All posts by Bill Sticker

Expatriate observer of life in the UK and British Columbia, Canada. Politically slightly right of centre with a pro libertarian bias. In August 2007 published a book called 'Walking the Streets' about three sporadically unpleasant years spent working as a UK Traffic Warden. Now a lot more relaxed about life in general and keeping his accent for tax purposes.

Today’s lack of amusement

Today I have the signing of forms. Legal matters in the UK require my notarised signatures, so off I went to the local Notary Public to get my drunken spider crawl witnessed and stamped. Such are the occasional inconveniences of being an Expat. That and having wills in multiple jurisdictions. Not to mention the extortion that Canada post tries to apply while delivering a distinctly third rate overseas service. I’ve all but given up expecting Air Mail to be delivered within 4 to 7 working days. From Canada it’s more like three bloody weeks. So in future I’ll be sending important post UPS or Fedex. They’re actually cheaper would you believe? And they do express post to places Canada Post seems unable to reach.

Of such is the coarse cloth of my lack of amusement cut. Still, I stand to make a pretty penny, so I shouldn’t bitch. I just wish I didn’t have to send hard copies via an insecure means because of companies whose business models haven’t quite made it into the 21st century. Why my Bank and Lawyers won’t accept a fax or have a secure portal I can update my records on is a source of all too frequent irritation. Every time I have to authorise changes, with legal costs and postage we’re talking about a hundred and ten dollars, which is about fifty five quid a pop at the time of writing. That’s a hell of a lot to have your signature witnessed and to send ten sheets of paper. I don’t care how ‘carbon friendly’ the service is.

Anyway. While browsing the pilots forums at PPRUNE.org, I see the desperation about so called ‘man made climate change’ has sunk to a new low. At least according to the propaganda machine called the BBC. Apparently it’s supposed to make transatlantic flights longer, although the mechanism detailed in both the article and study looks like some sort of doomsday fantasy, which is what the lamestream keep feeding us. Yay! Wreck your economy and doom your descendants to penury over ‘science’ that would even make a Fourteenth century alchemist go “Carbon Dioxide? Really? Pass that philosophers stone will you and bugger off, I’ve got to transmute this lead into gold by next week or I get shortened by ten inches. Monarchies, eh?”

Well just let me pull my worn and tattered scepticism out of the drawer, yet again. The models this ‘science’ is based on makes Piltdown Man and Phlogiston look like cutting edge. None of these carbon dioxide driven climate models has ever made an accurate prediction three days ahead, let alone a century. So isn’t it about time they were consigned to the junk pile of failed theories? Like the flat Earth, Earth centred astronomical model, celestial spheres and Angels dancing on pinheads? The climate changes, and if you listen to people who are thinking outside the CO2 box, you start to get the idea that the Earth’s Atmosphere in no way resembles a greenhouse (Lack of glass, no frames or doors), and that a trace gas which is essential to photosynthesis could be a whole lot higher and actually improve the biosphere of dear old mother Earth. Cut the level of CO2 below 150ppm, and photosynthesis stops. The plants die and so do we. We need more CO2, not less. The whole ‘back radiation’ thing is an assumption based on the work of 19th century Swedish researcher Svante Arrhenius, whose equations assume straight line values for temperature response. Which is fine, to a point.

However, anyone who has studied meteorology in any depth, like those whose livelihoods are shaped by atmospheric physics, for example pilots, will understand that there is nothing straight about nature. A few years decades ago, when I was much younger and flush with funds, I had an ambition to learn to fly. Part of this entailed taking lessons how to fly gliders, light aircraft and even on two wonderful occasions in a helicopter (Once as navigator, once hands-on). Necessary background study gave me a rough working knowledge of atmospheric physics, airflows over laminar surfaces, cloud formation, air currents, the Jet stream, Anabatic and Katabatic winds etcetera. In short, what causes your tiny airframe to be lifted and tossed around by outside forces and how not to die when it is. Wish I’d kept my log book, now lost in multiple house moves, up to date. But that’s by the by.

