Saturday, January 08, 2011
No - Small, clean nukes are a proliferation concern and would probably trigger an arm's race with the Russians.1 - An American one might risk that, a British or international one would not. Indeed if it was used as a way of running down our own plutonium stockpile, as I hope it would be, it would have a stabilising effect.
No - Manufacturing the propulsion units would cause local environmental problems in the UK, (see hanford site for details).
No - The costs of manufacturing the propulsion units are unknown cos that kind of thing has always been a state secret, it's likely to be more that has been estimated.
No - We'd be better off with doing RandD and developing buckytubes for a space elevator since that has many, many useful spinoffs - we can always use lighter and stronger materials!
2 - I think this is wrong. Hanford was at the dawn of the nuclear age - several countries including Britain have built nukes since then without polluting. In particular Israel, which has no spare land to pollute, has produced probably 200 nukes without even having to test them.
3 - That is a fair point. However even if they were significantly more than expected the cost of an Orion programme ( £5.4 billion over 10 years ) is so low that it is not a show stopper.
4 - If it were one or the other I might agree. However both together are insignificant compared to many useless government programmes from windmills to Iraq which are the real; alternatives. Indeed they complement each other - I have blogged about using an Orion to cut both the cost & timetable of a Space Elevator.
I wouldn't take 89% support for this as gospel but, particularly since it is a pretty unknown possibility which only I have been wailing on about (well not quite the only but not many currently), I think it is enough of a sample to expect that if it was put to the general public in a serious way by the powers that be it would be very likely to get majotrity support
previously discussed - televised formal debates on subjects chosen by the public. All broadcasters seem totally uninterested in this. The cynical reason may be that they are deliberately censoring real political discussion in Britain because our political class fear it. The uncynical one would be that they have some doubts about its possible audience. There may be another possible reason but nobody has been able to provide it.
So lets test if there is an audience for it (UK readers only please).
Friday, January 07, 2011
UNPUBLISHED SCOTSMAN LETTERS
Ian Baxter's letter (weds) explaining that the Green's policy of encouraging "inevitable" economic decline because "in a world of dwindling natural resources, growing population and climate change, indefinitely rising living standards in a relatively very rich country cannot be assumed" is in contradiction to then leader, Robin Harper's assertion that economic decline required active effort. He said, in a debate in Glasgow University, that the reason the Greens had moved from opposition to the EU to support was because EU bureaucracy (which even their "Enterprise" commissioner has agreed destroys 5.5% of the continent's economy) was the only thing that can prevent the "continuous economic expansion" that we used to be suffering from & that the rest of the world still is (4.8% this year according to the IMF).
The truth is, as Mr Harper said. With Moore's law doubling computer capacity every 18 months, biotechnology showing similar growth & material strength something comparable economic growth the level of China's 10% is clearly possible for generations if not centuries. This is being prevented in our country by a wave of Luddite politicians who oppose all progress. We face the destruction of 58% of our electric power & thus roughly 58% of our economy by 2020 purely because Holyrood's anti-progress politicians unanimously voted for a "climate change Act" mandating this. No individual, let alone media controller, should ever get away with pretending that our recession is anything other than the deliberate work of a political wave of which the Greens are simply the spume.
Note also that, despite Baxter's claims, catastrophic warming is clearly not taking place, population in developed countries is not significantly growing & resources not only are not dwindling but oil & other reserves are being discovered at a rate well exceeding the amount we use.
Harper's remarks http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2007/11/reasons-for-supporting-eu-1.html
It is difficult to believe the desperation of those who assert we are experiencing catastrophic global warming (letters Mon). They say Scotland should continue paying up £1 billion a year to subsidise useless windmillery while destroying 58% of our electric capacity over the next 10 years. In fact even Professor Jones, high priest of alarmism, has acknowledged there has been no warming at all since 1995, let alone the advertised catastrophic warming. This is not simply a matter of pork barrelling for "environmental" interests it is directly responsible for most of the 25,000 excess pensioner deaths in the average year in Britain.
Recently the BBC programme Scotland's Changing Climate concentrated on alleged catastrophic global warming. During the programme they did an "experiment" on CO2 warming which seemed to suggest our atmosphere was heading for a 2.5 C temperature increase. In fact the experiment showed a 0.00025 C increase for our atmosphere, an undetectably small amount. Later came the outrageous claim for global warming "the level of consensus is greater than in any other area of science" which will come as a surprise to believers in the law of gravity & indeed virtually any scientist.
Following extensive discussions with the producer & presenter, neither of whom were willing to go to the length of asserting that either of these claims was remotely truthful the BBC have made it clear they have no slightest intention of withdrawing them.
This has been justified by the producer by saying that BBC editorial guidelines require them to "give due impartiality when discussing controversial subjects" & that the undisputed fact that the BBC have devoted 10s of thousands of hours of airtime to climate alarmist claims without once allowing even 1 hour of similarly unfettered speech to anybody doubting that we are experiencing such catastrophic warming. This is based on the assumption that disbelief in such warming is such a small minority view. I must admit I tend to doubt that the catastrophic warming theory is enthusiastically held by the alleged overwhelming majority struggling home from work today.
