Friday, 31 May 2019

Trump Coming To The UK

It's as if we never fought the Americans over 200 years ago to force them to run their own country because while they no longer take in the tired, the poor and the huddled masses, (certainly not the Muslim ones anyway) it doesn't stop them sending us their idiots so roll out the red carpet and make sure that big baby blimp is blown up because Donald Trump is coming to the UK next week.
While most of America rejected our royalty, taxes, tea and spelling the Orange sex pest loves our royals, doesn't pay taxes and has the spelling skills of a particularly dense six year old but he will be sharing a pot of tea and a crumpet with the Queen at Buckingham Palace although rumours have yet to be confirmed that she plans to revoke American Independence because they can't be trusted to vote for a proper person.
This could be a good time for the President to visit the UK because two days after he leaves Theresa May is quitting amidst a political scene that is so messed up even he will be confused although i'm sure his mates Boris and Nigel will explain it to him, them being such good mates and everything.  
At least he is coming this time, the last time they tried to set up a State visit it was dropped to avoid his feelings being hurt by the millions of protesters although he did make it over here for a working visit which worked well because they kept him locked up in Scotland.
He is due to be in my home town of Portsmouth next Wednesday so i am sure that the McDonald's on Southsea Seafront will be doing a roaring trade in milkshakes that day so the people of Portsmouth can give him a decent welcome.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Analysing The EU Vote

On the face of it the Brexit Party wiped the floor with the rest of the field but a bit of analysis is called for because things may not be quite what they seem despite the line they are coming out with today.
In the European Elections anyone who wanted to vote for Brexit only had two parties to vote for, the Brexit Party and UKIP while anyone wanting to vote Remain had 4 options, The Lib Dems, Green, SNP and Change UK.
Heaven knows what Labour want and the Conservatives are all over the place as well and many traditional voters would vote for them anyway so we can ignore their votes.
In total, the two Pro-Brexit parties scored 44.9% of the vote while the four anti-Brexit parties scored 40.2% so despite Nigel Farage's gurning face all over the TV screens today saying it is a loud and clear call from the people to leave the EU, it's actually split along the same sort of lines as the referendum result.
The EU votes was seen as a 'free vote' where you could place your X beside anyone you wanted to without consequence so come the General Election, the electorate will revert to type and it will be the big two of the Conservatives and Labour scrapping it out again and all the parties that did so well last night, the Greens, Lib Dems and Brexit Party, will be way down the list.
What i do expect to happen is the Labour Party will tack to the left to try and sweep up the remainer vote while the Conservatives will veer even further right to try and snatch voters from the Brexit Party which will, give us a good old fashioned left v right fight again although it will leave the centre ground pretty hollow.

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse...Oops

The constellation of Orion is one of the most famous and recognisable sights in the night sky and is used as a pointer to many other stars and constellations but not many people know what is hidden inside of the hunters right shoulder (or left shoulder looking at it).
Despite being approximately 500 light years away (or 500 x 5.88 trillion miles), Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in the sky and it will get even brighter because it is near the end of it's lifetime and has already reached the first red supergiant stage where it expands out and now is due to collapse under its own weight after which it will then rebound in a spectacular supernova explosion
10,000 times brighter than the Sun which will be visible from Earth even during the daytime and be as bright as the moon.
Pretty cool but nobody knows when it will happen, or as we wouldn't know for 500 years when it did it could already have happened, but it could be tomorrow or could happen in a million years, but as the star is so far away, us Earthlings are safe as we would have to be within 50 light-years of a supernova for it to harm us and Betelgeuse is nearly 10 times this distance.
As we have no ageing, massive stars collapsing in on itself located within 50 light-years of Earth we can breath easy that we won't all be fried and the nearest supernova candidate we have found is the star IK Pegasi B a safe 150 light-years away.
As for the pronunciation, some people go with Betel-geise but on the whole it's 'Beetle-juice' like the film, just don't say it three times.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Another Problem With Democracy

My main problem with Democracy has always been that once the person is voted in, they can be as awful as they like for the next four or five years and do untold damage until the election cycle comes around again before we can turf them out.
Placing a cross on a ballot paper every five years is as much say as we have and then we are stuck with them with no way to remove the party if its breaks its promises or u-turns on it's manifesto so i have often wondered if we could have a mechanism to call a General Election if countrywide support dips below a certain percentage but as i watched Theresa May quit, i pondered maybe there is another way, no elections at all.    
A leader is elected and as we have seen with Donald Trump in America, he set about dismantling all of which his predecessor had achieved and once Trump is removed, the next person will probably roll back on all his work and that goes on in every country as i expect the Labour Party will dismantle much of what the Conservatives have done over the last decade. 
With a four or five year cycle, the party in power only have eyes on the next election which leads to quick fixes and knee jerk reactions to get the public on side, such as Savid Javid's decision to remove Shamima Begum passport after an outcry, rather than dealing with the deeper issues.
If Governments are only looking and planning for the short term then long-term issues which they will make little political capital out of are forgotten, such as Climate Change, risky Ai or the pension timebomb which will effect the citizens of tomorrow.
The only way that i can see to stop this short term thinking is to have someone in post for a long time who will take a long term view, China being the obvious example with Xi Jinping being the latest who offers a long term plan for China and with the second largest economy and tipped to soon become first, they are a success story of sorts.  
Uncomfortably though, this does lead us into authoritarian dictatorship territory and the idea of a 'benign dictator', who can take the long view on multiple issues for future generations without having one eye on whether his or her decisions will prove unpopular and see them removed by the public and their plans scrapped by their predecessor at the next election. 
History has very few, if any, dictators who remain benign and enlightened for very long after gaining power so it probably isn't the answer to the problem of short-term planning and politicians only obsessed with the next election.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Call Out To Ken Clarke

