Friday, 31 December 2010

Another year draws to an end ...

One way or another it's been quite a year. It began with heavy snow and a battle to reach an airport so I could go to Tehran and earn some much needed cash and it seems to be ending with even more snow as I sit and type this in my new home in Germany. OK, so now I'm technically a "house husband" and pensioner, but I'm still engaged in writing a new technical book and in lecturing in my field when needed. I may even visit Tehran again in the coming year, but certainly not for six months again.

Moving to the Taunus was a big step. My German was almost non-existent and is still pretty basic, but it is making some progress now. At least I can make sense of the newspapers and do some basic shopping! At least I'm now settled, my study is great and Mausi and I have settled into our new routines quite easily. Even Madam Paddy Cat has settled, though she can be demanding - especially as she has got into the habit of demanding her breakfast at 05.30 sharp!

Looking back, there have certainly been some interesting new ventures, not least being republishing The Enemy is Within! and publishing Their Lordships Request. Will they make me millions? Probably not, though one can dream, and frankly I'll be happy if I just have some steady sales and people enjoying them.

On the subject of books, I also managed to get to the London Book Fair and to the bigger Frankfurt Book Fair. They were certainly educational and eye opening. I was interested to learn at the second of these, that even the "A List" Authors feel a little excluded and there on "tolerance" - a necessary evil in case some buyer actually wants to meet them. It hasn't put me off writing, but it has made me realise that I need to sharpen my writing, my marketing and my selling skills! It has also made me realise that the e-book market may be the best way to go for now. Now I have to explore Kindle, iPod and all the other versions.

It will keep me busy in the coming year, of that I can be sure...

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Modern mythology ...

Some while ago I began to make the effort to read up on the facts behind the frequently repeated charges by secularists and humanists against the Christian faith. I have now read Carl Sagan, a brilliant astonomer, parts of Lecky (Sorry, but his Victorian prose was more than I could cope with, especially as his 'facts' are not factual...) and even Diane Purkiss' book on feminism. It all started when I began reading Philip Samson's "Six Modern Myths" ISBN 0-85111-659-0 some time after watching the very one sided "debate" on BBC World which asked the question "Is the Catholic Church a force for good or a force for evil in the world?"

On one side of the debate was the Archbishop of Nigeria and an ex-MP and convert to Catholicism and on the other Stephen Fry and an author who was almost foaming at the mouth as he trotted out all the myths and legends about Roman Catholic Missionaries killing those who would not convert, destroying whole cultures and waging a genocide campaign in the Americas. Both he and Fry were passionate, erudite and utterly convinced that they alone were telling the truth. Sadly, they were not, but their passion convinced the audience ... When asked to vote, the audience were swayed by the emotive declarations and, lacking the truth and the facts, voted that the Roman Church was evil...

Richard Dawkins and his Atheist cohorts must have been dancing for joy.

The truth is always the first casualty in any propaganda campaign, and the secularist/humanist 'war' on Christianity plays the full orchestra of haf truth, twisted facts and outright falsehood. I heartily commend Samsons book to everyone interested in the truth behind the Witch Burnings, the supposed Missionary 'Rape" of cultures, Galileo, Darwin, Human sexuality and the abuse of the environment, animals and our fellow man. Fry and his colleague made much of the Inquisition's supposed pursuit of witches and suppression of the native American populations, but the myth is not supported by fact. In direct contradiction of the myth, the Inquisition almost invariably dismissed charges of witchcraft and even where they did accept them, recommended 'schooling in the gospel' rather than death. It is fact that the countries where the Inquisition held sway burned far fewer 'witches' than the supposedly Protestant countries - yet, even there, the Churches usually argued against the charges and against the imposition of the death penalties. Almost all the major witch burnings were ordered by Secular courts and magistrates - frequently in defiance of opposition from clergy and theologians.

Samson has done his research well and I can certainly attest to at least one of his references being absolutely accurate. What a pity this book will not receive the wide reporting it should. It is certainly an even greater pity that it will not get the TV treatment it deserves or which the myths get at every opportunity from the likes of the BBC.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Revised version of "When I'm Cleaning Windows..."

