Thursday, January 31, 2008
Now, two weeks- and a lot of wasted time later- I have resorted to posting requests for help on PC forums! Oh, the ignominy! Allow me to explain my shame: I am what I like to term "computer literate". I.E. I can make windows sing and dance if I can be arsed. I flaunt this knowledge in illiterate's faces and sneer at the time it takes them to find files on their desktops or locate information on the web. I'm no programmer or hacker or any other uber-geek. I just know how to get stuff done with the minmum of fuss on a PC and I'm generally capable of tinkering around inside the guts (soft- or hardware) of one without wrecking it. Hence my frustration and embarassment at being thwarted by my dream PC!
I love my little laptop dearly- playing with it is actually better than beer!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
A nice example of how conservative attitudes cross over into outright dehumanisation. A relevant quote:
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
— John Kenneth Galbraith
I might observe that a precise definition, per Yasmin's experience, would include the search for immoral justifications as well (I'm talking about racism, in case you didn't get that).
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
This little article adds credence to my conviction that Apple products are the exact opposite to what Steve Jobs would have you believe. After many early tales of unreplaceable batteries and unreplaceable music libraries this really does put Apple in the top 10 of the greenwank offenders list.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
"In 2006, we're hearing more than ever from politiicians that 'right' and 'left' are no longer meaningful terms. To the contary, they're as meaningful as ever, providing that it's understood that they're simply defining economic positions. However, with all the main parties embracing to a greater or lesser extent the prevailing neoliberal economic orthodoxy, it's increasingly - and embarrassingly - difficult for them to define their economic differences. No wonder they're anxious to scrap this measure !
Voter turnout is highest when ideological differences are most significant. This helps explain why the voter turnout is lower in the US than in all other western democracies , most of which have a multiplicity of parties and proportional representation. In the UK, voter turnout may continue to fall to US levels. Lowering the voting age isn't likely to excite participation in elections when the choice is less and less to do with a clash of visions than mere managerial competence. And without those traditionally big choices, one might well wonder where this is going to ultimately leave democracy."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
As for overpopulation, its one of those things that everyone agrees with in principle but as soon as you start considering solutions you quickly realise that all the ones with the potential to make any sort of rapid difference entail genocide. Maybe that was what Blair and Bush secretly agreed upon in 2003 before invading Iraq . . . .
Anyway, I've ranted about the population thing before and I'm quite comfy in my "nothing to be done about it" chair for now.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
In case anyone's confused about my green credentials and my scorn for whale-huggers, remember that I am a marine biologist and covered the scientific and moral aspectsof whaling during my honours degree.
Intelligent things to ask an extremist whale-cuddler:
- What evidence is there to suggest that killing whales is any less ethical than killing cows?
- Apart from those populations which are endangered, why should more populous species not be hunted for food by nations with a heritage of whaling? (There are > 1 million sperm whales in the oceans currently- so many that they are a pest to shipping.)
- Your attempts to halt whaling frequently endanger the lives of the crews of the whaling ships and suggests you value the lives of whales above those of humans, how do you justify this?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Sorry all my posts are really short at the moment. I am absurdly hectic at work at the moment. My HPLC pump died on me and I've had to rebuild the system with scrounged components. I'm also trying to write a paper, have been making diagrams for another paper, supervising students, getting into metabolomics (NMR- fuck, yeah!), analysing data and liaising with all the other cutting edge worm science motherfuckers with small penises out there. Oh, yeah- and I saved the world yesterday from a rogue worm virus that threatened to kill off half the population of the Western Hemisphere, blind the other half and drive everyone else psychotic and sterile. . . . . . . or did I read that in The Guide?
They've got a shit job to do but omnipotent attitudes like this don't do their public image any favours whatsoever. I was always struck, whilst growing up, by the hatred that some of my peers displayed for the police, usually those kids from the uglier bits of town. I couldn't understand why as I had no contact with the police and to me they seemed to be a good idea in case someone decided to run off with my bike. These days I see it a little differently. The last people I'd turn to if someone stole my bike would be the police. "Well, sir, we'll log the details and contact you if anything turns up."
