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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Vitamin D in Prehistory

  When considering the effect on health of vitamin D I thought of a reverse way of finding it.

  The gene for light skin evolved 50,000 years ago (we can tell by the amount of chnge in the "junk" sections of the DNA.

  That means that in roughly 2,000 generation (or less, pehaps much less) it has spread from its originator to the entire European continent and more.

   If we take that as a millionfold increase (actually considerably more but at the time of the first evolution Europe's population was probably under a million) we can take the bonus in each generation, that is for each next generation, as the root to the power 2,000 of 1 million.

     1.069   or a 0.69% evolutionary advantage.

     Remember not only that this is a minimum but that throughout almost all of this period life was far shorter and more dangerous than now. Prostate cancer, when sabre tooth tigers were around, was not the major threat it is now.

      Moreover this is not how it affects individual's longevity but only how it affects them while they are still bringing up children.

      Taking both of those intom account it seems to me that the effect on mortality now cannot reasonably be taken as less than 2.8% (0.69 X 4), though it may well be much larger.

       This is the benefit of having white skin at average European latitudes, In Scotland we already have white skin but

    "Scotland receives 30-50% less ultraviolet radiation (UVB) from the sun than the rest of the UK due to its high latitude and persistent low cloud cover. Vitamin D levels are consistently found to be even lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK. (168)(165)(166) (167)

Indeed, Glasgow, with one of most cloudy climates receives a similar amount of UVB as Kiruna in Northern Sweden which is way above the Arctic Circle"

    Which suggests excess mortality of Scots should be comparably greater than that of the European average - and we have no evolutionary mutation to help us.

    Ending 2.8% of mortality may not be spectacular for society as a whole but it is a hell of a lot of people.

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Friday, February 01, 2013

BBC Employees Please Note - Perjury Is An Imprisonable Offence

  I have sent this letter to my local police.

  Whatever one thinks of Tommy Sheriden, and I do, everybody lies about sex and at least some of what the NOTW said about him was untrue so he has some limited excuse for perjury. Helen Boaden has none.

   In a country where the rule of law applies and justice is dispensed blindly, rather than at the whim of those politicians in charge, she will surely be imprisoned for significantly longer than Sheriden was (and probably a number of other beeboids too).

   Frankly I do not expect that to happen but I will report what happens.

Dear Glasgow Central (Hillhead) Police,

I wish to report a crime of perjury - possibly a large number of other slightly less blatant cases in the same case & another deliberate breaking of the law which may well be criminal

In the attempt by the BBC to prevent an FoI enquiry about the identities of the "28 leading scientists" the BBC used to justify breaking their legal duty of "balance" in reporting on alleged catastrophic global warming it is clear that one person certainly perjured herself and possibly many other BBC employees may have done so.

"During the recent tribunal the director of BBC News, Helen Boaden, took the stand to declare that the 2006 secret panel was comprised of “scientists with contrasting views.” But as the list proves, all present were solidly in the alarmist camp" ("scientists" is also perjury since almost all of them weren't).

The statement by Helen Boaden, now reinstated after the Savile scandal, clearly cannot possibly be described as truthful and this, when testified to in court, makes it seem indisputable that she is personally guilty of perjury. It may well be that other BBC employees have also been so.

It also seems indisputable that the BBC had, for many years, breached the legal duty put on them by their Charter to report impartially & with "due balance" on alleged catastrophic global warming by lying censoring and suppression of dissenting views. The very fact that the entire BBC organisation felt the need to lie publicly and continuously for 6 years about the nature of the "best scientific advice" and the "28 leading scientists" - who turned out to be with 2-3 exceptions, not scientists at all, leading or otherwise, is strong evidence that the entire BBC organisation knew perfectly well that they were and had been lying. Having deliberately and continuously breached their Charter it is clear that the BBC as an organisation have been engaged in deliberate financial fraud, for at least the 6 years since they announced having held the meeting of alleged "leading scientists," in exercising an alleged right to licence money invalidated by their invalidation of their Charter.

