Saturday, 28 November 2015

Paris And Colorado Both Religious Terrorism

A shooting at a family planning clinic in Colorado Springs has left three dead and nine injured.
The clinic, part of the Planned Parenthood group which is the largest single provider of abortion in the US, has been the scene of anti-abortion protests previously by Christian groups and although the motive is unclear, Police suspect this was an attack by an anti-abortionist.
It hasn't been said if the attacker was driven by religious intolerance to abortions but two weeks ago in Paris we saw 192 people killed by people driven by religion and if this turns out to be the act of a madman who saw abortion as against his religious beliefs, then apart from the number now dead, what's the difference?
If Muslims killing people in the name of their God is terrorism, then someone killing people in America in the name of their God is also terrorism.
If Muslims are browbeaten into making an apology because of what a handful of men and women did in Paris then Christians or whatever religion this crackpot did this in the name of should also be forthcoming with apologies, shun the perpetrator and explain how their religion is one of peace.
Paris and Colorado are two sides of the same coin, deaths of innocent people because some fruitcake religious nut who decided they should act in their Gods name.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Science Could Save Us From Global Warming

Back in the 80s, just as the effects of Global Warming was reaching the consciousness of everyone, after scaring us with tales of rising sea levels and increased cancer rates, my science teacher made a claim that our fears will be allayed as 'Science will provide an answer'.     
I don't know what he is doing now but it turned out he got that wrong because science has come up empty handed and the march towards islands disappearing beneath the waves and long queues at the skin cancer hospital ward is almost upon us.
My own misguided belief was that trees would save us as they suck in the CO2 and give off Oxygen and all it would take was for us to realise it and stop tearing down rain forests and plant trees everywhere but again that proved fruitless as trees continued to come crashing down quicker than we can put them up.
A few years later i had a flash of inspiration while listening someone going on about to GM crops and i thought why could we not Genetically Modify trees that took in even more CO2 than standard trees so each 'new' tree would remove 10 times more Carbon Dioxide so we wouldn't need so many trees if 1 can do the job of 10, 10 the job of 100 or 100 the same as 1000.
As i have no idea how to splice a tree to perform it i have had to leave it to people who know about these things and the University of Calgary seem to have finally picked up my idea and although they haven't created Frankenstein trees, they have built a 20ft prototype tower with a fan that sucks air in the bottom, scrubs the CO2 from it and spits out the clean air out the top.
This device is a 1/90,000th scale test system and appears to be working although the cost to make a full scale system seems to be prohibitive. My solution would be to get the countries that have done most to poison the atmosphere stump up for it so it would be asking the likes of China, USA, Russia and India to put their hands in their pockets.
Not a GM tree as such as i envisioned when i was sporting a pony tail and smoking behind the bike sheds instead of learning Calculus but the same principle.
Maybe that Science teacher got it right and science will come through to save the day but i hope wherever he is and whatever he is doing, he has cut out the bad science jokes because there are only so many times you can hear 'I was reading a book about anti-Gravity and i couldn't put it down'.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Church Told To Stick Ad Up Their Wookie

The Church of England has said it is 'bewildered' by the refusal of the country's biggest cinema chains to screen a 60-second advert featuring the Lord's Prayer.
The Church produced the ad which shows Christians from all walks of life reciting one line each of the Lords Prayer in a campaign to promote praying.
The ad was planned to be shown in cinemas from 18 December before the new Star Wars film but the cinemas have refused to show it as they believe it carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences.
Not that it would offend me because i would use that minute to go get some popcorn or visit the ladies but i'm glad the cinemas are refusing to show it.
I don't want religion forced upon me especially when I have paid to watch a film and if the Christians want to hear people saying prayers pop along to one of the many Churches near you, don't try and force it on me and other non-Christians. They moaned their heads off when the Atheists put a poster on a bus.
I also think aiming it at people who would pay to see a Star Wars film is also a bad move, they are probably the sort of people who describe their religious status as 'Jedi Knight' and asked for their ticket in Yoda speak 'For the new star wars film please a ticket' so any reference to Our Father they would assume you meant Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Computer Mouses or Computer Mice?

I was helping the IT guy sort out his cupboard a while ago and i was counting the items and he was writing it down so it was 15 keyboards, 7 mouse mats, 1 packet of out of date Rich Tea biscuits, 2 monitors and then we came to the 10 mouses, which i paused before calling them mice which led to a discussion over whether we say mouses or mice when there are more than one of them. 
To settle it we asked an English teacher who stroked his goatee for a while before cautiously coming down on the side of mouses but mainly to differentiate it from the rodent.
A Google search finds nearly 72 million results for 'computer mice' to only around 360,000 for 'computer mouses' but finally i thought i could get a definitive answer from the Oxford Dictionary which said that both are correct.
Refusing to take such a wishy-washy non-answer i contacted the The Centre for Computing History who have explained that: 'Technically, since 'mouse' is an acronym for 'Manually Operated User Select Equipment' they should be pluralised as 'Mouses'.
Sounds awkward i agree but i'm not going to argue with Computer historians but i will probably continue to call them mice anyway along with 72 million Google users.