What my studies have taught me is that Nature is curly. Things have limits. The speed of sound is a good one. Flying faster than sound requires much more complicated mathematics than simple straight line equations. Supersonic pressure wave build up is not a straight line response. Likewise, the speed of sound is not an absolute, it’s a variable which changes with pressure, density and temperature. Likewise, the IR absorption of Carbon Dioxide does not follow a straight line or even, as some have claimed, an exponential relationship with proportion. Any increase of temperature down to CO2 drops off rapidly after 20ppm.

Wait a moment. Twenty parts per million, but our atmospere contains around four hundred now? WTF? If it was an exponential relationship, shouldn’t we be baking in a Venus-like hell already? Apparently not. CO2 and Temperature H/T to Jo Nova for the original graph based on the work of Lindzen and Choi, 2009. So all this stuff about CO2 being a major climate driver doesn’t look so solid when you take a long, cool look at the real information.

So why is CO2 even an issue? Possibly because there are a lot of people with money tied up in Carbon derivatives, and politicians who have already spent all your tax dollars and need an excuse to raise even more taxes, who would like us all to think otherwise. So a number of very able Public Relations specialists are paid to keep the issue on the boil, brain dead media luvvies who leech off the whole apocalyptic drama of the thing, protestalot ‘climate’ activists who get back door funding from rich donors, and the politico’s making sure that grant money is directed to those who are (unsuccessfully) trying to prove that CO2 is the big climate bogeyman come to murder us all in our beds. Notwithstanding the ‘groupthink’ by the underinformed and credulous. If it wasn’t for the constant demands with menaces, I could laugh at these people a whole lot more.

Doomsday

Tonight I’m ferrying Mrs S to a work related potluck ‘Do’ downtown, and have promised to ride to the rescue with the promise of red wine and chocolate when she’s finally lost patience with the mandatory Vegetarian and teetotal catering these events seem to attract. Why vegetarian? I have no idea. Unless of course this is an experiment in social exclusion. Personally I’d give it a miss, or deliberately take sausage rolls, claiming they’re flavoured Tofu.  However, as these people are key to her job, Mrs S feels obligated to go.  So we’ll be raiding the Deli counter at our local Thrifty’s this afternoon.

For those of you not familiar with North American custom, or not residing in the not so frozen North, see the definition of ‘potluck’ below.

pot·luck
ˌpätˈlək/
noun
used in reference to a situation in which one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good or acceptable.
“he could take potluck in a town not noted for its hotels”
NORTH AMERICAN
a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish.
“a potluck supper”

To my mind there is nothing remotely lucky about vegetarianism.  From a dietary standpoint it’s more like a form of masochism with no real health benefits.  However, some people are into BDSM and that sort of thing, but like veganism etc, I’d prefer if they kept it amongst themselves.

Danger warning robotNotwithstanding….. Danger!  Warning, warning Will Robinson!  Incoming Asteroid Alert!  Well kind of.  Possibly.  Maybe.  Not really.  Which might come as a reason to forgo the dubious delight of an evening of enforced vegetarianism.  If only said astronomical event was happening this evening.

What’s actually true is asteroid 2013 TX68, a hundred foot wide (All right, 30 metre) piece of space rock is due to pass, at closest approach, 0.044 Lunar Distances or 0.00015 Astronomical Units and change from Earth, which works out around about 14673.322 Miles between March 5th and 8th 2016.  At around 14.5 metres per second.  At least according to the NASA small body database.  Wikipedia quotes 0.06 Lunar Distances (12,000 km; 7,400 mi). Which is quite close.  Very close by astronomical measurements.  An impact remains a distinct possibility.

Now the orbital data is well known, but what we don’t know is the density if 2013 TX68 does take a last second detour into, rather than past dear old planet Earth.  Which can be the difference between the firework display of a bolide type detonation in the atmosphere like the Chelyabinsk Meteor (Of which 2013 TX68 is twice the size) in the case of porous or even dense rock, or an unsightly crater in someone’s back yard around eight hundred and fifty metres across if it’s a nickel iron body.  Which can play havoc with the Crocuses and ruin that nice rockery you’ve just put together.  However, if you’ve always wanted an ornamental lake or waterfront property opportunities in your neighbourhood, then this is the asteroid impact for you.  Although local real estate prices might take a bit of a dive in the immediate aftermath.  I try to retain a positive outlook, and am inclined to think that with the right financial planning, doomsday can be converted into financial boomsday.

For those so inclined, you can have endless fun scaring yourself silly with Purdue University’s asteroid impact calculator here.