Since the British state spent well over a million investigating and prosecuting Tommy Sheriden for perjury, in a case far more complicated and less clear cut and for which there were arguably more mitigating circumstances.

Since the case against her is clear cut I look forward to an early response saying either that Ms Boaden has been charged with perjury and will be prosecuted with equal determination to that used against Sheriden or if there is a compelling reason, consistent with the rule of law, for not doing so.

The case against the entire BBC may be more complicated, possibly even more complicated than that against Sheriden, though even the BBC are not disputing the facts or that they prove the entire organisation to be consistently completely corrupt.

I did originally make this report to the UK Attorney General's Office in London but they specifically directed me to yourselves.

Neil Craig

   This is what I got (at the 2nd attempt) from the Attorney General's office. Who would have thought that not only do they not concern themselves with breaches of the law but they are unable even to pass on any information they receive?   Dear Mr Craig

Your local police authority will be able to advise you further on this issue.

Yours sincerely

James Ross

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Saving the Scottish Fishing Industry - And A Few Whales

  Latest ThinkScotland article. Please put any comments there.
     "Give me half a tanker of iron and I'll give you the new ice age"

       So said John Martin when introducing a method of ending the "threat" of global warming. Indeed it is 1 of 4 separate ways of doing so, that do not involve closing down human progress - all of which would work and all of which are anathema to the "environmental" movement.

       But like so many new ideas, they are found to be useful for reasons other than the problem first thought of .

        Martin's plan was to use that iron, in solution, in deep ocean waters, as fertiliser. The oceans are, except in areas where nutrients are carried near the surface, relatively empty of life because the nutrients, being heavier than water, sink to the bottom. Trace elements of iron can allow the growth of many thousands of times its own weight of plankton. Martin' realised that this plankton, like all plant life, is created from carbon from CO2. That if it is grown it will tend to sink to the bottom itself and thus that the carbon will will be kept out of the eco-system down there for at least 10s of thousands of years. If you think we have too much CO2 that would be a good thing. Eventually, despite an enormous amount of foot dragging from the alleged believers in global warming a relatively small scale experiment was done and the portion of sea used did turn from blue to green.

      However a Red Indian tribe, the Haida, on Canada's west coast came up with another use for this. They harvest salmon which had been scarce and small recently and they figured that a massive increase in the plankton the fish feed on might help. So they paid scientist Russ George  $2.5 million to try. Even, or perhaps particularly, the "environmentalists" most opposed to trying the experiment admitted

"his actions created an algae bloom in an area half of the size of Massachusetts that attracted a huge array of aquatic life, including whales that could be “counted by the score.” . . .

  The Indians weren't taking that big a gamble because they already had reason to believe it would work

The runs of sockeye salmon that were expected to return to the Fraser River in 2010 were forecast to be the lowest numbers in all of history. Out of the blue, instead of the dwindling 1 million sockeye expected the world watched in amazement as 40 million of the fish returned, the largest sockeye return in all of the historical record. . . .

What we know now [to be] the reason for the historic 2010 sockeye run is that during the summer of 2008 as the young salmon swam to their ocean pastures a volcano erupted in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. For a few days the volcano erupted throwing a vast cloud of volcanic dust into the air. ....As the dust drifted in the wind and settled onto the Northeast Pacific the life-giving mineral micro-nutrients it carried [were] . . . nourishing and restoring the ocean pasture as vast blooms of plankton turned the ocean from blue to green. The young salmon of 2008 arriving on these rich pastures were nourished, survived in great numbers, and gained strength and endurance to continue the all-important ocean cycle of their life. If there were question that the fortuitous volcanic dust was responsible for the apparent cause-and-effect benefit to the sockeye salmon one only needs to look to the second-largest sockeye-salmon return in history. That second-largest run of sockeye was the 1958 return which followed two years on the heel of another rare Aleutian volcanic eruption.

