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Saturday, May 12, 2012

"No General Duty Not To Lie To The Public Wxists" - Dalgety Bay FoI Response

   Some time ago I did 2 FoI's about Dalgety Bay - one to the civil service masters in Edinburgh & one to SEPA.

   This is the reply to the first of these. Thank you for your email to the Central Enquiry Unit dated 31 March 2012 which included the following points Numbers eg (1) added.
(1)‘…[Is there] a general duty on government-funded departments and quangos not to deliberately seek to frighten people by lying?’

(2)‘…how many people in [SEPA] have been fired…?’

(3)‘…SEPA appear to have…repeatedly lied about the Dalgety Bay “radium”…something that could not happen except on the authority of the highest management…’

(3)‘…when is it intended to wind up… [SEPA]?’
Your enquiry has been passed to the Radioactive Waste Team who have responsibility for monitoring the Dalgety Bay situation on behalf of Scottish Ministers. With regard to your enquiry I have completed a review of information available to the Scottish Government on these points and can provide responses as follows. Please note that the numbering for the responses follows the numbering used above.
(1) I can confirm that no such specifically worded general duty exists. Employees belonging to the organisations relevant to this enquiry work within the Scottish Civil Service Code of Conduct and the SEPA Code of Conduct. Both of these documents are available on the organisational websites as linked.
(2) The information you seek is not held by the Scottish Government. For this reason we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 17(1)(b) of the FOISA....

(3) Ministers currently have no plans to abolish SEPA

  I must admit to a little surprise that there is not even a nominal duty on such civil servants, or presumably any civil servants, not to lie to the public. I didn't think they wouldn't do it but thought it would at least be officially not allowed.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

In Praise of Socialism

“The present distribution of mountains and rivers, of fields, of meadows, of steppes, of forests, and of seashores, cannot be considered final. Man has already made changes in the map of nature that are not few nor insignificant. But they are mere pupils’ practice in comparison with what is coming. Faith merely promises to move mountains; but technology, which takes nothing ‘on faith’, is actually able to cut down mountains and move them. Up to now this was done for industrial purposes (mines) or for railways (tunnels); in the future this will be done on an immeasurably larger scale, according to a general industrial and artistic plan. Man will occupy himself with re-registering mountains and rivers, and will earnestly and repeatedly make improvements in nature. In the end, he will have rebuilt the earth, if not in his own image, at least according to his own taste. We have not the slightest fear that this taste will be bad….”

                                                                              Leon Trotsky
    I'm not sure how much the decline of socialism is due to its acceptance of the "green" Luddites into its ranks and how much that acceptance is a result of the failure of centrally planned socialism to produce the technological progress its founders were dedicated to, causing them to redraw the target around the economic failure they achieved and say that that was the goal all along.
    I am sure that if there were people as brilliant as Trotsky undoubtedly was, willing to call themselves socialists and to be accepted there, the "left" would still have something intellectually meaningfulul to say.
  I don't think one could name any current political leader on the "right" who is as unambiguously on the side of human progress as against Luddism as Trotsky here shows himself. By comparison Sarah Palin is simply a tree hugger. Trotsky would certainly have supported the NAWPA though that dell to the relatively weak "envioronmental" movement of 50 years ago.
    On a slightly related note this is from a new post by Joseph Friedlander about why the future (now present|) of Mankind developing the solar system didn't come to pass. The entire thread repays study but this particular section describes the 2 year period when the USSR won the Cold War
.in June 1949, America had an atomic monopoly, was on top of the world.  By September of that year, the Russians had an atomic bomb, China went communist and America basically went into shock. By January 1950 development of the hydrogen bomb was authorized, by June 1950 Communist North Korea invaded US trooped South Korea, by October 1950 the US was in effect at war with Communist China, in December 1950 President Truman was making veiled nuclear threats, and by June 1951 the country was fully expecting an atomic war as a real possibility—just two years after the last days of the atomic monopoly.  From my readings of history I think that was perhaps even a greater shock than the later Sputnik shock in October 1957, and it possibly explains the reaction to Sputnik—the USA was alarmed about surprises in the level of Soviet weapons building capability
   I don't think I am overstating when I say they won the initial Cold war then. Before that Russia was a devastated country rightly fearing a genocidal nuclear attack at any moment from an untouchable America. Afterwards they were almost equal, partners/antagonists in a world 1/3rd of whom were ruled by communists.

