Had Enough

Here is an excellent letter to an MP from someone who is rather disgruntled with the present state of affairs in this country. I thoroughly agree. It is, of course, the case that he is lucky to even be able to opt out. Most people are firmly nailed to the treadmill of debt, high taxes and a political class that delights in butt-fucking them at every opportunity:

We have both chucked our jobs. I made three people redundant and myself and my wife will no longer be paying taxes at anywhere near the rate we did before. We will both be seeking part time jobs and don’t really care about the salary levels.

Why would two professional people like us both dump our professions, the very things that as young adults we strove to achieve?

Simple. It just isn’t worth the effort anymore in a world where a significant minority leech off of the rest of us and where the government spends over 50% of what we earn and takes that money on pain of imprisonment…

Patrick Moore Interview on The Register.

Thanks, Shiraz, for directing me to this excellent interview with Patrick Moore — one of the founders of Greenpeace.

Particular highlights:

We’re in an interglacial, but we’re in a longer-term Ice Age. If we look at local temperatures, we’re still in an Ice Age. It’s 14.5°C , peak 12°C, but in the greenhouse period ice ages are short and sharp; Greenhouse Ages are long and steady and last 10 million or 100 million years. The Earth’s averaged 22°C in these periods. So when people say global temperature is going to go up 2°C, and we’re going to die, I just laugh. We’re a tropical species. We haven’t adapted to cold and ice, except we have fires.

For example, the latest scare is ocean acidification – it’s totally made-up and ridiculous. Tomato growers inject CO2 to make the tomatoes grow; salt water aquarists inject CO2 to increase photosynthesis; and yet with coral we’re told the opposite is true.

Apocalyptic scenarios are just that – our fear of death. When you add self-loathing, and you have the apocalypse being externalised, this is what you get. We have to stop this self-defeating approach: that – “we’re going to die and we’re to blame”. That is enough to make you sick to your stomach. Much of this is collective neurosis. We should celebrate life.

Queensland Floods.

Because, apparently, Australia would be subject to increasing global warming drought, damming projects in Queensland were shelved and desalination plants built instead (now mothballed). This is a matter of record and a source of anger for many residents there. Also, it’s not a great idea to build on flood plains. However, the usual suspects are claiming this one for ‘catastrophic climate change’ and, as is usual, their grasp of history is about as firm as chocolate pliers.

17th January: Highest flood on record, occurred at Brisbane and Ipswich.

10th January: Heavy floods at Ipswich.

17th December: Flood at Ipswich.

11th April: Heavy floods at Brisbane and Ipswich.

19th and 20th May: Great floods at Ipswich and Brisbane; river at Ipswich rose 45 feet, and at Brisbane 12 feet.

The above is just a small sample. If you go and check here at ‘Queensland Flood History’ you’ll discover enough to boggle the mind. This has fuck all to do with ‘catastrophic climate change’.

A Non-Smoker Writes…

Here’s a pretty balanced view on smoking. Go read it all.

A year to 18 months ago I was a non-smoker who was anti-smoking – not to the extent where I would challenge strangers who were smokers or seek to embarrass them, but certainly someone who supported the evermore restrictive practices placed upon those wishing to smoke.

So it was one of the most unexpected shift in my thinking over the past year to become pro-smoking – or rather pro the right to choose to smoke.

H/T Found a Voice

Brass Monkeys

Damn, the brass monkeys have bought up all the insulated scrotum protectors and are running for cover. The snow hasn’t hit us in this part of Essex yet but, as you can see, it ain’t exactly Cancun outside and the snow is on the way.

I have to wonder just how much longer I’ll be able to keep on cycling without risking being mowed down by some prick in an SUV who thinks ice is what happens to other people. I fully intend to keep trying, even going so far as raking out my old fleece-lined fishing suit if necessary. But cycling through blizzards will have to be a no-no since I don’t have windscreen wipers on my eyes.

Mmm, I wonder what the betting now is on a white Christmas?

11.05AM and the temperature reads minus 4.


A couple of evenings back I watched an episode of QI, which often comes out with some interesting facts. This particular episode touched on something that’s been a fascination of mine for some years: parasites (and I don’t mean the human kind). Here’s the little darling they were talking about:

The Spotted Rose Snapper Fish, which lives off the coast of California, is oft victim to another freaky parasite. The Cymothoa exigua parasite, a type of crustacean, swims into the fish’s mouth and attaches itself at the base of the poor Snappers tongue. It leeches blood from its victim and as it grows, the tongue withers and dies due to lack of blood supply. Eventually when the tongue dies completely, either diminishing or falling off, the parasite then switches places with the stump and acts as a working replacement for the organ, allowing the fish to use it just like a normal tongue.

