Friday, 31 August 2012

AA & Religion

For anyone with alcohol issues, Alcoholics Anonymous is the most well known source for battling against their demons but what i didn't know was that what the AA want you to do is swap that double gin for a good old dose of religion.
They may have their famous 12 steps but how many people know that step two is to accept that only a Power greater than ourselves can restore our sanity or the third step is to turn our lives over to God. The fifth step is to admit to God the nature of our wrongs which leads on to the sixth step which is to ask God to remove these defects of our character and the seventh to ask God to remove our shortcomings.
The eleventh is to improve our conscious contact with God by praying and the final twelfth step is to have a spiritual awakening and carry this message to other alcoholics. Apparently every meeting then end with a rousing rendition of the Lord's Prayer.
The NHS website has a link to the Alcoholics Anonymous website for people who think they may have a problem with alcohol but nowhere does it mention that it is a religious group which follows the line that 'You’re a sinner and your only chance of salvation is through our God' which you would have thought would be a major consideration if you are going to direct vulnerable people there.
Some people may have the view that if AA works and it stops people killing themselves with drink, then turning them onto religion is a fair trade off and i could accept that if AA advertised itself as a religious programme but it doesn't and the UK website describes itself as spiritual, not religious but when seven of its twelve steps involve asking God to 'fix you' in some way that screams of religion to me.
While they claim to only want to help people, it is clear that this help comes with strings attached, and these AA organisations are religious recruitment agencies aimed to sign up people at their lowest ebb and asking for help.
I also have a real problem with people who want you to believe that you need God to help you through your darkest times because if you do overcome addiction
then YOU deserve all the credit because YOU did it, not some mythical man in the clouds who decided that he wanted to help you because you offered up a prayer to him because there are millions of people doing the same thing everyday in far worse situations who deserve to be helped who are ignored. Think about it.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Benefiting From Climate Change Disaster

There are some environmentalists that i know who firmly believe that one day, those in power will finally realise what is going on with our environment and finally do something about it. I'm not so sure because if more extreme weather conditions and unprecedented floods won't do it, what will?
Yesterday it was announced that there is a record Arctic ice melt going on and the 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, set in 2007 but has beaten it with almost a months further melting to go according to scientists of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Norwegian and Danish government monitoring organisations.
NSIDC scientist Walt Meier said: 'This is an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing' and the Chief Scientist of NASA, Waleed Abdalati, warned: 'it's a situation with very, very much at stake and the potential for extreme events start to expand. This is what we're grappling with'.
Scary stuff you might think and look towards what the Worlds Governments are doing to save us from such catastrophic events.
Not what you may think because where we see melting sea-ice as a looming disaster they see it as an opportunity to mine for oil.
The Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal have said that the Arctic Circle may hold as much as 160 billion barrels, worth 18 trillion dollars.
Cairn Energy, an Edinburgh oil exploration company, is drilling four test wells off the west coast of Greenland and Shell, Rosneft, BP and Exxon are all in the process of starting programmes of oil exploration in the region.
Greenpeace said: 'We've seen how our actions are changing the world, and the idea that we're going to go and use the retreating sea ice as a business opportunity is frankly madness'.
The Arctic was largely off-limits because much of the land was considered unworkable as it was buried under hundreds of metres of snow and ice but global warming, caused by the very companies that are now benefiting from the disaster that is quickly unfolding on a global scale, is good news for the oil business.
The oil companies were always the most vociferous when it came to denying what was happening to the climate, donating tens of millions to the useful idiots in the climate sceptic groups who acted as their mouthpieces.
When future generations look back at the meagre inheritance that we have left them, they will rightly conclude that the people in power who could have done something about it, were among the most irresponsible and immoral politicians in history.

Summer Santa

I've noticed that the complaints about Christmas starting early are getting earlier each year and today was a good day for them moany people as Asda opened a string of Santa's grotto's at stores across the country.
It is a publicity stunt to publicise the companies Christmas savings card and the grotto's will only be open at weekends but the fact that we have Christmas elves in our stores alongside barbeque's and beach inflatables has really got up the nose of some people.
'Our research shows that a lot of people are already starting to put money away for Christmas' so spoke an Asda spokeswoman much to the annoyance of some who have said that Asda can take Christmas and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
So they did, one of the stores with a Santa is in Manchester.

Monday, 27 August 2012

More Conspiracy Theories

I once heard someone say that it is always better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are an imbecile than to open your mouth and confirm it which i thought was a great put down but i have never had the opportunity to use it.
Thankfully, as i was looking around the internet while writing the previous moon landing hoax post, I discovered that the imbeciles don't open their mouths anymore, they write a conspiracy theory blog instead.
Luckily there is a small minority who are never satisfied with the official version of a story and I love a conspiracy theory as much as the next person, but some are so far off the wall you do wonder how many times their parents must have dropped them on their heads when they where children.
Some are more well known such as JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, as is widely believed. Rather, he was done in by the FBI, the CIA, the KGB, the Mafia, Lyndon B. Johnson, the Bush family or anti-Castro Cuban radicals depending on which site you read.
Some bloggers have a theory that the U.S. government either allowed the September 11 attacks to occur or orchestrated the attacks themselves in order to drum up support for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and to curtail domestic civil liberties via the Patriot Act and there is a similar theory of the US Government being willing to sacrifice it's own citizens when it allowed Pearl Harbor to be bombed by the Japanese so President Franklin Roosevelt could sidestep the publics opposition to entering World War II.
More old favourites are Roswell where an alien craft is meant to have crashed and Area 51 where the US Government is either holding these aliens or genetically modifying humans to create a super-race who may or may not be like the Illuminati who are dictating world events through business and government to bring about a New World Order.
Some of the more imaginative are Chemtrails, the white, puffy trails left behind by airplanes which are actually a fiendish plot by the Governments to blanket the sky with chemicals to control the weather, the population, or vaccinate against disease in preparation for a terrorist attack.
Another is evil barcodes which some claim are a means of control sprung upon us by governments or corporations and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami caused by the U.S. military in order to distract people from the Iraq war.
A recent conspiracy theory centres around Barack Obama's Birth Certificate, claiming that was not actually born in Hawaii as he claims, but that he was born in Kenya and not eligible to serve as president.
Elvis, Tupac and Osama bin Laden are believed by some to still be alive while Paul McCartney died in 1966 and the HIV/AIDS virus was created by the CIA to wipe out homosexuals and African Americans while a reptilian elite are among us just waiting for the right moment to throw off their disguise and enslave us.
Global warming is a hoax and just a ploy to tax the hard working man in the street and the Nazi's established a base on the far side of the moon and are still there today.
All crackers of course and any right thinking person would laugh at them and dismiss them right? Wrong.

