Monday, 26 September 2016

Kicking Brexit Down The Road

Not sure why but the Brexit leavers have become quite emboldened recently and a few have made comments about how the UK Economy hasn't tanked and how generally everything is rosy we did the right thing telling the EU where to get off.
The only snag in their argument is that we haven't left the EU yet and won't for at least another two years so maybe they should carry on hiding behind their sofa until at least 2019.
Within days of the vote leave the £350m a week we hand to the EU which will go the NHS claim was disowned and the EU have said we will not be able to access the common market without freedom of movement or paying our fees (approx £350m a week) so we will be paying the same and other citizens of EU members will still have unfettered access to UK jobs so not easy to see what a campaign based on not paying the EU and stopping citizens of other EU members unfettered access to UK jobs has to be proud about.   
But as Theresa May has said, Brexit is Brexit so out we go once the 6 step process is completed but we seem to be stuck on the first step, Vote to leave.
Step 2 is 'Invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty' which starts the countdown as we then have two years to complete the rest of the process:

step 3 Complete negotiations between UK and EU
step 4 At least 20 EU countries approve deal
step 5 European Parliament ratifies deal
step 6 Leave the EU

The talk is that Article 50 will be triggered in 2017 but no firm date has been given but as it has been kicked down the road already, it may be kicked a little further along the asphalt yet.

Screening Our Alien Calls

At first glance there is not much in common between Stephen Hawking and myself but we do share the idea that their is life out there in the cosmos and if it called us, responding to it would be a bad idea.
Talking about 'The Breakthrough Listening Project', an initiative which does exactly what it says, listens out for any signals transmitted from other life forms on other planets, Hawking says that he is 'more convinced than ever that we are not alone' but cautions us Earthlings to be extremely wary about answering any signals from aliens when they come calling.
Hawking imagines a meeting between the two civilisations as something that would resemble Christopher Columbus meeting Native Americans, saying, 'that didn't turn out so well' and our history shows what happens once a more advanced civilisation discovers another one and if the alien intelligence turns out to be further along the technological trail than us...oops, bye bye, thanks for the fish.
So with the caution of keeping our heads down ringing in our ears, Hawking then points out Gliese 832c, a planet 16 light years from Earth as the place with the most potential to host life as it sits perfectly in the habitable zone of its Star to contain liquid water. 
The project is the biggest alien-hunting exercise ever undertaken and plans on using the world’s most sensitive radio telescopes to listen in on 10 times the amount of sky than similar enterprises have achieved in the past so hopes are high that if there is something out there and it is calling us, we will hear it but have th sense not to pick up.

We Have A Precedent For Removing Disliked Leaders

Six weeks to go and then we can find out if it is the racist xenophobe or the warmongering liar leading the country on the opposite side of the Atlantic.
The wise heads are saying Hillary to win comfortably but a small part of me wants Trump, just because he would be such a train wreck of a President that you want to see it happen just to see if it would be as awful as expected.
Nobody expects Trump to be handed the White House keys but nobody expected George W Bush to gain a second term after his debacle of a first term but American voters thought different so we should be prepared for the strangely orange one with the small hands to be taking his seat on Air Force One after November.
Of course a President Trump would not go down well with other leaders but luckily we have a precedent set by America ironically of what we can do when a country elects a leader we don't much care for.
We can take the Vladimir Putin's Russia and Iran routes and impose sanctions on America but as Americans seem to moan about the amount of things stamped with 'Made In China' on it, would seem a bit pointless.
Then we have the Saddam Hussein's Iraq route which includes making up things to allow us to invade and after destroying most of the cities and killing hundreds of thousands, shout 'Job Done' and skip away to allow the gangsters and terrorists to take over.  
While we are mulling that one over, how about the Syria and Ukraine route where we find a local protest group, heavily arm and give them financial backing while loudly supporting their cause for the removal of the President therefore stirring up a civil war and blaming the leader for causing for which he must be removed.
There is the Fidel Castro Cuba road to follow which is crudely just trying to assassinate him or the Nicaragua way where we just grab him and put him on trial for whatever we can think of.
Finally there is the Palestine way where we 'rent' another country to do the nasty business for us and give it billions of euros of 'aid' in return and veto any UN action against it.
Plenty of options to ponder over, almost all of which end up murdering large numbers of citizens but it never seemed to have stopped America previously and as Madeleine Albright once said when asked about the half a million dead Iraqi children due to American actions, we think it's worth it.  
I'm sure the ones that we don't accidentally murder will welcome us with open arms as we forcibly remove their leader, won't they?