'If anything turns up'? You're not going to actually do jack about this are you? Why not just admit that you're powerless in the face of petty crime due to a lack of cooperation from the public and a lack of staff on your part. And who have you got to blame for that?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
- 2 degree target is a global figure, varying greatly with latitude- eg. changes at the poles might be >10 degrees whilst at the equator virtually nothing. This is still a massive threat eg. sea level rises. The 'peer reviewed' source he quotes is a fucking ECONOMICS JOURNAL- not a science journal!
- 25-40% figure is actually an underestimate- not an overestimate- see George Monbiot for more detail
- the $84trillion figure is laughable seeing as I've made a point of emphasising that combatting cilmate change can be economically beneficial.
- Also, the twat appears not to have heard of that little thing called The Stern Review
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Get the message you wankers! They are not working for you- they are exploiting and manipulating you because they can be sure that they will always hold either the top spot or the bastards-in-waiting position thanks to your inability to perceive a simple trend. I.E. the same governments and the same shite results. Time after time.
grgrgrrrrrrrrrrrrrr mumblmblmblmblll whine whinge grit moan etc.etc.etc.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Its worth reading the conclusion at least. I haven't read the whole report but it seems to based on sound principals. My criticism is that, although the proposals in the report are a clear improvement on the current administrations ecocidal mania, their goals for emissions reductions of 50% by 2050 are grossly inadequate if their aim is to avoid a significant chance of more than a 2 degree rise in global mean temperatures- as George makes clear here. My hope is that this moderate proposal can be expanded and extended to produce effective action on emissions with the same positive economic outcome. George explains why serious government intervention is the only way progress can be made in this area here and here.
Honestly, you'd have thought that the Stern Review would have made such blinkered analysis unpublishable but sadly not.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Addition: Sellafield clean up will cost tax payer £34 billion!!!!
In another cheery bit of news from nukesville we have the revelation today that the British Nuclear Group, a subsidiary of BNFL, stands to contribute only ~£8 billion to the clean up operation that will cost a total of ~£42 billion. Why a public listed company should be allowed to simply hand its liabilities over to the government without being held to account eludes me. Apparently BNFL is desperately trying to shed the group to avoid this liability falling back onto them. No-one seems to have factored in any long-term costs for storing the several tonnes of high-level plutonium which the site currently holds and seeing as the proposed solution for safely disposing of this material has just gone down the pan I really do struggle to comprehend why this government is proposing that more of this material should be produced.
"There are certain technical words in every academic discipline which soon become stereotypes and even clichés. Every academic discipline has its technical nomenclature. You who are in the field of psychology have given us a great word. It is the word maladjusted. This word is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is a good word; certainly it is good that in dealing with what the word implies you are declaring that destructive maladjustment should be destroyed. You are saying that all must seek the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.
But on the other hand, I am sure that we will recognize that there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted. There are some things concerning which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will. We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.
In a day when Sputniks, Explorers and Geminies are dashing through outer space, when guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can finally win a war. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence, it is either nonviolence or nonexistence. As President Kennedy declared, 'Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.' And so the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a suspension in the development and use of nuclear weapons, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and eventually disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. Our earthly habitat will be transformed into an inferno that even Dante could not envision."
I got it from Adam Curtis' film The Century of The Self.
No, really- he is a complete climate change denying cunt!
There's ample material out there from people like George Monbiot and other realists, such as this effort from Oliver Burkeman trashing King's delusional position. The most damning indictement of King's position is the simple fact that he has overseen the apocalyptic reopening of Britain's coal mines and sanctified a new generation of coal fired power stations.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist
A couple of times I have felt that the Media Lens crew do left-wing commentators something of a disservice by being so focused upon the ills of their kin- such as when they assaulted George Monbiot. Its true that all commentators should be answerable to someone and its significant that even when Dave and Dave phrase their criticism in fairly incendiary language the responses from those left-wing commentators I respect are generally civil and rational. I suppose that targeting the Melanie Phillips of this world isn't much of a challenge as their position is so indefensible that- unless you are actively searching for justification for hatred and reactionary bile- only a fool would not see through such shite.
