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Friday, November 11, 2011


 Neil is the UKIP candidate for Hillhead. Apart from the fact that, as a Libertarian in a Libertarian Party, he has his own ideas free from party dogma Neil is also firmly committed to improving the lives of the people of Hillhead. Here are some reasons below why Neil will bring independent thought and will be the peoples eys and ears in the clone stuffed city chambers.
Neil Craig will be free of the party whip and able to make the decisions for their constituents.
Neil Craig will be free of the ideological hatred of cars that means that the council not only charge as much as the market will bear for parking permits nut use road narrowing and closures to reduce parking spaces. If councils must charge for parking spaces they have a duty to use the money raised to maximise space available.
Neil Craig will work to reduce the job destroying influence if many councillors whose knee jerk reaction to any successful business is to increase its costs.
Neil Craig will not make false promises to "help people save money" on electricity while using their power to push up prices as much as possible. At least 75% and probably as much as 93% of the cost of electricity is governmental regulations. Windmills are horrendously expensive pork barrelling where we subsidies up to 36p per kwh for electricity that is being produced by the nuclear industry for 2.2p. It is this that is driving our industry abroad and has put us in recession and any politician who supports subsidy and claims to care about our electricity bills cannot be trusted on anything else either.
Note that the claim by one candidate that it is the rise in "worldwide" gas prices that is causing electricity prices is false. In many parts if the world gas prices are falling because a technological breakthrough has allowed the use of deep mined gas. Chris Huhne the coalition Energy Minister has said that he will not allow this industry to develop in Britain to an extend to allow prices to fall and make wind, even with the subsidies, more uncompetitive.
Neil Craig would make clean streets a higher priority than keeping the council unions happy. It may not be necessary to outsource such services but it is wrong to disavow ever using the alternative.
Neil Craig would seek to let parents have more control over their children's schools and councillors less.
Neil, Craig, UKIP candidate for Hillhead is a local businessman, living and working in Woodlands, running a science fiction bookshop.
He has previously stood for council representing part of Hillhead three times remaining a traditional economic liberal who regards it as statistically proven that free market institutions normally work more efficiently than those run by party politicians. In Scotland no party but UKIP supports such views that it is such free markets that is giving the BRIC countries 10% growth.
He regards the allegation that we are experiencing catastrophic global warming, endorsed by all the traditional parties as clearly untrue intended to make us more willing to accept more regulation and taxes; that there is a close correlation between energy costs and national wealth; that over 90% of our electricity costs are the fault of politicians, for example, pouring £1 billion annually in Scotland into windmill subsidies when nuclear electricity is currently 1/10th of the cost and could be 1/40th; that with a commitment to cheap power we would be out of recession in days and able to match China's 10% annual growth; and of that real democracy requires that the major parties be held to their manifesto promises to have an EU referendum.
He is proud to stand for UKIP, the only party which now represents the traditional liberal values that once made Scotland the intellectual and industrial leader, not merely of Britain but of the world.
His blog contains many solutions to our current economic woes.
Some previous non-party political issues related to Glasgow and Scotland which Neil Craig has been active on in newspapers and online.
Opposing the original plan to spend £40 million building an "Iconic" footbridge at Tradeston 200 yds from a bridge with a pavement. Eventually they settled for a cheaper design and only wasted £7 million.

