Saturday, February 28, 2009
The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don't. I work for the American people
From Sarah Palin's speech accepting nomination as VP:
But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country
I remember when a Presidential candidate cribbed a rather maudlin speech from Neil Kinnock about how the medieval Kinnocks never went to university but I think plagiarising the once & future opposing candidate is a bit much.
In fact though not as folksy I think the best bit of her speech was
The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.which is both thoughtful about the difficulty of true reform & refers to her record of doing things - both of which are beyond Obama. However if he was going to rip off something I wish it had been
No one expects us to agree on everything.
But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart.
I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States. This was the spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau ... when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol' boys network.
Sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power brokers. That's why true reform is so hard to achieve.
Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines and build more nuclear plantsNow that took guts to say & earned her enemies (or made the enemies she already had more rabid) & had she, or Obama, done it the US economy would already have regained the confidence necessary to recover
I was reading an article elsewhere which suggested that "there's some nasty conspiracy theories going around about the surprising lack of funding for the thus-far-successful Airborne Laser program. Once lasers get rolling, combat aircraft suddenly become a LOT less viable...". the conspiracy being that the US Air force would only be human if they were leery about seeing a weapon developed that could put them out of business.
We have also been seeing increasing numbers of cases where kids with laser pens have been seriously interfering with pilots landing at international airports. Scale that up & I find you get....
The Tactical High-Energy Laser, or THEL, is a laser developed for military use, also known as the Nautilus laser system. The mobile version is the Mobile Tactical High-Energy Laser, or MTHEL.....
..was initiated by a memorandum of agreement between the United States and the Government of Israel on July 18, 1996. The THEL is a high-energy laser weapon system that uses proven laser beam generation technologies, proven beam-pointing technologies, and existing sensors and communication networks to provide a new active defense capability in counter air missions....THEL's low cost-per-kill (about $3,000 per kill, as opposed to the $444,000 cost of a Rolling Airframe Missile....
In 2000 and 2001 THEL shot down 28 Katyusha artillery rockets and 5 artillery shells.
On November 4, 2002, THEL shot down an incoming artillery shell. A mobile version has completed successful testing. During a test conducted on August 24, 2004 the system successfully shot down multiple mortar rounds....
Anything that can shoot down shells can clearly knock down aircraft which are larger, slower & stay there longer. Look at the time frame here as well - this was done in 2004, which in terms of high tech electronics is a generation ago. If it could be put on a trailer back then it could probably be put in a van next year. Think what could be put on a destroyer!
I don't know exactly what armed forces are going to look like when such things are widely deployed & I'm sure that is worrying the USAF too. However history is full of nations that invested purely in the sort of weapons they had in the last war & of how they lost the next one. There are further articles on laser weapons here but most of them are not currently practical like THEL.
Talking of which Britain's military flag carriers on which we are spending billions are to be...
The new UK CVF Royal Navy aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, are expected to enter service in 2016 and 2018.
CVF will displace 65,000t, a size between the USA's 100,000t Nimitz Class and the French 43,000t Charles de Gaulle Class aircraft carriers, and three times larger than the 20,000t UK Invincible class carriers.....
In December 2008, the UK MoD announced that the originally planned in-service dates of the carriers, 2014 and 2016, would be set back by about two years (2016 and 2018) to match the entry into service of the joint combat aircraft, the F-35B.
Anybody want to guess how, together they would do against one Chinese/Indian/Brazilian/Israeli/Singaporean destroyer armed with a heavy duty version of this laser & a few spare exocets? Exactly what happened to the previous Prince of Wales battleship.
I think we should cancel these ships & use the money to develop some new technology.
This is also going to (or perhaps already has) made the SDI programme realistic. After all it only requires scaling up & if the batteries on a truck can destroy incoming shells a 1GW nuclear reactor, diverted for a few seconds, could destroy incoming ICBMs or even spy satellites.
One happy result of this is that the threat of a military dictatorship based on the fact that in a space war those in space always have the physical high ground (common to Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Space Cadet) may be gone because lasers are not affected by gravity.
And an entirely different piece of military hardware is this exoskeleton enabling somebody to run at 10 mph or carry a 200lb backpack which, if the bugs have been worked out of it will revolutionise infantry war & ultimately is a step towards the battle suits of the aforementioned Starship Troopers.
It is known as the HULC (Human Universal load Carrier so no copyright infringment) & the video is here.
