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Saturday, January 12, 2013

To BBC Director General Tony Hall - an Open Letter

  This is up on ThinkScotland. Please put any comments there. It went to the BBC on 23rd November. No reply has been received.I have underlined the reference to the Freedom of Information Act - since the appropriate period has now passed - 20 working days - the BBC are clearly in breach of the law & the matter is being passed to the Scottish Information Commissioner who will doubtless decide that enforcement of the law does not apply to such bodies.

Dear Lord Tony Hall as BBC Director General,

It is now 11 days since the list of what the BBC had repeatedly referred to as 28 "leading scientists" able to give you the "best scientific advice" on alleged catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) went viral on the blogsphere (colloquially known as 28gate).

In the intervening time the BBC have made not disputed the accuracy of the list which shows only 2 of them to be honestly describable as "scientists" by the normal definition of science. Even they were known to be paid to promote the warming scare which, for any journalists of integrity would show they could not be relied on to be unbiased. The rest are a mixture of political "environmentalist activists", all or almost all, paid to be so; civil servants, including one from the US embassy, salesmen for the subsidy dependent "renewables" industry - such subsidy being dependent on belief in CAGW; and "international development" operatives with little or no direct knowledge of either science or alleged CAGW.

I trust you will not dispute it would be difficult to think of any group less like "leading scientists" or able to speak in an informed and unbiased way on the subject than the ones you chose to present as such.

We must, nonetheless, in light of the fact that the BBC lied for years about the fact; spent probably hundreds of thousands of pounds in lawyer's fees to prevent the truth being revealed to the public by an FoI; and at least encouraged your lawyers and witnesses to maintain to the court the claim that this was the best "scientific" advice and have not apologised for it, that this continues to represent the very highest standard of honesty to which the BBC aspire.

To quote the comparatively tame James Delingpole in the Telegraph in something with which the BBC has not and presumably cannot disagree

It can't be said often enough: this is a scandal far more significant than either the Jimmy Savile affair or the Lord McAlpine fiasco. Why? Because those first two were (mostly) cock-ups whereas this one is definitely a cynical and deliberate conspiracy by an institutionally corrupt organisation which has got far too big for its boots.

I would also add that since the additions to our energy bills caused by a scare you promoted on claims you knew to be false have pushed Britain into recession and play a major part in the excess winter death, now rising to 27,000 a year, this scandal is, by the most simple and modest arithmetic, thousands of times worse than the Savile case.
I would like to give you the opportunity to express some regret for lying.

I would also like to give the BBC the opportunity to express regret for the obscene and wholly dishonest accusations you have made against every person in Britain who doubts we are experiencing CAGW. Accusations mirroring, or slightly worse than the lies you broadcast about Lord McAlpine, and maintained for far longer.

Under the Freedom of Information Act I would like to know what specific criteria were used at the time to select each of the non-scientists for your panel of the country's alleged "leading scientists" and any emails or letters discussing the selection? That is all but Lord May and Dahl-Jensen. In particular I am interested in the choice of an inordinate number of "aid" agents and the US embassy official. Since this is entirely a matter of discussion between management & production staff the get out clause of protecting journalistic sources, used so often by the BBC, should not apply. I would also like to know if anybody at the BBC told witnesses or council to tell the court that this was a genuine meeting of scientists to give scientific advice when the entire organisation knew (from 2006 when it happened onwards) that it wasn't?

I note that despite the exposing of the fact that your official reason for bias and censorship, in a total breach of your legal duty of "balance" the BBC continues to push the catastrophic warming scare without allowing dissenters to be broadcast.

Of course the BBC has consistently, for at least many years, treated this legal duty as the smokescreen for propaganda governments have clearly intended it to be.

Even the BBC has repeatedly refused to deny, or defend, your censorship of racial genocide by British forces. One example, though not the worst is the continuous censorship, for over 13 years of any mention whatsoever of the Dragodan Massacre of over 200 civilians in Kosovo, which I have quizzed you about many times. Just as Joseph "big lie" Goebbels suppressed reporting of Auschwitz the BBC also suppresses news of genocide, though without the legal support of wartime censorship rules.

