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Saturday, July 04, 2009


From comments on Danial Hannan's blog we have this quick summary of all the eco-fascist claims against nuclear. I am putting a quick fisk here in bold because the Telegraph seems to have screwed up comment registration (at least it isn't just me somebody else on there mentions it):

Half of the EU doesn’t want nuclear plants. Their choice, literally no reason it should dictate ours The EU would need hundreds of them and it takes a decade to build just one The implication that it would thus take hundreds of decades to build them is wrong for the same reason that it doesn't take 5 hours to cook 100 eggs. In any case it does not take a decade to build a reactor - Westinghouse say they can do it in 3 years, if it first takes 7 years to let government agree to it that is not inherent & an argument for having reducing the amount of government eco-regulatory parasitism. Not only do they cost a fortune to build they also cost a fortune to take down. No true - the first reactor at Shippingport cost $98 million to decommission & modern ones are built specifically to dismantle more easily. Again we see the eco-crowd vastly inflating regulatory costs & then complaining that regulatory costs are so high The used fuel has to be stored for xthousand years. Not true - reactor waste, precisely because it is highly radioactive burns down to safe levels in 50 years & to less radioactive than the ore it was mined from in 2-3 centuries. The cost of the fuel is going up even faster than oil and gas. So what - uranium cost is a tiny part of nuclear cost, indeed this is why the price is volatile The uranium costs a lot of energy/pollution to extract and process Not true - if it cost as much as coal to extract it would cost as much as coal - once again we see the eco-fascists ignoring the price system & making assertions based firmly in mid air. and isn’t durable either. Obviously not true - uranium has been here since the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago - how much more "durable" is required The safety is questionable. Not true. Nuclear has the best safety record of any power system - more people have died falling of windmills that in nuclear power though nuclear generates hundreds of times as much power Nuclear power favours monopolies. Not true - organisational structure depends on how things are organised not on the technology Nuclear power requires lots of expensive engineers and support staff. Staff, & other, costs are far lower per kwh power produced - is it supposed to be a fault that it can produce a lot of power Nuclear power can’t live with renewables because you can’t turn it on/off at will. Wholly untrue - nuclear is a very good match with hydro precisely because you the latter is so flexible which is why France is 80% nuclear & 20% hydro. What the idiot means is not renewables but that it doesn't fit with windmills but since they can't be switched on when required windmills "can't live with" windmills - in fact all this assertion shows is that windmills are completely useless because they can't produce ANY baseload power but only occasional power which, to be used at all, requires genuine generators of all sorts have to be turned off Builders of nuclear plants systematically ask for priority to the net because otherwise they would go bust. The truth is the exact opposite. Builders of nuclear plants systematically offer the cheapest power meaning that a sanely run grid would naturally choose them as first option - Windmillers demand & being politically connected, get priority to the net though they produce the most expensive power. This is what the Renewables Obligation means Enough reasons? Not really but clearly the best the eco movement can do.

For the truth on the subject see Professor John McCarthy's site

Anybody wanting to know about nuclear or indeed the sustainability of progress generally should visit McCarthy's site. As one of the world's leading experts on artificial intelligence his opinions are clearly not those of a fool, which is a change from most people we see on TV lecturing on the subject.

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Friday, July 03, 2009


A few choice ones culled from this

Progress, then, as I see it, is to be measured by the accuracy of man's knowledge of nature's forces. If you examine this sentence carefully you will observe that I conceive progress as a sort of process of disillusion. Man gets ahead, in other words, by discarding the theory of to-day for the fact of to-morrow.

...women, as a sex, are shrewd, resourceful, and acute; but the very fact that they are always concerned with imminent problems and that, in consequence, they are unaccustomed to dealing with the larger riddles of life, makes their mental attitude essentially petty. ....

...the great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom respectable. No virtuous man - that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense - has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading...

The formula of the argument is simple and familiar: to dispose of a problem all that is necessary is to deny that it exists. is always most bitter, not toward the author of one's wrongs, but toward the victim of one's wrongs.

idealism is not a passion in America, but a trade

All [of the American's] foreign wars have been fought with foes either too weak to resist them or too heavily engaged elsewhere to make more than a half-hearted attempt. The combats with Mexico and Spain were not wars; they were simply lynchings. still true if we remember the cold war didn't involve fighting Russians. Britain used this strategy ubefore we got into WW1

Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed.

The average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe.

