Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
A pretty moving story. Just goes to show that ultimately all we have to rely upon is our own judgement and if we don't spend time honing it by judging issues of import then we will all be radioactive dust one day.
Friday, September 26, 2008
More evidence that our government is acting against our interests. Time for change people. Vote Green.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I intend to complete my lab work by Wednesday. I'm not going to make it, especially as I am going out for pre-emptive celebratory beer on Monday with NMR girl. Anyhoo, I am spending 20 hours a day in the lab and will be spending ~16 hours a day writing up for the next 4-5 months so don't expect lengthy, lucid prose from me. Not that you do, but I reckon I occasionally put a few good words together. Like 'cock' and 'weasel'. Or 'goat and 'fnarr'.
Lots of wonderfully biting sarcasm to be found out there.
This is surely the creme de la creme.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Little wonder, then, that the mental right wing has reacted like the citizens of Rock Ridge in Blazing Saddles.
I've long envisaged Obama's inauguration playing out like the scene where the black Sheriff arrives in the town: Obama, stood before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA, affirming his oath of office, surrounded by 5 star Generals, Admirals, Senators etc. when suddenly, from the assembled crowd comes the cry 'The President is a nigger!'.
The Chief Justice, puzzled, pauses in mid-oath, squints and peers closely at Obama before exclaiming: 'My God, he's right! The President is a nigger!' Washington's finest proceed to whip out guns and point them at Obama, who has to whip out his own gun, hold it to his head and back away toward the Oval Office with the words 'Nobody move or the nigger gets it!' Whereupon he discovers Gene Wilder propping up the drinks cabinet.
Together, they will defeat America's enemies by building a fake America for them to attack.
Mel Brooks, as the Governor in that movie, managed to parody George Bush Jnr. even before he became Governor of Texas. 'These things are defective'.
- This is from the comments on a post from Flying Rodent. You have to read it. Its poetry.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I have paraphrased Osborne there. His actual words, in the Financial Times, were:
"The development has left the opposition party on the backfoot, as City regulation becomes a new political dividing line. "No one takes pleasure from people making money out of the misery of others but that is a function of capitalist markets," Mr Osborne said.
Alan Duncan, the shadow business secretary, rejected Lib Dem assertions the Conservative stance was linked to the substantial funding the party has received from hedge fund operators.
"The suggestion our thinking is influenced by the origin of party funding is cheap and silly," Mr Duncan told the FT. "Vince Cable talks total tosh about speculators . . . Every buyer has a willing seller and every seller has a willing buyer - that's a market."
This has already been covered by several people far better than I could. Osborne is scum.
Blood & Treasure
Friday, September 19, 2008
Apparently this guy is meant to be a "veteran energy policy analyst". Seems he hasn't read this or this or heard of this or seen this or this. Not so very veteran after all, hey? In fact for a veteran analyst he's suspiciously ignorant of the potential of renewables to power the continent, let alone the country.
Reading this again, I think the point I'm trying to make is that twats like the above look at the predicted installations of renewables and see a huge gap between what climate science predicts as being necessary to limit global change to a 2 degree rise and what is likely to be installed (~12% of our electricity by 2020 is probably the likely result at current trends- I can't remember where I read that so don't quote me on it). They then use this as evidence that renewables aren't up to the job of saving us from ourselves and so nuclear, "clean coal", liquified gas, hydrogen, magic beans, etc. become essential to fill the shortfall. Why I am so hostile to people like this is because predictions like the 12% figure come from "business-as-usual" scenarios that don't consider the national scale mobilisations of resources that people like the Green New Deal posse advocate. This is what is needed. I don't propose for one second that "business-as-usual" would be successful or desirable. The curent system sucks in sooooo many ways. Can we not just replace all soap operas on TV with ecuational broadcasts on climate change science, the threat CC presents to our way of life and our civilisation and the ability of renewable technologies to save us from this dystopian future? The public would soon get the message- freedom to destroy your own way of life and your children's heritage is no freedom at all. There is another way.
"no one has the right to be stupid"
Word to Simon Jenkins.
"[cycling] helmets, like seat belts, somehow do not seem to reduce accidents"
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
About time too. Talk about mixed messages!
Well they're not. Religion is nonsense.