Neil proposed, as an alternative to the £300 million rail connection from Glasgow airport, a monorail to the main rail way line. When the Transport Minister challenged him to find a company will to do so he did and they offered to build it for £20 million. That Labour/LibDem government refused the offer as did the subsequent SNP one who spent £40 million cancelling their predecessor's project.
Campaigning to find out why the proposed new Forth crossing was costed at £2,300 million when this makes it one of the most expensive in the world and 8 times the cost of the previous bridge at £320 million in today's money (£19.5 m at the time). The closest to an explanation from the civil servants is that "the geology of every site is different."
An ongoing campaign, with prominent article in the Scotsman & ThinkScotland, for Scotland to replicate Norway's tunnel building programme - averaging under £4 m per km - which would make Dunoon and Rothesay a short drive from Glasgow and Islay and Iona a realistic one.
Neil Craig says "I am convinced that, as a councillor, it would be far easier to get answers about the obvious waste and gross misuse of our money that is endemic across Scotland's political establishment and I ask you to put me in a position where I can do so. If I have been able to do so in a very limited way as a private citizen I hope you will believe I am willing and able to do far more if elected.
On November 17th send shockwaves through the political landscape by voting UKIP in the council election.
UKIP have officially launched the campaign for the Hillhead by-election. Our candidate is the local businessman Neil Craig. With the recent turmoil in Europe and the ongoing cosy relationship of the other parties in the City Chambers it is more important than ever that UKIP makes an impact on this council election.
Many people do not realise the impact the EU has on our lives, many decisions made by Glasgow City Council are taken because they have been told to by the EU. This is unacceptable, the electorate should be deciding council policy, not EU technocrats.
Neil is very clear that if elected he will be answerable to the people of Hillhead and will not be dictated to by party politics, EU Diktats or other outside forces. He will be the people of Hillhead's eyes and ears in the City Chambers.

He is the candidate the stale politics of Glasgow needs. Vote UKIP and Neil on November the 17th.
Taken from 2 announcements on the UKIP Glasgow site.

  We will be holding a public meeting at Hillhead Primary School on Tuesday at 7.30, where i will get the chance to address the assembled throngs of Hillhead. Since it is not only a council election but a council by-election, which do not traditionally bring a big turnout I wil be quite happy with a small one.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011


Ion-drive dirigibles to orbit from aerial 'Dark Sky' base

   From the Register via Jerry Pournelle comes a proposal that the recent achievement of a dirigible flight to 95,085 feet opens the possibility
of enormous, permanently inhabited "Dark Sky Stations" floating high in the atmosphere at the edge of space - to act as bases for radical hypersonic airships which would slowly fly themselves into orbit over a period of days using hybrid ion drive propulsion...

two different types of ship and the intervening aerial base stations are vital as neither craft could survive the flight regime of the other. The vast, flimsy orbital vessels would be torn apart by the dense winds of the lower atmosphere, and the sturdier surface-launched jobs could never reach orbital velocity...

The idea is that the mighty Dark Sky floating spaceports would also carry telecoms equipment and tourist hotels to generate additional revenue on top of that gleaned from orbital launch. Their analysis suggests that the hypersonic airships could haul cargo into space for as little as $100 per pound in the near term and eventually just $1 per pound - and Powell sees manned flights to the Dark Sky region as soon as 2013, and permanent inhabited bases there from 2021.
   That is certainly a very reasonable price to orbit, almost matching the Orion nuclear pulse rocket. Taking several days to reach orbit is the sort of time an ocean cruise takes so would be unlikely to discourage anybody but the businessman who used to take Concorde to save a couple of hours across the Atlantic.
   Is it technically feasible? . I expect, though an unusual concept, it is.
Can massive gossamer envelopes full of helium gradually boost themselves up to Mach 20+ using slow-acting electrical ion drives (such as those used to keep low-flying satellites up to orbital speed despite drag from the upper traces of the atmosphere)? Even though there's very little air up there, surely a giant, hypersonic rocket airship is a big ask.
Powell recently gave an interview on the subject to, in which he points out that upper-atmosphere weather balloons have already achieved Mach 10 as long ago as the 1960s, so that in his view Mach 20 isn't impossible with modern materials. In fact in his judgement what's called for is not a super-low-thrust but ultra-efficient ion drive, nor a conventional chemical rocket, but rather a hybrid of the two - which he describes as "the most efficient chemical rocket ever, or the least efficient ion rocket". The key issue will be whether enough electrical power can be stored at a low enough weight - either using fuel cells or batteries, solar panels can't do the job - to get the ships up to orbital poke. One cunning aspect of the plan is that the ships will not need any heat shield for re-entry as they will slow down so gradually (using drag in the evanescent upper atmosphere) that no appreciable heating will result.
   One point of interest to Britain is that because of the time and maneuvering needed to achieve orbit there seems little advantage in taking off from the equator. Normally that position adds about 6% to launch speed.

