Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Disabled Princesses.

No, I'm not talking about one of British Leyland's cars. This is about the latest bit of equality obsessed bollocks to come from the British politically correct left.
Disney has been praised for breaking down barriers by featuring its first black princess in the film The Princess and The Frog. Oona King, who was Gordon Brown's senior policy adviser on equalities and diversity, is not satisfied, however.
"You never see disabled people," the former Labour MP complained to Mandrake at a screening at the Mayfair Hotel in London. "When are you going to see a Disney film with a disabled character in the lead role? Tell me that."
The Little Mermaid didn't have any legs. Now fuck off.

UPDATE: Also at Leg-iron's.
She'd just watched a film in which one of the two main characters had been turned into a frog. You just can't get much more disabled than that, unless you set the story in a French restaurant.

UPDATE 2: Mrs Exile points out that Pinocchio was made entirely of prostheses and probably makes up enough righteousness to cover all the other Disney output for the twentieth century.

Warble gloaming caused by student politics.

Okay, not quite but not a million miles off.
The United Nations' expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world's mountain tops on a student's dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.
In its most recent report, it stated that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa was being caused by global warming, citing two papers as the source of the information.
However, it can be revealed that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.
The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master's degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.
To resort to a fairly over used phrase, you couldn't make it up. A fucking magazine? Really? Jesus Christ. And while I wouldn't want to belittle this geography student - for all I know he turned in his work plastered with caveats which were then ignored by the professional warmistas - it's still based on the subjective opinions and recollections of third parties. Science? Isn't someone supposed to be out in the field with a fucking theodolite and a tape measure? Where is the observation data?

This isn't just the ranting of a sceptical layman either:
Professor Richard Tol, one of the [AR4] report's authors who is based at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, said: "These are essentially a collection of anecdotes.
"Why did they do this? It is quite astounding. Although there have probably been no policy decisions made on the basis of this, it is illustrative of how sloppy Working Group Two (the panel of experts within the IPCC responsible for drawing up this section of the report) has been.
"There is no way current climbers and mountain guides can give anecdotal evidence back to the 1900s, so what they claim is complete nonsense."
This is where sceptics and those AGW proponents who haven't abandoned the scientific method and are honest about uncertainty and 'sloppy work' can agree, but there's one point I'd dispute in there. There may have been few or no policy decision made on the basis of this alone but policy decisions fucking well are being made on the basis of the Summary For Policy Makers at the end of IPCC reports, and one of the three major sections of those reports that are being summarised for policy makers is being done, to use Professor Tol's own term, sloppily.
The IPCC report, which is published every six years, is used by government's worldwide to inform policy decisions that affect billions of people.
See, Professor? Now how do you think these policy decisions can be unaffected if the summaries on which they're based are in turn based on a report written by three working groups, one of which you yourself say is sloppy? This is costing us all a fucking shitload of money, you do realise that, don't you?

Now let's look at the sources themselves (my emphasis).
The magazine article, which was written by Mark Bowen, a climber and author of two books on climate change, appeared in Climbing magazine in 2002. It quoted anecdotal evidence from climbers of retreating glaciers and the loss of ice from climbs since the 1970s.
As opposed to a failed politician and author of a couple of books on climate change? Still, the point here is that this guy doesn't hold a neutral view, is not a scientist and was not writing for a scientific. It was a fucking magazine article. Now he's perfectly entitled to say what he likes and to bang out an article full of cherry picked half remembered anecdotes along the lines of 'we don't get t' winters we 'ad when I were a lad' that are completely unverifiable if that's what he wants. Fair enough, and he doesn't sound like he's trying to hide the anecdotal nature of it, but it's NOT FUCKING SCIENCE, okay?
Mr Bowen said: "I am surprised that they have cited an article from a climbing magazine, but there is no reason why anecdotal evidence from climbers should be disregarded as they are spending a great deal of time in places that other people rarely go and so notice the changes."
Actually, Mark, yes there is reason. Did these guys to climb up things or did they go to measure them? Did they make any observations and take equipment to do so? Or is it like someone coming back from the footie and telling his wife that it rained a bit more than last time he went? Anecdotal evidence is subjective, subject to faulty recollection and vulnerable to little tricks such as leading questions when collecting it. Plus...
Experts claim that loss of ice climbs are a poor indicator of a reduction in mountain ice as climbers can knock ice down and damage ice falls with their axes and crampons.
Which also applies to this:
The dissertation paper, written by professional mountain guide and climate change campaigner Dario-Andri Schworer while he was studying for a geography degree, quotes observations from interviews with around 80 mountain guides in the Bernina region of the Swiss Alps.
Oh gosh, another less than neutral writer.* I'd say how astonished I am but it'd be a lie even without the recent revelation that a lot of IPCC reports are based on stuff churned out by WWF and Greenpeace. And remember that for years we've been told that it's all solid, all robust, all reliable and especially all peer reviewed. In fact plenty of AGW proponents are openly dismissive, scornful even, of anything that is not peer reviewed. It's their gold standard, and by extension that of Big Eco as a whole, but in turns out that non-peer reviewed work is just fine when they're using it, even if colleagues from related disciplines contributing to other sections of IPCC reports say it's sloppy.

Do as they say, not as they do. Bastards.

UPDATE: Not that it changes much one way or the other but I notice at Wattsupwiththat that the IPCC's Rajenda Pachauri has written a work of fiction (or another one as the case may be ;-) ) of the 'romance with rumpy-pumpy' genre. I wonder if he knows Alastair Campbell.

* True, I'm less than neutral myself but that's only because of all the shit we've been fed on this over the past three decades. When they come up with a convincing theory - one that accounts for the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age etc rather than tries to pretend they didn't fucking happen - I'll look at it neutrally, though still with a bit of scepticism since that's actually the way it's supposed to work and, as I said, there's a bit of history.

Here's the science bit.

Numbers can be dull as shite, and when they get too big they can start to become unwieldy and difficult to wrap your head around. National debt? Well, it's turned into a number between one and ten with a lot of zeroes behind it, isn't it?* One of the things I've admired on other blogs is the imaginative way in which some bloggers have tackled the numbers to make them more user friendly, and so we have things expressed in terms of things like how many tons of £50 notes or how many years would be needed to burn a certain amount of money every day to reach the same sum. Still mind boggling but you can at least picture it. But even so there are some things where even this approach hits the buffers. Homeopathy, for example.
I have just purchased a packet of Boots-brand 84 arnica homeopathic 30C Pills for £5.09, which Boots proudly claim is only 6.1p per pill. Their in-store advice tells me that arnica is good for treating “bruising and injuries”, which gives the impression that this is a very cost-effective health-care option.

Unlike most medication, it didn’t list the actual dose of the active ingredient that each pill contains, so I checked the British Homeopathic Association website. On their website it nonchalantly states that to make a homeopathic remedy, they start with the active ingredient and then proceed to dilute it to 1 per cent concentration. Then they dilute that new solution again, so there is now only 0.01 per cent of the original ingredients. For my 30C pills this diluting is repeated thirty times, which means that the arnica is one part in a million billion billion billion billion billion billion.

The arnica is diluted so much that there is only one molecule of it per 7 million billion billion billion billion pills.

