywire than at present) and the Chinese dump their massive Dollar holdings, what happens? The USA goes bust and can't afford any more lovely shiny consumer goods from the busy Chinese manufactories, the Dollar gets sidelined, and the landfill hits the windfarm. Bingo! From first to third world in five seconds flat, taking the interconnected economies of the West (and East) down with it.

The Russians will be laughing, as they have massive reserves, and Europe has increasing energy needs. Canada will take a big hit because our markets are mainly south of the 49th parallel. Australia might find their Coal exports to china sitting on the dock, or taking a big (20%+) hit in price. Because without a mass market, the Chinese, who are the Aussies biggest market for coal, won't need the power. India will suffer a similar fate. So it's reasonable to assume that the economic path we are currently on leads to the edge of a very steep cliff.

Okay, so what's the solution Mr Oh-so-clever Bill Sticker?

Here goes. My thinking on the matter follows this route; massive deficits are being run up by various Western nations which are unsustainable. Huge vote buying social programmes (including Social Security) eat up the fiscal budget. I include health care, and all (Which is most) associated funding. There are too many people in the public sector who have been taking too much for too long. Too many people not actually producing or trading anything. A whole Golgafrincham 'B' ark full. They need to be productive, not just chair polishers. Administration alone will be the economic death of the West.

So, what's the solution? Am I saying that we need a massive human die-back or something? No, nothing quite so drastic, as there is one currently in progress from the 'Baby boom' of the 1940's and 50's, although there will be a 20 year lag before the effects of this will be felt. A return to more traditional 'extended family' dwelling, with three or even more generations living in the same house, might ease the pressure on living space. This will be the lot of the less economically active.

Okay, so no real answer yet. However, there is one, and I'm afraid at this point I can already see the eyes rolling up into heads at "Oh, that old chestnut". Something more tangible than the movement of small green pieces of paper. Finance for finance sake is rather like Fantasy Football, the numbers rapidly become just a way of keeping score, and any reference to the real world evaporates. Finance, at least in my world view, is the equivalent of electricity. It powers the making of the tangible. Perhaps that's too simplistic a weltanschauung, but there you go.

Like most species on this planet we are expansionist. Humans need new frontiers and empty space to expand into, or else conflict, famine, and mass death result. This is the biggest lesson of human history. Apart from the extreme Neo-Malthusian faction of Environmentalists, I think none of us want to see that happen. Well, at least no-one who isn't a complete Sociopath with all the social development of a thirteen year old testosterone freak.

My long-term solution to the coming Sino-Western crisis is this; Per ardua ad astra. Investment in properly funded international programmes to get at least some of mankind seriously off this rolling ball of rock across to another. In the process providing productive employment and sustenance for those with their feet still on the ground, including a continuing market for Chinese and other manufactured goods, and spin off technology for everyone. Our (humankind) future gets a reasonable future. Win-win I think.

The alternative really doesn't bear thinking about.

Katla grumbling

Steady low level grumbling at less than 1km depth. Small tremors. Not sure what it means, but am maintaining a watching brief.


A busier than normal week looms ahead.

Item 1: Settlers effects. Apparently these are in Vancouver (But we've only the shippers word for that). We were informed that they had arrived January 2nd and that we would be told where to turn up for the customs check. Last Friday I had a conversation with an ever so slightly nervous and evasive sounding manager who assured me that they were having trouble scheduling drivers. Don't know what it was, but something in her her tone made my bullshit detector array twitch like a caffeine freak on amphetamines. We are told clearing customs may necessitate a trip to Victoria, which I really don't have time for. Then there is being at home for the delivery at 24 hours notice, which might royally screw up our schedule.

Item 2: My, ahem 'Crash course' in the ICBC motor vehicle damage claims system continues when the parts arrive for my poor wounded (And brand bloody new!) SUV rear ended last Tuesday. From my perspective it's all pretty painless, but time consuming.

Item 3: Change of employment. Now I am a permanent resident of Canada I can legally take any job that I can get hired for. An interview for a very nice job indeed is in the offing, which has to fit in with all my other work / voluntary work, chasing after Customs Officials / Shippers, getting cars fixed etcetera that this week has to throw at us.

