Monday, 29 July 2019

Earth Overshoot Day

Today is Earth Overshoot Day which means as of July 29, we have used up more ecological resources this year than the Earth can regenerate by the end of the year.
Humanity is currently consuming nature 1.75 times faster than the planet can regenerate and despite all the efforts of the Environmentalists, the date has moved forward by two months over the past 20 years with July 29 marking the earliest the date has ever been.
The United Nations have released a report, saying that humanity's pace of environmental destruction could endanger the ecological foundations of society and creating a global health emergency leading to millions of deaths from air pollution and water pollution.
Seems no matter how many warnings they get, how much extreme weather they see or how much scientific evidence is thrown at them,  the people in power who could actually do something about the damage we are inflicting to the planet and ourselves, are just too selfish and moronic to do anything about it.

Boris Cabinet Working Well

We can finally get to see the new cabinet and it contains four former members who Theresa May sacked for lying, leaking or in some cases both.
New Home Secretary, Priti Patel, was sacked for holding secret meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu about arms deals and denying it and Gavin Williamson was sacked for leaking details of a highly secret meeting and Dominic Cummings was recently found in contempt of parliament for lying about, and then refusing to explain his role in the Brexit campaign and we have Boris Johnson himself who lies like most people breathe, was relieved of his duties twice, sacked from The Times for fabricating an article and dismissed from the Tory Party for lying about an extra-marital affair.
As some of the of the prominent posts have not just gone to normal lying and leaking politicians, but to people who have been sacked for lying and leaking, you can guess what happened today after the first Cabinet meeting.
Despite being warned that they will be fired if any cabinet business is leaked to the press, the warning itself was immediately leaked to the Telegraph.
You can't make it up, or rather, as we have found out, they can and do and then leak it to the media.

While I'm Away On Holiday

Another academic year over and i have 6 weeks spread out in front of me with no work to drag myself to every morning so i have a few choices.
I could go out and do something constructive or i could ponce off abroad somewhere on holiday, drink cocktails by a swimming pool and talk to foreign people very loudly and very slowly in English so they understand.
Poncing off it is then and as i am away for most of August i have lined up some very special guest bloggers to keep the blog ticking over while i'm off doing the tourist thing and when i say special, i mean very special as in some of the biggest names in history including Kings and Queens, Presidents, legendary musicians and some of the greatest thinkers of our time.
What with them all being dead and some in the ground for centuries, i dread to think how the time has changed them but i have left them with instructions to write of their achievements and how they view them now and to water the umbrella plant.
If Boris Johnson hasn't sunk Great Britain by the end of August i will return ready to field the complaints that are bound to arise and clear up the mess that 30 long dead men and women leave on my computer chair.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

What Small Teeth You Have Grandma

Humans have had a pretty good run of things and as we haven't actually been around that long in the scheme of things for evolution to change us that much, as time goes on just what has evolution got in store for us?
Over the next 200,000 years, assuming that civilisation still exists then and we haven't blown our stupid selves to smithereens by then, scientists have come up with a list of just how evolution will affect us.
First up is larger skulls as Cesarean Sections become more common place, allowing children with larger heads to be born whereas previously large headed children died or suffered brain damage during childbirth.
As we no longer need 5 toes to grip things unlike our tree dwelling ancestors, we will lose a toe and become a 4 toed creature and the process is underway as toes are shrinking as are teeth which have halved in size over the last 100,000 years due to changes in the shape of our jaws.
Hair loss has been ongoing since we first climbed down from the trees and scientists expect that to continue but as our hair fell out we grew, gaining 10cm in the last 150 years alone due to better diets although we have been growing steadily weaker as we develop machinery to do the physically demanding (and strength enhancing) jobs that we once performed.
So as we are heading towards a future with four toed humans with smaller teeth, bigger and balder heads and physically feeble bodies, all i can say is that i don't fancy yours much. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The New Prime Minster

Just as you think things can't get any worse, the Conservative Party go and vote in Boris Johnson to be their leader and therefore the Prime Minister.
That Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or just Boris Johnson to his friends, has been sacked from jobs twice for lying and has a history of racism, homophobia and whilst Foreign Secretary , managed to get a woman's prison term increased whilst trying to get her freed, the Conservative Party members have decided that the man who Theresa May didn't trust with secret information is the best man to run the country.
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 will very well soon be making decisions which effect us all but with the Orange moron in the White House and an absolute idiot in Downing Street, this truly is a golden time for comedians and journalists.
I can already hear the fun being poked at his willingness to look like an unmade bed and his firing from The Times for making up stories and his view that same sex marriage is 'ludicrous'.
The coals are being raked over his many extra-marital affairs, especially the public one with his fellow Spectator columnist Petronella Wyatt, resulting in two terminated pregnancies and then the affair with the Times Higher Education Supplement journalist Anna Fazackerley and then yet another dalliance with Helen Macintyre and fathering her child.   
Already four MP's have resigned, stating that they couldn't be in a Cabinet run by Johnson so as we wait for the delivery van to bring his big red nose, an enormous pair of shoes and a squirty flower, start stockpiling.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Trump Not Racist, He Just Hates Non-Whites