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Corbyn Is Great, But Not Who Labour Need

The problem with Jeremy Corbyn is that he is very popular with Labour members but not with the voting public so while he may be storming to victory in the Labour leadership campaign, he is still 11 points behind the Conservative Government in the country, the largest gap since the 1930s.
The shame is i agree with almost everything Corbyn stands for but we know that our politics are not shared with the wider population and it is the wider population who vote parties into power.
What Labour have done therefore is elect a leader who has no real chance of winning the 2020 election, condemning us all to another five years of Conservative Government and more importantly a current Conservative Government who know that without the little worry of being removed, they can plough on with all the worst of the right wing ideology they possess.
The Labour MP's know this and worry for their own futures which is why they have attempted to remove him in a botched coup after 172 of them voted no-confidence in his leadership.    
It feels as though Labour members, mostly socialists who favour the many over the few, have voted for themselves and not for what's best for the Labour Party but i hope that i am wrong and Corbyn finds a way to win back the voters who left in their droves at the last election bit i fear Corbyn isn't the man Labour require and what the vote has done is given the Conservatives the green light to go about, or even increase, their right wing nastiness unchallenged and fearing being turfed out of office
in the forseeable future.

Wiggins Looking Suspicious

The Russian cyber espionage group hacking the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database has been roundly condemned for making public personal medical records and that is where WADA and the athletes seem determined to keep the focus because if you actually look at what the personal medical information is showing, it's very, very shady. 
I am of the opinion that the drugs that they are legally allowed to take to treat medical conditions are banned because they give the taker an unfair advantage so while they make treat the ailment, they still also give that advantage which is why they are banned in the first place.
One of Great Britain's greatest athletes, Bradley Wiggins, is now under suspicion and quite rightly because his details show that he received doses of triamcinolone for his asthma and allergies just before three major races, including the 2012 Tour de France which he won.
Now his former doctor has agreed that 'it doesn't look right' and that 'You do have to think it is kind of coincidental that a big dose of intramuscular long-acting corticosteroids would be needed at that exact time before the most important race of the season'.
Corticosteroids improve athletes performance by postponing fatigue, increasing recovery speed and was widely used illegally by cycling dopers as it is fast acting.
That Wiggins required them shortly before big event races is highly dubious and if he was Russian he would be hung from the highest tower but as he is British, go home, nothing to see here.

Sticking It To Their Northern Neighbour

Ever before since George W Bush landed in the White House, America's star has been on the wane, Bush just tugged it down a bit faster and further and with the poor choice of who will be the next President, it could be about to land with an almighty thud and there will be a long line of countries waiting to stick the boot in once it does.
Countries like Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua who have been polishing their Doc Martins already and have taken the podium at the UN General Assembly and branded America: 'the biggest exporter of violence in the world'.
They raised the economic exploitation of countries in the Latin south, the history of causing unrest and regime change and how it was the biggest obstacle for Latin America to develop.
It then turned its guns on Israel and its long running oppression of its Palestinian neighbour and said that there will never be peace in the Middle East as Israel trades on their not being peace.
I'm sure America and Israel sat there pulling their 'so hurtful' faces but hard to deny any of the allegations the three Latin Americans leveled at them.
I am certain that worse will be on its way to Americans door once if as predicted Trump or Clinton sends it belly up.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