There are other directions in which military capacity is changing - computer war, genetically modified diseases, miniaturised remotely handled bombs & assassination devices & I'm sure many more. None of these will, fortunately, enhance the power of scientifically backward terrorists like al Quaeda, quite the opposite. But they certainly will not enhance the power of states which think that "punching above our weight" in purely conventional weaponry, rather than scientific & economic progress will maintain a "top nation" status. History does not come to an end.
Jerry Pournelle expressed approval of & responded to this item (obviously I esteem his opinion & value his site). His response is here & is also replicated on my site here.
Friday, February 27, 2009
The assertion from Councillor McLeod (letter Thurs) that there is "a consensus" against nuclear in Scotland stands unsupported by any facts from him. "Consensus" does not mean 51%, though I don't think there is evidence even for that & the term should not be used lightly let alone as a club.
It may well be that there is a council organisation called Nuclear Free Local Authorities but if they were sincere they would refuse to use the 40% of Scotland's electricity which comes from nuclear. [Perhaps some reader can name some council run by honourable, if foolish "environmentalist" councillors whose main buildings had neither lighting or heating a few weeks ago when we had extreme cold & no wind. After all they want the rest of us to put up with fortnightly bin collection & thus more rats, smells & diseases.]
These are the people who want to end nuclear, not because it does not provide plentiful, inexpensive electricity [taking not a penny from the taxpayer] but because it does. These are the people who know perfectly well that the only way the taxpayer will continue, [or indeed increase,] the £1 billion Scotland subsidises windmills by annually will be if we are given no alternative.
I'm sorry they edited out the bit about council offices switching off the lights & heating when the wind isn't blowing since I liked the imagery.
According too Barry Lees waste from nuclear reactors 'will still be dangerous in thousands of millions of years" (letter Thurs) whereas Professor Colin McInnes in another letter on the same day says reactors currently produce only "small volumes of short-lived waste products". This neatly encapsulates the difference between the 2 sides. In fact reactor waste, precisely because it is highly radioactive, has a short half life & in 50 years is safe & within a couple of hundred is less radioactive than the ground it was mined from. The opponents of nuclear & indeed virtually the entire "ecology" movement neither know their facts nor care in any way at all about getting them correct. So long as they can get a public audience for their,[ numerous, catastrophic scare stories (& that they are sure the media will be polite enough not to mention such things as the global cooling or acid rain scams when they are proven untrue) they are happy to wallow in their Luddite hysteria.]
last sentence rewritten
Again I would have liked the last sentence in full including the criticism of the media & the imagery of "wallowing in their Luddite hysteria" but I can well understand why that was a step too far. I suspect our media are not yet ready to publish terms like "eco-fascist" but I think the tide is turning.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I rang in to say that I had had a couple of letters published giving the figures for the Melbourne tram extensions (2.2km at £12.5 & 3km at £13.5) & that on that basis this system (18.5km) should come in at no more than £100 million. I also mentioned the 13 fold real increase in the cost of a Forth bridge & said that there is clearly something deeply wrong with our public projects & that we should make fixing them the first priority. Graham changed the subject to whether trams would not end congestion by soaking up passengers better than old fashioned double decker buses. I disagreed saying that while trams were "politically correct" & green approved, buses used roads just as easily (indeed more flexibly) than trams while not costing any of the £600 million (well not costing the public purse anyway). That a double decker bus was quite obviously superior to a single deck tram at getting, for the same area of road, more "bums on seats".
He then moved to the next caller. While Graham was somewhat pushing the line that any European capital without a tram system would not be respected (because? - well just because) it was clear that the large bulk of callers were opposed to the project. Those few who supported it did so entirely on the political correctness basis & with total unconcern for economic realities.
There was a noticeable shortage of the "experts" that appear on most of these shows - a few words from a TIE (the civil servants "managing" the project) spokesman & nobody from the contractors.
I think it shows how disgracefully subservient our entire MSM is & how destructive of genuine democracy, that they have published/broadcast no serious questions on the costing of this project & indeed that the larcenous 13 fold real increase in public projects costs generally has gone virtually unreported.
UPDATE I oput ip a comment on Graham's BBC blog extending what i said on air & also a comment on Friday's topic but neither of them have been accepted. Ah well not unexpected from the BBC. Such comments are clearly the normall BBC illusion of debate rather than the real thing. I have found this before on other BBC "blogs".