The natural tendency of every government is to grow steadily worse - that is, to grow more satisfactory to those who constitute it and less satisfactory to those who support it. this, with more explanation is what Pournelle's Iron Law says

There were jails, of course, from the earliest times, but they were used mainly to detain persons accused of crime until their guilt could be determined. Once they were found guilty they were not commonly returned to durance, but punished forthwith, either by death, by exile, by fine, or by some form of corporal suffering. Prisons were set up by philanthropists eager to do away with these ancient cruelties, but what they mainly accomplished was to make cruelty more facile. The very fact that they were regarded as humane suggested longer and longer sentences, and so today, at least in the United States, it is common for men to be locked up for years for crimes which, in a more innocent day, would have been punished by some such triviality as branding on the hand, a few hours in the pillory, a good cowhiding, or the loss of an ear.

The volume of mail that comes in to a magazine or a newspaper or a radio station is no index of anything, except that you happen to attract a lot of idiots, because most people that write letters to newspapers are fools. Intelligent people seldom do it - they do it sometimes, but not often. I used to, in my days of running a column - I welcomed the letters that came in, and, in fact, edited them. I was in charge of the letter column, and always let anyone in who denounced me violently get in - because I believe that people like to read abuse.

The way for newspapers to meet the competition of radio and television is simply to get out better papers

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

Of all the human qualities, the one I admire the most is competence. A tailor who is really able to cut and fit a coat seems to me an admirable man, and by the same token a university professor who knows little or nothing of the thing he presumes to teach seems to me to be a fraud and a rascal

I believe that any man or woman who, for a period of say five years, has earned his or her living in some lawful and useful occupation, without any recourse to public assistance, should be allowed to vote and that no one else should be allowed to vote.

The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.

There is, indeed, no genuine disposition among American public officials, or indeed among public officials anywhere, to reduce public expenses. As I have pointed out in this place a hundred times, they always try to lay on at least $2 every time they "save" $1.

...every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods

I believe that the public likes criticism only in so far as it is a good show, which means only in so far as it is bellicose. The crowd is always with the prosecution. Hence, when I have to praise a writer, I usually do it by attacking his enemies. And when I say the crowd I mean all men. My own crowd is very small and probably somewhat superior, but it likes rough-house just as much as a crown around a bulletin-board.

Economic independence is the foundation of the only sort of freedom worth a damn.

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

the great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history. They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.

Every step in human progress, from the first feeble stirrings in the abyss of time, has been opposed by the great majority of men.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Last night Channel 5 had a remarkable programme about the Turin Shroud which produced the theory that the Turin Shroud had been produced by Leonardo da Vinci. Now when I saw the trailer for this I doubted it for the same reason I find it statistically unlikely that Jack the Ripper was the Prince Regent or that Oedipus really was the long lost son of Lais.

However I found the case convincing. Leonardo really had been interested in the Camera Obscura, he really had an amazing knowledge of anatomy for the time, he really had experimented with chemicals like silver sulphate & the number of people in Renaissance Europe who could say all that could be counted on 1 thumb. On top of that there was evidence that he had been interested in how a hand with a nail though it would be & the dimensions of the head fit perfectly with his perfect head & not least that if it wasn't created miraculously it must have been done by a really great artist & with technique not known before the Renaissance.

That it was inspiring art is shown by the fact that before then Jesus had been depicted in any number of ways but now he is always the long haired beardy pictured in the Shroud.

American artist Lillian Schwartz, a graphic consultant at the School of Visual Arts in New York who came to prominence in the 1980s when she matched the face of the Mona Lisa to a Leonardo self-portrait, used computer scans to show that the face on the Shroud has the same dimensions to that of da Vinci.

“It matched. I'm excited about this,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this Shroud's face.”

The claims is made in a Channel Five documentary, to be shown on Wednesday night, that describes how da Vinci could have scorched his facial features on to the linen of the Shroud using a sculpture of his face and a camera obscura – an early photographic device.

The programme says the fabric could have been hung over a frame in a blacked-out room and coated it with silver sulphate, a substance readily available in 15th century Italy which would have made it light-sensitive.

When the sun's rays passed through a lens in one of the walls, da Vinci’s facial shape would have been projected on to the material, creating a permanent image.

Lynn Picknett, a Shroud researcher and author, said: “The faker of the shroud had to be a heretic, someone with no fear of faking Jesus’ holy redemptive blood.

“He had to have a grasp of anatomy and he had to have at his fingertips a technology which would completely fool everyone until the 20th century.