Nothing to do with Microslosh either. The original song was sung by George Formby, a 'singer' with a rather strange high pitched nasal voice and a strong Lancastrian accent, very popular in the 1930s and 40s. I have always considered him an unlikely pop-star and I guess his voice and the ukelele he strummed are acquired tastes. That said, Darryl Ashton has provided me with this rather amusing 'alternative' version which fits a more recent 'star' to disgrace our nation and TV screens - none other than the Prime Minister who thought he was the next President of Europe. Mind you he also thought he was the President of the UK...

President Blair has been spotted doing impressions with his Ukulele of George Formby's; "When I'm cleaning windows," in the Bahamas.

Lay-deez and Genn-ul-men, it goes something like this.

(Feel free to sing along)

Now I go taking freebies,
To save a tidy sum,
With Cherie and the kiddies
And Endora, her fooking mum.

We stay at least a fortnight,
We always eat our fill,
We swim, surf and sunbathe,
But we never see a Bill.

We had to ban the papers,
It simply isn't right,
For them to print those pictures,
Of Cherie's cellulite.

She's still a handsome woman,
She's big on Human Rights,
And back in our cabana,
It's five times every night.

We like to take our freebies,
On the Caribbean sea,
But if Cliff's got other guests,
We'll go to Italy.

The cares of office melt away
When the sun is on your back,
And when i'm taking freebies,
I'm a long way from Iraq.

I know the bombs in London Town,
Give you the Heebie - Jeebies,
But i'm well out the firing line,
When I'm taking freebies.

There's nothing like Barbados air,
When you're living like a millionaire,
Miles away from Connaught Square,
When i'm taking freebies.

In my profession I work hard,
I have to take a break.
So why should you expect me,
To pay the going rate!



Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Crackers...

My thanks to Darryl Ashton for this swipe at the PC brigade...


As councils all over Britain have pulled the plug on Christmas trees, mangers, crosses and Santa Claus. Worst still, in St Andrews they're even putting on a play depicting the Virgin Mary as an alcoholic and Jesus as a homosexual.

Well, as part of Darryl's save Christmas campaign, here's my revised arrangement of Away in a Manger, the 12 - inch version.

(Please feel free to sing along).

Away with the fairies, no brains in their head
The little dictators say Christmas is dead.
The clowns in the town halls look down as we pray
And rule that the manger be taken away.

In Birmingham's Bullring poor Santa is banned
His sleigh and his reindeer, and elves have been canned.
In Bury St Edmunds they've turned off the lights
In Suffolk, Lord Jesus offends human rights.

They want our donations down at the Red Cross,
But no celebrations they don't give a toss.
And even Saint Tony, has tried really hard
Not to mention the C - word in his Christmas card.

In Luton, Tower Hamlets and old Camden Town
The Christmas decorations have all been torn down.
Pray, celebrate Diwali and Ramadan praise,
It's only Christianity they want to erase.

There'll be no more memtion of our Lord and Saviour
So God bless Saint Tony, remember, Sod Labour!
So, come back Guy Fawkes, and do what we please,
You can do it this time - and do it with ease!



Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

There is really not a lot to say to my readers today except -

Merry Christmas to you all, Mausi and The Monk wish you all a great Christmas, a safe Christmas and, if you're snowed in as we are, a thaw to help reduce it! I'd post a photo, but I'm also helping cook ...

At least we made it to the Christmas Mass last night in Wiesbaden, but the big disappointment this morning is that we cannot watch the Eucharist from Tewkesbury Abbey because, for some reason only the BBC knows, we are told that all the Online broadcasts are "Not available in your area."

I hope someone has recorded it and can let us have a copy.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Night Before Christmas

A different take on a well known poem. Once again Darryl Ashton has produced an amusing reworking of the original...

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the flat,
Not a creature was stirring-
Just me and my cat.

Then up on the rooftop
There came a big bump,
A rattle, a clatter,
And then a great thump.

Then what to my bleary
Old eyes should appear?
A sledge and beside it,
A troop of reindeer.

Then in rolled a figure,
In a red - and - white suit,
A happy old Santa,
As tight as a newt.

He hiccupped and grinned
Said: "I'm really quite merry,
And so would you be
At your ten - thousandth sherry.

Now if you can help me
To locate my sleigh,
I'll call up my reindeer
And get on my way."

I helped the old fellow
Back up to the roof,
Though the smell on his breath
Was 90 per cent - proof.

