Monday, 30 September 2013

Obama Meeting Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is feeling a bit uncomfortable today as he watches his best friend and best enemy flirting with each other.
If politicians were to tell the truth then someone would say to Netanyahu that his is a complete arse and his country a nasty little place that has been murderously oppressing its smaller and weaker neighbour for over 60 years but instead what we get will the Israeli trying to tell America that Iran is hoodwinking them.
The Prime Minister will meet the US President during the week as he arrives in America for a speech at the United Nations, hopefully another drawing by a four year old tucked under his arm like lasts years bizarre 'bomb' effort.
Netanyahu, as always, is keen to attack another one of his neighbours and wants America to help him but the new Iranian leader, Hassan Rouhani, has been on a charm offensive and a thawing of relations between the US and Iran.
Tehran maintains that it is not developing a nuclear weapon and insists there is no weapons programme but Netanyahu will try to persuade Obama otherwise but he will have to be tactful, Israel has rapidly run out of friends internationally and it is no secret that Obama doesn't much care for the Israeli leader and if America decides that Israel is more trouble than its worth, Netyanhu and his country will be hanging out to dry and there is a lot of wind out there. 
I'm sure Obama could find a kindergarten pupil in New York to draw Netanyhau a picture of it.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Maryland, How Mad Are You?

I don't know why i keep coming back to America's gun laws, it has nothing to do with me and there is a whole Ocean between me and the millions of wannabe Yosemite Sam's running around over there but i have a strange fascination along the lines of 'HOW MAD ARE YOU' which means i return to the subject again and again.
This time, the 'HOW MAD ARE YOU' is aimed at the people who make the rules in Maryland who have bought in a new law aimed at keeping firearms away from criminals and the mentally ill. 
Very good you may think, only the new laws were proposed in January in the aftermath of the shooting in Newtown in which 20 children and six adults were killed but doesn't come into effect until Tuesday.
With nine months notice, gun sellers in Maryland have reported guns being sold in record numbers and any purchased by Tuesday, the owner will be able to keep them.
'There's never been this kind of increase' said state police spokesman Greg Shipley. He said people have been applying for guns at the rate of about 1,000 a day over the past two weeks.
Who do you think, has been so keen to get their greasy mitts on a gun before Tuesday, those that will not be allowed to buy them on Wednesday, the mentally ill and criminals.
Instead of Maryland saying these weapons are banned for you guys from NOW, they gave them plenty of advance notice so the people who they are afraid are most likely to shoot up another school of young children could stock up first.
So how mad? Very mad indeed but great horny toads you got to love that second amendment, that varmint has been allowing Americans to shoot each other since 1791.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Earth Flag

Looking at the moon the other night, i was struck with the thought 'Does anyone own the moon'?
I did find that there is an 'Outer Space Treaty' which says nobody can lay claim to it as it is for all of mankind and nobody is allowed to put any weapons on it or testing weapons of any kind, conduct military manoeuvres or establish a military base on it or any other celestial body either.
There are a few American flags on it but as the Moon is 'for mankind', why didn't the Americans use something more representative of our planet and then i realised we don't have an Earth flag.
Does seem a bit of a oversight, especially as we are starting to creep outside of our own sphere and onto other planets and sticking flags in things is what we humans have always done.
Apparently there have been a few moves to agree to a 'Earth Flag' but none have really gained any traction so we are still flagless.
The obvious choice would be the Olympic or UN flag's but there are a few others that have gained recognition but my favourite would be the effort by James W. Cadle who designed the above in 1970. The blue circle representing Earth in the centre with a segment of a large yellow circle representing the sun and a small white circle for the moon, all on a black background has been adopted by SETI and is as close as we have to a 'Earth Flag'.
Maybe next time when China. America or the Russians land on the Moon or Mars or some other rock outside our atmosphere, we can plant the Earth Flag and not the flag of any individual country.

Over To The Politicians To Act On Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have spoken and the 900 environmental and climate scientists involved in writing the paper agree with 95% certainty that human activity is responsible for global warming.
The projections are that by the end of the century the planet will be between 1.5C and 4.5C warmer which means the atmosphere stores more energy and moisture resulting in more weather extremes such as devastating heatwaves, droughts, floods and hurricanes.
Sea levels would also rise by almost a metre as glaciers melt and ice caps retreat threatening low lying countries and eroding coastlines.
It even answered the sceptics point that global surface temperatures haven't risen since 1998 but explaining that this is only a temporary pause as Ocean currents have absorbed some of the extra heat but this will reverse at some point.
So it is a united message from scientists, the people who have studied and know about these things and now it's now over to the politicians to provide global action for a global problem.
Some governments have been notoriously slow to act, unwilling to move on the climate changing as it's a message voters and backers with deep pockets and a stake in things carrying on as before do not want to hear.
Hopefully the penny will begin to drop that continuing to delay any action today will only mean greater cost later so they HAVE to lift their heads out of the sand and do something because it may be too late to stop the climate changing to alarming lengths, that ship has sailed, but we can prevent it be worse than it could otherwise be.

Friday, 27 September 2013

How To Sell Wars To The Public

It isn't easy selling a war so the MOD have come up with the idea of using more mercenaries, unmanned vehicles and elite forces because we don't mind when they die, it's the death of the regular soldier that rile us apparently.
The Ministry of Defence have been mulling over how to sway public opinion when our Government decides to have a bit of war and also hit upon the idea of lessening the public profile of repatriation ceremonies for war dead and taking a 'they knew what they were getting themselves into when they signed up' approach.
I didn't see the recommendation that the UK and USA just leave other countries alone which would be the best option wouldn't it? We haven't been genuinely in any danger of being attacked by another country since the 1940's, yet we have been involved in 24 wars and conflicts since 1945.
Maybe a suggestion is to change the name to Ministry of Attack because that is a better description.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mental Patient Halloween Costume Removed

When i first heard about the Asda 'Mental Patient Halloween Costume' i thought who the hell thought this was a good idea and i hope someone kicks up a stink about it and Asda issue a grovelling apology and withdraw it.
Next time i hear about it they have done exactly that but with the grovelling apology they handed over £25,000 to a mental Health Charity.
If i had know i was on such a roll i would have also hoped that Rod Stewart would announce his retirement but i will settle for a supermarket chain being shown as tasteless.  
What i didn't expect was some people to take the opposite view from me and see no problem with it and moaning about how the PC Brigade have no sense of humour for getting the costumes removed.
It was not the costume itself that i and my humourless and whinging PC Brigade pals found offensive but the name 'Mental Patient'.
There is much stigma about mental health issues and to depict those with these issues as potential axe wielding maniacs isn't just unhelpful but trivialises their mental health issues which isn't a good thing.
Would the same people who argue that it was just a bit of a joke be okay if instead of a mental patient it was an AIDs patient or a Cancer victim? What's up with that? They're illness's too aren't they? Where's your sense of humour gone?
Being treated this way by the big companies is precisely the reason those unfortunate enough to to have a spell in a mental health hospital won't be keen to make it common knowledge.
Hopefully having humour a bit of humour over mental health issues will go the same way as mocking someone for their sex, religion or colour although while things like this Golliwog Costume are being sold i do wonder.
I also wonder why Amazon is not being inundated with complaints about it.