If you are planning to miss this specific apocalypse not by pulling a sickie, please be aware that 5th March 2016 is a Saturday.  The good news, for a given value of ‘good’, specifically for those at the point of impact, is that you won’t have to worry about Monday mornings any more.

Planning on having a lazy day to myself.

A little less than coruscating….

Managed to contract a rather nasty little cold virus which is proving difficult to dislodge. The effect isn’t that debilitating, but the low level fever and snottiness is just enough to put a crimp in anyone’s day. More of an irritation than a handicap. Fortunately work has eased off from the ‘we want it yesterday’ to more sensible deadlines, so I can relax a little.

While work is slow(er), I’ve been putting a bit more energy into planning our forthcoming six week road trip into the good old US of A. We’ve booked the ferry and first few hotels, got the car booked in for a full service and new set of brake pads and rubber all round, checked our travel insurance and made sure our emergency fund will be there when we need it. We’re feeling fairly relaxed about the prospect. Should be fun.

One interesting but disturbing little snippet has raised its head. Specifically about law enforcement stops. Turns out that some of those guardians of law and disorder are not as honest as they should be. All under the semi-official training and information sharing programs “Black Asphalt”, “Desert Snow” and “420 Group”. Using the umbrella of ‘anti-terrorism’ and ‘war against drugs’ legislation which allows confiscation of assets without a guilty verdict. Often scooping up the property of those never even charged with a crime, or only related to those who were. For my part I shall be driving very carefully. Especially when passing through Oklahoma.

This is where all those RICO statutes and forfeiture without due process laws eventually lead. Someone, somewhere in the system will take advantage and the innocent suffer along with the allegedly guilty. Law of unintended consequences anyone?

The next scare story

Hitting a newsstand near you should be reports of a terrifying ‘brain shrinking’ virus called Zika. For many people I’d be inclined to say “But you weren’t using it much anyway….” as cerebral activity does not seem to pose a major part of their day.  If you’ve ever spent much time in Vancouver Island traffic, this will be a given. Even pedestrians seem to be affected. Very few of them seem to even look where they’re going. I’ve seen them try to walk straight into vehicles already half way over crossings. Like the eyes are somehow not connected to the brain. Or Mr Brain is in “La-la-la” shutdown mode, which seems more likely.

Symptoms of Zika are; fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache lasting about a week.  Rather like a nasty dose of influenza with added rash and red-eye.   Dying is not likely.  But hell, don’t take my word for it, read the CDC’s Zika information pages.

Now before you all go panicking to your doctors and clogging up surgery waiting rooms, know this; Zika is a tropical virus for which there is no current remedy. No vaccination, no specific drug therapy, and it’s completely random, spread only by mosquito bites. Yes, and the whole ‘brain shrinking’ thing only affects a percentage of babies born to an infected mother. Scary huh? Well not so much. A bite from an infected Yellow fever (Aedes_aegypti) mosquito has only a 20% chance of causing an infection and even if you do get a bout, the treatment is as follows;

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain
  • Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
  • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.

That’s it; no need for panic. Usual anti mosquito regimen applies. Set up a zapper to attract and kill the little critters before they can become a nuisance, which is usually three days after rain. If your area is prone to mossies (Like most of BC), wear long sleeves and cover up after 9pm, use mosquito coils or other insecticide repellent. You’ll still get the odd nip, but de nada. Unless of course you’re a pregnant woman in an affected area, in which case, a bout of Zika during pregnancy, so some researchers suspect, can produce a child with microcephaly. But Brazil is the only place reporting such a phenomenon. So not going there while pregnant sounds like a modestly good idea. Otherwise your 2016 Olympic visit to the Rio games sounds pretty safe. Well, apart from Malaria, Dengue or Yellow fever, or any of the other infections endemic to that part of the world. In which case, stock up on DEET and use liberally.

Under a buck

Over the past few days the current oil glut, which looks like it’s going to go on for a while, has seen local gas prices plunge to levels we haven’t seen since our first trip through Ontario back in 2003.  See this screen grab below from the Gasbuddy web site this morning.

Gas Price Victoria Jan 2016

I’m almost tempted to fill ‘er up and head up Island just for the simple, inexpensive joy of doing so.  We’re also planning a serious road trip during April and May down into the good old southern US of A down through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, then back via Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Idaho before heading for home.