I managed to get him
Stuck into his sledge,
While the reindeer were happily
Munching my hedge.

He mumbled; "Oh, sugar!
I've mislaid my sack,"
Then giggled and gave
With his whip, a great crack.

"On Dixon! On Nixon!
On Bush! And on Blair!
I've forgotten your names but
I really don't care.

I vaguely remember
That one of you's Dancer,
Oh, just giddy up,
If your name rhymes with Chancer."

I stood and I watched
As they rolled through the sky,
While a chorus of burping
Echoed down from on high.

Then the sleigh faded out,
But I heard the last call:
"Thank heaven for SAT-NAV,


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

An anniversary

My grandmother rejoiced in an unusual first name - for a woman that is. Hector Mary Heron nee Hopkins was born on this day in 1899 at her parents farm near Harrismith in the then Boer Republic of the Oranje Vrijstaat. Her parents though, Richard Vaux Hopkins and Gertrude Hopkins (nee Bowes), were British through and through and owned one of the largest farms in a large country. On the day my grandmother was born, General Hector MacDonald drove a Boer Commando out of Harrismith and began a campaign to secure the Eastern Orange Free State of Boer Forces which would ultimately lead to the capture of Bloemfontein and then the advance into the Transvaal Republic.

Ironically her future father in law was with the army advancing from the Cape. Colour Sergeant James Heron was with his Regiment, the Royal Irish Rifles, having left at home his wife Susan, two year old daughter Mabel and infant son, Henry Nelson. Twenty-two years later Hector Mary and Henry Nelson would meet in Johannesburg, and in 1925 they married.

They died in 1977 within six months of one another. I remember them with pride because they played a very large part in my childhood and, without doubt, gave me the values I still hold to today. And, in case you were wondering, the 'hero' in my books, is named after my grandfather. When the fourth book finds its way into print you will meet Hector Mary as well.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Interesting Visitor

Ever get that feeling you're being watched? I had it earlier today and when I looked up I found I needed tolook down. My easy chair is next to a large window onto our patio which I had earlier cleared of snow. This still leaves a wall of snow around 500mm (50cm or 18 inches!) in height. Sitting calmly on the patio, between the snow wall and the window was a Pine Marten.

Bold as brass, the little fellow was watching me watching him and not even phased by Madam Paddy Cat who, also aware of him, was staring back - a totally different response to her confrontation last night with a large black and white moggy who'd had the temerity to walk through 'her' garden!

Of course, as soon as I moved to get the camera, the Marten departed. Still, the camera is now ready for when he returns as I'm sure he will. We seem to have provided a neat little highway for Martens, cats, rabbits and sundry other wildlife across our garden and giving access to next door's wood store and dense shrubs that have become home to quite a menagery.

A nice boost

I have to say thank you to my friend "Krylon" who has posted a great piece on my latest book at his blog, New Book Releases.

And a huge thank you to all those who have supported me in this project and to those who have bought it and will buy it. For the record, it is also available through Waterstones and W H Smith and I believe it can be found at Barnes and Noble and other bookshops.

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Red Cross

The Politically Correct Directive of the UK Red Cross management to their staff that they may display nothing that celebrates Christmas or the "Christian Story" in any of their shops is, as far as I am concerned, the final straw. They have given as their reason, that they do not wish to "upset Muslims."

Fine. But apparently they think they can offend Christians and still rely on our support.

Well, not mine. I hereby give notice that the Red Cross will never again get even a brass button from me and I sincerely hope that every other Christian will take the same action. Enough is enough. It may come as a surprise to the morons who now infest the "management" of these charities - all founded by Christian philanthropists who would be appalled at this sort of behaviour - but Muslims also celebrate Christmas!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Book News

My latest book, Their Lordships Request ..., has finally made it into print. Some of you may already have spotted it in the side bar! At present it is linked to the Author House, UK, bookstore, but can be found on their US Bookstore as well. It will be on Amazon in a few more weeks, it takes a while for Amazon to catch up. Those of you who enjoyed my first, will, I now, enjoy this one - it even has a Glossary to help with all those nautical terms ...