It’s hard to comprehend numbers that large.
You're not kidding. How about making it easier on the brain then?
If you were to buy that many pills from Boots, it would cost more than the gross domestic product of the UK.
Okay, we've reached meaningless pretty early and we're only able to get it down to GDP of a major economy?
It’s more than the gross domestic product of the entire world.
Ah. Fuck.
Since the dawn of civilisation. If every human being since the beginning of time had saved every last penny, denarius and sea-shell, we would still have not saved-up enough to purchase a single arnica molecule from Boots.
Then the process of consuming enough pills to get that one molecule also boggles the mind.
Oooooh, I'm not sure, but you can try me.
You can try imagining Wembley Stadium completely filled with people, all drinking pints of medicine at the rate of two an hour. For just one of these people to eventually consume one molecule, you would need a million Wembley Stadiums all at full capacity with people who have drinking pints constantly since the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Number too big again.
Oh, and you’d need 737 million such Earths.
To put homeopathy in a medicinal context, if you wanted to consume a normal 500mg paracetamol dose you would need ten million billion homeopathic pills. Where each pill is the same mass as the Milky Way galaxy. There is actually not enough matter in the entire known Universe to make the homeopathic equivalent of a single paracetamol pill.
Fuuuuuuuck. See what I mean? Normally when someone wants to talk about massive quantities or sizes of things they reach for London buses or jumbo jets or Eiffel Towers. This guy's using fucking galaxies and the universe... and it's not enough. Holy shit!
Homeopathy is actually based on 18th century wishful thinking that water will somehow remember substances that it had previous contact with (but will forget the countless effluent that it has passed through). That a 10 billion year old water molecule will remember everything it has touched flies in the face of all known science and is an insult to any thinking person.

... at least snake-oil has the decency to contain some snake.
Mate, why didn't you just start with that? Alternatively, here's Dara O'Briain on the subject.

* And there are a lot of zeroes behind it in more ways than one, buduhm tish.

Prats In Power.

Hey, where'd he go? He's been a bit quiet lately and now the blog seems to have gone private. This isn't the Scottish blogger thing again is it?

UPDATE: Somehow I missed Shibby's farewell message before the shutters went down on Prats In Power and barring a contact from Shibby I'd be none the wiser were it not for Google cache. So now I know that it's gone. Pity.


But still repugnant.


Is Milipede channelling Obnoxio The Clown?

The banana waving Miliband has come up with something that actually makes sense.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has defended a plan to pay off the Taleban while British soldiers continue to die in Helmand province.
Not going to go down well with a lot of the country but as a practical matter I can see the sense in it. Thing is though, I'm sure I've heard it somewhere before. Oh yeah, now I remember.
...which collective or individual sponsor of terrorism is going to want to match the US/UK investment in fighting the taliban? We currently spend $165M a day on fighting the Taliban. We could, if we double their current earnings, spend $300K a day on this. In other words, we could fight a year of the Afghan war for a lot less than we spend there per day. So, let's say Islamofascists double up again and we have to double up again. So now we're fighting a year's worth of war for 3 days' worth of current spend. So they double up again and we double up again. We're now fighting a year's worth of war for about 10 days' current spend.

And at this point, if my rudimentary maths is up to it, the $10-a-day Taliban will be earning $320 per day, which isn't a bad fucking deal for a westerner. For an Afghan, that's pretty much millionaire status. They will, collectively, say "fuck you" to the Taliban and start collecting Mercs.

And we can go on doubling and redoubling a fucking lot before it starts to cost us anything like the current costs. Al-Qaeda and their supporters will either go bankrupt or say "fuck it, there's got to be a cheaper way of doing this" and throw in the towel.
Compare and contrast:
Mr Miliband defended the £500 million fund to induce the Taleban to lay down weapons and cut ties with al-Qaeda. “I think the soldiers’ families from every part of the coalition, as well as the families of the Afghan soldiers, would want the war to end as soon as possible,” he said.

“I do not accept that the reintegration fund has been established simply to rent back those insurgents who are currently being paid $10 to $30 a day to fight for the insurgents.”
Why the fuck not?


The Times' Antonia Senior on the inequality gap:
Who wants equality if it means equal poverty?
It doesn’t matter that the gap between rich and poor is growing. What matters is that you can go from one to the other.
She makes a similar point to what I said about capitalism a couple of posts below.
As long as the poor have not been getting poorer, which they clearly have not, and everybody’s standard of living is rising, why does it matter that the rich are getting richer? So what? Of the top twenty billionaires in The Sunday Times Rich List, more than half are self-made. Why do we begrudge them their success?
Couldn't agree more, but it's depressing how many people don't see it that way and how many of them end up in government or in government sponsored positions with a mandate to try and change it. The name of Harritwit Harperson springs irresistibly to mind. It's not really necessary because these people make themselves pretty easy to spot but I've thought of a litmus test.

Imagine we have a magic wand with two interesting and unique features: it's double ended and can be used only once. If you hold one end and wave the other it will magically make everyone twice as wealthy as they are, which naturally means that the gap between the most and least wealthy will double too. Held the other way around so that the opposite end is waved and it will magically redistribute all the wealth in the country so that everyone has an exactly equal share.

Remembering that we get only one shot at this, which end should be waved?

Warble gloaming's latest supporter.

Well, since so many of the greenies seem keen that we should all go back to living in fucking caves I'm sure they'll be welcoming this guy with open arms.
Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden lectured the United States and other industrial nations on climate change and urged a dollar boycott over US "slavery," in a new verbal assault broadcast on Friday.
In the message aired on Al-Jazeera television, possibly timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, bin Laden said "all industrial nations, mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming."
"Discussing climate change is not an intellectual luxury, but a reality," he said in the audio recording whose authenticity could not be immediately verified.
"This is a message to the whole world about those who are causing climate change, whether deliberately or not, and what we should do about that."
And whether it's the fear of attacks or the frustration at the pointless and ineffectual security theatre he's done more to put people off flying than some soap dodging sign waver or a hippy chick throwing custard at the Mandelsnake. Wonder what he makes of the CRU email leak and the big glacier lie uhm, mistake no, apparently 'lie' might be right after all.

Another less than stellar week for the warmista doom mongers. I'd laugh but I'm still so bloody cross about it all.

The blackout is over...

... at least for now. However, the threat of internet censorship in Australia is still alive and well. Some will use TORs and proxies to get around it but I can't see any way around the fact that the combination of the federal government's patronising opinion of our intelligence and it's desire to nanny us all as if the most fragile person in the country typified us all will almost certainly make the internet slower and more expensive. As I said at the beginning of the week, if you're outside Australia don't think for a minute that this doesn't apply to you too. It just doesn't apply yet. It's already gone too far here, don't let it happen where you are.

UPDATE: At Leg-iron's I see the UK have got their own version of Conroy web control freakery in the form of the Mandelsnake.
The Count of Mandelsonia has a spiffing wheeze that will help him shut down those naughty people who call him names and point out the idiocy in his government's systems. It's all based on the filesharing nonsense that they've been harping on about for ages. I couldn't see why the Count would care but it's perfectly clear now that the pieces are all in place.

It's simple. If you are accused of filesharing, your internet connection is shut off. Not filesharing and want it back? Well, nothing to hide, nothing to fear, right? Just go to that Ofcom place and tell them you aren't filesharing and there's been a mistake. A quick look at your internet records will clear you. No problem.

Well, there is a problem. You now have to pay for asking for your connection back, whether the accusation is true or not. How much? That's not specified yet. Will you get the money back if you're innocent? No.
Why don't we all just move to China? At least the food's good.

Blame game.

