Thursday, 31 July 2014

German Weiner

According to The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were 15,414 penis enlargement operations made worldwide last year and the overwhelming majority of them, 2786, took place in Germany.
The rest of the top ten countries for penis enlargements were Venezuela (473), Spain (471), Mexico (295), Colombia (266), Italy (256), Brazil (219), Argentina (73), USA (61) and Iran (12).
Make of that what you will but the spammers who send out those penis enlargement emails could do worse than to target Germany and large section of South America. 
While a visit to a German sauna may be the newest way to spend a laughter filled evening, there is a foolproof way to almost double the width and size of any penis, absolutely guaranteed. 
It's called a magnifying glass and unlike surgery on your most intimate area, there is no danger of a huge cock-up.
Your welcome, all part of the service.

Evo Morales Leading The Way

As the wholesale murder of Palestinians by Israel goes on in the Middle East, people have been asking what can they do to protest against the Israeli governments abhorrent actions.
Personally, i am one of many who have been boycotting Israeli good since the 80's, an effort which is having an effect reducing the Israeli GDP by as much as 5%. With supermarkets now clearly labelling Israeli good this will obviously have an even greater effect.
We can march but thousands did that the last few weekends and the fatality list continues to go up alarmingly so the real only way is to pressure the Governments to do something.
America won't do anything and they are the ones bankrolling and providing cover at the UN for the Israeli killing machine but at least one Government has decided to make a stand so a round of applause for President Evo Morales and the Bolivian Government.
Bolivia has declared Israel to be a 'terrorist state' and renounced a visa exemption agreement with the country in protest over the ongoing Israeli military offence in Gaza which already killed more than 1,300 and left over 7,000 wounded.  
Explaining his decision, Morales said that: 'Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community'.
He has also filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for crimes against humanity although America will almost certainly make short work of that with yet another swift veto to protect Israel.
Other Latin American countries including Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile and El Salvador have recalled their ambassadors in Israel so we just need a few more countries to boycott Israel and impose sanctions until they end the 65 year brutal oppression of the Palestinian people and we may get finally somewhere and if we don't, Israel will become even more the pariah state that it deserves to be.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Psychological Differences Of Right Wing

I have always noticed that there are far more left leaning teachers in academia than right leaning ones. It isn't something i have pondered for too long, just putting it down to the right leaning people being a bit thick and left it at that but science has found that people on the left and right are psychologically different.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska have reported that right-wingers possess a strong 'negativity bias' meaning they are more defencive and reactionary than their left wing cousins.
They also discovered that right wing parents are stricter with their offspring, are more emotionally repressed,  less empathetic and are more afraid of change. 
That said, they are also more polite and strangely own more cleaning supplies so if you ever want a jar opened or your bathroom needs a good clean, ask a Tory voter.
The report remarks that negative bias and being overly cautious was a good thing during our evolution but is clearly unsuited in the modern era so it is in our interests to show conservatives that they can change if they try hard enough, despite the obvious mental problems and being a bit slow on the uptake.
Maybe we shouldn't be too quick to show them the errors of their ways, not until i have had my car cleaned anyway.

Changing Seasons

After yet another stifling hot day, i was very glad to hear the weatherman declare that the jet stream is due to go on on of its famous meanderings and slam down the length of country this weekend bringing some relief after what seems an eternity of hot days.
With the climate changing the heat is only going to get worse as we go forward which means that i will be complaining even more from May to September as i get older but maybe not because science has found that the seasons are changing dates.
By studying temperatures over the past 150 years, a new study from the University of California and University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit has found that the Earth's seasons have shifted back in the calendar year, with the hottest and coldest days of the years now occurring earlier.
They found that the hottest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere landing around July 21. But from the mid-1950s onward the hottest day came 2 days earlier.
With this shift of peak warming comes a corresponding shift in the onset of the seasons.
"Once we have accounted for the fact that the temperature averaged over any given year is increasing, we find that some months have been warming more than other months," said Alexander Stine, a graduate student at UC Berkeley. "We were surprised to find that over land, most of the difference in the warming of one month relative to another is simply the result of this shift in the timing of the seasons, and a decrease in the difference between summer and winter temperatures."
The timing of the shift along with the rise in global temperatures leads them to think that human-caused climate change is the ultimate cause behind the shift so it if it continues accelerating it may mean Christmas pudding at the start of summer by the time i get to retire.

Last Enola Gay Member Dies

Theodore Van Kirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay has died aged 93.
There has always been so much debate over whether what the US did against Hiroshima was one of humanities greatest atrocities or justified but whatever side of the debate you fall on, 140,000 people died instantly, mostly innocent civilians.
During his lifetime Van Kirk had been asked many times if he regretted what his team did that day and he said: I have never apologised for what we did to Hiroshima and i never will. I was proud to be on the Enola Gay'.
Van Kirk also said that he never lost a night's sleep over the deaths in Hiroshima so he was obviously a product of decades of brainwashing by the US military that the two nuclear weapons used on Japan were justified. 
I would like to think that during his last few moments the image of a hundred thousand incinerated people entered his mind and the realisation that he is directly responsible for probably the greatest number of deaths by a human in so short a time.
I do hope that after a lifetime of showing no regret or remorse, this realisation filled his mind and was his last thought as he slipped away.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Solving The Bankers Problem

It's a tricky one i agree, how can we stop the financial market from swindling, conning and generally being a bunch of thieving rouges out to line their pockets at our expense?
More regulation has been considered and then dismissed, and the Government spluttered on their Moet at the thought of reducing their bonuses and seeing their donors hit in the pocket but luckily the powers that be have hit upon a fool-proof way to bring the corrupt bankers into line, make them say an oath to remind them of their moral and social obligations.
Can't see how that wouldn't work, Doctors have to say the Hippocratic that promises they will uphold specific ethical standards and we should give it a go with bankers.
Failing that, silly idea i know but stay with me, how about prison sentences for those found to have embezzled or acting fraudulently the same as the rest of us face if we were caught committing fraud.
Just a thought.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Previous Chem Trails Experiments

A well aired conspiracy theory is the one regarding chem-trails, the emissions from planes that are some sort of experiment by the Government to in some way control us.
Of course the Tory Government may be called the nasty party but even they wouldn't spray the population with chemicals from aeroplanes, or so you would think if you didn't know that spraying the British population with chemicals from planes was exactly what they were doing between 1940 and 1979.
A government report tells how they released potentially dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms over vast swaths of the population as a test without the public being told.
While details of some secret trials have emerged in recent years, the 60-page report reveals new information about more than 100 covert experiments testing the reaction if the Russians ever released clouds of deadly germs over the country.
One chapter of the report, 'The Fluorescent Particle Trials', reveals how between 1955 and 1963 planes flew from north-east England to the tip of Cornwall along the south and west coasts, dropping huge amounts of zinc cadmium sulphide on the population. 
In another trial using zinc cadmium sulphide, a generator was towed along a road near Frome in Somerset where it spewed the chemical for an hour.
While the Government has insisted the chemical is safe, cadmium is recognised as a cause of lung cancer and during the Second World War was considered by the Allies as a chemical weapon.
In another chapter, 'Large Area Coverage Trials', the MoD describes how between 1961 and 1968 more than a million people along the south coast of England, from Torquay to the New Forest, were exposed to bacteria including e.coli and bacillus globigii , which mimics anthrax. These releases came from a military ship, the Icewhale, anchored off the Dorset coast, which sprayed the micro-organisms in a five to 10-mile radius.
The report also reveals details of the DICE trials in south Dorset between 1971 and 1975. These involved US and UK military scientists spraying into the air massive quantities of serratia marcescens bacteria, with an anthrax simulant and phenol.
Despite the MoD stating that these tests were safe with no risk to public health, some families in areas which bore the brunt of the secret tests are convinced the experiments have led to their children suffering birth defects, physical handicaps and learning difficulties.
When asked whether such tests are still being carried out, a MOD spokesman said: 'It is not our policy to discuss ongoing research' which you can make of as you will.
Chem-trails then, if it is later discovered they are doing something a bit evil to us without our knowledge, it wouldn't be the first time much of Britain was exposed to god-knows-what sprayed from on high in secret trials.