It will soon be available through Amazon but is already obtainable direct from the Publisher. I am rather pleased with this one, a prequel to Out of Time which introduces Harry, Ferghal and Danny Gunn. It is, essentially, a 'rite of passage' for them, following their adventures and development as they voyage on the "74 gun" HMS Spartan, to Australia and India. Like Out of Time, it is two stories in parallel with the introduction of the ship they find themselves joining involuntarily in Out of Time, and Harry's "descendent," her Captain.

This brings to three the number of books I have published in this series. The Enemy is Within! (See the sidebar for the link to where it and Out of Time can be purchased) and I hope that they bring some fun and pleasure to my readers. A fourth, with the working title at present of On The Run, will, I hope, be published in the New Year.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Expectation Bias

"Expectation Bias" is a rather fancy way of saying that I have made up my mind on something and will henceforth only see the evidence that supports my view and ignore anything which may suggest there is another view. This is something that investigators are made very aware of during training - indeed, some of us who train investigators, deliberately plant "evidence" to invite students to go the wrong way as a part of their learning experience.

It is a problem in many legal cases, and much of the legislation that now dictates methodologies, acceptable evidence gathering techniques and evidence handling and processing arises from failures by investigators to eliminate their biases from the process. If, as a fire investigator, I go into a fire scene with a predetermined conclusion, I will find only the evidence I expect to find - and misinterpret or discount everything which may point to a different conclusion. It is something researchers studying human cognitive behaviours are very aware of as I was reminded reading an article in the Scientific American recently -

The past few decades of research in cognitive, social and clinical psychology suggest that confirmation bias may be far more common than most of us realize. Even the best and the brightest scientists can be swayed by it, especially when they are deeply invested in their own hypotheses and the data are ambiguous. A baseball manager doesn’t argue with the umpire when the call is clear-cut—only when it is close.

The problem is, the more senior, the more experienced and the more 'acknowledged' you become as an 'expert', the less likely you are to admit to bias or to having made a mistake! This is certainly the case in the scientific field. It also led to one of the most tragic series of miscarriages of justice in the last decade - all because a very respected and emminent Doctor developed a theory, unsupported by any research, that allowed him to declare an enormous number of children were being 'abused,' destroying their parents - many mothers went to ail merely on his evidence of 'abuse' - and sending the children through a truly abusive process of examinations, fostering, being declared delusional when they refused to 'confess' or 'admit' they were being abused and finally removal from their families and friends. The doctor in question got away with it despite mounting evidence that he was totally wrong and it was not until enough of his colleagues got up the courage to stand up in court and show why and how he was wrong that it came to a stop. But the damage has been done and many 'lay' people still believe that garbage this man put forward - because they do not have the expertise or the knowledge to unravel what the press fed them and has singularly failed to correct. Again this 'bias' among senior 'experts' is well known -

Scholars in the behavioral sciences, including psychology and animal behavior, may be especially prone to bias. They often make close calls about data that are open to many interpretations. Last year, for instance, Belgian neurologist Steven Laureys insisted that a comatose man could communicate through a keyboard, even after controlled tests failed to find evidence. Climate researchers trying to surmise past temperature patterns by using proxy data are also engaged in a “particularly challenging exercise because the data are incredibly messy,” says David J. Hand, a statistician at Imperial College London.

Two factors make combating confirmation bias an uphill battle. For one, data show that eminent scientists tend to be more arrogant and confident than other scientists. As a consequence, they may be especially vulnerable to confirmation bias and to wrong-headed conclusions, unless they are perpetually vigilant. Second, the mounting pressure on scholars to conduct single-hypothesis-driven research programs supported by huge federal grants is a recipe for trouble. Many scientists are highly motivated to disregard or selectively reinterpret negative results that could doom their careers. Yet when members of the scientific community see themselves as invulnerable to error, they impede progress and damage the reputation of science in the public eye. The very edifice of science hinges on the willingness of investigators to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong.

The more I have learned about the edifice that has been built around Global Warming, the more I become alarmed at the fact that the scientists behind it seem to be very selective in their "evidence" and in their "models." I fully understand the desire to find the solutions to the very complex problem that climate change presents, but I cannot escape the feeling that there is now a huge amount of "Expectation Bias" at work in the IPCC, Greenpeace, East Anglia University and other "Climate Research" bodies. Data is manipulated in ways that are simply not acceptable in my field at all - and would be thrown out of any court if presented as 'evidence.' But that is the problem, the only 'court' looking at any of this is one stuffed with 'believers' who would not dream of questioning the 'expert' or challenging his view.