Kinda funny that Donald Trump should tell four non white females to go home to their inept and crime ridden countries when three of them were born in America and the other is an American citizen so they are at home in his inept and crime ridden country so a bit of an own goal there from the man who, when it comes to racism, has foregone the dog whistle and now just yells it through a megaphone.
After his latest bit of casual racism, he did say that he doesn't have a racist bone in his body which is as absurd as, well, Donald Trump saying he doesn't have a racist bone in his body despite all the evidence that not only is it in his bones but is in his blood, sinews and vast amounts of blubber also.
The dead cat strategy, if it is a strategy and not just the baboon shooting off his racist mouth as usual, would be directed at distracting everyone from the awful situation in the immigration camps on the southern border and the uncomfortable links to Jeffrey Epstein and the video of them perving over girls and that quote that 'He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side' which takes on a whole new sinister tone when you consider that he is charged with underage sex trafficking and sex abuse of minors and Trump is a self-confessed sex offender.
Despite his denials of racism, if i was a lawyer i would be telling him the evidence is such that he should settle out of court, not something totally alien to him after all, and to be a bit more subtle in trying to persuade his equally moronic supporters that in 18 months time they should be voting for the white guy, well, the orange one anyway.
I'm just glad nobody told him he should be returning to the place of his parents birth because his mum was British and we don't want him here, we got enough right wing racists here already thanks.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Reasons For A Reducing IQ

There are a number of different ways of measuring intelligence but the most widely accepted method is by measuring a person's 'intelligence quotient' or IQ which is a series of tests which assess mathematical, spatial, verbal, logic and memory.
The average IQ is between 90 and 110 and in the World Rankings Hong Kong and Singapore are top with an average of 108, the UK is joint 7th with an average of 100, Canada and Germany joint 8th with 99, Australia, France, USA and Spain joint 9th with 98 while poor old Equatorial Guinea are bottom with an average of just 59.
Over the last 100 years our IQ scores have been steadily increasing but the trend is slowing and scientists are expecting it to start falling back which means that our generation could be the peak of human intelligence.
Our brains have stayed the same size over the last 70,000 years and IQ's most improved over the last 100 years at a rate of around three points a decade with improvements in the environment, health and education standards.
However since the mid-90s, the average IQ dropped by around 0.2 points a year and science is struggling to find a reason behind it but i have a suggestion, technology which most came to the fore around the time the IQ began to drop.
Calculators do the maths for us, we no longer have to know our times tables or work out percentages and i have seen a scary drop in spelling amongst the upcoming generations once spellcheck is taken away.
Where once we had to commit to memory all sorts of facts and figures, we now have Google at our fingertips so why bother to take the time and effort to dates and events when it is quicker and easier to tap it into a search engine.
As less people now read books and newspapers, reading skills will almost certainly be the next big area to dip but of course technology is always going to be with us so what does it matter as long as we have a calculator, a search engine and spellcheck and that is fine but it is the times when you don't have these to hand you will be found wanting.
It may be just a coincidence that the mid-90s was when technology with computers and mobile phones really took off while IQ scores began to fall away but someone with a much higher IQ than me may want to look for a correlation there.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Reading With Your Ears