Everything could all go pear shaped quite easily, and very probably will, knowing my luck. Damn, there's my cynicism again, knew I'd left it somewhere.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

So it's not just me then?

Digest, contemplate.

Inspired by Scoakat.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Just thinking....

At the risk of veering into tinfoil hat 'conspiracy' territory, I'd like to explore a thought if I may. The components of the thought have been provided by coverage of recent events in both the lamestream and the more sceptical news outlets, and my recent fruitless foray in writing to politicians. Sorry to bang on about this climate thing, but this blog, as I've occasionally mentioned is my toxic thought dump. This is a toxic thought, this is where it gets dumped. Simples.

Having gone through the patronising garbage thrown back by the various UK and EU politicians I contacted, the consensus was that they knew best, and no, they were going to keep throwing taxpayer dollar into the 'You're all doomed' propaganda effort, as personified by the offensive 10:10 video. Which considering there is no empirical evidence to link man made carbon dioxide emissions with increasing temperature, is a bit strange. Surely they must have sought the opinion of experts who don't share Hadley CRU's version of events. Just to check that they were doing the right thing. Yet despite a veritable sceptical cacophony of well informed voices, UK politicians respond by carrying on with the same shit, different day.

Now, here's my thinking; could it be because they have got so used to the tax money extorted from the working public, that like some hopeless junkie they'll do and rationalise anything not to lower 'green taxes', or is there an element of something else?

Now just for the sake of argument let's make the following assumption; that people like Cameron, Clegg and Huhne are no cleverer than the average businessman. This is not an unreasonable assumption. There once was a saying that the 'fool of the family' entered the church, now the same dictum is applied to politicians. Now this is average dinner table talk when our clan get together, and sets me to thinking, why do politicians create more problems than they solve? A politician needs to have a little bit of something about them to get elected, well, apart from a well-oiled party machine in a notoriously partisan constituency. So no, you can't be totally thick. Axiom destruction test - Fail.

Right, so having established that politicians aren't that stupid, what else could account for their failure to accept what's really going on? Could it be the money? After all, there's a hell of a lot of moolah tied up in this climate / carbon trading malarkey. Although not so much since the North American Carbon trading market tanked, and the Chicago Carbon Exchange collapsed into a fiscal black hole. Yes, well I'm sure some have, and fortunes have been made by selling up ahead of the collapse, and short selling during the rapid decline, but at the moment, no. Same for the tax thing. Sure, the tax dollars prop up the UK and EU exchequers during this economic downturn, but it's not the whole story. There's something missing. If it was purely the money, then the recession would have been the big wake-up call. Ditch the green taxation because it's a massive drag on economic activity, but the reverse has been true. Instead of fading into the woodwork as you might expect, the 'It's all mankind's fault' propaganda machine has been in overdrive. On the taxpayer dollar. Greensleaze and a host of other, similar parasitic growths on the body politic are still doing nicely thank you. So why? Economic logic would dictate that they would be the first bunch of mindless jerks up against the fiscal wall when the downturn came. Yet for them it's business as usual while others freeze under stationary windmills.

Okay, so we've established that it's not always the money, and it's not complete stupidity; so what is the answer. Watch John Hurt in great form as a ranting demagogue and the answer unfolds.

Yes, but why do we need so many of these people? Is that part of the incessant droning propaganda behind the man made climate meme? Some form of job justification exercise for the otherwise unemployable? Having had contact with my local constituency MP, I wouldn't hire him to scrub floors, because I'd have to send another worker in to go over the bits he'd missed. Competent is an adjective he does not merit.

Let's face it, when EU legislation gets cut and pasted straight onto the UK statute books, why do we need many UK politicians? Especially those in ministerial roles. They blithely disrespect the voices of their constituents and talk about 'nudging' people in the 'right' direction. Yet these politicians are following the self same policies that took the UK, and much of the Western world nosediving into penury, as the last lot. Yet they have the temerity to tell others what to do?