Here' s mine (as if you couldn't work this out for yourself after reading a couple of posts here):
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Secondly, how does the Pentagon know they were Iranian, let alone from the revolutionary guard? Maybe they spoke Persian or the radar indicated they came from the Iranian coastline but so fucking what? This is pretty weak stuff, even for the Pentagon- the people who brought us "Iranian-made" IEDs and Extraordinary Rendition.
CounterPunch also smells bullshit re: the Gulf of Hormuz incident- or was it the Straights of Tonkin?
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Saturday, January 05, 2008
I rule. Totally.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
They must be punished.
I also caught some conservative fuckwit called Tony Lodge defending the new coal fired power station in Medway on the BBC news. This rodent appears to crop up everywhere new coal capacity is appearing calling for subsidies, advocating non-renewable generation and generally sucking dirty, black, carbon cock by writing for the right-wing think-tank, The Centre for Policy Studies. His appearance on the BBC comprised of pointing out that the new power station could be retro fitted with carbon capture technology (that hasn't been developed yet and won't be for another decade at the earliest) and also that a load of pensioners suffered from fuel poverty (as a result of various UK governments' refusal to embrace renewables once the true impacts of climate change and emissions reduction became clear nearly two decades ago). The rest of the time the head of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, was talking in opposition to it and making a crap job of it too.
3 Simple reasons why coal generation is stupid:
- Even 'new build' emits a fuck load of carbon- way more than gas. (Burning coal in older plants emits a fuck load of sulphurous and nitric oxides too- causing acid rain. Such plants also emit a fuck load of particulates causing asthma. I really hope that this new plant, if it gets built, is not one of these.)
- Like it or not, the UK currently holds power over the rest of the world by its powerful economy and position on the security council and we set an example for the world to follow. New coal builds would make it impossible for us to criticise India and China for following suit. (Same goes for nuclear).
- Coal may appear to be economic now but excavating it requires the input of liquid fuels such as oil to fuel the extraction process. Plus, every penny invested in coal generation is a penny not invested in renewables.
It seems I am amongst friends when publically damning nuclear generation.
I was reading the Guardian today whilst waiting for the bus after dropping the car off for a service (its going to hurt my bank account- oh dear!). The first comment piece was by this bloke Oliver James who was ranting about the epidemic of something called "Affluenza". I'd heard the term before and had an idea that it was some tree-hugging way of slamming over consumption- which it is- but I'd always imagined that the people who came up with this rather trite affliction were tree-hugging hippies themselves, banging on about how we should all be happy living in mud huts, etc. I.E. the archetypal sandal wearing twats who give right wing capitalist fundamentalist twats massive political ammunition. However Oliver James piece- although it was a bit whiny and generalist- was actually well referenced and stacked with dark statistics. Intrigued, I followed a link to his website, www.selfishcapitalist.com, where you can view a video of the man himself talking about his research on the prevalence of defined mental illness amongst Westernised nations. More specifically, he states that levels of this illness are twice as high in English speaking "selfish capitalist" nations than they are in continental European states.
I watched Oliver James' video with growing interest. He seemed to be advancing many controversial opinions with which I agreed and raised incredibly salient points with regard to the human condition. My problem with him is that he is a terrible public speaker- he 'umms' and ahhhs' incessantly. He wanders from one subject to the next without real purpose. He doesn’t end sentences. Its incredibly frustrating to hear someone as fascinating as this chap obviously is make such a meal out of an opportunity to make a profound statement. In fact, Oliver James is exactly the sort of person who I would never want to appear in public on my behalf if I were in politics because of his inability to make a point clearly and concisely. The ignorant public would laugh at him and switch over to David Cameron’s polished visage talking fluently about green issues and the need to make a difference. Its such a shame that politics in this country is like that because Oliver James is quite clearly an incredibly intellectual chap with a string of brilliant texts in print. He certainly isn’t afraid of making bold assertions about why popular cultural trends are detrimental to our societal well being, however he does not explain clearly why this should be the case.
I’m going to read one of his books to see if that’s any clearer. If it isn’t, I’m going to have to declare him- against my gut instinct- a cockweasel.