    In which case, while no cost is given it cannot be more than a few billions, between now and 2021, if the guy is expecting the advertising to make a significant contribution. But it has already been costed as profitable from the start
JP Aerospace never makes a flight unless it will pay for itself, with revenue coming so far from advertising, telecoms experiments and aerospace tests for companies such as Lockheed.
    In which case seedcorn money of about 10% would considerably speed up the process. 10% of say $2.5 (£1.5bn) over 10 years is £15 million annually. With 1,162 Quangos at a cost of nearly £64bn, which is an average of £55 million we could fund such a permanent cheap orbital launch system for 1/4the cost of  one average quango. I guess its a matter of what priorities our politicians have.

UPDATE - John Powell of has commented on questions in the comments section I am not competent to discuss. I find his answers credible. I do not guarantee this as feasible but I do guarantee it is worth those in charge of national space policy finding out. I have sent this blog to a number of our own politicians and look forward to action. Or not as the case may be.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Chris Huhne - As Well As Being An Organlegging Nazi War Criminal Is Also A Liar - Who Expected That?

 Chris Huhne our widely unrespected "Energy and Environment Minister" (2 remits at complete odds with each other) has an article in the Telegraph telling us what we are supposed to believe about power production. He says

protesters picketing my department, and suggestions that Britain should tear down its wind farms and move the pound to a mythical “shale standard” I'd bet fairly heavily that is a lie, indeed Huhne's diary has previously shown he just doesn't meet opponents of ecofascism

a golden age of cheap energy looks increasingly unlikely – and wind turbines are certainly here to stay the former does follow from the latter but he does know that an age of cheap energy is possible, indeed easy, if he and his fellow thieves don't actively stop the market working 

as an alternative to fracking We are keen that the market continues to invest in the capacity, storage and infrastructure to support our import needs, and are working with Ofgem to sharpen the incentives so far from trying to cut prices he is trying to raise "incentives"

World gas prices are up 40 per cent in a year this is a LibDem lie I have previously nailed - there is no "world" price for gas and the price in many places, such as the USA is falling fast because of fracked gas
such higher gas prices are the real reason heating and electricity bills have been going up over the past eight years. a total and deliberate lie
In the US, vast reserves of “unconventional” shale gas have changed everything, cutting gas prices to half of European levels. which is an admission that his claim about "world" prices is a lie - not often a politician makes such an admission within a few lines
those who clamour loudest for “realistic” energy policies would have us hitch our wagon to shale alone. another example of the pinnacle of honesty to which this thieving fascist war criminal and his party aspire - supporters of a realistic policy support both shale gas and nuclear and usually other things to - just not ones with massively bloated costs
At best, it is years away fracked gas is already online in the US and there is no technical reason why it could not be fairly quickly here - perhaps by "at best" he means he would prefer it not be quickly available

Our aim is a policy that is technology-neutral. We want to encourage competitive tension between all forms of generation, to get the best deal for the consumer. So we are reforming the electricity market, to allow us to use whatever blend of low-carbon energy turns out to be cheapest the lowest carbon as well as cheapest is nuclear, building of which he is preventing "competitive tension" is obviously impossible if one system is subsidised, doubly so if there is also a legal requirement that a set % of power must come
from it

And my favourite Government should not pick winners so unless Huhne and all his supporters are unalterably corrupt and there are no circumstances whatsoever under which a word these thieving animals say can be believed he is unalterably opposed to subsidy, quotas, preventing the growth of gas and nuclear and in fact every policy he and his Ministry are diligently engaged in

Dear Mr Huhne,
                          I note that you say that in energy policy "government should not pick winners". That means (assuming you are not personally wholly and completely corrupt) that you are now publicly opposing all the subsidies provided to politically approved energy producers and restrictions of economic ones - something which has been the entire essence of your ministerial career. I trust you would now publicly agree with any backbench MP who was to say that it is coalition energy policy that "government should not pick winners" and that nobody unwilling to support that should never serve as energy minister.