In a 1990 poll for the New York Times, 29% of black New Yorkers indicated belief that AIDS was 'deliberately created in a laboratory in order to infect black people' while another 1990 survey for the Boston Globe showed that 34% of black churchgoers polled in five cities agreed 'the AIDS virus was produced in a germ warfare laboratory'.
In 2006, 16% of respondents in a Scripps-Howard poll said it was either somewhat or very likely that the collapse of the Twin Towers was aided by explosives secretly planted in the buildings and a 1991 Gallup poll showed that one in three Americans agree with the conspiracy theory that President Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor in advance.
In a 1999 Time/CNN poll, 6% of Americans believed that the moon landing was faked while a whopping 47% believed that the USA Government was withholding proof of the existence of intelligent life from Roswell in a Scripps Howard News Service survey.
The Guardian/ICM poll in 2007 identified a hardcore of 7% of respondents who deny the planet is getting warmer and 8% of respondents believed Elvis was still alive according to a 2002 FOX News poll and 12% believe so is Bin Laden.
Most eye opening is the 2001 Gallup poll showing that over 8 in 10 Americans (81%) believe that other people were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Only 13% of the public believes the Lee Harvey Oswald version of events.

Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory

One of the saddest things about the death of Neil Armstrong is that the conspiracy theorists are back out of their box again with their list of why we have never made it to the moon and it was all faked in a desert.
Listening to the conspiracy theorists on the radio, television and comments on the Internet, there seems to be few repeated lines of 'proof' that America fibbed about the whole thing, so let's ask the people who should know.

1 - The American flag appears to be flapping as if "in a breeze" in videos and photographs supposedly taken from the airless lunar surface.

Someone who should know is Spaceflight historian Roger Launius, of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. so how does he explain it? 'The video you see where the flag's moving is because the astronaut just placed it there, and the inertia from when they let go kept it moving'. This was put to the test by the Mythbusters team who placed a replica of the American flag planted on the moon into a vacuum chamber at the Marshall Space Flight Center. They first tested at normal pressure and manipulated the flag and the momentum moved the flag around but the motion quickly dissipated. In vacuum conditions, manipulating the flag caused it to flap vigorously as if it were being blown by a breeze.

2 - No stars are visible in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon.

Answer that Phil Plait of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. 'All manned landings happened during the lunar daytime thus, the stars were outshone by the sun and by sunlight reflected off the moon'. Oh, okay then.

3 - The footprints in the fine lunar dust, with no moisture or atmosphere or strong gravity, are unexpectedly well preserved, as if made in wet sand.

The lack of wind on the moon means the footprints in fine, dry lunar dust aren’t blown away in the way they would be if made in a similar substance on Earth as explained by the clever chaps at the Marshall Space Flight Center when the Mythbusters team tested whether dry or wet sand made a more distinguishable footprint by stepping in them with an astronaut boot. It was clear that the wet footprint had more detail than the dry footprint. They then placed sand similar in composition to the soil on the Moon in a vacuum chamber and stepped on it with an astronaut boot, which made a clear print.

4 - The astronauts could not have survived the trip because of exposure to radiation from the Van Allen radiation belt.

The paper 'Review of Particle Properties' from the Particle Data Group at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory state that due to the speed Apollo was travelling and as they passed through the narrowest part of the radiation belt, passage took about 5 min during which time the astronauts would have received a maximum of 50 mSv which would not be enough to make the astronauts even noticeably ill.

5 - Why have we not attempted a moon landing since 1972? It proves it never went there in the first place because it is just too difficult.

I'll take this one, beating the Soviet Union to the moon was always the main goal of the Apollo program but sending men to the moon is costly, the moon landing cost $24 billion and with the Space War won, which was the whole point, pressure to spend elsewhere curtailed any further moon landings after Apollo 17.

That's me convinced then, all that evidence and debunking of the conspiracy theories should force the last few lingering doubters to slink off quietly but it's unlikely, even when faced with photographs which show the Apollo landing sites complete with flag, footprints, buggy tracks, scientific equipment and even the lunar descent stage. Oh well, it would be boring if we all believed the same thing wouldn't it.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Neil Armstrong

This is the fourth time that i have tried to write this post, each time i just never seemed able to find the right words to do Neil Armstrong's achievement justice.
He was the first human to walk on the moon and it doesn't get any bigger than that.
A genuine modern day hero who rightly deserves his place in history alongside Yuri Gagarin, two men who really did make one giant leap for mankind.
In a statement announcing the sad news of his death, Armstrong's family praised him as a 'reluctant American hero who had served his nation proudly' and i would add the accolade that whatever we go on to achieve in space exploration, his will be one of the giants who shoulders his successors stand upon.

Anders Behring Breivik Decision

It seems strange that a man who shot and killed 77 people and then apologised for not killing more is declared 'sane' but the Norwegian Courts decision on Anders Behring Breivik seems more to do with any other verdict leading to his sentence being served in a psychiatric hospital rather than prison.
Sentencing him to the 21 years which is the maximum allowed under Norwegian law, he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars with the justice system increasing his sentence in five year increments.
The problem the court had was if it was decided that Breivik suffered from a mental illness such as paranoid schizophrenia as a psychiatrist originally described him in the trial, then Breivik would be relieved of his legal responsibility for the crime as the law states that the defendant must be deemed mentally responsible when considering culpability and punishment.
To most of us, the actions and words from Breivik to explain his actions showed that he was not 'normal' and by definition, anyone who commits a crime as horrendous as this has some severe mental issues and they are a clear threat to society.
The problem is as one of the lawyers explained while they were waiting for the decision: 'If he is mad, if he is not responsible, if he is not guilty then that means we will have to pity him' which sums up the crux of the moral problem that is Breveik being punished for having a serious mental health problem and as such, should he be treated accordingly by mental health professionals or is it correct that he is treated as a criminal first and foremost and punished accordingly or do we not care one way or another as long as he is locked away somewhere?

Economics 101

Whenever anything happens in the World, we can always look forward to what the City thinks of it as share prices go up or down and the news stations wheel out some braying nugget in braces to explain to us plebs that an earthquake in China means a drop in the underlying inflation ratio of fruit production derivatives and therefore we will have to close another hospital.
As we are relying on the same people who put us in the hole to get us back out again, obviously we hope that the flake with the tie-pin that cost more than most peoples houses knows what he is talking about but when did we move into having to rely on what the markets thinks, when did how the economy work change from what we were taught at school?
I distinctly remember sitting there in the mid 1980's writing 'I love Andrew Ridgely' on my pencil case and pretending to listen to a teacher explaining that the economy is all about supply and demand and unless i was absent that day, not once was it mentioned that the livelihoods of most people on the planet seem to depend on the actions of share dealers and if one day the traders spend all day buying instead of selling, this leads to a global slump. When did that happen?
Also, if everything relies on what the share dealers are doing on the stock exchange, why were they not watched like hawks so they couldn't cause such a global mess of things and we end up with millions of lost jobs and lives ruined and made homeless just because some dimwit shouted sell instead of buy.
Then again, i did have a bad bout of tonsillitis during my last year at school and missed about a fortnight of schooling so maybe that bit was covered then.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Waiting For God