This is easily enough to establish a trend of Goebbels like behaviour over a very wide, indeed almost unrelated, range of subjects, over an extremely long period, of censoring in the Nazi and other causes.

Lord Hall should you personally disapprove of such behaviour, rather than having been appointed because your attitude to dishonesty, censorship and indeed genocide fits closely to what the entire organisation has previously demonstrated, I assume you will quickly fire all those who have thus abused their position.

I request a reply and would be obliged to have it within the next 72 hours. Should you wish to say that anything I have said is not factually accurate I assume you will let me know by then.
Neil Craig

 Posted on Friday. I did not expect a reply because the BBC rarely reply to customer complaints when they are well founded. 

    The story continues to gather a following online. Tony Newbery reports "if I type ‘my name’ + BBC + seminar" into Google, it yields over 3 million hits. The BBC has, unsurprisingly, so far, censored any reporting of it. The traditional press has unfortunately shown more sympathy with the BBC, which is slowing public awareness but, in this day and age, cannot stop it.

      It was covered in depth in the press by James Delingpole, Melanie Phillips, Christopher Booker and in Monday's Scotsman by Brian Monteith but otherwise not widely. Probably the best single reporting of it was on The Register.

     It may be argued, comparing it with the coverage of Savile, that this merely shows that the press is more interested in stories of sex and/or celebrity rather than that they are kowtowing to those in power but either way I think it is unwise. The internet can already report news far faster than the press but the real reason for the decline of newspapers owes more to the fact that, as both Hearst and Orwell said News is something somebody doesn't want printed; all else is advertising.” If that is true who is going to buy a newspaper for news, rather than read the net.

     If Tony Newbery's assessment is correct and it certainly fits the facts Tony Hall is absolutely not the person to reform the BBC but to encoutage it to close its eyes.   "Now we have a Director General designate who, in March next year, will pick up the threads of his long and very successful career at the BBC after a spell working elsewhere. An old hand returning to the scene of former triumphs and no doubt easing himself back into the cosy culture that he knows so well.

It seems not to have occurred to Lord Patten that it is precisely this BBC culture that has caused all the problems of the past decade. In the Wagon Wheel report, published five years ago, John Bridcut identified the rather smug, metropolitan, university educated, young and liberal mindset that besets BBC management and ensures that, in many ways, the organisation is out of step with its audience. Anyone who has had experience of the BBC complaints process will be all too familiar with the organisation’s infuriatingly arrogant attitude to its audience. Auntie is always right, and those who don’t think so are either misguided, undereducated, fools or malicious and ungrateful troublemakers, probably of a right wing persuasion.

If ever the BBC really needed an outsider to come in, turn things upside-down, and clean house, it is now. The age that spawned the BBC culture that Entwistle represented, and Hall is now expected to restore and perpetuate, is well and truly over."

    Indeed. More to come surely.
This letter, on 28 gate, went out to another 55 papers as did the one under to the scotsman. Both are currently unpublished. That makes it 617 for zero published in the dead tree press. A total difficult to put down to random chance.

The BBC have, for 6 years, justified breaking their Charter duty of "balance" over alleged catastrophic global warming by claiming that a symposium of "leading scientists". Or in the case of their news director's restimony in court "scientists with contrasting views".

In fact, 2 months ago almost to the day this list of contrasting leading scientists became public and it turned out that the BBC (& their news director's) claims were untrue. All but 2 weren't scientists at all. All of them were paid activists though strangely some were activists for "foreign aid" with no experien, even of promoting warming alarmism.

There were also representatives from the Church of England & to invoke higher authority, from the US embassy.

The BBC had, beyond dispute, lied continuously and deliberately to promote a catastrophic warming scare they knew to be, at least in large measure, false. And are still doing so.