Incidentally that warmongering fuckwit, Oliver Kamm, posted a response to Oliver James' piece. I gave him appropriate treatment in the comments.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I think it is wholly appropriate to past in this article from the Lenin's Tomb blog that I quoted in full earlier this year:
You know, with 6 billion people on the planet, $65.95 trillion amounts to $10,099.16 each. (Alright, it's 6.6bn now, so make let's say it would be $9,992.42 each). Did you get that much of a pay rise last year? Did you even get a pay rise, or is the Iron Chancellor trying to cut yours as well? Where the hell is all this money going? Who is doing what with it, and why aren't we told? I mean, I don't know about you, but I figure I did my fair bloody share, and I want a cut of that moolah. Alright, suppose we get over the Politics of Envy (Pinochet knew what to do with those who got too envious). Let us turn to the Politics of Compassion. There are 3bn people on the planet living in absolute poverty: that's half the population of the world. Many of these live in dynamic capitalist economies like India and Indonesia. 80% of Indians live on less than $2 a day according to the World Bank (who are making sure it's kept that way). The same august institution says that half of Indonesians live on less than $2 a day. But these are two countries that have followed orders, privatised, deregulated and liberalised. Of course, Indonesia notoriously had to go through a process of genocide in order to get there. Not to mention centuries of benevolent governance at the hands of colonial powers in both countries, which did admittedly kill a few tens of millions of people. But all of this mass murder was a temporary stop-gap on the way prosperity, and anyway - what are the fascist metaphors people usually use in this circumstance? Eggs and omelettes? Wheat and chaff? Chas and Dave? What can have gone wrong? The highest proportions of such a state of poverty are in Africa. Zambia has 94.1% of its population living in absolute poverty. Nigeria - oil-rich multinational-friendly Nigeria - has 92.4% of its population living in absolute poverty. And, as well as this, there are tens of millions of people living on below $2 a day in Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
So, what happened to that $65.95 trillion from last year alone? Did it fall behind the sofa? Has someone wasted it on television phone polls? Well, remember I mentioned the Billionaire's Club last year? That is, aside from the richest 2% of adults in the world (about 83 million people) who owned more than half of the world's wealth, that 500 people who actually own billions? That was last year, and the statistics probably originated from longer ago (I think from 2000). This year, there are 946: 415 in America, 55 in Germany, 53 in Russia, 36 in India, and 29 in the UK. And it occurs to me that those chaps would be in an ideal position, due to their immense social power, to ensure that most of the newly created wealth goes to them, and as little as possible is redistributed (except when it's good for PR and capitalist morale). It's the same pattern in every country: look at the wealth distribution in selected countries. (Isn't it wierd that the bottom 20% of Australians have so little of the national wealth that they don't even register as a significant percentage share? Isn't it weirder still that some actually get a negative share such as in Germany and Sweden?). Now, we were talking about newly created wealth above, but what would the total global wealth look like if divided evenly among the world's inhabitants? I've tried to find some figures for total global wealth. What you can find is the occasional reference to total global household wealth, which isn't the same thing. And I suspect billions of dollars of wealth are concealed in off-shore trickery every year, so how can one reasonably expect to construct such figures? Total global wealth, including public and private wealth, all concealed wealth, and all wealth that is simply disposed of because it can't be sold, must be in the hundreds of trillions. And we aren't seeing more than an atom of it.
Well, I'm sick of it. Every year I get gipped. I get short-changed. I get a nice hot cup of fuck all. I wait for the cheque in the post, and all I get is another war. If this keeps happening, I'm going to start thinking it's being done on purpose."
Another CiF post details why Labour is wholly responsible for the obscene rail fair rises and the delays resulting from unfinished maintenance work. Christian Wolmar rules. The links in his article are enlightening. As someone in the comments has observed, why are we paying billionaires our tax money to cream off as profits? (Addition: More British rail service bashing on CiF here.)
We are also graced with another article by Prem Sikka asking why our financial system is so open to abuse by the very people who are meant to be regulated by it.
Got to go do that again. Every time I go surfing I;m reminded how unfit I am and how much fun it can be. Awesome stuff!