When i was a kid i worked out that as i lay in bed in the dark, if i squinted my eyes just the right amount the outline of the pile of clothes on the dresser would sort of look like a demon who was just waiting for me to fall asleep so it could eat my innards, so i would get my sister to move them and i would go to sleep feeling safe that i would wake up with all innards in their rightful place.
I assume the same sort of thing goes through the mind of people who see the outline of Jesus's face on bits of toast or in the grain of doors and take it as some sort of divine sign from God as if God is saying 'I need to prove my existence so what better than to put my face on a cubicle door in the toilet of the Glasgow branch of Ikea'.
So if their is a God, why doesn't he just leave some proper evidence instead of a few obscure clues?
For whatever reason, probably explained in the Bible somewhere, he had a flurry of activity 2012 years ago or such which included impregnanting teenagers, setting fire to bushes, parting the seas and issuing tablets of stone but nothing since except an occasional appearance as a smudge on someones toast.
If he just put in an appearance it would put an end to all smug atheists like me and people of faith who are expected to answer the difficult questions about wars or tsunami's that kill tens of thousands.
I don't know what happened all those years ago to make God feel he needed to put in an appearance to make us make us daft humans believe in him but whatever it was, it must be time for a reminder because more and more people are realising that like me with my pile of clothes, it was all in our minds and there was nothing there all along.

Beating The War Drum

Not having a war for about 12 months now, Israel is getting itchy feet so right on cue, it is threatening to blow up parts of Iran again and with its arm supplier, America, not keen they seem to be gambling on just doing it anyway and hoping that with an election looming and with American politicians bizarrely having to promise to protect another country in order to get elected in their own, the American military will have to swing into action with it.
The soon to be presented pictures of dead Iranians is all over the West demanding Iran stop developing weapons of mass destruction and Iran saying they aren't. Sound familiar?
Ironically, it seems the only way Iran can stop having its population reduced courtesy of Israel and America warmongers plc is by developing nuclear weapons and threatening to use them just like the North Koreans who just point to their stockpile of big missiles whenever anyone gets a bit uppity with it.
It seems that the politics surrounding nuclear weapons is rather confusing. During the Cold War we were told the world was being kept safe by such weaponry, as the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction prevented either side from going to war. With this logic the United Nations should be shovelling nuclear weapons towards Tehran.
The other complication is the rule regarding who's allowed to have them. Take America and Iran. Iran is run by a mad-man who fiddled his election, prayed for holy guidance and lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction while under George W Bush, America was run by a mad-man who fiddled his election, prayed for holy guidance and lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction.
With no proof that Iran is building a nuclear capability, Israel seem to be gearing up for another war to add to their impressive port folio of wars with their neighbours and America will be dragged in with the Uk probably carrying Americas bags.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Green Day Uno

The last time i was looking forward to an album release was when Axl Rose finally got his act together and put out Chinese Democracy but underwhelmed doesn't even begin to cover it once it made it into the CD player.
Now Green Day are putting out 3 albums in quick succession and i'm a bit concerned that possibly, the best days of Green Day are behind them and these albums will only confirm it.
Ever since Basket Case back in the mid nineties i have been a fan of Green Day and have seen them bop along quite merrily not particularly bothering anybody to their sudden rise with American Idiot in 2005 when teenagers latched onto the band and the slow merging back into the pack with 21st Century breakdown which for me was a bit disappointing even if it did contain 'Restless Heart Syndrome' which is one of my favourite Green Day songs.
So refusing to be scarred by my experience with the Guns n Roses effort, i will be excitedly unwrapping Uno when it is released in September and a big part of me will be hoping that the lads haven't matured and are now singing 'grown up' songs because i want them back to the days of Insomniac and Dookie where they sang short, energetic songs where you suspected the drummer Tre Cool dislocated his shoulder several times during the recording and you could barely make out what Billie Joe Armstrong was saying, partly drowned out by the buzz saw guitars and partly because Billie, bless him, isn't the most articulate when it comes to the vocals.
I do see a pattern emerging though from their last few albums and it will be more Boulevard of Broken Dreams, When September Ends and 21 Guns then Longview, Basketcase and Stuck With Me.
Then again, maybe i just need to grow up and accept that those days are gone and embrace safe radio friendly pop-punk as the sound of today.
Alternatively, i could just say f*** that and if the 3 albums are a bit of a flop I can just shove them to the back of the CD cabinet next to Chinese Democracy and listen to their older, better stuff.

The Squeaky Sounding Paralympians

Before he was outed as a tax dodger, comedian Jimmy Carr was being howled at for a joke he made that due to the the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Great Britain would have a great Paralympics team.
While Carr was apologising, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre were holding a series of Paralympic Talent ID Days and over 50 ex-servicemen were identified as potential Paralympians so you could say Carr was right, thanks to our misguided wars, our paralympic squad has been strengthened.
Great Britain has a great record at the Paralympics, in Beijing in 2008 we came second behind China and finished 6 golds above the USA in third place and more of the same is expected this time around especially as we are the home nation.
Although the Paralympics are not as tainted by drug cheats as the Olympic games, drugs are not the only thing the checkers are looking for such as a piece of string poking out the bottom of a male competitors shorts is a dead give-away.
Competitors with spinal injuries sometimes indulge in 'boosting' to up their performance which involves increasing their blood pressure by overfilling the bladder, sitting on a drawing pin, over tightening of straps, twisting or tying string around their testicles or breaking a bone and is banned by the International Paralympics Committee.
When able-bodied competitors engage in physical activities like running or swimming, blood pressure and heart rate increase automatically but athletes with spinal injuries don't get that response so "'boosting' is a quick fix to higher blood pressure and the improved performance that comes with it.
The IPC says it will monitor athletes closely before events at the London games and anyone showing symptoms of 'boosting', including sweating, skin blotches and goose bumps will be subjected to blood pressure checks.
I think it might be easy to spot the one's with the tied up testicles or full bladders, they will be the ones with tears in their eyes and conduct the post race interviews in a voice that would shame Joe Pasquale.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Tony Nicholson: The Right Decision

The tragic story of paralysed Tony Nicholson has been heartbreaking to watch from the court decision last week that doctors could not end his life to his death today after refusing food and medication and finally dying of pneumonia.
The judges who refused him the right to die were roundly condemned for their decision but as hard as it was to watch Mr Nicholson suffering, it really was the lesser of two evils.
I fully understand the argument that the courts were heartless to leave a fellow human in such needless suffering but this was an highly emotive case and bad laws are often made by emotional responses.
We have to consider what we would be left if we set a precedent that gave someone the right to choose the time they die or for that decision to be made by another person.
In Mr Nicholson's case it might seem uncontroversial but the precedent it could have set would have major repercussions. It would be misused that is without doubt and my concern is for people who feel they are becoming a burden on their family.
What about the elderly person who feels they have become a liability or those who come under pressure from their relatives especially if an inheritance is on the horizon. What about those who are struggling to look after a sick or disabled spouse who can claim they agreed to voluntary euthanasia afterwards or those who do not have the capacity to articulate their feelings but have the decision made for them by a well meaning relative or doctor.
Far too many avenues for abuse and chronic misjudgments so as much as it pains me to say it, the courts decision on Mr Nicholson was the right one to make. Horrible to see and my heart goes out to the Nicholson family who would undoubtedly disagree with everything i have said here but it was to stop a greater evil further down the road.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Banging The Drum