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
This is the email I sent to the Scottish government. By sending no reply they have proven that SEPA's lie about paint particles have been provably found represents the very highest standard of honesty to which they aspire. It is, as proven previously, a lie.
Recently Mr Byron Tilly of SEPA stated on public radio, that particles containing an excess amount of radioactivity at Dalgety Beach had been specifically scientifically tested & proven to be paint particles.
A further reading of their report on the subject says the opposite - that they acted merely on the "belief" that they were paint particles. Their entire thesis that there is a dangerous amount of manmade radioactivity, on which it seems likely they have spent millions, depends on the particles being paint (though even then there would be no actual evidence they were dangerous). Without absolute proof on that point they would be left with the fact that the paint deposited there contained much less radium than occurred naturally & that since it was water soluble & the Scottish coast has experienced a significant amount of water over the last 60 years, it would be impossible for there to be any significant radioactivity beyond the background. SEPA have also specifically refused to answer an FoI request for figures of background radiation asserting they have no duty to obey this law.
While I would not wish to suggest that SEPA's claim to have scientifically proven these particles to be paint represents other than the absolute pinnacle of honesty to which they aspire (their decision to maintain it proves it) nor can I accept, in light of what their own report says, that it is in any way true.
That being the case if the Scottish government & civil service aspire, in any way, to any higher standard of truth it will obviously be necessary for the government & service to publicly dissociate themselves from that arm of government. I hope for that rather than the alternative of saying that that is also the very highest standard of honesty to which the entire body aspires.
Refs On the radio programme & my request for further information http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/02/scotlands-secret-radioactive-sites.html
SEPA email reply from Byron http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/02/sepa-deliberately-lied-on-bbc-about.html
Further technical information including the paint being soluble http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/02/dalgety-bay.html
Further response from SEPA declining to dispute the factual accuracy of everything I said http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/02/sepas-reaction.html
I don't think I am overstating the case when I say that deliberate lying by a government department, whose regulatory functions cost Scotland billions each year, particularly where it is part of a series of similar claims should be a matter of major concern.
The MSM, who are either an essential element of our free society bringing those in power to public account or a corrupt bunch of fascists who spend their time rewriting government or government approved press releases have decided to censor any mention of this.
It is now nearly a month since my FoI enquiry for the evidence to support the paint story & they are still standing by their statement that they have no duty to answer it.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
TRAMS - ANOTHER CASE OF OUR COSTS BEING MANY TIMES MORE THAN THEY SHOULD BE - LETTER IN BOTH HERALD & EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS
The whole project has always been a boondoggle - the local council are putting up £100 million & the Scottish government £500 m to put a single tramline from Leith in the east to the airport in the west. Since it goes through the main streets it will do absolutely nothing to reduce congestion there, its ostensible purpose, simply removing buses but replacing them with trams, whose use & routes are less flexible. But trams are, for ideological reasons (publicly owned & working off electricity made by fossil fuels [& nuclear} while buses use fossil fuel directly) more politically correct. The sensible options would either have just been to let the free market provide bus services, which do all the same stuff except foe costing £600 million & digging up the streets, or an automated overhead monorail system which would cost more, or at least more than the necessary cost of trams, to build but, being automated, far less to run. At least half the cost of buses is the driver. Obviously sensible options were not desired.
The good news for the SNP & the country is that they opposed this project & it was forced through by an alliance of the other parties. I strongly suspect that this piece of nonsense is a major reason why the SNP poll readings kept rising after they took power & had such a long honeymoon period. If they are sensible they will refuse to rescue it. Theoretically this is a clear breach of contract by the builders & they would have to not only repay all the money they have received but for all other cost incurred. The contractors say that there have been changes demanded by the civil servants & certainly one of the problems with the Scottish parliament was everybody & his dog changing the design after it had been approved thus pushing up costs. If so the civil servants who did this after giving absolute assurances that it was done & dusted & there would be no cost increases out to be fired. If so the contractors have a decent legal case & should take it to law - striking is still breaking their contract.
There are thus 4 issues which the letter covers but not in depth. - the grossly inflated initial costs of this boondoggle; the impropriety of the contractors using these tactics to extort more; the way the SNP government are not on the hook for this & can thus dump it; another call for an explanation by those in power as to why our public costs are so many times greater than the rest of the world's:
"It appears the builders of Edinburgh's tramline are playing chicken with the government to get more money. We were given many specific promises that there need be no further increase. In which case if the civil servants in charge have acted honestly, they could not have instructed non-contracted extra work as the consortium claim. Have they acted honestly?. However the proper procedure for the contractors would be to carry out the contract as stipulated & sue, or go to arbitration, over any extras not to break the contract by going on strike.