Sadly, unless this changes, science will ultimately be the loser as the Scientific American article says.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Stormy weather

You know that a storm is going to be a bad one when someone 'names' it. The one that passed across Germany last night and yesterday, was named 'Petra' and she certainly made an impact. For the second time I could not get to my language course, the wind was drifting snow across the road to Bliedenstadt and even 4x4s were struggling.

The view from the patio doors after I had dug my way out through them ...

Petra dumped a huge amount of snow across Hessen, though we seem to have got of relatively lightly. This is the dry powdery stuff and I have to say, it does look pretty - but then I don't have to fight my way to work through it any longer. It is certainly looking more and more as if we will have a "White Christmas" this year. If so, it will be my first ever.

Something to look forward to I think.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Kalt, kalt, kalt ...

At minus 6*C at 11.00 in the morning with the sun out - believe me, it's cold! It's a dry cold though, rather pleasant if you are well wrapped up, but the ground is treacherous, with a layer of ice hiding in the snow. The birds are busy at the bird feeder and make an interesting mix, with Robins, Tits, Jays and Chafinches all arguing over the bounty our neighbour puts out on a table and we hang from the eaves.

The snow shows the tracks left by rabbit, cat, mice and something else, possibly one of the Pine Martens.

As for Madam Paddy Cat, she has adopted her 'Cold Weather" pose - nice warm spot on the sofa, nose covered by the tip of her tail and her paws well tucked in. There is almost an attitude of wake me when it's warm again ...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Dazzling white ...

As I sat watching more snow waft gently onto my already snow covered drive, garden, street ... I found myself pondering a brief note from the internet provider Nachrichtendienst. I have to say it wasn't supposed to be snowing just then. That is supposed to happen tonight. Mind you, bang on schedule and as predicted, on Montag, it began to snow and by yesterday morning had dumped another 100mm or so - on top of the layer of ice left from the last fall...

OK, my German is still not that good, but reading this news item, dictionary in hand, I had to blink once or twice. Here was an item saying that a scientist from the German Meteorological Service is suggesting that the run of extreme cold and this year and the previous three very cold winters - getting worse according to his data - suggests we could be shaping up to a Mini Ice Age. After mopping up my coffee spill, I wondered how long he'll keep his job. After all, according to the German Green Party, to say something like this is the equivalent of Holocaust Denial.

Then I had a funnier thought. I began to wonder what the AGW mob would say and do if he's right. No, I don't think I'll publish my thoughts on that just yet.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Something to ponder carefully ...

BBC 4 recently broadcast an animated look at statistics which show how national economies have converged in the last 200 years. It makes fascinating watching, but it also demonstrates just how easily some of the policies now being pursued by western socialists and by the "Green" lobby who demand de-industrialisation and totally unrealistic reductions in energy use or such expensive replacement technologies we cannot remain competitive, can destroy the wealth our forebears have built so skillfully.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Student Fees ...

The Gorse Fox has written an outstanding piece on the problem of the perception in the UK that everyone, regardless of ability, has a "right" to Tertiary education. I think his analysis of the problem and of the unrealistic expectation the previous government created (Interestingly they must have known they would need to raise the fees themselves!) in the minds of many school-leavers is spot on.

Having grown up in a country where the privilege of going to university depended on your parents being able to afford it, or your doing well enough at school to "win" a bursary from a prospective employer, I have never considered this a right. It is a privilege and I was delighted in 1996 to be accepted (Aged 51!) for a work based degree. It was awarded in 1999 and I undertook a Masters the following year. Neither were "free" and both, though "work based" were hard work - especially as I had to continue my normal work programme as well as study, research and write papers, reports and assignments.

Watching the riots and the "demonstrations" and all the rest of the appalling behaviour I would, frankly, like to see those involved ejected from their universities and barred from higher education for at least five years - some of them perhaps for life. Any re-application should be at full cost only.

General education, as The Gorse Fox says, is a "right" but tertiary education is not. Nor should it be - the vast majority of people in any given population do not have the skils or the mental capability - or sometimes the maturity - to cope with it. And here I will freely confess that I do have a slightly above average IQ and had it when at school - but I lacked the discipline and the ability to deal with the University system when in my teens and even in my twenties. That was a skill I gained slowly in my thirties and forties - hence my late entry into the university education. I know I am not alone in that - in fact, I think I am possibly representative of a very large slice of the population.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A thought on the "Student" protests...