By default, the leader of the Conservative Party will also become our Prime Minister so we all have a vested interest in who the Conservatives choose and looking at the motley bunch throwing their hats into the ring, it's not looking good.
The only Conservative i would be happy to see standing outside Number 10 is Ken Clarke as he is the only one on the blue benches who seems to have an ounce of common decency in him so it isn't even worth him running, which he isn't so we have a choice from Matt Hancock, Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Esther McVey and Rory Stewart with Graham Brady, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab and Liz Truss waiting to join the frey.
Almost half of them have either been sacked from Government (Pritti Patel, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson) or resigned from it (Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom, Ester Mcvey) so it isn't a very high quality pool of suitors that the Tories are picking from but you would struggle to find many decent options from the 313 Conservative Members of Parliament available.
Jeremy Corbyn is calling for a General Election but i'm not convinced that Labour would win it with him in charge as he is currently neck and neck in the polls with the worst Prime Minister in living memory with a Government that has heaped austerity and cuts on us with glee for the past decade.
The least worse option would seem to be Rory Stewart but he was a remainer and it seems they are going to look at a Brexiteer to push through their disastrous Brexit plan but the field will be whittled down as deals are done amongst themselves until the final two remain and if Rory Stewart is not there and those left are either Boris Johnson, Ester McVey, Michael Gove or Pritti Patel then
heaven help us all.
I have emailed Ken Clarke imploring him to run but i haven't got my hopes set too high, the nasty party are looking for someone who will continue the self-destructive trajectory they have the nation on and Ken was always too decent to be the type of right winger who rises to the top of the Tories.

Preparing Youngsters For Office Life

My job is to take young adults and give them the training and the tools to become successful employee's but something that we don't teach them is how to behave in an office environment once they gain that priceless employment.
It is something that we probably should because some of the tales i hear about how some graduates with little or no work experience conduct themselves in the office is quite eye opening.
These range from listening to music on headphones, turning up inappropriately dressed (low cut tops and mini skirts for girls, ripped jeans and sweary t-shirts for boys) to constantly being on their mobile phones or turning up late and going home early. 
Of course we never had formal training in how to behave in the office, we just picked it up as we went along, but while teaching students how to write a paper or the correct way to conduct a scientific experiment, we should throw in training in how to navigate office life rather than just hand them their certificates and then push them out into the World of work and expect them to figure it out.
It can only be helpful if we, teachers and employers, can give them some pointers on the workplace norms even if on the first day, during the induction process, it is spelt out to the newcomers what is expected of them to co-exist with managers and colleagues in the shared space where they will be spending at least 8 hours a day in.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Going After The Prime Ministers Job

Finally Theresa May has taken a hint and has decide that June 7th is her last day and then she is off to do whatever it is old Prime Ministers do once they retire.
The good news is that the job of Prime Minister will be up for grabs and as i'm considering a career change, i plan to throw my hat into the ring but the problem is i'm a left winger and the Conservative Party is right wing so i will need to somehow develop some right wing attributes.
There are many scientific reports that show that right wingers are not as bright as left wingers but i'm sure a subscription to Fox News and turning to the Daily Mail while continually banging my head against the fridge will shave enough points off my IQ to satisfy that criteria.
I like to read books while right wingers struggle to read even the most basic literature so out go the classics from my bookcase and it's only books with lots of pictures from now on and i'm sure that having no concern for my fellow man will be achievable once in situ.
Right wingers don't like to share so from now on my mantra is don't ask because being told to feck off may offend and i will have to stop recycling and as Downing Street is far enough away from the River Thames for me to worry about climate change, that's just for the plebs who were stupid enough to buy a house with a river view.
My doubts in the fairness of our Capitalist system should be easy to overcome on the Prime Minister salary of £150,402 per annum and as long as i say 'Not being racist but...' before saying anything racist i can hate on Muslims and foreigners like the best Conservative. 
Keeping the status quo by explaining that we have achieved equality while making things even more unequal and explaining that just because i am cutting welfare for the poorest while giving the richest tax cuts doesn't mean that i am not passionate about closing the gap between the rich and poor.
I think after a while in the right's company i can rid myself of any human decency to become a proper right winger who wouldn't let something like rising crime, a Health Service on it's knees or my voters forced to food banks to eat throw me off my right-wing agenda.
I think i could pull it off and just to make sure i will start wearing nylon shirts, patent leather shoes and start a campaign to bomb Asians who don't sell us their oil.
See you for the celebrations on June 8th.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

More Celebrity Conspiracies

Elvis is alive, Stevie Wonder is faking his blindness and the real Avril Lavinge died in 2003 are all celebrity conspiracy theories and who doesn't love a good celebrity story even if it is a likey as a Donald Trump diet video. 
In the shadowy world of Conspiracy, The Illuminati make a regular appearance and the people responsible for assassinating Presidents, starting wars or sparking revolutions include Nicki Minaj, Billy Joel, Justin Bieber, Madonna, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, Beyonce, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Jay-Z and Angelina Jolie and Madonna claimed that she’s not in the Illuminati,
although she would say that if she actually was, which means she is then.
As well as Avril Lavinge being replaced by a lookalike after she committed suicide in 2003, the same fate befell Slim Shady, Eminem, after he upset the Illuminati and the Beyonce we see is version 2 after she was replaced after dying while while Britney Spears was in the pay of the George W Bush administration who bankrolled her to have a meltdown whenever the President came under fire and her breakdown, 55-hour Vegas marriage, the birth of her son, and the Madonna kiss do happen to align neatly with some of George W. Bush’s more negative presidential moments.
Other notable theories include Lady Gaga killing a former up-and-coming pop star named Lina Morgana in order to steal her style while Katy Perry is actually a child beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey, who was murdered aged six while Rod Stewart had to have his stomach pumped due to semen ingestion, 3.8 liters (1 gal) of it after spending a night with some sailors in a bar in San Diego.
All wondrously nutty but there is one conspiracy theory that is all too believeable, that Melania Trump is being held hostage while her husband continues his presidency and when she does make  a rare appearance, it’s not her but rather a body double in the Trump administration’s employ.
Now that is one conspiracy theory that we can buy.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Why You Shouldn't Feel Sorry For Theresa May