Rouhani Poses The Right Question

Compared to the last guy, new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani comes across as the reasonable sort and he has made a good start with the offer to normalise relations with those who would like to see a large smouldering hole where his country used to be.
With Syria dominating the news from that region, Iran's nuclear ambitions have been removed from the front page for now but speaking at the UN General Assembly, President Rouhani called for a world disarmament conference to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
'As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat of their use exists' Rouhani said before calling for a 'nuclear-free zone" in the Middle East' and then saying what everybody thinks, including Israel.
Rouhani said that Israel was the only country in the region that had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and earlier Arab states had even proposed a non-binding resolution to the IAEA calling for Israel to join the NPT and submit its nuclear facilities to IAEA monitoring.
Obviously a few member states voted it down the resolution, the United States bizarrely saying the move would endanger efforts to create a Middle Zone free of weapons of mass destruction.
In some strange American Universe, getting rid of WMD's makes it harder to get rid of WMD's but it was obvious America would spit the dummy out and splutter on its doughnuts at any mention of Israel ridding itself of its weapons of mass destruction so Rouhani called for a conference to create a zone free of nuclear weapons or any WMD weapons in the Middle East without delay. All countries, he said, should participate in the conference.
Israel is believed to possess as many as 400 nuclear weapons so it is perfectly legitimate for Rouhani to call for Israel to give up its weapons if he is being asked to do it although there is no evidence whatsoever he has them or is trying to acquire them.
Of course America will protect its friend just as Russia stands by Syria and once again you come away thinking what a crock of....the United Nations needs overhauling and starting again so the big guys cannot stick by the little guys that cause so much of the mayhem in the region.

Climate Sceptics Winning The Argument?

As the IPCC prepare to release a report tomorrow strengthening their claim in the last report in 2007 that climate change is threatening us all, the sceptics are out in force claim they are 'winning' the argument.
They say a slowing of temperature rises in the past 15 years means the threat from climate change is exaggerated at best and false at worst.
The sceptics believe that this slowdown is solid evidence that the 99% of environmental specialists from around the Globe are wrong and they have been are right all along.
The panel's last report said temperatures were likely to rise within the range of 2C to 4.5C with a best estimate of 3C. while the new report is believed to indicate a range of 1.5C to 4.5C with no best estimate indicated.
Having a brain in my head, i take my opinion from the people who know so let's ask Prof van Ypersele, a Belgian Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences with a doctorate in climatology and Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with over 30 years experience of studying what goes on above our heads.
'What the sceptics say is either wishful thinking or totally dishonest'. Thank you Prof van Ypersele, carry on.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tories Defend Bankers Bonus

Interesting on the day after Ed Milliband says Labour will do something about the utility companies ripping us off while they rake in obscene profits, the Conservatives have lodged a legal complaint over the European Union's proposed cap on bank bonuses.
Gideon Osbourne is putting the case that capping how much a banker can earn will undermine the objective of creating stronger and safer banks.
The left sticking up for the poor and being labelled disgraceful by the right for standing up for consumers and then the next day the Conservative Party are standing up for their friends and donors in the banking sector by trying to block any action on banking bonuses.
I'm yet to be convinced by Ed Milliband, saying he will reverse the dreadful privatisation plans for the Post Office would help, but can we please can we fast forward to the general election and kick out the nasty party before they do irreparable damage to our country.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Comet ISON

Scientists can't decide if it's going to be among the most spectacular astronomical events of the century or a disappointing dud but whatever happens, Comet ISON is on its way.
Presently passing Jupiter, the comet is on course to swing around the Sun in November and there is where the scientific community differ on what comes next.
If the comet survives it could emerge glowing as brightly as the Moon in our night sky during late December or, as others suspect, it could be pulled apart by the forces of our Star even before it makes it close to our neighbourhood. 
Don Yeomans of NASA Near-Earth Object Program is erring on the side of caution remembering the last time the promise of a comet so bright it could be seen during the day and how that particular dirty snowball, comet Kohoutek, failed to live up to it's promise and warning: 'Comets are notoriously unpredictable. Comet ISON has the potential to live up to the hype, but it also has the potential to do nothing'.
The closets point to Earth is pencilled in for December 26th but i would wait until closer to the time before planning Boxing Day Evening freezing in a field in case the Sun robs us of the astronomical wonder.

American Exceptionalism Myth

Just when you think Obama has sunk as low as he can go, he finds another level only this time he is trying to play up what he calls 'American Exceptionalism' and the rest of us call plain 'Arrogance'.
In a display of outrageous smugness as he spoke at the United Nations, Obama defended the idea of American exceptionalism and its role in international affairs and even went as far to say that U.S. military power was a necessary good in the world.
He attempted to put forward the obnoxious view that despite more than a decade of war which has left hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan,the U.S. should continue to use its military strength to defend its interests around the globe.
In his speech, Obama said: 'The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, The danger is the US may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill. I believe such disengagement would be a mistake. I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree. But I believe America is exceptional'.
As one of the most hated countries in the World, second only to Israel who America sponsors, you do wonder if Obama doesn't know, doesn't care or has no shame that he is putting his country above everyone else so if the US really is exceptional, how did the rest of us not see that?
We do sometimes see its exceptional arrogance and then wonders stand bemused when Americans wonder why they foster such resentment as a meddler in other countries' affairs and are not worshipped as the saviour that it's perception of itself is.
If Obama, or anyone, wants to obnoxiously claim the prize for the Greatest Country on Earth, they had better make sure they don't have a long list of reasons why nobody agrees with them...such as Iraq, Spying, Torture, Afghanistan, Worlds biggest polluters, nuclear bombs dropped, drones, Guantanamo Bay, highest world incarceration rate, depleted uranium, high school shootings, extraordinary rendition, over 1000 foreign military bases, history of destabilising governments, capital punishment...etc etc until the penny drops.