'Capitalism has forgotten to share its wealth,' says the article headline in the Graun... er, the Telegraph. Excuse me, says I, where exactly does it say it had to? And so I ended up trawling through this piece by Jeremy Warner.
What is capitalism for? I ask this age-old question because I've spent the last three days at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and never have I seen the high priests of Mammon so gripped by self-doubt.
For? What do you mean what's it for? I'm not sure that it's supposed to have some high purpose as the question implies. It's just an economic system, isn't it? One which is strongly meritocratic and largely revolves around private ownership. That means there are certain things that are incompatible with it, some of which are 'for' things, but capitalism? It's just a way of doing things that's proven fairly popular among those who like freedom. It no more has a goal or a purpose than evolution. Why do you think it should have one?
Flash back to the same event 10 years ago, at the height of the dotcom bubble, and it seemed to those gathered on the mountain top that the free-market system could do no wrong. Communism had been vanquished, and we stood, it was confidently declared, at the dawn of a new age of ever greater prosperity and technological advancement, which would lift great tracts of the world out of poverty. That, indeed, is what capitalism should be about. There can be no higher purpose for any economic system than to serve society.
You what? It's not there to serve society. It's simply a means by which the individuals in society do business. It can indeed lift people out of poverty, and when it does so that's great. But is that supposed to be its function or just a positive side effect? Or to put it another way, when a dotcom billionaire made his money was the purpose of that just so he could pass that wealth on to brickies, chippies, sparks, plumbers and other tradesmen hired to build him a new mansion? Of course not. The dotcom billionaire had no obligation and was completely in his rights to lock himself in a warehouse full of $100 bills and live on pizza deliveries if that's what he wanted to do. The fact that most would spend their money on things like new houses is a bonus for other people, but not the purpose of the exercise. I hope that one day I make a big score and have a dream home and some big boy's toys, but it's not because my conscience is being pricked by the thought of somebody working in a yacht factory who could do with some overtime.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 18

TV. It's often shit. And worse still it's often shit in a way that's depressingly familiar because, I'm slightly embarrassed to say, it's British shit. Now that's fair enough because Australia produces some spectacular shit of it's own - name an Aussie soap and I probably hated it - which have been bought up by UK channels, so I do understand if an Aussie TV channel bought British soaps. And I can just about understand why SBS bought Top Gear as 'infotainment' (and why Nine nicked it) even though every time they mention speed, weight, power etc. since it's not in metric it'll often be unfamiliar to many Aussies much under 40. And giving prices in Sterling really is pretty irrelevant here, doubly so if it's a car that isn't available in Oz in the first place. But if that seems weird it's nothing on some of the other stuff. I thought seeing Antiques Roadshow was odd when I first got here, though I suppose that could be Top Gear for the Baby Boomer generation, but who the hell here is supposed to get anything from seeing Catherine Gee traipsing around rural Britain house hunting for cashed up townies? Escape to the Country ticks all the fail boxes - unfamiliar geography, irrelevant currency and, since Catherine Gee apparently doesn't do the show anymore, it's a few years out of date and the prices will be even more meaningless. They do it with Grand Designs and that one with Amanda Lamb as well. Why? Are the British channels selling them so much cheaper than it costs to make some Australian content to fill the schedules? It's surely not padding out the schedules because Escape to the Country is on at half nine on Friday nights. So why do it?

On the off chance any British TV execs come across this I'd like to pitch an idea for a new show. We find some charismatic, camera friendly Aussie girl and send her to look at properties for Aussie families and couples who want to trade up. We stick to dollars and never mention how much it is in pounds. We discuss floor areas in squares* in order to make British viewers ask 'square whats' and we try to send her only to towns and suburbs that difficult to spell and preferably have a misleading pronunciation so that it's tricky to look them up in Google Earth and preserves the mystery of where, in a very large country almost as far away from the viewers as it's possible to be, they actually are. We can call it 'No, Me Neither, But Dale Winton's On The Other Side.'

Friday, 29 January 2010


Somehow missed The Filthy Engineer's Oh what NOW! off the blogroll despite saying three weeks ago that I'd put him on. This is what happens when I rely on RSS and don't actually look at the fucking blog enough.

Very sorry about that, FE.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Not what Apple want us to think of as the iPad...

... but apparently it predates the launch of their latest gadget by a few years.

So it's hardly surprising that I wasn't the only one to think that iPad sounded jam rag related.

If that's not reason enough not to bother Constantly Furious raises some good objections:
There's a lot more screen to scratch, and a lot fewer places to put the fucking thing when it starts to rain, or when a mugger begins to eye your new 'must-have' toy.

While, of course, the iPad will change the way we .. err ... tap shiny things in exasperation, there are some things it can't do:

* it can't be read in the bath, like a paperback;
* it can't be whipped out of a pocket to jot a quick note, like a notepad;
* it can't be folded up and read in one hand on a crowded train, like a newspaper;
* it can't take quick pictures, like every other mobile phone made since 2007
* it can't be replaced for 50 pence when you leave it on a bus, like an exercise book;
* it can't be held to your ear so you can speak to a loved one, like a phone;

and, naturally,

* it can't help but make you look a total twat, the very first time you whip it out in a bar
On top of which if my Macbook is any guide using the damn thing on your lap for any amount of time will get your groin hot enough that no one will let you on an airplane for a week in case your pubes catch fire.

Put me down for two of 'em, I don't think.

UPDATE: TDM - had to happen.

Lights and fences and lawsuits, oh my.

One of the things I'm quite happy for government to do, and therefore for me to be taxed to help pay for, is a bit of street lighting. Okay, governments being what they are I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone said that it costs more than it needs to, but overall it's mostly not bad value and as public services go it's simple enough that it must be quite hard to fuck up. However there are limits and I think lighting up a whole fucking bridge at a cost of $20 million just because you want it to look good is going beyond them.
Melbourne's Westgate Bridge will be covered in thousands of new lights, in a face-lift that is expected to reinvigorate the city's night skyline.

The Victorian Government will spend about $20-million on the lights, which will be placed on the bridge's cabling poles and lanes.


"That will provide for a safer, more visible structure, and ultimately one that I think will aptly demonstrate a key piece of urban infrastructure for the city of Melbourne," [said the Roads Minister, Tim Pallas]

The lights can be illuminated in patterns for special events such as New Year's Eve.
Look at the fucking thing, will you? I realise that Melbourne feels a little like it's living in Sydney's shadow sometimes but the Westgate is not and never will be the tourist attraction that the Sydney Harbour Bridge is. You can't get out and admire it or walk across taking photos of the city, and there's no museum and gift shop or anywhere obvious to put it. The most significant part of its history that I know of is part of it falling down during construction, and I bet very few visitors trouble themselves to go and find the particular support with the plaque listing the names of those who died in the accident. So how about saving $20 million of our money, not to mention the ongoing costs, and settle for lighting that does the simple job of helping drivers see each other on the bridge at night?

Ah, but it's not just the lights. As the article mentions, the lights are just part of a $1.4 billion project to improve and upgrade the bridge, which includes the anti-suicide fences that I've mentioned before:
... if you said that saved 100 lives over ten years I'd agree that 100 grand per life saved is a more than fair price. But if it means that 100 people over ten years simply go for a walk in the forest with a rope I don't see we've gained a single thing. Come on, this is Australia for Christ's sake - you can almost guarantee your own death by going into the bush and annoying the wildlife.
As I said back then I'm a little undecided about the virtues of anti suicide fences on bridges in general and the Westgate in particular. The argument that some people choose to jump on impulsion is plausible, but people buy crap they don't need and can't afford on impulse as well and we don't think about putting barriers up to stop them. I'm all for the idea where suicides present a strong risk of injuring, killing or even inconveniencing others (I've always said that if I wanted to top myself I'd be looking at ways that don't involve jumping off of or under anything, and preferably that doesn't mean some poor sod has to peel parts of my brain of every flat surface in the room) but otherwise I lean towards leaving the situation be and accepting the fact that now and again people will jump, and that stopping them from doing so won't prevent the serious ones looking for alternatives. On top of that I feel strongly that if our lives are truly our own then an individual must have the right to decide whether they want to die, assuming they can do so rationally.

What I'm damn sure I oppose is suing other taxpayers because someone you care about took their life and that you blame the state for not doing enough to stop them.
Ali Halkic [whose son committed suicide by jumping from the Westgate] claims [the state government and Vicroads] did not do enough to stop people committing suicide at the bridge, by putting up public safety barriers.