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

In the UK during August the 'On Holiday' signs go up all over the country as we sail, fly and drive to all four corners of the globe before coming back in September to plan and count down to our Christmas get-away.
Last year over a billion people travelled to another country, generating £1.4 trillion for the tourist industry with the most people coming to Europe with 563 million tourists filling the continent with France the number one destination with 83 million international tourists followed by Spain and then Italy. The United Kingdom entertained 29 million, the sixth most popular destination in Europe.  
The second most popular destination was Asia and 248 million tourists with China taking top spot with 57 million tourists and then the Americas taking 168 million and United States with 66 million tourists turning up at their shores, two thirds more than the next most popular destination Mexico.
With 56 million people holidaying in Africa, Morocco top destination in that continent, and 52m in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia that regions top draw, that is a lot of people moving around.
As for me, i will be hanging my own sign on the blog for most of August but as i will try to make use of the delayed post feature so it isn't just sitting here growing weeds for three weeks if i can find a theme, i'm thinking a 'on this day in history' theme with a twist but will see if i can get enough juice out of it for three weeks.

Nothings Changed

Four days away and i come back to see Israel is still killing Palestinians with over 1000 dead now. Much like shooting fish in barrel, this lot have walled them in and then shoot and bomb them. There is a reason why Israel can count the number of friends it has on the finger of one hand and until it realises that just because they were mistreated so awfully 70 years ago, does not mean that it gives them a free pass to terrorise, kill, maim and oppress another group of people, they will still only have one friend and that friend isn't particularly well liked around the globe for it's foreign policy either.
Another group of detestable bankers are Lloyd's who was fined £218 million for criminal behaviour over Libor manipulation and then we have the Government announcing that the recession is over and we are back to where we were in pre-crash 2008.
Set aside that we are still 6 years behind, i am sure i don't remember quite so many empty shops, people queueing at food banks and people striking as they forfeit another pay rise but maybe that's my memory slipping.
So on reflection, Israel still being murderously evil, the banks still being conniving and shifty and the Government trying to bounce us into believing that their plans are working.
Nothing has changed at all then!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Dear Students

To all those who have graduated this week, my heartfelt congratulations, well done, you made it. This is the start of an amazing, exciting, terrifying and thrilling journey for you. Take all the plaudits thrown your way as you achieved this with your hard work, dedication and commitment and you deserve all the praise showered upon you. Enjoy your day, revel in your success and then take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the world of work. If i can offer one tip it would be to remember that feeling of insecurity and nervousness on your first day in work and how you desperately scan the room looking for a friendly face to throw a wing around you and guide you for those first few scary weeks. Then in the future, when you see another new employee wearing that same worried and confused expression as you on that first day, remember how that felt and be the friendly face everyone is nervously hunting for.

To all, those leaving college to go to University, this is a big step but also one of the best steps of your life. Study hard but don't forget to enjoy what is an amazing experience meeting new people, undertaking new experiences and for many, the first time that you have lived away from your families. 
Yes it can appear daunting at first but that feeling will pass and your time at University will be one that you can look back on with pride and enjoyment. My only tip for you is with all the studying and lectures, don't forget the other side of University life, to have a great time.

To those leaving school to go to College, this is where it all starts. School is over and if you hated school or the students that you shared it with, this is nothing like that. It's new friends, a fresh start and the beginning of the rest of your life. Now is where you can choose whatever you want to be, the rest of your working life stretches out in front of you like a blank canvas just waiting for you to make your mark. College is where you are pointed in the right direction for something that you want to do in lessons that interest you with a classroom of students who share your interests or else they wouldn't be there. There are no more boring lessons that you spent the entire period staring out of a window in school. My tip for you would be this is where you make the mistakes so don't be afraid to mess up, we all did, and this is the best time to make the mistakes and have them put right.       
To those still in school, use the next six weeks to climb trees, go on holiday, drink slush puppies until you get brain freeze, fall off bicycles, eat Doritos until you are sick, stay up late to watch horror films, go swimming, dance at concerts, run through the park sprinklers and kick a football around until it's so dark that you can't see who you are kicking the ball to. Don't be in a rush to grow up and keep doing the things children do because all to quickly those days are gone and you are into the adult world and burping competitions and seeing how many crisps you can fit in your mouth at one time are frowned upon. Just enjoy the time you have when you can still eat ice cream with your hands without being shunned.

To all students, young and old, it is a cliche but as any adult will tell you, this really is the best time of your life, please don't waste it.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Britain Leading From Behind On Russian Sanctions

Regarding Russia, the prime minister David Cameron has been very consistent that EU nations should install harsher sanctions on Putin's friends and stop all military sales to Russia, boasting that 'Future military sales from any country in Europe should not be going ahead. We have already stopped them from Britain'.
Embarrassingly it has been revealed that we haven't actually stopped military sales to Russia and that the Conservative Party have been on the receiving end of a £160,000 donation from the chequebook of a former member of President Putin's government.
Handing the money back was not 'the right approach' explained David Cameron when asked if he would be returning the cheque and explained that the military equipment we were packing up and sending to Moscow was for 'non-military legitimate reasons'.
The export licences includes, sniper rifles, night sights, components for air-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, combat helicopters, depth charges and rocket launchers, small arms ammunition, gun mountings, body armour, and military communications equipment and worth £132 million.
Nope, can't see how a consignment of sniper rifles or air-to-air missiles can possibly be used for anything other than peaceful purposes by the Russian military.
Carry on Dave, arming both sides is a lovely bit of business for a hypocritical and morally reprehensible slimeball. 

2014 Commonwealth Games

Usually the four countries that make up Great Britain compete together at athletics events but the Commonwealth Games is the only time where England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales compete as separate countries which always adds a bit of a spark to the events.
It is probably better to not ask too many questions about how the British Commonwealth came about but it comprises of 53 members and 2.3 billion members with the Queen as head.
America, on account of them throwing our tea into the harbour, are not invited to the Games but the Australians are and it is they who sit proudly on top of the all time leader board with 2080 medals, ahead of England with 1836 and those nice North Americans, the Canadians who have amassed 1392. 
As these games are being held in Glasgow, we can expect lots of bagpipes at the opening ceremony and plenty of pictures of Alex Salmond getting his moon face on the television waving the Scottish flag as he pushes his claim for Scottish independence.  
I will grab myself a deep fried mars bar, a bottle of whiskey and brush up saying 'Och Aye Jimmy' and get ready for 11 days of watching the Republicans from the Republic of Ethiopia, the Islanders from the Isle of Man, the Peninsulans from the Malay Peninsular and those from the country of Scotland.
Let the games begin!!