In the BBC's defence it must be admitted that the catastrophic warming theory is held by over 99% of MPs (i.e. the ones who voted for the UK Climate Change Act designed to costs us & following generations 10s of trillions of pounds) & 100% of MSPs (who voted for Scotland's even more restrictive Act). Indeed if we accept the SNP, Labour, Conservative, LibDem & Green parties to be in any way at all trustworthy we must accept that such warming is visible & obvious. The media under Stalin & Goebbels did accept the unanimity of the Parliaments as justifying the total censorship of any "minority view" but I would suggest that it is wrong of the BBC to follow their example.
I think it was unwise of Robert Vietch (letter Thurs) to defend his theory that the economies of large countries are more successful than small by claiming the EU & USSR as among "the most successful economies the planet has ever known.". The EU, perhaps because 5.5% of its GNP taken up in satisfying Brussels regulations (as admitted by "Enterprise" Commissioner Verheugen) has a considerably lower growth rate than the 5% world average. Consequently, despite enormous enlargement, it makes up a far smaller portion of the world's GNP than when we first joined it.
The success of the USSR currently also seems elusive.
Looking at a listing of countries by growth there seems to be little correlation, either way, with size, East Timor placing 2nd & China 5th though the fact that the highest ranking EU country, Poland, places 83rd & the 2nd, Greece, places 122nd may say something. I think it says we should get the referendum that all the "official" parties promised in previous manifestos.
FORTH CROSSING 4/11
Graham McLeod suggests (letter Thurs) that the contractors probably underbid to get the tram contract. When Melbourne can build 3 km of tramline for £13.5 billion I doubt that. The problem is that British public work projects routinely cost 13 times what they do elsewhere in the world & no politician is willing to say a word in opposition or even explanation Though the contractor has come in for public criticism, to which they are unable to reply because TIE wrote a gagging clause into the contract it is a matter of record that under mandatory mediation TIE was found to be responsible for 90% of the cost overruns.
I agree with Mr Inglis' (letter same day) admirable listing of conditions to be satisfied before undertaking expensive projects but would like to see a thorough regulatory stable cleaning to allow them to be done at the same sort of costs the rest of the world manages.
FAKECHARITIES 10/10 (this being a follow up to previous unpublished letters)
I regret that the Scotsman has decided not to publish any letter, not merely mine, from anybody pointing out the total dishonesty in letters from Scottish Renewables & councillor McLeod despite the fact that you know these complaints to be wholly & completely factual. I assume everybody must take this as confirmation of the Scotsman's editorial stance towards honesty generally?
Councillors McLeod & Doig say "we all know" various scare stories about nuclear (letter Tues) . In fact all informed people know that nuclear power is far & away the safest, most reliable & least expensive (& lowest CO2 producing if that matters) form of power we have. All informed people know that no politician or indeed journalist.of any integrity whatsoever claims otherwise. Poor Scotland that we are dominated by such politicians & journalists who promote such false scare stories & censor most discussion of the truth because they know that without false scare stories to blind the public it would be obvious what corrupt parasites they are.
It is interesting to see the RSPB writing, in concert with other "environmental" subsidy lobbyists for more government bungs to windfarmers. A school which spent £20,000 on its own windmill recently turned it off because the sight of its continuous shredding of birds was not helping them give the pupils the desired "alternative" indoctrination. Since the total number of birds killed by windmills is clearly many orders of magnitude more than those killed in the Caribbean oil release perhaps the RSPB could endorse something less harmful to their alleged clients like more oil spills.
FORTH CROSSING FRAUD 28/6
I note the SNP government is to ask Westminster to pay the £2.3 billion cost of a new Forth crossing. One would hardly think the SNP was a party committed to independence from the UK. Perhaps they should be asking Brussels for this sub since this would be more ideologically compatible with their opposition to independence from the EU.
In any case there is no question that at £2.3 billion the project is grossly overpriced. The previous bridge cost, in inflation adjusted figures, £320 million & this is similar to bridge prices across the world. Better even than that is the fact that a tunnel could be cut for £40 million or that the bridge could be recabled, with far stronger materials than existed 50 years ago & thus double decked as was done with Lisbon's bridge some years ago for around £10 million.
Readers may be interested to know that these points have been put to all our MSPs & while I thank the 4 who bothered to answer the more important thing is that not a single MSP feels able to dispute that the facts show what a massive rip off is going on.
The SNP with the lukewarm enthusiasm of the rest of the Holyrood parties intend to charge us £2,300 million for a new Forth Bridge Contacting my MSPs only one of them, the LibDem was even willing to give a cursory explanation of why similar bridges across the world cost around one eighth of that. His explanation being that there may be some unspecified unique element in Scottish geology is hardly consistent with the fact that the last Forth Bridge cost £19 million which is £320 corrected for inflation.