"He had a hunger to leave something for the future, to make his mark for the future, not just for the sake of art or science but for his ego."

Art historian Professor Nicholas Allen, of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, has called for more tests on the Shroud for the presence of silver sulphate, which causes a reaction with the sun's UV rays.

He said: "If you look at the Shroud of Turin as it appears to the naked eye, you see a negative image of a human being, and if you take a photograph of that you produce a positive image of that human being, which means the shroud is acting as a negative.

"That in itself is a very good clue that it was made photographically."

Radiocarbon dating in 1988 showed the cloth was made between 1260 and 1390.

The programme explains the theory that da Vinci's forgery was commissioned to replace an earlier version that was exposed as a poor fake, which had been bought by the powerful Savoy family in 1453 only to disappear for 50 years. When it returned to public view, it was hailed as a genuine relic, and experts say it was actually the artist's convincing replica.

American Professor Larissa Tracy, of Longwood University in Virginia, told the programme: "Da Vinci had the necessary skills. He knew enough about anatomy and about the physical muscular structure of the body. Da Vinci had all the skills to create an image like the shroud. If anybody had the capacity to work with camera obscura or early photographic technique, it was Leonardo Da Vinci."


I find this wonderful. If art is the process of inspiring awe & empathy (Heinlein somewhere) the Crucifixion of the Son of God is about the best possible subject for it. And Leonardo produced the best possible way of evoking it. It is a work of art which embraces so many fields, which is a unique technology, whose achievement has transcended the importance of any other non-functional piece of art in the history of humanity.

Compared to this the Mona Lisa is just a painting.

I will not quite say it would not be greater if it had turned out to be the real thing - but not that far short. Certainly it is no more a "fake" than Faberge's eggs are fake eggs.

It also shows that great art should push the envelope of human experience & that science by definition does so. Modern art is so crap because having disconnected with science it can do nothing original & is reduced to Damien Hurst flogging bits of embalmed shark for novelty. LEONARDO WAS A GREAT ARTIST BECAUSE HE WAS A GREAT SCIENTIST.

And then the magnificent arrogant bastard put his own face on it & persuaded the post Renaissance world it is the face of God.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I have the lead letter in the Scotsman today which is pleasing, particularly since a shorter letter in the Herald wasn't selected. The major theme of the original letter was that "charities" campaigning for the government decision to ban fire were in fact, significantly government funded. The minor theme was that we don't actually have any warming currently, which hopefully will cause splutterings in reply. However the major theme has been edited out. I have highlighted the bits the paper didn't print:

Once again (Friday then Tuesday) we see the leading letter about the Scottish MSP's literally insane decision to cut Scotland's use of fire by 42% & GNP by a probably greater amount, is supportive. All the others are opposed. Personally I would have thought a letter from Jim Sillars, with its very appropriate description of the MSPs behaviour as a "collapse of reason" would have had greater news value than one from Dr Johnson but that is just my opinion.

Dr Johnson is correct to say that 1998 was warmer than 2000, though I don't see how this strengthens alarmist claims.. He is certainly correct to say that alarmists now contend that this was unusual because of El Nino but they said the exact opposite at the time. In any case he is wrong to say 1998 was the warmest in recent times. Best evidence is that 1933 was. Stephen McIntyre examined the previous American figures which had also said 1998 & found them to be counter-factual in many cases. The US authorities ultimately acknowledged & corrected this. For unknown reasons this got little media coverage. The US figures were the most complete & widespread but for unknown reasons the British Met Office have refused to release details that would allow a similar check of their figures so we must rely on the best available.

So after 76 years of "catastrophic warming" it is cooler. Of course much of history has been warmer than even 1933. HL Mencken once said "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" & the facts show that "catastrophic warming" is yet another "hobgoblin" being pushed by power drunk politicians with absolutely no interest whatsoever in the wellbeing of their constituents or even in the survival of western civilisation.

Regarding the leading letter on Friday which came from a prominent charity - That charity was, coincidentally, one of 9 I have previously mentioned on my blog as being both major sponsors of the conference of a prominent political party & heavily dependent (between 10% & 100%) on government money. This includes not only direct government grants but also grants from quangos, councils, lottery funding & the purchase of the charity's publications, courses, training & advice. 11 of their other sponsors were government departments, quangos, government employee unions & an industry entirely dependent on government subsidy. Such organisations described, perhaps unkindly, by the conspiracy minded blogsphere as "fakecharities" are exercising an increasing degree of political & social influence. Indeed it seems hardly a day goes by without the government funded BBC highlighting a report from some such organisation. By the most statistically surprising of coincidences I cannot remember a single one of these which has called for less government spending, cutting quangos, fewer government employees or generally less nanny statism.