It would be quite easy to feel sorry for Theresa May as she is battered from pillar to post and being openly described as the worst Prime Minister in living memory but before you have too much sympathy, lets take a peek at the latest UN report and see just how things have been under the leadership of her and her right wing Conservative Government.
It starts by comparing their welfare policies to the creation of Victorian workhouses and
warned that the awful austerity policies have left millions of Britons facing lives that would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short and 'in clear violation of the country’s human rights obligations'.
Not a great start but maybe it gets better.
'Child poverty in Britain is not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic disaster' the report states and about the government’s decade long austerity programme he says led directly to a shocking rise in the use of food banks and rough sleeping, falling life expectancy for some, the decimation of legal aid, the denial of benefits to the severely disabled, falling salaries and the impoverishment of single mothers and people with mental illness.
The report ends with the UK government inflicting 'great misery on its people with punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, i give you Government under the Conservative Party and the leadership of Theresa May, a disgraceful calamity and economic disaster.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019


There seems to be a new craze in town, throwing Milkshakes over right wing politicians as Nigel Farage found out as he slimed away to get his suit dry cleaned after he became the latest victim.
Not the most obvious weapon of resistance, the milkshake shower has recently seen far-right dingbat Tommy Robinson (twice), the Ukip candidate Carl Benjamin (four times) as well as Farage have their picture in the papers looking less than pleased that their clothing now smells of banana and strawberry.
While it may be true, as some of the victims have pointed out, that attacking people you disagree with in the name of tolerance is a bit off, who couldn't fail to have their heart lifted by the sight of extreme right wingers being doused in milkshake. 
It has go to such extremes that a branch of McDonald’s in Edinburgh was asked by the police not to sell milkshakes on Friday, when Farage was in town although the offending salted Caramel and banana shake was from Burger King so that wasn't very successful.
A very mild and tasty form of violence against the country’s most divisive politicians is afoot but a quick look at the ingredients and the 430 calories in a milkshake, they are lucky it is only being poured over them and they are not being made to drink it which would be much more harmful.

Hurricane Season 2019

The main consequence of Global Warming is that it takes what Mother Nature provides and turns it up to 11 and never is this never more true than with Hurricanes which is bad news for The Caribbean and the East coast of the United States as we have just entering Hurricane Season in the Atlantic.
A large, rotating low pressure systems drawing upon the Oceans warming waters will be barrelling into land between now and November leaving bringing death and destruction in its wake but a warming climate doesn't mean there will be more hurricanes, just that the ones that do develop will intensify quicker, resulting in a greater number of the most severe category storms.
The Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index (ACE) shows that the proportion of tropical storms that rapidly strengthen into powerful hurricanes has tripled over the past 30 years and the warming of the atmosphere and upper ocean makes excellent conditions for fiercer, more destructive hurricanes that often stall once they hit land, resulting in torrential downpours that cause horrendous flooding.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) state that the intensity of hurricanes will increase by about 5% this century and there is the further problem of the rising sea levels which result in storm surge which can fan out across several hundred miles of coastline.
Meteorologists at Colorado State University have predicted 2019 will see a slightly below-average Atlantic season of 13 named storms, five of which will become hurricanes due to a mild El Nino further warming the Pacific Ocean.

Is It Safe To Come Out Yet?

You know that Iranian threat that the Americans responded to by sending an aircraft carrier to the Gulf although they refused to give any details or evidence to support the claims, well the Pentagon has announced that the threat we didn't know about has now diminished.
Erm...Thanks Uncle Sam, i guess.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Our Very Own Donald Trump With A Thesaurus

Such fun watching the Conservative Party pull itself apart over Brexit with the Prime Minister deciding that it is better that she jump off the cliff before she is booted off it by her own party so the jostling begins for her job and the bookies favourite is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or just Boris Johnson to his friends.
I'm sure that his fellow contenders have their own list of the former Foreign Secretary's track record including the current criminal prosecution against him for misconduct in public office by misleading the public and his fathering of a child as the result of one of his many extra-marital affairs but just in case they haven't, ladies and gentleman, your wannabe next Conservative Party leader and therefore default Prime Minister, Boris.

'It's absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes' on Muslim women

'You know, £60m I saw was being spaffed up a wall on some investigation into historic child abuse' on investigating child sex abuse cases.

'The Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-wearing picaninnies' on the Commonwealth.

'Completely crazy and supported by corduroy-jacketed, snaggle-toothed, lefty academics' on the  protest against Israel actions in Gaza. 

'The pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and their tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles' on Tony Blair's trip to The Congo.

'The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge anymore' on Britain's former African colonies.

'Black American basketball players have arms hanging below their knees and tongues sticking out' on American basketball players

'The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers scrambled once again in her direction' on Britain's former colonies again.

'Orientals have larger brains and higher IQ scores while blacks are at the other pole' on Eugenics.

'For 10 years we in the Tory party have become used to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing, and so it is with a happy amazement that we watch as the madness engulfs the Labour Party' on the Labour Party

'A symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire' on Barack Obama removing the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office.

