Saturday, March 06, 2010
Turkey has democratically elected an Islamic government. It is quite possible that it always would have were it not for the Turkish army. The constitution specifically enjoins them to intervene in the political process to maintain the secular regime Ataturk formed.
The arrest and indictment of top military figures in Turkey last week precipitated potentially the most severe crisis since Atatürk founded the republic in 1923. The weeks ahead will probably indicate whether the country continues its slide toward Islamism or reverts to its traditional secularism. The denouement has major implications for Muslims everywhere.
Turkey's military has long been both the state's most trusted institution and the guarantor of Atatürk's legacy, especially his secularism. Devotion to the founder is not some dry abstraction but a very real and central part of a Turkish officer's life; as journalist Mehmet Ali Birand has documented, cadet-officers hardly go an hour without hearing Atatürk's name invoked.
On four occasions between 1960 and 1997, the military intervened to repair a political process gone awry. On the last of these occasions, it forced the Islamist government of Necmettin Erbakan out of power
Our view should be conflicted. On the one hand as a democrat I believe even Islamic nutters have a right to win if that is what the country wants. On the other hand what are the chances that an Islamic regime which purges the military is going to feel a duty to hold a free election next time. Islamic regimes, not the same as governments in Islamic countries, have a very poor record in maintaining democracy, or human rights, or freedom or indeed economic competence. It seems unlikely such a regime is in the people's interests but that may be their problem.
It is certain it is not in ours. Turkey, while at the top of 3rd world countries, is the world's 17th richest, indeed I previously listed it as a country which could build a space elevator for the level of effort the US put into the Moon landings. It has a fast growing population which will soon make it larger than Germany. It has a military history of considerable toughness - from the days of Lepanto & their empire reaching the walls of Vienna to the reputation their troops had in the Korean war. An aggressive Islamic Turkey would be a much bigger problem than Iran & at least an order of magnitude more than Iraq ever was.
Much of the reason the Turkish military has not acted to dissolve the government & hang a few leaders must be Turkey's application to join the EU. Turkey applied to join back in the 1950s when it was just 6 countries & was promised it could join "some day" (this was the cold war when anybody who wasn't communist was welcome) but membership has always been put off. It should be obvious why. Turkey is far poorer than other members, much larger than the other poor members, not part of the European tradition & indeed, except for Constantinople, not part of Europe at all. With Turkey in the EU we would have 80 million dirt poor Moslems, eager to vote for an Islamic republic everywhere, able to come here. America has always supported Turkish membership since it kept Turkey politically onside & cost them no more than Mexican immigration to the USA costs Britain. However it is clear that not only would Turkish membership be the end of the traditional Europe but that, in making democratic accommodations to the EU they have emasculated their armed force's role in society & thereby opened the door to Islamic extremism.
The EU should say that while free trade with Turkey is desirable, EU membership is not. We should then stop meddling in their laws. I do not support overthrowing democracy in Turkey, if democracy is indeed the Islamic aim, but I do not insist on intervening to stop it happening. The problem may be insoluble but it can be & is being made worse by EU "human rights" bureaucrats (whose concept of human rights includes supporting murder, genocide, child sex slavery & dissecting living human beings in Kosovo so they have no right to morally censure anybody). It is difficult to think of any case since the end of WW2 when intervening in another country has been to their benefit & hardly any where it has benefited the people (as opposed to crony capitalists) of the intervening country.
The current drift leads towards EU membership someday of an aggressive Islamic extremist horde which would destroy both Europe & Turkey. If we cannot do good we should at least honestly say membership is not on & that we will stop meddling destructively in their society.
Labels: International politics
Friday, March 05, 2010
Of course it is possible that somebody will be able to show I am wrong. Indeed anybody, claiming to respect science, who supports the LNT theory should certainly be able to produce some evidence for it. Indeed only a wholly corrupt, lying parasite deliberately committed to promoting the fascist cause through false fearmongering could support LNT without evidence to at least match the evidence for hormesis.