For the subsequent 2 months the BBC has managed to continue reporting on alleged warming without ever mentioning this scandal.Until today when I mentioned it from a redio audience and was cut off with the words "I'm not censoring you but..."

Under what circumstances can any "news" from this organisation, or indeed the "environmental" movement which they assisted, ever again be assumed truthful.
If the argument for the taxpayer having to fund the BBC relies on an assertion that only commercial companies produce populist programmes like X-Factor while the BBC do highbrow stuff like Strictly (letter Thurs) it may not persuade.

The more serious argument against the BBC is that recent World Bank report examined the role of government ownership of broadcasting. They found that the degree of ownership closely correlated with authoritarianism, corruption, government incompetence, national, poverty and even things like poor healthcare. In its way this is unsurprising - the argument for a free press has always been that it means that failure gets noticed and something is done. Britain has one of the highest levels of state ownership of broadcasting in the developed world and indeed in the English speaking world.

The recent 28 gate scandal, reported in the Scotsman by Brian Monteith & which has gone viral online, but never reported on BBC news, shows that for 6 years the BBC have deliberately lied about having the support of 28 scientists (they were carefully selected activists, only 2 of the 28 were scientists) for their decision to break their lawful Charter duty of "balance" by censoring news and banning dissidents to promote the government's global warming scare.

If the BBC is willing to lie and censor to promote government scare stories, which the government itself has spent £10s of billions "raising awareness" of, & which they know to be, at least in great measure, false, then the case for abolishing the BBC is the case for freedom and democracy in Britain.
Ref - Report on effects of state control of media

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Brian's Big Debate - "Not Censoring But Don't Mention 28 Gate"

     I was in the audience for today's BBC radio's "Brian Taylor's Big Debate" (not actually a debate since the BBC don't do debates, simply a chance for politicians from approverd parties to make approved statements.

    It was held in Glasgow Universitiy's Wellington Church, an impressive Greek temple in the middle of Glasgow University. Naturally, the BBC being the "balanced" propagandists they are they had guests from the LabNatConDem cartel and an approved journalist but nobody from UKIP despite it having considerably more support in the polls than the Dem part of the cartel.

      The news had just broken of the report of a Savile enquiry (they found he dunnit)  and thus this became the first question.

       I got 1 remark, in the first 10 minutes of the programme, from the audience, after which, unaccountably, my raised hand was overlooked.

      "From the BBC point of view the worst thing is that this is just one of a list of recent scandals the BBC is involved in. The most serious is the 28 gate scandal which the BBC are still desperately trying to censor although it has gone viral online, featured on over 20 million sites. The BBC has been caught, across the entire organisation, lying and censoring for 6 years about having the support of 28 scientists in promoting the global warming scare, indeed even the  ...."

       At about this point Brian inteverned (the microphone may have been removed a few seconds earlier) to say "I won't say I'm censoring you but I want to deal with Savile"
   Before I could finish by saying " editor, Helen Boaden, has testified, in court, that these were not only 28 scientists but "scientists with contrasting views" - 2 pieces of perjury in one sentence, more serious and less excusable than Tommy Sheriden's"

   Obviously Taylor and the approved guests didn't mention it in any way but I believe  can still claim my goldfish for winning the first mention of 28 gate on the BBC contest, 2 months after it broke.

   There were 2 other members of UKIP in the audience. Robert got in a mention of a previous law change which made it illegal for children in "care" to complain of being abused & Michael, who had taken a central seat 3 rows back, got called 3 times.

    Also of interest was the reaction to the final "debate2 item - the "remporary" remodelling of George Square, intended to cost £15 million to remove the statues. Popular opinion was overwhelmingly against it. Michael made the point that those supporting it on the claim that this would somehow bring business to the city had produced no reports, let alone evidence, that this would be so.

    An interesting event.  I'm not sure if I should have mentioned UKIP while calling the BBC liars and censors but it was a shame I didn't get a chance to put the name on the air later. 