Climate change as a political job creation programme? Hmm. Now I've explored the thought it makes a weird kind of sense. Why do we need them? Police don't need politicians to enforce the law. The guys who fix the roads don't need politicians to tell them where the potholes are. Doctors and Nurses don't need to be told how to treat sick people. People don't need to be verbally bludgeoned about healthy lifestyles. You don't live healthily (For you), you get sick. If the EU is in charge anyway, why does the UK need people like Cameron, Clegg, Huhne, and that buzz cut blockhead Milliband anyway? Except to fix stuff which ain't really broke.

Rather reminds me of that old Flanders and Swann comedy song; 'It all makes work for the working man to do' a.k.a. 'The Gas man cometh'. Only several orders of magnitude more expensive.

Just thinking....

Friday, 14 January 2011


Having seen the footage of the so-called 'memorial' for the six victims of the Arizona shootings, I'll say I'm not impressed. I'd even go to say it was a massive PR FAIL for the Obama spinmeisters. Look guys, can I just highlight something pretty fundamental about memorial services? Memorials are about remembering those who died, not some stage managed ego-trip for a bloody politician, FFS!

What a disquietingly creepy spectacle. Had someone gone up and given the boy president a blow job right there at the lectern there would have been whoops and cheers. I know Blair pulled a similar trick at the Diana funeral, but at least he gave the appearance of caring while grandstanding to a gullible public.

I hold no brief for either Democrat or Republican south of the 49th parallel, but the personality cult currently in operation down there makes me cringe. The hyperbole is nauseating, oleaginous, and positively emetic. Especially with the record of the current US administration. No-one is fooled, and I'll lay odds it won't do their approval rating any good at all.

Whatever happened to the quiet dignity of other people's grief, eh?

After watching that footage I am off for a wash. I feel the need to scrub my skin clean from the inside. Want to see the vid for yourself? Look it up on Youtube, because I'm not posting it here.

Ah.. Facebook again...

I told Facebook I wanted my account deleted, but I'm still getting 'fiend' requests. Why? Who are these stupid people? On second thoughts I think I'm better off not knowing.

The last word......

Everyone else seems to have posted this little video, so why should I be different?

'Green' policies are wrecking the Western economies, and if they are not reversed shortly, will consign our descendants to starvation and penury. For what? A fantasy pushed by fanatics who don't understand much outside their own tightly defined agenda. All that can be done is to challenge the shameless regurgitation of the warmist dogma and say 'prove it'. Which they can't, and won't because they can't.

I'm bored with the nonsense about man made climate change / global bollocks / carbon trading. The whole meme is so patently a lie that even the lamestream press are catching on. Volcanoes are far more fun, and have more effect on the worlds climate because while a great many may not be actually erupting, that doesn't mean their output is zero. The only thing carbon trading does is make some very rich people even richer.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Piers Corbyn predicts cooling

Cooling to 2035 followed by a century of cooler weather globally speaking sounds realistic to me.

The only problem here is that Piers' appearance and manner militates against him in the churches of spin and obfuscation surrounding the politics of climate. I think if he got some presentation classes and became better groomed and dressed, the warmist cause would be dead and buried within a week. On the other hand, maybe what Piers needs is a front man with those attributes. Said front man doesn't need to be a hot shot scientist, just know enough about the weather not to get flustered under pressure, and have wits sharp enough to fight the verbal battles, and reflexes fast enough to dodge the inevitable punches from outraged loser warmists. Oh, and a little personal charm.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Was chatting to a work buddy today about this and that. I mentioned about recently finishing my perusal of the novel 'Madame Zee' by Pearl Luke. Now the main character of the account was a real live person involved in a local scandal during the late 1920's and early 30's. For anyone who's interested I'm linking to the tale of the notorious 'Brother XII' and his founding of the Aquarian Foundation. Quite the local legend.

The conversation drifted as conversations do, and we light heartedly discussed various associated items like Aleister Crowley. As well as the profanity associated with much UK television comedy.