Horrific Weekend Of Killing

This weekend Peshwar in Pakistan, Sadr City in Iraq and Nairobi in Kenya all shared a gruesome link as terrorism came to town.
In Peshwar, Christians were targeted by a bomb attack that killed 80 while in Sadr City a triple bomb attack on Shiite mourners at a funeral claimed 65 lives.
Both were relegated to 'in other news' as the cameras turned on a shopping complex in Nairobi after Somalian terrorists threw grenades and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff, killing at least 69 people and a further 63 still missing.
The images of terrified people, blood and smoke in the three different countries filled our television screens this weekend and shamefully it has been announced that British citizens were among those doing the killing in Kenya.
A decade of the War on Terror, it seems, has done little to stem the flow of people willing to kill, and be killed for whatever deluded cause they think they are doing it for.
A needless, sad loss of life of over 200 innocent people in a single, horrific weekend

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dr Sleep

As The Stephen King book 'Under The Dome' is presently on Television i don't want to give away the ending to anyone who hasn't read the book but the TV series has deviated so far from the book anyway that i'm not sure that it will end the same way but if it does, i wonder if many people will think WTF as i did when i put read the final page.
My problem with Stephen King is that his books have become so bloated that they can become a slog to get through, it is not often since about 2000 that i haven't finished a King novel and thought that it could have been cut by at least a third.
He does have some great ideas but seems to spin them out to 700 plus pages so my heart lifts when i see a new Stephen King book and sinks when i see the size of it and know that it is going to be 350 great, exciting pages and 350 pages of laboured reading interspersed between the good bits.
King has written 55 novels, and his 56th 'Doctor Sleep', harks back to Danny, the kid in Shining which was one of Kings high spots along with The Stand, Carrie, Needful Things, Cujo, Christine, Dolores Clairborne, Green Mile, Insomnia, IT, Misery, Pet Cemetery and 11/22/63 
I just hope it doesn't come for the same place as 'Dome' and start off great, twirl around in circles not particularly going anywhere in the middle and run out of steam at the end so it seems he was keen to finish it and start on another one which is how it very much came across to me. 
That said there is always just enough in a Stephen King novel to draw me back to the next one so even if Dr Sleep, a book he calls 'a return to balls to the wall, keep the lights on horror', turns out to be a stinker like Dreamcatcher or Bag of Bones, i know i will still be back the next time because when King is good, he is very, very good.

Is The Pope Catholic?

Catholic people are normally dependable in that their views are set out for them and they just follow them slavishly so a priest tells them they hate gays, abortion is wrong, women should not become Priests and unless you devote yourself to God, you have a snowball in hells chance of getting through the Pearly gates.
Then, along comes a new Pope and he sends their head spinning by not hating gays, saying the Church needs more women involved, divorce is okay, abortion is a decision for the mother not the Church and Atheists can get into Heaven as God would forgive their unbelief.
Once upon a time you knew where Catholics stood on their beliefs, circa 1450, but along comes the new Pope and changes everything. I know bears still go in the woods but is the pope actually Catholic?
The cynic inside me loudly shouts that as more people are well educated today, a Pope has finally cottoned on that religion is increasingly obsolete and irrelevant today.
A Pope may finally have realised that the religious money spinner is going the way of the dodo and they can ill afford to such a large swathe of society such as women, gays and Atheists so they have done what religion has always done and shifted the goalposts so what was once the unmovable pillars of the Church are now acceptable.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The End Of Blackberry

The people in the know all said that the new Blackberry phone, the Z10 model, was the last ditch final attempt by Blackberry to save itself. With news today that it is to shed 40% of its workforce, 4500 jobs, it would be fair to say that it hasn't.
With anticipated a losses of as much as £621m, the gig looks up for Blackberry and as a Blackberry Curve owner who has had no end of problems with it over the last two years, i cant say i'm surprised.
Fact is the Blackberry is quite a decent phone when it works, but it did stop working a lot and it doesn't have the apps of other phones and as my 24 month deal is up in January, i have been looking around at what to replace it with.
Obviously Android but as i have been tentatively looking around the phone shops, i have noticed that phones are so big now.
Size-wise, the Blackberry was perfect but it seems there is hardly a smart phone the same size anymore, they are all at least twice as big which i don't particularly like, i am old enough to remember mobile phones when they first arrived and the size of them was something we laugh about now yet we seem to have gone back to those days. 
I expect it is to accommodate video playback and for that a larger screen is preferable but the phones i have been shown by eager salespeople, the Samsung S4 especially, seems way too big and way too light and flimsy.
I have until January to decide but finding a phone Blackberry size, with a qwerty keyboard that isn't touchscreen, Android operating system that has all the capabilities of the latest smart phone isn't going to be easy.
While i feel sorry for all the people who have lost their jobs, Blackberry do seem to have come crashing down to earth from great height from dominating the smart phone market a few short years ago.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Erm...John

You do have to feel a bit sorry for John McCain. When the New York Times published an opinion piece on Syria by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, McCain said in a TV interview that he'd 'like to have the chance to have a commentary in Pravda!'
Nobody bothered to tell the Senator that actually, the newspaper doesn't exist any more as Pravda was shut down in 1991 by Boris Yeltsin so when the editors of Pravda said they would be happy to consider an op-ed submission by him, McCain began scribbling.     
When asked which Pravda he was writing for McCain replied: 'I hope it's Pravda the Communist publication' but turned out to a website which had named itself after the defunct Communist newspaper and not affiliated to the Communist Party at all.
The pro-war Americans really are having a torrid time over Syria but they are confident they will get the warthey want as John McCain explains in his hard hitting opinion piece in this terms St Johns Primary School's newsletter.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Human Evolution

The way we are going there won't be any humans left in 100,000 years but if there are, this is what the evolutionary process is going to make us look like according to Dr Alan Kwan, a professor in genomics from Washington University.
Changes in the air and light quality will lead to adjustments in our facial structure to develop bug eyes, huge foreheads and pigmented skin.
According to Kwan the obvious evolutionary changes will be a larger head to accommodate ever-expanding brains and our eyes will grow and due to increased UV radiation our skin will become more pigmented.
Don't fancy yours much.

