Pruning the blogroll

It seems I have upset Leg-Iron with a post I made, purely in jest, on his blog.  He has asked me not to do so again.  As a gesture to his obvious antipathy, I’ve also excised the link to his blog.  It will not be restored, even though we share a good deal of the same ideological territory.

This raises an interesting point; is there anyone out there who does not want me linking to them?

All requests for removal will be honoured without question.

Comments policy update

Regarding replies to comments. There is a point past which I will not go when answering comments.

  1. Sensible points, well raised will always be addressed. Well, if I think they are, and if I’m not too busy  – my blog my rules – capisch?.
  2. I refuse to go trawling back through posts of over a month old. This blog is a hobby, not something to be defended at all costs.
  3. If I think contributors to the comment thread just can’t or won’t comprehend points made I will not engage in further conversation.
  4. Personal attacks may or may not be deleted. Any such attacks will definitely not be deleted if I am of the opinion the comment contributor is being a dick and showing themselves to be so.
  5. Spam is not tolerated and will be deleted immediately upon detection (So why bother?).
  6. If the above makes me a killjoy – tough. I have a life, a job and a family. If you want more of my time, you’ll have to pay for it.

Here endeth the lesson.

Don’t drink and… legislate?

I was amused to hear about a Scottish Labour MP running amok in the Mother of all Parliaments, having looked too long upon the grape, so to speak. It got me wondering about subsidised bars in legislative chambers, and whether such places have a role in today’s modern society. Told as we are that alcohol is very very bad for us, as is tobacco, fatty foods and all sorts of things we plebs are supposed to avoid, upon pain of increased prices. I am not the only one to be thinking thus.

The thought occurs that maybe we ought to apply the same standards to our legislative bodies that their advisers are increasingly demanding of John Q Public? Definitely a smoking ban – no exceptions. If the pub trade in the UK is turning up its fiscal toes because custom is hemorrhaging away, then a complete smoking ban in the Strangers Bar or anywhere within the precincts of Parliament. Let the Parliamentary smokers huddle outdoors at least five metres from doors, air intakes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, or any form of shelter like everyone else.

Oh, and while we’re at it, I propose that all those responsible for debating legislation and setting policy to affect the lives of everyone else should be breathalysed and drug tested before entering the chamber. Any MP ‘over the limit’ would have to go home immediately until they sober up enough to pass a breath alcohol test. All bars, restaurants and possession of alcohol within legislative buildings and ministerial offices should be completely banned.

Maybe there should even be a ‘Legislators licence’. After all, debating and deciding affairs of state and the fate of the nation is an important matter. Lives and even the livelihood of the nation depend upon cool sober heads making the right decision without chemical interference. Therefore I propose that every MP or representative should have to pass a kind of ‘driving test’ upon matters constitutional and the duties expected of them, which would be subject to an instant eighteen month ban from Parliament should they turn up for work less than completely clean and sober. A second offence would subject them to a three year ban, and a third to a permanent loss of their ‘Legislators licence’. Plus two years in jail and a twenty thousand pound fine. Also, bad laws might be subject to a new offence like ‘legislating without due care and attention’.

I can see it now; MP’s being subject to being pulled over in the entry lobby for looking a bit sozzled by a bunch of suspicious and truculent rozzers with a job lot of breathalysers and two brace of drug sniffer dogs. MP’s being arrested for the new offence of ‘Debating under the Influence’, cuffed and thrown in the cells until their brief can arrive, or they can sober up. After all, shouldn’t those in positions of power be held to higher standards than those they would purport to govern?

Of course it will never happen. Even the bunch of Turkeys in the UK’s Houses of Parliament aren’t stupid enough to vote for that particular type of Christmas.

Although, I’m given to ponder; say if such a diktat came down from the EU Commission, it might go on the books without even a nod as one of those insidious ‘statutory instruments’. Maybe that might persuade more MP’s to be less enthusiastic about being ruled by Brussels.

As an idea, I like it. Sauce for the Goose indeed.

Even more Surveillance Society UK – Coming Soon

You know, I must be going a bit mutton in my old age. When Cameroid and Cleggsky got elected in the UK, I’m sure there were promises to dismantle, or roll back ‘the database state’. Sure, ID cards were scrapped, but here comes a more insidious proposal for the 2012 Queens speech.