The psychosomatic disorders observed in the 15 million people in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia1 who were affected by the April 1986 Chernobyl accident are probably the accident’s most important effect on public health These disorders ...linked to the popular belief that any amount of man-made radiation—even minuscule, close to zero doses—can cause harm, an assumption that gained wide currency when it was accepted in the 1950s, arbitrarily, as the basis for regulations on radiation and nuclear safety...
the world’s average individual lifetime dose due to natural background radiation is about 150 mSv. In the Chernobyl-contaminated regions of the former Soviet Union, the lifetime dose is 210 mSv—and in many regions of the world it is about 1000 mSv. The Chernobyl lifetime entire man-made contribution to radiation dose amounts to a mere 0.2% of the natural component...
present average individual dose rate of 2.2 mSv per year...
If radiation and radioactivity, though ubiquitous, are so innocuous at normal levels, why do they cause such universal apprehension? What is the cause of radiophobia—the irrational fear that any level of ionizing radiation is dangerous? Why have radiation protection authorities introduced a dose limit for the public of 1 mSv per year, which is less than half the average dose rate from natural radiation and less than 1% of the natural dose rates in many areas of the world? Why do the nations of the world spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year to maintain this standard?9
Here I propose some likely reasons:
· The psychological reaction to the devastation and loss of life caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
· Psychological warfare during the cold war that played on the public’s fear of nuclear weapons.
· Lobbying by fossil fuel industries.
· The interests of radiation researchers striving for recognition and budget.
· The interests of politicians for whom radiophobia has been a handy weapon in their power games (in the 1970s in the US, and in the 1980s and 1990s in eastern and western Europe and in the former Soviet Union).
· The interests of news media that profit by inducing public fear.
· The assumption of a linear, no-threshold relationship between radiation and biological effects
... Between 1945 and 1980, the 541 atmospheric nuclear tests that were performed together yielded an explosive energy equivalent to 440 megatons of TNT (1.8 x 1024 joules). After all those explosions, despite the injection into the global atmosphere of about 3 tons of plutonium (that is, almost 15 000 supposedly deadly 200-gram doses), somehow we are still alive! ...
A-bomb survivors and linear no-threshold
...findings from the study of A-bomb survivors had been consistently ignored. In place of the actual findings—and driving the public’s radiophobia—has been the theory of linear no-threshold (LNT), which presumes that the detrimental effects of radiation are proportional to the dose, and that there is no dose at which the effects of radiation are not detrimental.
It was LNT theory that the International Commission on Radiological Protection chose, in 1959, as the basis for its rules of radiation protection. At that time, applying LNT theory was regarded as an administrative decision, based on practical (not to mention political) considerations. Adopting a linear relationship between dose and effect, along with no threshold, enabled doses in individual exposures to be added and enabled population-averaged quantities to be evaluated, and made the administration of radiation protection generally easier. Furthermore, the policy undertone—that even the smallest, near-zero amounts of radiation could cause harm—was politically useful at the time: It played an important part in effecting first a moratorium and then a ban on atmospheric nuclear tests. LNT theory was and still is the pillar of the international theory and practice of radiation protection.
Over the years, however, what started as just a working assumption for the leadership of ICRP came to be regarded—in public opinion and by the mass media, regulatory bodies, and many scientists, and even by some members of the ICRP—as a scientifically documented fact...
We have reliable epidemiological data for a dose rate of, say, 6000 mSv per second in Japanese A-bomb survivors. But there are no such data for human exposure at a dose rate of 0.0046 mSv over 50 years (nor will there ever be any). The dose rate in Japan was larger by 2 x 1015 than the Chernobyl dose rate in the US. Extrapolating over such a vast span is neither scientifically justified nor epistemologically acceptable. Indeed, Lauriston Taylor, the former president of the US National Council on Radiological Protection and Measurements, deemed such extrapolations to be a “deeply immoral use of our scientific heritage.”