Cleanliness Not Next To Godliness

Holy water at religious shrines and churches in Austria is often contaminated with fecal matter and bacteria, researchers have found. Only 14% of the water samples from holy sources showed no fecal contamination.
Religion, it appears, is hazardous to health in more ways than one.
What would Jesus do? Not drink the water that's for sure.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

When Economic Systems Collapse

With hindsight, it wasn't that much of a surprise when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Communism was just too expensive to maintain so it fell over dramatically.
Now, there are signs that America is following in exactly the same footsteps that the Soviets trod just over two decades ago.
Where the Soviets were faced with long running wars and with a large, well equipped military to finance, America has been in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade costing an estimated $6 billion.
Where the Soviets exported their ideology around the globe, dragging many down with it when it collapsed, America dragged down most of the Globe when its financial sector were caught short.
Where Russia bankrolled many of its satellites, America pays out billions in 'bribes' of various flavours to countries to protect it's interests.     
When the Soviets pulled the plug, the debt to GDP was 20% of GDP which they found unsustainable, Americas debt to GDP today stands at 104% and continue to plough on the same path regardless.
Where the Soviets had large scale public housing so residents were not made homeless when it all fell over, American homes are largely owned by banks and corporations. In 2012, the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report shows a total of 2,304,941 foreclosure filings.
Where the employment in the Soviet Union was predominantly public, in the USA it's widely private so when the economy shrinks, mass unemployment follows. Medicine in the USSR was public with free basic care where in the States you get the medical care you can afford.
The Soviets were self sufficient in energy and exported the surplus and subsidised the fuel costs to make bills affordable where America import 60% of their energy and is privately owned.
I'm not saying things were better under Communism, there were plenty of minuses but America has gone far past the place the Soviets were when they cut their losses and changed track and with the Soviet State bearing much of the brunt of the collapse, the effect on the Soviet public was cushioned to a degree.
The America Government, trillions in the hole and seemingly unable and unwilling to change course, if and when it does collapse, and history shows that all superpowers collapse at some point, will be devastating on an unprecedented scale for America, it's allies and have far reaching consequences for anyone who have their flag tied to the American mast as for those who lived under the old Soviet hammer and sickle.       

Is The UN Working?

I can't decide if the United Nations is working or not, whether it needs to be scrapped and started again or left as it is.
We presently have five nations having a veto who can scrap anything the other 192 countries decide should happen and that is surely not very democratic, one country able to defy the will of all the others.
As with Russia who will defend its friend Syria, we have America who will hear no criticism of Israel and as we are seeing now and in the recent past with Iraq, if a country wants a war and the United Nations say no, they just ignore it anyway. 
The last 67 years of United Nations existence has just been the big five, UK, USA, Russia, China and France, pursuing their own interests. The Russians have thrown down its veto 123 times, the US 83, UK 43, France 18 and the Chinese have wielded their veto 6 times.
With the exception of Israel, the United States and United Kingdom have probably been the greatest warmongers of the past 60 years as well as the greatest arms exporters but somehow are they are most responsible for upholding global peace.
But now, as the veto powers of two permanent members (Russia and China) obstruct its attempt to pour petrol on another Middle Eastern fire, the US, UK and France are worried about the future of the United Nations because they object to the fact that it is working as it was planned to, with two nations able to pull the rug out from under their plans to do what they want.
That's where my confusion comes in, during the build up to Iraq, permanent member France whipped out the veto and stopped the US and UK the fig leaf of legitimacy and although they went ahead and invaded anyway, it did not have UN backing and was illegal.
Now China and Russia are standing in the way of Obama's, Cameron's and Hollande's plans and if they satisfy that itch and go and strike at Syria anyway, again it is illegal as it has no UN backing.
Therefore, the UN is doing its job, stopping aggression and making any subsequent military action therefore illegal.
The problem seems to be that once the UN has been defied, there is no sanction against the countries attacking another one without the UN say-so so the problem isn't with the United Nations but the lack of punishment for defying it.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Fukushima Still Polluting

The problem with nuclear power is that when it goes wrong, it goes very wrong as the Japanese are finding out with after the problems in Fukushima.
More than two years after the meltdown at the nuclear power plant, the fallout is still on-going with leaks at the holding bays leaking radiation contaminated water being leaked into the Pacific and heading towards the Western coast of North America as well as polluting the groundwater in the area around the power plant.
Towns within a 20km radius of Fukushima are still off-limits, the 160,000 Fukushima refugees living in make-shift shacks, and experts are predicting that the radioactive water will continue to slowly cross the Pacific to hit the shores of the United States and Canada until 2025.
The levels of radiation in three of the plants buildings are so high that no human can enter or get close to the cores therefore making it impossible to remove these cores for hundreds of years, if ever.
Unfortunatley, the danger to human life will be downplayed, just as it was when the leaks were initially discovered when it was reported levels of around 100 milliSieverts in the leaking water before admitting that actually it was 18 times higher.
They now plan to create an ice wall to freeze the water and stop it leaking into the Ocean but that will take years to plan and execute according to experts and the contaminated water, enough to fill 130 Olympic sized swimming pools, will have to be moved from there present place in the leaking tanks with all the inherent problems that entails.
Nuclear power, the gift that just keeps giving and with 436 nuclear power stations in operation around the World and 73 more in the process of being built, it will keep giving for some time yet. You just not much like what it is offering.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nuclear Accident Waiting To Happen