Remind me, what did happen to the much promised Freedom (Great repeal) Bill? Oh, silly me; here it is……n’t.

Maybe the EU wouldn’t let them, eh?

The greatest threat to free speech online – The United Nations?

A great many nation states do not like the dear old Interweb. Well actually that isn’t strictly speaking true. They like the business opportunities of online trading, but what they don’t like is the open and unfettered criticism of various regimes. Russia and China are amongst the lead proponents of the latest wheeze under the auspices of the ITU. Legislation which might curtail said freedom to criticise, often peddled under the ‘paedophile’ and ‘Intellectual Property theft’ agenda is constantly being put before various national Parliaments and debating bodies. Most recently SOPA and PIPA in the USA (Now succeeded by OPEN, a misnomer if ever there was one), ACTA in Europe, Vincent Toews latest brainchild allowing warrantless surveillance in Canada.

Don’t ask me why they bother; these people can’t even get their economies right, and yet they want the right to censor voices not on some vacuous ‘approved’ list? Newsflash. Censorship always fails. Just as prohibition (and the ‘war on drugs’) always led and leads to more organised crime. There is a more enlightened approach to online piracy suggested by Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation over at Al-Jazeera. For a clue, think supermarket ‘loss leader’ to get more trade through the doors of online stores. Well, it’s working for these old fogeys.

Robert M McDowell writing over at the Wall Street Journal covers it more comprehensively in his piece; ‘The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom ‘. He makes his points well.

In my usual closing aside; I’m reliably informed that Osama Bin Laden once tried to target the UN building in New York. Although I think Bin Laden and his followers are certifiably and frothingly batshit crazy, currently I’m thinking it might not have been such a bad thing had he succeeded.

March 8th – Death day for the Internet?

Picked up from the Russian news service, RT, here.

Apparently the FBI will be shutting down some temporary DNS servers set up to replace those infected by the botnet trojan, a nasty little piece of misdirection malware, on 8th March. The thing is, no one seems to know if those temporary, and Internet critical DNS servers are going to be replaced in time or not.

Without DNS there is no World Wide Web. Not as we know it. Looks like a lot of the Interweb might be subject to a major hiccup. Expect a lot of 500 series errors that day.

Might schedule that as a day off. Hi ho.

One of the reasons I left the UK

One day in mid 2006, I was off duty and busy writing when the doorbell of our tiny little terraced house buzzed. I went to the front door to be greeted by a clipboard wielding woman from ‘child services’ demanding to see “The baby”, telling me I had to let her in because “It was the law”.

That is the absolute honest truth, those were her exact words, and they have been burned into my brain, leaving me in no doubt as to the wisdom of our leaving the UK. The woman had the wrong address and seemed incapable of reading road signs, but despite this tried to bull past me on my own doorstep. My own fucking doorstep. No warrant, no Police, no evidence, no nothing. Not even the right bloody house. Needless to say, she was refused entry, and the error of her ways pointed out. Although upon reflection I’d have sent her to the other side of town had I been a bit more aware in those days. Right into the heart of Chavland.

No wonder, as Ranty quite reasonably points out, they keep sticking the wrong people in jail. My grandchildren will not grow up over there if I have any say in the matter. Not unless the Augean stables of certain Government departments are given a thorough cleaning with a few hundred gallons of this, and one of these.

Nature and straight lines

One of the things that always makes me guffaw about the alarmist, wereallgonnadiesooooonunlessyougiveusallyourdosh prognostications from various factions, that unless humanity stops what it’s doing right now, man made (Why is it always our fault? I’m feeling a little victimised here) disaster is going to result in more floods / hurricanes / tornadoes / typhoons / visits from next doors cat, is a single 1nconvertible flaw in their arguments. They almost all rely on oversimplifications based upon two dimensional linear relationships. There is no down to their up. Their sine waves freely convert to never ending exponential curves without a wisp of logic. There is no Brownian in their motion. Ever upward is their creed, and therein lies its fault.

Forgive me for relying on data, as opposed to mere supposition, but it is my observation that there are no true straight lines in nature. Not in the flow of a river, in the boiling of any liquid, in the stress response of all materials, in heat absorption / refraction, in the Hertzsprung Russel diagram, nowhere. Even space / time is curved. Nature tends to the circular. Ripples are circular. Cycles are a translation of approximately circular motion. We as humans respond to the roughly cyclic nature of our world because we have evolved to respond to our innate, circadian rhythms. Upward cycles require ever increasing amounts of energy before they peak and fall. This is common knowledge. At least amongst those with any serious technical training / competence. This lack of straight lines is one of the reasons moderately advanced mathematics can seem so complex. After a point, the old x/y=z only works in artificial, human created environments, and then only for relatively narrow given ranges. The real world is somewhat more complex.