Why anyway do we need a new bridge. The Norwegians have been cutting tunnels of similar capacity for decades at about £40 million, under 1,000th of the minimum the Scottish government say is the minimum price they can cut tunnels at. If that is not total incompetence it must be total dishonesty & I'm sure no MSP would admit to the latter.
We do not even need a new crossing. Over the years the towers have been considerably strengthened & the only thing possibly needing replacing are the support cables. Materials now exist, such as carbon tubes, which are many times stronger than those which existed when the bridge was built & these cables can be upgraded at a cost of £10 million. Indeed when Portugal's 24th of April bridge (cost £140 million in today's money & slightly longer than the Forth Bridge) was strengthened they took the opportunity to add an extra lane & 2 rail lines to it.
There is no technical reason, or at least our entire political class have refused to say what it is if there is, why we could not have both a tunnel & an expansion of the current bridge for under £100 million. The Scottish people may have forgiven our numptocracy once for wasting £414 million on a Parliament building that went 10 times over budget. We will not let them away with it twice if they now spend £2,300 million quite unnecessarily on this project. Scotland's engineers are the best in the world, as their participation in bridge projects around the world attests. If our politicians are not quite the worst they are certainly pressing on Mugabe's heels.
Holyrood is preparing a bill to build a new Forth crossing costing £2.3 billion(at least so we are told). The previous bridge, which was larger than this one, cost £19 million which, after inflation, is £320 million. This price is also comparable with other such projects around the world. So why the difference?
I emailed my constituency MSP, Patricia Ferguson & all of my regional MSPs, Bill Aitken, Robert Brown, Bob Doris, Patrick Harvie, Bill Kidd, Anne McLaughlin, & Sandra White asking them this question. I also asked why the official price for a tunnel was £4.3 billion when this is 1,000 times the price the Norwegian government have cut numerous similar road tunnels for. Not one of them chose to reply.
Considering that this amounts to £20 million per MSP, between £17.3 & £19.6 million & of which is above comparable costs elsewhere in the world I think every single MSP should be able & willing & able to explain the discrepancy before proceeding to take it from our pockets. We have a right to know who is pocketing so much of our money & why. I find the MSP's refusal to say absolutely disgraceful
& extremely suspicious.
Colin McInnes' letter admirably sets out the nuts & bolts of sea turbine cost & efficiency showing that the £4 billion to be spent will produce 400 MW. His price comparison of this as being equal to a 1650 MW nuclear plant, excluding far greater maintenance costs for turbines, may well be what our government is aiming at. It is not, however, what nuclear need cost. Westinghouse (a company which used to be owned by British Nuclear until our government forced them to sell it to the Japanese) are selling their AP 1000 generator off the shelf for £1,200 per KW for the first reactor which may fall to £800 per KW for subsequent reactors so for the same £4 billion we could get 4500 MW of electric capacity, 11 times as much.
Of course we won't get that because even self styled "pro-nuclear" politicians want massive amounts of time & money consuming regulation which, as can be see, triples the cost, even though it still leaves nuclear less than 1/3rd of the cost of turbines & nearly a 10th that of windmills. However it is important that, whatever the final cost, the people are aware of the true options.
All economic experience shows that the formula - economic freedom + cheap power = economic growth -.holds true. Britain already has some of the world's most expensive power which is why we use less power per unit of GNP than any developed countries other than Ireland, Denmark & Singapore. If our politicians insist on making it worse & increasing the 25,000 deaths a year from fuel poverty we at least have the right to know that this is what they are, quite deliberately, doing.
CHRIS HUHNE 12/5
Among the new ministers is Chris Huhne - Energy & Climate Change
The LibDems are absolutely & unequivocally opposed to permitting any new nuclear plants to be built. Indeed they even decided it would be wrong to extend the life of Hunterston past 2011 to keep the lights on.
Supporting nuclear has been officially described as "illiberal & incompatible with party membership" by the party Executive.
Each household already pays an average of £1243 annually for electricity when it can be supplied, via nuclear, for £300. Ofgen has said it will rise to £2,000. With the LDs in control of energy it must rise even further. We already have 25,000 people dying, unnecessarily every year from fuel poverty - this cannot fail to rise. Beyond that 70% of electricity is non-domestic so that price rise will feed through to everything else we buy sell or produce making our economy even more uncompetitive than current prices already make it. Moreover windmills simply cannot provide any part of baseload, as admitted by their lobby organisation Scottish Renewables so we are going to have massive blackouts.
By selling out to the LDs on this & the claim that we are all experiencing "catastrophic global warming" the Conservatives have made it impossible for our economy to permanently get out of recession.