   On the other hand I also note that you claim that, as a supporter of realistic economic policy I support "shale alone" and thus oppose nuclear. If you are in any slightest degree honest and not a disgusting, obscene, corrupt, lying, thieving, fascist parasite you must have some evidence that my beliefs are the opposite of what I believe them to be. What is that evidence.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Pushing Up Electricity Prices - Then Making Hay By Claiming to Care About The Price - The "Lib Dem" Way Of Politics

   There is a council byelection coming up on the 17th in Hillhead and I am standing as the UKIP Scotland candidate. I doubt I will win (it is only for 1 member in a multimember constituency and thus FPTP) but expect to increase markedly on the previous UKIP Scotland vote as they didn't stand (though I did as 9% Growth Party and previously as a LibDem).

    They produced a leaflet blaming rising electricity prices on "The hugh rise in worldwide gas and oil prices" and how they are campaigning to help, having "forced energy companies to spend much more on providing free and discounted insulation". Anybody capable of logical thought will see that increases costs and therefore prices yet more but they take credit for promising redistribution of the costs and blame "worldwide" for the costs. To be fair to the LD the entire LabNatConDem political class behave the same.

     I sent this letter to various papers but it has not been published.
In the current council by-election campaign in Hilhead the LibDems have produced a leaflet claiming that energy prices are being driven up by "the hugh rise in worldwide gas prices" and that they are "campaigning to help". In fact according to the UN "As the world market for natural gas is fragmented in different regional markets, it is not possible to talk about a world price for natural gas". Prices in many areas are far lower than ours. In particular the US price has been falling dramatically because they are embracing a new technique to reach natural gas from great depths (known as fracking).
Perhaps the LibDems can be forgiven for their ignorance of the engineering. More difficult to understand is their claim to be trying to help. A field of such gas has been found in Britain containing 200 TRILLION cubic feet of gas. There are likely to be more. This is an economic windfall likely to at least match North Sea oil and able to once again make Britain's electricity and energy prices competitive with the rest of the world. The correlation between supplies of cheap power and economic growth is a basic of economics and explains why we are in recession while China's economy and electricity use have been growing in tandem at 10% for 30 years.
The reaction of their Energy Minister, Chris Huh, to the discovery of this windfall was to publicly promise "We will not consent so much gas plant so as to endanger our carbon dioxide goals," . That is to say they will prevent gas providing any drop in electricity prices that would further undercut the exorbitantly subsidised but still very high price of windmill electricity.
The LD's should not alone be blamed for this policy - all the traditional parties endorse it to a large degree and they are perfectly entitled to hold such ideological views. However they are not then entitled to claim they wish to "help" reduce prices which are rising purely because of their actions.
Neil Craig

UKIP candidate for Hillhead Ward
Refs Chris Huhne promise

UN say no world gas price

200 trillion cu ft gas find

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Boy and His Dog and Farm - The Evolution of Man

2 separate items from me republished (bold added) by Jerry Pournelle:

Cocktail party theories.
Cocktail party theories are theories you would defend at a cocktail party or a home salon, but which you don’t publish in peer reviewed journals. I have many of them.
I was reminded of one recently. I have for decades – I think I first published it in Galaxy in the 70’s – had the cocktail party theory that humans and dogs coevolved. It goes like this: the same brain areas that needed for a sense of smell are also those needed for smarts. A long time ago humans made a deal with dogs. You keep the sense of smell. We’ll get smart. We’ll watch out for each other’s kids. Thrive.