"If there are people out there who need any form of assistance, they should be prepared to do whatever needs to be done, knowing that they let these people die, and they could have prevented some of the deaths."
I do feel sorry for the guy but really, would fences have stopped his son going down to Point Lonsdale and jumping in The Rip or something? And even if it would have is a lawsuit that, win or lose, is going to use up more government resources (and taxpayers' money) going to help, or is it going to cost money that could have been used to fix the problem that you're suing over? This is always one of the big problems when it comes suing governments. Another is that even if you're after nominal damages and just want a head or two to roll it's actually taxpayers being sued, or at least picking up the bill, and that includes whoever brought the suit. Campaign all you like, maybe even bring a private prosecution, but every time the government spends money we all pay. We should probably think about that before trying to force them to spend even more.

Technology report - name fail.

iPad? Seriously? It sounds like a sanitary towel, especially when you see the press describe it as 'intimate'.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 17

Another one of those language usage puzzlers. Aussies are a people known to cut down perfectly harmless nouns that were just wandering around the English language doing no harm to anyone, and so in these parts the people who come and empty your dustbin are garbos, the people who'd put it out if it caught alight are the firies and the people who have charity shops where you can get rid of stuff that's too good to be put in your burning bin are The Salvos. In its most extreme form this can go as far as identifying something with a single letter - ask any Melburnian what 'The G' is and you'll see what I mean.

So why the hell do they insist on calling a kettle an electric jug?

Australia Day part 2.

The barbied lamb chops are fine, and if I was in Sydney I might be persuaded to go along to the harbour and watch the ferry racing* ...

... but I'd draw the line at Vegemite wrestling.

I don't know, someone leaves his normal breakfast portion of Vegie in a paddling pool for a few minutes in jumps a pair of pneumatically breasted girls. I call it bloody inconsiderate! The poor bugger's got to put that on his toast after you two have been sweating in it. On the other hand it might be better than mixing it with cream cheese.

Weird place this sometimes. Good. But also weird.

Normal anger levels will resume in due course.

* Mrs Exile expresses some surprise that the Sydney ferry racing hasn't been banned for some tedious reason tenuously connected with either elfin safety or warble gloaming or both. I'm not shy in criticising my new home when I feel it's deserved so it's only fair to say that I'm delighted something as stupid and pointless and, most importantly, fun as this is still going on. Now if I can just get somewhere with my idea for the annual Melbourne Tram Time Trials we'll have something just as daft here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Australia Day

Blogging will be light - those lamb chops won't barbecue themselves, you know. In the meantime I hope a few people may take a look through some of the EFA links on the pop up when the blog loads, and if you're here in Oz and have a website or blog yourself maybe you'll join in the Great Australian Internet Blackout for the rest of the week. For everyone else please do look into it - it'll give you an idea of what you're probably going to be in for in the not too distant future.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Quote du jour.

Via Dick Puddlecoat:
Crime Any breach of the law apart from transgressions relating to parliamentarians' tax and mortgage arrangements, for which the correct term is "errors of judgment".

Electorate Several thousand voters in marginal constituencies along the M4

Stakeholder Person who, according to departmental briefings, must be consulted before their views can be ignored.
Gold, absolute gold. More here, though being the Graun some of it's crap as well of course..

Coming to a cinema near you.

I really do wonder if the warble gloaming scare is on it's last legs when apparently serious scientists are moving the scare away from that of warm weather freezing us to death and on to an earlier Roland Emmerich movie plot.
"We might like to assume that if there is intelligent life out there it is wise and benevolent, but of course we have no evidence for this.
"Given the consequences of contact may not be what we initially hoped for, then we need governments and the UN to get involved in any discussions,"

Frankly the only answer to this is this, especially the very last line:

Because as soon as governments and the UN get involved in problems they're sorted right away, eh?

Fucking hell.

Show me more of this Earth thing you call... facepalm?

Warble gloaming writing on the wall.

Okay, too early to say that really, but post Climategate and with more IPCC revelations coming out, not to mention more of Pachauri's connections, it's getting to the point where even the faith of some of the most faithful seems to have been shaken. If and when the farce finally grinds to a halt I do hope someone thinks to put a dollar price on what all this has cost.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Early in the morning in the middle of the night.

Early in the morning in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up for a fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
And if you don't believe it's true
Ask the blind man: he saw it too
I have no idea what the source for that little poem was but it was popular on the playgrounds when I was a kid. Carrol or Lear it ain't but it sticks in the mind, probably because of all the contradictions. And it was a contradiction that reminded me of it when I saw this headline in The Age:

If it was lethal then by definition the toddler couldn't have survived it? And since she did survive what was lethal about it? Is this back from the dead stuff, or is it just (oxy)moronic newspaper sensationalism?

I think I can guess.

Everybody say cheese.

Looks like the mass photo gathering in Trafalgar Square organised by, and I'm sure attended by at least one, if not more, of the regular reads on my blogroll*, has been fairly successful in that the tanks didn't roll in Tianamen style and everyone ended up being dragged away to waiting hosepipes. More importantly that they seem to have got a decent turnout.


A couple of interesting points though: around 0:32 there's mention of some booing because a uniformed goon tried to stop people taking photos of the National Gallery, and roughly 0:50 it's said that there were a few plastic plods about but they left everyone alone. This suggests that the way to go about taking photos in the UK these days is to have 3,000 friends with you (or if you're a pro an unfeasibly large number of photographic assistants), and that's not really much to shout about. The media coverage is also a bit disappointing. Naturally there'd be stuff in the professional and hobbyist photo publications but the mainstream media have let the side down a bit, with only the Grauniad and the Beeb devoting much space to it in the UK. The Telegraph cover it well (that's their author in the audio clip) but it was only in their blog section, which presumably means it's not in the print version at all. The Fail gave it a couple of paragraphs but online at least it looks like column filler stuff. Other than that right now (Sunday lunchtime for me) it seems to be non-UK news sources, and that is odd. Surely the MSM must be at least as big a target for S44 abuse as all the amateur photographers, terrorists tourists and freelance pros who've been getting hassled. Why the fuck aren't they banging the drum about this?

I have a feeling that more protests might be necessary for this to get the coverage it really deserves.

UPDATE: Rather more at G.O.T.

* For very obvious reasons it was never on the cards that I was going to go, which is a bit of a shame as I used to live only an hour or so by train from London. But needless to say if the same thing happened here I'd be on the way to Canberra - I've been tempted to buy a new camera for a while now.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

What is the BBC doing?

The BBC is to ask the nation if its comedians should be allowed to tell jokes about lesbians and gays. The issue will be part of the most wideranging piece of research on sexuality that the corporation has commissioned.
Is this consultation with licence payers or is it the pretence of consultation because the decision has already been made? I don't know but the Beeb seems pretty PC and it wouldn't surprise me. Still, the nation will be asked, right? Er.....
Tim Davie, BBC director of audio and music, will chair a working group on the portrayal and inclusion of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It will examine how they are reflected in the corporation’s use of language, tone, stereotyping, humour and scheduling.
A working group? Does that mean asking all the people who buy a TV licence or does it mean a dozen or so biscuit munching sessions in a conference room while somewhere someone designs some carefully loaded questions? Again, not saying anything here, just that some things would not come as a shock.

Also not shocking is the reaction of the usual lobbying groups.
Gay rights groups have long called for the BBC to include more gay characters in its output. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, which lobbies for lesbian, gay and bisexual interests, said: "This is long overdue. Stonewall research into BBC output found that during 168 hours of programmes, gay lives were represented positively for just six minutes."
Yaaaawwn. What would you lot know about lives, gay or otherwise, until you all go and fucking get one? When are you going to stop defining who you are by who you're inclined to bump uglies with? More importantly when are you going to stop defining all gay, bi, trans, etc. people that way, even when they themselves don't? You'll notice that I am the Angry Exile, not the Heterosexual Exile Who Sometimes Gets Cross About Things. Most gays I've met, and I'm assuming that I didn't realise that all of them were gay, have done likewise - they define themselves by their trades or hobbies or sporting allegiances or their appearance or their mannerisms or whatever. Gayness doesn't define them, which is odd because the gay rights lobby seem to wish that it did.