On It Goes In Syria

America say Russia are to blame for the breakdown of the ceasefire in Syria and it was Russian jets that bombed an aid convoy while Russia say nothing to do with them and it was a drone from the US-led coalition that entered the area where the attack had taken place just before it burst into flames and it is America and it's allies who must take the blame.
As both have such a poor reputation for lying, neither can or should be trusted to be telling the truth this time.
Today an air strike on a medical facility near Aleppo has killed five employees. 
As a consequence all aid convoys in Syria are currently suspended and once again two countries who have nothing to do with Syria squabble over 'accidental' civilian deaths.
The ceasefire was negotiated not between the warring parties on the ground but by two of their backers, the US and Russia who are both engaged in the conflict but in different ways and with their eyes on very different goals so it is hard to see the conflict ending anytime soon while innocent civilians are caught between the Russians and Syrian forces on one side, American and the rebels on the side with Islamic State bringing devastation wherever they can and Turkey attacking the same
side most adept at hunting down the IS fighters. 
All a massive mess whose roots go back to outsiders meddling for their own agendas.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Those Trotsky Marxist Socialist Commie Types

Those not inclined towards Jeremy Corbyn have got themselves into a bit of a quandary over what to call those who support the current Labour leader, labeling them Communist, Socialist, Marxist or Trotskyists but even those on the left are unsure which box they fall into.
Many of the new recruits to the left's cause from the younger generation seem to like the term 'communist' which is shunned by anyone over 40 as it reeks of the USSR and leads to uncomfortable conversations about Stalin and Chairman Mao in the same way that being far right sets you up alongside Hitler.
Whereas Socialism and Communists have many of the same goals and sprang from the same ideal, they have very different ideas of how to get there, the Communist Correspondence Committee in 1846 sought a purge of Socialists from their party such was the differences between them.
For me the definitions from the early 20th century are now mostly redundant in the modern world, Communists, Socialists, Marxists and Trotskyists are in most cases no longer the same thing in a choice of different flavors although there are some who will argue otherwise but in general left and right will suffice.
The question should be then are you left or right and that is easy to determine with my handy guide which breaks it down as you wear a beret, you hold your fist in the air occasionally, you call everyone brother or sister, you have had at some point owned something with a picture of a guy named Che on it, you have sympathy for strikers or you drink latte.
If you have said yes to any of the above then welcome brother/sister, hang up your beret and grab your Che mug and let's share a latte and discuss the junior doctor strike.
If you said no to all the above then you are probably a selfish right wing capitalist pig dog who had pictures of Margaret Thatcher on your wall and own a book of Hitler quotes.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Die Hard

A family have fled their home after finding dozens of one of the  world’s deadliest spiders, which can cause a four-hour erection followed by death, in a bunch of bananas from their local Asda supermarket.
The Brazilian wandering spiders burst out of a nest that was stuck on to a banana and spilled on the kitchen floor as they unpacked their shopping.
They tried to hoover up the spiders but many escaped before the vacuum got them and the family are now refusing to go back home until the house has been fumigated.
Its venom can cause long and painful erections in males lasting up to four hours before being followed by death.
Not sure if Asda will face stiff penalties for infecting his home with spiders but they should at least pay the fumigation costs as the guy is too hard up to pay the bill.
At least his home will be safe from hardened criminals while he isn't home...etc etc

Friday, 16 September 2016

What Moral Dilemma?

The UK Government face a dilemma in the light of the report that Saudi Arabian-led air attacks on Yemen appear to be in breach of international law and a third of the 8,600 air strikes they have carried out have hit civilian targets including schools, hospitals, markets, mosques and economic infrastructure with a death toll of more than 10,000.
The dilemma is that in the 18 months since the bombing began, the UK has sold £3.3bn of fighter jets, bombs, missiles and components to Saudi Arabia so against that spreadsheet, the dilemma is whether to suspend arms sales to the Kingdom.
Human rights groups and campaigners have increased the volume against the arms sold to continue their attacks in Yemen and questions to government ministers have been aired in the House of Commons which have been answered by a pitiful response that sales will not be suspended and will only stop if UK courts ruled them unlawful.
A Whitehall source with knowledge of the situation explained that: 'I don’t think the Saudis go out to kill civilians, but it would be fair to say the Saudis have different thresholds when it comes to tolerance of things like that'.
Appears then that the moral dilemma is not a moral dilemma at all for the UK Government then, the profits we make by selling arms to Saudi Arabia trumps what they do with it so great news for the arms industry but not quite so good for any Yemeni civilians in the line of fire of a missile stamped with 'Made in Britain' on the side of it.

