Tag Archives: Comments

Syria and Aleppo

Re: an exchange of comments over at White Sun of the Desert with the erudite Tim Newman. Tim wrote an excellent piece about Aleppo, Syria, with which I was broadly in agreement. Tim did take issue with my comment accusing ‘Western meddling’ of making things a whole lot worse, which I’m okay with. Because without reasoned disagreement all we’d have would be a pointless echo chamber. However, I’d like to lay out my reasons, in depth, for believing that Western interventions in the region are at least partly at fault, and that the mainstream press are only telling half the story, very badly. If not being highly economical with the truth. Watch this presentation to the UN from 9th December 2016 by independent Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett. Read her on the ground blog ‘In Gaza’ where she writes about her experiences in the Middle East here. Also the following Q & A session. Yes, it’s fifty two minutes long, but does make enlightening viewing. Food for thought.

Now I’d also like to post some other links to back up my assertions from the following links;

Proofs of ‘Western meddling’. Sorry they’re all secondary, but what isn’t on the Internet can’t be linked to.

Western Sanctions against Syria. From an independent perspective. And from the US Embassy in Damascus, with Canadian and European sources, just for balance (via the Intercept) the 2016 UN report ‘Humanitarian Impact of Syria-Related Unilateral Restrictive Measures‘. As the European link states, there are no UN sanctions against Syria.

Western involvement in the creation and sponsorship of Terrorist groups.  Not to mention the involvement of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and a whole host of others.  Our hands are not clean, but the good news (for a given value of ‘good’) neither are anybody else’s.

These sources tell a very different story from much of the mainstream. Particularly the BBC and Grauniad. The Independent not so much, but don’t ask me about the Tellytubbygraph or the Times.  The tabloids coverage (Including the Mail and Express) won’t help anyone get an unbiased picture either.  They sell drama, not news.

An additional note; I’m no defender of Assad. He kicked this whole sorry mess off by sending in the tanks. However, from the above links it can be demonstrated that well intentioned meddling by Western nations has been at the source of the current refugee crisis currently swamping Europe, and to a lesser extent, the USA. It’s also behind a good many of the terrorist outrages. Without Western intervention, both covert and otherwise, I would argue that the current Syrian refugee crisis would be much smaller, and subsequent terrorist atrocities would have less motivation. If anyone asks me, I’m also pretty well convinced that a non-interventionist ‘containment’ strategy on our part would have resulted in far fewer civilian casualties. But no, US and therefore NATO foreign policy has been to stick their greasy spoon in and stir, at least since the 1970’s. The Foreign policy of the Neocons and Neoliberals (In real terms there’s barely a cigarette paper difference between them) brought us here.

This view is not drawn from ‘fake’ or manufactured news sites.  This is real, visceral from the ground floor stuff, with attribution. So although I haven’t had time to read all the links from everything in depth, I’m fairly confident most of the quoted sources are kosher.

In my defence I’d say there is only so much that can be covered in the relative brevity of a blog post, but to document the whole story is a decade long project, and one I’m not well qualified to write.  Although someone like Ms Bartlett might be.

Not that present or future politicians would ever read any such book of course.  That would be too much to ask.


I read this comment by Tom Paine on his blog, echoed on White Sun of the Desert about how the political left likes to demonise all those (Even mildly so) to the political right of them by throwing out violent scatological accusations of ‘ism’ or ‘phobia’. Now I’ve overheard some of these soi-disant ‘anti-racists’ talk in private, and had quite a few “WTF!” moments when hearing them speak ‘off the record’ after a couple of beers about stuff that doesn’t fit their stated narrative. For example, there’s no one more antisemitic than a left winger. Even some of the more rabid extreme right wingers I’ve known over the years would be shocked if they heard some of the leftist anti-Jew rhetoric. Now from Project Veritas (see below) comes this video evidence of some quite extreme anti-black language. This originates from the side of the political spectrum you understand that tries to tar the rest of Western society with the epithet ‘Racist’ at the mildest disagreement.