Just because some people choose to ignorantly or wilfully attempt to mix science and religion doesn't mean that religion can be brought into science lessons. Quite, quite the opposite. What should be happening here is that science should be deployed in religious education lessons to quash all the farcical mumbo-jumbo that religious people hold to be true. Walking on water, an afterlife, miracles, visions, natural disasters as evidence of some god's wrath, religious proscriptions. All of these and many more need to be put into the context of our society and laws. Islam prescribes death for apostasy- this is illegal in this country. Christianity proscribes adultery but there is no law against it in this country. Your relationship might not last too long if your partner finds out but its not illegal. Paedophilia features heavily in Abrahamic religions but that doesn't make it any more acceptable than hammering a tent peg into someone's temple (Judges 4:17-24 NLT)?
Rich Dawkins- another RS Fellow, wrote in to New Scientist to weigh in on the argument and suggested that, rather than resign as Director of Education for the Society, Reiss might resign his clerical Orders instead. Its certainly a scenario that I would love to see.
Thanks to Rossinisbird who pointed out that I had written that Islam proscribes death for apostasy when in fact fundamentalists believe it prescribes it (as usual the evidence and arguments for and against a specific interpretation of sky-pixie literature are irrational and opaque).
I forgot that the 11th September is the anniversary of more than one atrocity.
". . . after all we have said about elections, if the first time a Communist wins the US tries to prevent the constitutional process from coming into play we will look very bad."
These were the words of the US Secretary of State, Wiliam Rogers, to Henry Kissinger. They were discussing what to do about the newly elected socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile. It was September 1970.
On September 11th 1973 General Augusto Pinochet, with the ideological and material support of the US, launched a coup against the democratically elected government. Allende apparently committed suicide when rebel troops stormed the presidential palace. In the years that followed 200,000 people were tortured, exiled or killed during the junta's politicide.
Now, who are the terrorists again?
More powerful US anti-democracy in South America here.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Our review points out the enormous scientific difficulties facing the calculation of climatic effects of added CO2 in a GCM, but it does not claim to disprove a significant anthropogenic influence on climate change.
In more depth, although the paper cites many examples of the failure of GCMs to accurately model temperatures by including as much empirical data and systematics as was currently available back then they do not condemn the models themselves. They actually call for greater effort to 'fill in the blanks' so to speak and to expand the models to encompass more variables. This is what climate science has been doing for the seven years since this paper was published (despite the determined efforts of certain politicians to hamstring such research by strangling its funding).
For a glimpse of the state-of-the-art in climate modelling today, see here:
I feel vindicated. I feel enriched! No, elated! No! I feel like I'm floating on a glistening sea of Buckfast! WHOOP WHOOP ! ! !
Saturday, September 13, 2008
"As humanity teeters on the brink, the corporate media are sure to give increasing coverage to these dubious and risky "technofixes." Influential business lobbyists will make ever-greater efforts to push for lucrative, but diversionary, "solutions" to climate chaos. We need to be alert to such self-serving manoeuvres and willing to expose them.
This much is clear: after more than twenty years of ever more urgent scientific warnings, and government and corporate obstructionism, we really have arrived at the edge of the climate abyss."
The Scrub and Smerins Antisocial Club really stood out in the way of live appeal. I just ordered the former's EP off the Cider City Records website. I suggest you do the same and get your knees up right good an proper, like. Or better still- catch the buggers live, get wrecked up on the best cider money can buy and get down to the skanking sound!
But, hey! The aftermath of the storm is going to be a perfect opportunity to do a little social engineering and get rid of those brownies and all the other pikey scum who inhabit such premium bits of coastal real estate in distinctly unprofitable and economically undesirable ways, with implausible excuses like "my family has lived here for twelve generations".
Photos of the effects of the hurricane are available here.
Apparently, according to photo #27, the hurricane caused losses of between $8 and 18 billion.
Friday, September 12, 2008
In Europe, only Belgium and the Netherlands have a higher population density [PD] than the UK. The average useful floor area in dwellings completed in this country between 2001 and 2003 is the second lowest in Europe, after Italy. One might reasonably assume that one is correlated with the other but the both of the low countries have much higher average floor area in their dwellings.
Some bloke observed that dwelling size . . .
". . . has impacts in all walks of life: children's education is affected if they've no space, and there's an environmental impact where people move to suburbs for space and then commute. Inner cities become the preserve of immigrants, poor people, and childless couples. The fear is that we're building the slums of the future."