It was then that a number of my thoughts collided with a big chilly iceberg of a notion. What if the UK is possessed, as in demoniacally? It would explain quite a lot of my experiences there. Why people there seem so quick to turn into yapping, snarling junkyard dogs at the least provocation. Neighbours who take revenge for imagined slights. Screaming children everywhere you turn, the 'rights' culture which brings people out in rash incontinent abuse if you have the temerity to even politely aver to their loutish or unreasonable behaviour. My goodness! So that's what it is! You poor buggers in the the UK are under Demonic possession!

No wonder everything there seems to have gone down the toilet.

Wonder how that happened? Did Tony Blair sell the nations souls to Satan to win three elections on the trot? Does Gordon Browns head revolve and exude green slime in unguarded moments? Has David Cameron inherited this curse? By the look of some of the people I ran into whilst there this year, could Satan have rejected them because they would have lowered the tone of Hades?

All things are possible. Now I'm off to bed and I'm leaving the light on, thank you.

What an interesting day it's been

A number of relatively shallow tremors have occurred under Torfajokull, which last erupted in 1477. There is some ongoing shallow activity under Katla, but nothing apparently significant at this time. Unless there's some news about ground movement or other volcanic indicators, you can't make any guesses one way or another. Apparently it differs from others because it undergoes Silicic eruptions, which I'm told creates 'stickier' magma.

Other things today; oh yes Mummylonglegs has pulled her blog "And there was me thinking". Maybe she'll resurface under a wordpress or other ID. Her voice will be missed.

On a personal note MML, drop me a line if you start blogging again. You and your Squids were always part of my mornings entertainment.

What else? Oh yes, a dozy item in a Ford F150 rear ended my car, my brand new bloody car! My stationary brand new bloody car. Grrr, snarl, growl.. However, the collision seemed to do more damage to his pickup, and only superficial damage to our small SUV. Said gentleman claimed he couldn't stop in time, although I hadn't felt any ice as we crossed the self same stretch of road less than half a minute earlier. He was all apologies, and said his brakes hadn't worked. I saw no point at getting mad at him. Okay, fine, maybe, but to teach him to stay a little more alert at the wheel in future, there's a bill for a couple of thousand dollars winging it's way via ICBC. I am rather upset by the whole business, but Mrs S and I have already sorted the estimate and the claim through the very efficient claims system here (Even if there are tales of people having their hand in the ICBC's cookie jar). We took it to a recommended body shop and the parts have been ordered. We've no excess to pay, and by late next week Thumper should be good as new.

The snow promised began falling just before dusk, and we're waiting to see what kind of coverage results. The city is already making provision for a heavy fall, road sanders have been out, and free parking provision has been made in case some places are made inaccessible. What a refreshing change from the mindset of UK local authorities.

Oh what an interesting day it's been. I'll be glad when it's all over.

Discussion topics

“It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
Samuel Adams
“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
This Samuel Adams, not this one, although I am quite partial to the odd bottle.

Back later. Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Bring it on

Just seen this via Environment Canada's Weather service for our little enclave.

Logs are dry and ready. Batteries purchased in case the power goes. We have food, we have warmth. Bring it on.

Update: According to the forecast the snow will turn to rain by mid Wednesday. We're good to cope with any floods as well.

Having visited the valleys of the Trolls

Oh what fun. I pay a couple of daily visits to the UK Daily Telegraph comment threads between tasks for a little light entertainment. The most entertaining are James Delingpole and Christopher Booker, not so much for the articles, but for the silliness of a small number of trolls, including I think a couple of Turing 'bots.

Just for fun, I like to do a little hit and run posting, but I just don't have the stamina for the stuff like Richard North's heavy duty anti-troll sniping, or the near continual presence of contributors like Reality Returns or the ubiquitous Horace. One can only admire their persistence against a horde of hostile commenters.

The thing that nudges my curiosity button is why do those espousing leftist views spend so much time there? They only end up getting roundly ridiculed for their half assed attacks on the articles and their general poor understanding of the world. They convert no one and convince even fewer. If the left of centre philosophy were so superior it would be self evident. It would have produced the perfect society by now; but it hasn't and it won't. There are mass graves as memorials to such hubris.