The LNT theory is contradicted by the phenomenon of hormesis—that is, the stimulating and protective effect of small doses of radiation, which is also termed adaptive response. The first report on hormetic effects in algae appeared more than 100 years ago. More recently published hormetic effects include A-bomb survivors’ apparent lower-than-normal incidence of leukemia and their greater longevity. Although more than 2000 scientific papers had been published on radiation hormesis, the phenomenon was forgotten after World War II and was ignored by the radiation-protection establishment. It was only in 1994 that UNSCEAR recognized and endorsed the very existence of radiation hormesis. It caused a revolutionary upheaval of radiology’s ethical and technical foundations.
Many radiologists have come to realize that their overreaction to theoretical (actually imaginary) health-harming effects of radiation is unethical in that it leads to the consumption of funds that are desperately needed to deal with real health problems...
The practical threshold to be proposed could be based on epidemiological data from exposures in medicine, the nuclear industry, and regions with high natural radiation. The current population dose limit of 1 mSv per year could then be changed to 10 mSv per year or more.
I suspect, along with Professor Cameron, that epidemiological studies wil show the optimum to be above 10mSv but a change to 10 immediately to be followed by a fully evidence based determination would be the proper thing to do - so long as the evidence based determination was also undertaken.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” HEINLEIN
Flash: a local radio station aired the silliness, and the City Attorney of Orange has dismissed the suit, and there is embarrassment all around. A local city councilman is on the radio now saying he hadn't known a thing about this until the brouhaha erupted.I commented
It seems to me that the City of Orange must have more employees than it needs if it has enough attorneys to take a householder to court for not having enough grass on his lawn.
reminds me of one of Heinlein's remarks:I have highlighted Heinlein's words because anything he said is worth it & my last sentence because I think this explains that the nanny state is not produced so much out of wickedness as being an inevitable result of state parasitism when the state is not rigorously pruned. It also allowed me to get in a good word for just about everybody not part of the statist establishment.
“Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
The worse thing is that with government taking so much of the economy there is a very strong incentive to find things to dictate & thus provide "gainful employment" to so many people. In previous ages the state controlled things people really cared about - mainly religious - but almost everything regulated now is trivial & obviously pointless except for giving government employees a reason to be paid.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
WattsUpWithThat reported on the 2nd Special from the same group Global Warming: Meltdown which can be viewed here. Watts also reported "I also learned that the first special in January gave the station its highest rating ever for a one hour news report"
Armed with that fact I again emailed all the UK national broadcasters & Scottish TV (STV in particular is going through a state of collapse being unable to pay other ITV companies for some programmes & being reduced to filling prime time with stock film of the Scottish countryside with voice overs).
On 16th January I wrote to yourselves suggesting that if you wished to move to a slightly less propagandistic stance on alleged catastrophic global warming an easy way, bearing in mind that out of many thousands of hours of coverage only 1 hour on C4 has been sceptical, an easy way to double that would be to broadcast Global warming - the Other Side. With the exception of a brief acknowledgement from C4 none of you were sufficiently interested in being less than totally propagandistic to even acknowledge the possibility.The lack of response, when it is provable that they have been at least 99.9% propagandists in the warming cause, does not come as a surprise. However it does give unimpeachable proof that the entire British broadcasting industry are not only at least 99.9% corrupt, lying, fascist propagandists willing to report absolutely any lie the government tells them to but that they have not the slightest interest in changing.
It now turns out that this programme "gave the station its highest rating ever for a one hour news report, so it is no surprise that they'd want to repeat that success." The subsequent programme Global Warming Meltdown Part 1 together with links to the previous programme is here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/20/must-see-john-colemans-global-warming-special-2-now-online-at-youtube/#more-16584
Since this is a highest rating programme it is obvious that it would be likely to be very popular here, indeed probably moreso due to the broadcasting censorship of the facts exercised here. There can therefore be no question of this not making very good financial sense indeed. Whether the British broadcast media is motivated to any significant degree by normal commercial considerations or indeed a desire for audience share, rather than by the requirement to propagandise in the government interest is something we shall shortly see.
I hope to see at least 1 channel at least considering the option of acting on commercial rather than political propagandist lines, since that would be a worthwhile innovation. I request the courtesy of a response.