For the second time, it's just a fucking movie.

I really do worry that fuckwittery is becoming an epidemic. It's not enough that some cinema goers can't tell the difference between life and fantasy but the fucking health and safety gauleiters are assuming that none of us can.
Researchers found that the main protagonists of Hollywood movies often undermine accident prevention advice given to children.
Half the scenes examined in movies aimed at children showed unsafe practices including not wearing seat belts, breaking the green cross code and failing to wear helmets on bikes.
The mistakes could give children a "false sense of safety" they claim which could lead to bad habits and encourage dangerous activity.
I stopped reading at that point for health and safety reasons, i.e. I was close to having a brain meltdown and punching my fist through the monitor. This just a week after Peppa Pig and her bloody seat belt was in the news. Jesus H. Christ!* Look, just because a handful of people are functional cock sockets who cry because they're not a giant blue cat or end up dead at the bottom of the stairs from attempting to play Quidditch on a vacuum cleaner is no reason to treat the other 6 billion of us like we're just as moronic.

Just. Fuck. Off.

* Who, because it's about setting examples, really ought to have been wearing a floatation device when on the Sea of Galilee even though he was fucking walking on it.

Yeah, right.

I can't think of any reason to doubt this, can you? Oh, well, if you're going to count Climategate, and the fuckup with the Himalayan glaciers, and the various connections of the IPCC chief and the other Big Eco vested interests including those behind the claim that the last decade was a record scorcher, and various other doubts not least of which is that this is James Hansen again, the man who claimed the fucking Hudson river would have risen to drown New York's West Side Highway by now, then yes, maybe there might be one or two reasons to doubt it.

Still, nice to see that The Telegraph is staying upmarket by illustrating the topic with a picture of a pretty girl with nice tits.

Your super, soaraway, er.... Telegraph.

The Government is Mother, the government is Father - Part Three.

Via the Thylacosmilus in the comments here I see Kerry Robertson, the girl Fife social services first decided was too stupid to get married before going on to decide that she was also too stupid to keep her child, is in the news again. Predictably enough her infant son has been taken from her, but there's more to it than that. As I pointed out last year Kerry didn't seem entirely daft to me since she was clearly capable of anticipating what was likely to come next.
... doesn't the fact that she's thinking of the child and its future suggest that she's given more thought to the whole marriage and family thing than the council poxcocks think she's capable of? Much more thought, I reckon.
The couple are concerned that their unborn baby, a boy they have already named Ben, could be taken away if Fife council judges Miss Robertson unable to care for him.
Oh, I wonder how the fuck they could possibly be worried about that. Remind me again... ah yes, of course. So she's fucking bright enough to fear that the same bastards who have pronounced her too thick to be a wife will, like their cuntish colleagues in Nottingham before them, say she's too stupid to be a mother as well.
She was also bright enough to spot the next obvious move: get the fuck out of the country. Unfortunately she and her not-allowed-to-be-husband didn't run far enough.
A couple who fled to Ireland after social workers threatened to remove their baby at birth have had the newborn snatched after all.
Kerry Robertson, 17, who has mild learning difficulties, and Mark McDougall, 25, went on the run after British social services said she was not clever enough to raise a child.
But just four days after Ben was born, Irish social workers marched into the maternity ward and forced them to hand him over.

Because their British counterparts asked them to and because ruining running people's lives for them transcends national boundaries.
Last night Miss Robertson said: ‘When the Irish social workers said I had to give the baby to them, I felt sick.
‘I didn’t want to hand him over and I started crying because I couldn’t believe what they were saying. I thought I had misunderstood.'

As it turns out you understood all too well, which again makes me doubt you're really that daft. Really the only silly thing was to think that Ireland was far enough to be safe, and frankly that's understandable.

So barring miracles there the story ends. No happy endings, no fairy godmothers, just the state looking after what it perceives as its own. It'll be looking after the other ones I mentioned yesterday too, though only for five years* and despite the fact that their parents were apparently so amazingly and suitably intelligent that... well, it just speaks for itself doesn't it. But Ben Robertson (assuming that's still his name) has got the state's fucking hooks in him for life, just like his mother before him.

The lesson here is that in Britain your body is not your own, your life is not your own and your children are not your own, not if you don't meet the state's criteria (which is up to them and can be changed at any time, so potentially it includes everyone). If that doesn't appeal then get the fuck out of there. Run away, far away. Much further than Ireland.** I just wish I could suggest where to run to.

* Yes, I know 'indefinite detention' means it could be longer but look at what happened with the kids who killed Jamie Bulger.
** In all honesty, and though it pains me to say it, on past and current form I can't recommend Australia.

Radio Ga-Ga.

Tuesday's post about the radio jock playing Van Halen's Jump after suggestions from listeners delayed on the M60 north of Manchester prompted someone to email a comment to the effect that things were indeed going batshit insane there. They've not replied back and I can't find anything that confirms it but the email suggested that Steve Penk had received a death threat, which would be shocking but not altogether surprising.

As I said on Tuesday it seems highly unlikely that the woman on the bridge was in earshot of the song being played and less likely still that had she heard a second or two she thought - no pun intended - oh well, might as well jump then. More likely she was up there to jump in the first place and evidently she fucking meant it. But the self appointed taste police don't see it that way and, if the email is correct, one or more of their foam flecked followers thinks that the poor sod who played it deserves to die. What the fuck is it with some people, huh? They're either in as much need of help as the woman on the bridge or just weapons grade cunts and, I'd suggest, evidence that while Intelligent Design is probably bullshit a fairly convincing case could be made for Retarded Design.

TDM - on fine form...

...but uncomfortably close to reality again.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said will offer reams of public sector statistics including fake road works, actual crime figures and the number of times some fat-arsed, overpaid, local authority socialist can't be bothered to do his fucking job.


Sir Tim said ordinary citizens will be able to use the data in conjunction with Ordnance Survey maps to show the exact location of road works that are completely unnecessary and are only being carried out so that some lazy, stupid bastard with a pension the size of Canada can use up his budget before the end of March.

Friday, 22 January 2010

DING will give and DING will take away.

He has to take away in order to be able to afford to give anything, and so we have the need to increase taxes in order to be able to bribe people into marriage. The long and short of it is that even if it gets rid of the cyclopian nightmare in Downing Street Britain can still expect another government that will not only delight in robbing Peter to pay Paul but will also help itself to Steve's money only to give it back to Steve by some needlessly circuitous route (less the costs of administering the system, natch).

What the likely next government won't do, what it seemingly can't even concieve of doing, is leaving everybody the fuck alone.

Well, he looked a bit Middle Eastern, didn't he?

A US Airways flight was diverted to Philadelphia after a young Jewish man's prayer items triggered a bomb scare, Philadelphia police said.
The incident arose when the man used a phylactery, a small black box Orthodox Jews strap to their head as part of their rituals, police said.
The man was not arrested and the plane landed without incident.
Further evidence, as if more were needed, that generally all that the security theatre we've had imposed on us is good for is false alarms, and sometimes pretty fucking embarrassing false alarms. So we'll add orthodox Judaism to 8 year olds being on a terror watch list, shall we? I'm sure someone somewhere is fucking laughing about it.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

Fucking twats.

Understanding goes only so far.