Defeating IS Without Going To War

Nobody in their right mind would say that Western adventures in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan has been a success.
Neither could anybody claim that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil as the Paris attacks show but it appears that a large collection of Governments are once again readying their  military to attack another Middle Eastern country.
Heavy aerial bombardment of Raqqa would be fine if the bombs and missiles dropped only took out the bad guys but they don't, bombs and missiles don't discriminate and they take out everyone within radius and in the sixth largest city in Syria, a fair proportion of those killed will be innocent civilians.   
The British Government are bullish that they would likely seek, and gain, parliamentary support to extend the current UK bombing of Islamic State in Iraq to Syria.
My question would be if the two most powerful military nations of USA and Russia have been pounding IS for months in Syria and they are still gaining ground, what would adding the 8 UK bombers available to the attack achieve apart from gaining more hatred towards the West and acting as a recruitment officer for Islamic State who will present itself as Islam under attack from crusaders.
In a joint bulletin recently issued by the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, they warned that while single events will not provoke an immediate response from homegrown extremists: 'we believe these air strikes will contribute to homegrown violent extremists, broader grievances about military intervention in predominantly Muslim lands, possibly motivating Homeland attacks'.
The mood seems to be we need to do something but if air strikes won't make any difference and increases the likelihood of more terrorist attacks in the West, what can we do?
Although IS receives donations, especially from Gulf-based financiers, the bulk of their income comes from oil revenues from the fields it controls in Iraq and Syria. American officials estimated that it was making £2m a day from oil so find out who is buying the oil and slap sanctions on them to stem the flow of money which goes towards buying military equipment.
Diplomatic pressure should also be applied to the Gulf states to push them to clamp down on their citizens funding and supporting IS.
As the overwhelming majority of new recruits are found in the Sunni Muslim branch of Islam, we need to support states with a large Sunni Muslim population such as Bahrain, Jordon, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and deter Sunni's from wanting to join Islamic State. If we can somehow prove (not easy i agree after what we have been doing there) but if we could show the West in a good light and IS as the murderous cancer that they are then they would be less prepared to fight us.   
If we can bleed them of financial support, cease the recruitment and show the Middle East that we have their interests and not just protecting their oil in our minds, we may not be able to wind back the clock to put right the many wrongs of the West in the Bush and Blair years, but we may be able to avoid adding fuel to the fire and making things a whole lot worse over there as well as over here.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Charlie Sheen

Following his 'Tiger Blood' and 'DNA of an Adonis' breakdown in 2011, Charlie Sheen received some sympathy but as we know find out that the breakdown was caused by his diagnosis of HIV, and that he carried on having sex even after he found out, any sympathy has long left the building.
The actor says that he doesn’t know how he got the virus but says it is impossible that he infected anyone since, although many of his sexual partners refute his claim that he told them about his HIV status.
He seems particularly annoyed that someone betrayed his trust and was blackmailing which seems to show that he didn't reveal his illness out of some concern for his future partners or to draw attention and be an unfortunate spokesman for HIV sufferers but simply because he felt forced to make the announcement before someone else did it for him.
The best thing he could do is use his new platform to show how it is possible to live a full life with HIV although this will never remedy the fact that he had a killer disease and knowingly continued
to risk other people with the same fate for which he should be facing a prison cell.

Celebrities Accepting Honourary Degrees

It's about this time of year that the people who decide these things start finalising the New Years Honours list as hundreds of celebrities prepare to receive their OBE's MBE's and Knighthoods.
Why these honours are dished out to actors, singers, musicians and successful businessmen who have spent their lives doing what they want to do and being paid extremely well for doing it i have never really understood.
Even worse but along the same theme is the University Honourary Degree system where Degrees are handed to people outside of academia which really does stick in my craw.
I do understand the 'celebrity splash at the graduation ceremony' angle but what a slap in the face to those poor students who spend years paying extortionate tuition fees, studying all hours for years, the anxiety of exams often in a state of near poverty only to see someone who has done any of these things swan in and pick up the same award as you.
Graduates pay dearly for their degrees, both financially and mentally and it cheapens the achievement when universities hand out degrees and even more when the celebrity then uses the honourary title given to them and put Doctor in front of their name. 
I strongly dislike the Honours List, the British Empire part of it especially, but I fundamentally disagree with the practise of handing out Honourary Degrees to celebrities. If they want a degree that bad then they should go to university, put in the years of study and earn it.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Government Advice