'No one obeys the speed limit except a motorised rickshaw' on speed limit laws.

'Face it. It’s all your own fat fault' on obesity in the UK.

'A wankerer who sowed his wild oats with the help of a goat' on Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

'People in Liverpool seek rather to blame someone else for it, thereby deepening their sense of shared tribal grievance about the rest of society' on the Hillsborough disaster.

He has been called Donald Trump with a thesaurus and with his racist views, stupid hair, serial lying and extra marital affairs they do seem very similar and scarily, he could very well soon be making decisions which effect us all if The Conservatives let him.

Eurovision Song Contest Protests

I have always been of the mind that Politics should be kept out of areas that it doesn't belong such as Sport and especially at events like the Eurovision Song Contest.
Due to their abhorrent treatment of the Palestinians, i have been boycotting all things Israel for as long as i can remember and although this years event was being held in Tel Aviv, i really didn't have the inclination to join in the chorus of people calling for a boycott or for protests against Israel hosting it.
The whole idea behind Eurovision was to bring Europe together after the War, a bit of fun, flamboyance and silliness for four hours once a year and that was how i wanted it to stay, above the nastiness and evil going on outside of the arena walls which we hear about far too much.
I took the opportunity when Madonna came on to remove my eyes from the screen for ten minutes so i missed her 'protest' which turned out to be a couple of flag wearing dancers, one with a Palestinian and one with Israel, walking off stage arm in arm and a call out to 'Wake Up'.
As protests go that's a pretty tame one but her sentiment is one we all should applaud and i didn't see it as a political protest at all although i refuse to accept that the United Kingdom came bottom due to political reasons, we just entered a really, really poor song once again.
There are times and places for political messages and protesting against wrongs but surely it's not at an event which is all about kitsch, camp and just having, as Fred Flintstone once said, a gay old time.
Congratulations to The Netherlands and it's off to Amsterdam next year then.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Books That Really Did Change The World

I have a Waterstones book token and while browsing their website i found 'Books That Changed The World' and although there was some excellent books there such as To Kill A Mockingbird and 1984, they hardly changed the World which got me thinking just what can be considered the most influential and World altering book ever?
Throughout history authors have inspired debate, war and revolution. They have outraged, comforted and transformed the way we see ourselves and each other. They have enriched lives and destroyed them but which single book can lay claim to achieving the biggest change in the world we live today?
My initial thought was the religious texts which promised us God's reward or punishment according to our actions and changed the way we lived until Darwin’s 'On the Origin of Species' took God away again, changing our perceptions of everything we thought we knew.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 'The Social Contract' helped inspire the French Revolution while Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' work proved the call for Americans to revolt against the British and set into motion the USA of today.
Other contenders are Adam Smith's "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations", Samuel Johnson's "Dictionary of the English Language" and Michael Faraday's "Experimental Researches in Electricity".
Isaac Newton's "Principia Mathematica" gave us the knowledge that led to the moon almost 300 years later and then there is the book with the most quoted final paragraph in literary history that changed the face of the World.
"Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the World to win" by Karl Marx.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

America's Reluctant Drift To Yet Another War

In recent times, the media have had us 'stumble', 'drift', 'slide' and even 'sleepwalk' into war but not so much 'enthusiatically driven into it' which seems more like the case. 
We also go 'reluctantly' and 'with no choice' most of the time rather than 'gung ho' but that is how the media pundits who 'assess' the situation like to put it because 'cheerleading for war' isn't a good look.
The Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, recently said that a US war with Iran 'could happen by accident' which seems a strange turn of phrase especially as we have been watching the American Government ramping up war rhetoric against Iran for the past few months after abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and sending an aircraft carrier and bomber task force into the Persian Gulf.
That would be some apology Iran is due if it turns out that they trashed the deal in error and the USS Abraham Lincoln ending up off the coast of the Ayatollahs country was an administrative cock-up.
It can't be easy getting into wars by mistake because generally they are quite easy to avoid getting into if you really don’t want to be in them, Switzerland hasn't drifted or stumbled into one since 1847 and Sweden haven't sleepwalked into a conflict since 1814 so i'm not sure what they are doing that America doesn't. 
Put it down to all that hormone fed beef and chlorinated chicken they munch on but it is easy to mistake America's 'reluctant drift into war' with Iran as more of them itching to goad Iran into an armed conflict using convenient pretexts for the US to 'respond' to but maybe i just haven't been paying close enough attention.
Anyway, it seems that they will be stumbling and drifting reluctantly into a war, accidentally obviously, in due course and it will be about protecting freedom/democracy/human rights as usual but we can thank our lucky stars that as Washington is so careless with it's war making that it isn't stumbling into anywhere more dangerous and only just the nations like Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and Iran which, as luck would have it, are also filled to the gills with oil.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Creationist Icky Business

We all know the Creationists theory of how they think we got here, God making man from dirt, blowing up his nose and then making a woman from his rib, but if we accept that concept, and many hundred of millions surprisingly do, we are faced with one man and one woman and an otherwise empty planet to fill. 
All we are told about Adam’s and Eve's offspring is that they had 'begot sons and daughters' and according to Scripture, Adam and Eve’s family consisted of sons Cain, Abel and Seth, plus a minimum of two other sons and two daughters, giving a total of seven children.
So now we have Mum and Dad and seven brothers and sisters and a rather tricky question of what happened next for Christians but they do have an answer.
Apparently as Adam and Eve were formed by God, not only were they genetically perfect but so was their offspring so incest was not a problem as there would be no defective genes passed around as they were perfect which doesn't answer the question of the Christian religion being based on incestuous relationships at so let's pass very quickly over that ickyness.
With each generation begotting more sons and daughters, all related to each other, the gene pool grew and several generations of nephew on auntie action, there would be a wide enough spread to find someone to begot with who isn't a relative.  
This isn't just an exercise in highlighting religion being based on incest and them not minding at all (although it does do that also), it has proper, real life implications as we are approaching the cusp of inhabiting other planets and NASA are pondering on the least number of pioneers needed for the move to populate the new planet and not have to turn to an Adam and Eve style incest party.
The minimum number they have come up, starting with young, childless and unrelated couples and screening for the presence of potentially dangerous recessive genes, is 160.
Not quite as easy to understand as the Creationist story but a lot less awkward at the Christmas Dinner when you could find yourself sat next to your brother/husband/nephew.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Reversing Climate Change Ideas