The anti-nuclear weapon brigade always make the same arguments about Britain maintaining a nuclear arsenal, mostly that they are very expensive and outdated as the biggest threats we use are not other countries but terrorists who nuclear missiles are useless against.
What is never considered is the threat that just having them around us poses to us as an article in the Guardian newspaper highlighted today.
A 1970 study by one of America's nuclear weapon laboratories stated that at least 1,200 weapons were involved in accidents in America between 1950 and 1968.
The most dangerous both happened in 1980, the first happened when one of the engines on a B-52 bomber caught fire while carrying four hydrogen bombs and eight short-range missiles with nuclear warheads. A strong wind kept the flames away from the weapons and a fireman climbed into the burning plane, put out the fire, and averted a disaster.
Days later a technician dropped a tool in the silo of an intercontinental ballistic missile, struck the side of the missile, pierced the skin and caused a fuel leak. The missile exploded but the warhead failed to detonate.
A 1992 a report by the Ministry of Defence, claimed that 19 accidents had occurred with British weapons between 1960 and 1991.
These accidents included an American B-47 bomber veering off the runway and slammed into a storage igloo containing Mark 6 atomic bombs. The aircraft careered through the igloo and exploded just beyond the igloo bank which was described as a miracle by bomb disposal officers.
Another bad accident occurred in 1961 when the under-wing fuel tanks of a US F-100D fighter were accidentally jettisoned when the pilot started the engines. The fuel tanks hit the runway and ruptured, igniting fuel and engulfing in flames the hydrogen bomb mounted beneath the plane. Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire before the bomb was badly damaged.
The worst accident to occur during the handling of nuclear weapons in the UK happened in 1987, when an RAF truck carrying two hydrogen bombs swerved and went off the road and skidded on to its side. An RAF truck behind it, carrying another two bombs, went off the road, too.
The closest we have come to blowing ourselves up came in 1962 when the two retrorockets on a missile suddenly fired while undergoing a routine check. After a suitable amount of time, the workers returned to find that the missile's nose cone, containing the warhead, had miraculously not been dislodged.
Maybe the CND should be making the argument that keeping our nuclear weapon deterrent around is more dangerous to our own health than to than of Russia or North Korea.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

To Majority Of Americans, Obama As Bad As Bush

Considering that Barack Obama was meant to herald a new era for America after the efforts of George W Bush to put Americas global reputation in the dustbin, he hasn't been a roaring success.
This week a Reason-Rupe poll suggested that almost two thirds of Americans, 64%, consider Obama’s handling of foreign policy is either equal to or worse than that of his predecessor. Bush, kick-started wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq during his eight years in the White House and Obama has one war to his name so far, in Libya, two that are still ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and trying his best in recent weeks to start up another one in Syria.
The poll also reveals that 74 % of Americans say it would be 'unwise' for the United States to launch airstrikes on Syria. Foreign policy aside, the Obama administration isn’t winning much support among Americans either, 61% said they believe the US is heading in 'the wrong direction' and 43% gave him a vote of no confidence, stating they disapprove of Obama’s overall job performance.
Obama must be thinking it really wasn't meant to be like this, he was the anti-Bush and has ended up being considered by two thirds of his citizens as just as much as a liability.

Matthew 19:23


Jesus was no fan of Capitalism, saying to his disciples: 'Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven' and then went off on a tangent about to desert animals and needles but the underlying theme is that if you are a Capitalist, God and Jesus hates you so with this in mind, one of the leading anti-capitalists to emerge in Europe is a nun.
Sister Teresa Forcades has become the unofficial head of the anti-capitalist movement with her calls to reverse public spending cuts and nationalisation of banks and energy companies.
As tens of thousands have joined her campaign to rid the World of Capitalism, she has developed a 10 point plan which includes:
• A government takeover of all banks and measures to curb financial speculation
• An end to job cuts, fairer wages and pensions, shorter working hours
• Genuine "participatory democracy" and steps to curb political corruption
• Decent housing for all
• A reversal of public spending cuts, and renationalisation of all public services

To further establish her lefty credentials, she is calling for women priests, that gay people should be allowed to serve openly in the church, a woman's right to decide over abortion, Green economic policies and the abandonment of NATO and the abolition of armed forces.
She has set up a Youtube channel where she very politely rages against capitalism
The anti-capitalist movement needs someone to rally behind and very surprised it's a nun considering the majority of lefties are atheists which causes some confusion but now she is gaining a degree of popularity, i'm sure she will be silenced fairly quickly by the Catholic Church, the VERY rich Catholic Church.
The left have polite, eloquent Nuns why the right have the tax dodging Nigel Farage and i know which i would prefer, Sister Forcades for Pope as Jesus would say!!

Friday, 13 September 2013

End Of The World As We Know It

Finally, someone is looking into the threat of computers becoming self-aware and enslaving us all a they take over the World. What took them so long?
Experts from Cambridge University say they now plan to work with colleagues at Oxford to come up with a complete list of doomsday risks, and to enhance our chances of survival against the more credible ones.
The boffins think the demise of the human race will come from either asteroid impact, extreme weather, war, nuclear apocalypse, pandemic, cyberattacks, computers, a man-made supervirus or a food supply sabotage.
"In future decades, events with low probability but catastrophic consequences may loom high on the political agenda," Lord Rees told the British Science Festival and said the threat from out-of-control climate change and cyber or bio-terrorism was by far the most dangerous.
My money would be on cyberattacks bringing down the global infrastructure or war if the robots don't get us first but we are all doomed however it comes.
Have a nice day. 

John 'Munster' Kerry

We have seen a lot of John Kerry on our television screens lately, always a pleasure, and although i can't put my finger on it, he somehow looks different.
I mentioned it to a colleague and she floated the idea of botox but his face doesn't look particularly more taut than before so i don't think it's that.
He still has the impressively massive chin so he hasn't had a surgeon chisel anything off his jaw and his hair is exactly the same style, that can sometimes change a persons appearance and he hasn't been off the scene that long
that he has naturally aged enough to alter his appearance since the last time we saw him. One wag suggested its the result of him falling flat on his face every time Putin pulls the rug out from under him but i think he has put on a few pounds.
He is married to one of the Heinz family and there cannot be a lack of free baked beans knocking around his place so that's it, he has piled on the pounds due to eating all those baked beans.
Alternatively, the pained facial expression could be a much more whiffier reason due to eating all those baked beans.
Whatever it is, he does remind me of Herman Munster now.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Third Of All Food Thrown Away

About 21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations, that's one person every 4 seconds so today's UN report that a third of all food produced globally remains uneaten and gets thrown away is even more galling.
A total of 1.3 billion tons of food a year, worth $750 billion, is thrown away, emitting 3.3 billion tons of
carbon dioxide, according to data collected by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. 
"We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practises, when 870 million people go hungry every day," says the FAO’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva.
In the industrialised nations most of the blame for food ending up in the rubbish bin lies with consumers buying more than they actually need, while in the developing world it’s mostly bad agricultural techniques which result in the harvest not reaching the people.
Wasted food production also takes up 250 cubic kilometres of water each year. The water waste thus is equivalent to the annual water discharge of the Volga River, or is three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
Something had gone horribly wrong when some people die through lack of food and others are throwing food away because they have too much of it.