   And like them we would now have their example if we did the same.        The circled seeded area in the map above is about 300 by 100 miles. That would be about 1/3rd of Scotland's coastal waters so we should expect seeding it annually would cost about £4.5 million. Simply repeating the experiment to prove it works again here would be £1.5 milion.        Scotland's current fishing industry is worth about £500 million a year to us so even on that basis it is an investment well worth making.         Bearing in mind what used to be caught, the potential is many times that Graph showing the decline of North Sea cod stocks since the 1960's.     Who should pay for it. Well firstly it would clearly be a good investment for Scotland even if we paid it all.        But though about half the non-Mediterranean fishing territory is in Scottish waters the results are different.        So on that basis the EU should be doing it as part of the Common Fisheries Policy. Indeed the CFP administrators had a budget of E931 million back in 2004. One might expect that something that could get stocks back to what they were in 1970 when the first CFP rules were established (18 months before Britain joined, making them a fait accompli then) would be the very highest priority for some of that money.     Possibly I am cynical but I suspect that the EU won't do it. Partly that might be simple bureaucratic inertia. Part of it might be the general pseudo-environmentalist objection to anybody doing anything. Their opposition to doing anything that might cut CO2 without restraining human progress has already been alluded to.      It may turn out that those who wish to save whales will, in this instance, support a process whose side effect would indeed be feeding them. It may turn out that they don't. If the second, Brussels bureaucrats might well be more susceptable to the Greens than to the fisherman - this is an inevitable consequence of power being localted far from those involved.       We might even find that, though the Haida have enough independence from Canada to do this themselves, the Scots would be prevented by EU "environmental" rules from doing the same.That would be shocking.      Technologically it  is clear that the Scottish & UK fishing industry could be revived, That we could save the Scottish fishing industry - probably not increasing it 40 fold but certainly bringing it a long way back to where it used to be. If that were to mean Britain quitting the EU, or indeed, if Britain remained in, A Scottish indpendence differing from Mr Salmond's sort by not being within the EU might be a price worth paying.  

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Driverless Cars - Another New Technology Our Political class haven't Heard Of

  This is an example of mood changing. William Connolley, whom I have mentioned before as as a warming alarmist has a post comparing driverless cars and high speed trains (like the £33 bn one we are going to complete some time in the 2030s).

    He likes the cars.

where does the obsession with HSR come from? ... they aren’t energy efficient – you might as well fly. They make great macho infrastructure projects for pols to posture with, and I’m sure there are wonderful discrete kick-backs in all that concrete pouring. And they’re great for making promises of regeneration of distant areas that can’t be falsified until too late. Aside: I was always disappointed that the channel tunnel went down the obsession-with-speed thing, when what I wanted them to do was run sleeper services to the continent so I didn’t have to change in Paris. Ah well.

  To which I commented   "I would have been far to polite to accuse politicians of taking kickbacks but am not so polite as to disagree.

Here in Britain our government is promising to have built such a railway for $52bn completed about 4 Parliaments from now.

I have always found it non-credible that we can do automated cars but not automated single carriage rail units everywhere. I assume it is because rail is an inherently centralised system and thus discouragesd innovation, rather than it being particularly difficult to programme the limited options a train has (basically stop and go).

You maybe interested to know that the initial design of Google’s driverless cars came from DARPA who put up a $3 million X-Prize and said they couldn’t have got more from $100m in cnventional funding. Confirms my opinion that such prizes would allow for a step change in the rate of innovation – if it were wanted."

Elsewhere we get

I don't really need any convincing on this front. I think that genuine self-driving cars will be available within a decade and that they'll be big game changers. .

  This is a discussion that hasn't started here, at least in political circles. I agreed that the HST was going to be a white elephant but if we are going to have driverless cars 15 years before the HST is finished it will be even more of a white elephant than I thought.

   I have, for a long time, been pushing driverless trains as a technology we could easily do but it may be about to be gone before it started because the computer technology has advanced so far that driverless cars, requiring much more computer capacity because so many more decisions are needed, are virtually equally competitive.

   And in support of the disgraceful accusation of somebody getting kickbacks for HST I put this on Roger Helmer's.

   "the Norwegians have been cutting tunnels at £4 million per km. that would mean a dualled tunnel from London to Sotland (saving the office block & the countryside) for £5 billion."

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gold in Them Thar ...