USA Still Wrongly Backing Israel

If there is one country that needs less military assistance it's Israel but for whatever reason, America have seen it fit to up the amount of aid they give the country each year to $38 billion to spend on military hardware.
As most of it ends up in blowing up parts of Isreal's neighbour, it seems a bit crazy to give backing to one of the most shameful regimes on the planet but America have not been known for their wisdom when handing out military assistance, Al Queada and Islamic State will fire some American rifles in the air in celebration of that.   
Israel have kept a stranglehold on Palestine for over 65 years and swipe their land for themselves as they do it and all the time they are given financial support by America, they will keep on doing it which is why it is disheartening to hear that not only are they having money shoveled at them by the Obama administration, but the amount is going up.
Israel are more than happy with the status quo, they get to continue subjugating and oppressing their neighbours and America cover their backs and even pay for their weapons despite them being the ninth strongest in the world.
If America want to help bring peace to the Middle East, they need to stop handing over military assistance to Israel which will mean they can't continue to maintain their armed forces at the current rate and will force them to behave in a more responsible and less aggresive and murderous manner with their neighbours and there will be less images of Palestinians schools and hospitals in piles of rubble.

A Letter To Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature

I appreciate that you are very busy what with trying to keep a balance of things after us humans have stuffed the atmosphere full of chemicals but i have a request.
As a pasty skinned British person who wilts as soon as the thermometer creeps anywhere close to the mid-20C's, i have been hit particularly hard this year as we have had high temperatures since April and now it is September and it still topped 30C today.
I have been sunburnt (twice), been bitten on an almost daily basis, have been stung and harassed by wasps and bees that either like or dislike my deodorant, have woken up with my pillow stuck to my face most mornings, have spent many nights turning around my pillow trying to find a cool spot and with my fan being almost permanently turned on so have almost single handedly doubled Southern Electric's profits so i ask if you can do the right thing and turn down the thermostat a bit and give us more seasonal appropriate Autumn temperatures now.
As we have had a long and hot summer, can you balance things up by providing us with a long and cold winter with lots of snow, especially down on the English South Coast as we tend to miss out on the white stuff.

Thank you

PS...If you are unable to fulfill this request can you at least throw in some decent thunderstorms, they have been very lackluster this summer.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Williams & Biles Gaining Fortuitous Sporting Advantage?

Of course it goes without saying that the Russian cyber espionage group which hacked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database should not be condoned and blah blah and all that but while everyone is focusing on the releasing of private information, nobody seems to be actually looking at what the information is.
Among the sports stars whose details were posted online were tennis players Serena and Venus Williams and gymnast Simone Biles who recently hopped off from Rio with Olympic Gold medals in each of their sports bag.
The leaked records show that each of the three woman had taken drugs on the WADA prohibited list under medical grounds with WADA rushing out a release that they had done nothing wrong and believed in: 'the importance of a level playing field for all athletes'.
The leaked documents show that Serena Williams was granted permission to use drugs commonly used to treat muscle injuries while Biles took a treatment for her ADHD.
The hack is obviously an act of retaliation for Wada's report into Russian state-sponsored doping and while there is no suggestion the Williams sisters and Simone Biles did anything illegal while taking treatment for their various ailments, by taking the drugs did they obtain an advantage over other athletes as a side effect?  
If Simone Biles took ADHD drugs designed to retain mental focus and calm nerves, how could she not gain an advantage over someone who has only their own mind to achieve the same effect?
If Venus and Serena are taking chemicals to treat muscle injuries, how could they not gain an advantage over other tennis players who rely on their own bodies healing any muscle injuries? 
The fact that all three, especially Serena and Biles, are top of their sporting fields should raise some uneasy questions over whether they have a fortuitous advantage from the drugs they are legally allowed to take therefore making WADA's level playing field a bit more sloped.