US Move Goalposts To Attack Syria

Initially, America wanted to resort to military action as a punishment for a chemical attack by Syria, an attack they have presented precious little proof was conducted by Assad forces.
Foiled by a lack of appetite from the major International players for another Middle East conflict and a UN veto by China and Russia, the Americans struggled to get the backing for their military action but now the reasons for wanting to fire missiles at Syria have changed and it has become about Syria's Chemical weapons and Assad handing over information regarding his Chemical weapon stash.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has rejected Syria's pledge to hand over information on its chemical weapons in 30 days, saying 'the words of the Syrian regime in our judgement are simply not enough' and warning that the US could still launch a military strike if Syria's President Bashar al Assad reneged on his promises.
Syria has sent a letter to the UN signing up to the Chemical Weapons Convention which fulfils the first part of the Russian four point plan with the second stage is for Syria to declare what chemical weapons it has which the Americans want to happen in less than the usual 30 day time frame. 
This does smell of America picking any pretext for intervention, war and regime change and hoping that they can make the conditions for an invasion more likely, UN agreement or no agreement.
The bottom line is Obama wants his war and if he can't get it one way, he will get it another way and this will be accomplished by an ever changing list of demands, potential catch 22 situations and ever smaller hoops to jump through and the first time a time line slips, the America military will do what they have been sent there to do, regime change.
Of course it is a good thing that chemical weapons are being destroyed but this is moving the goalposts to justify aggression and they will keep moving them until they get it.
This is about the Us shifting the entry point for war from blaming Assad for a chemical weapons attack to saying he's holding chemical weapons back and we have to attack before he uses them again. Exactly like Saddam Hussein and his huge pile of WMD's and we know how that turned out.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bringing The World Together By Tunnels

When i was looking into if it was possible to circumnavigate the globe by train, i noticed one big problem, Oceans.
Once you get to Japan there is the Pacific bringing you to a halt and once you overcome that and get to the West coast of America, there is the Atlantic in the way.
Approximately 3000 miles of wet, blue stuff lays between the USA and Britain and the only way across is an expensive trip aboard a cruise-liner that runs infrequently.
As a bridge between the UK and America is out of the question, what about a tunnel?
It wouldn't even need to go from the UK to USA, it could go via Iceland and Greenland and end in Canada so you have three 1000 mile tunnels instead of having to dig one big long one. 
Stick in a train track and North America and Europe are within 12 hours of each other. Dig another one in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia and that's the whole World joined together, well the important bits, Australia would have to stay stuck out on it's own i'm afraid.
It would be good for the environment as less flights needed across the Atlantic, good for the economy as more people would travel between the continents and most importantly i could then travel around the World by train and people would get to go to Greenland because as far as i know, nobody ever goes to Greenland.
It's a plan just waiting to happen so Cameron, Obama, Putin stop arguing over how to bomb Syria and hire a really big digger and let's go, the people of Greenland are waiting.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Who Goes There?

Under the second amendment, American citizens have the right to own a gun and not even something as inconsequential as being blind trumps that.
Iowa newspaper, the Des Moines Register, has ran a series of reports on the state granting gun permits to people who are legally or completely blind. In one county, officials say they have granted gun permits to people whose vision is so impaired that they can't legally drive or read the application forms.
'It seems a little strange' admitted the Polk County sheriff’s office, 'but the way the law reads, we can’t deny
them a permit based on that one thing'.
To most right minds blind people and guns don’t go together, even fully sighted people and guns shouldn't but in America that second amendment wins again.
Jim Bob, hand mamma her gun. Then point me in the right direction. And then duck, cause mamma got a vague blob shaped thing over there to shoot at dagnabit.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Kerry Slip May Bring Peace

John Kerry is in the doghouse tonight as his reply to a question about what Syrian President Assad could do to avoid a military strike was to hand over his entire stockpile of chemical weapons within the next week could have scuppered his bosses plan for launching missiles as Damascus.
With the words barely out of the Secretary of State's mouth, Russia was asking Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed, a plan which the Syrians said they welcomed and which the United Nations agreed to, asking the Security Council to approve a safe zone in Syria where the weapons could then be destroyed.
While all this was going on between Russia, the UN and Syria, the Americans were floundering that it wasn't
actually a serious offer, just 'rhetorical' before bowing to pressure and giving cautious approval to the proposal.
After all his efforts to drum up support for his plans, with war the only option they would consider, Obama must be mad as hell that John Kerry has inadvertently taken the wind out of that particular sail with his slip that leaves a chink of light for Syria to avoid being bombed back to the Stone Age.
As much as Obama has come out of this looking more of a GWB style warmonger, the Russians have played a great game, seeming to be a step ahead of the blundering Obama camp at every turn and unless the Americans use this as a pretext to use the Iraq style 'disposal of WMD' and turn it into Syria removing all their chemical weapons instead of a punishment for using chemical weapons as it has been until now, sanity may have prevailed even if by a blunder by the Secretary of State.
Maybe Putin could be looking at a Nobel Peace Prize in the near future.

Keeping Their Heads Down In Israel

Psst, Israel. I think if you keep your head down people won't remember you being castigated by the UN and Human Rights Watch for the use of chemical weapons during Operation Cast Lead in 2008.  
That's right, the white Phosphorus shells you launched on the the Palestinians and which the Goldstone Report for the United Nations described as a War Crime which the US said was false even as the TV and press pictures appeared on our screens and newspapers.
In an effort to avoid any accusations of hypocrisy, try not to look around nervously when John Kerry starts on again about the World not standing by while chemical weapons are used. Red lines and all that, Shalom.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Where Have The Anti-War Celebrities Gone?