In any case they would do well to remember that the tram project was not put forward by the government but forced through Holyrood by an alliance of the other parties - a cynical playing to vested interests which they may not now be willing to repeat. The contractors could easily find the contract voided because of their breach & thus them liable to repay all costs incurred.
There has been little discussion of the fantastic level of these costs. Melbourne built the Box Hill extension, 2.2 km, opened in 2003, for £12.5 million; & the Vermont South Extension of 3 km in 2005 for £13.5 million. On that basis the Edinburgh tramway, at 18.5 km, should be costing about £105 million pounds or indeed quite a lot less because of economies of scale. British public works have a long record of being grossly overpriced. For example the new Forth Bridge was costed at 13 times more, after inflation, than the previous one. Those in charge refuse to provide any explanation of this & they should."
Refs - Melbourne tram costs http://melbpt.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/calculating-tram-line-construction-costs/ - I have taken costs at today's exchange rate of $2.25 = £1
Forth Bridge costs http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2007/06/building-project-costs.html
Also in the Herald slightly edited.
Monday, February 23, 2009
A ROUND UP OF UNPUBLISHED LETTERS
25th Nov to Scotsman
I see Councillor Debra Storr says that her expulsion from the Liberal Democrats *19th Nov) showed the party is "increasingly intolerant & illiberal" for wanting rid of her because she has been involved in trying to prevent the people of Aberdeenshire getting thousands of jobs & £1 billion of local investment.
A few years ago she was part of the party Executive & voted for my expulsion on the grounds that I supported lower taxes as a stimulus to growth & felt we need nuclear power if we wish to keep the lights on. This was officially "illiberal" & "too right wing" to even think about. As part of the Executive's evidence of wrongdoing, they said that the reason the party had refused to debate tax cutting at conference was because my motion had been badly drafted. Ms Storr concurred despite the fact that the final draft of the motion had been made, at my constituency's request, by Ms Storr herself, since she was officially the expert in the legalese required for such motions.
In due course I was expelled, in duer course the SNP adopted a similar policy of Irish style tax cuts & won the election (though I regret they have made little move to carry it out). Just this summer Nick Clegg & subsequently Tavish Scott promised that as soon as they took power they would cut taxes, this now being a "liberal" principle.
My commiseration's to Ms Storr for having to suffer Liberal Democrat illiberalism.
4th Dec Scotsman
The letter from Patrick Harvie of the Green Party saying his party has no responsibility for fuel poverty is at variance with the facts. Firstly he claims that his party wants to spend £100 million on insulation. This would only be a useful contribution if his party were willing to say that they intended to raise this mony by raising Scottish income tax by 0.5p or some similar method.. In any case £100 million will barely buy half an hours insulation fitting time for each of us. He cannot honestly say this will reverse the effects of recent price increases.
Secondly Mr Harvie says that to cut prices we must go from oil & coal to "renewables". Previous discussion in these columns has proven that nuclear power at 1/3rd of the cost of oil is 1/10th that of windmill electricity. Is Mr Harvie so ignorant of the prime policy his party stands for as to be unaware of this?
Of course this whole campaign is based on the claim that we are currently suffering from catastrophic global warming. As the leader of the only party to stand in the last election expressing scepticism on that question & calling for a 3p cut in income tax paid for by ending windmill subsidies (& ignored by the entire media) may I point out that the fall in global temperature over the last decade is such that it is now back to where it was when James Hansen started the scare by promising a 1 C rise by today.
11th Dec Scotsman
Congratulations to the Scottish government on spotting that the current Forth Bridge can be repaired, as many people said a couple of years ago, & that a new bridge can be built for £2 billion. The cost of the first bridge was £19 million which, adjusting for inflation, is £320 million.
Now if only they would notice that the Norwegians, who have been cutting tunnels for decades & the engineers who cut the tunnels at the Glendoe power station, could produce a Forth crossing for tens of millions.
13th Dec Scotsman, Herald, Sunday Times
The annoyance that Labour has released inaccurate figure of knife crime is widely reported. Should there not be equally disapproval of their claims that they are doing their best in face of a "world recession." There is no world recession. According to a recent World Bank report the world economy is growing at 2.5% this year, down from 5% in previous years & expected to manage 0.9% next.