I suggest to avoid accusations of not being transparent, authors of letters for publication, or indeed press releases for news features, should contain a mention of such financial relationships. Scotland's political culture would be much very much the better for it.

Now fair enough - even edited it is a relatively long letter & I have no reason for complaint. They let me say every MSP is "insane" (even if they edited out "literally"). Also I willingly admit that the editing has left a very hard hitting & effective last line (power-drunk politiciams ... survisval of western civilisation) which is correct & was buried in my longer letter. Nonetheless the subject of government funding of "dissenting" lobbyists calling for bigger government is an important one which the MSM should report. I phrased that part of the letter in as emollient a way as possible making no mention of advertising as a way of government buying influence - for example I am sure the Guardian makes more from government advertising than from readers & thus is, by the fakecharity definition a fakenewspaper*. However the disparity of discussion of this on the blogsphere with the complete failure of the MSM to report it is becoming painfully obvious.

My original blog mentioning the party conference - it was the LudDims naturally.

McIntyre proving 1933 the warmest year & the authorities accepting it

* this word does not appear in the OED or the Library of the British Museum or anywhere else as a single word & trust the OED will send me a small payment when they put it in.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SCOTLAND'S PARLIAMENT UNANIMOUSLY GUILTY OF A "collapse of reason in the face of the new Green religion"

I sent an email to Margo MacDonald the independent Scottish MSP & husband of Jim Sillars formerly leader of Labour in Scotland, his own Scottish Labour Party & then an SNP leader but it was blocked. Jim has been undoubtedly the most eloquent person in Scottish politics & arguably the most sincere to reach a senior level.

This is his letter, or I suspect the edited version, in the Scotsman today.

Bill Jamieson (Opinion, 26 June) refers to the Scottish Parliament's Climate Change Act as twaddle. If it was only twaddle it would be of little matter. It is, however, another collapse of reason in the face of the new Green religion, which worships computer model projections of catastrophes to come, scaremongers with them, and rejects the views of those who disagree as heresy.

There are many people who do not go along with the global warmists. However, so successful have the new religious priests been in their scaremongering and accusations, they are afraid to speak out. I'm glad to see Bill Jamieson is made of the right stuff.
This is the returned email:
Margo MacDonald,
How could you have voted to destroy 42% of Scotland's industry, to impoverish her people & ultimately to bring early death to millions of them when your husband has such an intelligent letter in the Scotsman?

If you don't know it is a fraud that might be an excuse for abstaining but it is not one for voting for it.
If you don't know you should sign up on [CCNet]

Perhaps you would also send that link to Jim since, if he has not already signed up I think he would wish to.

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I liked this story that I ran across. It fits with my previously expressed opinion that the French "have a cheerfully cynical appreciation of their own national interests; they blow up Greenpeace boats" & as Ronduck once suggested you get more progress from countries whose peoples want their nation to be free rather than pensioners of a far away government. An opinion very much enhanced by the recent insanity & barbarism of the Scottish parliament.

The other point is that, though this article is listed as having been sent from London the only British paper to mention it, which incidentally accuses French papers of "treading warily" on reporting it,, even though their word count is longer, misses out the bit about French retaliation, which is the most fun thing about it:

LONDON: High-ranking Pakistani officials were behind the killing of eleven French ship-building engineers in Karachi seven years ago, two French judges have ruled.

Until now al-Qaida had been blamed for the bomb attack on a bus in 2002 that killed 11 engineers and three Pakistanis.

The judges suspected that the Pakistanis were retaliating over a decision by former French President Jacques Chirac, to halt payment to Pakistani officers of millions of pounds in secret commission from an 720 million pounds contract signed in 1994, for three French submarines, the Time reported on Tuesday.

The dead engineers were working on the submarine contract for DCN, the French naval shipbuilding enterprise.

Some of the money was kicked back to France to finance the 1995 presidential campaign of Edouard Balladur, Chirac's Prime Minister and rival, according to claims disclosed by the judges.

The chief of Balladur's unsuccessful campaign that year was Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then the Budget Minister.

According to media reports, the French secret service retaliated after the 2002 attack, breaking the legs of two Pakistan navy admirals and killing a lower-ranking officer.