ECO-FASCIST SCARE LIE 8/5
The evidence produced by Iain McClumpha that DDT is harmful is simply that it has been found in tissue (letter Saturday). He seems to presuppose that the presence of anything must be proof it is harmful. For it to be proven harmful it would not only need to be present but actually to cause proven harm. There is no evidence whatsoever of anybody ever being harmed by DDT. Indeed men who voluntarily ingested 35 mgs of DDT daily for nearly two years were carefully examined for years and developed no adverse effects.
On the other hand before the "environmentalist" movement started pushing for its banning DDT had reduced worldwide deaths from malaria to about 50,000. They are now, quite unnecessarily, back at about 1.5 million annually. Thus this particular false green scare alone has killed far more people that Hitler, probably more than Hitler & Stalin combined.
ANTI-SEMITIC LIE NOT TO BE QUESTIONED 27/4
Bill MacLean says (letter today) "No-one would deny Israelis a homeland," but Hamas would & does. If he really means that he must be willing to acknowledge that the responsibility for the continuing problem lies with those who refuse them that & with whom, by that very refusal, no agreement is possible.
LIB DEMs BROKEN PROMISES 15/4
I saw Clegg's election broadcast yesterday which involved him walking across countryside strewn with pieces of paper, alleged to be election promises that had been broken & saying that we shouldn't vote for old parties that have broken their previous promises.
These is the same LibDem leader who decided his party should cynically, without any excuse, break its absolute Manifesto promise to support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Manifesto promises are the most binding that any party can make. They are the contract with the citizenry justifying their election. When a party breaks such a promise they can no longer claim our trust. Sometimes, when the cause is an economic downturn or something turning out to be legally or economically more difficult than expected, they may be forgiven if never again wholly trusted. However Clegg's broken promise is not of that nature. It would have been easy to vote to let us have the democratic choice over Europe they promised, indeed easier than to break it. It follows automatically that there are now no circumstances whatsoever under which any promise made by him or his party, no matter how easy to implement, can ever, under any circumstances, be trusted.
The LibDems are not alone in this - Labour, the SNP & the Conservatives made the same promise. Labour cynically broke it to. The SNP had the power to have such a referendum in Scotland but again broke their promise. While the Conservatives did vote for a referendum Cameron subsequently broke his "cast iron" promise that, under him, we would still get this vote. However only the LibDem's Manifesto launch contained the words "promise" 7 times, "trust" 5 times & says we should not vote for parties whose promises we cannot trust.
I think we should take his advice. There are several smaller parties who are not proven wholly dishonest.
ELECTION ABOUT NOTHING 12/4
I don't believe I am the only person disgusted by the triviality of the campaign(s) of the 3 main parties, who seem to have tied up a media monopoly between them. Britain has just about the worst debt problem, taking account both of our size & of the proportion of GNP owed; we have a growth rate which, in good years, may perhaps reach half the world average of 5%; we have a government sector which now spends 53% of UK GNP; we have the world's most expensive power supply after Ireland & Denmark at £1243 per household - 4 times what it costs in France; we have an ageing power supply & would be facing blackouts by now if not for the recession; we certainly face massive blackouts in 2015 when new EU emission controls close much of our coal powered electricity; all 3 parties have supported wars which are criminal by the standards we used at Nuremberg; all 3 are implicated in crimes so obscene that the British media won't even report them; we have immigration & native emigration at a rate so high that by 2031 40% of the population will be immigrants or the children thereof. None of these will be more than barely discussed by politicians more keen on photo-ops with their wives.
All these problems can be solved or ameliorated. We live in an era when new technological miracles are produced almost daily; when economic growth of 10% is not only possible but being achieved; when catastrophic global warming has been proven a deliberate fraud played on us by government; when all the other eco-catastrophies promised over the decades have failed to happen; when unlimited inexpensive power (£311 per household annually) is there whenever we let the nuclear industry build it; when we know how to build solar power satellites, to manufacture new & valuable compounds that can only be put together in zero-G, when unlimited living space is available beyond the Earth & flights to orbit for not much more than flying to Australia are possible any time we allow it; when research on stopping ageing & on artificial intelligence give us a literally unlimited future.
And the choice between the parties we are told to choose from boils down to a marginal change, next year,in National Insurance.
SCOTLAND'S CHIEF SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR 6/4
I recently attended a lecture by Scotland's Chief Science Advisor Professor Anne Glover, held by the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. Before a rather well informed audience she told us that global warming will increase day length in Scotland. She also produced a graph showing human caused CO2 production had increased 25 fold since 1850 before admitting that since humans cause on 3% of CO2 the total rise was not 2,500% but 3%. Nonetheless, we were told, even a 3 C rise would melt Greenland though less adventurous scientists have said that it was 4 C warmer form 9,000 to 5,000 BC yet the Greenland ice sheet has been there for at least 650,000 years. I write this having given her the opportunity to correct any accidental misstatement & she has chosen not to. May I congratulate Holyrood in choosing to appoint an expert science advisor whose views so neatly compliment their own?