When confronted by proposals that our government conform with the rest of civilisation and introduce mandatory minimums for the floor space in individual dwellings an industry whore predictably commented that:
"If you look at space standards you will be in danger of over-regulating the market and might add to costs of housing provision,"
Aside from the right-wing, libertarian assertion that regulation is bad ummmm-kay (because only the gods know what life would be like if the government actually looked out for the people it governs- just look at all those people on the continent in their nice, big houses [shudder]) . . . Newsflash: Bigger houses cost more!
Clearly this guy is a product of the comprehensive education system. What do the progressive massive offer as a solution to this rampant corporate and political prostitution of our living standards? Well, I would certainly support the introduction of mandatory minimums on dwelling space in direct contradiction of the corporate whore because better building design could easily compensate for larger housing developments. I mean the housing industry is hardly known for its respect for society or democracy now, is it. George has a thousand reasons not to trust anything these whores say.
Brown field redevelopment and sustainable housing are all long-term, cost-effective solutions to the housing problem. They're just not vote-winners. Democracy in action- a stunningly misanthropic spectacle.
Punkscience has been doing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance analysis of his worms. The results look like this:
Each peak is a compound, some are in there twice or more. What this means I currently have no idea but its pretty impressive.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
There are some choice passages in this high-grade polemic.
"Choose almost any sex-related issue. From pornography and sex education to reproductive rights and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, Americans have allowed a conservative religious movement not only to dictate the terms of conversation but also to change the nation’s laws and public health policies."
"In 2006, the federal government required any program wishing to receive federal funding for sex education to include the “information” that adolescent sexual activity could lead to depression and suicide."
". . . sex education in the US is in tatters. The country is not just withholding information but actively lying to its young people. Federal guidelines mandate that high school students be told that “sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.” This is simply false and cruel. It disempowers young people – girls and women in particular. We are living through an assault on female sexual independence. And meanwhile, the US has the highest rates of STDs, unwanted pregnancies and sexual coercion in the developed world, the lowest contraceptive use and the highest rates of abortion."
Dagmar Herzog has a funny name and she rules.
A woman who shared a £26 computer pinball game over the internet has been ordered to pay the developer . . . . . wait for it . . . . . SIXTEEN GRAND ! ! ! ! ! !
Meanwhile, I would like to observe that the latest monthly figure available from Iraq Body Count was for 620 deaths during June. This figure is recognised to be a massive underestimate of the number of people murdered as a result of the illegal invasion by as much as an order of magnitude.
One of these represents a crime against humanity. One of them represents societal dissatisfaction with the corporate hegemony. Guess which is which?
Naomi Klein's awesome history of US disaster capitalism, "The Shock Doctrine" is particularly essential reading to understand the history of US imperialism that is driving its violent, anti-democratic support of the right-wing factions.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Here's part one. The sequel involves our boy George kicking Mandelson's skinny little batty all over the world as he lifts the lid on the sociopathy of this corporate whore. George rules.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Lembit Opik deliberately broke the law outside Westminster today by riding his Segway up and down the pavement to protest about the ludicrous ban against their use on pavements and cycle paths in this country. I like Lembit. He's funny. Shame he's a Lib Dem.
Monday, September 08, 2008
I love New Statesman. It may be at, various times, bizarre, hypocritical, factual, progressive, insane, amusing and a variety of other adjectives, however it also appeals to me in an intellectual way. Their latest CultureTech offering is little short of genius. For anyone who's ever enjoyed the game Lemmings, this is for you.
This one was particularly rewarding to complete but I am most proud of this little beauty.
Check out the Weasel Tank in action!
This is primarily aimed at the racist CCD David Duff and the CCD Bishop Hill but I'm happy for anyone to chip in. I might regret this but we'll just have to see.
Duff et al, I invite you to post a peer-reviewed reference supporting your position of denial. I'll make a special exception for it. That's a promise.
However- and do take note of this Duff as your cherry-picking of references makes me very wary of offering you any sort of licence to abuse others' ignorance- your reference cannot simply be methodological critiques a la McIntyre & McKitrick (2005). I am talking about original, peer-reviewed research that demonstrates that anthropological forcings are negligible in comparison to natural ones.
I'm actually interested to see what you come up with.