At present the Libertarian movement is being equated with being 'right wing' and bad. As one whose sympathies lie with greater individual freedom, I find a lot of the trollish assertions baffling. Their pervading view appears to be 'Individual choice = bad and state intervention = good'. My reasoning is as follows; given that the 'State' is remote from an individuals day to day life, isn't the expectation of cradle to grave intervention a bit well, over optimistic? To me the greater state is very much a blunt instrument which is unable to react in a timely and relevant matter to specific circumstance.

Dealing with such an entity always reminds me of the old analogy of kicking the tail of an Apatosaurus to stop it eating all your trees. It takes a metaphorical week for the message to arrive at said slow Saurians brain, which then only has a limited number of options available to it. Then it takes another week for the message to travel back before you get slapped sideways by a flick of said tail. Which is the only way it has of responding. Spend any time trying to talk to UK local Government, or any large bureaucracy for that matter, and you'll understand what I mean.

Based on the above, does it make sense to put your trust in a large, amorphous organisation which only deals in a limited number of one size fits all solutions? Or to leave the problem solving to smaller, more autonomous units closer to the issue in question? The Leftist trolls don't understand that small can not only be more beautiful, but far more reactive and efficient. However, that won't keep them in non-jobs or cosy little sinecures, which is what they really desire. Those kind of jobs are predominantly the purview of an enlarged, bureaucratic state or large corporate entity which can afford such luxuries.

However, the days of these jobs are rapidly coming to an end unless some bright spark can come up with a new way of generating money, apart from trying to tax the very air we breathe or water we drink, or the cost of travelling. There are too many people in the Western world who think the world owes them a living. Too many who do not produce something tangible but deign to tell others who can, what to do. This is the lesson waiting to be learned. In the valleys of the trolls.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Oh, snow

Awoken around ten to five this morning by a selection of thumps and bumps outside the window. Thinking that we had some form of wildlife problem, Mrs S got out of bed to peer through a gap in the curtains. "Bill?"
"It's been snowing."
"It's falling off the roof."
"Can't be that cold then." I rolled over and went back to sleep, to be confronted by the images below at eight in the morning.
A modest sprinkling of three to four inches coats everything, but I'm not concerned despite all the nonsense being shunted about cold weather being (Yet another) symptom of the farcical 'global warming'. It's a busted flush, a nonsense to scare the gullible and small children who don't have a grounding in Physics.

We have winter tyres and a brand new 4x4, the log store is well stocked. Warming? what warming? Winter still has three more months to run.


So the Tea party did it did they?

A lot of crass speculation flying around the leftish side of the blogosphere about who incited the assassin of six people whose number included a Judge and a 9 year old girl, also the attempted murder of a US Democratic congresswoman. A lot of it ill informed wishful idiocy.

A quick statement of position here; I hold no brief for Ex Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin or the US protest group the 'Tea Party'. Apart from me being a fan of small government and verifiable truths, but that's as far as my interest goes. As an aside, I can never understand the sheer volume of vitriol poured against Palin. She's no more gaffe prone than the current incumbent of the White House, although she does have nicer legs (Gosh, me sexist? Erm, possibly?).

Back to Seriousville; From all accounts the (Alleged - let's not forget due process) would be murderer of congresswoman Giffords, is in the mould of Leftist assassins. His high school colleagues knew him as one whose views veered far left of centre. His Facebook and Youtube postings paint a picture of someone as far opposed to the ideals of small government and personal liberty as espoused by the Tea Party as it is possible to be. So how can he be allied or inspired by groupings that are opposed to his own publicly well-documented political leanings?

You don't have to be a genius to make such an observation, and simply resorting to knee-jerk partisan playground accusations like some spoiled seven year old won't make it otherwise. Congresswoman Giffords has survived, but her attempted murder was nothing to do with her political opponents.

As for the accused murderer and would be assassin; if he is found guilty and the Board of Corrections run out of drugs to perform an execution by Lethal Injection, perhaps they'll wheel the Gas Chamber or Gallows out to edit this particular monster from humanity.