This should not be considered atypical, but typical behaviour. The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ philosophy of politics. Straight from the mouths of the unprincipled, who will say and do anything to get into power, because power and influence are how they make their money. By trading favours for funding via a tangled web of shell corporations, NGO’s and ‘charitable’ foundations.

Of course all those Republican Pastors and Preachers interviewed in the video (according to the extreme leftists, most of whom are whiter than I am) are just a bunch of ‘Uncle Toms’ who just aren’t really ‘black’ enough. Regardless of genetic heritage. I wholeheartedly support the Pastors outrage. If someone I thought was on ‘my’ side was talking about me behind my back in this fashion, I’d be pretty pissed off as well, and justifiably so. No-one likes to realise that the person you thought was a friend was knifing you in the back all along.

Yet will there be any prosecutions for ‘Hate speech’? Don’t be silly, the laws banning such lewd mouthings aren’t for those progressive types who consider themselves ‘our betters’ (Derisive snort). Such legislation will only ever be used to cudgel those guilty of less major infractions of ‘wrongspeak’ who don’t hold the correct ‘progressive’ political views. Twas ever thus. Now there, to me at least, lies the real racism.

Let’s hear three sarcastic cheers for the political left! Hip-hip hypocrisy!

A quick note about the ‘People’s Challenge’ campaign that raised money to challenge Brexit in the recent successful High Court action. It looks Kosher, with 4918 contributors raising a little over GBP170,000. Which works out at a smidge over GBP35.50 per contributor. However, this is an interesting development in that crowdfunding may be used to raise money to challenge any UK Government decision via the High Court. Intriguing. Sauce for the goose indeed.

I have mixed feelings. Constitutionally and economically, I would like to see the UK out of the EU’s stranglehold a.s.a.p. Unless by some absolute miracle the EU turns into a free trade zone without the bureaucracy. However, this judgement has just sent the value of the pound upwards, which is good if you are like me, looking to get a good currency transfer rate to Euros or Canadian Dollars. That said, if Brexit fails, my money will be heading out of Sterling at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. I suspect I will not be the only one.

Locally, people who recognise my accent keep asking me about Brexit, and is it all about ‘racism’? My stock reply is that it’s more an escape from a strangulating bureaucracy and that the word bomb of ‘racism’ is being tossed about just to stop people discussing the real issues. Like sovereignty, control of borders, excessive contributions, control of economy and making independent trade agreements that would directly benefit the UK. Stuff that would benefit the average working stiff, not just what is good for the political elites.

A quick word…

… about the Martin Scriblerus group of bloggers. Can I briefly point out that I am not responsible for the content or conduct of other people’s blogs or associated web sites. Nor is any other member of the group responsible for what I care to write about. Yes, I am aware of their affiliated sites and blogs content, but whether I approve or disapprove of any of them is a matter for my conscience, not anyone else’s.

We are a loose confederation, not some kind of retarded groupthink echo chamber and although we have common approximate areas of belief and opinion, we do not slavishly follow one another like the sheeplike morons with their political hashtags on twatter or arsebook. We all recognise the ultimate stupidity of that, preferring to consider and reflect upon a topic individually than go all Daily Mail on it. Sometimes we co-operate in common cause, more often not. Each blog and it’s audience being as unique as the next. As is each blogger. In the words of Frank Davis;

Scriblerus is maybe akin to a celestial constellation like Orion. It’s a small patch of the sky with links between the stars, some of which might be quite bright, others less, but which form a pattern or shape. Or something along those lines… The constellation actually pre-existed before its name.

For my part I would describe Martin Scriblerus more like cats in a sack than any kind of constellation. Our individuality can thus be seen as both our greatest strength and biggest weakness. If we are conjoined, it is by mutual tolerance and respect for our respective writings, nothing more.

Which is only my opinion of course. The other bloggers in our group may think of it differently. That is their privilege. How I see the group is mine.

