Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Think of the Children!

Pretty silent over the Christmas period, I know. I don't have internets at my new home until it all gets sorted out.

However, Humpty Dumpty is too scary for kids but this is just fine:

Apart from anything else, what does replacing “couldn’t put Humpty together again” with “made Humpty happy again” teach children about scansion? Hey ho.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Climate Wars

I happened to see a show called Earth: The Climate Wars. I caught the third in the series, but the whole of it is on iPlayer and can be seen for the next three days here:

  • part 1: The Battle Begins, which concerns the origin of the debate and some information on “Global Cooling”;
  • part 2: Fightback, which deals with the response of those who are sceptical concerning climate change;
  • part 3: Fight For the Future, which examines the current alleged effects of climate change, and what is believed may happen in the future.

It’s rather interesting, particularly as it looks into the sceptical arguments, albeit to dismiss them. I’d recommend viewing it even if you have strong opinions already formed. It is certainly presenting the pro cause, but if you’re interested in presenting the opposite, it shows what you have to argue against. It does seem to present a good case, and I’ll be looking for responses - there must be some out there on the interweb. Of course, any comments here are very welcome.

The series does have failings; I may post a summary of each episode if I get time along with my own thoughts as one still exploring this area.

Friday, 18 December 2009

A Person of Colour

After my one and only comment has been to criticise my colour scheme, I did a redesign. I can't promise to do that for everyone, but Mr. Greenwood had a good point, many might have found my previous scheme difficult to read. I hope this is better.

Excuses, Excuses

Well, I was hoping to do an update at least about once a week. Perhaps things will improve as I get into the swing of it, but in any case, my excuse at the moment is that I'm flitting, which means moving house to any Southerners that might wander by. This has all the stresses generally associated with such a job, particularly for those like me, whose income is not particularly high. Whilst van hire and finding enough to rent two places over a period take the bulk of the money, it's the odd hidden costs, like take-away food since you've little time and the crockery etc. is all packed, which just seem to mount up. So I'd like to thank my friends who've made this so much easier than it might have been, in particular the NorthWesters.

This in turn gives me an excuse to rant about a couple of things. And a rant is always good, for me to write if not for you to read.

The first I'll deal with quickly as you've probably heard it before... My income, though not high, isn't too far below average for Castle City, which being up North, is below the average for the country. I can't even afford a basic, two up, two down "starter house". Not just by a little where I might be able to save some more towards a deposit, but in a not-a-hope sort of way. If you own a house, I fear you will have to get used to the idea it'll fall in price (I won't say value, since they're overvalued at the moment) because this situation can't persist.

This is also why I rented a flat. It's not so much more to rent a house, but I am quite aware that a lot of houses on the rental market at the moment are owned by those who were hoping to sell but can't. I don't want the place being sold out from underneath me; that's happened before and entailed me moving house seven times in one year since I couldn't find good accomodation at short notice. That was not a lot of fun. I guess anyone else renting knows this which is why renting a two-bed house is little more than renting a one-bed flat.

The other thing is rubbish. I have some things which need to go to the tip, but I'm not allowed to take them with the van while I had it, because you may be tipping commercial waste. Because they can't just look at what it is you're tipping - and perhaps the fact the van you have is obviously a hire van - and make a judgment. Here's what I have to dump - look like commercial waste to you?

  • an old matress
  • a broken chair
  • a small TV that I'd actually quite like for the bedroom in the new place, but it won't do digital, even with an adapter box, and the North West doesn't have terrestrial TV any more
  • an ancient printer, the cartridges for which cost more than a new printer
  • a VCR that I've not used in about a decade

Time was when you put such things out with the rubbish and they would be taken away, because you'd paid for that service through the rates. If you did it too much, they'd have a word, but it was generally expected that a household would generate household waste...

You can apply for a permit for a van but there are two problems here. One is that although it says the permit takes about a week to come, anyone I've mentioned this to scoffs at the idea; secondly, it appears the permits relate to the "householder" who I expect is my landlord, myself being a mere lodger. One of the reasons for moving is that our relationship broke down somewhat, so that may not be about to happen, quite apart from the delays occasioned by the fact we work different hours.

Aaaand relax. That feels better.

I'm still looking at climate change. I'm starting with those who claim it is happening, not to prejudice the argument, but because the writings of those who claim it isn't are largely couched as responses. It's easier to read a response after what it is responding to than the other way around! There is rather a lot of it however.