I have only once listened to an audio book, i seem to recall it was narrated by James Marsters who played Spike in Buffy, and although it was pleasant enough, it just didn't seem right that i wasn't reading the words for myself.
Obviously i am in a dwindling minority as sales of audiobooks rose by 43% in 2018 while printed book sales fell by 5% so it could be the days are numbered for those of us who like the look and feel of a real, physical book in our hands.
I did convert to a Kindle a long time ago, mainly because my burgeoning bookcase collection was beginning to take up too much room, but i can't see me taking the step towards audio books, or reading with your ears as i have charmingly heard it referred to.
I'm not sure if it is a younger people thing but there is a steep increase in students facing exams recording themselves speaking the important parts from text books and listening to it continuously and there are scientific studies that suggest that recall is better after reading printed text but it is whatever works for you and hearing something continuously is sure to get it lodged firmly into your memory, or at least long enough to get you through the exam after which you can then replace it with the lyrics from  Ed Sheeran's greatest hits.
My problem seemed to be with audiobooks is that when i read a book, i imagine to voice of the speaker in my head, their accent, tone and inflection so as nice as listening to James Marsters is, the interpretation of all these things is his and not mine and with his American accent, listening to him read something by Dickens or Shakespeare would send me into a spin.
The UK’s leading audiobook retailer, Audible, sold more than 3bn hours of downloads last year so audiobooks are certainly becoming a thing but my second problem with them is that unlike music, you can't multitask while listening to a story being read to you.
It can't be the preference of time pressed book lovers if you have to concentrate on the words being read because you are not really gaining anything if you have to still stop and listen than if you had to stop, sit down and read a book.
As Dickens wrote in A Christmas Carol 'I'll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must' mostly out of loyalty for the traditions of the physical act of reading a book and also because an m4a file will never be as pleasing to see as a dog-earred, well thumbed copy of a beloved classic on your bookshelf.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Sperm Crisis

Not that i keep count of these things but apparently we are in the grips of a sperm crisis, who knew?
The NHS have said that one in seven British couples have difficulty conceiving and in 40% of cases, the problem lies with the man and it isn't getting any better as there is a decline in fertility rates among western men with sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand had dropped by 59.3% since 1973 but nobody in a white coat and holding a test tube
knows what is causing it.
Theories thrust forward are exposure to phthalates in plastics, exposure to common chemicals, decreased genital size in boys, hormone-altering chemicals, oestrogen in the water supply, industrial pesticides, diet, drugs, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol or stress and one brilliant crackpot conspiracy theorists who puts it down to a feminist plot to emasculate and eliminate the western male.
Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield is hoping to push drooping male fertility higher up the political and healthcare agenda and urges men to optimise their sperm count, whatever that entails, but maybe it should be considered especially if it isn't hard, but then, that seems to be the problem.

A Small Step For Moon Landing Conspiracy Theorists

As we approach 50 years since man first walked on the moon, there are a lot of programmes coming on soon about the Apollo 11 mission and how human beings took their first step onto another ball of rock which wasn't the Earth, or did they because there are plenty of people out there who think the whole thing was faked.
Despite the evidence including 382kg of moon rock and images from the Nasa Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the tracks made by the astronauts in the moon dust, the conspiracy theorists refuse to accept it as one guest explained on ITV's This Morning that: 'no one could have walked on the moon as the moon is made of light'.
So with the bar not set very high, the non-believers point to such things a lack of a blast crater under the landing module, the way the shadows fall, a lack of stars in the pictures and the technology just not being available in 1969. 
In  a poll, 6% of Brits and 20% of Americans believe that the landings were faked, probably created in a movie studio in the desert somewhere and if you are one of those you may not want to get within reach of Buzz Aldrin who punched a moon conspiracist but with several nations racing to go back to the moon with 2024 pencilled in, the theorists may have to pause for thought when we get there and send video back of man stood on the moon.
Strangely i have never heard of a conspiracy theory that Yuri Gagarin ever made it into space and it is a small step for mankind to go from orbiting the Earth to making a landing, by all accounts only just, on another traveller around the Sun but while the moon landing conspirators are mostly harmless, there are some out there spreading far worse but equally ludicrous theories.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Keeping Robinson Away From Society

If you are told by the police to stop doing something, but you carry on and then are handed a suspended sentence by the court but then still carry on, you can fully expect the next time you appear infront of the judge you will be spending time at her Majesty's pleasure which is exactly what has happened to Stephen Yaxley-Lennon or Tommy Robinson as he calls himself.
As had previously been handed a suspended sentence for 'contempt of court' and 'interfering with a trial' after live-streaming at a court case in Canterbury 2017, he then went on to do it again in 2018 during a black out of reporting restrictions and the publication of any details until the end of a series of linked trials involving 29 defendants.
Amidst scuffles amongst Yaxley-Lennon supporters and police after he was handed a 9 month jail sentence, the call was that he had been imprisoned for some sort of 'free speech' infringement and Robinson wore a 'convicted for journalism' t-shirt with 'Britain = North Korea' on the back.
Far right EDL leader and sun bed shop owner Robinson said on Monday that he had sought political asylum in the United States, claiming that he feared for his life as 'dark forces are at work' in his home country which is true but they are right wing morons which are claiming he is a victim of oppression and that he is some sort of political prisoner.  
That he had the abhorrent Katie Hopkins in court supporting him and he has appealed to the appalling Donald Trump to save him shows just what a murky and racist pool he swims in so jail is the best place for him, safely away from society and not pretending to be a journalist.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