The weekend calls. It’s siren song is resonating through my bones and I must follow though hell should bar the way. To conclude; I am not my brothers keeper, even if we were actually related, which we’re not. Pass the whiskey.



Infantile I know, but….

There’s an article in ‘Time’ magazine which carries on about how many nasty Trollish types there are out there on the jolly old Interweb, and how some form of regulation is needed to shut them up, but only a self-selected few of the ‘great and good’ should get to decide who is an Interweb Troll or not. They, the self-appointed, should set the narrative, not the hoi polloi. You know, the people who actually built, and continue to build, the jolly old Interweb with their blogs, posting of videos, personal servers, purchase of goods and services and contributions to forums. Whoever produces the content has the best claim of ownership.

However, the article makes the classic error of equating means with intent. Such as with the notoriously intrusive Ms Sarkezian (See GamerGate), who with other ‘journalists’ tried to impose her view of how things should be on a computer gaming public which did not, and still does not share her radical feminist mindset. For this, she and her narrative-creating associates faced an angry backlash from gamers who justifiably resented the interference with what they see as their world by people acting as self appointed ‘morality Police’. So the nastiness began. Which is one of the things the article bitches about. Yet were not Sarkezian and her associates actively trolling the gaming community with their false articles and spurious claims? In which case, the ‘journalists’ got what they deserved. They picked the fight. If a loosely collected bunch of keen gamers can be considered a ‘community’.

The thought occurs that if the radical feminists had spent a fraction of the energy producing games that met their moral standards than they spent on ragging at and machinating against the non-PC gamers, they might have created something useful. However, they chose to poke their noses into other peoples private affairs and try to use the force of law to obtain compliance. Now they’re whinging because people resisted their will? Oh, the irony.

Now bearing the aforementioned in mind, There are times when the tactics utilised by trolls may be legitimately used against those who wish to impose their will on others. ‘Doxxing’ for example, the publishing of someone’s personal data (Name, address, Social Security Number etc.) online. A variant of which, often used by mainstream publications, is known as ‘outing’, and has been used to try and harm the personal lives and careers of a number of bloggers which, unless the blogger was committing a criminal offence, is never justified. I cite ‘Nightjack‘, and ‘Girl with a one track mind‘ to name but two. So for journalists to complain that the very tactics they use against others makes non-journalists ‘trolls’ is a bit rich. ‘Doxxing’ and ‘Outing’ are exactly the same thing. Only the platform differs.

Yes, trolls are a sporadic pest, but there are ways and means of dealing with their pathetic ickle egos. Ways far more effective than having to drag the nonces through the court system at public expense. Because if you define a troll as a person who uses certain tactics, then one man’s ‘troll’ is another’s free speech activist. Unless of course the troll makes a real disruptive nuisance of themselves, in which case, the offended party should have every right to send a bill for all the time the troll has wasted to the offending party, plus costs. It should be a civil, not a criminal matter.

So for example, someone attempting to harm the online reputation of others, regardless of pseudonym, by impersonating them in comments of other blogs, apart from richly deserving a real-time real-life kicking, should be liable to pay for all the time expended on dealing with the impersonators dribbling infantile nonsense at high level Consultancy rates of say a hundred and fifty GBP an hour on all extra activities (blocking, deleting and banning offensive comments) incurred by the impersonator. With a minimum fee of one thousand GBP. Plus legal costs. Now that would be a kind of ‘fairness’ I could get right behind.

Yes, there are a lot of room temperature IQ’s out there. Yes there are stupid extreme right wingers, and equally stupid extreme left wingers. Frankly I think we should let all the interested parties fight it out in a disused stadium especially sealed off for the purpose. Drop a varied pile of edged weapons in the middle of the pitch and let these heroes sort it out for themselves. Livestream the grudge match globally on pay per view to cover costs of clean up and basic cremation. They die, the sum of human intelligence goes up, and some fertiliser gets created. Think of it as evolution in action.