    What happened over the next 60 years was that bureaucratic sclerosis set in. so that by the end of that time they had collapsed economically , far more than the gathering decline of the western powers had reached by 1989. Nonetheless when the USSR shattered the western powers were not able to launch the totally destructive war they could have if such a collapse had happened before 1949 and had to make do with offering up the Yugoslavs as their sacrificial victims.

   I have previously dated the start of the decline of western civilisation to the late 1950s - average growth rates peaked in 1959and started their decline. In the USSR it may have been a little earlier, with the death of Stalin, that bureaucracy for its own sake took over.

   In any case it is reflected in our political life where neither "left" nor "right" now endorse the progressive vision Trotsky and Henry Ford, endorsed.

   This is from the 4th International, the tiny group of people who claim to be Trotsky's followers & the vanguard of socialism, today. It is about why catastrophic global warming dooms us all and we must give up all the progressive ambitions of their mentor.
Climate change is a fact without precedent ....The explanation of present global warming by the rise in greenhouse gas emissions as the major cause is more than 90 per cent certain and is no longer the object of credible contestationabsolute lowering of energy consumption in the developed countries is the condition for the passage to renewable energies and the rescue of the climate.

  And so on and on and on rehashing every piece of Luddite nonsense fed to them by the governing international bureaucratic parasites. I admit to having skimmed a bit but there does not appear to be a single statement there that is in context unambiguously true or more than rehashing of the nonsense they have been fed*.

    Societies need intellectual competition as much as individuals or economies do. Thus the disappearance of socialism as an intellectual movement and its replacement by bureaucrats and those who are scared of progress, is to be decried, even, perhaps particularly, by capitalists.

* I have a regular self elected nemesis called Skip, who came here from "scienceblogs", having there been acknowledged as an eminent scientist published "in the finest journals" (presumably including Nature) on catastrophic warming. He maintains this eminence by insults, obscenity and complaints that I do not always let them stand. But just occasionally he says something that purports be factual (and can almost always be easily proven not to be). Perhaps, with this expertise, he could do the useful but unexciting job of going through the 4th International's Report to find something which might be worth treating sensibly, because it is too long for me.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

How "The Science" Is Done in "Scientific Journals" - Don't Ask The Obvious Questions

  The Journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has produced an issue on the question of whether the Linear No Threshold theory (LNT) of radiation damage

   The interesting thing is not what it says, but the extraordinary way it tip toes round the elephant in the room - the question of whether the LNT theory is in fact true or even whether there is any actual evidence for it  (required if it were to be considered science).

   The answer is not only that there is no evidence whatsoever for the hypothesis, but that there is a mass of evidence from unrelated sources that it is false.

   To be fair nobody at the Journal; openly lies by pretending there is evidence for it, they merely omit to mention it. It is not like Nature where they specifically refuse to publish proven facts (eg Stephen McIntyre's  proof that the Hockey stick was not only worthless but must have been fraudulent) but also published a series of purely ad hom attacks on him personally. These gentlemen are more refined and simply avoid any discussion whatsoever of the fact that the official line has no scientific evidence to back it at all.

   I suppose this is how one gets the job of editor on such journals. What a pity they cannot get, or rather choose not to get, anybody with respect for even the basic principles of science.

   On the other hand I did learn that the French Academy officially refuses to accept the LNT lie. More [power to them (literally in this case).

Special issue: Low-level radiation
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists May//June

Editorial  "This special issue of the Bulletin examines what is new about the debate over radiation risk, specifically focusing on areas of agreement and disagreement.....Today, the scientific and medical establishment of most countries (with the exception of France, where the public strongly supports nuclear power) accepts a default hypothesis on the effects of radiation at doses below the range where epidemiologic data are conclusive. This is the so-called linear non-threshold theory (LNT)"

The scientific jigsaw puzzle: Fitting the pieces of the low-level radiation debate


Lessons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The most exposed and most vulnerable


Principles in practice: Radiation regulation and the


Unmasking the truth: The science and policy of low-dose ionizing radiation

Abstract  "There is scientific consensus on a prevailing hypothesis that, down to near-zero levels, the occurrence of future cancer is proportional to the dose of radiation received. Some experts and professional bodies in the field, however, subscribe to this linear no-threshold (LNT) model in scientific discussions but object to the use of the model for policy-related purposes."