Many of those causing the violence during the London "Protests" over Student Fees are, in my view, not students. They look like the usual "Socialist Workers Party" rent-a-mob. It is going to be tough for those having to pay and I agree that it is unacceptable that a Scottish student pays nothing, while an English student, whose parents taxes are paying for the Scottish student, pays. This is yet another of Liebore Party's disasterous outcomes arising from Blair's tampering with the Constitution. But the truth is that far too many of the "degrees" offered since Blair and Co decided that universities were too "ellitist" and had to make space for a disproportionate number of school leavers - most of whom struggle to cope with the university style of learning - are of no value at all in the market place for jobs. The "balance" in the UK is still far to heavily slewed in favour of "Arts" and not enough on Technical or Science based degrees.

But here is my thought for the current government and for the "Loyal" Opposition...

An assault on the person of the Sovereign or the Heir to the Throne is an act of Treason. It says so in the law, not that anyone in the Liebore Party would recognise it of they fell over it. And here is the next thought. Treason is still one of only two criminal acts in the UK for which the Death Penalty is allowed. Perhaps a Treason Trial will give some of the layabouts, Socialist 'Workers' Party activists (Socialist Worker has to be the greates oxymoron ever!) and many of the Liebore Party members who take the Oath of Allegiance with their fingers crossed (As Lord Prescott of Pucka Pies did) and every intention of committing treason as the opportunity arises, pause for thought.

Hanging a few of them on Tower Hill will send a much needed message I think.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Snow fun

One of us had to do it. Mausi beat me to it. But then, she also has much more practice at building snowmen...

Friday, 10 December 2010

More snow ...

The Freiwilliger Feuerwehr Station in Watzhahn.
The back of our house - note the Gazebo roof load!
Our back garden - the snow cover is pretty deep.
The snow stopped briefly overnight, but it looks close to 40 cm - around 15 inches for the non-metric. And there is more promised for tonight. Having shovelled the drive twice yesterday, Mausi attacked it last night and removed another 50 - 80 mm, but I still had to clear another 75 mm before she could get the car out to collect her colleague and go to work. Our neighbour's trees have suffered - the one next to our gazebo has collapsed under the weight of snow and another has split, but the Freiwilliger Feuerwehr has been busy all yesterday with accidents and today with more trees down and blocking roads.

Could be an interesting winter at this rate.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

And it's still snowing. It was about 20 cm from yesterday afternoon to this morning, and the way its coming down at present suggests I'll have to clear the drive again this evening so Mausi can get in! I somehow doubt I'll get to my language course tonight!

I wonder where the IPCC and EAU, NASA and Greenstrife are actually measuring this Global Warming? Venus perhaps?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Words of Wisdom

Over the years I have had to listen to a variety of 'experts' - usually expensive 'consultants' - telling me that "bigger is better" or talking about "economies of scale" while ignoring the waste that usually arises when organisations get too big. So it is pertinent at present to consider the problems when an organisation becomes to large or answerable only to itself. FIFA is just such an organisation and so is the ICC. Then you have organisations like Greenpeace, Frieds of the Earth and Earth First, to name but a few who feed into the epitome of corrupt and unanswerable organisation - the UN.

The early American President, Thomas Jefferson, had it right when he commented -

Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants, at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder, and waste.

As soon as the 'people' begin to feel they have no voice and no say in the direction or organisation of a state or even a company, they become detached and it isn't long before the functionary begins to feather his or her nest and play the 'rules' to their own advanatge. The chances of being caught are remote - since usually the 'management' have no idea of what is really going on below their ivory tower. Nor do they care, as long as it appears to be operating smoothly and their own expensive tastes and coffers are constantly in receipt of their 'perks.'

If this is true of a single people, connected one to another by language, culture and history, how much truer is it of gigantic multi-national units?

Aristotle noted:
“To the size of a state there is a limit, as there is to plants, animals and implements, for they can none of them retain their natural facility when too large”.