Monday, 21 July 2014


By 1961 America was having its backside paddled by the Soviets in the Space Race by claiming the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, first animal sent into orbit, first human in space and the first craft to reach the surface of the Moon and now America's official response has been released, it wanted to nuke the moon to stop the Soviets from making a landing on it.
Declassified documents show that the first idea was to consider placing a military base on the moon and when that was found to be unfeasible, the next idea was to nuke the Earth's satellite 'to impress the world with the prowess of the United States'.
Always considered a conspiracy theory, the US government has never formally confirmed its involvement in the plan, called Project A-119, until now.
Nuking the moon sounds like something George w. Bush would come up with in a war against tides but fortunately, the United States came to the decision  that exploding a nuclear bomb on an orbiting planetary body for no particular reason might make them come across as a tad insane so sent Neil Armstrong up to land on it instead (or made a fake film of it depending upon your standpoint).
There will be former Soviet scientists looking at each other and saying 'And we lost the Cold War to them??'
It does make you wonder how we have made it out the 80's let alone to 2014 without killing our stupid selves.

Blair Makes Speech Saying He Is Wonderful

Considering that he pretty much gets everyone's hackles up every time he opens his mouth, not sure why Tony Blair is giving a speech marking the 20th anniversay of his becoming Labour leader.
I suppose rather than kicking his heels as a Middle East Peace Envoy while the Middle East is so peaceful now giving yourself a congratulatory slap on the back is a way to pass the day.
Unless his entire speech consists of the two word, 'i'm sorry', i don't much care what he has to say but expect it to declare himself some modern day Jesus bringing peace and prosperity to the world.
Silly, deluded and thoroughly disturbed little man.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Our Place In The Universe

In celebration of the momentous occasion of Neil Armstrong stepping out onto the Moon 45 years ago today, June 20th has been deemed Space Exploration Day and events are going on all around the country to show just what an amazing feat this was and what an amazing place the Universe is.
It is hard to grasp just how impossibly immense the Universe is but an important step is to realise just how big a light year is. The Sun is approximately 93 million miles away and it takes 8 and a half minutes for the light to reach the earth from our star which means that if light can travel 93 million miles in 8 and a half minutes, in a year light will travel 5.88 trillion miles, so if something is a light year away, its 5.88 trillion miles.  
With that firmly in your mind, try to imagine our Milky Way being 100 light years across but the largest galaxy we have discovered is IC 1101 which is 120,000 light-years wide.
Our Sun may be impressive to us but in Universal terms it is a very ordinary, medium sized star 864,938 miles in diameter. It's surface temperature is 10 kilokelvins which when you consider the heat it generates on us 93 million miles away is impressive, until you consider the romantically named HD62166 which measures a scorching 200,000 kilokelvins or the Epsilon Orionis, the middle star of Orion's Belt which burns 400,000 times brighter than the Sun.
With a diameter of 3 billion, a star called VY Canis Majoris has an estimated diameter of 1,700,000,000 billion miles which would swallow our sun 8 billion times over.
The Earth is 7,901 miles diameter (you could fit 1.3 million Earths inside the Sun) and makes us the 3rd largest planet in our solar system with Jupiter the largest at 86,881 miles which is huge but not as large as the largest planet we have discovered, WASP-17b which is twice the size of Jupiter or 636 times larger than the Earth.
The Earth rotates at 460 meters per second or 1,000 miles per hour but even that is peanuts compared to what space can serve up. VFTS 102 is the fastest spinning star we’ve ever found, and its surface goes upwards of 440,000 meters per second or 1 million miles per hour.
When the Apollo 11 rocket launched from the surface of the Earth, it needed to reach a speed of at least 25,000 mph to escape the earths gravitational pull and the maximum speed we have achieved is 35,000 mph which is fast but almost half the speed of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite which blazed through the sky in 2012 at 64,000 mph, almost twice as fast as we’ve ever shot a rocket.
The Universe really is an amazing and beautiful thing but compared to what the Universe offers, we really are just a small, insignificant ball of rock in a solar system tucked away on the arm of a galaxy that is one of hundreds of billions in an unfeasibly vast universe.

Vilify All Sides, Not Just Some

Ironic isn't it that President Putin and Russia are being vilified for supporting the pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine that are accused of killing 298 people on flight MH17 last week, but in another part of the World the American backed Israel has killed over 400 Palestinians, over 77% innocent civilians, in a disproportionate attack amidst accusations of war crimes and nothing is said. 
How is Russia giving arms to the Ukrainian rebels any different to the USA giving £3 billion military aid to Israel and why does the right to defend itself not apply to the Palestinians or the Pro-Russian rebels, both of whom are being killed in large numbers?
Something is very wrong when our leaders are backing the wholesale slaughter of some people because we favour the slaughterer and vilify them when they don't just lay back and take it and fight back.   
All sides are in the wrong and regardless of who is doing the murdering, they should be reproached because if you are on the end of a missile from Ukraine, Russia, Israel or the east of Ukraine as you go about your business you don't care who fired it.
For our politicians to try and spin that one side is better or worse than the other is a disgrace, all sides are killing innocent people and that can never be justified and it is a disgrace that our leaders are trying to do just that.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Back in the 70s and early 80s, i remember hearing stories about Poltergeists shoving around furniture and throwing pots and pans around the kitchen but for some reason they all seem to have gone into the light or whatever poltergeists do because we haven't heard of a poltergeist or any decent ghost story for years.
Considering that almost everyone has a mobile phone with a camera attached, you would have thought that if there were spirits and things hanging around with us, someone would have captured a convincing image by now but if anything ghost sightings have gone down.
Come to think of it, alien abductions and exorcism stories have also taken a nosedive and i haven't read about a demonic possession for a long time.
My guess would be that as the 70s produced such films as Poltergeist and The Exorcist, more people put the picture falling off the wall down to malevolent spirits and less to their own dodgy DIY skills and shows like the X-Files made us think any light in the sky was invading Martians armed with anal probes.
Of course there are no such things as ghosts and i know that and when things went bump in the night or the bedroom door was being scratched at, we just blamed Molly, the family dog.
I do admit though that although she died 3 years ago, the scratches in the bedroom door look remarkably new and i am sure there are more than there used to be.

Revisiting The Floating Island Idea

I have never seen the need for mountains, they just get in the way and the only use they serve is for a few people to climb up them and stick a flag in the summit but of course we can't do much about them as they are thousands of miles up it the air which is a lot of rock to find a use for.
I did ponder here if we couldn't chop the tops off some mountains and make some more islands in the 71% of the planet that is water as way of accommodating the 7 billion and growing population of the planet but the UN never returned my phone calls and the owner of the Ben Nevis Mountainside Cafe threatened to sue me so the idea was quietly dropped.
On further reflection we may not need to go sawing mountains in half after all because a new island has appeared in the mid-Pacific made from plastic and other rubbish approximately the size of France caught between the ocean currents.
If we can get our best minds finding a way to somehow secure it together and pour some kind of sealant over it so it's a solid lump and take the top off a mountain somewhere (not Ben Nevis) and we could actually make a floating Island out of it.
Even if it isn't safe for humans, not sure about the toxicity of all that plastic but if people can't use it at least the wildlife could.  
As it seems it isn't going to be cleaned up and is just going to be left there anyway, seems sense to make some use of it even if it's just for nesting birds or homeless Polar bears paddling around looking for an iceberg to cling to.

Friday, 18 July 2014

NOAA Report Not Good Reading For Earth

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) annual State of the Climate report compiles climate and weather data from around the world and is reviewed by 425 climate scientists from 57 countries and the 2013 report shows that global temperatures  continued their long-term rising trend last year .
The checkup results show the planet ranged well outside of normal levels in 2013, hitting new records for greenhouse gases, Arctic heat, warm ocean temperatures and rising sea levels.
'The climate is changing more rapidly in today's world than at any time in modern civilization' said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA who blamed rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere for the planet's changing climate.
Most parts of the planet experienced above-average annual temperatures in 2013, NOAA officials said with Australia experiencing its warmest year on record, while there was even a new high-temperature record set at the South Pole.
The report also found that Sea levels rose by 0.15 inches, the Arctic sea ice continued in line with its projected 14% decline per decade while temperatures over land are rising faster in the Arctic than in other regions of the planet.
Typhoon Haiyan had the highest wind speed ever recorded for a tropical cyclone, 196mph, and sea surface temperatures in the Pacific hit a record high in 2013.
Climate change isn't going to be pretty and you can thank all those who dragged their heels and argue it isn't happening instead of doing something about it when we still had a chance to limit its severity.