KOSOVO ATROCITIES 30/4
Michael Fry (Opinion 24th Mar) is not entirely correct in saying "everybody connected to the slave trade is dead" nor David Stevenson (letter today) to think it is confined to Africa. After the NATO occupation of Kosovo the KLA, appointed by us in violation of the occupation agreement as our "police" were, according to British soldiers teenagers were able to abduct slaves for into prostitution.`There is a fear that teenagers -- both boys and girls-- are being abducted off the streets,'' said Major Simon Plummer, of Britain's Royal Greenjackets regiment who put the numbers at 15 a fortnight in Pristina alone. Five years later Amnesty International issued a report that this was still going on. Equally in Bosnia Katherine Bolkavac was fired by Dyncorp for going public with the fact that many western operatives running the country were buying young girls as slaves from powerful friends in the Moslem community.
Slavery is not so easily got rid of as we would like to think. Indeed in many ways the modern media are much less willing to report the reality than in the past. Clearly we will not be seeing Tony Blair making a public apology for this slavery.
DESTROYING SCOTLAND's ECONOMY 17/3
Energy Minister Lord Hunt recently made a statement to Parliament about "carbon leakage," which is a euphemism for companies seeing ever tougher regulations & costs on CO2 emissions taking their machinery & going off to India where such rules don't apply. He said, in relation to a question from a North of England member that a 'limited number of sectors are likely to be at significant risk of carbon leakage." Since our actual manufacturing sector is indeed now "very limited" that does not reassure. The fact that what used to be the British steelworks at Teesside is being closed, providing its owners with £125 million worth of tax credits, while they build a new factory in India shows exactly what is happening.
However this is Scotland, not the North of England. Where Westminster passed a law calling for a major cut in CO2 by 2050 our Parliament, never knowingly underbid when it comes to taking politically correct postures, voted unanimously
to cut our CO2 by 42% over the next 10 years. Presumably they expect after 2020 we will not have to worry about our remaining manufacturing industry flooding overseas because we won't have any.
How gratifying it is that the bosses of "charities" heavily funded by the taxpayer, such as Friends of the Earth & WWF, have the spare time to spend writing to the papers telling the aforementioned taxpayer that we should all be happy to have the lights go out rather than allowing somebody to build a new power station at Hunterston (letter Weds). I regret the websites for the other signatories of that letter, from the RSPB & the World Development Movement of Scotland, don't mention on their websites if I am a, reluctant, donor to them though little of the site appears to be devoted for a request for funds.
On a serious note the trend for government to fund allegedly independent charities to lobby for ever more government regulation & control is a serious problem. At the very least the press should require that anybody who appears to be a private citizen or group but is actually government funded should so identify themselves.
Writing in support of cutting CO2 emissions in forestry (letter today) Dr Alan Watson says "I have no financial or other interest to declare on forestry". He omits to say that as an author of several books about alleged catastrophic global warming & a founder of the alarmist John Muir Trust he certainly has both a financial & emotional interest in promoting the claim that cutting CO2 is desirable because of the catastrophic global warming we are, allegedly but not actually, currently experiencing.
Most of the world's surgeons learn their trade by being allowed to practice on pigs. Britain's are not allowed to do so. Fortunately the medical profession ensures that new surgeons spend years being supervised in theatre by an experienced surgeon who does the serious stuff. If this was not done the alternative would be horrible to contemplate. Nonetheless it means we consistently use twice as many surgeons as needed with consequent effects on waiting lists.
The British love of animals is legendary & it may be that most people really do want to protect pigs from this so that they may retire to the Home for Elderly Pigs, or wherever porkers usually go, without risk to life & limb. Nonetheless the politicians did take this decision without public discussion & I think, since we may all be involved in the consequences, we should be asked.
FACTUAL REPLY TO ANTI-SEMITIIC LIES NOT ALLOWED 3/2
Mr Farid al Quitob asks which Israel it could be that has an exemplary record? Perhaps it is the real world Israel of which Col Richard Kemp, former British commander in Afghanistan, who thus knows the subject said "the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.
Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.
...The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.
The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.
...More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas's way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians.
.... Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets.
And I say this again: The IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare."
I think any country could be very proud of such a record. Considering that our bombing of Yugoslavia was overwhelmingly aimed at civilians (80% of deaths) & that we have since had authority over the ethnic cleansing of 350,000 from Kosovo, massacres amounting to genocide & crimes so obscene they may not be mentioned I could wish that our givernment had shown 1,000th as much humanitarianism.
VITAMIN D 27/1
Vitamin D deficiency is well known as being the cause of rickets (brittle & bent bones) but this is merely the most extreme symptom. The vitamin D hormone system controls the expression of more than 200 genes and the proteins they produce. In addition to its well-known role in calcium metabolism, vitamin D activates genes that control cell growth and programmed cell death (apoptosis), express mediators that regulate the immune system, and release neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin) that influence one’s mental state.
