Saturday, May 31, 2008
The fact that it was packed with lies & the plot makes no sense should not be a hinderance.
From the ridiculous to the pretty damn good Freeman Dyson has a review in the New York Review of Books which contains:
"Whether someone is serious about tackling the global-warming problem can be readily gauged by listening to what he or she says about the carbon price. Suppose you hear a public figure who speaks eloquently of the perils of global warming and proposes that the nation should move urgently to slow climate change. Suppose that person proposes regulating the fuel efficiency of cars, or requiring high-efficiency lightbulbs, or subsidizing ethanol, or providing research support for solar power—but nowhere does the proposal raise the price of carbon. You should conclude that the proposal is not really serious and does not recognize the central economic message about how to slow climate change. To a first approximation, raising the price of carbon is a necessary and sufficient step for tackling global warming. The rest is at best rhetoric and may actually be harmful in inducing economic inefficiencies."
If this chapter were widely read, the public understanding of global warming and possible responses to it would be greatly improved.
This obviously includes almost every politician you have ever heard pontificating on the subject, including Gore. I would not say that many of them are not being serious. I think they know perfectly well that the catastrophic warming story is a lie but that they are seriously using it to get us to wear our regulatory & tax chains with equanimity.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"It is voting on what is known as the Lisbon Treaty, painfully renegotiated after voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005 rejected an earlier, more complicated version, which had the trappings of a Constitution.
Referendums are always dangerous, and almost all countries decided to skip having one on the Lisbon Treaty, which requires the approval of all 27 member nations of the European Union to come into force. But not the Irish.....
And with opinion polls showing much of the Irish electorate undecided, the possibility that the Lisbon Treaty may be rejected has sent unfamiliar tremors of fear through the ranks of Europe's top bureaucrats, who rarely have to trouble with voters.
That has meant a kind of unacknowledged but collective halt on anything controversial, particularly if it might upset Irish sensibilities.
"Every time there is a referendum this happens," ...."
Currently the polls show the Yes vote a bit ahead though the gap is closing. On that basis the EU should just get it but there is a possibility, with the Irish politicians & media so heavily supporting a Yes that people answering are tending to shy away from admitting a No preference (rather as people did with the Tories in John Major's first election.
What will happen if there is a No vote. Last time the politicians told the Irish they had got the wrong result & go away & try again. Perhaps they will do the same now. In theory the entire constitreaty should fall but somehow I don't see that happening. However it would certainly be embarrassing if the only country to be allowed a referendum (because it is part of their constitution) voted No. It would make it look like the EU wasn't a democracy.
The BBC regularly assure us that Russia isn't a democracy, even though its government got in because people voted for it (unlike here where only 20%) be3cause their media supports generally supports their government line whereas our media doesn't support their government line. Look to the BBC denouncing any Yes vote on the grounds the media were biased - or not as the case may be.
Best result from Ireland's point of view would be a No vote followed by Ireland deciding/being forced into EFTA with the associate status Norway & Iceland have. This would get them out from under some of the £405 billions that EU regulation costs every year according to the organisation's own "enterprise" Commissioner.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
"...keen to send Gordon Brown a message. His image of being a political genius has been shot down in flames, the game is up. He needs to find something to say that voters will believe in, he is seen as a liar, a liability on the scale of Tony. We created all the quangoes and brought in all the management consultants, we can get rid of them. "
This is actually rather intelligent & matches what John Redwood has said:
"Spend less in the public sector by cutting waste and needless spending, and the UK economy will start to improve"
However it is easier to be in favour of cutting waste & quangos in theory than in practice - would Martin cut the Sustainable Development Commission on which the government pays to give Jonathan Porridge a platform to assert that windmills work better than nuclear? That is why quangos are established - to give nice little earners to those & such as those.
To be fair I am not that convinced that the Tories generally are much more active about doing so but as the people who didn't create them they perhaps have a better claim to be able to get rid of them. If the Tories (or indeed LDs) want to look credible on the economy they should select a few specific quangos & announce they will cull them. There would be screams of outrage from them but some relief from some of the others. More impotantly it would dish any Labour claims if the Tories cut spending they will cut services. A common trick in opposing spending cuts is to choose the most important & visible expenses & say that is what the opponents want. This would spike Labour guns.
Monday, May 26, 2008
An article by Karl Popper which I found in a discussion with members of the "environmentalist" movement which I may comment on later.
The whole thing is worth reading but I put up the conclsions with a few comments, #4 is generally considered the most important contribution:
1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory—if we look for confirmations.
2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory—an event which would have refuted the theory.
3. Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.
4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.
6. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability; some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation than others; they take, as it were, greater risks. this is the argument creationists use in that it is impossible to test exactly what happened millions of years ag - however it is possible to test the rules of heredity & manmade selection & in any case the best they can claim is to say, wrongly, that Darwin is almost as untestable as thir's & therefore crap too
6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence.")
7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers—for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionalist stratagem.") we see numerous ad hoc adaptions to the warming theory, most recently that it will stop for 10 years but then restart
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The High Court has dismissed three judicial review claims brought by patients (represented, in two cases, by Paul Bowen) detained at Rampton High Secure psychiatric hospital challenging a complete ban on smoking anywhere in the hospital introduced in April 2007.......
The Exemption Regulations introduced an exemption from this requirement, but it is only time-limited. From July 2008, all psychiatric hospitals will be required to be smoke-free
This seems to me to be a clear instance of the anti-smoking health fascists being engaged in a purely vindictive ban.
Whatever the health effects there is no dispute that smoking eases tension & for people locked up for years in asylums tension is clearly a greater & more immediate problem than lung cancer. Even were the passive smoking claims not fabricated this ban is clearly going to have no medical, or at least no positive medical effect.
There must be many people in such hospitals whose main pleasure in life is a smoke.
This would be what the Americans call a cruel & unusual punishment if it were not for the fact that people in asylums, unlike prisoners, are officially not being punished for their affliction but being "helped" by the "caring professions".
Meanwhile an exception to the smoking ban has been made for prisons. Clearly the reasoning is that prisoners are often unfriendly gentlemen whom you wouldn't like when they are angry & that allowing smoking helps keep a lid on the place, while the insane are usually vulnerable, weak & not really able to defend themselves.
One sign of a sick society is that those in power do not have enough control to enforce laws on everybody & instead enforce them capriciously only on those they can reach. [Another example is a proposal on the BBC today that anybody dropping litter from their car get 3 points on the licence (which is supposed to be about safety but the PC brigade will twist any rule) but that if you kill somebody while driving disqualified, for the 3rd time, you will only get a 3 year ban (possibly also some jail) because they know such people would ignore a lifetime ban.]
Note that I am not saying prisoners should also suffer a smoking ban - they shouldn't - but that this ban is a very cruel one particularly here when enforced against some of the weakest & most vulnerable in society. This is a genuine instance of evil - it serves no useful purpose whatsoever & is being done by our rullers & the lobbyists they defer to just because they can.