Propaganda In Malaysian Flight Disaster

The Ukrainian crisis has lurch again after the Malaysia Plane was bought down killing 298 people.
Everyone blamed each other with the Russians saying it was the Ukrainians, the Ukrainians pointing at the rebels and the rebels pointing out that they haven't got an anti-aircraft system with the range to bring down a plane at that altitude
It has been claimed the plane was hit by a missile from a Buk SA11, a surface-to-air missile system used by both Russia and Ukraine and now US President Barack Obama has said a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area in east Ukraine.
The Russian Defence Ministry released their own findings which were that radiation from a Ukrainian battery’s radar was detected by the Russian military that shows a Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational in the region at that time of the planes downing.
Nobody is going to own up to it and all sides are going to blame each other because this could be a real game changer in the long running conflict but it will suit the West to blame Russia and the East Ukrainians and it will suit Russia to blame the Ukrainian Government so it would be beneficial to believe neither's propaganda which all sides will be slathering on us over the next few days to do whatever it takes to get us believe their side of events.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

£75m Parking Fines Owed By Other Countries

In times of austerity we need to scrape together every penny we can get to hand to the bankers to buy even bigger cars which is why the Foreign Office has began pursuing the £75 million owed in traffic fines from foreign embassies.
The US Embassy faces the largest bill with £8.1m outstanding, then it's Japan who owe us £5.6 million, Russia £5.1 million, Nigeria £4.5 million, Germany £3.9 million and the Indian embassy that will have to write a cheque for £3.3 million.
During a visit by US President Barack Obama in 2011, London's Mayor Boris Johnson asked him for a £5m cheque for unpaid traffic charges but the skinflint never coughed up.
Legal immunity means diplomats cannot be prosecuted for non-payment but the Foreign Office said that officials had still met with foreign missions and asked them to pay outstanding fines although as the amounts remain unpaid, i assume the two word reply had the word 'Off' at the end of it. 
I'm not sure why we don't just clamp the cars and refuse to release them until they pay up but if i was the Foreign Office i would send out a memo to UK Embassies in America, Japan, Russia and Germany to park on pavements and in no parking zones until we get enough penalties to cancel out what they owe us.

American Nuts

While everyone is looking towards Gaza, the conflict in the Ukraine rumbles on and so do the American call for tougher sanctions be imposed on the Russians.
Problem is Europe don't want to so America is sticking out it's bottom lip and saying they will do it themselves if Europe won't play along.
'After weeks of inaction the US is now prepared to move forward alone if EU officials fail to enact strong sanctions' said one pouty faced American official who must have been miffed to have seen the most influential and powerful European leader, Angela Merkel, sharing a laugh and sitting with Vladimir Putin at the World Cup Final last weekend.
You do get the feeling that while America want to punish Russia for making them look stupid over Syria when they were gearing up for another bout of shock and awe, Europe is happy to wag a finger towards Moscow, tell it that it has been a very naughty boy and forget it.
As one of the largest exports from America to Russia is fruits and nuts, it seems that Russia may have to go elsewhere for their plums and Macadamia's.

Too Hot

Considering that Kuwait hit 111F, Iraq 108F and Saudi Arabia 102F it seems particularly churlish to moan about our temperatures in Britain rising to 86F but that isn't going to stop me because it was darned hot today and there is more to come.
It is so hot in the UK that an extreme heat warning has been issued by the MET office, a Level 2 warning if you please, and an alert for people to avoid staying outdoors, avert dehydration by drinking cool liquids and to keep their homes cool day and night.
'It'll turn hotter in the south over the next couple of days as humid air moves in from the very warm continent with temperatures of over 30C (86F) likely in parts of the south' said the Weatherman, 'The humidity will make it uncomfortable for many, and there is a health risk, so people should take care to keep cool'.
Thank you and it's a cold flannel on the back of the neck and sticking the pillow case in the fridge for me. We had better get a decent thunderstorm out of it!
It must be a mid-July thing because i posted this about staying cool on hot days almost to the day last year so i'm taking my own advice and it's a cold flannel on the back of the neck, damp socks and sticking the pillow case in the fridge for me.
We had better get a decent thunderstorm out of it! 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Russia's Middle Finger To Obama

Are they really stupid enough to try it again in Cuba? asked q in response to the post regarding Russia hitting back at America.

From today's news: Russia has reached an agreement with Cuba to reopen a spy base on America's doorstep and has also signed agreements to establish listening stations in Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua.
I guess at least they had the decency to tell Americans where they will be spying on them from, their own government didn't even do that.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Thinking About Water

A scientist on the television tonight said that the Earths Oceans arrived 4.4 billion years ago. Now i distinctly remember my science teacher explaining to a class of bored 12 year old's that water can be in one of three states, frozen, liquid or a gas.
So water is either locked up in ice at the poles, sloshing about with whales peeing in it as oceans or floating above us as clouds or steam and the water goes through this cycle again and again with no new water being added or any taken away.  
My question then is the cup of tea that i am drinking as i write this, is the water i used to make it 4.4 billion years old?
My second question then is if it is 4.4 billion years old, it has obviously been through the full scale of  what water can be, so it has been a cloud, part of a sea, in rivers, steam and in peoples toilet cisterns and also inside people and then expelled as urine.
In that case how many peoples and other creatures bodies has my cup of tea been through before i drink it and  after i expel it, where will it go after the sewer spits it out into the English Channel and how long before it ends up in another persons cup?
I'm suddenly not that thirsty.

Ceasefire Deal Close In Gaza

After 7 days of bombardment and 173 Palestine deaths, 77% of which where civilians according to the UN, an Egyptian ceasefire deal is being considered by both sides from 7am tomorrow before participating in talks within two days in Cairo.
Daniel Levy, the Middle East director of the European Council for Foreign Relations got it absolutely spot on when he explained that if the ceasefire is accepted, the situation would return to what is known as quiet which means that: 'Israel returns to normality but Gaza returns to being under siege. The fundamentals don't change' and that is the nail hit right on the head.
Until Israel stops oppressing, killing and stealing the ever shrinking amount of land that the Palestinians have, the same scenario will play out time and time again which of course is fine by Israel and that is where the pressure needs to be applied.
It is no use hanging conditions on Palestine, they are the victims with next to nothing, it is Israel that needs to be pressured but all the time they are subsidised by America to the tune of $3 billion a year, it can afford to keep things as they are and ruin peace deals and build new settlements.
If America attaches further funding of the regime in Israel to the successful implementation of peace deals instead of backing it regardless of how it acts, we may see some movement to allow the Palestinians some long overdue quiet of it's own from it's murderous neighbour.
Maybe Israel may also gain a few more friends around the World because at the moment it has very few.

More Proof Of Killer Climate Change

According to a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation, from 1971 to 1980 there were 247 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves influenced by climate change and in the years between 1981 ands 1990 there were 454.
Between 1991 and 200 there were 760 and between 2001 and 2010 there were 1038 so even the most ludicrous climate change denier with the hackneyed same old excuses can see that natural disasters due to climate change are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s.
Flooding is the leading cause of disasters with 80% of disasters due to flooding by extreme storms and rising seas levels and responsible for 1.45m of the 1.94m global climate change deaths since 1970.
Despite the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers already bringing things home to a public that has been badly misinformed by a lot of the right wing media and other gullible useful idiots, the more reports of this kind spelling it out can only help drive home the message that climate change is happening now and we need to do something drastic to slow its fatal and destructive power.