In 2003, just before the Iraq War broke, we were treated to the sight and sounds of celebrities quite rightly berating George W Bush for his plans to invade the Middle Eastern country.
Eleven years on and another Us President, Barack Obama, is treading the same path with strikes on Syria but the list of celebrities piling in to kick him for starting another war is tiny.
The only 'celebrity' i have heard speaking out against the plans America and France have for Syria is Russell Brand who went on the radio this week to urge urging listeners not to believe anything they were hearing from those advocating a war with Syria.
Madonna has come out urging the US to stay out of Syria and Mark Knopfler, Patrick Stewart, Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon have sent a petition to the United Nations asking them to make a stand and stop the potential bloodbath while James Wood has tweeted that Obama should not be trusted on Syria and Richard Branson disagrees that a military solution is the answer but apart from those the celebrity anti-war cupboard is bare. 
Back in 2003 the anti-war celebrities included Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Neil Young, Cheryl Crowe, Bruce Springsteen, Dixie Chicks, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Barbara Striesand, George Clooney and Danny Glover and all railed against GWB and his Republicans administration for going to war against Saddam Hussein.
Now as President Obama and John Kerry continue to make the case for war against Syria with 'evidence' that we would be generous to call such, these celebrities are virtually silent.
My conclusions are that almost all were big Obama supporters and have changed their anti-war stance because it is their guy doing it or they are not keen on having egg on their face knowing that they have been duped and the guy they gave the backing to turned out to be as bad as the one they raged against.
Whoever undertakes the brave act of sending other peoples husbands, wives and children off to die in other lands should be condemned whoever it is, whether he is a retarded right-wing cowboy or a supposedly left-wing well spoken black man should make no difference.

Australia Under New Management

Google Trend strikes again as Tony Abbott announces Australia is under new management just as Google Trends predicted.
The defeated Mr Rudd said 'Tonight is the time to unite as the great Australian nation because whatever our politics may be, we are all first and foremost Australian' which might have come as a surprise to Tony Abbott who is British, just like the previous Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who was Welsh. 
Deeply religious, Abbott holds some of the more backward looking views of the Church on issues such as abortion and gay marriage and once said the whole climate change thing is 'absolute crap' and was called 'one of the most extreme right-wing conservative leaders or politicians that the Liberal Party has thrown up'.
So if Australia thinks a right-wing Government is going to fix all its ill's, it is in for a short, sharp and potentially very expensive shock.

Friday, 6 September 2013

That Small Island Nobody Pay Attention To

David Cameron has thrown down a challenge after President Putin’s chief spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at the G20 summit that: 'the UK was just a small island. No-one pays any attention to them'.
Stung by the criticism, Dave leapt to the defence of the country by saying 'Let me be clear - Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience'.
Right then, a prouder history isn't hard, any glance at a history book of Britain will show we ran one of the most ruthless empires ever, controlling one-fifth of the world's population and covering a quarter of the Earth's total land area. Then there was our role in the slave trade, massacres, support for tyrants, our flourishing arms industry, spying, wars where we actually have invaded everyone on the planet except 22 countries.
Not bad off the top of my head and then there was the Opium wars where we actually went to war with China twice because they refused to buy our hard drugs. Not a sterling example of a proud history so maybe we should move quickly onto a bigger heart.
The annual report by Global Humanitarian Assistance shows that the The United States is the largest donor by volume, providing $3.8bn or 29% of all the humanitarian assistance provided by governments while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has Great Britain as 6th largest donater per GDP behind Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. So there are 5 nations with a bigger heart. It's not going great so far Dave so so let's set our sights on resilience.
The dictionary describes resilience as the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune and
i think Dave has it right because with him and his rich Bullingdon boys running the show, i defy any other
country to have been so continually kicked in the teeth as much as us Brits and not riot in the streets armed with flaming torches and pitchforks.   
So not the proudest of histories and not the biggest hearted but thanks to you one of the most resilient so one out of three then Dave. Should have stuck to sport mate, we rule at snooker and darts.

Go Away Blair

More than few eyebrows were raised when Tony Blair was made peace envoy to the Middle East but the devout, people loving Christian is once again in their urging for more death and destruction by saying he is disappointed that the UK will not be taking part in any military action against Syria.
Even with the sound of suicide bombings still ringing out from the last middle-eastern country he took military action in, Blair said that chemical weapon use had been proved which echo's his assessment of the Saddam Hussein regime who was supposedly tripping over chemical, biological and nuclear weapons there was so many in Iraq.
Quite rightly, Blair has been far removed from having control over anything more important than his bladder and this shows that he hasn't learnt anything from Iraq. He now wants to attack another middle eastern country that is no threat to the UK and with no credible evidence.
Go away Blair, you are mad and your time in power is over thank heavens.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Nobody Likes You

For a split second i felt quite sorry for the American President Barack Obama as the various world leaders of  the countries around the world who are attending the G20 in Saint Petersburg, Russia all strolled together to the dinning hall for the dinner hosted by Russian President Vlad Putin. 
Laughing and joking with each other, they waved for the cameras and then went into the great hall together to eat their swan stuffed with oysters or whatever World Leaders eat at these things.
Then, 30 minutes after everyone else had sat down to the meal, Obama turned up all on his own some.  
My initial feelings of 'look at the poor guy with no friends, even the annoying French guy had someone to walk with him' and then i remembered, Obama is about to start yet another dodgy war on even dodgier evidence.
My hope that the rest would start throwing crusty rolls at him from out of the Palace windows passed by without  happening but i'd like to think that he was sat on a table by himself off at the side.
Poor Obama, a President who just doesn't impress other national leaders like they used to and with the American coalition of the willing comprising of Albania, Kosovo, Canada, France, Denmark, Romania, Australia, Poland and Turkey, he may be spending quite a few more meals with frogs legs and a can of Fosters on the menu while the rest of the World leaders party it up. 

Summer Time Is Through

I once heard that one of the checks to see if you are dead is feel the victims feet because your feet are the furthest extremity from your heart and go cold first so it can be said that nobody ever died with warm feet.
Except Joan of Arc obviously, her feet were toasty and there have been times when i almost knew how the French girl felt because this summer has been a hot one but now Autumn is lined up to slam the door in summers face as rain and wind sweep in for the next few months.
I'm not much of a summer person, far too many bitey and stingy things around for my liking and that's not to mention the sunburn and trying to get to sleep at night so i'm actually quite glad to see the back of it but many people lament the disappearance of long summer nights.
One of the best end-of-summer songs has to be 'All Summer Long' by the Beach Boys where they invoke memories of cut-offs, pairs of thongs and miniature golf and although i did the miniature golf this year (Crazy Golf actually), the cut off and pairs of thongs didn't make it out the wardrobe this year.
To some, summer 2013 was a great one with more sunshine than we normally get and i dare say they are not looking forward to the dark evenings, rain and having to dig out the gloves and scarves again but i am.
It's time to cover over the miniature golf course, put the cut-offs back in the wardrobe and get yourself a proper pair of knickers because as the Beach Boys lamented, won't be long til summer time is through.