  The estimable Register had this listing of new start-ups in space industry (well actually just asteroid mining, there are others).

In the last year, we've seen two commercial ventures announce different plans to harvest the material bounty of the solar system by mining asteroids. So are we at the foothills of a post-scarcity economy or are people blowing a lot of hot air on the latest fad du jour?

In April, Planetary Resources announced a scheme to fire off water and platinum mining equipment onto Near Earth Objects (NEO), after first sending out a series of smaller telescopes to find suitable candidates for mining. The first of these Arkyd Series 100 spacecraft should be in orbit by 2014, with probes to land on asteroids launching by 2016, and the first mining robots in place by 2022.

.....Little mention was made of what the cargo might do to metals markets.

At the time, this El Reg hack expressed the view that the timescale that Planetary Ventures had set was overly ambitions, but on Tuesday Deep Space Industries (DSI) came up with a slightly different business plan that the company claims will have it returning materials to orbit within the next few years.

   This is starting to feel like the start of the dotcom boom. Whjile that boom did also turn into a bust, as is normal with business cycles, the bust was a lot smaller than the boom and a lot of the world's major companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook etc etc) came about then.

   And obviously the boom in space is going to, largely, involve tangible products and there is no clear place, once we have done the big step to orbit, where it will stop.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

"If we make resources infinite we make war obselete"
         Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias - Watchmen film only

   Over the last few years I have laid out a range of ways by which the human race can indeed make resources and personal wealth almost infinite. Unlimited nuclear power, unlimited physical resources in space, unlimited technological opportunities which the ecofascists are intend on suppressing and while technology prizes could greatly expand the rate of discovery.


  So am I offering eternal peace.

  Unfortunately I don't think I am. Veidt was wrong.

  It is a considerable time since the last wars involving major countries were fought even mainly to get resources. Possibly as long ago as the Seven Years war 1756-63 when Britain got Canada and India and France, Austria, Russia and Prussia fought over Silesia (Prussia kept it though neither place remains).

   The Napoleonic wars were fought for ideological reasons, as was the US Civil War. The Franco-Prussian War was fought for grandeur. The various Victorian military excursions, including the Sapnis american war were fought for the grandeur of having colonies. WW1 was fought because both sides thought the first strike option was necesary to win - if they didn't carry out their invasion plans first the train time tables would be out of kilter and it would be a mess.. You can make a good claim that Hitler started his war for resources (lebensrum) but the fact is that Germany post WW2 became wealthier though without all the lands Hitler wanted to conquer and it is at least as arguable that he was fighting for grandeur and ideological hatred of communists and Jews & Lebensrim was simply an excuse.

   The cold war was fought for fear of the other side having that first strike option, so mainly, was the Six Day War. Vietnam was for grandeur. The destruction of Yugoslavia was ideological (to prevent a successful socialist society remaining in eastern Europe), racist (on Germany's part) & to provide the modern equivalent of gladiatorial games on TV. Afghanistan was initially revenge. Iraq, Libya, Syria nad now Mali are gladatorial. .

   The ability of human beings to find reasons to compete is one of our strengths, but that competition is easily reduced to combat. We live in a world where travel is ever quicker which makes the first strike question ever more vital.

   If we are goi8ng to have peaqce it will take something other than making us as wealthy as we ever dream. It will take us accepting the rule of law in international disputes as we, generally, accept it in argumentsw with neighbours.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Persuaded Cameron To Make A Principled Decision That We Are Entitled To A Referendum On The EU - In 2018

A  man was condemned to death for stealing a kiss from the King's daughter. He told the King that if his life was spared, he would teach the King's favorite horse to sing. Instead, the King made a bargain.

"I'll spare your life for one year," the King said. "If in that year you teach my horse to sing, you will go free. If not, your sentence will be carried out."

Later in the stables the condemned man, chained in the stall, was brushing the horse and crooning in its ear when a stablehand came up. "Why'dye make sooch a harebrained bargain?" he asked.

"A lot can happen in a year," the man replied. "The King could die. The horse could die. I could die. And who knows? The horse might learn to sing."

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