Sounds Of The Summer

I don't know why weathermen do high temperatures in Fahrenheit and low temperatures in Centigrade but whether you say 30C or 86F this week, it's gonna be hot.
I have already been sunburnt to a stupid degree this summer and we are only halfway through so my hope that the weather would listen to Carol King and rain until September has fallen by the wayside so it's time to put on a brave face and plenty of factor 15 because it's hot sultry nights and dodging wasps for the next 6-8 weeks whether we like it or not.
Man discovered a long time ago that by pulling a string tight enough and strumming it, you can make a musical note and we have been blessed with some amazing music for all seasons since and as my car has a new CD player that goes up to the sound of a jet plane taking off, i can permanently damage my hearing even more by blaring out summer songs while stuck in traffic.
Problem is, what songs from the wide plethora available to put on the Summer Car CD?
Obviously Summer means Beach Boys so 'All Summer Long' would have to be included as would 'In The Summertime' by Mungo Jerry and 'Summer Nights' from Grease but then i will have to take a swerve on the other usual staples of Summer compilation albums.
I would have to include Ella Fitzgerald deathly slow paced 'Summertime', 'Sunny Afternoon' by the Kinks, 'Here Comes The Sun' by the Beatles and 'Summertime Blues' by Eddie Cochran.
Off the beaten track and hardly ever heard nowadays apart from on my CD would be 'Summer in the City' by Lovin' Spoonful, Here Comes The Summer by the Undertones, Roy Ayers brilliantly lazy 'Everybody Loves the Sunshine' and Peaches by The Stranglers.
Never a band to use more than the bare necessity of chords, The Ramones would find its way on with 'Rockaway Beach' and summer wouldn't be the same without the Safaris 'Wipe Out', if only because i love the drumming and the final song would be 'Under the Boardwalk' and just to annoy everyone it will be the Bruce Willis version which was surprisingly good for someone whose range of acting includes looking moody and looking moody in a dirty t-shirt. 
The idea is that it is impossible to moan about HOW BLOODY HOT IT IS while listening to jaunty summer tunes but i will give it a go and if not, at least the kids can turn the CD player up to drown me out.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Christians Unclear On Right To Die

The Christians seem to have got their rosary beads in a knot over just how Christian the right to die is.
Some are making the argument that life is a gift from God, and only he can decide to give it and therefore take it away again  (There is no God besides me, I put to death and I bring to life" Deuteronomy 32:39) but that is being countered by others who argue that all of our activities on earth bring us closer to our union with God so prolonging life would not serve that purpose and may hinder a person from drawing closer to God.
The former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, announced his support for the proposal as a way of preventing needless suffering as it would be Christian to ensure that terminally ill patients avoid unbearable pain which is in direct opposition to The Church of England who strongly oppose euthanasia.
Not being of a religious nature, i always assumed the 'thou shalt not kill' trumped all arguments for Christians but apparently not, this commandments seems to come with a loop hole.   
Adding religion into a debate that is already difficult enough to grapple will not make an already tough discussion any easier.

World Cup Final 2014

After 63 games, 170 goals, 13 penalties, 5 own goals, 183 yellow cards and 10 red cards it has come down to Argentina and Germany to play the final game to see who can officially call themselves the best football team in the World. 
History shows that 7 South American teams have won the 9 World Cup finals played against European sides and a European side has never won the cup in the Americas.
Throw in the head-to-head record of 22 games played between Argentina and Germany, Argentina winning 10 and Germany 6 with the other 6 drawn and it's not looking good for the Germans.
On current form, Germany have scored 17 times in their 6 World Cup games and let in 4 while Argentina have scored 8 and let in 3 during their 6 so if my maths was any good i could work out what the final score will be but it isn't so i can't.
The last time they met in the final Germany won but in the only other previous final meeting, Argentina went home with the prize but ultimately it will all come down to the players and Germany have 3 Arsenal players and Argentina don't have any so it's a slam dunk, i agree with David Hasselfhoff and i'm backing Germany to win it.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Israelis Celebrating Deaths In Gaza

An image of Israelis gathering on a hill to watch and hold a 'party' to celebrate Gaza being bombed has quite rightly caused uproar.
Allan Sørensen, the Middle Eastern correspondent for the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad, said that he took the image on Wednesday in Sderot, a city about two kilometers from Gaza and described the scene where over 50 people had gathered for a 'party'.
'The hill has been transformed into something that most closely resembles the front row of a reality war theatre. It offers a direct view of the densely populated Gaza Strip', wrote the paper’s Middle Eastern correspondent Nikolaj Krak.
He explained how they had brought chairs and sofas to watch Israeli night airstrikes while enjoying pop-corn, hookah and chit-chatting.
'We are here to see Israel destroy Hamas' Eli Chone, a 22-year-old American living in Israel told Kristeligt Dagblad. He then pointed to a dot of light in the sky explaining that, 'it is a fighter who is about to dive. This means that it is about to shoot'.
Following the airstrike the spectators on the hill started cheering, and 'solid applause' followed, the Danish correspondent wrote.
No wonder Israel has so little support and so few friends around the globe, sickening. 

Russia Hitting Back

Russia and Vladamir Putin seem to have taken the reasoning that if America messes in its backyard, it will return the favour and the Russian President is embarking on a tour of Latin America.
Always a sore point in America's side, he has already written off $32 billion, 90%, of Cuba’s debt and has appointed Russian oil company Rosneft to help Cuban State oil company Cupet explore the country's offshore oil reserves along with other co-operation deals signed between the two nations.
The next stop following Havana will be Buenos Aires and Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who has been very supportive of Moscow in its recent stand-off with the West where they are expected to increase trade including a new multibillion dollar nuclear power plant which is expected to be built by Russia’s state-owned energy firm Rosatom.
Then it is on to Brazil and meetings with Dilma Rouseff who was a recent victim of the US phone hacking scandal and a joint information security project is on the agenda.
Putin will also meet a dozen Latin America presidents in hope of striking new partnerships and culminate in the BRICS summit where the plans for a joint development bank will be discussed.
Russia making friends and having influence in an area that America has always considered its own to shape to its own liking might make things very interesting, especially if Russia returns the favour of posting it's military in the area.