The Government has published advice on what we should do in the event of a firearms or weapons attack in a public place, run.
That's good to know because we may have tried to engage them in meaningful dialogue but if the Government says just beat it the hell out of there, i would go with that.
They also advise that if running isn't an option, hide behind a heavily reinforced wall as as bullets can go through brick, glass, wood and metal. Lock any doors and silence your mobile phone.
With the running part, i assume you adopt a zig-zag style run until you find a heavily reinforced wall whatever one of those looks like.
The bottom line is leg it and keep legging it until you can't hear the gun fire anymore.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


John Kerry is once again on this side of the Atlantic and he is bringing a message of hope after the horrors of Paris and the downed Russian plane in Egypt.
He believes a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebels fighting to bring it down could be weeks away and then the guns of all sides can be thrown against Islamic State.
Saudi Arabia is to host a meeting of Syrian opposition figures in December, at which they are to agree on a delegation to send to talks with representatives from President Bashar al Assad's government.
The elephant in the room though was the sight of John Kerry's face and what has happened to it.
To be fair he was never a looker and the comparison with Lurch from the Adams Family was always harsh but fair but something seems to have gone very wrong.
It is rumoured that he is a keen recipient of botox injections and plastic surgery but someone needs to take him to one side and tell him he really should ease up a bit because it isn't doing him any favours in the looks department.
Great news that the Syrian conflict may be coming towards the end game though.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Islamic State The West's Monster

During the 1970s, Communism and the Soviet Union was the biggest threat to America and radical Islam was not a concern of the USA. Under the Jimmy Carter administration the USA began funding and training Islamic militants to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
These militants who named themselves the Mujaheddin, were the Americans foot soldiers in a proxy war against the Soviets and received American funds and training towards this goal. 
After Ronald Reagan was elected in 1981, U.S. funding of the Mujaheddin increased significantly and CIA Officers played a big role in training and arming Mujaheddin forces and one of their prominent members was a wealthy son of a Saudi Arabian businessman named Osama Bin Laden.
Bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organisation known as Maktab al-Khidamar – the MAK – which funnelled funds, weapons and recruits to the Mujaheddin.
Some of that money went towards new madrases where students were radicalised and encouraged to join the Afghan resistance.
The 9/11 Commission report released in 2004 said these madrases served as 'incubators for violent extremism'.
After 10 years of war the Soviets withdrew and so did American support and funding to leave behind a broken and wrecked country which was already one of the poorest in the World before the decade of conflict.
Feeling aggrieved and betrayed that they would not be helped to rebuild their country after their sacrifices doing America's dirty work, the Mujaheddin turned on their former backers and rebranded themselves as Al Queada and became a worldwide recruiting movement for 'Holy warriors' and spread a doctrine against the West but especially America, financed by Osama bin Laden.
Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, said that Al Quaeda was 'unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies' and 'a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies'.
A lengthy list of terrorist acts followed and in 2001 Al Queada operatives crashed four planes into America killing 2,753 with the result being the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 with one of the justifications in destroying Al Queada's base.
Quickly the American focus moved away from Afghanistan and onto Iraq on the pretext of WMD's which led to an invasion and removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
With Saddam removed the US President, George W Bush, announced 'mission accomplished' and began to withdraw US troops from Iraq leaving a void which Al Queada stepped into and where they remained driving car bombs and suicide missions against the Iraqi's. 
The remnants of the Afghanistan Al-Queada were joined by other terror organisations in the region and underwent another rebranding as Al-Quaeda in Iraq (AQI).
With the stirrings of revolution in neighbouring Syria, AQI become Islamic State and refocused its efforts on Syria.
Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband concluded that the 2003 invasion of Iraq caused the creation of Islamic State, an argument that one of the architects of the Iraq invasion, Tony Blair, agreed with last month.
Rather embarrassingly, the United States and the West were arming and funding some of the Syrian rebels who turned out to be affiliated to Islamic State and who took the Western donated weapons and overrun large swathes of Iraq as well as Syria.
Now Islamic State appear to be spreading out beyond the Syria and Iraqi field of operations and from the Mujaheddin through Al Queada to Al Queada in Iraq and now Islamic State, it is a monster of our own making and once again it is the innocent civilians suffering the blow-back from the series of monumental errors from our leaders and the murderous, demented bastards intent on bringing death in the name of their God wherever they can.