By far the biggest and most important decision facing the Planet is how to deal with Climate Change and the recent announcement by the authority on all things Global Warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that we have as little as 12 years to save the planet have sent scientists taking a second look at some of the schemes they previously placed in the file marked 'barnpot ideas'.
The idea of deliberately fiddling with the Earth's climate to reduce global warming, Geoengineering, has long been seen as a preposterous notion due to the unintended consequences of blotting out sunlight to cool the planet but where we once dismissed it as an act of desperation, well, things are now getting desperate.
The idea is to put reflective particles in the atmosphere to block or reflect sunlight and plans considered include spraying sulfate particles into the stratosphere much like what volcanic eruptions do or surrounding the Earth with tiny mirrors or increasing the reflectivity of clouds by spraying seawater into the atmosphere to make clouds whiter and thicker.
These plans are considered too risky as the consequences are too poorly understood but other option up for serious consideration are pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere which would involve planting many, many more trees or inventing a machine that scoops carbon-dioxide directly out of the air and burying it underground.
With only 12 years and counting and any invention still at the blueprint stage it may not be quick enough but there is always the idea of piling iron dust into the oceans to promote the growth of plankton that absorb carbon-dioxide. 
We could always go back and have another look at painting all roofs of buildings white or
covering the Arctic ocean with white plastic to reflect sunlight back into space and let's not forget the idea of slowing the melting of glaciers by constructing a giant wall on the sea floor to prevent warmer water from coming into contact with them. 
My personal favourite and most window shakingly mad, is to block the Atlantic Ocean from entering the Mediterranean by damming the Strait of Gibraltar which would drain the Mediterranean therefore give us more than 1.5 million m² of reclaimed land to used for farming.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and at least these people are having a go and it’s better to do something right? I mean, if you fire trillions of tiny mirrors into deep space or fill the ocean with iron filings and it somehow doesn’t work out, we could always…erm.. we can...umm.
Well, i'm sure we’ll think of something.

Unhealthy Minister For Norway

Some people are perfect fits for their profession but then some, like the new Norwegian Health Minister, are soon exposed as probably due a career change. 
In virtually her first interview in her role of safeguarding the nations health, Sylvi Listhaug announced that Norwegians 'should be allowed to eat, smoke, eat red meat and drink as much as they want'.
Possibly she misunderstood the job title of 'Health Minister' but that may not be a problem for too long because after health advocates pointed out to her that all the things she mentioned are major contributors to many serious diseases, there are now calls for the responsibility for the publics health be removed from Ms. Listhaug’s portfolio, saying that 'she seems to lack understanding of what public health really means and what her role as minister in that area should be'.
Removing the main part of the job for a minister could be something that could catch on here as our Governments standing would certainly imporve if the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was banned from any contact with Foreign countries, Secretary of State for Education was not allowed anywhere near a place of learning and  Chris Grayling, was kept out of any decision making whatsoever in any sphere and was only employed to place the biscuits on the table for cabinet meetings.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

UEFA Fleecing Arsenal & Chelsea Fans

The distance between Arsenal F.C. (Emirates Stadium) and Chelsea F.C. (Stamford Bridge) is 6 miles but to watch the Europa Cup Final between the two, the teams and fans will have to the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan, 2,468 miles away.
To add insult to injury, fans of both teams will have to scrap it out over the ticket allocation of just 6,000 per team for the 68,000 capacity stadium with the remainder going to sponsors, broadcasters and corporations.
With no direct flight to Baku and the headache of gaining a visa on short notice to enter Azerbaijan, there is the elevated cost of the profiteering airlines and accommodation owners and that is if you can get a ticket which range from £26 to £121 but have already began appeared for resale on priced at £5,500 each.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, whose team face another English club in Tottenham in their Champions League Final in Madrid, has called for 'more sensible and reasonable decisions on where finals are staged' and said he had sympathy for supporters facing elevated prices for hotel rooms and flights, and with the challenge facing fans travelling to the European Cup Finals.
Uefa have defended their decision to play in Baku, stating that: 'It is impossible to predict in advance which clubs will reach the final while the venue has to be chosen around two years in advance' and the decision to only allocate 12,000 tickets to the clubs due to: 'the logistical capacity of airports in and around the host city, it was deemed that around 15,000 spectators would be able to travel from abroad'. 
Why UEFA can't do the sensible thing and play the game between two English clubs at the 90,000 Capacity Wembley Stadium, 8 miles from Arsenal Stadium and 7 miles from Chelsea's, and avoid the nightmare facing Arsenal and Chelsea fans emptying their bank accounts to traipse to the furthest eastern edge of Europe is beyond me but i will be taking the less weary and expensive route of
going to a local pub, with a drop of something alcoholic to cheer on the Gunners.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