Brazil Taking Wrong Turn With Privatisation

It is blatantly obvious that privatisation doesn't work, it increase costs and lowers the quality of services because it is impossible for the private sector to deliver the same service for less and make a profit and making a profit is the only reason they are there in the first place.
Case in point the news today that Government privatised the collection of Tax Credit debts to a private firm Concentrix who received a payment for each Tax Credit claim they closed due to fraud who then proceeded to merrily incorrectly close down so many claims (and receive their payment for and leave claimants with no money) that the Government have had to sack them and take the job back over themselves.
Undeterred the new government in Brazil has announced a multi-billion dollar privatisation plan in an attempt to pull the country’s economy out of the worst recession in eight decades.
Handed out to the highest bidder will be operating licenses for oil and gas, electricity, airports, sea ports, road building, railways, mines and dams and is expected to raise £24 billion.
Maybe at some point someone will say hang on, instead of all the profits from these things going back into the countries coffers to benefit everyone, they are now going to shareholders bank accounts but by then costs will be up, quality of service and wages will be down and a few more bosses will be swanning around the Mediterranean on a massive yacht and Brazil will be wondering where it all went so wrong.

Never Again Until The Next Time

Following the toppling of Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi, former Prime Minister David Cameron told crowds in Benghazi's Tahrir Square that he would not allow Libya to turn into another Iraq and that they were: 'an example to the world as you threw off a dictator and chose freedom' and promised 'Your friends in Britain and France will stand with you as you build your democracy'.
Seeing as Libya turned into another Iraq and their friends Britain and France hightailed it out of there as if their backside was on fire, i think it is fair to say things did not turn out as hoped.
Now as David Cameron joins Tony Blair in the line of recent British leaders who helped wreck a country with military force before skipping away scot-free, The Foreign Affairs Committee have concluded a report on the military adventure that was based on inaccurate intelligence, grossly overstated the threat to civilians and led to the rise of Islamic State in North Africa.
So far so exactly what we did in Iraq with the dodgy intelligence, sexing up the evidence and filling the country with terrorists only without the occupation afterwards and the death of British military personnel which is why Cameron is not facing the same hounding that Blair currently receives everytime he pops his vile head above the parapet.
The shameful thing is that after every ill judged military adventure we say lessons have been learned only for the next group of Western leaders to do exactly the same thing again and off we go again.
With a new Prime Minister in Britain and a new leader soon to take charge in America, it is almost guaranteed that some other country will be the recipient of Western ordnance courtesy of yet more inaccurate intelligence and grossly overstated threats and nothing would have been learned whatsoever.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Defending Facebook

I would be one of the last in line to defend a billion pound multinational tax dodger such as Facebook but it does seem the furore over the temporary banning of the iconic picture of a naked, screaming Vietnamese child running away from napalm bombs has got a bit silly.
Accusations abound of erasing such images is to limit freedom of expression, democracy, the right to criticise and question past events and even the good old rewriting history cliche has been thrown at them but if they are then i am missing something important here.
In order, the story went that an algorithm automatically deleted a picture of naked child and some people started screaming about it and after review by human Facebook editors, the picture is reinstated on the basis that it is not pornographic and is historically significant.
The only story i can see is that whatever algorithm Facebook are using to stop pictures of naked children being posted to it platform works very well.
Just happens that this particular picture, which is a naked child after all, has greater significance but a piece of software doesn't understand that and did what it was written to do and probably does hundreds of times a day without complaint.

Friday, 9 September 2016

A New Space Race?

China's space programme spends an estimated £6bn per year and has averaged 14 space launches per year since 2013.
Russia's average 31 launches cost £5bn per year but America, which has the largest budget of £40bn, has averaged five more successful launches than China at almost seven times the cost. 
Not sure why America's costs are so much more than Russia or China's but while Russia has always been one of the prominent Space nations but now China have manoeuvred themselves into a major player. 
Plans are being laid for the launch of an X-ray telescope to search out black holes and a crewed mission before the year is out, a moon mission in 2018 and a space station, Tiangong, to rival the International Space Station which they plan to have in orbit by 2020.
Joining forces with the European Space Agency, the Chinese Space Programme has been able to advance at an amazing rate with the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) stating that more partnerships with the ESA are on the cards as: 'International collaborations are the shortcut for China to catch up with the world'.
One nation that they won't be partnering up with is America, where there is a blanket ban on working with China that dates back years who suspect China's ambitions may be more military. 
The most obvious consequence of this has been the exclusion of China from the International Space
Station hence the plans to build their own which will be open to experiments and astronauts from all UN member states but specifically developing countries that have a fledgling space programme.
With the introduction of China as a space power, it could ignite a new space race, the same game of technological one-upmanship that the Soviets and Americans played out in the 50s and 60s which ended with the Apollo moon landings and hopefully it will propel us once again to an increase in space missions after a couple of decades of relative inaction.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Ex-Military Paralympic Athletes