The news that Mark Chapman, who shot dead John Lennon 32 years ago, will have his seventh parole hearing this week reminds me of one of the best conspiracy theories that i have ever heard, that the former Beatle killer was actually Stephen King and not Mark Chapman at all.
That always makes me laugh but not as much as the wag on one of the newspaper comments section who commented that he should have shot Ringo instead as he would have been out by now.
Cruel indeed but Ringo was always seen as the least talented one in the Beatles, even John Lennon replied when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the World that he wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles.
Because they sit at the back out the way, drummers don't receive the spotlight like the rest of the band so if we ask the question who is or was the best drummer, i couldn't even begin to answer and wouldn't know what makes one drummer stand out from another because they all sound the same to me.
A website like Total Drumsets should know and they have a top 100 drummers ever posting and they have a few i have heard of such as Tommy Lee, Dave Grohl, Steven Adler, Lars Ulrich, Phil Collins, Roger Taylor, Stewart Copeland and Keith Moon as well as the other 92 who i wouldn't know if they were introduced to me wearing a name tag and carrying a pair of drum sticks including the drumstick wielding rocker they put in top spot, Neil Peart of Rush.
According to them 'Neil has demonstrated extraordinary technical ability, musicality, creativity, groove, and feel. His drum solos and fills are exquisite. Stylistically, he can do so much that it's a little bit scary' and who am i to argue, i had never even heard of him until 10 minutes ago.
When it comes to drummers i'm firmly in the Malcolm McLaren camp of drummers just being there to keep the beat going as he explained to Sex Pistol's snare drum tickler Paul Cook when he hired him.
So the drummer from Rush may be the best but would anyone who isn't interested in drumming or a Rush fan actually know who he is which is a shame really because it must be like winning the Shot Putt Olympic gold at the exact same time as Usain Bolt breaks the 100m sprint record on the track alongside you.
Oh, and by the way, long drum solo's. Very boring guys.

Magic Spells

I remember back in the days of Buffy the Vampire slayer, there was a surge of interest in all things Wiccan and there was a hunt on for eye of newt and toe of frog but now eBay has made it even tougher to hex that ex-boyfriend or make that hunk that fixes the photocopier fall in love with you because they have banned the sale of all forms of 'magic' through their site because 'buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve'.
That's fair enough but luckily the internet continues to provide and there are many websites that give directions to casting spells to make you rich or remove a curse.

Need money? Then gather as many hollycock seeds as you can find in a folded paper. Bury them next to a southern facing wall with a silver and a copper coin and by spring your wealth will multiply.

Want to break up a couple? At midnight light a black candle and take a pin and prick the candle many times over thinking of the couple you wish to break up saying these words... "As I prick this candle, I prick at thee, Broken hearts unhappy be, May you part another day, Soon to go your separate ways'
Extinguish the candle. Take the candle and break it in half then dispose of the two halves in separate bins.

Want to make yourself beautiful? On a full moon, take a mirror outside and place your picture on the mirror and say 3 times 'Moonshine, Starlight, let the wind carry your light, let your glow cover my body, and let your shine cover every eye' and then say 3 times 'Moonshine, Starlight, shape and mold my body, as a rose is granted beauty, let me blossom in your light, the light that brings me beauty, and grant me beauty three times three'
Go inside and light a pink candle.

Want to get a loved one back? Stick a needle through the wick of a candle and then light it and say 'Needle in the flame, Needle of fire, Pierce his thoughts. Make him writhe, agonize, Till his heart turns back to me'.

Want to be kissed by someone special? Take a red lipstick and draw a lip print on a piece of white paper , then take a red candle and burn the paper while saying 'kiss me when we meet , Kiss me (mention persons full name } Greet me with your lips , and say you missed me. But most of all kiss me' while visualising the person you want to kiss you.

Fed up with you eye colour? At night, light one orange and one pink candle and close your eyes and fill your mind with the color your eyes are. Picture that for about five minutes. Then picture the color you want and say 'Become of me' three times. Do this 3 times

Want to get back at someone for stealing your boyfriend/girlfriend? On a Friday night get 3 weeds and place them in a container filled with water. Place a picture of the person in which you're going to curse and chant 3 times 'You have been so evil stealing my guy/girl, so unto you this curse I hurl, don't ever go near my very best friend, or another time this curse il send'. Take the picture out of the water and when it has dried enough, burn it.

Need some luck? At a full moon say 'Lady of luck come out of your hidden course, bless your light upon me as the light of the moon shines above and in the light of luck will be blessed i, when the moon is next to be full'.

Good spell casting.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Why We Need Whistleblowers

Although they are not saying as much, it doesn't take a genius to see that it is the heavy hand of Washington DC who are pulling the levers behind the Wikileaks leader Julian Assange extradition case.
It would be naive to think that once he leaves the shores of Britain he will not end up alongside Bradley Manning in an American prison cell after a brief stopover in Sweden because Assange is viewed as a whistleblower by the Obama Administration and one thing that Obama is not, is a friend of those who shine a light on what the American Government do in the dark.
Four years ago, on the campaign trail, Barack Obama shared his views on whistleblowers saying: 'Often the best source of information about waste, fraud and abuse in government is a government employee committed to public integrity, willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism should be encouraged rather than stifled' but as President, the reality has been very different and Obama has brought more prosecutions against whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all the previous Presidents combined.
The Obama Administration has established a record as the most aggressive prosecutor of government leakers in U.S. history and apart from punishing those individuals that have exposed or embarrassed the US Government, it also acts as an intimidating warning to others that if they do the same, there will be serious repercussions and so the avenues for knowing what your Government is doing dries up and the public are left knowing less and less about the people they voted into Office and that's a dangerous thing.
It isn’t hard to see why Obama and all Governments hates leakers, we would still be in the dark with regards to much of the disaster that was Iraq and continues to be Afghanistan if not for such platforms as Wikileaks, and that is how the Government would prefer it, they would much rather we listen unquestioningly to the Government issued reports and sources and take their words as the truth.
Only we have learnt the truth that Governments lie and spin and we should always question what they say especially as Obama is closing down as many avenues as possible that the public can find the truth about how his administration conducts itself at home and on the International stage, eager to preserve his own power and ability to operate in secret and why he sees whistleblowers as his enemy number one.
Exactly the reason why we should be deploring the current actions taken against the likes of Assange and Bradley Manning who expose secret government corruption, brutality and illegality to the world and why we should continue to question everything that our leaders tell us because where the truth will not paint them in a positive light, you won't find out about unless someone bravely blows the whistle on them.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Making Another Splash