Now a new BMA report says even rickets is returning because of our sedentary & indoor lifestyle.
"doctors reported this month that cases of the debilitating disease have once again become "disconcertingly common" in Britain.
"Kids tend to stay indoors more these days and play on their computers instead of enjoying the fresh air,"said Simon Pearce, a professor at Newcastle University in northeast England and lead author of a new study on Vitamin D deficiency.
"This means their vitamin D levels are worse than in previous years," he said in a press release.
Half of all adults in Britain -- especially in the north -- have Vitamin D deficiency in winter and spring, with one-in-six having severe deficiency."
The reason for it being inherently more in the North is because we get less sunlight. Scotland, in particular, is as far north as Hudson's Bay, Petersburg & Siberia. Because of the Gulf Stream we can maintain a much better climate & thus higher population than any of them, however it still leaves us nationally with a deficiency in vitamin D. This is probably why Scotland has more multiple sclerosis than anywhere else in the world & we are top of the league in so many illnesses intensified by an overall immunological weakness.
This is the sort of thing a Scottish government, with presumed particular competence in Scottish problems could fix. For a relatively small cost & infinitely less interference than all the fuss about passive smoking, they could require extra Vitamin D to be added to certain staple foods sold here (milk & bread would be most likely). This would be likely to do more for Scotland's health than all the ministerial posturing in the world. Or alternately
"Fifty years ago, many children would have been given regular doses of cod liver oil, but this practice has all but died out," noted co-author Tim Cheetham, also a professor at Newcastle.
CRIMINAL WARS 19/1
While so much interest is focused in the chilcot enquiry on whether Tony Blair lied to start an illegal war against Iraq is it not strange that there is no public investigation into the illegal war he undoubtedly did start on a deliberate lie.
In 1999 Britain joined with NATO in a campaign consisting overwhelmingly of the deliberate bombing of civilians (80% of the casualties) against Yugoslavia. This was justified by Blair & almost the entirety of our politicians & journalists on the grounds that Slobodan Milosevic had been engaged in the genocide of widely varying figures up to 500,000. In fact not only was the final total of death in Kosovo only 2100, according to the NATO hired Spanish forensic team but most of them were killed by the NATO armed KLA terrorists or NATO bombs. This excludes the 2.500 killed outside the province by NATO bombs & missiles.
While it is theoretically possible to suggest Blair may have believed the WMD story it is factually impossible to say the same about the Yugoslav stories because it is a matter of record that Robin Cook, then Foreign Secretary, told Parliament on 18th January, 2 months before the war, that it was our KLA allies, not the Yugoslavs, who were responsible for most of the deaths. Since the KLA possessed a tiny fraction of the power of the Yugoslav forces that is effectively an admission that the NATO organised KLA were engaged in deliberate genocide, & that the Yugoslavs weren't.
Another difference between the wars is that for Iraq we know that the Attorney general was, ultimately, induced to change his legal opinion that war would not have been legal without UN support. However that same gentleman's advice about the legality of a war, aimed largely against civilians, is still, despite a Freedom of Information inquiry, an official secret. It is even still an official secret whether the government was sufficiently interested in the law to bother to get his opinion before starting bombing.
There are other differences between the 2. Hussein was a fascist dictator with a history of military aggression& use of WMDs. Milosevic was a democratically elected socialist leader to whom any form of racism was anathema (Lord Owen in evidence at the Milosevic "trial"). Iraq is a country that we had a legal UN mandate to keep disarmed. Yugoslavia was a country to which we had a legal duty, under the Helsinki Treaty, to "take no action against the territorial integrity or unity" of.
Whatever the faults of the Iraq occupation they did not include hiring terrorists as "police" as we did with the KLA in Kosovo & allow them to engage in general massacres (easily the largest mass grave in Kosovo is at Dragodan outside the British military HQ where the KLA murdered hundreds under our authority), the ethnic cleansing of 350,000 or the kidnap & dissection, while still alive, of 1,300 Serbs & gypsies to provide organs for our hospitals.
The other difference is the enthusiastic level of support for the war crimes & atrocities shown by most politicians & the media compared to the doubts about Iraq. This may explain the hypocrisy of holding an enquiry into the less criminal of the two wars.
FORTH BRIDGE FRAUD 21/12
It has just been announced that the people of Hong Kong & Guandong provinces are to build a new connecting bridge. The price is £6.3 billion & the central government is sharing in the cost. How different from Scotland where we cannot raise £3 billion for a new Forth Bridge. How different from Scotland also that the Chinese are getting a 50 km bridge for that price whereas for half that we get one just over 1 km long. Another comparison would be with Norway where they have built 750 km of tunnels at about £7 million per km whereas the "official" Scottish price for a Forth Tunnel is £4.3 billion. The grossly inflated prices of our public projects is scandalous but no MSP is even willing to try to explain it.