History has proved his words more than once - and our own age has a long list of proofs -

The UN and all its "agencies"
The EU bureaucracy
Washington's bureaucrats,
Whitehall and its legions,
Beijing and its Central Organisations,
Moscow ...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Revealing the lack of "concensus?"

I finally tracked down an interview on CNN that brings one of the "hide the decline" scientists (Who incidentally is quick to accuse everyone who disagrees with his Man is Causing the Planet to Die view of being in the pay of "Big Oil" while raking in the taxpayers money for their indefensible stance on the leaked emails and other sensational claims for their "models.") up against one of the scientists who disagrees. The sad thing is that the disagree lobby has proof that there is something fishy about the EAU CRU and IPCC claims, but they are being ignored and sidelined by the Greenpeace/Fiends of the Earth controlled "Climate Community."

The claim by the NASA apologist that the "quote 'hide the decline' and 'Nature trick' are taken out of context" is pathetic. I've read the relevant email in full. It is not out of context, it says exactly what they meant. The "Tree Ring Proxies" they had constructed their entire case on, had shown a different trend at an "inconvenient point" and caused the model to show something other than what they were wanting - so the "trick." Simple, exclude the data you don't like and run the model again until it shows what you want to see. Sadly, what no one seems willing to admit is that almost all the "data" they use comes from an ever decreasing number of actual weather monitoring stations, almost all of them in heavily built up areas and therefore subject to background warming from buildings (In one case the exhaust fans from an airconditioning plant for a very large building), tarmac and 'concrete canyons' in which they are located. OK, so they claim they "know" how much extra heat is being measured and compensate for it in their model. Really? How do they do this? With real measurements taken in a more natural setting?

No. They 'calculate' it... Now, I'm no mathematician, but one thing I do know, to make any calculation give an accurate and reliable result, you need all the factors to be accurate measurements - not numbers pulled from thin air...

Worse, they 'interpolate' data to fill in gaps for places they don't have data from directly. So, for a place you may have data showing an upward trend from - say - forty years ago, you average the rise and add this to 'plot' an extension to the graph. This 'extrapolation' of data allows you to fill in the gaps, but it is, at best, a good guess, not fact or 'hard' data which is what you get from actually going out with the instrument and measuring whatever it is. But in the CRU/Greenpeace world it is taken as fact and tweaked until it shows the 'right' trend. Viola! The upward trend continues, even though it may not be doing anything of the sort in reality at the actual location.

There is quite a discrepancy between the actual surface measurement of temperatures and those taken by satellites (and no one is exactly sure what the satellites are actually measuring) so one set shows a "flat line" since 1998 and the other shows anything but a clear picture of either increase or decline. So the answer for the AGW mob is simple - add in anything which can be claimed to show an "increase" and spin it and hype it up - but watch out the skeptics don't get a chance to show just how unreliable your Bristle Cone Pine Tree Ring evidence is. And when it doesn't do what you want it to show - exclude it.

The climate is changing, it has been since the last Ice Age and yes, it is speeding up slightly, but wedon't know whether this is due to western society's emmissions (Which have been reducing steadily since the 1980s) or to something else. Yes, we do need to keep looking, but if you look a little wider than simply trying to destroy western culture with punitive transport policies, taxation and driving industry abroad so we can all go back to subsistence farming and a pre-industrial culture, you find that before the last Ice Age, the climate warmed suddenly and quickly.

Maybe our early ancestors caused that as well... With Greenpeace's lunatic fringe 'science' I'm sure it won't be long before they 'prove' that in an IPCC report.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Saint Nicolas

Saint Nicholas, Sinta Klaus, Santa Claus, the old Bishop of Smyrna has certainly gathered names and legends, and, sadly, become confused with a number of pagan figures and legends along the way.

Today is his feast day, and the day on which, traditionally, gifts were given and exchanged - until the great captains of commerc discovered the gold mine and turned acts of love and charity into opportunities for excess. Yes, I know, I'm sounding curmudgeonly, and I've no desire to spoil anyone's fun, but I'm getting very tired of the constant attempts at this season to 'take Christ out of Christmas' and replace His feast with "Winterval" or some other meaningless reason to 'celebrate' spending vast amounts of money.