C4 have done 1 programme which was honest - Martin Durkin's Great Globakl Warming Swindle & may claim to be only 99.6% corrupt. Of the others one can say, in connection with this & their censorship & lying to promote racial genocide & worse than Hitler in Kosovo that it is statistically proven that there is not a single person working for these organisations who is not personally an obscene, wholly corrupt, fascist, racist, obscenity lacking even the tiniest trace of personal honesty or integrity & willing to tell absolutely any lie in the fascist cause.
No offense. This does not exclude the possibility of saying something truthful & non-fascist by accident.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I had never heard of Professor Cameron until a couple of days ago when I checked out a submission he had made to a UK ministerial committee on radiation but he was clearly one of the good ones.
John R. Cameron, Emeritus Professor of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin
He was a founding member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and served as its 10th president in 1968.
John died on 16 March 2005 at age 82 in Gainesville, Florida, where he lived during the winter months and served as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida.
John guided the UW Medical Physics Program from a "one physicist" operation to one of the largest and most productive in the world. Presently there are 21 faculty and 8 postdoctoral appointees training 86 students. Since its founding in 1958, the program has awarded more than 185 PhD and 156 MS degrees. Graduates and trainees have become leading medical physicists - a source of great personal pride for John. The program was awarded departmental status in 1981, the first medical physics program to receive departmental status in the United States. John served as chair until his retirement in 1986.
John is widely recognized for several innovative and seminal contributions to medical physics. He investigated and advanced thermoluminescence dosimetry, establishing most of the principal characteristics needed for wide applicability. This technology became the standard for personal radiation monitoring, eventually largely replacing traditional film densitometry.
At about the same time, John invented bone densitometry, which uses precise radiation measurements to determine the mineral content of bone....The number of bone densitometers in the world now exceeds 20,000.
John was deeply concerned with excess radiation exposures in diagnostic radiology. He developed simple test tools and techniques to measure radiation and to evaluate the quality of x-ray images. These efforts led to the creation of Radiation Measurements, Inc. (RMI), a pioneering manufacturer in quality-assurance measurements, materials, and devices. This also led to product developments by several companies and to several standard techniques for radiation measurement and image quality assurance.
More recently, John founded Medical Physics Publishing, a nonprofit corporation whose initial objectives were to provide reprints of useful but out-of-print books. That company now publishes a wide spectrum of original books and is a major source of material relating to health physics and medical physics.
John was interested in developing new applications of physics to medicine. He preferred to hire new faculty whose research was not in the mainstream at the time. John started a program for radiation physics measurement that with federal funding became the Midwest Center for Radiation Physics. His foresight led to the early development of significant programs at UW-Madison in applications that eventually became "mainstream," including ultrasound, positron imaging, and digital angiography, to name but a few. He also helped initiate a program in magneto-encephalography, looking at the magnetic signals emitted by the brain. After his retirement, his interests spread into still more areas, including imagination and creativity.
So a very creative person who contributed to the human race in ways which I'm sure neither Obama or Brown could even understand.
This is what brought me here
In recent years he devoted himself to educating the public accurately about the benefits and risks of radiation used in medicine. He was especially concerned about the fear caused by low-level radiation and analyzed much data to illustrate that these fears probably are unfounded. He argued this aspect by talking about longevity being a measure of health effects of radiation (Radiology 229:14-16; 2003). Indeed, he argued (convincingly) that radiation might be a beneficial "trace element" at very low doses (Physics and Society October 2001).
Full Appreciation here.
This is the paper he submitted to the British government's Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE). It lists a whole range of pieces of strong evidence that not only is low level radiation not harmful but that the hormesis effects are significantly beneficial. He describes:
100 year study of mortality of British radiologists, compared to other medical practitioners.
Ditto shipyard workers.
Both of which show greater longevity to those who "suffer" greater radiation exposure & says "There is very likely an optimum dose rate of radiation for good health just as there are optimum levels for essential vitamins & trace elements in our diet. I believe that most people are suffering from radiation deficiency and that the recommended average dose (RAD) of radiation will be significantly higher than the annual dose most humans receive from background."