Moral Implications Of Using Disturbing Images

Visual imagery has always been able to stir the emotions therefore a carefully selected picture in newspapers can influence and stir our emotions in seconds which is why editors have a obligation to select pictures that enhance and sit alongside the report.
The images that newspapers and broadcasters can use are regulated by rules of taste and discretion but ultimately it is down to the individual newspaper or station to what they show and if it steps outside the bounds of decency, it is them that face the complaints and any subsequent action.
As the World watches on in horror, we have the current ongoing Israel and Palestine conflict and with the invention of smartphones, everyone everywhere has a camera available and combine that with explosions in densely populated Palestinian areas where people are afforded little protection, there are some gruesome and grisly photographs being made available. 
Bloggers, almost completely unhindered to write and post what they like, are also free to include any of the photographs available online that would not make it through the first stage of any selection process for publication or airing on television, but because they can does it also mean that they should?
I was at a fellow bloggers blog earlier and he has an emotive post setting out his view on the Palestinian crisis and a graphic of the shrinking Palestine to enhance his point but when you click on the continue reading link, a truly sickening and horrific image of an injured child hits you with the acknowledgement that the image is 'very unpleasant and disturbing' but justifying that 'it’s the reality of Palestine'.
To his partial credit, the horrific picture was not on the front page (albeit with no warning of what was to come) and as previously mentioned, it is down to the individual blogger what he or she chooses to put on their blog and that is as it should be, but that then also means that the responsibility then falls onto us bloggers to ensure that grotesque images are not made available to people who shouldn't see them.
The use of horrific and shocking pictures is a powerful and valid way of highlighting your argument but a seven year old won't much care for the moral stance taken to bring attention to a certain message, they will just see the horrific image in their mind over and over again when they close their eyes to sleep at night.
I refuse to use these images, i would prefer to take the long route and write the thousands words as we have to be aware that these pictures can and do have a detrimental effect on a young mind long after the conflict is over and we are now blogging about the latest pop sensation.  
The alternative argument is of course that war is hell and to not show these images is sanitising conflict and not correctly reflecting what is happening and it is an argument i understand and have some sympathy with but is always trumped by the knowledge of knowing war is horrific and the moral implications of introducing children to that concept by way of a shockingly explicit picture of the victims of war is a moral decision for the conscience of each blog owner that write about these matters.

Hey, Ho, They're Gone

I saw the Sugababes once towards the end of their life-span but as none of the original band members were still there, i could never quite get my head around whether had i just seen the Sugababes or not?
I assumed not and satisfied myself that what i had just witnessed was little more of a tribute band and the question came back to me today on news Tommy Ramone, the last remaining Ramone, had died. 
Despite a surprising but welcome surge in kids wearing Ramones t-shirts recently, not many seemed to know who they were or would look blankly at me as i rattled off their songs but i knew people who were there at the time who were unaware of them so it's another surprise that in spectacular hyperbole they seem to be credited with creating punk.
All their songs had a similar pace, length and sound to them but they did churn out some great songs, Blitzkrieg Bop deserving of special mention and their brilliant breakneck version of 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' one of those rare moments where the copy not only surpasses the original but becomes the definitive version of that song.
The band line up fluctuated over the years but now that the fourth and final original member has died it has a feeling of that's is the official end of the Ramones, they can't come back now and leave us fans with a Sugababes type conundrum of whether they are still 'The Ramones'.
They may not have been commercially successful or done anything other than turn out formulaic, short, furious songs but what great short, furious songs they were. 
As this is probably the last time i will ever be able to write about the Ramones i really should just put it out there that to my ears the Ramones always sounded very similar to the Beach Boys in their early years.
The Ramones then are a well worthy entrant to the Lucy Museum of Musicians who deserve entry to Lucy's Museum of Musicians. 

Sodor And La Rise

Sodor was a large island but many people lived there but one day a man with a black suit and a bowler hat turned up and asked to see the Sodor King.
The man in the black suit explained to the King that the people of another island, ’La Rise’ were in danger due to the rising sea level and they would have to move somewhere else and as Sodor had a lot of spare land, they would have to have half this island.
When the King told the people of Sodor they were not very happy about it as they liked having all the island but days later 10 big ships arrived and the many people of La Rise came out and set up their home on the East side of the island, leaving the people of Sodor the West side with a line of leaves and the waterfall where the yellow liquid was made marking the halfway point between the two.
The people of Sodor did not like losing half of their island so they armed themselves with sticks from the trees and they decided to move the La Rise people away from their island but the La Rise people were ready for them as the man with the suit had given them even bigger sticks and they kept pushing the Sodor people back to their own side.  
As they had such big sticks from the man in the suit, the Sodor people knew that they could not beat the La Rise people who had come to live on their island, even when the La Rise people moved the line of leaves to give them more space on their side.
Slowly over time the line of leaves moved again and again and when the Sodor people complained and threatened the La Rise people with their little sticks, the La Rise people would attack them with their big sticks and move the leaves some more and tell the Sodor people to stay on their shrinking side of the island.
The man in the suit would turn up in Sodor every know and then and give the La Rise people some even bigger and better sticks and very soon the Sodor people were left very little space on their island and the waterfall and yellow liquid that they sold was now on the La Rise side of the island.
Knowing that they could not beat the La Rise people with their little sticks, the Sodor people would run across the line of leaves and throw sticks at the La Rise people so they took away the line of leaves and planted tall trees there instead with tree houses at the top so the Sodor people could not come onto the La Rise side of the island and the La Rise people could watch over them from the tree houses and hit them with the big sticks if they tried to cross over.
After they lost the waterfall and the yellow liquid to the La Rise side of the island, the Sodor people did not have much money to buy things and were kept on their side of the island by the trees so when the man in the suit next came the Sodor King went to see him and explain that the La Rise people had taken over his island and the Sodor people were now in a very small area with no money or food and the La Rise people kept moving the line so the space they did have was getting even smaller.
The man in the suit said that the Sodor people were very naughty for throwing the sticks at the La Rise people and they should be nice to the La Rise people so they do not have to keep hitting them with the big sticks.
As the man in the suit went to the La Rise side of the island with some more big sticks, the Sodor King went back to his people and told them that they must be nice to the La Rise people and they will stop hitting them with the big sticks and moving the trees to the Sodor side of the island. 
The Sodor king went to see the La Rise king and promised his people would stop throwing sticks at them but when he was going for a walk a week later to say thank you to his people for not throwing anymore sticks at the La Rise people, he was sure that he saw a few of the trees move closer to him.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

We Know How This Latest Conflict Will Play Out

Israel hits 200 Gaza sites, 8 children reported dead, Hamas fires rockets. I am pretty certain that we know how this latest operation is going to go.
Israel bomb Gaza for a few weeks until the death toll on the Palestinian side gets so high and so many pictures of dead Palestinian children fill the airwaves that international pressure makes it pull back.
Meanwhile, the US and UK start off saying how Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas rockets for the first week and then go quiet for another week therefore giving Israel breathing space to bomb and invade at will before making half hearted pleas for Israel and Palestine to stop the fighting which they do a week later.
Then, as Israel pulls out it's troops and the Palestinians bury their many dead and rebuild their houses from the rubble and while Hamas are declaring victory, details of Israeli human rights and war atrocities leak out which are replied to as anti-semitic and we return to the status quo and everyone says how we need a peace process and everything goes back to normal. 
Hamas use the invasion as justification for their on going fight against Israel, Israel use the invasion as a justification of their ongoing fight against Hamas and innocent Israelis and Palestinians get killed by both.
Sickening that Hamas target Israelis by firing rockets into Israel and equally sickening that Israel continue to target the homes of Hamas members and have no compassion for the family in the same house or those in the immediate vicinity.
All sides are as guilty as each other of keeping the feud going, Israel so it can steal Palestinian land and Hamas so it can justify its existence.