A few years ago, at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, comedian Jimmy Carr made a joke which ended with the punchline: 'We're going to have a fucking good Paralympic team' which prompted waves of moral indignation and newspaper headlines of Carr's disgraceful joke about war hero amputees.
My argument at the time was why do a few words from a comedian bring more moral outrage than the either the wars themselves or the lack of equipment the soldiers received which resulted in these horrific injuries?
Carr issued an apology and everyone moved on but you only have to watch the British team in action at the Paralympics to know that what Carr said was true, we do have an amazing Paralympic team and a good proportion of our athletes came back from Iraq and Afghanistan paraplegic.
As military personnel are usually quite young and physically fit, they make good athletes and most take up sport as a way of rehabilitation or to have a purpose.
Of course if you asked a Paralympian if they would rather have the legs they lost in Iraq back or a gold medal i am almost certain most would prefer the limbs but on our TV for the next 11 days is the worst advertisement for Tony Blair's folly and i hope he is watching and with each mention of the athlete coming to his or her sport after losing a limb he gets a pang of guilt in his shrivelled up heart.  
For me, i will always prefer a poor Paralympic team if it means less young men and women being sent to fight politicians wars and coming back maimed if they come back at all.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Taking The Least Worst Option

Apart from saying one thing to the Mexican President and then telling his supporters something completely different, i haven't heard too much being spouted by Donald Trump recently which makes me wonder if his new team have clocked on that his best option is to keep him from saying anything.
The unlikable Hillary Clinton has the second lowest ratings for a Presidential Candidate ever, second only to Trump himself, so a period of keeping his strangely orange head down can only work in his favour.
Apart from the hardcore Hillary and Trump voters, many American's face the same problem that many British had at the last election where neither party look particularly welcoming but you have to vote for one of them else you go for a third party candidate who has no chance of winning.  
The option facing the wavering voter therefore is to acknowledge that neither of the big two are to your taste but hold your nose and vote for the least worst option and that can never be a good thing.  
Rather than voting for the party that you believe will be most beneficial to you and your country, you weigh up which one is going to do the least damage during their time in power and cast your vote that way.
To my ears and eyes thousands of miles away, Hillary is so dodgy that you wouldn't trust her to run the office lottery syndicate let alone a country while under the divisive Trump, America would fall apart at the seams quicker than a cushion stitched together by a 4 year old.         
In Britain we went with the Conservatives to be less of a drag on us all than the shambolic Labour Party and the clever money is on the Democrats leaving the Republicans in their dust but it won't be because voters think Hillary will do a good job but because they believe the Republicans would do an even worse one.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Satan And Donuts

I have never understood Atheists who start up a church or form a religion to show how much they reject the whole Church and religion thing but then i have never seen the appeal of jumping out of a plane with a parachute either but many people still do it.
One anti-religion religion which is on the rise is Satanism and just this month in Alaska a member of the 'Satanic Temple' was allowed to make an opening prayer to Lucifer at a local council meeting in Alaska where he asked councillors to embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge and ended with the words: 'All Hail Satan'.
In Europe, several leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were present at a satanic ritual in connection with the opening of the world’s longest tunnel, the new Gotthard tunnel, in Switzerland.
The ceremony was performed by masked men dressed in grass costumes, fallen angels descending from the ceiling and a man with a goat’s head and depicts Satanic scenes from hell.      
As Satanism is a reaction to organised religion, i fail to see how using a biblical figure such as Satan as a figurehead to replace another one makes any sense when the whole point is to free themselves from religion.
As an atheist just reject the idea of God but don't just replace him with another made up entity who makes an appearance later in the same book, that's like giving up smoking for health reasons and replacing the cigarettes with jam donuts.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Owning The Moon