Anyone interested in entering the discussion should focus on this paper, as preferred by Duff.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Anyway, my phone was gone and I was distraught. Really, I was! I loved that phone with its built in LED flashlight (the most useful add-on to any phone I've yet discovered), sound meter (useful for working out whether my car stereo was loud enough to damage my hearing- it was), compass (utterly useless but great to impress people with). But most of all I loved it for its rugged nature and all-round sturdiness. I am an abuser of technology. I believe that it is entirely possible to build electronic devices to a reasonable standard of resilience. The people who developed "design obsolescence" need to be shot. I use stuff like I mean it and things that aren't up to scratch inevitably suffer. My Nokia 5140i (and the 5140 I had before that) were both awesome. I could have happily drop-kicked them over rugby posts. Did I mention that you could use them as telephones too?
So, having pined the loss of my 5140i I started to search for my wife's old 5140, which I knew to be lying around the house somewhere as a 'spare' phone. I found all of it except the keypad. Bugger. Seeing the need for a new shell & keypad- you can't buy them separately- I ordered one from ebay. The phone still worked without the keypad, you could push the contacts underneath but the case got in the way so I took to carrying around without its case on so I could stay connected. Unfortunately the case also protects the screen which ended up getting cracked in my pocket. Double bugger.
I imagine this would have been the point where most people would have jumped onto the net and started looking for a new phone. I confess I did browse around ebay looking for another 5140i but as these phone's were no longer being manufactured and other people seemed to appreciate its position at the pinnacle of mobile phone design, new ones from Hong Kong were going for at least £45 and even 2nd hand ones carried a premium and weren't much cheaper. As I had already shelled out £16 for a new case- I had ordered a genuine Nokia one as the keys on the cheap replicas had a nasty feel- I was loathe to fork out good money after bad. At this stage I also suffered a wave of eco-guilt as I realised that I had already consigned the cracked-screen job to the recycling bin. This reflected the worst influence of consumerism over common sense as I hadn't even looked to see how much a repair would be. A little googling indicated this would be at least £30, not much cheaper than a new phone but the old one wouldn't end up in recycling/landfill. Joy to the world!
I pondered this awhile whilst staring at the poor, shattered screen of the faithful old handset. The 5140s comprise a chassi like any other phone but with sealed gaskets around all the ports and I/O devices, covered by a rubberised case to make it shock-resistant. The chassis looked to be a fairly straightforward dismantling job with 6 screws around its edge and no nasty internal clips that are designed to break when you try and take them apart (new Ipods!).
There's even a step-by-step guide online to dismantling them! A couple of googles later and I had located a vendor for a replacement screen for the princely sum of £12.50, including p&p. So now I am replete with a fully functioning mobile for a fraction of the price of a replacement!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
The funding environment needed to achieve this figure is unclear. Surely it could be pushed higher, as available resources are estimated to be 34% of current demand (~27GW).
In 2006 the UK used 79GW. Predictions for necessary electricity generation capacity in 2020 are around 130GW.
Oliver Tickell. Good words. So many pertinent observations:
- the National Grid is not fit for purpose
- the government have been spending money ostensibly taxed to support development of renewable generation on anything but
- government investment in developing and supporting renewable generation technologies is paltry
- Germany's use of feed-in-tariffs and other policies supporting renewable generation has been successful whereas our policies suck ass.
Friday, September 05, 2008
The economic crunch is here and apparently we are all suffering.
Well, shit. I can still pay my rent. I can still afford a bottle of Buckfast to add zest to my nights out. I still have a roof over my head. I still have a job and a union, I still get my food from shitty supermarkets at cheap prices. I still pay my council tax.
Where is this so called "recession"? Because I don't see my country slipping into the "developing" bracket. I think its all a bag of shit to try and perpetuate policies that promote the 'economic' growth of the last two decades that has resulted in the ultimate degradation of the ecosystem servies that sustain us as a species. If you want this to continue then you will vote for the three Grey Parties. If you want to perpetuate our way of life and our civilisation whilst preserving the diversity and services of our ecosystem then you will vote Green. The Green Party proposes policies that will ultimately allow us to grow old and rich together in a world of equality and beauty. Its really that simple. The Grey Parties will have us on our knees, facing creeping environmental collapse within a decade. Wait and see. Or not, if you have any sense.
Remember: Drinking Buckfast Tonic Wine is infitely superior to buggering choir boys. Religious freaks- TAKE NOTE!