Evolution goes more by villages and clans than individuals. Villages that have dogs tend to have more kids growing up to have children than villages that don’t. Dogs are an advantage.
What reminded me of this is the discovery, way back in one of the cave picture caves with the buffalo pictures of some 25,000 years ago, there are some footprints that turn out to be from that time. (How they were preserved and how we know how old they are isn’t obvious to me, but it seems to be accepted.) One is the footprint of what appears to be a ten year old human. The other is that of either a wolf or a dog. Since it’s unlikely that the cave painters would be allowing their children to wander back in there and then let a wolf in, I imagine that’s a boy and his dog. From 25,000 years ago. Now I’m going to go pet Sable.

I understand that there is some evidence of human habitation on America prior to the opening of the Siberian land-bridge 25,000 years ago. They are believed to have come along the front of the Atlantic Ice Sheet from what is now France, where the ice sheet then reached. The problem being that they clearly did not rise to the top of the food chain and wipe out all the big predators as the Siberian incomers did. Why could the one do this but not the other?
One possibility that occurred would be that the "French" couldn’t bring dogs with them (at least in sufficient numbers to establish sustainable breeding) and that humans on their own are much less effective hunters than humans + dogs.
Neil Craig

I am sure my Siberian Husky would agree with you…
From Cave to Kennel: The Evolution of Man and Dog –,
I’m sure you got this already, but here it is:
For my money, we and dogs co-evolved, or at least European and Asian people co-evolved with dogs. Isn’t it interesting how, about the time our ancestors began associating with dogs, they began beating out the Neanderthals and the Denisovans?

  I keep seeing more and more evidence that my cocktail party theory is true: we really are smart because we had dogs to do the smelling, leaving more brain cells to get smart with. Anyway it all fits…

  The link gives much valuable detail about the co-evolution with dogs. This link mentions the existence of humans in America prior to the Indians - the facts do not seem to be in dispute though it is not widely discussed.
  The other item was a response to an entry he made about research by his daughter into the formation of humanities oldest cities built in what had previously been marshland watered by the Euphrates. It reminded me of what I have done before in relation to hydroponic food growing.

Swamp cities?
The Iraq marsh may be a last remnant of wetlands that spurred urban evolution.
In his dying moments, Goethe's Faust foresees a happy day when a nearby foul swamp is replaced by green and fertile fields “where men and herds may gain swift comfort from the new-made earth.” He might have had a more benign view of marshlands had he pored over the data gathered by a young archaeologist who recently led the first American archaeological research team to Iraq in a quarter-century. She suggests that cities and civilization didn't rise along riverbanks, as most archaeologists have supposed, but out of swamps, which provided rich animal and plant resources to complement irrigation agriculture and animal husbandry. “Almost everywhere we look,” says Jennifer Pournelle of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, “the biggest and earliest [human settlements] are in that marsh environment.”
Pournelle is on a quest to understand the role of marshes in southern Iraq between 4000 B.C.E. and 3000 B.C.E., when humans first began to live in a network of cities. After a decade of work with satellite and aerial images, she and two colleagues finally got a chance to see the region up close last September, on an expedition with the University of Basra. She presented the team's findings at a meeting in November and hopes to return to Iraq this year.
If she is right, says her former adviser, Guillermo Algaze of the University of California, San Diego, “we may have to rethink how Mesopotamian civilization began.” “It's very intriguing,” adds archaeologist Jason Ur of Harvard University. “She's proposing a radically different environmental context for the first cities.” But additional on-the-ground data will be crucial to convince interested but skeptical colleagues.