Friday, 7 January 2011

So much for 'morality'

Am greatly entertained by tales from across the water of the various attempts at persuasion or coercion by Government related agencies. Am further amused at the attempts to legislate morality in the UK's new 'Bribery act' due to come into force this April.

Apparently it will soon be unlawful for a company's agents to offer any form of inducement to win business. The laws of unforseen consequences loom large in the UK's future. In some ways good, in others bad. This is one of the parting gifts of the outgoing Labour Government, part of Brown's political 'scorched earth' policy.

Good: No more lobbyist bribes to UK politicians by promising to employ a no-hope relative in a non-job or writing a large cheque to a vote grabbing cause. No golfing or shooting weekends with 'friends'. Nothing that could be construed as an 'advantage' like book advances or anything outside of their immediate salary and expenses. Like Caesars wife, the politicians will have to sit aloof and alone, isolated by their own legislation, faced only with their constituents. Lobbying companies will have to tread a very fine line indeed.

Bad: Any form of 'Ex gratia' payment to any 'official' to elicit or give thanks for performance above and beyond 'normal'. A severely restricted ability to trade with certain cultures where bribery, or ex gratia gift giving is the norm (Just about the entire trading world). Manufacturing, imports, and exports will all suffer.

What the high minded moralists forget is that gift giving (Bribery) is endemic throughout the Animal Kingdom. Every warm blooded species with a half developed tribal structure does it. In human societies, ex gratia gifts to dates, spouses, or superiors to win favour are part of our everyday stock in trade. Is there anyone so mean spirited out there who has never given a gift to another person in return for a favour? Who has never given thanks with a pint at the bar or a small cash gift to 'go get yourself something'? What actually constitutes a 'bribe'? A welcome cup of tea to a thirsty Police Officer keeping your street safe? All right, you don't see them very often on foot patrol in the UK, but this is a hypothetical question. A bottle of wine to your MP or local councillor for helping you out in a difficult case?

All will be effectively outlawed. The fallout will be extremely damaging.

Now children; what is the lesson we have learned here? You. Cannot. Legislate. Morality.

Now I have to go and 'bribe' a fish onto a hook. TTFN.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Katla activity

First visit to the Icelandic Met offices Earthquake data site this morning evinced a 'Wow!' from my lips for the Mýrdalsjökull glacial area around Katla. However, the depths indicate that the rather diffuse swarm like activity is, with the few red underlined exceptions, mostly quite deep, and therefore not indicative of any possible eruption.

Carry on and stay calm. Nothing to see here. Move along. I think.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


The New year at the moment of writing feels rather anticlimactic after all the excitement and nail biting suspense over flights on the run up to Christmas.

Now all I can be bothered to say about the light sentencing of a bunch of sorry losers who thought closing a power station would be fun, is 'off with their electricity'. A far more apt punishment than the community orders and suspended sentences handed down. As for the Judge, well, I can't say I'm overly surprised given the eco-idiots currently posing as the UK Government. He would have had his 'guidance' from on high, and that would have been it. As regards said current comedy turns performance, they'll be out on their ears when their lords and masters give the nod.

Can't even get annoyed over the VAT rise to 20%. Even if that was one of the Gorgons final japes on the UK electorate. Or the head of a Quango who wanted to flush a million taxpayer pounds down the fiscal toilet to spite the coalition. There's no fire, no verve, no anger any more. I'm almost overwhelmed by my own complete indifference. If I could be bothered. I'd even go so far as to say I'm completely consumed by my own apathy.

Glad I'm out of it, and our kids can bow out any time they like. Good.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Iceland volcanic update

Usual visit to the Icelandic Met Office Website turned up these New Year tremblings. Katla has the odd small tremor back at the 1km depth range, whilst Bárdarbunga had a brief, deep swarm (See screengrabbed tables). Perhaps it was simply some of the locals participating in their favourite sport of driving a truck into a crater very fast, to try and slingshot over the opposite lip of the caldera. Although what they were doing several kilometres down is nobody's business but theirs.

Usual caveats apply about one tremor swarm doth not an eruption make.
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