YUGOSLAV WAR CRIMES "TRIALS" 15/12
As part of the "trial" of Radovan Karadzic evidence has been released about the bodies allegedly part of the "8,000 man Srebrenica massacre." There are incongruities. While there are 3568 autopsies some of these are of just a few bones. Between them they have only 1919 left femurs & 1923 right ones which suggests under 2,000 actual bodies. 477 of these have shrapnel wounds - evidence of combat death.
However the real problem is what the ICTY have not made available. It is undenied. though also largely unreported, that our Moslem Nazi allies in Srebrenica murdered at least 3,870 men, women & children in surrounding villages, though mainly women & children because the men were in the army. NATO commander General Morillon, among others, testified about this in the Milosevic "trial". This is not counted as genocide for unexplained reasons. Since 1995 DNA technology has improved enormously & it is now possible to determine ethnicity with considerable accuracy. Since none of the villager's bodies have, officially, been found it is likely that some & possible that all of these are Serbs. This is enhanced by the fact that contemporary reports said there were only 7,500 Srebrenica Moslem forces & that their leader, when he announced the "massacre" claimed they had all been killed but it was subsequently proven that 7,000 of them had got through the lines.
The refusal of the ICTY to make the DNA available to the defence is, at the very least, deeply suspicious. It is one thing for the establishment to refuse to make data available to scientific researchers, in a matter of science, as we have seen with alleged catastrophic global warming. It is far worse to refuse to make evidence available to the defence in an alleged "criminal trial."
This evidence is certainly consistent with Serbian claims that the "Srebrenica massacre" was a deliberate propaganda fraud used by NATO politicians to persuade us to support their military action in favour of Moslem & Croatians, many of whose leaders were openly genocidal & former members of another multinational military organisation - the SS. The "court" must make all the evidence available if justice is even to be attempted.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
...little bill that Washington hopes will prove transformative. The law - its cringe-worthy official name is the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act - overhauls the way the federal government supports private-sector research and development, and one of the main ways the government hopes to support R&D is with prizes. Lots of prizes.
"Inducement prizes" (as opposed to "recognition prizes," like the Nobel or the MacArthur or the Pulitzer) make up a major part of the Obama administration's Strategy for American Innovation
It seems the American government is embracing the concept of X-Prizes. This is something I have suggested for some years with limited effect. It may be about to be to late for the UK to lead the world in this but not to late for us to join in.
Also interesting is the paper linked to by this article which I had not seen before. The Social Science Research Network had done a study on a century of the Royal Agricultural Society awarding prizes for innovation &
We find large effects of the prizes on contest entries, especially for the Society's gold medal. Matching award and patent data, we also detect large effects of the prizes on the quality of contemporaneous inventions. These results hold even during the period when prize categories were determined by a strict rotation scheme, thus overcoming the potential confounding effect that awards may have targeted "hot" technology sectors. Our evidence suggests that prize awards can be a powerful mechanism for encouraging competition and that prestigious non-pecuniary prizes can be a particularly effective inducement for innovationThis adds to the mas of evidence that prizes are a much more effective way of achieving objectives than giving grants to the politically connected. There seems to be no evidence whatsoever to the opposite effect. The only possible conclusions to that are that government is hopelessly incompetent having absolutely no idea why they spend money or that the purpose of government spending is not its official purpose (in this case technological progress) but simply to pay people in government & their friends.
My submission on how to fund British space industry something nobody at the Space centre had, at the time, ever thought of & apparently still hasn't.
British X-Prize foundation
Using tax rebates to fund prizes
Prize more than 33 times more effective than government grants
UPDATE David Cameron has been reported as promising that "The Government is doing everything it can to drive growth in the UK economy" & "the Government planned to invest in the "industries of the future" such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals and green energy" so unless Mr Cameron has some actual evidence that prizes are less effective than normal grant giving we are going to have an X-Prize foundation. At least unless he is merely being cynically & wholly dishonest.
I will write to him to ask if he has some such actual evidence.
However I must admit that that the promise to "do everything" to help growth seems impossible to reconcile with increasing subsidy of "green" expensive & unreliable power when other countries (i.e. France) are enjoying reliable nuclear at 1/4 the price.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
First Minister Salmond says SNP investigations "categorically" prove global warming is "a lie produced by English government self styled scientists" and calls for compensation. Opinion poll shows 85% agree.
Commercial orbital vehicle inaugurates weekly service and by the end of the decade this is increased to several daily.
Glasses that beam images onto the users' retinas to produce virtual reality will be developed. They will also come with speakers or headphone attachments that will complete the experience with sounds. -K
The VR glasses will also have built-in computers featuring "virtual assistant" programs that can help the user with various daily tasks. (see Augmented Reality) -K
Cell phones will be built into clothing and will be able to project sounds directly into the ears of their users. -K
Opening of Clyde estuary tunnel (Gourock - Dunoon)
Automated Glasgow/Edinburgh rail connection
1st new reactor at Hunterston on line
Roofing over of central Glasgow shopping district
Automatic house cleaning robots will have become common. -K
solar energy would become cheaper than energy from oil -K
Opening of Loch Fyne tunnel (Cowal peninsula to Kintyre makes it 40 mile drive from Glasgow). New communities of weekend homes & even commuters spring up.