That’s GBP0.48 per litre.  48p. Forty eight pence or GBP2.18 per Imperial Gallon at current exchange rate.  US$0.68 per litre.  Sixty eight cents.  About US$2.57 per US Gallon.  Down in the USA, I’ve seen prices as low as US$1.91, or CAD$2.77 (US Gallon).

Hang on.  Oklahoma City reports US$1.29.  Blood and sand.

From one ‘wassock’ to another

Investors showcase tonight, where people who call themselves ‘financial experts’ will be making a bid to increase our capital. Not that they will, I’ve seen these guys come and go (normally with your cash lining their pockets) over the years, and can’t help but think it’ll be a wasted evening. I’m only going for the freebies. When it comes to signing on the dotted, we Stickers have a limpet like hold on our resources and will no doubt come away from the event slightly bemused and waiting for the cold light of day to help us sort the real from the faecal cow residue.

In the meantime, I made time between coursework, work and cooking to have a look at the fuss over this Trump fellow. He certainly has polarised people hasn’t he? Out of the mouths etcetera.

My goodness, he hasn’t even won a nomination or even a primary, and a bunch of spineless gimps have already got their undergarments all rucked up.  If you believe what’s in most of the left leaning lamestream media, the floppy haired Barbarian is at the gates and we’re all dooomed if he so much as sets an ignorant, stupid foot within ten miles of elected office.  Stefan Molyneux on the other hand, no matter what you think of his sometimes apocryphal style, does one of his excellent dissections of what the lamestream get completely one hundred and eighty degrees from reality.

What the lamestream and their owners are all frightened about are that the Barbarian is complaining about the real barbarians who indulge in such things as, oo lemme see, rape attacks and sexual assaults and celebrating notorious terrorist attacks, which threatens the blatant gerrymandering and vote buying commonplace in the west. The real barbarians are not already inside the gates, but are messing up the living room, hogging the couch and Xbox with their booted feet up on the coffee table demanding more Nachos and playing grab-ass with every comely young female within reach. What’s worse is that these racist, sexist, hostile slimeballs can’t be kicked out because mainstream politicians need their fresh votes. Even worse is that many of the bad guys are second generation. Born and bred. Not simply ‘immigrants’.

As fans of the X-files will attest, the truth is most certainly out there, (but lies are definitely in your head) and as Stefan ably demonstrates, easily found courtesy of the jolly old Interweb. All you have to do is go to the source data, which is far more easily accessed if you’re prepared to do a little digging on your own account.

Like it or not, I’m tempted to believe my a strong suspicion that we’re at a cultural nexus, the kind that brings down civilisations. Such a collapse probably won’t happen in my lifetime (Despite rumours to the contrary – the people in charge have too far to fall), but if we carry on doing the same old thing, ducking the issues, subsidising, importing, pandering to and protecting a hostile culture, perhaps the western way of life and the prosperity it brings will be a fading memory by the end of the century. Some of the more philosophically short sighted out there might be tempted to think that this might be a good thing. I would disagree. Classical civilisation, for all it’s faults produced great art (A lot of which was defaced by zealous early Christians) and great literature (Which also fell victim to zealous early Christians). The arts and sciences fell into disarray for centuries afterwards. Anyone else see the parallel?

Which may be a comfort to our great grandchildren. Or not. Clinton’s the next US President anyway, she’s Wall Street and the lamestreams preferred candidate. Despite his wealth, I think Trump won’t even get a mention, but I wouldn’t be totally displeased if he won. Just to hear the outraged wailing and gnashing of teeth of sore losers.

Time to ditch Netflix?

Well folks, it’s sledgehammer to crack a nut and cut off ones nose to spite one’s face time for Netflix. News has surfaced that they’re going to block users who use proxies and VPN’s to view content. Which is going to go down like a lead balloon here oop norf of the 49th.

Now I’m not sure about how Netflix are going to go about this, but blocking the IP’s of known VPN servers, or possibly entire ranges of same may just prove business suicide. Canada’s chief beef is that we only gets a fraction of the catalogue available to our cousins less than sixty kilometres distant. Competitors with better content are springing up, to whom the Sticker household has already subscribed, and like cable TV providers, it’s not too big a leap of imagination to see Netflix’ market share (And some of their more shonky content) dwindling into a black hole.