The latest attempt by America to fly a plane at Mach 6, or 3600 mph, has failed as it plunged into the sea due to a faulty control fin.
That's a shame you might think, if we can get to such speeds we could be crossing the World in half the time but then you hear the experiment was conducted by the American Air Force Research Laboratory and the whole idea of hypersonic flight is not to reduce flying time but to make their missiles travel faster, i say good and i hope that every experiment ends up splashing down in the Pacific.
If we put as much time and energy into saving lives as we do into finding new and inventive ways to take them, the World would be a much nicer place but obviously we are just too bloody stupid to realise that.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Assange Trapped In Embassy

Not an altogether unexpected twist in the Julain Assange story with The Ecuadoreans granting him political asylum as he sits in there Embassy in London much to the annoyance of the British, the Swedes and a strangely quiet America.
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has insisted that the Government would not allow the WIkileaks founder safe passage out of the UK and have handed the Ecuadoreans a sniffy letter warning there was a legal basis to arrest Mr Assange at the embassy and if it continued to shield him there would be 'serious implications' for diplomatic relations.
So now we have a stand off with the British saying that if the Australian sets foot outside the front door of the Ecuador Embassy, they can legally arrest him and if they need to, they can just waltz in and nab him anyway.
The problem does not seem to be with Assange going to Sweden where the charge against him is flimsy at best with the charge being initially dismissed by a Swedish judge and then suddenly resurrected and centres around a ripped condom during consensual sex. The problem seems to be that once the British pack him off to Sweden, America will be his next port of call where there has already been calls for his execution from politicians including one time Presidential candidate Mick Huckabee who said 'anything less than execution is too kind a penalty' and one time Vice President Sarah Palin called for him to be treated as if he was 'an Al Quaeda or Taliban leader'.
Despite the grandstanding, it is highly unlikely that we will storm a foreign Embassy and equally unlikely is that Assange will remain in there until he dies so the most likely outcome is that the police will play a waiting game until Assange finally leave the embassy.
The other option is they manage to sneak him out and diplomatic vehicles are immune from searches from the receiving country, in this case the UK. But even if Assange managed to get into an embassy car without being arrested, he would at some stage have to get out to board a plane and will have lost the protection by not actually being technically on Ecuadorean soil, and therefore arrestable.
I'm hoping that behind the the walls of the Embassy they have a decent supply of A-Team episodes and are presently devising a cunning escape plan involving a length of rope, two Maltesers they found down the back of the sofa, an old photograph of Bruce Forsyth and a copy of the 1974 Mud Hit 'Tiger Feet'.

Knackered Van For Sale

I never quite know how to feel when a big name player leaves my team and swans off to play his football elsewhere such as Robin Van Persie has done.
I am torn between thanking him for his years of service to Arsenal and wishing him all the best for the rest of his career and hoping that he pulls a hamstring in the first game for his new team and is forced to sit out the rest of the season.
Until August the 31st when the transfer window clangs shut, football fans are not only hoping that their team buys a superstar, but that they will not read that the superstar that they already own has been sold.
The third thing we scan the sport pages for is stories that will screw up our rivals so if the rumours of Tottenham's Luka Modric leaving for Real Madrid prove true, it will weaken Arsenals rivals which will cheer-up Arsenal fans who have once again seen the best player at the club jump ship.
Obviously Van Persie will be booed when he makes his return to The Emirates, if he isn't hobbling around due to a ripped hamstring that is, just as Nasri and Adebayor were vilified by the same people who cheered for them the season before.
So while it is still raw, i am leaning heavily towards Van Persie either running into a goalpost at Manchester United's training ground and knocking himself
unconscious until next March or getting some of that ridiculous amount of hair gel he piles on his head in his eyes and he is forced to wear eye patches over both eyes like some sort of Dutch Blackbeard the pirate.
Then i think about it and i realise that Manchester United has just shelled out £24 million for a 29 year old player who is made of balsa wood.
Man United treatment table meet Robin, Robin meet the Man United treatment table.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Ever since that episode of the Simpsons where Mr Burns blocks out the sun, i have been concerned that someone would do just that but i am glad to see that i am not the only person freaked by a cartoon because the United Nations passed a resolution that made blocking out the sun illegal. Phew.
Not because they were worried about super villains so much as a someone in power decided that partially blocking the sun's rays will help slow climate change.
Apparently a few years ago there was a thought among some scientists at NASA that blocking some of the sun's rays could slow climate change by reducing the amount of sunlight warming the Earth and some proposed injecting chemicals into the atmosphere that would effectively "darken" it, letting in less light and heat.
Concerned that a superpower, yes we are looking at you America, decided that this global warming thing was bad for business and they didn't feel like cutting carbon emissions, they could induce a permanent twilight and carry on burning fossil fuels while cackling manically.
Economists have gone on record stating that geoengineering like this would cost a fraction of the amount of prevention policies, while essentially achieving the same results but the United Nations stuck a stick in their spokes by banning any plan to meddle with our sunlight.
Now i can sleep peacefully at night knowing that the UN is on it and their resolutions are always followed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Wikipedia Battle Over Paul Ryan

The Mitt Romney dream team is now complete now that his running mate is announced as Paul Ryan. Off to Wikipedia we go to find out about him and now that his name is out in the open we can expect to see his page at the encyclopedia to be the recipient of a robust editing and if we look at the View History on his page, we see that someone has indeed been busy, over 500 edits in 3 days.
Usual stuff about adding grandmothers name and how he is a Greenbay Packers fan and a very interesting removal on 12 August at 6.08 'Removed the Brown Noser reference as it is vulgar and not in line with the rest of the sentence'.
The absence of the brown-noser reference is questioned at 16.30 'noticeably absent is brown-noser' and at 3.00 on the 13th the brown-noser reference is put back in saying: 'it is relevant'.
At 5.19 it was taken out again and at the time of writing, the 'brown noser' is missing but what is this brown-noser reference that seems so contestable?
It seems that the man selected to be Mitt's running mate was once seen as a kiss-up in his younger years, earning the title 'biggest brown-noser' from his senior class in 1988 in high school.
Now i understand campaign staffers and Republicans wanting to clean up their choice's Wikipedia presence, it will be the first stop for many voters wanting to find out about the man Romney has chosen to run alongside him and there is nothing wrong with that, all part of the propaganda war in the digital age.
If the Republicans want to push the fact that he was elected class president, prom king and gained a seat on the school board representing his high school and hide the fact that his classmates voted him top boot licker then it is all fair but i will be watching the Early life and education section of his page on Wikipedia to see who wins the battle of the brown-noser.
As for the gaffe-prone Mitt, he scored another success by introducing Ryan as the 'next President of the United States' before correcting his error.