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Did Patents Create A Step Change in Technological Progress? Could We Do Another one?

  A couple of days ago I posted on the Antikythera computer. I had an extra reason for doing so. That I could then use it to demonstrate a point, which I have previously discussed on patents and prizes further.


  The justification for patents, which are using state power to give somebody a short term monopoly on the use of an idea, is that rewarding the innovator encourages new ideas. Libertarians are split on this, essentially on whether intellectual "propoerty" is property in the same sense as machinery and labour. I think it is not only property in that sense but that it is the most important property there is since virtually all progress depends on technological progress, which depends on somebody making it. In which case it is proportionately as deserving of protection and reward by society as any other property. If you divide the land and the resouces it contains by the population of the time you find every caveman was a billionaire, if technological progress is discounted.

   England and Italy share the honours for the first patents.

In England grants in the form of letters patent were issued by the sovereign to inventors who petitioned and were approved: a grant of 1331 to John Kempe and his Company is the earliest authenticated instance of a royal grant made with the avowed purpose of instructing the English in a new industry. The first Italian patent was actually awarded by the Republic of Florence in 1421,

  There were also rudimentary patents recorded in 1 Ancient Greek city, but only for 1 year and one city and it clearly didn't last.

   Italy was then and England in due course became the most technologically advanced European and world nations, though it is worth noting that the English charter appears to be to encourage somebody to import a technology already known on the continent rather than true innovation. This doesn't change the principle.

     In the previous article I pointed to 3 major inventions for which patenting did not provide sufficient reward and consequently humanity lost serious value for considerable periods.

     I also previously reported an article from the von Mises institute which said of the early Roman era

characterized by a remarkable degree of institutional legal respect for private property (Roman law), and by the specialization and spread of exchanges in all sectors and factor markets (particularly the labor market, since, as Temin has demonstrated, the effect of slavery was much more modest that has been believed up to now). As a result, the Roman economy of the period reached a level of prosperity, economic development, urbanization, and culture that would not be seen again in the world until well into the 18th century.

   This is the era of the Antikythera computer. I would not go quite as far as the author. The Roman era was more technologically backward than the 18thC in a number of ways (the horse collar, paper, windmills) though that computer and a simple steam engine (used to open temple doors), plus a road system and aqueducts not duplicated in the intervening period did exist.

   The fact is that the Antikythera computer did disappear from human ken.

   Indeed it is only since patenting that there has been a major incentive for scientists to make their inventions public. Without them going public they are likely to disappear when their inventor, or his immediate successors, die. It is likely that many inventions were lost and reinvented several times before the Renaissance. Even during the Renaissance the way in which Leonardo da Vince manufactured the Turin Shroud was lost until very recently. In this he was following in the path of countless alchemist & other proto-scientists.

   The fact is also that ANY patenting system inherently requires that the technology be publicly recordeed in writing.

    Therefore had patenting existed in a significant way in the ancient Mediterranean era the Antikythera device would have been recoreded in detail and never lost to humanity. The same applies to the simple steam engine and who knows how many other things. By letting new inventions be known widely society also encourages others to innovate and makes it possible for others to build on the new invention.

   I am therefore suggesting that the lack of patent law in the pre-Christian period held back human progress, if not for 1,800 years, certainly for well over 1,000. And in turn that the success of the European age depends, to a very significant extent, on that bit of social engineering.

   Rewarding technological innovators directly caused technological innovation.


   In that article I also pointed out that patent holders only get about 1/4 of the value of the inventions they come up with. Moreover because of the technical limitations of government policing of ideas it was probably impossible to to develop a practical legal system that would do much better. The probl;em of getting the value is inherent in the intangibility of ideas. Thus I justified government funding of prizes up to 3 times the country's current 2% of GDP spent on research. That would be up to 6% which is more than we spend on the military but onlt 12% of total government spending and I suggest would be the most effective 12%.