I will say that thus far, the science seems sound, pace Brignell et al., though whether that will still be the case once I have gone through the criticisms too remains to be seen. It's not perfect, not beyond criticism by any means, but what I've seen of the criticism thus far - and bear in mind I've yet to make a systematic examination of it - doesn't affect the overall thrust of the argument. It'll be a while before I've gone through it all however.

Oh well, there's more I could burble on about, but back to work! I shall try to make a post once a week at least. And maybe something about current events now and again. More effort needed!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Why am I bothering?


Really, I'm not sure.

There are various things going through my head, most of them hurt, and none at this moment contain alcohol.

One thing is, I would like to improve my writing. You can probably see it's a bit ropey, but there are many things I could write about, so perhaps I'll start with the title. Everyone today - not just politicians, the media, PR departments and other professional liars - eveyone seems to be solely interested in making a pantomime. I assume this is some attempt to amuse us as we pass from the darkness on one side to that on the other, as we watch jaded by so many years of this nonsense. Perhaps an example would help. I first created this with a notion of ranting about Nick Griffin's appearence on - was it Question Time? But I quickly realised that was pointless, however the incident affords a simple glimpse into the type of thing I'm talking about. The answer is simple as far as I can see.

  • Was the BBC right to have Griffin on? Yes.
  • Were they right to have pretty well all the questions about Griffin or his party?No.
  • Was whichever Dimbleby is the Nationalised one right to allow Jerry Springer style - well, what would you call them? Ape noises? Absolutely not
  • Is there any point to Griffin making a complaint against Auntie? None whatsoever, it'll just waste license payer's money. Take it in your stride!

However, what happened the next morning was fascinating. The BBC came out with an opinion poll showing that 22% of Britons would consider voting for Griffin's odious party. There are two things here. First is that presumably the BBC had this poll already available, since they knew there would be a backlash. You see? Pantomime. Secondly, 22% of Britons are not going to vote BNP. What this is telling us is, 22% of Britons want to tell the mainstream parties that they think they are worthless. You see? Even what may be assumed to be the general public: pantomime.

We all dance this merry dance of perception above reality - anyone who has followed any of the police blogs will have run across perception based policing. It doesn't matter how many people get beaten up, or houses robbed, as long as key voters perceive themselves safer, that is all that counts. And if you're not a key voter - that is, one whose opinion may be swayed, and who is in a sufficiently marginal area, and be of a sufficiently large and identifiable group to make a difference. Probably some other stuff too. Pensioners seem to ba a favourite, but don't forget those honest toilers at the benefits coalface, Wayne and Daz and Britney and Shaz down on the council esatate, they too form an identifiable group with a clear understanding of what they want the government to give them. And they're voters too.

I hope that gives you a general idea of where I'm coming from. For the record, politically I regard myself as a left leaning centrist. Roughly, that means I believe in a net being there to catch the vulnerable and unfortunate. But don't take the mickey.

So here are a few things I'm hoping to look at. If I get time and can be bothered keeping this thing up. Hey, it's called "managing expectations"

  • Climate Change. Is it happening? The left, and some right, say yes. The right, and some left, say no. Lots and lots of scientists seem to be saying yes, but some say no. There's a claim that those who do say yes are ignoring all scientific principle and just following the money. It's hard for me to believe all those scientists are doing that, but one I do respect, John Brignell over at NumberWatch does believe that. So what on earth is going on? Investigation needed. I'll write up what I find out, subject to the usual disclaimers. This bit might actually be useful to someone. I'll be sure to label it carefully so you can ignore all the rest of this rubbish if you like
  • Politicians. What are they for? Are any of them worth the paper they make their tigers out of? What about the "political class" as Peter Oborne calls it? I already think his ideas have at least some merit, but more on that later. Is it possible in the 21st century to have a political argument without at least one side claiming the other is either Nazi or Communist?
  • Religion and Society and Possibly Morality and all that. Yeah. There's something there I want to look in to, and I'll record my thoughts. Someone seriously bored, or looking for someone to have an excuse to save (or blow up) might find it useful. Maybe.
  • There Was a Fourth Item. But I forgot what it was. Maybe I'll readit.

And there'll probably be some ranting. It's a blog from someone of no real importance and possessing little power in the world; there is always ranting.

On the other hand, who am I kidding. It'll turn into a substitute for therapy just like every other blog.

Yeah. I really don't know.

Just to finish, here is something that is illustrative of... something. It's related somehow to the concept of the pantomime, but I can't quite make the connection. Here is an interesting investment opportunity.

I'll reedit later to insert some links - I have to get back to work!