The recession is in Europe & America & possibly Japan. All countries where, not coincidentally, ever increasing government regulation is preventing the use of improved technology. "Environmentalists" have said that, for example, they support the EU purely because its overwhelming regulations can prevent the "continous economic expansion" they abhor. This non-worldwide recession is the triumph of government "environmental" policies & of those Luddites who have been telling us for years that we must make do with less. It is quite improper of the government to blame it on other nations, most of whom are not in recession.
15th Dec - Herald
Thanks to tom & William (letters Mondy) on giving figures for bridges, comparable to the Forth crossing, elsewhere in the May I also compare it with the current bridge.. The cost of the first bridge was £19 million which, adjusting for inflation, is £320 million.
Even better would be if our government would notice that the Norwegians, who have been cutting tunnels for decades & the engineers who cut the tunnels at the Glendoe power station, could produce a Forth crossing for tens of millions.
21st Dec - Herald
Because of the decline of the pound we should give up petrol & rely on windmill power according to Craig Potter (letter Monday). Has he not considered that the reason for the decline in the pound & in our economy generally is the vast amounts taken from the productive economy & handed out to favoured Luddite lobbies by government. It is a matter of record that our economy would be nearly twice its current size if we had maintained the rate of growth before the "environmentalists" started banning everything & that we would all be paying 1/4 of the present price for our electricity if we had nuclear plants instead of the £1 billion a year we waste subsidising windmills.
23rd Dec - Herald, Scotsman etc
Keeping the 2 Titians is going to cost over £220 million including both the money we will, involuntarily, pay for them & the tax on sales foregone. £10 million is being put up by the SNP government.
An X-Prize of £660 million ($1 bn) would be enough to stimulate designing & building a commercial spaceplane able to fly to orbit for a price comparable to flying to Australia. Since no payment is due if such a ship cannot be designed nobody can use the excuse that it won't work. The choice is stark - whether 2 Renaisance paintings are of more value than human progress. Since the money is forthcoming for this boondoggle but nothing for X-Prizes it is undeniable that those running this country have absolutely no interest in progress. Titian would not understand such philistines.
3rd Jan - Herald
I was very sorry to see the disgraceful letter from former Labour Councillor Bashir Maan on Friday. His letter is an explicit attack not merely on Israel but on Jews & a failure to denounce such words would indeed "bode ill for Jews all over the world" or at least in countries where such people have influence. May I ask where, over the last 8 years, were his call for attacks on Moslems for Hamas' unprovoked campaign of rocket attacks aimed purely at Israeli civilians? Had a prominent former member of the BNP been published by a newspaper calling for the "reviving" of attacks on citizens of Pakistani origin because of the Mumbai atrocity I think the authorities would, rightly, have been concerned about a breach of the law, but the parallel is precise.
The fact is that Israel is defending itself from people who, for 8 years have been launching attacks on their civilians & that it is Hamas, not Israel, which refuses to cease fire. Nonetheless Israel is making prodigious efforts to minimise civilian casualties, even though Hamas is using its own people as human shields. Compare & contrast this with the behaviour of NATO supported by the Labour party of which Mr Maan was a member & also the Liberal Democrats & Conservatives who participated in the genocide & ethnic cleansing of half a million Serbs from Croatia, a million from western Bosnia & 350,000 from Kosovo. Note their bombing was done to support unrepentant (ex-)Nazis publicly committed to genocide (many of them former members of the less attractive units of Hitler's SS). Under our authority they engaged not only in genocide but also child sex slavery & the dissection of living Serbian teenagers to provide organs for our hospitals. Note also that markedly unlike in Gaza, 80% of the people murdered in our government's criminal bombing were civilians. Such actions by our leaders obviously attract far less media attention than Israel's but the facts are indisputable.
Whatever the rights & wrongs of Israel's actions there are absolutely no circumstances in which any British politician who supported such actions is fit to cast the first stone against Israel. Mr Maan should, instead of threatening Jews; acknowlege the Israelis have shown so much more respect for human rights than our leaders.
& 6th Jan
I note the Herald has yet another letter from Bashir Maan today (Tues) following his previous one on Friday inciting "reviving & spreading anti-Semitism in the world". This indeed, as he said "bodes ill for Jews all over the world". Even more ill is that the Herald, having decided to publish this disgraceful threat, decided not to publish any letter disagreeing that pogroms in Britain were the way to go.