The low-dose phenomenon: How bystander effects, genomic instability, and adaptive responses could transform cancer-risk mod


The social amplification of risk and low-level radiation


The perception gap: Radiation and risk


Underestimating effects: Why causation probabilities need to be replaced in regulation, policy, and the law

Dear Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Editor,
                                                                    I note your current issue is about the LNT theory. I also note that you avoid any discussion of the elephant in the room - whether there is any evidence whatsoever for this hypothesis, let alone enough to compete with the mass of evidence that it is false.

    It is my understanding that anybody calling themselves a scientist must, as a matter of principle, depend on the evidence.

   If there is any evidence whatsoever for it I would be obliged if you could confirm what it is & I will, publish it as a reply to this answer. If, as a journal with prime experience in the field, you are unable to do so, this must be taken as proof that there is none.
                                                                   Neil Craig

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Herald Letters - Some Old Ones

Using the Herald's search facility it tuens out that i have had some letters published there I didn't know of. They are all ones I had sent out to all and sundry and didn't show up on Google. It seems the Herald is more willing than I thought to publish my letters.

1st Dec - Dalgety Bay
Following SEPA's (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) allegation of a radioactivity hazard in Dalgety Bay, Gordon Brown is seeking to get the armed forces to spend an unknown sum on carting away the beach to some unguessable place.

There is no radiation hazard. Though SEPA publicly claimed to have found radium in paint particles, in response to FoI (Freedom of Information) inquiries they have been unable to produce any factual basis for their claim. They have been caught out claiming to have detected "radium and its daughter elements" by analysis of the radiation but radium has only one daughter element, the unreactive gas radon, which could not remain in rock. As has been pointed out, the "scientific illiteracy" required of alleged experts not to know this is staggering.
What those FoI requests also revealed is that SEPA's consultants told them years ago the radiation was "less than two-thirds that found in a typical Aberdeen street" which makes it what one would expect with naturally occurring background radiation.
Mr Brown is not serving his constituents' interests. Dalgety Bay is the repeated winner of Scotland's Best Kept Small Town Award and is a growing community attractive to Edinburghers who want to bring their families up outwith the city. The last thing such a community needs is an evidence-free and undisprovable scare story.

6th July Tram promised "fixed price contract"

IN 1977 we were told that the Edinburgh tram project was a "fixed-price contract".

Subsequently legal action by the contractors led to a decision that 90% of the cost over-runs on the elements in question were because of changes made by the officials at Transport in Edinburgh (TIE). In May this year we were told £411m had already been spent and the next day that it was £440m. Now we are told that cancelling it will cost £750m and continuing £700m.
I fail to see how stopping the fixed-price contract can involve the contractors in more legitimate expense than actually completing the work will. I would welcome some assurances, but only from somebody who has not previously assured us of the success of the project.

17th June Comparing the Outrageous Cost ofv Motorway Building With The Real Prices

Whatever we think about the competence of Scotland's politicians, they appear to have a rare skill at promoting initiatives and projects.

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Look at the new five-mile M74 extension which bypasses the city centre (“Road link project to open early and under budget”, The Herald, June 15).

The politicians are congratulating themselves that new road is expected to cost £20 million less than expected. In fact, the original promised cost was £177m.

More than £247m was paid for the land alone. So how does this compare with other motorways? According to Hansard in March 2007 motorways cost, on average, corrected for inflation, £6.8 per side and kilometre. So that would be just over £100m. At the time I suggested the motorway could have been put through a tunnel.

The Norwegians have been cuttiing 750km tunnels for more than 20 years averaging about £4m per km.

If it can be done there, it is clearly possibly to do it here. The only thing preventing it is politics.
The equivalent for two lanes of four-lane motorway, covering 8km, would have been £128m.
This is half of what the Scottish Government paid for the land alone – which would not have been needed if there had been a tunnel.