American War Drums Beating Again

Anyone who has been taking notice for the last few decades or so will recognise the path the United States are currently on with Iran because the names may have changed but the itch for a dash of warmongering certainly hasn't.
Clinton with Kosovo, Bush with Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama with Libya and now Trump with Iran, all conflicts that were spun to gain support for the conflict, but never stand up to serious interrogation.
Donald Trump and his administration are doing everything possible to provoke a conflict with Iran while making it look like it's Iran’s fault including dismissed the advice of their own military and security chiefs and withdrawing from the deal that has successfully stopped Iran from getting nuclear weapons, imposing sanctions and applying an ever changing list of demands and now sending a carrier strike group and bomber task force to sit menacingly off it's coast.
Iran has continued to comply with its agreements, confirmed by the IAEA, despite American provocations which are actually helping Iran make the case for restarting its pursuit of nuclear weapons, as a deterrent to being attacked by the United States.
Following Trump’s reckless acts, America's usual allies are not likely to provide the fig leaf of respectability for any military action as the Europeans are busy creating a system to circumvent US sanctions and help Iran although an unholy alliance of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel shouting encouragement from the sidelines isn’t helping.
It is easy to see through the Trump administration’s lies. Trump claims to want to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon but withdrew from the very deal that had stopped Iran from obtaining one. Trump officials claim to be supporting the aspirations of the Iranian people, but the sanctions hurt the Iranian people first and foremost, and Trump is still banning Iranians from visiting the United States.
An explanation put forward is that is that Trump disliked the deal not because it was ineffective but because it represented the single biggest foreign-policy achievement of his predecessor, Barack Obama, whose achievements Trump has been unravelling since he arrived at the White House.
As much as we are told otherwise, Iran has kept its side of the bargain, and it is Trump's America who has been the aggressor and who reneged on the deal and it will be the American administration who could be once again be dropping missiles on another Middle Eastern country for spurious and contrived reasons.

Liverpool v Tottenham Not Easy For Arsenal Fans

I'm not much of a Liverpool or Tottenham fan but over the last two nights they have certainly kept us football fans entertained, first Liverpool ruining many betting slips by making an unexpected comeback and beating Barcelona and last night Tottenham winning the game with literally the last kick of the game.
Plaudits go to both teams both now the prickly dilemma of who to cheer for in the Final.
I know many Liverpool fans and they are right up there with Manchester United fans who will drone on forever and ever and ever about their teams successes if they come back from Madrid with the pot.
As an Arsenal fan who also knows an unhealthy amount of Spurs fans, them winning it would also be the ninth circle of hell right there if our nearest rivals win it so it's quite a conundrum as one of them has to be victorious.
It would be mitigated if Arsenal win the Europa League Cup, and with a 3-1 lead over Valencia going into tonight's semi-final second leg you must fancy their chances of getting to the final at least, but that cup is the minor one compared to the one offered by the Champions League so no real bragging rights there.
If Arsenal and Chelsea make it to the final then all four finalists in the European Competitions will be from the English Premier League which is exciting but as for the winner from Tottenham or Liverpool, i'm going to have to go for the scousers for two reasons.  
The first is the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who seems a lovely, smiley and affable guy and secondly because while Liverpool fans will be annoying for the next decade, Tottenham fans bang on endlessly when they finish above Arsenal in the League so they will be even worse if they win the major European trophy so come on you Reds, you're never walk alone and all that.

Danny Baker, Ridiculous, Stupid and Idiotic

Danny Baker, you idiot, what were you thinking or more likely you were just not thinking when you posted a tweet depicting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son as a monkey.
The radio 5 Live presenter has since held his hands up to say that he made 'ridiculous, stupid and idiotic mistake' and it was all of the above and more but don't then go and try and pin the blame for the BBC sacking you on 'masterclass of pompous faux-gravity' and accuse them of throwing you under the bus.
As Meghan Markle is mixed race with a black mother it was extremely crass to show her holding hands with a chimpanzee with the words 'Royal baby leaves hospital' even if it was a poke at the Royal Fun being a circus show.  
Of course it was always going to be interpreted as about monkeys & race and i was shocked to hear that you had not even considered it would be, so the BBC were quite right to sack you.
Your bleating afterwards and attempt to paint the BBC in a bad light for dismissing you for not being able to accept it was a joke, albeit in bad taste, smells of the casual racism black people and minorities have to put up with all the time from some white folk, the defence being 'I'm not a racist, it was only a joke, get a sense of humour'.
I am sure there will be people defending Danny Baker, saying it's all about political madness gone mad and nobody can take a joke anymore but they will be the same people who have no problem with the connection between black people and sick, racist monkey comments.
Sorry to see Baker go, he was a great Radio Presenter, but at least have the dignity to not blame your ignorant actions on those offended by your image of a mixed race woman delivering a monkey baby.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Bye Bye Avril Lavigne...Or Maybe Not

We haven't heard much from Avril Lavigne recently which is hardly surprising considering that she's dead according to a conspiracy theory that she died in 2003, aged 18, and was replaced by a look-a-like.
To show that it isn't the just made up, the conspiracy theorists have gathered lots of evidence to support the theory, mainly being the change in her appearance and the clues in the lyrics of her songs.
According to the theories, the Canadian singer hanged herself after the death of her grandfather but the record label didn't want to let her go at the height of her career, so they drafted in a doppelganger, Melissa Vandella, hoping nobody would notice.
One piece of evidence is that the new Avril has fewer freckles on her arm than the old Avril and the change in her musical style and appearance.
There are also claims that there are several clues about the death of the original Avril in the lyrics and covers of the next albums. For example, her 2004 hit 'Nobody's Home' is allegedly a clue for her suicide 'It’s where she lies, broken inside. With no place to go, no place to go to dry her eyes. Broken inside'.
Another clue is in the song 'My Happy Ending' with the lyrics ' Don’t leave me hangin’, In a city so dead, Help up so high, On such a breakable thread'.
It could be it's just the normal change of appearance that women go through between the ages of 18 and 32 and most musicians change style as they progress through their career or just maybe she's actually dead but someone should probably tell Sum 41 singer Deryck Jason Whibley because he married her in 2006, three years after she supposedly died, and you can't help but think that he would have noticed.