This is a very credible opinion from a very experienced & capable expert.
CERRIE was set up by Michael Meacher, a Luddite so committed to PC cliches & lies that he became Environment Minister & so useless, lunatic & incompetent that the other Labour Ministers, corrupt, genocidal, child raping, organlegging war criminals though they are, noticed & he was fired.
With the exception of one unnamed person of integrity these political appointees appear to have virtually totally ignored his evidence & decided
11 - The Committee recognised that epidemiological data relating to low levels of exposure are compatible with a range of curves describing the variation of the underlying risk with the level of exposure, including a curve that is steeper than the LNT relationship (a ‘supralinear’ curve), no risk below a certain level (‘threshold’), or even a protective effect (‘radiation hormesis’). The Committee was divided as to which type of dose–response was considered to be the most convincing description of the available scientific evidence. The member of the Committee who believed most strongly in the existence of a threshold and/or hormesis based his conclusion upon mechanistic arguments and his interpretation of the results obtained from several epidemiological studies (Rowland, 1994; Thomas, 1994; Voelz et al, 1997; Ghiassi-nejad et al, 2002; Calabrese and Baldwin, 2003; Cameron, 2003). However, most of the Committee considered that the epidemiological evidence for radiation hormesis or a threshold as the preferred risk model was not persuasive (pdf)They clearly accepted that there was such evidence of hormesis & that it was sufficiently strong to say the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) theory had no stronger grounding. Then they went for the official LNT theory anyway.
Looking at what they have written here it is palpable nonsense. It is certainly impossible if any data in the plural exist for them to be compatible with a line of falling deaths, a straight line of rising deaths, a curved line of rising deaths, a horizontal line & a horizontal line followed by a rising one. Despite them describing it as a "curve" the LNT theory is actually of a straight line extrapolation. The committee members:
Professor Dudley Goodhead OBE
Mr Richard Bramhall
Dr Chris Busby
Dr Roger Cox
Professor Sarah Darby
Dr Philip Day
Dr John Harrison
Dr Colin Muirhead
Mr Peter Roche
Professor Jack Simmons
Dr Richard Wakeford
Professor Eric Wright
simply could not have honestly failed to say in their conclusions that there was no credible evidence for the LNT theory & that any decision to maintain it was a purely political not scientific one, but this is precisely what they failed to do. They could have & did suggest further research, but not strongly & not in any way letting it interfere with the present hysteria.
Sometimes I get depressed seeing the way government can brush off obvious truth from decent, competent & honourable people & can always find incompetent corrupt & dishonest parasites for their quangos to pretend to impartially investigate. This is one such time.
Monday, March 01, 2010
On Saturday they published an opposing letter.
Firstly, if he wants to find out the scientific consensus, I suggest he turn to science magazines rather than newspapers, where he will find ubiquitous agreement.And have today published, as what appears to be the lead letter, my reply to that
Or perhaps he could consult a meta-analysis of climate research in any related scientific journal, where he will again find agreeing evidence.
Secondly, the Oregon petition means nothing.
There are millions of people working in science worldwide. but the fact that a few thousand of them signed a list is irrelevant.
I thank Graham Cooke (Letters, February 27) for his response to my letter saying that nobody, out of tens of thousands asked, could name more than one scientist, worldwide, not funded by government who supports the alleged "scientific consensus" over catastrophic warming.How different from the UK & US press which, while giving lots of space to alarmist liars like Gore & Moonbat, won't even publish short pieces telling the truth.
I note that, despite arm-waving about journals, he makes no attempt to provide a second name, which is pretty conclusive.
His point – that the widely unreported Oregon Petition, in which more than 31,000 scientists said that this scare was false, “means nothing” because there are millions of scientists worldwide – seems overstated.
It is, after all, the single largest expression of scientists’ opinions, far larger than any such supporting the alleged “consensus”.