Coffee envy

While others have been indulging in less than salutary pastimes like killing priests in Parish Churches (For which they were quite rightly shot dead on the spot), I have been indulging in a little friendly comment spat with Leg-Iron over at his place. It began with a surrealist video of a man being offered German coffee which ended up being solid in his cup. Which is a great way of making sure you can’t spill any.

Now I drink a lot of coffee. Good basic home ground Columbian, none of your pre-ground or (Horrified shudder) ‘instant’ coffee which I wouldn’t use, even to clean drains. Just over a pint (usually a gnats wossname under 500ml) each morning. See picture of my two mainly used coffee mugs below. The big NYPD mug holds around 750ml. Maybe a little more, and the yellow Cornwall mug on the right holds about 500ml, just over a pint or slightly under half a litre. Coffee mugs As proof, I filled each mug with water and decanted into the nearest measuring jug. The little Espresso cup in the middle is there simply to give an idea of scale and add an element of cuteness.

My morning coffee ritual is as follows; around half past eight I grind the beans in my conical burr grinder. Clean and load my percolator. Fire it up and just over five minutes later pour out my morning ration. Coffee stuff Not bitter like the stuff sold by Farcebucks, but smooth and muscular in the Canadian style. The flip side of which is where Mrs S is sometimes moved to remark after seeing that I’ve dashed off a significant part of my workload before 8am; “You did all that without coffee?” To which I give a knowing smile, knowing that providing there’s not too much blood in my caffeine stream I will be in reasonable humour until around three pm. Unlike the two priest-killers now deservedly roasting in hell. Along with all their other fellow travellers.

Minor issue

If my last remaining reader visits the comment stream in the previous entry they could be forgiven for thinking something is amiss. Particularly comments marked “Fake comment” or “Another fake comment” with Longriders gravatar attached. Not so; we have an impersonator troll issue from a total slaphead who used to hound the late lamented Captain Ranty amongst others. Our impersonator troll seems not to have learned anything from that experience, which does not imbue one with any confidence in his cognitive abilities. At present I’m actually having a bit of fun with our unwanted visitor, who is currently reduced to the level of highly unimaginative monosyllabic invective. Poor ickle bunny, has I upset oo den?

An Internet TrollSo I’m trying very hard not to howl with laughter as I type. He is such a sad, deluded little puffed up pile of unpleasantness I’m almost tempted (But not quite) to get my pity out of cold storage. On the other hand, why bother? To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw’s Henry Higgins from the stage play ‘Pygmalion‘ (Act 2, pg. 40) “He’s so deliciously low”

Should any of you wish to hear the story of how our rather unpleasant little visitor was first encountered, may I refer you to this post from May 2012. You may be amused.

I’ll block him when I tire of his shenanigans.

Something for everyone

Over at Leg-Irons a couple of days ago, I happened to mention that there was such a thing as a ‘Bondage Barbie‘. Specifically a Barbie doll into whips, chains, ball gags and all the impedimenta of certain sexual proclivities. Hell, whatever floats ones boat, as I have learned to accept. So just to amuse myself I googled ‘Bondage Barbie’ and good grief! My eyebrows shot half way up my forehead and I had to step away from the keyboard for a while. I mean, it’s not what I’d want to find in my seasonal stocking, if I actually wore that sort of thing, but then I’m boring like that.

bondage barbiesApparently the whole ‘Bondage Barbie’ meme been a minority fetish since the 90’s and early 00’s since a certain Ms Pitt, doll and dressmaker first tried to commercialise the concept. Something which Mattel, who market the mainstream version of said childs toy, strongly objected to on copyright grounds. It’s very big in some circles, allegedly.

However, I suppose the wrist cuffs and latex malarkey could be construed as aftermarket adaptations, therefore strict copyright infringement is probably a bit of a reach. You might make a product, but if someone else chooses to adapt it for a particular application, you can’t tell them what colour it can be repainted. So long as they don’t come back to you for a warranty refund after modification, that’s fine.