   The effectiveness of prizes at up to 33-100 times that of conventional government grants is completely undisputed, even by our government which contiues to prefer grant giving. If there is a reason for that, other than that those in charge are using grant giving power as political patronage & quite often to ensure that everybody knows what results are acceptable (eg global warming "research").

    Anybody  of a libertarian mind who wishes government to be limited to using its powers impartially must prefer prizes to grants for ethical reasons. Anybody else who merely wants value for money should feel the same.

    However the point I want to leave you with is that if I am correct and that patenting can explain most of the enormous growth in technology that we have seen over the last 500 years, a step change beyond anything known previously which made western civilisation world leading then putting 6% of GDP into funding technology prizes, so long as the prizes selected were chosen mainly for their real value rather than for political posturing (eg windmillery) this would create another step change in human progress.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Another Road Leading to "Scienceblogs"

 Recently one of Tim Worstall's threads got attacked by a William Connolley who has one of the "scienceblogs" sites. Apparently in the copious free time his employer gives him has allowed him to be an almost full time rewriter of Wikipedia articles on CAGW.To such an extent that he was severely upbraided by Wikipedia.

  He also runs the appropriately named Stoat site on Scienceblogs. I have reported prviously howthast site supports warming scares not by honestly disputing but by lies (eg Greg Laden's claim to be the world's only independent of government pay climate scientist when in fact he is paid by the government and is not a scientist, climate or otherwise, but an assistant anthropology teacher) insults, obscenity and censorship. How scientific.

  When he made the Worstlall comments I commented on his site that he should be grateful that Mr Worstall does not censor even the personally offensive remarks he made whereas the group of sites he was in depend on lies, insults, obscenity and such censorship

  Here are a few comments he inevitably censored. One surprising thing is that this alleged Wikipedia expert , who deletes the facts put forward by the rest of us is so ignorant of his case that he thought Prof James Lovelock was still on the alarmists side. Less surprising was that when this was gently pointed out to him he refused to acknowledge this was wrong, even after admitting it was - one feature of eco-fascists and fanatics in general is that they will never modify yheir position in line with new facts, no matter how obviously they are maintaining an untenable position.

I would like, once again, to see it there is anybody, anywhere in the world, who suppoerts the warming scare who has sufficient personal integrity and respect for the principles of science to be willing to say that censoeship, insults and obscenity are the proper way to achieve scientific truth. Consequently that "Scienceblogs" is in no way scientific.

I do not think that any honest or decent person could disagree with that & await seeing whether there is a single honest or decent person, worldwide, in the movement.
Twice W has claimed to have named a scientist who promotes catastrophic warming without actually naming them. 'Nuff said)
To claim that nobody else ever refers to doubterrs of catastrophi8c global warming as anythingt other than "denialists" (not even "deniers" as if lengthening the word gives it gravitas) is obviously unture. "Denier" (or extensions thereof) is gratuitous rudeness deigned to draw a flase comparison with Holocaust deniers. Use of the term merely shows that the user is engaged in a heresy hunt rather than science.As a matter of cold fact the only people who actully "deny" climater change has always taken place are the "we must get rid of the Medieval Warming Period" alarmistt pseudo-scientists.
I await William actually producing some of the "answers" he claims to have rather than relying on censorship again. -------------------------------   In response to an article giving "7 difficult questions GM supports must answer" - they were all easy.

1 - Yes, food has been eaten.

2 - Yes, that is what the free market means

3 - Yes, 1 = 2 = 3

4 - Define "safe", Certainly they are far safer than "organic" food

5 - "perceived" & "conceivable" are meaningless unless you can define them in relation to facts. Factually the answer is yes