Take for example the old chestnut of panic-mongering about the world becoming irrevocably flooded. This, according to its vociferous proponents, will happen because of a straight line relationship in the infra red absorption of a certain molecule, and mans ever increasing output of said molecules. What said proponents forget is that the relationship they claim for said material fails because it does not act in such a linear fashion, even under laboratory conditions. Materials, all materials have non-linear responses. They fail, they saturate, their behaviour changes even if they do not undergo a state change, as with freezing or boiling water. Ever watched an infra red video of water being heated from freezing? Is the overall graph of energy input / output a straight line? No. Ever read a strain gauge when stress / failure testing metals? Do these follow straight lines? No. Their elasticity varies even with relatively minor changes in temperature, as any fule kno. So why does anyone with the slightest cognitive competence believe all these two dimensional over simplifications that claim to be ‘science’ when they’re demonstrably false? Or at least true for only a very small range.

Then again, when politics pollutes scientific study, this sort of cognitive dissonance always seems to pop up. For a given, and often arbitrary, value of ‘up’.

Upon reflection, perhaps politics is the antithesis of knowledge, making sure we uppity bipeds never get too clever for our own good? Some form of evolved self-limiting factor, perchance? Maybe throughout the history of humanity there are points at which our brains reach knowledge saturation and begin to suffer massive failures of logic?

This might account for the rise and fall of many civilisations. Greeks got too clever with all their philosophers, now look at them. Same for all those ancient Romans and Byzantines. They were technologically advanced, yet their technology had to be rediscovered. Which leads me to ask; is there such a thing as ‘peak technology’? One things for certain, the lines won’t be straight, no matter how you plot them.

A few words on ‘Heartlandgate’ ‘fakegate’

Over the past 24 hours, the web pages at various climate related websites have been ablaze with ‘Big’ Somethingorotherbutitsverybadbadbadhonestguv funds the Heartland institute to the tune of six and a half million dollars. Oooh mummy, and that naughty doyenne of deniers Anthony Watts has been taking hundred thousand dollar backhanders.

Well, not content with leaking internal documentation, which in itself was quite innocuous, the leakers sought to traduce the doughty Mr Watts and friends by faking some of their ‘leaks’. Over egging their propaganda pudding. Quite clumsily in fact, so that it didn’t require Sherlock Holmes to decide that the whole ‘Heartlandgate scandal’ is a flake, a pumped up puff piece of desperation.

Okay, so wattsupwiththat? Well’ Anthony himself freely admits receiving funding to the tune of $88,000 from the Heartland institute (Having first applied for it) for, amongst other things, the worthy Surfacestations.org project which highlights the misplacement of many USHCN Weather monitoring stations, which were (and some still are) feeding erroneous data into temperature monitoring figures, thus giving misleading substance to the ‘uncontrollable warming’ myth.

What makes me quirk my lips is the outraged howling from organisations who get funding in the tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars every year to act as advocates for the myth of uncontrollable global warming. 3.9 Billion dollars in the US alone was given in Federal Grants to companies whose very existence depends upon said myth. Never mind the cash from the UN and EU. Never mind the millions in cash donations to various once – environmental organisations from people who have more ulterior motives than you could shake a large and extremely dirty stick at. It’s only taxpayers money, right?

There’s the real scandal right there. Billions, not a paltry few ten thousand dollars are being thrown into the devouring maw of the ‘low carbon’ myth. Subsidies, grants and advocacy form a massive ever tightening Ouroboros, a slow strangling noose around the economic world, the rot that should stop. A millstone on the chest of 21st century human aspiration.

Fortunately, the current Canadian Federal administration has seen the light, but other countries appear locked in some strange dream world. A looking glass land where carbon guilt money is thrown at useless projects and into third world money pits, ironically stunting their growth and preventing their entry into the modern world. Keeping millions of people in poverty they could climb out of, given a fighting chance.

Now if that’s not a real scandal, I don’t know what is.