Blackberry Still Fighting

As someone who doesn't like or want to use a touchscreen phone, i would dearly love Blackberry and there actual keyboard phones to succeed and continue making mobiles but they have been struggling in recent times and things are looking rather bleak for the Canadian firm.
As i will soon be in the market for a new phone as my contract comes to an end, i have been looking at the phones available and as none of the other main suppliers such as Samsung or Apple have cottoned onto the large contingent of touchscreen keyboard avoiders, Blackberry is the only Smartphone to choose but as i was advised the other day by a sales assistant in Phones4U, Blackberry is no longer making phones so i will have to lump it and go for a touchscreen before guiding me through the options available.
Days later Blackberry announce a new phone, the Passport so once i has finished a mental note to myself to ignore any advice from anyone wearing a Phones4U uniform, i went to have a look and sure enough the Passport has a real keyboard but wow is it a weird looking unit. 
I do understand their thinking regarding a large square mobile, a cross between a phone and a tablet and it certainly is different but i think i will pass and wait for the Q20 (Blackberry Classic) which is set to be released in November.
At least they are still in their trying for us QWERTY types and i won't be returning to Phones4U as their staff are either ignorant of their own field or happy to lie to your face to get a sale.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Good Joke Scotland

This is the Scottish uniform for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Now I'm all for equal opportunities and it is nice to see that a lack of eyesight is not the barrier that it once was in the fashion world but you would have thought at some point between the design and actual manufacturing stage someone would have pointed out that this outfit is horrendous. 
I am assuming that Scotland is having a bit of a wee joke at the sassanach's south of the borders expense but i'm not fooled and expect them to unveil the real outfits anytime soon.
As if you thought we would believe that anyone would ever wear such hideous clothing in real life but it is nice to see that Scottish humour is alive and kicking. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Bush: Version3

First we had George H Bush, then we had the son George W Bush and waiting in the wings is yet another Bush, this one is called Jeb and is generally considered to be the brains of the Bush family although judging by what we have seen so far that's not saying much as all.     
Unfortunately for Jeb, his dad started the war with Saddam and his brother then went and hung him so he can't carry on that particular family trait but if Jeb decides not to run for President in 2016, the Bush nepotism will go on with Jeb’s son, George P Bush, almost certain to be elected to office in Texas this year.
Despite some Bush family law that seems to state that in each generation, one of them must be called George, they are all Texans except Jeb who is a Floridian, having served two terms as governor and they are all fully paid up members of the God-squad with Jeb admitting that during his time in office he 'tried to act on my faith as best as I could' which echo's his brothers 'God told me to do it' line to the Palestinian foreign minister regarding the Afghanistan war. 
Jeb (real name John Ellis Bush which makes his name John Ellis Bush Bush) has been described as more conservative than his brother and as GWB was one of the most furthest right wing Presidents in memory, we can only hope that Jeb's role in Presidential Election is confined to being in the right place when his brother required the Florida vote in 2000, hanging chads and all that.

Why Do We Still Have So Many Nuclear Weapons?

In 1984, at the height of the Cold War, the Doomsday clock moved its hands to 3 minutes to midnight as US-Russian relations hit an all time low and Ronald Reagan announced a space-based anti-ballistic missile capability.
In 1991 the clock moved to 17 minutes to midnight as the Cold War officially ended and nuclear bomb owning countries began making cuts to their nuclear arsenals which stood at 70,000 nuclear warheads globally.
Considering the damage just one nuclear weapon can cause, the thought of 70,000 of them is scary enough but 23 years on and after a raft of disarmament agreements, according to the Federation of American Scientists we still have approximately 17,300 nuclear weapons globally ready to be aimed and fired.
Russia has the most with 8,500, then the United States (7,700), France (300), China (250), UK (225) Israel (100), Pakistan (100), India (90) and North Korea (10).
There are a few who argue that we still need to retain our nuclear weapons although recent years has seen terrorist attacks in America, UK, China and Russia so the possession of nuclear weapons does not make a state secure and are absolutely no use against terrorists.
It is hard to make a case of why in the 21st Century we still need nuclear arms apart from the status it provides but America hold the dubious honour of being the only country to use nuclear weapons but with India and Pakistan not as stable as they could be and North Korea making regular bellicose statements and Israel in a constant state of warmongering with its neighbours, they may not be the last.
Throw in the horror of an accident, and recent examples show just how close we have come to wiping ourselves out with our own nuclear weapons, and it appears that we are holding on to these extraordinarily dangerous weapons not out of necessity but because of the cachet and feeling of superiority it gives us. 
As the people who would give the decisions to use the weapons would be the safest ones in their countries as they retreat to secure nuclear bunkers, it does seem a huge risk to hold onto weapons we will never likely use at huge expense and massive danger to us all just for a lift to our fragile diplomatic status.

Boys And Train Sets

I don't know what this governments fascination with trains is but a highly excitable chap from the Transport Department has announced that £90m is being spent to speed up internet access on commuter trains across England and Wales.
Already announced is the mind boggling HS2 north-south rail link which is costing £50bn and will result in shaving 20 minutes off a commuter trip from London to Birmingham.
The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said to try and justify spending the equivalent of the cost of two schools on internet access: 'We all know how frustrating it can be to have our phone calls and internet use constantly disrupted by poor signal while travelling on trains. At the moment it happens too often. Passengers expect and deserve better and with these plans, that is what they'll get'.
I use the trains and what i expect more than being able to check my emails quicker is for trains to arrive on time and be able to get a seat when they do turn up so if i was asked where to spend £90m that was burning a hole in their pockets i would suggest buying more trains.
My second suggestion would be replacing the ticket collectors with greased up male models in budgie smugglers but i can't see that one going through either.

Cheering On The Germans

Last four standing in the World Cup are Argentina and the Netherlands and Germany and Brazil and i usually root for the European countries but i am hoping that the Argentines kick the Netherlands out and Germany end up winning the whole thing.   
Robben's criminal diving, especially to 'win' the penalty against Mexico, Tim Kruls gamesmanship during the penalty shoot-out with Costa Rica last night and the arrogant van Gaal overseeing it all makes me hope that Messi and his gang dismantle them completely.
Germany can then take on and beat a Brazil shorn of their best players at both end of the pitch and on Sunday night it's Saurkraut and Bratwurst in Berlin and jubiliations and a hearty rendition of Wir Sind Die Meister. Wunderbur!

Another Political Cover Up

The former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit has said he believes there 'may well have been a political cover-up' over child abuse by political figures in Westminster in the 1970's and 80s.
It seems almost certain that it was covered up as the Home Office has now announced that not only has the original document been lost but a further 114 relevant files have also gone missing from government files.
The missing dossier compiled by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens told his family that the information he handed over in 1983 and 1984 would 'blow the lid off' the lives of powerful and famous child abusers but it appears that the information he gave to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan was buried. 
Brittan, himself under questioning in a rape claim from 1967, suggested at the time that the dossier would be passed to the police, but Scotland Yard says it has no record of receiving or launching any investigation into the allegations.
Brittan originally said that he didn't remember receiving the document from Dickens and then remembered handing it to officials to investigate.
On Saturday, the Home Office made public a letter to Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, in which the department confirmed that correspondence from Dickens had not been retained and it had found 'no record of specific allegations by Mr Dickens of child sex abuse by prominent public figures' and were either 'destroyed, lost or missing'.
As Geoffrey Dickens died in 1995, Leon Brittan is the only other person who knows the names of the people involved and as politicians reputations are at an all time low following the expenses scandal, the idea that an even larger cover up is going on, and one of such serious allegations, will see even further disconnect between the public and the politicians.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Climate Change Effects Begin To Bite

Unbelievably there are still some people who refuse to accept climate change and the devastating effects but there is no such argument on the island of Kiribati in the Pacific Coast because the sea is rising at a rate of 1.2cm a year and they have made arrangements of how to deal with the inevitable taking back of the land by the sea.
The country has purchased a 20-square-kilometre chunk of forest on the Fijian island of Vanau Levu for £8.8 million ready for any evacuation of the 103,000 residents due to rising sea levels.
'We would hope not to put everyone on this one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it' Kiribati President Anote Tong said as he explained the many climate-related challenges his island faces including increasing salt pollution in its freshwater supplies, changing weather and storm patterns as well as the rising ocean.
Some villages on Kiribati have already been flooded out and the President estimates that his country only has 30-60 years left before it becomes uninhabitable leading him to pursue migration initiatives.
The IPCC agree that many smaller islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans risk being totally or mostly submerged in just the next few decades by rising sea levels with places like Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands under the greatest threat.
The movement of these people from low lying lands could be a foreshadow of what to come as the IPCC warns that by 2050, global warming will displace as many as 700 million people from the effects of rising sea levels and desertification.
Just a small taste of things to come but humans moving to higher ground to avoid the effects of the damage we have wreaked on the globe has started.