Of course, the vast majority of scientists have never said anything publicly on the subject, which is precisely my point.
The claim of consensus has always been a PR artifice rather than a scientific reality.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the death of 10,000 to 25,000 people. It has erupted many times since and is today regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive (Plinian) eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world...from Wikipedia. Pressure is building & the longer it takes the more explosive, literally, the result.
severe eruptions occurring in 1660, 1682, 1694, 1698, 1707, 1737, 1760, 1767, 1779, 1794, 1822, 1834, 1839, 1850, 1855, 1861, 1868, 1872, 1906, 1926, 1929, and 1944. but not during the subsequent 66 years, probably due to formation of a plug stoppering it....
Following the 1631 eruption until 1944 every few years saw a comparatively small eruption which emitted 0.001-0.01 km³ of magma. It seems that for Vesuvius the amount of magma expelled in an eruption increases very roughly linearly with the interval since the previous one, and at a rate of around 0.001 cubic kilometres (0.00024 cu mi) for each year. This gives an extremely approximate figure of 0.06 cubic kilometres (0.014 cu mi) for an eruption after 60 years of inactivity.
The escape plan requires 2 weeks notification, is only aimed at moving out the 600,000 nearest & takes as worst case assumption an eruption equivalent to the 1631 one. Here's hoping but this sounds more like an emergency plan based around what is available now rather than what will be needed in a real worst case.
Of course if I wanted to be really alarmist I would say this
Though the caldera has no visible volcanic cone, it dwarfs nearby Vesuvius. "Most of the metropolitan area of Naples is located within the caldera," says Giuseppe De Natale of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology's (INGV) Vesuvius Observatory in Naples...
"A major eruption, like the one 39,000 years ago, would leave large parts of Europe buried under a thick layer of ash," says Agust Gudmundsson of the Royal Holloway University of London, one of the researchers involved in the drilling project. Since then, smaller eruptions have occurred every few centuries.
According to a study of the region by Roberto Isaia of the INGV and colleagues, Campi Flegrei [name of the whole Caldera] is "one of the highest risk volcanic areas on Earth" and may now be primed for a blast. Isaia and colleagues found deposits from an intense period of eruptions around 4000 years ago. Before the eruptions the Earth's crust rose by several metres all across the caldera. Worryingly, crustal uplift is exactly what has happened recently. Since the late 1960s, the port of Pozzuoli near the caldera's centre has risen by around 3 metres. Hazard planners should prepare for eruptions in decades or less, Isaia concludes
In geological timeframes 79BC or indeed 4,000 years ago are not long periods. On those alone the odds should be 1/29 of Vesuvius or 1/57 of the whole Naples Caldera exploding within a lifetime. Because it has been so long since any eruption & we see such a substantial rise in ground level it seems likely the real odds are very much shorter.
The article quoted is about the Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project which is planning to drill seven holes in the region (see map).
Though the researchers on this particular project point out that any risk is small, it will begin amid debate about whether such endeavours are safe, given the unknowns of a volcano's interior. A few say drilling might even trigger a major eruption.
It is rather playing with fire but I don't see that there is much choice. It is going to go sometime in some direction. Anything the authorities can find out about where & when is likely to be vital. Personally I would put an automated drilling platform out beyond the Bay of Naples & hope to divert it out there. To do that will require somebody willing to take strong action on something for which the odds, in any given year, are long. It will require the power of something like martial law before there is a sign of a problem, to settle the inevitable lawyerly disputes. Better that than needing to impose the full thing as it erupts.
I am not just trying to raise a scare story here - I firmly believe the science & indeed engineering exists to channel this eruption - we have the technology to do almost anything we set ourselves to. The question is whether the political will exists to do something now to prevent the death of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, while it is still, relatively, far off. The rise in the land makes it clear the pressure is growing & it is going to have to go somewhere some time.
PS During the Middle Ages Naples was, for a long time, the largest city in Europe despite not being a great national, cukltural or religiuos power. I assume that is because land fertilised by vulcanism is particulalry fertile. Giving with one hand & taking away with the other.