The Real Winners Are...

The final hurdle has been hurdled and the cleaners are sweeping away the last of the closing ceremony debris and we see that the top sporting nation is the USA, followed by China and Great Britain. Well done ladies and gentleman, let's all go off to share a cheeseburger, a cup of tea and a bowl of rice to celebrate how awesome we are.
Hang on though, don't grill that burger just yet because China and the USA are the first and third most populace countries on the planet so of course they should win more medals than most of the other nations, so how about if we find the winners by breaking it down by medals won by population.
If we do it that way the winner is Grenada with the Bahamas and New Zealand completing the top three. Great Britain would be 10th, Russia 25th, USA 28th and China 47th.
So there we go , Grenada, the Bahamas and New Zealand are the global superstars but then that still doesn't seem fair because obviously richer countries spend more on facilities, training and equipment so if we break it down per GDP of each country, we get Grenada, Jamaica and the North Koreans making up the top three. Great Britain is 22nd, Russia 26th, China 42nd and USA 43rd.
Before we don Kim Jong Un masks and put on the reggae records, how about the size of the team each country sent to London?
Based on the number of athletes per medal, the Champions are China who sent 396 athletes and needed just 4.5 athletes to win a medal of any colour and 10 to win each of its golds. The USA came second with their team of 530 athletes needing 12 for each gold and 5.1 athletes for all medals.
Third are the 410-strong Australian squad who required 12 athletes for a medal, and 59 athletes for each gold medal.
I'm sure that each country will try to interpret the results differently to come up with a formulae that proves that they actually came out of the Olympics very well but for now i will stay with the proper, unadjusted Medal Table so GB will fire up that barbecue and China your job is to not let America anywhere near the CD Player unless you want another hour of listening to Billy Ray Bob and his pick up truck blues.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Long Weekend Meteor Watching

The forecast is for clear skies this weekend which is perfect as it coincides with one of the the highlight of the stargazers calendar, the Perseid meteor shower.
We have the tent packed, the sleeping bags rolled up and new batteries in the lamps and it's off to the darkest campsite we could find to marvel for a few nights at particles of debris entering the Earth's atmosphere. Brilliant.

Reaching Limit For Sprinting Record

Usain Bolt has been called many things at these Olympics including the fastest man on Earth as he currently holds the 100m record of 9.58 seconds which we were reliably informed makes him the 18th person to hold such a record.
The first was an American called Don Lippincott who ran 100m 10.6 seconds in 1912 and over the last 100 years the time has come down gradually but at some point we will reach the natural limit that the speed the human body can move at and physiologist and biomechanist Peter Weyand of the Department of Applied Physiology & Wellness in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development has done the maths and has worked out that the limit for any human being to run the 100m is 9.26 seconds.
The way that our bodies are put together means that man is physically unable to run faster than 30 mph, with the fastest speed ever recorded by a human credited to Canada's Donovan Bailey who hit 27.07mph in winning the 100m title at the 1996 Olympics in a then world record of 9.84 sec.
That said, Weyland explains that it is impossible to predict with any real accuracy the limits of our capabilities because of the freakishness of athletic talent at the extreme margins of humanity. Bolt for example.
'Studying the body types of the top 45 100-meter sprinters in the last 15 years, almost all conform to a certain short body type with fast-twitch muscles which allows the body to accelerate quickly but Bolt combines the mechanical advantages of a taller men's longer stride with the fast-twitch fibers of the smaller men'.
Another consideration is improvements in track surfaces and running shoes as have advances in training methods and nutrition but we're very close to the edge," says Weyand.
So that would seem the end for the smaller sprinters, the only person who could run faster than whatever time the world record stands at when Bolt leaves the sport is someone who is not only blessed with the same freaky, physiological make up of Bolt, but is also slightly taller.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Not Slave Labour If We Do It

Once upon a time if a company wanted to hire workers and pay them a pittance they would have to go to places like India or China but now thanks to the Government, they don't need to go to Asia to pay someone £3 a day for a full days work, they can do it here.
The Ministry of Justice is planning to run call centres from inside prisons as part of its work programme for prisoners rehabilitation.
Good idea you may think, give the prisoners a skill which may help them when they are released and i would agree if the leaflet sent out to prospective clients didn't boast of offering 'lower costs and overheads' to businesses if they signed up.
'The opportunity for your organisation is a higher corporate responsibility profile by engaging in a high-profile initiative supported by the Ministry of Justice, lower costs and overheads for trained contract centre agents, flexible resources that can deal with overflow calls and specific projects, all dedicated to growing and supporting your business' the leaflet read.
'A fantastic rehabilitation revolution which offers operators with British Regional accents as an effective alternative to off shoring operations'.
Prisoners from open prisons in Wales have already been working in private call centres outside of the prison walls and have been paid £3 a day, the current rate for a prisoner on work experience. The minimum wage is £6.08 an hour for anyone over 21 so a prisoner would need to work for 2 days to equal what a minimum wage worker would earn in an hour.
David Cameron is behind it, urging business to take advantage of the opportunity to 'invest in the future of their companies and the country as a whole. I urge others to follow their lead and seize the opportunity that working prisons offer.'
The most obvious point is paying someone £3 a day for a job that they should rightly earn at least £6 an hour for is slave labour. We campaign against companies that pay such wages in other countries.
The second point is this will replace jobs which would otherwise have gone to the public who are facing testing times and unemployment spirals upwards.
Thirdly, and most importantly, we are expected to give all our personal details to someone at a call centre who is a convicted criminal? Nice one.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Olympic Drug Cheats

One of the greatest disappointments at the Olympics so far was that British runner Dwain Chambers didn't stumble over his feet and fall flat on his face in the heats of the 100m. Other disappointments was seeing Kazakhstani cyclist Alexandr Vinokourov take gold in the road race and two of the medal winners in the men's 100m sprint, Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake, stand on the podium with bronze and silver medals around their necks because all of them have been banned for drug cheating.
I understand the argument that once they have served their ban they have fulfilled their sentence and should be free to continue but i don't agree with it, to my mind if you are found cheating than you should be out for good.
If i was an athlete and i was slogging away for years only to be beaten by a former drug cheat i would wondering if the advantage they have over me was due to any permanent physiological changes as a result of their drug enhancements.
Are their muscles bigger, stronger or in a better condition due to a lifelong advantage after taking growth hormones or other body-changing drugs?
That's why i smiled when disgraced British shot putter Carl Myerscough flopped in the first round and American LaShawn Merritt limped off the track with a pulled hamstring and British cyclist David Millar was far, far down the field when the road cyclists trundled home.
After the court case where the British Olympic Association lost their case to keep their lifetime ban for drugs cheats, you could be forgiven for thinking that the issue of drugs in sport is a complex one. It isn't. It is very simple. An athlete who takes a prohibited substance is cheating and should not be allowed to compete again.
If this was made clear, that if you are caught cheating then you are out for good, then maybe athletes wouldn't be tempted to dabble in banned substances that could possibly still give them an advantage after they have completed their two year ban and we wouldn't have the bad taste left in the mouth of seeing athletes celebrating winning medals when they should be sat at home watching it on TV like the rest of us.