Opening of both Forth tunnels (at North Berwick and Queensferry)
Following referendum Chancellor Farage negotiates EU associate status
Opening of Skye-Lewis tunnel
Proposition 45 passed by Scottish electorate - smoking allowed at property owner's choice
Practical virtual reality glasses will be in use. The devices will work by beaming images directly onto the retinas of their users, creating large, three-dimensional floating images in the person's field of view. Such devices would provide a visual experience on par with a very large television, but would be highly portable, combining the best features of the iPod and a widescreen TV. The glasses will deliver full-immersion virtual reality. -K
Opening of Tay Estuary tunnel bypassing Dundee & shortening travel time from North Berwick to Aberdeen to 1 1/2 hours
Nuclear spaceship lifts off from South Georgia.
1013 bits of computer memory--roughly the equivalent of the memory space in a single human brain--will cost $1000. -K
Tony Blair extradited to Belgrade
Chinese government apologises for Tianamen square and promises a crackdown on communists.
Nuclear spaceship establishes Martian base
Industrial Moonbase set up with the intention of putting ore into orbit for space industries.
The summed computational powers of all computers is comparable to the total brainpower of the human race. -K
Most business transactions or information inquiries involve dealing with a simulated person. -K
Most learning is accomplished through intelligent, adaptive courseware presented by computer-simulated teachers. In the learning process, human adults fill the counselor and mentor roles instead of being academic instructors. These assistants are often not physically present, and help students remotely. -K
Most human workers spend the majority of their time acquiring new skills and knowledge. -K
Blind people wear special glasses that interpret the real world for them through speech. Sighted people also use these glasses to amplify their own abilities. -K
Devices that deliver sensations to the skin surface of their users (i.e.--tight body suits and gloves) are also sometimes used in virtual reality to complete the experience. "Virtual sex"--in which two people are able to have sex with each other through virtual reality, or in which a human can have sex with a "simulated" partner that only exists on a computer--becomes a reality. -K
Computers do most of the vehicle driving—-humans are in fact prohibited from driving on highways unassisted.-K
Bolshoi Ballet establish orbital studio
Personal computers will have the same processing power as human brains. -K
By 2020, there will be a new World government.-K (Personally I hope not - Neil)
Professor V. Beckham addresses UN and calls for extension of tax raising powers to space so space based industries pay "fair taxes to reduce world poverty"
medical technology will be more than a thousand times more advanced than it is today, and the "tipping point" of human life expectancy will have been reached, with every new year of research guaranteeing at least one more year of life expectancy. Kurzweil also states that 3-4 months of life expectancy were added in 2007 due to the development of new medicines and treatments -K
1st Space Elevator completed, probably at Singapore.
Highly advanced medical nanobots will perform detailed brainscans on live patients. -K
By the late 2020s, nanotech-based manufacturing will be in widespread use, radically altering the economy as all sorts of products can suddenly be produced for a fraction of their traditional-manufacture costs. The true cost of any product is now the amount it takes to download the design schematics. -K
By the later part of this decade, virtual reality will be so high-quality that it will be indistinguishable from real reality. -K
A computer passes the Turing test by the last year of the decade (2029), meaning that it is a Strong AI and can think like a human (though the first A.I. is likely to be the equivalent of a very stupid human). -K
11 nuclear reactor units online (4 at Torness, 6 at Hunterston, 1 at Peterhead) . Scotland's electricity supply tripled but at lower cost - "too cheap to meter" payment plan introduced
Surf City Uist modularly constructed hotel complex announces 10 millionth visitor
L5 orbital space colonies open to public for non-industrial settlement (mainly retirement homes)
The most likely year for the debut of advanced nanotechnology. -K
Tarbert and St Helena paired Space Elevator opens
"nanotechnology-based" flying cars would be available -K
A $1,000 personal computer is 1,000 times more powerful than the human brain. -K
Computer implants designed for direct connection to the brain are also available. They are capable of augmenting natural senses and of enhancing higher brain functions like memory, learning speed and overall intelligence. -K
The manufacturing, agricultural and transportation sectors of the economy are almost entirely automated and employ very few humans. Across the world, poverty, war and disease are almost nonexistent thanks to technology alleviating want. -K
Uist soletta (solar mirror focused there permanently to improve the climate)
Edinburgh tram system nears completion
Scientfic base beyond Uranus' orbit provides important evidence suggesting anti-gravity & cross dimensionsl communication possible.
Mind uploading becomes possible. -K
Recreational uses aside, nanomachines in peoples' brains will allow them to greatly expand their cognitive, memory and sensory capabilities, to directly interface with computers, and to "telepathically" communicate with other, similarly augmented humans via wireless networks. -K