Listen, Do You Want To Know A Secret

A secret is any information that a person intended to conceal from one or more individuals and a psychology study has discovered that on average each and every one of us holds 13 of them.
A very honest 1000 participants were asked to describe a secret they were keeping and these were placed into 34 broad categories with the top secrets falling into harming another person, drug use, bad habits, theft, illegal activity, self-harming, abortion, trauma, lying and violate a persons trust.
The most common secret was lying and the scientists broke them down into two further categories, self serving lies and the kind hearted sort.
They found that kind hearted lies are most likely to be exchanged between women such as 'You look great!' and 'That dress really suits you' while self serving lies, to make themselves look better or avoid embarrassment, are mostly told between men although there were anywhere from twice to eight times as many self-serving lies than kind-hearted lies from both sexes.
The next two most common secrets involved violating a persons trust (47%) and theft (33%) although the survey did reveal that all three reduce as we get older which is good so i will never have to reveal about that Office Christmas Party in 1989 where we pretty much hit all of the above in one afternoon. 

Monday, 6 May 2019

Death Or Glory For Humans From AI

There is a bit of a squabble going on between Computer scientists regarding Artificial Intelligence and how it will effect us humans once it surpasses human intelligence.   
There is some agreement that 'human level AI' will be reached by around at 2029 but then it all breaks down into head shaking and loud tutting over what happens after it does. 
Some say that the AI will evolve into a supercomputer which learns so quickly that it surpasses human intelligence, and solves all our problems such as find cures for diseases, developing renewable energy resources and benefiting society while others argue that if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, we could be ignored, sidelined or conceivably destroyed by it.
Billionaire entrepreneur and professional idiot Elon Musk is in the latter camp, saying that 'summoning the demon' with AI and calls it 'our biggest existential threat'
while Stephen Hawking warned that 'The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race' as Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded.
Hawking was also concerned about the use of AI in the military, with autonomous weapons being developed and right up until his death was championing a ban weapons beyond human control.
In most sci-fi movies the threat comes from AI taking off on its own and re-designing itself but there does seem to be a consensus that sometime in the next 30 years or so, a supercomputer will replicate the human brain and evolve into super-intelligence, or ASI.
Whether, once it does, it benefits humans or sends us to extinction is yet to be discovered and if the boffins can't agree which it will be then it doesn't fill me with confidence.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Fictional Jesus

Some of the stories in the Bible are so far fetched that you really couldn't make it up but obviously someone did and as i have been painstakingly pointing out here, here, here, and here, they were not the early Christians.
There are now several books, Zealot by Reza Aslan, Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All by David Fitzgerald, and How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman which lean dangerously close to my own findings which explore the subject from the same angle and conclude that Christ and Christianity derived from earlier semi-divine beings from existing mythology which
developed over time into the gospels.
As well as basically the same myths being picked up and used, the authors go on to dispute that Jesus actually existed as a historical figure at all, putting him in the same fictional pile as Hercules, Eros and Oedipus.
They point to the lack of reliable historical sources as most of the accounts of Jesus of course come from Christian sources written centuries after his death and there is no mention at all of Jesus’ life between the ages of 12 and 30.
Of course, there may well have been a preacher called Jesus who inspired a great many people with his teachings but as for the whole being the Son of God thing and raising the dead, healing the sick and restoring the maimed, that would be stories made up for Crishna or Buddha who also cured the sick, the deaf and the blind. Could have been Ilorus the Egyptian saviour who did the same or
Esculapius of the Ancient Greek religions who strode around Greece performing the same miracles or even Bacchus, was a also a great performer of miracles, among which his changing of water into wine.
I fully expect my royalty cheque to cover my cost of my next holiday. 

Dangerous Abortion Misinformation For New York Act

Abortion is always an emotive subject and i hold the view that it is too big and important a decision for anyone but the people directly involved which is why i despise the religious trying to force their opinion onto people already struggling with not only the decision but the aftermath of it.
I only recently heard about New York updating their abortion laws to include a passage that a woman could have an abortion after 24 weeks where there is an 'absence of foetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient's life or health'.
Religious folk have hit upon the idea of spreading misinformation, conspiracy theories and distortions that this means the New York ruling now allows abortion up to the second before birth, even Donald Trump explained late term abortions as: 'allowing children to be ripped from their mother's womb, right up until the moment of birth'
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that 'an absence of foetal viability' are problems that are 'incompatible with life' such as a baby without a brain or organs that form outside the body or where 'death is likely before or shortly after birth and the patient may decide whether to continue the pregnancy and deliver a nonviable foetus or have an abortion'.
That determination must be made by a 'health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized” under state law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice'.
To make it sound like mothers are choosing abortion as a form of contraception or willingly 'killing' their child just before it is born is not only a monstrous, incendiary and horrific lie, but it is factually wrong and could put doctors’ and women’s lives at risk in a country with such an extremist and violent anti-abortion movement.
Not only does it minimise both the suffering of the parents and the efforts made by doctors and nurses but it rides roughshod over one of the hardest, most heart breaking choices a parent will ever have to face in their life.
The American right wing may rail against the left wing media for fake news but this is just pathetic and cruel misinformation spread by dangerously ignorant and unreasonable religious extremists.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Finally Agreeing With Trump