Wimbledon Fortnight A Money Spinner

Wimbledon Final Weekend and not a Brit in sight as a Czech and a Canadian play out the women's final and a Swiss and a Serb contest the men's.
British tennis has been in disarray for decades and the only success we did have, Andy Murray, learnt how to play in Spain and owes his success to the Sánchez-Casal Academy more than anything he learnt here.
A ticket for Wimbledon isn't cheap but the prices are justified by the explanation that each year the All England Club who run Wimbledon help the LTA to develop British tennis.
Wimbledon fortnight is a roaring success, as a sporting event and financially with last years tournament income making £149.2 million.
This weekend at Wimbledon, the winners of the men's and ladies' singles titles will each pocket £1.76 million and the players they beat will each collect £880,000 as runners-up.
The entire prize fund for all players is £25 million which is the smallest of the prize funds of the four Grand Slams in Australia, Paris, Wimbledon and New York.
Although the All England Club makes the majority of its annual income in the two weeks in June and July, it also raises £40 million per year from a range of official suppliers such as Slazenger, Robinson, Rolex, IBM, Hertz and Ralph Lauren.
Factoring in the total cost of the tournament, prize funds, staff and ground maintenance amounting to £111.2 million,  the All England Club profit last year was £38 million pounds which is a lovely little money spinner in anybody's language.
Doesn't explain why Brits suck as tennis so bad though, maybe the All England Club should dig a little deeper into it's very deep pockets and spend a bit less on the Pimms.

Friday, 4 July 2014

William Mullins

William Mullins had stacked
126 pairs of shoes in his pack, Now that's wack
A fishing rod, a plough, A pig, or a cow
Would have been a much better idea
But now there's no food for us to eat
Does this mean we will meet with de-feet!

Of all 102 passengers on the Mayflower that left Plymouth in 1620, William Mullins deserves his own post for his reckless disregard in ensuring that his family survived but making sure that they had comfortable footwear.
William Mullins was born around 1572 appropriately in Dorking, Surrey and then the records go quiet until 1595 when he was fined two pence by the manorial court for an unknown transgression and then again a decade later when he was up in front of the beak again and the recipient of another fine for another unknown transgression.
In 1619 he sold up his shoe business and home for £280 in preparation of his trip to the New World.
A year later William Mullins and other assorted smaller Mullins boarded the Mayflower and as the song picks up, he put the foot comfort of his family above things such as eating or surviving making him the first scrounger of the New World but as it never occurred to any of the Pilgrims to bring supplies, thinking God would provide, his poncing off others fell on death ears and he died shortly after landing at Plymouth. A case of 1619 making clogs, 1620 popping his clogs. 
As befitting a man who dragged his family across the Atlantic Ocean with no food but many pairs of shoes, his will called for the distribution of his remaining goods so his wife, son and daughter were the proud owners of dozen of pairs of shoes and boots which ensured that they were cursing him and gnawing on leather uppers when the mother and son died a month later although the youngest daughter survived as the less well-shoed Pilgrims took her under their wing.  
As we know the Pilgrim's went on to survive and develop America into the gun toting cheeseburger gorging nation we know today but William Mullins deserves a special place in history as probably the most stupidest person since the Trojan guard who decided that dragging in that very large hollowed out wooden horse that had suddenly appeared outside the city gates wouldn't do any harm.
Mr Mullins, we salute your flagrant contempt for your families welfare and immense stupidity.

Not Born In The USA

Thanks to Horrible Histories, we all know the story of Pilgrim Father William Mullins who took onto the Mayflower 126 pairs of shoes and boots instead of food or seeds and promptly died months after landing, probably furiously gnawing on a pair of loafers.
The perception from the Olde World of the Fourth of July festivities is generally a bemused shrug and gentle mockery of Americans waving flags and shouting 'awesome' while wearing Uncle Sam hats and eating hot-dogs.
I once pointed out to an American that the Pilgrim Fathers, so desperate to leave behind everything England, then went and not only named many towns and cities after places in England and even named Plymouth where they landed after the city where they sailed from. She never got it but irony is not a strong point.
My own theory is that the Pilgrim Fathers didn't leave Britain to escape religious persecution, but because they had silly names like "Remember', Truelove', 'Wrestling', 'Humility' and 'Peregrine' and couldn't stand the endless ribbing.
As England invented America, and America is famous for taking in the tired (World Cup late night games are playing havoc with bedtime) and the poor (no pay rise for 4 years thank you austerity measures) and huddled masses (radiators need bleeding) tempest tost (??), we should be able to pass the US citizenship exam.
I scored 6 out of a possible 10 which means i am an average American so hand me the Uncle Sam hat, a crate of Miller Lite and a gun and a let's mock the limeys and Mad King George who we left behind all those years ago.
Hell yeah, awesome!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Been Here Before Haven't We

The UK Government have announced an increase in airport security amid fears that terrorists in Syria and Yemen were developing explosives that could be smuggled undetected onto planes.
US intelligence agencies have passed on information that Syria and Yemen have been in contact to develop bombs that escape heightened security measures, although they do not have specific intelligence about an imminent attack or specific plot emanating from the collaboration.
If this were true it would be very worrying but the problem is that many don't trust the people making the claims as both the UK and US Governments have been using the terrorist threat at every opportunity for the past decade and its citizens are wary of falling for the propaganda again.
In the run up to the Iraq war we had tanks at Heathrow and the delightful picture of the old lady hitting the tank with her umbrella and telling them to go away and we asked them what use would a tank be against someone on a plane with a bomb in his underpants?
Maybe if these measure were not introduced with such fanfare it wouldn't be suspected that all this was a Public Relations exercise designed to scare us into not questioning all the safety measures that have chipped away at our civil liberties.
According to George W Bush, his actions have made the world a much safer place and we all know how smart he was so why should we believe that these actions are as credible as the previous lot as they scan our emails, note our telephone calls, increase surveillance and stifle any protests under the guise of anti-terrorism.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

America Raises Bar In Mad Gun Laws

When we look across the Atlantic Ocean we see America, the land of the free and the home of some of the loopiest gun laws and just when you think they can't get any loopier, they take it up a notch.
This time it's Georgia and the 'Guns Everywhere Law' and as our media does like to have a chuckle at the mad Americano's who put the second amendment above everything else, it seems that they didn't have to go far as the local fruitcakes were only too willing to be put on show.
First up was a middle aged man in a baseball cap and wearing a 'Guns Saves Lives' badge who proclaimed the new laws that allow guns in bars, nightclubs, libraries and even churches as 'a victory for the second amendment rights', rights that he proudly boasted where 'given to us by God'.
When challenged that during the Afghan and Iraq wars, Georgia saw over twice as many people killed by guns than in combat, another gun nut called Bob ignored the question and explained that his motto was 'If you see me with pants on, my pistol's in my pants'.
Some people may well say that he hasn't got much else in his pants hence the fascination with guns but i prefer to be kinder and say the empty space was between his ears hence the fascination with guns.
It's their country, they can make as many doolaly laws as they like and all the time the rest of us will ask why the nation with the most gun violence, school shootings, spree shootings and mental illness legally allow weapons, into nightclubs, libraries and churches and how long before we hear of the fiction section of a Georgian library being shot up.