UK Ambassadors Truthful Words

The most surprising thing about the row that has broken out over the British Ambassadors assessment of Donald Trump and his Government as inept, incompetent and insecure is that anybody who has been paying attention is surprised.
An Ambassadors role is give their Government an honest assessment of the leadership of whatever country they happen to be in and if he had said anything other than what a mess the American leadership is, then nobody would have believed him.
I imagine the American Ambassador is feeding back to his Government what an absolute shower are running Britain the only difference is that Sir Kim Darroch's words have been made public.
Donald Trump's orange tinged skin is so thin that he has taken umbrage at being called damaging and dismissing his claim over the aborted Iran attack while saying that his Government will never look competent or normal, is dysfunctional and diplomatically clumsy have obviously hit home because Trump has come out shaking his tiny fists and stamping his feet.
Not only has he hit back at Darroch in the usual childish manner but he has also had a swing at Theresa May therefore confirming Trump's colossal moronic nature.
I think the ambassador’s comments let him off lightly if anything but i guarantee that the Americans Ambassadors words back to his Government concerning Theresa Mays leadership and any upcoming Boris Johnson Government is just as damning. 

Sunday, 7 July 2019

The Brat Pack

Unexpected bonus on TV last night with the ever excellent Breakfast Club showing, the film where five students are put in Saturday detention and are told to write an essay telling who they think we are are deciding they are a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal which i admit isn't selling it very well but it is an amazingly great film.
'Don't you forget about me' by Simple Minds will forever be linked with the film which is in turn forever linked with me by way of being released in 1985 which is the year that i left school and watched it with a bunch of friends who i never really saw again after that day.
What the film is most famous for is starring the Brat Pack actors, a group of eight who starred in either The Breakfast Club or St. Elmo’s Fire but never really hit such heady heights again.
Andrew McCarthy (Kevin - St. Elmo's Fire) turned up in Mannequin, Weekend at Bernie's, Pretty in Pink as well as St. Elmo's Fire and moved into TV work before directing while my favourite Judd Nelson (Alec St Elmo's Fire and the Criminal in Breakfast Club) has been on TV but not in much that i have seen.
Emilio Estevez (Alec St. in Elmos Fire and the athlete in Breakfast Club) made a few films such as The Mighty Ducks but become more famous for being Charlie Sheen's brother and being married briefly to singer Paula Abdul has now semi-retired from acting and directs.
Rob Lowe (Billy St. Elmo's Fire) is currently starring as a policeman in the British TV show Wild Bill but his career took a massive knock back when he filmed himself having sex with a 16-year-old girl, and the tape became public and it never really got back on track.
Demi Moore (Jules St. Elmo's Fire) famously married Bruce Willis and is the most successful of the Brat Pack actors, starring in some big name films while Molly Ringwald (the princess in Breakfast Club) got married, gave it all up and moved to France and Ally Sheedy (Leslie in St. Elmo's Fire and
the basket vase in Breakfast Club) struggled with bulimia and became addicted to sleeping pills.
Anthony Michael Hall (The brain in Breakfast Club) struggled with alcohol and was on many front pages for drunken brawling and although with the exception of Demi Moore, none really went on to bigger and better things.
The geek, the popular girl, the waster, the sports star and the cooky one who spent a Saturday in detention remains one of my favourite films ever, mainly because as a 16 year old girl at the time, all were all real life characters that we all come across during our time at school and had befriended, hated, avoided or in some way had crossed paths with.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Arsenal Fans Looking At Our Calendars Mournfully

It's that time of the year when i fear for my Arsenal Calendar because the transfer season has started and before the year is out i could have other teams players on my wall telling me what day of the month it is.
Aaron Ramsey (January) has already gone and will be sitting out injured at Juventus's Allianz Stadium from August onwards but i still have Mesut Ozil (July), Laurent Koscielny (October) and Lucas Torreira (December) are all rumoured to be wanted elsewhere and while i would willingly accept the disruption to my 2019 calendar to see the back of Ozil, i don't want Bayer Leverkusen and
AC Milan players looking back at me from the kitchen wall over Halloween and Christmas.
I will have to do what i did last year and cut out the head of any new signings from the newspaper to cover them up but it isn't very aesthetically pleasing although i would quite enjoy seeing Wilfred Zaha on my wall in an Arsenal kit, so much so i might sacrifice Torreira or Koscielny for him even if they stay at the Emirates.
What is even worse if when players leave in the January transfer window because that's your calendar screwed while it still smells of the cellophane wrapper it came in but if ever a team needed to bring in new players it's Arsenal but with a reduced transfer budget this summer they will have to sell some to bring in others so us Arsenal fans could be waving goodbye to quite a few of our favourites, oh and also Mesut Ozil.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Johnson's Sugar Tax U-Turn