All this on its own might seem odd, and that’s without getting into the whole ‘Cosplay‘ thing, where fans of various TV programs and movies dress up in (often highly revealing) costumes based on their favourite character. Very popular at Science Fiction conventions and events like comic-con‘s ‘Maskerade’ where only the very staid dress up as Captain Picard or Mr Worf, where other more adventurous types prefer to dress up like Barbarian heroes and heroines with lots of flesh and much less loincloth. Which some might find a little weird when such role playing is (inevitably) carried into the bedroom, but chacun à son goût. There have even been Star Wars themed Church services and Las Vegas (of course) can cater for Intergalactic Weddings. So I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised.

Which can get some folk’s panties in a bunch but nowadays my only reaction to that sort of costume is “Don’t you feel a little cold?”

Public conversations

Got into a minor spat on a Youtube comments thread about Nuclear Fusion a few days ago. A couple of guys were repeating the “ITER will give us Fusion in four years” mantra so I pitched the alternative view to them. Needless to say, they just regurgitated figures culled from press releases at me, and thought that I was just trollishly trying to wind them up. Which wasn’t true, by the way. Life is too short, and I have one. A life that is.

Now what I am is a fan of cutting edge science. The real thing, not the output of breathlessly over optimistic (or pessimistic) press releases. I want us to have Nuclear powered space ships plying their way out to far flung solar systems at multiples of light speed, taking humanity away from the nursery of the dear blue Earth to a greater destiny amongst the stars. When I was a boy we were promised flying cars, unlimited electricity, better house building, space travel, and colonies on the Moon and Mars and I truly did want to believe in a better life from technology, but I don’t believe in Nuclear Fusion created by ITER for one really good reason; it’s based on an archaic Soviet Tokamak design.

ITER Tokamak cutaway diagramNow Tokamaks can produce nuclear fusion, this much is true, but because of one flaw that even a fool such as I can see, ITER or its spin offs will never deliver as a generator of fusion power. Why? Put simply, shockwaves. Let me enlarge. In the late 1990’s I was watching a BBC documentary / news item, and was enthusiastic, nay excited to hear, that the Joint European Torus lab near Oxford had actually achieved nuclear fusion. With a Tokamak. Wow. The documentary showed the pressurisation and heating of the plasma until some of it fused and went ‘bang!’ in a very controlled and genteel manner (Well, the JET is near Oxford.) Until quite a while later, I too believed (back in the early 2000’s) that we were but four short years away from cheap Fusion power for all and only the Eeevil coal, oil and gas interests were standing in the way. Then I came across the theory of Tokamak fusion and the plasma physics needed to make it work. While I was reading the various texts and diagrams, I recalled how the fusion detonation shown on the broadcast had propagated through the torus containment field and tried to reconcile the theory behind Tokamaks with what I’d seen. My heart immediately sank. From that moment on I knew Tokamaks would never be mankind’s wonder-producer of limitless energy for one simple reason; when the plasma fuses, part of it literally explodes, sending shockwaves through the superheated plasma torus. This disrupts the containment designed to feed fresh deuterium and tritium into the plasma to be pressurised and fused in a controlled manner. When the flows and containment are disrupted by the initial fusion shockwave and Electro-Magnetic Pulse generated by the detonation, further fusion cannot take place until the plasma has stabilised, so all you get is a single bang and that’s that. That’s without controlling all the ELM’s and like phenomena associated with Tokamak fusion devices. I’m not the only person who thinks like this. For a more academically sound source, try here.

If anyone thinks that the aforementioned makes me a believer in ‘Cold’ fusion, think again. ‘Cold’ fusion was a false positive generated by a faulty experimental model. End of. Which was a shame, but there you go. Same for the sonoluminesence ‘star in a jar’ concept. Would that it were not so, but as one of my old lecturers from my first year in Engineering college told me when I was trying to make a special radius cut with the wrong tool and vice setup on a vertical milling machine; “You can wish all you like, but that won’t make it work.” Like reaction drives (rockets) won’t even get us close to the speed of light. Sad but true.