25th March Nuclear

Among a number of things that just ain’t so in Elizabeth Marshall’s letter (March 21) criticising my support of nuclear power is that nuclear costs “at least 20 times the cost of gas fired power”.
Nothing in the way of evidence is given for this. Figures from the Royal Academy of Engineering show nuclear significantly cheaper and the fact that French electricity costs one-quarter of ours suggests it is not more expensive.
I have publicly said that I believe a nuclear economy can be run at one-tenth of the present price of electricity and have had no fact -based dispute.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Herald Letter - Abysmal Council Election Turnout

   This letter was in the Herald yesterday.It was unedited. I was quite surprised it was published because it makes points in favour of UKIP & is designed as a recruiting call.
COMPLAINTS about inactivity during the council election have some justification. The reason that there were virtually no posters on the streets was because of an agreement between the big parties and Glasgow City Council to make them illegal. Having stood as a UKIP candidate I sympathise with the complaint that parties should not leave it to the media – the BBC, funded by the taxpayer and having a legal duty to be "balanced" notoriously give 40 times more coverage per vote to the Greens than to ourselves.
However, when a writer complains that the parties do not send out enough people delivering leaflets or canvassing the answer is obvious. Politics should not be a spectator sport. It used to be that the main parties had memberships in the hundreds of thousands. Now all the main parties' activists combined in Glasgow will be in the high hundreds.
Most of this is the parties' fault. The days when party conferences or individual members had any influence on most of them is long gone.
If you want a functioning democracy, deliver some of the leaflets – don't just bemoan the fact that they aren't being delivered. Work for whatever party most closely reflects your beliefs. Or do we want to reach the position where the only activists are those with comfortable jobs in quangos or as environmental lobbyists?

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Recent Reading - Mainly Technology

  Beyond shale gas - development work proceeding on extracting methane hydrate gas reserves. Keep us going at tiny prices for 1,000+ years
HL Mencken quotes
The "debunking" of cold fusion, aka LENR, aka quantum fusion, was largely based on scientific fraud committed at MIT in 1989. This is the allegation of the head of MIT's science information office at the time, the late Dr. Eugene Mallove. He alleges this fraud was perpetrated to ensure that MIT continued to receive tens of millions of dollars for its thermonuclear fusion program ("hot fusion"). The report containing this allegation is quite long but the documentation to support the charge is extensive and well worth the read.

MIT and Cold Fusion: A Special Report

This doesn't prove "cold fusion" is genuine but it certainly supports the view.
Acknowledged that Labour, the teacher's unions and the "education experts" deliberately lied to pretend the kids education was not getting worse.  This is child abuse worse than anything merely sexual but we all know known of these obscenities will be punished.
Mental control of a robot hundreds of kilometres away. This will be a massive force multiplier when we start working orbital and lunar industries.
Love Of Theory Is The Root Of All Evil

Love of truth, on the other hand, is the root of all that is good.

List of Scottish Green groups funded by the wind subsidy industry.
US changes patent laws - the independent inventor loses out again.
Tech $Billionaires Want to Be Space $Trillionaires - Asteroid mining will make $trillions of resources available. So far this is beyond the reach of any government so who are they going to pay taxes to?

India's food problem - they have to much to be able to store!  Is this technological progress or is it increased CO2 in the atmosphere. I think both.  Isn't it a wonderful world we live in?
Evidence that establishing life is even more difficult than previous reinterpretations of the Drake Equation suggest. So it is more likely that (A) we are alone & (B) the difficult bit of human progress is already done.

The long-term diversity of life in the sea depends on the sea-level set by plate tectonics and the local supernova rate set by the astrophysics, and on virtually nothing else.
The long-term primary productivity of life in the sea – the net growth of photosynthetic microbes – depends on the supernova rate, and on virtually nothing else.
Exceptionally close supernovae account for short-lived falls in sea-level during the past 500 million years, long-known to geophysicists but never convincingly explained..
As the geological and astronomical records converge, the match between climate and supernova rates gets better and better, with high rates bringing icy times.

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