I think we can see why Israel wishes to defend itself rather than accomodating itself to the EU's convenience.
13th Jan - Scotsman (variants to others0
If "Paki" a diminutive of Pakistani is offensive but Asian, as in the BBC report "Asian & Chinese youths clashed..." is politically correct how does Scot as a diminutive of Scotsman (sorry Scottish person) work nowadays?
May we look forward to this newspaper being retitled the North Britain to avoid giving offense?
17th Jan - Herald
The long letter from "Stop Climate Chaos" (that used to be known as weather bases its demand for ever more restrictions on us, ever more subsidies & taxes & ever more expensive ways of doing anything on the claim that "Climate change remains the greatest threat to our societies. Arctic sea ice is melting beyond the point of no return."
"Climate change" is hysterical propaganda which makes Medieval witchburnings look rational. The rebranding from calling it global warming followed the failure of the globe over the last 10 years to warm, indeed it is cooling. Arctic ice coverage is increasing, ITN recently promised to have their camera crew follow Lewis Pugh as he canoed to the previously ice free North Pole & ceased coverage just before he was stopped by ice.
29th Jan - Scotsman
I have some difficulty in believing that a letter basing its thesis on the fact that the writer "cannot believe" plain facts (in this case that French electricity is less than 1/3rd of the cost here) & then repeating, without any attempt to produce evidence, that nuclear simply must be more expensive, whatever the evidence, was considered killing a few tree branches for. The evidence has been produced, in these columns, time after time & there is no factual doubt that nuclear electricity can be, because it is being, produced for 1.4p a unit & that windmills cost 10 times as much.
2nd Feb - Scotsman
As I look out my window at the snow I read "hundreds of millions of people in some of the world's poorest countries are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change" (or global warming as it used to be known) (Monday letter). Perhaps we should be told where this catastrophic warming is? Global temperature is declining & the scammers have been caught spending trillions of our money on this fraud.
3rd Feb Scotsman
Once again Professor Salter has produced a dubious figure in the nuclear debate in his letter today (Tuesday). Previously he asserted that my figure of 1.3p per kwh for French nuclear was "dishonest" & produced his own (letter 25th Oct). It turned out that my figure was correct (& a tenth that of windmills) & his mistaken. Now he admits that nuclear is lower in CO2 production than conventional power, but only by 3 fold. He does not say where this figure came from but it is certainly not undisputed. A conventional calculation from the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering shows that for every 10 tons on CO2 produced by nuclear power, gas releases 469 & coal 974. Wind produces 14. http://www.fusion.org.uk/socioecon/Kulcinski1.pdf p 16
Of course if the present cooling of the globe, due to lack of sunspots, continues we may soon expect the antinuclear movement to be demanding no more nuclear plants because they produce insufficient CO2 needed to offset the threat of a new ice age. Environmentalists, like James Hansen, were keen on this threat 3 decades ago & it now looks a more likely catastrophe if one is needed
3rd Feb - everybody
The great & good have decided to spend £50 million on the first of two 500 year old Italian paintings. It would cost us only 7 times that much for an X-Prize that delivered a fleet of space planes able to make Earth orbit available at a cost comparable with a flight to Australia. Alternately it would cost zero for an X-Prize that didn't work - that being the nature of prizes that aren't won. Does it not show how far from intellectual endeavour & into a new dark age we have already fallen that there is money for ancient trophies but not for new triumphs?
5th Feb - several
It seems that government spending is now 50% of the UK economy & rising (probably approaching 60% of Scotland's). This section is very largely unproductive, indeed since regulations cost the citizen £20 for every £1 spent on enforcing them it is likely that the net economic value of government is well under zero. Does anybody really think it is possible to get out of recession let alone ever have a successful country struggling along in this one lunged fashion? Does anybody doubt that if we invested the £200 billion, above the inflationary increase, that the budget has risen in the last 12 years we would not only not be facing Depression but growing as fast as India & China still are?
6th Feb - everybody
The Greens insulation pork barreling will be wasted on hotlines, civil servants & piles of forms to be filled in & would have been even more wasted had they got even more of our money to play with. It is cynical of the Greens to pretend they care for helping the poor & even moreso to pretend they want to rebuild the economy by ever more government spending paid for by the remaining 40% of the Scots economy that isn't the government. I assume the Greens will not be happy till 100% of the economy is such government programmes.