“Okay-mister-know-it-all-brainbox” my critics might be tempted to say, “why don’t you give us your answer?” My answer is; I really don’t know. All I do know is that things that work have underlying processes. Life is a process. Put all the processes, digestion (Fuel), respiration (oxidiser), heatbeat (circulation) and electro-chemical signals (control) etcetera together and you get organic life. A four stroke internal combustion engine works because underlying its operation is a series of repeatable processes. Atomise and detonate a mixture of explosive gas in a closed chamber to drive a piston which in turn pushes a crankshaft translating the pressure of the fuel air mix explosion from a linear impulse into rotary motion. Inject, pressurise, detonate, exhaust, repeat. A process. Turbines work because superheated steam or hot gas is made to drive impeller blades around a central axis. That forms a continuous process. All Tokamak fusion can currently deliver is a single bang-in-a-bottle. Which can be a bit of a let down and not really viable as a sustainable generator of electricity. Like trying to have a gunpowder driven Internal Combustion Engine. Possible, but there are too many issues.

Like so many others I fear we will never see the bright future we were promised and so eagerly anticipated. Tokamaks are like electric cars and wind turbines, a technological dead end, pointless exercises in turd polishing. It’s hard not to feel more than a little cheated of a bright technological future that might have been. If only.

Now Lockheed Martin have an intriguing High Beta concept for hot fusion and based upon my (fairly limited) understanding, I also feel the Polywell concept has elements worthy of further investigation, but all the big ‘hot fusion’ money is going into ITER. Which is what happens when the purse strings are in the hands of politicians who really don’t understand the issues. Heavy sigh.

Of course I could be wrong, and the ITER team might just make their new version of the Tokamak work without all the plasma arcing and scouring issues. One day they might get all the fuel input and field containment equations right and their big dream will crackle into seemingly miraculous life and continuously produce a thousand times the energy it takes to fire up, but I don’t see that day coming any time soon. Which is disappointing, as despite my misgivings I’d dearly love the project to be a success. Such is life.

On a happier note, Youngest just got offered (and has accepted) a proper solicitors contract by the law practice she recently joined. Mrs S and I have been doing the dance of joy all morning. Eldest has also just bagged a primo job in Africa helping project manage a major mobile data comms infrastructure roll out. There is much smugness chez Sticker at present. Which is nice.

On ‘Drive by’ commenting

There are people on various comment threads who accuse others of making ‘drive by’ comments. Asking a question or making a comment and not responding to any replies. Which is an online sin, if that is what it is, that I will honestly put my hands up to.

Truth of the matter is that I simply don’t have the time to respond (I have a life) or consider a given riposte to be either not worthy of my attention or even a worthless troll feeding exercise. Even with my reading speed (1200-1450 words per minute), there’s simply too much out there in jolly old Interwebland and that’s not even without delving into works like ‘Sapiens‘ which requires more careful word by word examination or my work related reading and college studies. I’m working my way towards a college degree, so shoot me.

Ergo, if I have not replied to any witty online epistles or lackwit attempts at badinage it’s because my plate of life is currently a little full, so don’t hold your breath. On the other hand, I could think of certain people I’d like to watch trying. To hold their breath, that is…… (Insert low key evil chuckle here)

In the meantime you’ll be stuck with the Igors holding the fort. So have fun and play nice.

About that ‘about’ form

Minor technical hitch. All the missives thus entered via my ‘contact me’ widget have been getting sucked over the event horizon of the sites spam filter for some reason. This matter has now been corrected and those affected who were kind enough to communicate with purpose have received email apologies. Everyone else demanding my time without giving good enough reason are being studiously ignored.

Oh yes, my playlist of young ladies getting their kit off artistically increases daily. One even has a highly novel way of lighting a cigar. Yes, that’s why it’s in a sidebar section called ‘Not Safe For Work’. For those who say this is sexist, I reply, so what? There is nothing stopping you putting together your own playlists together on whatever topic you please.