Romney & Palin Separated At Birth

The more i hear about Mitt Romney, the more he reminds me of Sarah Palin.
He came to the UK and ticked off the Government by questioning their readiness to host the Olympics prompting Carl Lewis to quip that some Americans really shouldn't travel abroad and Michael Johnson to apologise for his fellow countryman.
After Britain, he then went to Israel and angered the Palestinians by saying that the reason the Israel economy was doing better than the Palestinians was all down to culture. Not the 425-mile-long wall fencing them in or the military jackboot they hold on their throat, culture.
To finish the trip which was supposedly to show him as an International statesman, he heaped praise on Solidarity who immediately released a statement distancing itself from Mr Romney saying he had supported attacks on unions in his own country.
His first foreign trip of his presidential candidacy hasn't gone quite as well as he might have hoped.
Now safely back in the States he has gaffed by referring to the scene of the latest recent deadly gun attack at a Sikh temple as a a 'sheik' temple.
The Republican politician, challenging President Barack Obama to become the next American president, said: "We had a moment of silence in honour of the people who lost their lives at that sheik temple.'
To compound his mistake, he then repeated it by saying: 'Among them are the fact that people, the sheik people, are among the most peaceable and loving individuals you can imagine, as is their faith.'
Mr Romney's spokesman, Rick Gorka, who i imagine is going to be a busy man explaining away his bosses slip-ups as the vote nears, insisted that the mix-up was a mispronunciation of similar sounding words. Good job he didn't try and comment on the Shiite Muslims while in the Middle East then.
President Obama must be thanking his lucky stars that the Republicans have put up such a poor opponent to try and take his job. I look forward to some lines to rival Sarah Palin's 'standing with our North Korean allies' and the proximity of Russia to Alaska gives her foreign policy experience.
No need to call the removal van just yet Obama.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Cursing The Blackberry Stuck Cursor

I got myself a Blackberry Curve in January and took it back to the shop in April as it had began doing a strange thing where the cursor shot to the left and went flying up the screen which made it impossible to text or even navigate around the phone.
A very helpful assistant said it was a problem with the trackball, and after pulling out the battery and a few restarts, apologised and gave me a replacement.
Fast forward 3 months and the same thing happened again with the cursor taking on a life of it's own and a new problem where the screen just froze so back i went again and explained to the assistant what had happened and how this was the second time on two different phones. A few more resets and pulling out the battery the assistant called over his manager who did the same thing and mumbled something about 'this happens all the time with Blackberries'.
After a bit of questioning, it appears that the trackballs on the Blackberries are faulty and the only way he has found to correct it is to stick a piece of tape over the trackball. Apparently this blocks out some of the light which confuses it and stops it working.
I have 17 months left on my contract and yet another Blackberry, the third, but for some reason i can't interact with my blog through it which was part of the reason i plumped for it from the large array of phones in the shops but apparently that is due to my settings and not due to the phone.
I met up with a former colleague for breakfast this weekend and when she went to put my number in her phone, i noticed it was a Blackberry Bold, a later version of my Curve and across the trackball was a piece of sellotape. Apparently her cursor had done the same thing shooting left and upwards and she was told by another Blackberry user that the only way to cure it was to stick a piece of sellotape over the trackball, and it had worked okay ever since.
So Blackberry and the phone shops are selling mobile phones that they know are faulty and the only way they know to fix them is to stick a piece of sticky
tape over the cursor button? Much easier and cheaper for Blackberry than fixing the problem with the trackball i guess.
Unless the salesman in the shop is very easy on the eye and you don't mind popping down to see him every few months, i don't think i will be recommending a Blackberry to anyone.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Another Shooting & Still No Debate

Another shooting in America, this time Wade Michael Page took his gun into a Sikh Temple and shot dead six worshippers before the police ended his killing spree.
The most repeated claim i have heard is that Page mistook Sikhs for Muslims but further delving finds that he was a right wing extremist who played in a racist white-power band so my guess would be that when he chose his target, he ticked the 'not white' and 'different religion' boxes on his checklist and didn't worry too much about his targets, they were different to him and that was all that mattered.
In an interview with a US reporter on BBC Radio 5 last night, a US journalist was asked after two mass killings in two weeks, both by people with legally held guns, will there now be a debate about gun laws there?
'No' was the simple reply, 'no debate, end of story'.
Apart from the 18 dead people over the past few weeks at the hands of two gunmen, the most shocking thing is that there will not be a debate over 'the right to bear arms'. No talk about tightening of the laws to make sure people like James Holmes or Wade Michael Page do not get their hands on guns, nothing.
Scary thought that being able to own a gun trumps innocent people not being shot while they sit in a cinema, a school or in a temple and nobody wants to discuss it. I can't begin to understand the thought process behind that, i would have thought that making the background checks more robust and making the gun sellers more liable for prosecution if a weapon they sold was used in a crime would be first on the agenda of any administration whose job is to protect their citizens.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Kiwi's Look Down On Aussie Neighbours

We should be able to find out in a few hours if Michael Johnson's theory why the African-Americans and Caribbean countries dominate the sprint races has any truth to it. The theory being that slave descendants have superior athletic genes which makes them faster and fitter as only the fittest slaves survived the trek across the Atlantic.
Around the same time Britain was ferrying Africans to the New World, we were also shipping our criminals to the other side of the World and like the slaves, many died on the voyage but unlike the slaves, their descendants did not become sports supermen. What they did do was invent a bent stick, a didgeridoo and a terrible soap about a woman's prison and try to pretend that they got the better end of the deal living in a land full of poisonous snakes, deadly spiders, killer jellyfish and a sea full of sharks. Yes it rains here but our most dangerous animal is a badger, you may have the sun but it's 50/50 that you get back alive from a trip to the dunny.
Us Brits and them Aussies have always had a bit of rivalry about sport and there was a bit of competition about who would finish higher up the medals table this Olympics after the close finish of the 2008 Beijing Olympics which saw Britain 4th and the Australians 6th.
Four years on and Australia, and Russia who regularly finish in the top 3, have both had a terrible Olympics.
One explanation for the downfall of the Australians is that they usually do very well in the swimming events and pick up a large number of their medals there but they had a bit of a stinker in the pool and that hit their gold tally hard.
Of course it would be wrong of me to mock such a collapse of a rival, so i will let the New Zealanders do it as they sit proudly above their neighbours in the Medal Table.
A jubilant Kiwi explained that the medal table isn't even being shown on Australian television as the Official Australian Olympic broadcaster Channel 9 avoided showing New Zealand's ascent up the medal table, showing only the nine top countries, followed by a gap, followed by Australia.
Sydney Morning Herald sports journalist Brad Walter thought that was rather unsporting. "Can't believe Channel 9 only showed top nine in medal tally plus
Australia, then admitted we didn't want to be reminded NZ were 10th," he tweeted. "Ch9 should be showing NZ gold, not pretending it didn't happen."
That's not fair so for Australians being denied a view of the Medal Table here it is as things stand today with Great Britain 3rd, New Zealand 14th and Australia sitting 23rd with their single Gold Medal. Strewth.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Wrath Of The Sun