If they really cared for the poor they would let them have nuclear electricity, at half the present price rather than seeking to double it with more windmills. If they truly believed in CO2 being responsible for the catastrophic warming we are all alleged to be sweltering under they would support nuclear which they know is the only practical method of producing power while reducing CO2. Of course they don't all they believe in is Ludditism & ensuring none of us ever again suffer from the "continuous economic expansion" we used to have.
7th Feb - Scotsman
Just as Professor Salter was selective in his previous choice of figures giving nuclear as only producing 3 times less CO2 than conventional sources, rather than several hundred times less & plain wrong when he accused me of "dishonesty" in saying that France produces nuclear electricity at 1.3p per kwh so he is again being selective in the figures he gives for the cost of decommissioning. He ought to know that the first ever reactor decommissioned at Shippingport in the USA cost $100 million (£70 m) to decommission. At that rate we could do all ours for under £3 billion. Anything above that is pure bureaucratic empire building.
The bottom line in engineering is that if something has been done at a particular cost then it is possible to do it again at that cost, irrespective of all the figures plucked from the air by politicians, or grant recipients, with an agenda.
12th Feb - Herald
We are told that Dutch MP Geert Wilders is to be banned from this country because some think his criticisms of Islam could "incite violence". How fortunate that the Herald showed more liberal standards when they decided to publish 2 letters from Bashir Mann during the Gaza fighting which provided justification for violence against British Jews. Unfortunate, however that you weren't liberal enough to also publish letters disagreeing with him.
19th Feb - Herald
The letter (Thurs) saying that we are going to run out of nuclear fuel by 2040 is out by a significant amount. It works on the assumption that the only uranium in the world is that, already proven, in mines currently in use. In fact uranium is not a particularly uncommon metal even near the surface of the Earth & further down has provided enough excess heat to keep most of the planet molten for 4 billion years. Some years ago Professor Cohen of Pittsburg calculated that merely by mining it from seawater (not the optimum source but for which figures are undeniable) we could get enough to keep our civilisation going for 5 billion years, at which time the Sun will have become a Red Giant. I think we have more urgent worries.
The entire anti-nuclear movement depends on the continuous repetition of scare stories such as that disposal of waste is difficult (in fact due to its small volume it is easy) or that it is dangerous (the safety record is orders of magnitude better than alternatives, even wind). All such scare stories have been disproven time & again. By comparison none of these Luddites are in the slightest worried about the 24,000 pensioners who die, unnecessarily, of fuel poverty each winter or the far greater number who will when the lights go out - unnecessarily because we could have unlimited nuclear electricity at the current French price of 1.3p a unit.
20th Feb - Herald
Regarding today's (Friday's) article on the SNP' enthusiasm for blackouts as the alternative to nuclear electricity perhaps consideration of the cost would be useful.
The UK produces 371 billion kwh of electricity a year. Taking our average production cost as 4p a unit(higher than coal or our nuclear but 1/3rd of windmill electricity) compared to the 1.4p a kwh France is producing its nuclear electricity at gives us an extra production cost of £9.6 billion. Retail cost must be about double that. Since France produces 44% more electricity than us with an economy & population almost exactly the same as ours & indeed with warmer weather we should assume that, if we had a free market in electricity production we would be producing at least 50% more. All in all that means our Luddite approach is directly costing the country £29 billion a year.
That makes no allowance for the loss of industry, due to our higher manufacturing costs, for example the current closing of the Llanwern steel plant because the nearby nuclear plant is closing.
Taking everything we have lost over the last 3 1/2 decades since France went nuclear we see the total direct costs come to £1 trillion in today's money. By comparison our economy amounts to £1.4 trillion annually, of which now only 50% (40% in Scotland) isn't government spending. This is not the sole reason for our economic woes but it is something we must change if we ever want success. I grant not everybody wants success - "green" politicians of every party have been ranting for years about how dreadful a growing economy is & it seems they have now achieved the paradise they wished.
So a relatively high ratio of unpublished to published letters. Partly because the Herald have publiched none of them & partly because letters sent to the London Press have not to the best of my knowledge been published the latter being not unusual. Also a zero score on letters about how to get out of the recession, supportive of Israel & about Dalgety Bay - the first of which I am surprised at since it seems a subject of some interest. The Herald's attitude to publishing Mashir Mann's anti-Jewish letters may have influenced their overall policy. The refusal to report the evidence that SEPA lied over Dalgety Bay is quite wrong.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
hi there. Just came across your blog. Thought you might want to correct a couple of factual inaccuracies.I did indeed rely on Wikipedia for your career details & having previously complained about Wikipedia's wholesale lies about Srebrnica, Milosevic & co am perfectly willing to accept that you know the facts infinitely better than they do. I note also the Wikipedia entry no longer says these things. I therefore also accept that the BBC programme, whatever it was, was not an official diversity graduate one.