Before we left for our August break, there was a story about an American company selling rights to mine the Moon which led me to ask, 'Who owns the moon?
Obviously not this American company which makes me wonder how stupid those paying them for the extraterrestrial real estate must be because property rights can only have legal force when they are recognised by a sovereign government and as per Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, no sovereign Governments reach goes up as far as the moon so good luck cashing in that moon property piece of paper sucker.
Another argument is that if someone just turned up and occupied it, would become the de facto owner?
Surprisingly there is nothing to stop just this happening, much in the way the British just turned up in Australia and  North America and claimed it as their own only there would be less Natives to brush aside on the moon.
Sending a probe is not enough, you have to physically be there 'body and mind' to claim it so Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin missed a trick there, they could have claimed ownership and ruled over their own piece of Solar System.  
The International Space Community know about this loophole and are currently running around trying to get nations to sign up to a Moon Agreement which will stop anyone just sticking a flag in the moon and claiming it but as the only signatories so far are 16 nations without a space program, the moon may one day be the next site for some of our more expansionist nations.

Saint Teresa

I was never the recipient of a Birthday or Christmas present from Mother Teresa which was probably a good thing as she said that suffering was a gift from God but she faced much criticism during her time for her missions not holding any painkillers (pain was God's gift remember) and for making the potential patients take religious vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in return for treatment.
Despite her critics, the Pope has seen fit to replace the Mother part of her name with Saint as she has now joined the ranks of those who the Vatican recognise as having 'an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness to God'.
The path to Sainthood includes two miracles which have to be attributed to the wannabe-Saint and Teresa's second was a Brazilian man who had a brain tumour, prayed to Mother Teresa to heal it which she dutifully did after first curing a woman of stomach cancer after a picture of the Albanian nun was placed on her belly.
Not sure why she cured people after she died but denied them painkillers and made them promise they would keep it in their pants when she was alive but the bar is set so low for Sainthood's these days that the Pope has etched Saint Teresa of Kolkata in his book which puts her towards the top of Holy people which is all very good for a woman who even doubted their was a God at all which makes her 'God's Gift' quote even more bizarre.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

About Time

China and the US have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, giving a boost to efforts to bring the accord into effect by the end of this year.
President Barack Obama said that the agreement should be remembered as 'the moment we finally decided to save our planet', while his counterpart Xi Jinping said it marked the start of a 'global government system' for climate change.
I'm sure that all citizens of low lying countries facing floods will give a cheer as China and the USA are jointly responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions, but the rest of us should ask as we have known about this since the 1970's,  what took you both so bloody long to decide to finally save the planet?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Cut Out Meat To Cut Out Cancer

When i was in school back in the 80's there was a Cancer Aware poster campaign which said every 4th person will develop some form of cancer, the number now seems to be 1 in 3 with an increase in Cancer cases in young adults.
Always considered an older persons curse, the latest Office of National Statistics figures show diagnosis has increased by 40% in the last 16 years, with 1,300 more cases of young people getting cancer each year.  
Fast food diets and lack of exercise could be responsible for a rise in these cases in young adults scientists have warned with the science adviser at Children with Cancer UK, saying there seems to be: 'a correlation between the lifestyle of young people and a significant increase in the number of teenagers being diagnosed'.
The science part is explained as: 'They tend to be doing a lot less exercise and there's also a lot of fast food being eaten, which is fine in moderation, but we know they do contain cancer giving substances. So if you eat well-cooked meat and burgers and it goes into your colon and hangs around because you're not doing much exercise, it's more likely to cause damage'.
The stark rise is most evident in colon cancer which was not considered a young persons cancer but is up by 200% and thyroid cancer which has more than doubled.
Around 4,000 children and young people develop cancer each year in the UK and it is the leading cause of death in children aged one to 14.
If that is not a wake up call to cut down on the McDonald's and Burger Kings then i don't know what is.