The parasite spends the rest of its life living off both the fish’s blood and bits of food that enter the fish’s mouth. The Cymothoa exigua is the only parasite known to effectively replace a body organ.

If any of you have read any of the interviews with me you’ll know that The Skinner and the ensuing Spatterjay books can all be traced back to one instance. I was loaned a book on helminthology (the study of parasitic worms) by a vet, and read through it with growing fascination. I think the thing that got me first was the sheer number of transformations in the lifecycles of various parasites when, before, the limit of my knowledge on such changes was egg-caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly, and how some parasites actually change their host for their own benefit. Two of them stuck in my mind. One includes both ants and sheep in its life cycle. It interferes with the ant’s brain and makes it climb to the top of a stalk of grass and cling there, waiting for a grazing sheep. Another gets inside a snail to breed, but to protect itself, causes the snail to grow a thicker shell. Here, with Cymothoa exigua, are a few more.

This reading resulted in various short stories: The Thrake, The Gurnard, Out of the Leaflight, Choudapt, Spatterjay and Snairls. They then resulted in the novella no one can get hold of: The Parasite. Then I took two short stories, Spatterjay & Snairls, and on the basis of them wrote The Skinner. I definitely must read some more of this stuff.

Urbanites Can Survive on Smog.

Feeling in the need of reading a bit more science I picked up a copy of New Scientist (as mentioned in a previous post). It was slightly off-putting for me seeing the front cover picture of a ‘green’ city and the title ‘Urban Utopia – why the city is greener than the country’ but I persevered. I even decided to swallow bile and try reading the main ‘Escape to the City Story’. Perhaps I was being unfair, perhaps I’m too biased, perhaps I need to read more of this sort of stuff to get a more balanced view.

The basic contention of the article is of course quite correct: people packed together in cities will use less energy because resources are concentrated. They don’t need private transport, all their turds go in the same sewer, there’s less need to run electricity through miles of wires or water through miles of pipes. The dustbin men won’t burn as much fuel collecting the rubbish etc etc. So far, so bleeding obvious.

But about five paragraphs in we are told that UN reports suggest ‘that in 2008, 50% of the world’s population lived in urban settlements, which together take up just 3% of the Earth’s land area’. Yeah, okay, got that: battery farmed chickens take up less land than free-range ones.

Then, the next paragraph gives us: ‘This mass exodus from the countryside should lift the strain of intensive agriculture from the land, allowing forests to bounce back.’

I am absolutely stunned at the deep stupidity of that statement. Are we to suppose that city dwellers subsist on a more meagre diet than those in the country? Is the contention here that city dwellers can exist on organic carrots and tap water and that this will relieve ‘the strain of intensive agriculture’?

This was another lazy divisive article to display the magazine’s green credentials. A fairly unsurprising product of a BBC ‘science’ researcher who already has a history of producing such trash. There’s also a sinister edge here concerning how much easier it is to deliver ‘services’ to city dwellers, and to deal with their ‘social problems’.

Of course, it’s also so much easier to look after animals when they’re in a zoo.

Note: the next article in the magazine, one titled ‘Nurturing Nature’, explains to us how children raised in cities are more obese than those raised in the country. Go figure.

Reading Science.

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Ah, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I must recommence reading and inwardly digesting more science (and a bit less politics). I’ll have to do this by picking and choosing from the Internet because magazines I used to read a decade or so ago, like New Scientist and Scientific American, became highly politicized advocacy platforms
In fact, during yesterday’s trip to Asda and while Caroline was having her hair done, I picked up a copy of the former magazine, popped into the nearby pub, bought a pint of IPA (my first in something like eight months) and sat down to read it. Straight away the cover was off-putting with its depiction of ‘Urban Utopia’ and the connected article the usual exercise in dead horse flogging. Sure, cram people together and they use less energy. Here’s an idea, why not bury the cities underground and assign each human a three metre box to live in. Why not genetically modify humans into rose-blood four-fingered nebbishes so each uses up less resources … if you haven’t read it, get old of T. J. Bass’s Half-Past Human.
However, that being said, there was a lot less environmental hectoring.than there was a decade and a half ago. Maybe I will pick up a few copies of the above mentioned magazines over ensuing months and consider renewing a subscription.

Currently I’m selectively reading articles from Science Daily, Science News (on the Internet) and generally fishing about with Google for anything interesting. So, if any of you guys come across something of interest, please let me know here.