"Looking up wikipedia on him I see that he started his career at the BBC on their "diversity graduate production trainee scheme" where he produced the comedy Meet the Magoons which I will admit to never having heard of but the critics raved "woefully unfunny" "once was enough", "your sides will be safe from harm" which classes it as alternative."
The training course I attended at the BBC was in fact The Graduate Training Course. It was NOT a diversity training course. The other six graduate trainees were white in terms of their ethnic origin. 1500 people applied for 6 places. I have never attended a diversity training course.
Meet the Magoons was produced for Ch4 some seven years after I had left the employ of the BBC. Your quotes while accurate are selective. There were plenty of positive crits, even from AA Gill and Nancy Banks Smith. The series rated more highly than Peep Show.
"once again representing the typical Scot will be London cook/alternative comedian/non-political columnist/diversity graduate Hardeep Singh Kohli, for the 2nd time."
I do live in London and was forced to come here because there was so little work in Scotland. The issue is about the centralisation of the media in London and you are quite right to rail against that. More media power needs to be decentralised then maybe some of us can come home. I am not an alternative comedian. Never have been. I am not a stand up comedian either. I have written comedy but have never been paid to perform stand up comedy in public. by extension therefore i cannot be an alternative comedian. unless the alternative is never having been one. I also have never been described as a political columnist by anyone other than you. I wrote a column and sometimes write about m politics, but I have no training or qual;ification in politcal journalism and therefore have never been so described. I am simply a columnist.
And i have appeared on Question Time on three occasions.
I look forward to your corrections. I am reassured by your reference to there not being any personal antagonism harboured against me. I realise you are carrying out a valuable public service for which you receive no fee. this is why i am so keen that you carry fact rather than fiction in your blog. I await your reply
On my main point, that you are not a representative Scot, which is what the BBC presented you as, but a representative of those who control the media who can be trusted to say what they want while being portrayed as a representative Scot I'm afraid I cannot change my mind. That you do not claim to be a political writer, though there is a regular column in SoS & a number of Guardian articles, makes it even more statistically improbable that you would be chosen as a representative of Scotland on a major political programme 3 rather than 2 times (& I first ran across you writing on an article in the Guardian whom they said was weiting as a representative of Scots, about devolution & independence, just before the earlier QT episode). From memory you were introduced on QT as an alternative comedian but I grant I haven't seen that used since.
My problem is not just that media control is concentrated in London but the broader point that it is concentrated in the hands of people who will censor any fact & tell any lie to promote state power (which is not quite the same as party power). That real alternative views are completely excluded & people like you used to provide the illusion of diversity. That such facts as the Dragodan Massacre (as bad as My Lai) or even the dissection of 1,300 teenagers while still alive for their organs (as bad as any act of Hitler's) by our "police" are wholly censored by media so keen to give you space. It may be hypocritical but if, next time you are on QT, you accuse Mr Dimblebey & all the politicians present of being personally complicit in these acts of genocide I would be happy to consider you a representative Scot. However I suspect, like Professor Bellamy, telling the truth would mean the end of your media career.
I very much appreciate your comment about me providing a valuable public service - having myself been banned from Guardian & C4 discussion groups I am quite certain there are a number of people there & at the BBC & MSM generally who do not share this appreciation. I appreciate your corrections since The BBC generally do not respond when errors of fact are pointed out (or obviously correct them). Indeed the only time they did so was to ask for evidence of the Dragodan Massacre which they had censored & when I did so their communication ceased.
I am also happy to confirm that I bear no personal ill will to you. Indeed I have said worse, on another blog, about recent QT guest Monty Don "as somebody who can be relied on to say the right duckspeak - He duly obliged by being one of the 4 to say that freedom of speech was less important than stopping Geert Wilders getting into the country & by saying that "99%" of scientists support the global warming lie." (in fact no warming alarmist document bears nearly as many signatures as the 31,000 scientists who signed the Oregon Petition saying CO2 rise is a good thing - this has gone unreported by the whores running the BBC). Though this was not, I fear as bad as Mr Devil's Kitchen had already said of him.