6 - yes and yes, at least to a far greater degree than one can trust pseudo-scientists all getting their funding from one politically controlled source. Reference Lysenko and the catastrophic warming fraud
7 - Mainly money (ref answer 2) thopugh many involved will also be motivated by a desire to help humanity
I do not expect reasoned rebuttal. I do not expect even an attempt at it. Normal practice on "scienceblogs" is insults & when that doesn't work, obscenity & when that doesn't, censorship.
Mr Connolley I am amazed at the extent of your ignorance of the climate debate. The moreso because you are clearly employed to rewrite articles on Wikipedia on the subject and your endless pontificating on sceptic sites (which, unlike yours, do not depend on censorship).
One would have thought Wiki would have wished to limit "editings" from those who are so basically uninformed.
Your claim Professor James Lovelock as the main/sole independent scientist who supports the catastrophic warming scam, is simply ignorant. It is true that the professor did initially accept this but he is a man of scientific principles and when the climategate emails surfaced and it became obvious the warming pseudo-scientists were frauds he changed his mind (as real scientists do in the face of evidence).
His remark
"“I think you have to accept that the sceptics have kept us sane"
would not normally be considered an endorsement of warming alarmism (though I grant one could say that accusing alarmists of being insane is a defence to a charge that they are all complete frauds which fits the facts at least as well)

I ask you to retract the claim that Lovelock is a supporter of CAGW alarmism. I also ask you to either name some other independent scientist who is or acknowledge that, out of the many millions of scientists worldwide, you cannot name one who is independent and part of your alleged "consensus". I note we still have no example from anybody else here.
He censored that post "just to teach youn politeness" and then proved what an obvious hypocrit he is by calling me a "denialist nutter"

"Just for you, to teach you politeness"
I note your definition of "politeness" includes you calling me a "denialiist nutter" though you have no only not said why my opinions are wrong but even what they are. Teaching noted - It must therefore be proper for me to call you an "eco-Nazi fraudster" but, since I do not wish to go beyond what is clearly proven I will stick to eco-Fascist fraudster if that is OK?
Now as to the issues.
You have declined to retract your claim that Lovelock is the "single “scientist” supporting alarmism who isn’t being paid for it" though it clear from context that you know your ignorance of his views has led you to make the false claim.
OK we must accept that as representing the standard of honesty to which you aspire, rather than merely ignorance.
Do you (or anybody else) wish to put forward a second candidate?
Instead we have nonsense about not undertstanding what "catastrophic anthropogenic global warming alarmism" is. It is raising alarm about anthropogenic global warming alleged to be catastrophic. Not that difficult, eh?
Obviously a minimum for a catastrophe would be something far worse than the costs incurred in "fighting climate change" (Kyoto alone being estimated at $800 mill a day).
While asking for definitions you might wish to explain what "alarmed as the IPCC means"? Do you stand by the whole range of IPCC predictions, or simply the most recent ones? Do you stand by their original endorsement of Mann's "hockey stick"? If not is it the recent assertions in the final document or what the scientists actually said before it was edited?
Perhaps you could also define "the strawman fantasies of CAGW that the denialists make up?" would that include the 20 foot sea level rise of well known denialist Al "mostly got the science right" Gore or the 0.5C decadal temperature rise from 1979 of "denialist" James Hansen?

Obviously he censored rather than answering the questions, nor any attempt to name any other single independent scientist anywhere in the world who supports the warming fraud..
W I note your censorship of my response. Perhaps you would be good enough to acknowledge that what I said fitted closely to the standards of politeness you aspire to here.
I note you have reinforced your claim that Lovelock is indeed a scientist who supports catastrophism though that is obviously the total and exact opposite of the truth. You are right that i do not accept somebody who says the alarmist community is insane is their supporter.
I note also that you & indeed others here, are still unable to name a single " other" scientist who in independent and supports alarmism.. So that makes it a scientific consensus.
The Himalyas will melt by 2035 claim was certainly a lie since Dr Pachauri, climate scientist er well actually railroad engineer, had certainly been informed by the sceptic community that it was untrue & continued to claim it for over a year after knowing this. I would be astonished if somebody wiki chooses to rewrite factual articles on the subject was unaware of this but then to be fair it would not say much for them if they thought you did know and were lying.
I note you say of the IPCC predictions "all of them quite consistent." which means that you are standing by them all. Or perhaps, having acknowledged the Himalyas prediction in no way truthful you are saying that everything they say is similarly consistently untruthful (& you still support them all)?
Having to censor all the other points, including the one Guthrie refers to shows you know I am unanswerably correct on them all. It also shows your contempt for scientific principles.- --------------------------- Guthrie said "What also matters regarding happiness is your wealth relative to other people. If you see that some people are making loads more money whilst you and your friends and family aren’t really making anything more, you get a bit unhappier. "
This is indeed a major driver of the "environmental" movement & also socialism. Schadenfreude - that the rest of society should, under no circumstances be better off than the speaker, which can, of course, only be enforced by the most rigorous state control.
This is why Guthrie has elsewhere called for the government to enforce zero growth at least until China has the same per capita GDP as here.
Proof that the pseudo-environmental movement care nothing for the environment, it is simply that they feel this is a better flag to wave than openly calling for permanent human stagnation.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Antikythera Computer