Even with the bar set so very low for Donald Trump he has still managed to sleaze along beneath it but finally we may be getting something good from the Presidency which promised so very little and managed to deliver even less.
On the day that the UK were celebrating weapons so powerful they would wipe mankind from the face of the earth, Trump announced that the USA, Russia and China could be interested in joining a nuclear pact to reduce the number of nuclear warheads they own.
Remembering that this is Donald Trump speaking and whatever he says must be taken with several fields worth of salt, he said that he had been talking to his pal Vladimir Putin about reducing their nuclear weapons and discussed a possibility of making it a three-way deal with China, adding that Beijing: 'would very much like to be part of that deal'.
With a $22 trillion debt and defence spending of $718 billion, more than the next 12 countries combined, it could be that Trump and his calculator have worked out that maintaining the US military is unsustainable and is trying to bounce Russia with a military budget of $44 billion and China who spend $224 on theirs, into a pact especially as he recently complained about the levels of military spending by major powers, suggesting all that money could be better spent on other things.
'I think it’s much better if we all got together and we didn’t make these weapons' he said so he has finally said something most of us can agree with, not bad that it only took half his Presidency to say something sensible.

Celebrating The Ultimate WMD

It is a bit strange that someone thought it a good idea to celebrate something that could destroy our planet but the absurdity of it didn't stop Prince William going to a service celebrating 50 years of the UK's nuclear deterrent.  
Quite rightly he was heckled and booed by Members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) as he arrived at Westminster Abbey alongside the Dean of Westminster who also probably shouldn't be singing the hallelujahs of something so inappropriate and which could wipe out humanity many times over.
Admitting that he had received a large amount of correspondence and emails asking him to cancel the service celebrating the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, he blathered that he decided to go ahead with it because 'It was not a celebration of nuclear power' but was for the 'debt of gratitude to those responsible for maintaining the peace'.
Considering that the Nuclear Weapon owners are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, i assume he meant maintaining the peace by not dropping 50 Megatons of explosive power on each other's head because none of those nine nations could be described in any way, shape or form as a maintainer of peace.

World Press Freedom Day

Today is World Press Freedom Day and The UN is highlighting the vital role of a free press for democracy with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying that: 'No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information' but in the current climate that can be deadly.
In 2018, there were 95 journalists killed during the course of their work according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) with the most deadly being Afghanistan (16 deaths), Mexico (11), Yemen (8), Syria (8), India (7), and America (5).
The IJF reason that increasing intolerance to reporting, populism, as well as corruption and crime are important factors as they contribute to an environment in which there are more journalists killed for covering their communities, cities and countries, than for reporting in armed conflict zones.

Almost 260 journalists are imprisoned worldwide for activities related to their work and the Committee to Protect Journalists, says anti-press rhetoric has become endemic in many countries, pointing in particular to the Philippines and the US where: 'Online harassment and its very real threats to journalists, especially women, has compounded the already challenging environment'
In its World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) describes the situation in the US as 'problematic' and adding 'Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats'.
RSF also raise the issue of journalism in Mexico where collusion between officials and organisd crime pose a grave threat to journalist's safety. 
Journalism is far more than simple fact reporting, it shines a bright light on the places where some shady people in power don't want it shining which makes it so vitally important to all of us.

Time For Change At The Labour Party

Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson has quit the Labour Party after 45 years- blaming its 'continued duplicity on Brexit and complete shit leadership before announcing his departure.
He does have a point because as much as i support Jeremy Corbyn's Socialist ideas, with the worst Conservative Government in memory lurching from one disaster to another, Labour should be strolling it in the polls but they are failing to make the inroads that should be expected with the Conservatives and Labour level in the poll of polls.
Secondly, the Labour leader has not had a good Brexit, in fact he has been awful and the Party has no clear vision and is very much on the same side of the fence of the debate as Theresa May leaving remainers with with nowhere to go.
In last nights local elections, the Tories lost over 1200 seats and 47 councils overall, and Labour have lost nearly 100 seats with most seats going to the remain supporting Liberal Democrats who gained  644 seats and the Green Party who added more than 160 seats.
With the current trajectory, we will be out of the EU with Labour's blessing and even worse, we will have another Conservative Party Government who will pick up the devastating austerity and cuts ideology which has cause so much misery already.
It would be nice to see Jeremy Corbyn and his ideas take root but that isn't happening so the priority has to be to stop the Conservatives being voted back in and that can only come from a change at the head of the Labour leadership who are just not cutting it at the moment.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Sympathy For Semenya But Ruling Seems Fair

It's hard not to have sympathy with South African athlete Caster Semenya after she lost her appeal against The Court of Arbitration for Sport which has  has rejected Semenya's appeal against athletics' governing body's regulations which found that forcing athletes with high levels testosterone to lower them is 'discriminatory but necessary'.
Unlike may of the drug cheats in Athletics, Semenya has done nothing wrong, she was born with her condition, raised as a woman and continues to identify as a woman and her high levels of testosterone are naturally occurring.
The problem is that the high level of testosterone gives Semenya 'a significant and unfair advantage' and the testosterone level should be reduced to ensure fair competition in women's sport.
The IAAF says that most female athletes have testosterone levels in the range of 0.12 to 1.79 nanomoles per litre (nmol/l) while Semenya has the levels of a normal adult male, from 7.7 to 29.4nmol/l.
The International Olympic Committee states 99% of women have testosterone levels less than 3.0nmol/l and Semenya must reduce her levels to 5nmol/l to protect the other 99% of female competitors.
I understand the opposite argument that testosterone is a naturally occurring body hormone but the ruling seems fair to me because to allow someone to compete against women with such a staggering disadvantage is unfair.