Sarkozy, now the President of France, has dismissed as "a fable" the suspicions of the judges, Marc Trevidic and Yves Janier.

"This is ridiculous... grotesque," Sarkozy said. "Who would believe such a tale," Balladur said that everything about the submarine deal had been "completely regular".

The judges, however, told the surviving victims and their relatives that they have uncovered a trail that tied the bombing to Pakistani officials.

Investigators have also seized documents describing a web of offshore companies created to channel the commission payments, the judges said.

A sales contract with the Pakistani military, paid for by the Saudis was "completely regular". "Who would believe such a tale"?

PS 2 references on Jerry Pournelle's last week - On Tuesday referencing a previous admission by WHO that the promised AIDS epidemci was rubbish & on Friday giving world nuclear costs.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

On the Scottish Parliament decision to cut use of fire by 42% over the next 11 years & 80% by 2050.

I have emailed the BBC inviting them to explain how the BBC's claim that it is "good" news that were are criminalising fire & that there is no doubt it is warming is not party political bias & breach of their Charter. It will be interesting to see if they feel it possible to make even a pro froma claim that it is. I will, of course, publish anything they have the intestinal fortitude to say.


Using figures issued by the BMA that each reduction by 1% of GNP causes 21 deaths per 100,000 (ie 1050 across Scotland) we have been able to calculate that the Climate Change Bill will provably cause deliberate & unnecessary deaths best estimated at 6,346,050 Scots over the next 91 years, though this excludes lives which would be saved or extended if there would otherwise have been any economic growth in those years. The calculations are clear, verifiable, simple & involve no hidden algorithms & are therefore much more valid than any estimates produced by the IPCC, let alone Al Gore.

Calculations are accessible HERE & have not been disputed as to fact.

That being the case the unanimous decision of the Scottish Parliament to order these deaths proves either, in the generous option, that every single MSP is clinically insane. The less generous estimate being that, for the sake of power, money & the chance to impose ever more control over the people of Scotland & to produce fear they have deliberately engaged in mass murder, treason & an attempt to destroy civilisation. If so they could only be barbarians who do not understand civilisation & wouldn't like it if they did.

The 9% Growth Party calls on Her Majesty to dissolve the body & bring its murdering treasonous fascist members to trial, if judged sane.

PS I rang into the BBC Radio Morning Show again - they were doing a piece on whether we are more Scottish or British. I said that I would like to be both but the decision of the Scottish parliament to destroy the economy & depend on Westminster continuing to supply them with money was not sustainable because someday the English will tell us to go.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009


This comes from an episode of Yes Minister, called The Challenge first broadcast in 1982:

"No, I'm just Undersecretary rank. I fear that I will rise no higher"

I asked why not.

He smiled. "Alas I am an expert"

"An expert on what?"

"The whole thing." he said modestly. Then he handed me a file.

I'm sitting here reading the file right now. Its dynamite. Its a scheme for controlling local authority expenditure. He proposes that every council official responsible for a new project would have to list the criteria for failure before he's given the go ahead.

I didn't grasp the implications of this at first. But I've discussed it with Annie & she tells me it's what's called the "scientific method. (the series regularly shows his wife is smarter than Hacker but here we see she is also better educated) I've never really come across that before since my early training was in sociology & economics. But "the scientific method" apparently means that you first establish a method of measuring the success or failure of an experiment. A proposal would have to say: "The scheme will be a failure if it takes longer than this" or "costs more than that" or "employs more staff than these" or "fails to meet those pre-set performance standards!.

Fantastic. We'll get going on this right away. he only thing is, I can't understand why this hasn't been done before."

In the comedy the civil service are absolutely opposed to letting it in, even in among despised local authorities, because once it is seen to work in one place....

Funnily enough I haven't seen anything of this proposal since.

So I propose this right
Any government proposal shall have to contain failure standards including time to achieve, cost, employees required & pre-set performance standards. The right of citizens to see these standards in civil programmes shall not be infringed.

In the event of failing to achieve such standards a petition of not less than 10% of Senators shall be able to propose a vote by the whole House for repeal which shall pass unless defeated by 60% of votes in both Houses. For laws passed before this amendment came into force 20% of Senators may propose such a repeal which will require a normal majority.

The repeal, bit is a nod to the Heinlein speech, where he calls for 2 Houses, one with the right to repeal, though I have been less radical than he proposed.


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