Whenever an politician makes a drastic u-turn on a policy you do have to wonder why and the golden rule is to look at who is funding them and so we have Boris Johnson who said in 2015 that 'We have more obese adults than we have normally proportioned human beings and that is a quite extraordinary state of affairs. It’s a massive health risk' and 'That’s why I’m thinking about sugar taxes and whether London should be leading on that' before adding 10p to the cost of a soft drink.
Now in 2019, on the same day that Cancer Research UK launched a campaign saying obesity causes more of some cancers than smoking and and with the Health Minister planning to strengthen the obesity strategy, Johnson now says he wants to curb the sugar tax and to take 'a proper look at the continuing creep of the nanny state'.
Strange how he can swing through 180 degrees but maybe we can have a look at who is running his campaign, Lynton Crosby who just happens to run a firm, Crosby Textor Fullbrook Partners, who lobby in Australia on behalf of a soft drinks company that contains even more sugar than Coca-Cola.
Possibly it is all a massive coincidence and the £23,000 that Johnson also received in donations from CTF Partners has nothing to do with the sudden reversal in policy.
As we also found out today that Theresa May kept back sensitive information from him when he was Foreign Secretary as she couldn't trust him with it, the 150,000 Conservative members who get to vote the next Prime Minister into Office have a decision to make, vote for Johnson and his naked money grabbing who the PM didn't even trust or Hunt who oversaw the worst NHS crisis in modern times.

History Lessons From A Stable Genius

In a tweet which has been liked more than 5,600 times, Patricia A Valenti-R said of Donald Trumps
Independence Day address: 'The history lesson was superb since most young people today have no clue about our real history.'
Damn straight young people don't, not one of them could have told you before Trump spoke that Revolutionary Army soldiers 'took over airports' in 1775.
They just don't teach this sort of thing in American school's but there should be pride in America that due to the American soldiers and their bravery, there was not a single British aircraft in the skies above America during until the 20th Century.
History books show that by the end of the war, not a single airport on the continent of North America was under British control which was strategically important during the Revolution.
You have to ask just why have historians have been ignoring all this for centuries?

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Hey Big Spender

Seems that while Theresa May said she never had a magic money tree whenever her austerity measures were mentioned, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have found a whole magic money forest because they are promising to spend, spend, spend if they are elected Prime Minister.
As his waistline proves, Boris Johnson is a big fan of having his cake and eating it and he will not only cut taxes for the highest earners but reverse education cuts and pour billions of pounds into schools, put 20,000 extra police on the streets and withdraw the 'sin taxes' on salty, sugary and fatty foods, pay rises for the public service.
Jeremy Hunt, apart from lifting the ban on fox hunting, has promised to cut National Insurance Contributions, cut corporation tax and increase defence spending to 4%.
As both are are currently trying to outdo each other over who is the most likely to go with a no-deal Brexit which will blow a massive hole in the British economy, the plans to spend more money while bringing in less is not sound fiscal responsibility and i am speaking as someone who's pension plans are based solely on winning the lottery before i'm 67.
Still, austerity is over obviously.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

That Alex Morgan Celebration

There can be no complaints about the USA beating England in the Women's World Cup Semi-Final last night, the best team by far won and they will probably go on to beat Sewden or Netherlands in the final but there has been some speculation over that Alex Morgan celebration.
When i saw her i first thought she was smoking a cigarette or puffing on a spliff which i thought was a bit inappropriate but i later found out she was mimicking drinking a cup of tea.
Seems obvious once you are told, us English do enjoy partaking of a cup of Rosy and i'm sure that had Steph Houghton decided to shoot and not just pass that penalty to the goalkeeper we may have been treated to her mimicking stuffing a supersized Cheeseburger into her gob but we will never know because she fluffed it.
Something which did become obvious about Alex Morgan though is that she isn't a tea drinker if that mime is anything to go by.
In the photographs she appears to be putting the handle to her lips, when surely it should be off to the side and tilted slightly.
Then again she might well have been smoking a doobie and it was a nod not towards us English as we thought but for the Dutch who they expect to meet in the final on Sunday.
The Netherland striker, Vivianne Miedema, better start practising her shooting things celebration just in case.