Jerry continues

Investigating Chinampa Farming
Re your daughter’s writings on fertile crescent cities being formed on swamps:
This appeared to be how the Aztec empire was built. A small tribe forced to live in the middle of a lake became enormously productive & begat a great nation.
" How the Aztec Empire fed the burgeoning population of its capital, Tenochtitlan, has long intrigued researchers. Most of Tenochtitlan’s estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inhabitants at the time of Spanish contact were not food producers. The system, known as chinampas, of draining swamps and building up fields in the shallow Basin of Mexico lakebeds, was a remarkable form of intensive agriculture that Jeffrey Parsons of the University of Michigan suggests provided one-half to two-thirds of the food consumed in Tenochtitlan.
At the time of Spanish contact, shallow lakes covered approximately 1000 km2 of the Basin of Mexico. Archaeological surveys show that large expanses of the lakes were converted into chinampas."
Neil Craig

Jenny has created considerable scientific interest in her theories of marshlands and the origins of civilization. Needless to say I am proud of her.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Alternate Universe - What Benjamin Franklin Would Have Liked

  Alternate univereses are lovely ideas to play with. They also display the author's biases. For example I was permanently banned from for the "racism" of suggesting that if the Kosovo war had gone differently atrocities such as the Dragodan Massacre and the dissection of living people would not have remained censored.

 The favourite alternates in alternate history are Hitler winning WW2, some different outcome to the American Civil War and some different outcome to their War of Independence. The civil war is of less importance i=to Britain since we had no dog in that fight.

  Benjamin Franklin is clearly one of Steve Sailer's heroes, and mine, and he recently reported that it was Franklin's intervention at the end of the Seven Years War that persuaded Britain to keep Canada rather than exchange it for the, initially, better return from owning an extra Caribbean sugar producing island. This turns out to be the case.
Britain had kept Canada, as Franklin advised, in the treaty that ended the ... his advice that tipped the balance in favor of Canada over the sugar islands
   Clearly professional politicians weren't any smarter back then. No Canada in the British Empire, but we do get Martinique and Guadeloupe!

   Which shows that it is not just the simple turning points that matter and that on any turning point there are still an infinite number of further branch points. So this is not my interpretation of what would have happened but of Franklin's ideal.

   Franklin said that the worst peace was better than the best war and once petitioned King George that the US colonies were the single area most loyal to the House of Hanover so I do not believe he aimed at a separate USA. I think he would have preferred either something equivalent to the Dominion status of Canada or an English speaking confederacy whose centre and capital would inevitable move over time to some populous and fairly central American city - the obvious candidate being his own Philadelphia.

  Franklin was certainly committed to the settling of North America being by people closely related to him - mainly the population of the US at the time with a limited number of immigrants from Britain and perhaps a few from "white" countries, though he defined French, Italians, most Germans, Russian and Swedes as coloured - indeed only the Dutch and closely adjoining Germans weren't coloured.

   He. not incorrectly, saw immigration as leaving less territory for his own people.

  A combined Britain and North America would indeed have been more powerful than Britain alone. Napoleon would have been beaten much faster  and the British Empire in 1815 (Waterloo) would have been as dominant as the USA was after the fall of the USSR. However history doesn't stop there.

  Without immigrants the US population growth would have been slower (even though the growth of the anglo genetic inheritance would have been faster). Without competition it would probably have been economically slower, as Britain's was in the last half of the 19thC. Probably because of its predominant world position, humanity's technological growth would have been slower.

   By the 20thC the Empire would have been considerably weaker than, in our continuum, they together were, and possibly not much stronger than each individually. From there you can spin numerous WW1 and WW2 scenarios, many pf them rather nasty. We also get Britain ruled from Philadelphia which may not be much better than being ruled from Brussels is intended to become.

   Since that was, in Franklin's opinion the optimum scenario for his future and our past (& certainly initially far better than any scenario where Britain had a military victory and an unhappy population) I think we may, on balance, be quite pleased with the real outcome.

The anarchy of individual competition works better than even the very best central command organised by even the smartest and best of men humanity has produced.

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