Just because the Olympics are on, it doesn't mean that mother nature isn't still trying to find fiendish ways of killing us all and so while we are not looking, the Sun moves into the peak of its activity cycle and threatens to splat us with a mass coronal ejection. Typical.
Experts in these things are warning that the Earth is at greater risk from solar storms which fire magnetically-charged plasma at us with unpleasant results. The space weather specialists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory warned: 'Governments are taking it very seriously. These things may be very rare but when they happen, the consequences can be catastrophic.'
Such is the worry over what the Sun is planning to spit at us at some point over the next 24 months that solar storms have been added to the national risk registers used for disaster planning, alongside other events like tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Most at risk from the millions of tons of gas racing through space at us is the Worlds electricity grids, Canada's power network was fried in 1989 by a solar flare and millions were left without electricity for nine hours.
The largest solar flare was in 1859 and caused fires in the United States and Europe as it travelled along the telegraph wires and exploded the equipment at the end of the wires.
The silver lining is that the coronal ejection causes brilliant aurora borealis as far south as Italy so we may all be fried but we will go out with the prettiest view imaginable. Which is nice.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness

Whatever the emergency, we can always depend upon our Governments to keep us informed and prepared and the Centers for Disease Control for has set aside a portion of their website for instructions regarding a Zombie apocalypse.
Yep, that's an invasion by zombies as the CDC director, Dr Ali Khan, explains 'We continue to reach and engage a wide variety of audiences on all hazards preparedness via Zombie Preparedness'.
The website offers advice to surviving a zombie attack stating that 'when it happens you’ll be happy you read this' and explains that 'In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way'. Cripes.
So what does the CDC advise we do when the reanimated corpses of the dead arrive?
'First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp. If zombies did start roaming the streets, we would conduct an investigation and provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas.'
At long last, the Government is getting serious about the impending zombie apocalypse. I assume we will be informed of the zombie-free refugee camps at the time so i'm off to prepare my emergency kit to survive those first few nervous days and i will see those of you who havent had your brains eaten or are part of the walking dead themselves at the safe camp.
My only concern is there is no mention on the site of what to do if they break into the Thriller dance as i never quite got the hang of those moves.

Curiosity Martian Hunting

On Monday morning, at approximately 6am GMT, the latest NASA mission will attempt to land a space rover in the Gale Crater on Mars after an eight and a half month journey travelling a distance of 354 million miles.
Using a giant heat shield, the world’s biggest parachute, eight rocket thrusters and a bunch of nylon cables, scientists hope Curiosity will not only survive the 13,000 mph entry but provide an answer once and for all to the question whether life exists, or ever existed, on the fourth planet from the Sun.
Brimming with sophisticated machinery, the rovers mission is to seek out any signs of organic material on Mars or evidence that the Planet once supported any form of life and will help pave the way for the humans who might one day follow.
'Putting men on Mars is not unachievable. It is just really hard and expensive' explained a NASA spokesman and as half of the previous Mars missions have ended in failure, i would add dangerous also but i find the whole space exploration programme since 1969 so disappointing.
We should have moon bases by now and we should be further down the road to a manned mission to Mars than we presently are considering the first time we landed a Rover on Mars was in 1971 and 4 decades on we are still at the same stage.
Frustratingly slow progress but there is a certain irony that our future generations feared Martians visiting the earth with superior technology and abducting us for experiments but we are the aliens with the superior technology who will be landing there and if we find life, abducting the local population for testing. I dare say if a valuable commodity was found on other planets, we wouldn't be averse to oppressing the local inhabitants and stealing it either just as we feared in countless sci-fi films.
That's a concern for future generations, my generation is hopefully the start of a renewed interest in space exploration, especially if Curiosity finds something, although there are many who question the cost of exploring other planets when we are facing such dire straights on our own one and that is a valid question.
My answer is that the US defence budget is $850bn per year, the NASA budget is $17bn which is $3bn less than what the American Government spends on air conditioning units for its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. How's that for mixed up priorities when we spend fifty time more on killing each other than we do on finding possible new worlds to live on since we have trashed this one.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A Grey Area

There's a sex shop not far from where we live but i have never seen anybody go in or come out but if the stories are to believed the sex shop trade is roaring and it is all thanks to the book series 50 Shades of Grey which i believe tabloids call a bit of a bonkbuster or an erotic novel to the rest of us.
It seems like the ladies of the World have been reading the graphic scenes of BDSM and S&M described in the book and have been making a bee-line for the shops with the blacked out windows to buy all manner of things that you couldn't easily explain if found by the children.
The book have sold a reported 20 million around the World and Ann Summers are reporting that sales of blindfolds, butt-plugs, whips and handcuffs have soared with the best seller being jiggle balls whose sales have risen by 200% and the German Manufacturer, Fun Factory, has had to start night shifts to keep up with demand.
Now it is no business of mine if more couples are adding handcuffs and riding crops to their bedroom repertoires although i admit that the idea of handcuffing my husband to a bed and gagging him is very appealing.
I could leave him there, shut the door and watch the Olympics in peace without having to listen to a running commentary of where we are during the events.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Top 10 Films Ever?

The British Film Institute asked 900 film critics, academics, distributors and programmers from around the globe which was their favourite film and compiled a list of the top 10 films of all time, and i have seen one of them.
Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo took top spot with Citizen Kane second and Tokyo Story third. The only film that i have watched out of the top 10 came in sixth and is 2001: A Space Odyssey which I never thought was anything to get excited about, needed more HAL and less apes in my humble opinion but then that could explain why i'm not a film critic.
The second surprising thing from the list is that the most recent film to be included is from 1968 which means that all the films that have come since have not been so good which i find quite amazing.
As i said, i haven't seen nine of the top ten so i can't really agree or disagree but they would have to be some pieces of cinema to edge out films like Papillon, Grapes of Wrath, Full Metal Jacket, Good, Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in America, Pulp Fiction, A Clockwork Orange, A Bronx Tale or
Back to the Future which would be in my list along with A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? from pre-68 which would be fighting it out to be in my own top 10.
Anyway, the experts have spoken and the top films ever are:

1. Vertigo (1958)
2. Citizen Kane (1941)
3. Tokyo Story (1953)
4. La R├Ęgle Du Jeu (1939)
5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
7. The Searchers (1956)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927)
10. 8 ½ (1963)