This came home to me last year amid the dire predictions that "High Street Sales figures were down and showed that profits would not recover..." Christmas is not about 'profit' it is about the birth of a baby who, whether you believe the Gospel or not, has shaped the history of the last two thousand years. Even Muslims celebrate His birth, though, in their canon, He is named Isa and rated a mere 'Prophet' - something the Politically Correct ignoramuses of our society do not know - and if they do - don't understand.

So, today, I will remember the real Saint Nicolas, Bishop of Smyrna, benefactor of the poor. His anonymous gifts to those in need are the foundation of our tradition of giving and exchanging gifts with friends and family. Perhaps we should consider a return to a simpler way of marking this season. It might make a difference to the attitudes of the ignorant and the greedy.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Advice to our Leaders...

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
- Cicero - 55 BC

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cancun - the desperate dance of lunacy?

I managed to find a copy of the Executive Summary for the Mexican proposals for the latest Anthropomorphic Global Warming funfest. (It's embedded and difficult to read ...) It would be funny if it weren't so serious. Several bloggers have already picked up some of the more extreme utterances and policy demands, and so have a number of the mainstream news media. Several things stand out to me as being the ultimate in lunatic or authoritarian proposals. The debates can be found by following this link. I'm afraid this is little more than the usual "Blame the West; they have to go back to the Stone Age so everyone else can have everything they have at present."

The theme in this summary seems to run to "Since people no longer believe us, we have to take desperate measures and impose our will." Frankly I can't see any democratic government - at least any government that isn't dominated by left-wing "internationalist" champagne socialists living in total isolation from the effects of their decisions - falling for some of these proposals. Mexico falls into a different category, but just looking at their proposal to reduce CO2 output by 50% in an unbelievably short time span, the equivalent of removing all traffic from Mexico City for four and a half years according to their own figures, is not just utterly impractical, it's economic suicide. An item on the Daily Telegraph Blog probably sums this up better than I can even though it is a spoof, it is based on what is actually being said at Cancun...

Then there are proposals for the introduction of rationing (Actually only one complete nutter - but he's a 'scientist'...) of resources to the developed world. I'm sure that's a huge vote winner anywhere that claims to be democratic. In fact the response by a teacher who has had enough is a must read! But it gets better, there's a proposal to forcibly relocate "populations at risk" - a way to overcome the voting problem I suppose, just relocate a whole bunch of people to an area that is resisting the "save the planet" juggernaut in the polls. Of course, what that is also likely to do, since they seem to be admitting at last - at least the Mexicans are - that overpopulation is part of the problem, is simply move the pressure off one ecosystem and push it onto another.

Reading up on archaeological studies of the Pueblo culture in the US, one of the things that killed it off was the ecological change caused by a massive expansion (reatively speaking of course) in the population once they began a settled agricultural life. The farming practices they used, coupled with the need to feed an expanding population and linked with the changing climate as the ice retreated, caused contamination of their water supply, impoverishment of the soils and ended in famine, civil war and ....

Probably more worrying are the hysterical demands from the German Green Party and the former East German Communists, now called "Der Linke" (The Left) for the punishment of scientists who "dare" to question AGW. It suggests that, as usual, the left wing and the ideologically driven fanatics, having failed miserably to convince the populace that they are the "Saviours of the World" are restorting to the usual tactics. If we can't persuade you, we'll bring back the nasty guys in Black Shirts and skull and crossbones badges - and make you do as we demand. Though the German Greens are being public about it, Greenpeace, Fiends of the Earth and all their surrogates and supporters are no less draconian in their visions f the "Utopia" they wish to create - and even less open about it.

I think the blog, Watts Up With That? has possibly the best set of comments and links on this subject.

Personally, I'm enjoying my mini-Ice Age here on my mountain top in Germany...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Working Harder

My language course has finally started. It is putting a new perspective on language learning as the group is about as diverse as you can get! Three from Turkey, two from Afghanistan, one from Kryzkistan, one from Poland, one from the Cote d'Ivoire, one from Kenya, one from the US, one from Colombia, another from Ukraine, a lady from the Czech Republic and myself... All at different levels, with different learning styles and different cultural behaviours.

It is proving interesting and, though challenging, I feel I might be making progress. I guess time will tell...

In the meantime I had better go outside and break up the ice in the water butts and make sure they don't burst. It's currently minus 7*C outside and the wind is getting up from the North - not a good sign. More snow is predicted for tonight and I'll post a picture when I get around to downloading the camera!