   The Antikythera mechanism is just about the most astonishing historical artifact there is.

Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University, who led a 2006 study of the mechanism, said:
"This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa."

  I would, on balance, consider that comparisonan understated.

   Though people did originally suspect that this device was either a hoax or a much later device which had accidentally been dropped in the wreck it was found in much later, so far beyond any technology known to exist at the time was it.. There is now no possible doubt from the detail, the language used and how some of the numbering used fits contemprary astronmy, that it is genuine.

   It is a mechanical computer, capable of .forecasting the placing of the planets and eclipses for decades in advance. No mechanism clearly more advanced than it existed until John Harrison made the chronometers that could be used to determine longitude in the late 18th century.

   The antikythera computer that has been found was made about 100BC in Corinth or one of its colonies in the first century BC. It was clearly a well developed mechanism and must have had less sophisticated predecessors. My guess is that the original either came from Archimedes, who lived in Corinth's colony of Syracuse, or somebody earlier who taught him.

   BBC 4 regularly broadcast a wonderful programme about the way the mechanism was interpreted and eventually reverse engineered. One gets a feeling of real scientists, both today and in 100 BC stretching the limits of human invention, not for money but for the satisfaction of doing it.

  BBC 4 The 2,000 Year old Computer
reverse engineering

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Monday, January 07, 2013

Recent Reading - mainly Science, Energy & Eco

Scientific misconduct contributes to more retractions than previously realized, according to a new analysis published today (October 1) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using retractions indexed in Pubmed, researchers found that fabrication, falsification, and duplication led to more retractions than error or plagiarism.

And this is across the board. No wonder fraud is the normal course for warming alarmist "scientists".


A group of Swedish scientists at the University of Gothenburg have published a paper in which they argue that spreading peatlands are inexorably driving planet Earth into its next ice age, and the only thing holding back catastrophe is humanity's hotly debated atmospheric carbon emissions.
"We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we're not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide," says Professor of Physical Geography Lars Franzén, from the Department of Earth Sciences at Gothenburg uni.

I have no idea if this will turn out to be right but I do know it has not, for purely political reasons, got a fraction of the publicity or grant money of the warming scam.
A reminder of how the media & not just the broadcasters, slant & censor the true facts:

The TV cameras reporting the event reported that the nationalist delegates did their debating against a backdrop of a sizeable demonstration opposing nuclear weapons that was being staged outside the Perth conference hall.
However, what has gone largely unremarked upon was that a much bigger demonstration – at least three times bigger (actually probably 10 times) than the ban-the-bomb lot – took place 24 hours later.

Saturday's event was organised by various groups opposed to the plethora of wind farms now springing up, or being planned, all over Scotland and it is a subject that is much more immediate than the future of Trident submarines.
  The ultimate proof of the power of economics. Note that this does not mean any deliberate action but simply that human health depends on mood as much as anything else.