I'm really with the Salted Slug on this.
Two brothers who brutally attacked two young boys witnessed serious domestic violence against their mother and had a "toxic home life", a court has heard.
Okay, my understanding is working just fine. On the face of it that's fucking appalling and no kid should be brought up in that kind of environment, but the sad fact of life is that they're not the only ones. Having another five brothers they weren't even the only ones in their family. However, they are the only ones who are on trial for being weird little sadists.
The judge, Mr Justice Keith, has heard how the brothers threatened to kill their victims, then aged nine and 11, stamped on them and attacked them with broken glass, bricks and sticks.
One victim was forced to strip naked and perform a sex act and a metal ring was used to strangle one boy.
The brothers have admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
They have also each pleaded guilty to robbing one of the boys of a mobile phone and the other of cash and have admitted two counts of intentionally causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
Obviously the barrister has a job to do and that is to present the best possible case on behalf of his client. That's what professional legal advocates are there for. With guilty please already made this guy is just there to seek some leniency and argue that his client should not just be treated as a delinquent and depraved mutation, and that's probably not an easy job if all he has to work with is this sort of thing:
The barrister said his client's upbringing could be summarised by a reference in one report to his "toxic home life".
Mr Kelson said his client had been shown horror films at his home when he was as young as 10.
He said the films were "extremely violent" and "gruesome movies in the extreme".
I'm trying to remember when I first saw a horror film, and I think I wasn't a lot older. Perhaps twelve. Can my barrister use that too? Oh hang on, I don't have a barrister, do I? Because I haven't committed a crime.

I'm certainly not arguing that's it's all nature and not nurture that makes people what they are, but nor is nuture the big deal that some would like to think. I've lost count of the number of times someone's childhood or upbringing is brought up as a reason or an excuse for their behaviour or, all too often, their crimes. Okay, perhaps not an excuse but a reason. The thing is that the reason or the excuse isn't necessarily that relevant. There was unarguably a reason why Munir Hussain beat the shit out of someone, but while it wasn't quite good enough to excuse him and overturn the verdict it was sufficient for an appeal judge to suspend the rest of his sentence and have him released (not his brother in law though). The reason there is relevant because there's nothing to suggest that Hussain would brain anyone else with a cricket bat unless they too invaded his home, imprisoned his family and threatened their lives. But if we're to believe a shitty childhood is the reason for two boys becoming sadists then we must also believe that left to their own devices they'd carry on indiscriminately choosing victims to torture for shits and giggles, in which case who really gives a fuck. Tigers can't help being what they are either, but if you found a couple roaming around a South Yorkshire town you wouldn't shrug your shoulders about it. You'd have them caught and removed to somewhere they can't threaten people's safety. The twists of DNA that make them several hundred pounds of stripes, claws, and teeth rather than hooves, horns and beef don't even enter into that decision.

By all means choose to believe that a child is a blank sheet and incapable of evil until or unless exposed to it in their formative years, but as a practical matter don't expect me to show much interest if you tell me that because of it someone has become evil. You might even be right but apart from being something for others to beware of it doesn't change anything. Not what was done to the victims, and not what needs to be done to prevent the perpetrators from finding more victims.

While I'm talking about the Daily Mail...

... does anyone there know the slightest thing that was going on here in Oz before Prince William got off the fucking plane?
A week ago the monarchy was all but dead in Australia and the march towards republicanism appeared inexorable.
What a load of shite. The situation is more or less this: Kevin Dud leans towards republicanism in principle (just my opinion but it's one of his few good points) and made a few noises before the last election about possibly giving some thought to re-opening the republic/monarchy debate, but if I recall correctly the only thing he committed to was that it wouldn't be a first term thing. We're still in Rudd's first term. Now, ex-(il)Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull was also vaguely pro-republicanism, though again not strongly enough to make a lot of noise about it, but was replaced by the budgie smuggling Tony Abbot. By all accounts Tony Abbot is fairly keen on the monarchy and doesn't want to let Mrs Queen go. Tony Abbot took over the Libs a couple of months ago, not last bloody week. Sure, he's only the opposition leader but it'd be a damn sight easier for Rudd to move forward with cross party support than with the opposition being lead by a strong monarchist, and I suspect Rudd would prefer to fight over the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme that he's already had bounced back out of the Senate once.

But you don't really get that impression when the Daily bloody Mail are saying that last week the monarchy was 'all but dead' here and becoming a republic seemed inevitable. I'm guessing that someone there heard about the Attorney-General here mentioning that there are people thinking about the wording for a referendum question if, and it's a big if, Rudd decides to ask it. Look elsewhere and you can see how up in the air it still is. And that's just to get the fucking question asked in a referendum. To actually become a republic would need not only a majority of the whole country to vote Yes but a majority of the states as well, and although last time more than 45% were in favour of a becoming a republic that's still more than half a million votes short. Worse still, the Yes campaign didn't get so much as a single state, let alone the four they needed (they did get the ACT but that isn't a state and counts only towards the whole country vote). That was a decade ago and while feelings have probably changed I'm not sure they've changed enough for four states and a majority of Australians to vote for a republic. Even here in Victoria, the nearest the Yes campaign came to getting a state in 1999 (less than 5,000 votes in it), I reckon I know about as many monarchists and those who don't care enough to want a change as I do republicans, and that's a long way from the Daily Mail's apparent belief that the monarchy was all but finished here until Prince William came along and won the hearts and minds of a nation, just as his mother did before.

Load of bollocks, and I think strongly deserving of a new masthead.

Google is your friend, fucknuts.

What libertarians are up against.

I hate to sound like some tedious Red Wedge comic but looking through some of the reader polls at the online pages of the Daily Mail is really fucking depressing. Want to be able to sell your company or your shares in a company to who you choose? Not if 84% of Daily Mail readers have anything to do with it.

Want to be able to drink more cheaply or, if you're a publican, to be able to make a business decision to try to increase trade by having happy hours? Again, not if 61% of Daily Mail readers get their way.

Want to have the freedom to drive in your old age providing, naturally, that you're not significantly more of a risk behind the wheel than anyone else? Well, you got that bus pass for a fucking reason you know, or so say 70% of Daily Mail readers. As pointed out in the comments, I well and truly stuffed that one up by reading the poll the wrong way round. Details, Angry old son, details.

And if you fancy a career change and you have a few skills and the gift of passing them on to others you ought to know that 67% of Daily Mail readers agree with DING* the fat foreheaded fuckwit that you can just forget it unless you have a degree.

I don't know if it's the Mail leading the thoughts of parts of its readership or the other way around, and from where I sit it doesn't matter much anyway. It just goes to show that many people are petty, small minded, authoritarian pricks who'd happily ban anyone else from doing anything not because it causes them any real harm but just because they disapprove. Show them anything that they don't do and so often you get a Pavlovian response of 'ooooh, that shouldn't be allowed, there ought to be a law against that sort of thing'. Well, thanks to fuckwits like that there's been on average a law against something new every single fucking day in Britain for the last thirteen years, and despite the fact that many of these laws have been brought to bear against the kind of people whose reflex reaction is often 'shouldn't be allowed' many of them still want more of the same.

Do we really have to end up with the government we deserve? And if so why the fuck do those of us who really do believe in freedom have to get our lives dictated by pricks whose definition of freedom is being allowed to do what they approve of?

* If I could remember who came up with the Dave Is Not Gordon thing I'd tip the bush hat their way.

It's not because of safety that this is wrong.

It's because it's not your fucking bus, you inconsiderate little cunt.

From the Tele.
Chief Inspector David Pascoe, of Kent Police, said: “These are idiotic and irresponsible stunts and we would strongly advise against it, not only for the safety of the person carrying out the action, but also members of the public.
And the fact that the bus company has to pay to have the roof repainted and the dents knocked back out of it doesn't figure, huh?

Fuck's sake.

Replacing 200,000 years of evolution...