Future of NetflixNow Netflix are not entirely at fault, the people behind this crackdown are the corporate copyright holders who want even more revenue from the same product, not just once, but again and again and again. To them, streaming services like Netflix are just a cash cow. Which won’t actually help when Netflix start to lose subscribers because what their customer base wants is advert-free content and if they as a service provider can’t give their customers what they want, well do I have to paint a picture here?

As an example; at the end of March this year, our household is planning to ditch its Netflix subscription because the Canadian content is becoming too restricted and we’ll have come to the end of our viewing choices. If enough people do the same, then the boys behind the big red banner are going to have to start looking for some other employment.

I think if this problem persists with the big guys pressuring legitimate subscriber services we could go back to doing Torrent downloads, maybe watching DVD’s, or we might even subscribe to CraveTV on top of our existing Shomi subscription (Which is already beginning to look a little restrictive). Depending on how good Crave’s catalogue is. We’ll sign up for the free first month and see if it’s any good, if so, bye bye Netflix.

What the hey, it’s only TV. I can live without it.

On the bright side, the Raccoon Arms is open again.

Squirrel!

squirrel-up-dog-gifFrom a recent news item comes information vital to our civilisations survival.  Via the Igors at the Bill Sticker Institute for Assorted Trivia I bring dire news of a global conspiracy.  A real one.  Not local like most terror threats but one whose breadth truly does affect all humanity.  Friends, we are under assault from the most effective cyber attacks ever imagined by a delusional paranoid schizophrenic completely off their meds, with or without added LSD. Oh yes, it’s that bad.

We’re not talking about Cyber attacks by Anonymous, or China, Daesh, threats to civil liberties by the very people sworn to protect us or even zombie armies looking to snack on what little brains we have left after watching daytime TV.  We’re talking about a real threat, responsible for genuine power outages and all manner of suicide attack as well as nut theft on an industrial scale.  The real enemy is….. Squirrels.

Cybersquirrel with bluetoothInformation is emerging of the sheer magnitude of these assaults on our civilisation. A map of power outages caused by these Decepticon borg-like creatures can be viewed here.  The heinous acts by these creatures include causing multi-vehicle pile ups, single squirrel kamikaze attacks on drivers in open topped vehicles, with invasions of licensed premises and failure to pay for their own drinks tab.  Not to mention the recent California terror rampage and reports of Vampire squirrels targeting deer. Even major sporting events are not immune. The list goes on.

So what can we do, how can we protect ourselves from these random terror attacks? What is the actual depth and scope of the threat we face? Most of the attacks appear to be a ‘suicide’ variant; Squirrels throwing themselves under the wheels of traffic or into sensitive infrastructure thus terrorising entire communities. How do we identify the threat?

CybersquirrelThe problem with threat identification is as demonstrated in this rare picture of a cybersquirrel caught off guard by a courageous camera person, who, although they took this picture using an extremely long lens, was shortly thereafter ambushed and hospitalised by several lightsabre wielding assailants later pictured fighting amongst themselves over credit for the ‘kill’ (See below).

Lightsabre squirrels So what are we to do in the face of a threat more real than global warming, mad bankers, room temperature IQ politicians, rogue asteroids, alien invasions and people who forget to carve new calendars? Fear not. I have a solution, but I would caution my last remaining reader to sit down with a stiff drink before proceeding further because what I am about to propose may seem unpleasant and may even make you nauseous. Are you sitting comfortably? Okay, brace yourself. My proposal is that we have to eat them. All of them. Every last single tree rat has to go. Before these cybersquirrels bring our brave 21st century civilisation and all the comforts we have come to rely on crashing to it’s knees. Because it really is them or us.

It may be the only chance we humans have left……..

Tap room 500 error

As a one time denizen of the Raccoon Arms comment threads, I pop back occasionally to see if Petunia Winegum has finished with his remodel to make it ‘The Tap Room’. Despite multiple cache flushes I was getting a maintenance page, but now I’m getting a 500 Error.

Anyone out there know what’s happening?

Update: Now it’s back to ‘The Tap Room is down’ again.  How very curious.

Monday 11th January:  Database error.