Economists Wojciech Kopczuk of Columbia University and Joel Slemrod of the University of Michigan studied how mortality rates in the United States were changed by falling or rising estate taxes. They note that while the evidence of "death elasticity" is "not overwhelming," every $10,000 in available tax savings increases the chance of dying in the low-tax period by 1.6 percent. This is true both when taxes are falling, so that people are surviving longer to achieve the tax savings, and when they are rising, so that people are dying earlier, according to Kopczuk and Slemrod.

Ireland "close to oil billions"
UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet.

Reserves of 200 tcf would put the UK in the top 20 countries with the highest shale reserves, alongside Brazil, and 1,000 tcf would put Britain in the same league as estimates for China, the United States and Argentina, top dogs in global shale potential.

The dawn of the age of cheap energy has barely broken. At least 93% of energy costs arer state parasitism.
 Fracing causes no harm - shock.

Rewritten Fracking by pseudo-environmentalists because making something sound like a swear word or evil, like "Frankenfoods" is so much more effective than facts.

The natural rate of increase of energy use & thus world GNP was stopped about 1970. I assume the “world” energy growth post 2000 is as entirely among the non US/EU countries as the GNP growth has been.
Clear visual evidence of the effect of political Luddism coming to power.

If the graph had continued at the rate of the 1960s rise world energy use would now be double what it was. Had the visibly rising trend continued it is impossible to estimate how much further it would have risen.

There is a virtually 1;1 correlation between energy and GDP growth in a free society.
Electricity production in the UK - Luddism triumphant.

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

UKIP 16%, Conservatives 29% Poll - Can We Get a 7% Swing?

  The mail has a poll

The poll shows Labour on 38 per cent, the Tories on 29, UKIP with 16 and the Lib Dems on 11. Had UKIP remained at 3 per cent, the figures would be enough to give Mr Miliband a wafer-thin Commons majority of ten. However, the haemorrhage of Tory votes to UKIP turns it into a landslide majority of 94.

   I said this on a comment on Daniel Hannan's blog, the commenter I was debating having described Nigel farage as our "achilles heel" having acknowledged that on policy we are far ahead of everybody else:
"Whatever your opinion of Farage I think it is difficult to say he is an Achilles heel and less fitted to be be PM when the alternatives are Cameron. Miliband II & Clegg.
Machaivelli said that the way he judged a "prince" who he did not know was by their advisors. Good leaders chose good ministers & bad ones chose lackeys. By that standard Farage is very good - which I submit, is partly why we have policies which are clearly better than our opponents on most issues.
The problem with Michael Howard's, & David Cameron's, policy on cutting mass imigration is not that it was unpopular but that the electors did not believe it to be true. In that they were quite right since membership of the EU means we cannot prevent mass immigration.
I doubt if UKIP will draw quite as strongly from Labour voters as Tory so a 4 way split would have some effect. However what is clear is that an alliance between UKIP and the Tories, which had the confidence of UKIP voters (& only if it did) would have a clear edge.
The latest Mail poll showing us on 16% & the Tories on 29% suggests that if the Tories lose another 7% to us we will be outpolling them (less if we also continue picking up Lab/Lib supporters) at which point the "splitter" argument will move the other way & we could see a melt down of the Tory party."

   A 7% swing to UKIP seems much more likely now than it was a year ago when UKIP were polling around 9%.

  Another thing worth noting is the LudDims on 11%. We are now sufficiently far ahead of them to be able to look on this relatively good showing with equanimity. It may be that this means they have gained some popularity but I think it is actually a sign that most people think Labour unfit to trust with running the country. In which case if they do get in, on about 1/3rd of the vote, it will be because Cameron prefers a Labour victory (continuing the continuity brown policies of the previous government) to a UKIP/Conservative one (committed to classic liberal principles)and his party don't have the balls to get rid of him.

    And when will the BBC try to be 1% balanced in their coverge (ie giving us 0.55% as much supportive coverage as Cameron) and not more than 99% a corrupt, totalitarian, fascist propaganda organisation?

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