... there's an app for that.
An iPhone application that claims to be able to tell parents what their baby's cries mean has been launched.
The Cry Translator app, which costs £17,99, is said by its designers to be 96 per cent accurate in interpreting cries of distress from babies.

Far be it for this non parent to suggest that since the previous several thousand generations of our ancestors managed to raise offspring without it this might not be 18 quid well spent. Sounds like another solution looking for a problem to me.
Researchers led by Dr Antonio Portugal Ramírez, a Spanish paediatrician, developed the project after finding that babies' wails could be broken down into five separate categories.
They learned that all babies, regardless of the language they are exposed to at home, have the same distinctive cries to indicate whether they are hungry, annoyed, tired, stressed or bored.

Interesting. Since just about every new parent I've ever known has told me how they could identify a distinctive cry that means 'oh dear, I appear to have shit myself again' I wonder if there's a missing category. Perhaps it's part of the stressed variety ('Oh noes, oh noes, I have shit myself again') or the annoyed type ('Oh for fucking fuck's fuckety sake, I've shit myself again'). In any case there could be an interesting study into the speed of evolution in our species. How many generations will it take for babies to develop another distinctive cry, this time meaning: 'put that fucking iPhone down for a few minutes and pay some fucking attention to me you thoughtless bitch, I'm hip deep in my own excrement and if you don't do something about it you're going to get a whole day's worth when you're stuck in the car with me*'?

Sure, cough up £17.99 for this if you want to, and maybe it'll even do what it claims. But is it really that hard to just work out for ourselves what the ankle biter's screaming about? After all people have been doing that since flint was high tech.

UPDATE: Of course I realise that it could have been worse, and sure enough it is.

* Yes, I know I've shown this before but it's too good to use only once.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Glacial guesswork.

I saw this the other day on WUWT and haven't sussed out how to fit it in to the warble gloaming dates for my diary.
Told ya so... IPCC to retract claim on Himalayan Glacier Melt.
This is something WUWT have been on for a while, the long and short of it being that the IPCC, and later by extension various other warble gloaming doom mongers, claimed in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) that Himalayan glaciers are at risk of melting away by 2035. The trouble is that that estimate seems to be based on little more than a bit of guesswork and some sums on the back of someone's organic fag packet. The head of the IPCC, the infamously independent er, heavily networked Rajendra Pachauri was having none of it of course - he even called an Indian government minister who'd expressed doubts 'arrogant' - but as WUWT says that now looks more applicable to Pachauri himself.
It’s now taken almost a month for the Times to catch up to this issue, and now it has made MSM news...

The Times, January 17, 2010

World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.
More evidence of how much bullshit there is, but do I add it to the list as glaciers in the Himalayas not to melt by 2035 or what?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Sack the useless bastards.

I doubt it'll actually happen because the BBC and the Met Orifice are warble gloaming fuck buddies, but the running joke that the Met Orifice's predictions have become can only run for so long. For the Auntie Beeb it must be like reliving that Michael Fish 'no hurricane coming' remark just before the biggest storm for decades flattened half of southern England. Can Auntie put up with it indefinitely, even on the guaranteed income from the TV licences?

It's just a fucking movie.

Seriously, what the fuck?
Some fans of the 3-D movie Avatar have suffered depression and even contemplated suicide after rejoining the real world.
From watching a very expensive mixture of Deathworld and Dances With Wolves? Oh, come on.
Recently, internet chat forums on the film’s fan sites have been clogged (one was closed after more than 1,000 posts) by viewers reporting feelings of depression and despondency after seeing the movie. On one site, a discussion called “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible” featured myriad fans recounting just how repulsed they were... by the reality of life on Earth after witnessing the phosphorescent beauty of Pandora.
Oh, come on.
A typical post reads, “After I watched Avatar for the first time, I truly felt depressed that I was awake in this world again.” Another reads, “It’s so hard, I can’t force myself to think that it’s just a movie, and to get over it, and that living like the Na’vi will never happen”. While one, on the website,, simply says: “I want to go to Pandora because life here sux \[sic\], with no sense of companionship, and because mankind has destroyed our planet.” On the same website, one fan claims that, “I even contemplated suicide, thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora, and that everything will be the same as in Avatar.”
Oh fucking come on. It's a fucking film. Not real, okay? Not fucking real. You can't go to Pandora because it's fictional, and even if it wasn't you can't breathe the atmosphere there (you did watch it, didn't you), not to mention that there's no way to get there anyway. 'Mankind has destroyed our planet' has it? So what's this big round thing I live on, eh, fuckwits? As for thinking of topping yourself because you believe you might wake up in a Pandora like world after you die, well, two things: one, you're a fucking idiot, and two, sounds like you've got some kind of religious bug to me so do yourself a favour and go to fucking church or something. It depresses me that we seem almost programmed for religious belief, the way many even apparently secular people will proudly claim to be atheists and the tell you that they believe in warble gloaming or astrology or mediums or sitting in the garage with a hose in the car's exhaust pipe so you can wake up in a movie.

Get a fucking grip, tools.

The PC crowd must have been foaming at this one.

You really do need a humour bypass not to smile at this.
Radio DJ Steve Penk has been condemned by mental health charities for playing a song entitled Jump as police were trying to talk down a suicidal woman from a motorway bridge.
[feigns outrage] Oh, oh, the poor family of that poor woman. How awful for them that this so-called DJ makes light of it. [/feigns outrage]

Ah, but hang on a moment.
The controversial presenter had a request from a listener for the track by Van Halen after four lanes of the M60 were closed while police attempted to deal with the delicate situation.
So not actually his idea then? Just a DJ responding to his audience, yes? And since these things are a two way street and remembering what the Steve Penk show was like in his Capital Radio days I'd expect a fairly broad sense of humour to be typical of the guy's audience.
He told listeners on his 96.2FM The Revolution's breakfast show he was playing the song to empathise with frustrated motorists, but moments later the woman jumped from the 30ft bridge.
And? Bloody hell, it's time for Dictionary Corner again.
coincidence |kōˈinsədəns; -ˌdens|
1 a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection : it's no coincidence that this new burst of innovation has occurred in the free nations | they met by coincidence.
But predictably enough the Righteous among the associated charities are farting sparks.
A spokesman for The Samaritans said: "It shows a lack of compassion and understanding", while Paul Farmer of Mind said it was in "very poor taste".
Look fellas, where does it say that we must be compassionate and understanding, or that charities (particularly those that get some of their income from taxpayers' money) are the arbiters of good taste? Got it written down, have you? No? Then fuck off.

Still, at least nobody's suggesting that the woman jumped (incidentally, she was only injured) because of Steve Penk and Eddie Van Halen.
Some listeners also voiced their disgust at the stunt.
Lorna Guinn said: "It's irresponsible - this woman could have overheard it on someone's car stereo. I found it pathetic and nasty."


Oh, do give your fucking thoughts a little time to develop, you fuckwit. This story revolves around the fact that the motorway has completely shut because this woman was 30 feet up on a bridge. Do you think that the police just made everybody stop right where they were, including those vehicles within earshot of the bridge? Do me a favour - the cops aren't that daft. Other reports said that one carriageway was shut between junctions 19 and 20 and the outside lane was closed on the other carriageway, leaving only two lanes of traffic from which she might possibly have heard a second or two of Eddie singing over the traffic noise before that vahicle was out of earshot. And with the cold weather being what it is I doubt that people were driving along with the windows down, making it even harder still. So, Lorna Guinn, do you think she picked the song out of all that background noise by means of superhero like aural abilities and, distraught at the suggestion, decided to act on the lyrics? Or, given the fact that she was up there threatening to jump off in the fucking first place, do you think it might perhaps have been because she was serious about topping herself from the outset?