Pretty Vacant

Finally, after all these years, it has been confirmed that what i thought i heard coming from my tinny speakers back then i did actually hear even if i seemed to be the only one.  
The song in question is The Sex Pistols ' Pretty Vacant' which i always heard as Vacant with a u in the place of that final a. I was always amazed other people couldn't really grasp it but now Johnny Rotten has admitted to The Guardian newspaper that 'yes, I got away with it'.
Surprisingly, he also admitted that they got the riff for "Pretty Vacant" from a very unpunk song, the ABBA ballad 'S.O.S.' which is a little factoid that i am going to ignore less i imagine the Pistols sitting around the radio singing along to ABBA songs which isn't the image i have of them.
It deservedly turned up in the Q magazine list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks and is regularly shown on television shows about punk or The Sex Pistols because it was one of only a few song that wasn't littered with swear-words or rather the one they thought wasn't until now although it seems only Johnny Rotten and I knew the truth at the time.

True Blood Ending

Although it was never on a par with Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel, True Blood has filled a vampire shaped hole in my television viewing for the past few years even if i did struggle with the accents sometimes.
Now that is coming to an end and it is probably about right, it started off brilliantly at a million miles an hour but over the past few series it does seem to have become tired and it is probably the right decision to stake it now rather than let it meander along for another couple of series. 
I hope that the Vampire genre has been so overdone now that executives who decide what to make don't steer clear of blood drinking monsters of the night because i do love a good vampire show.
I also hope that Alexander Skarsgård who played Eric doesn't disappear from our screens, purely for reasons of i consider him a fine actor you understand.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Pass The Salt Assad

It had to happen, pictures have emerged showing the US Secretary of State John Kerry having a cosy dinner with President Bashar al-Assad, just as Mr Kerry is describing him as a thug and drawing comparisons between Assad and Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein over their use of chemical weapons.
During the visit in 2009, he said in a press conference: 'President Barack Obama's administration considers Syria a key player in Washington's efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process' and called Assad and Syria 'an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region'.
Now Kerry wants to take his shaky at best evidence and throw a part of his countries military arsenal at his dinner partner claiming: 'History would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator'.
Perhaps Kerry has evidence that he and Mrs Kerry were kidnapped and forced to pose for the picture, i'm sure that he can dredge up something from somewhere if he tries hard enough.
I suppose the case is that back in 2009 nobody guessed that the man would turn into a prospective murdering psychopath willing to kill thousands of Syrians to further his own interests but everything looks so cosy there, how was Assad ever supposed to know?

Poetic Justice

Call it poetic justice, comeuppance or karma but rapist Richard Thomas very got much what he deserved when he broke into her home and raped her while she slept.
The victim was HIV positive and now Thomas will find out Friday if he has contracted the incurable disease from the woman he attacked.
Couldn't happen to a nicer man and if he has contracted it, no sympathy, serves the evil bastard right.

The Special Relationship No More

Although we spawned the United States of America, the relationship hasn't always seemed over hyped to me so when the Conservatives Defence Secretary Philip Hammond expressed apprehension about the future of Britain's relationship with America it didn't seem that big a deal to me.
So let France, America's oldest ally as John Kerry described them, be the Americans mistress for a while especially now the States has gone a bit nuts since 9/11.
The Special Relationship always seemed more of a British thing as i always got the sense that Britain was pretty much irrelevant to American Governments as Thatcher, Blair and Cameron jumped and did cartwheels to gain the attention of Reagan, Bush and Obama who picked us up where ever we was useful and and put us down when the bigger and better nations were in town.
Maybe after the Syria vote we have wiggled free from under the American thumb and will no longer roll over every time the US wants us to have a war somewhere.
Maybe now amidst increasing scepticism of American foreign adventures, we will take a step back and reflect that actually, America has not been good for us.
The American Foreign Policy in particular has been abhorrent, they have frequently either attacked other countries directly or supported other states to do it and with the exception of Israel who America bankroll to keep it well stocked in firepower to suppress it's smaller and weaker neighbour, have been by far the Worlds greatest warmongers and really not the sort of country we should want to be closely allied to.
The UK's decision last week to let America get on with it is a welcome step forward and if it does signal the end of the Special then so be it although that's not to say that we should leave the bed of America and jump straight into the space in the king-size beside China.
Let America and France snuggle for a while and make cooing noises at each other and when America asks the French to join them in a little overseas trip, we can remember the times when it was us they used to ask and feel thankful we are out of that particular relationship.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Curing Insomnia

Before Stephen King began writing twice as many words as his books needed, he wrote a book called 'Insomina' about a man who begins to see things that are invisible to others as his sleep deprived brain plays tricks on him.  
As a long term sufferer of insomnia, i have yet to see little bald doctors cutting peoples life forces or anything like that but i do seem to sometimes spend part of my day in a 'fog' where it takes a few moments for my brain to connect, a feeling i describe as like the wheels of a car spinning before it gets traction and sets off.
It is all down to a lack of sleep and i am happy that researchers at the University of California, San Diego  have found that by scanning the brains of insomniacs, they discovered differences in brain function compared with people who get a full night's sleep which impairs reaction time and memory.
One of the researchers, Prof Sean Drummond, said: "We found that insomnia subjects did not properly turn on brain regions critical to a working memory task and did not turn off 'mind-wandering' brain regions irrelevant to the task.
"This data helps us understand that people with insomnia not only have trouble sleeping at night, but their brains are not functioning as efficiently during the day."
This would explain a lot, especially the difficulty i have remembering names or somehow getting names mixed up which is quite a recent development.
Maybe a scientist somewhere could answer me why even when i am dog tired it still takes me ages to fall asleep but strangely i have no trouble dropping off while sitting on the sofa watching television.
Is the television occupying some part of my brain which the boffins say is not switched off which allows the part that tells the brain to shut down to take over in which case rather than describe all manner of sleeping  pills and sleep enhancing techniques or even drinking hot milk and avoiding cheese, is the solution just as simple as putting a TV in your bedroom?