The only good thing here is that Steve Penk seems to be shuffling through his music collection looking for Non, je ne regrette rien.
"The entire area had been thrown into total chaos by a single troubled woman. I was very sorry to hear that the lady had subsequently jumped from the bridge but relieved that her injuries were minor.
"If, as has been suggested, the woman jumped because she heard it from a passing car radio that's unfortunate. But I don't regret playing it for a minute."

And cue applause from an expat down under. Look, it's sad that there are disturbed people (or even rational ones) who want to die but let's not look at black humour* as either a cause or somehow wrong on taste grounds. The former is ridiculous and the latter is subjective. There's no right not to be offended - deal with it.

* I hope no explanation of that term and why it has no relevance to any kind of race is needed, but if not I'll write it all down and fax it to anyone who wants it providing that they sellotape it to a cricket bat and twat themselves across the eyes with it.

Monday, 18 January 2010

And now for some sexist humour from the Kiwis.

Well, supposedly it's sexist and portrays women over 35 as sex objects, but I can't see it myself. And judging by the comments on this article I'm not the only one.
'Don't you think it's about time we got over this bloody Political Correctness rubbish? the ad is meant to be a joke...'

'These days if you are not "appalling and disgusting "at least one or two yapping self-interest groups you are not really trying. In saner times I would be worried about offending people but in these times I would be disappointed if I was not.'

'The PC brigade, removing humour from a screen near you - again.'
And in case you think that's representative of only one gender look at the last couple of paragraphs in the article itself (my emphasis).
An airline spokeswoman said the campaign was supposed to be "light-hearted" but some older women had "taken a bit of offence to it".

"[They] felt it was an unfair kind of blanket comment," she said.

However, many didn't, with 60 women signing up to go in to win flights, tickets and cougar costumes to attract the attention of young males.
Not that that stands any chance of satisfying the 'nobody may be offended by anything ever again' mob, natch.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Top Gear fucked.

Not because, as some have said, that it's kind of lost its way in the last couple of series. It's fucked in the Exile household because it's leaving its Aussie home on SBS for the Nine Network, which as I mentioned a few months back is one of a number of channels that struggles with keeping to a schedule:
This isn't the two or three minutes I used to tut about [back in the UK] - I shit you not, I've known things to start ten or twelve minutes late here. ... This isn't live event type TV that can overrun by the way. Obviously that can go tits up and play havoc with the scheduling, though how anyone here is expected to actually notice when that happens is anyone's guess. No, we're talking about regular pre-recorded programs, many of them US imports and therefore running at a convenient 40 minutes or so long to allow for plenty of ad breaks and guff such as 'this program is brought to you in association with a product you don't want and might not even have the right genitals to use properly'.


Execs of channels 7, Nine and Ten, I suggest you get a fucking clock each and learn how to use it before someone comes round and inserts one in you with the instruction to start the next program every time your arse rings.
Needless to say nothing's changed since September except that it's got worse. They do the rating holiday thing that the Yanks do, which means they don't make much of an effort this time of year. So we can expect the new Top Gear format to be along the lines of cutting the 58 minutes or so running time down to 40 or less, to often but not always run an ad break right after the title sequence and another about 30-60 seconds before the credits roll - yes, on top of all the other ad breaks - and to annoy the shit out of everyone by plastering on screen graphics with 'Coming Up Next On Nine - Shit You Can't Stand' on the screen at random intervals. It's pretty much a given that it'll start several minutes late and overrun by slightly longer.

Now I'm sure that this has come about because Nine has offered the BBC more money than SBS. Okay, fair enough. But I'll make a prediction here and now - Nine will fuck off the Top Gear fans enough that increasing numbers will simply download it illegally, viewing figures will drop and Nine will give up on it. Hopefully before that happens the BBC will wise up and start making it available to download for a small cost directly from the Beeb itself instead of some poor quality pirated shit or a cut to fuck version shown on TV.

UKIP's libertarian pretensions.

I've blogged before on why I'm unlikely to vote UKIP, though with the Libertarian Party still being in its infancy or at best perhaps taking its first few steps I'd been keeping UKIP in mind as an alternative to just spoiling my ballot. That would be a shame because it's not a completely straightforward exercise retaining a vote as an ex-pat as you've effectively got to re-register every year. To be fair they do send out a reminder a while before you need to renew - mine came both electronically and by snail mail - and you can fax your response back. So not hugely taxing but you do have to do it, and if you never gave them an email address and move without remembering to tell them where you went then you're stuffed. Bye bye vote. So having made the effort to retain my vote in the UK I'd prefer to use it positively if I can and UKIP was my plan B if there's no Libertarian candidate on my ballot. And I do mean 'was' as in past tense because it seems UKIP are shaping up to be just as illiberal as the rest of the political cock knockers.
The UK Independence Party is considering a call to ban the wearing of burkas, it has been reported.
It would be the first national party to call for a total ban on the Islamic headgear; the far-right British National Party believes they should be banned from schools.
Oh for fuck's sake. Okay, fair point that even the frothy chops of the BNP haven't gone that far, but when will the fucking mainstream media read the BNP manifesto and see that they're a fucking far left party? Hello? Re-nationalisation of 'key' industries? Does that sound terribly right wing to you dead tree fucktards? But that's by the by. The point is what the fuck are UKIP thinking? Are they seriously advocating that being of a certain gender and cultural/religious background means you are not free to dress as you please? Fucking looks that way to me. According to Lord Pearson, the UKIP leader,
“We are taking expert advice on how we could do it. It makes sense to ban the burka — or anything which conceals a woman’s face — in public buildings. But we want to make it possible to ban them in private buildings. It isn’t right that you can’t see someone’s face in an airport.”
Oh Christ. That would be up to the people who own the fucking building, not you, you witless authoritarian twat. Haven't you fucking noticed that there's no law banning people from wearing crash helmets in banks and shops, but that you still can't do it even though there's no law against it? Let me explain why, you thick fuck: if I own a bank or a shop and I want to be able to see your face I put up a sign to that effect, and if you ignore it instead of getting served you get asked to leave. Same goes for public buildings, only it'll be a council or a government department's policy rather than that of a company or a business owner.
He added: “We are not Muslim bashing..."
If you're not going to apply the law to motorcyclists and people wearing V masks then you're batting a fucking sticky wicket with that claim.
"... but this is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”
AAAAAAAAAAARGH! The only fucking thing that's absolutely and fundamentally incompatible with freedom is telling people that in what claims to be a free country they are in fact not free to walk around dressed how they like whether it's in a burqa or a Borat thong. Unless there's a fair chance of it harming someone else and you can fucking prove it, and short of a dynamite hat or a suit made of razor blades I can't think of much that qualifies, just take your warped views on freedom and cunt off into a small, dark hole somewhere.
[The Times] newspaper said Ukip would make an announcement on Sunday describing the burka as a threat to gender equality and claiming that it marginalises women and endangers public safety because terrorists could use them to hide their identity.
Yes, it does marginalise women but what the fuck do you do about it? Rip the veils from their faces? Yeah, good luck with that, fucknuts. Look, I don't like it much either, but if women choose to go all submissive and look at the world through a letterbox what can you do? It's not as if their view is so restricted that they can't see the alternative unless the burqa magically obscures the millions of British women who show not just their faces but as much as they as individuals choose to. If a woman chooses to hide her entire body under a shapeless mass or strip off and go naked or anything in between it's entirely up to her. As for the terrorist bit, it's depressing how quickly UKIP has joined the mainstream parties in using the terrorism bugbear to sell any half thought illiberal policy that they've just dreamed up.

So come June the 3rd, unless Gordon the gobshite doesn't hold out till the last possible minute*, I'm back to voting for the UK Libertarian Party or thinking up the most creative, amusing and offensive way or saying that all the parties are either thoroughly repugnant or have at least one policy which I oppose strongly enough for it to be a deal breaker as far as my vote goes.

* Or suspends the election altogether.
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