Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bo Jo's reign of terror continues

Boris Johnson has once again demonstrated a positively feudal attitude towards the people of London. Lefthandpalm has fearlessly reported his depredations against the people of London (here and here (1)) but it seems this is not enough to satisfy Johnson's overweening vanity.

Not content in causing more havoc in the metropolis than Boudicca in her heyday, Johnson has now taken to describing his latest villainies in print, under his own reprehensible name (2).

In the columns of the Telegraph - I knew it had sunk low, but had not realised it had fallen to such utter depths of craven power worship - the berserk baron gloatingly describes a favoured hobby of his - pursuing and terrorising the people of London as they go about their daily business (3):
As anyone would in my position, I saw red. I put my foot down, and pedalled so hard that I was able to keep the weaving rump of the car in my sights, and I noted that it was some kind of souped-up Astra, licence plate M*58 H*3.

Soon the bike had beaten the car, as it always does. As they waited at the next set of lights, I pounded on the window. "Open up!" I cried. There were three kids inside, and I could see the culprit goggling up at me with appalled recognition. They lurched off again in the hope of escape, but of course I had them at the next lights.

I am sure we would all have done the same as Boris, in his "position" of feudal lord, having spotted some serfs in need of brutalising!

Doubtless, had they been handy, the Demented Duke would have set a pack of blood hounds on the trail of the lads he so cruelly pursued. While that might have breached the ban on hunting with hounds - introduced by the wise and humane Labour Government (FIVE MORE YEARS! FIVE MORE YEARS!) it should not be imagined that the this would have deterred the Vicious Viscount - laws, after all, only apply to the commoners, such as those he so remorselessly set out to terrorise.

And terrorised they were. Johnson gleefully describes the reaction of the hapless burgesses to his savage abuse of power:

"Open up now," I yelled, "because you aren't going to get away with it, M*58 H*3! I am the mayor!"

By this time they were starting to look a bit unnerved, and the window came down.

"I know you is the mayor," said the driver, "and it was a accident."

"Pull over!" I commanded. Eventually they pulled over in a street running up towards the British Museum.

Doubtless, Johnson mentioned the museum as he discerned a historical - perhaps even Alexandrian quality in his actionsd. Certainly, there is a historical element, Boris, but not in the way you think. They are an anachronism, a throwback to the tsardom of Peter the Great.

Let us consider some of the details of the story. Johnson claims that he managed to overtake a motor vehicle on his bicycle. Truly, if this is so, it is fortunate that he is in charge of the London Olympics. It is to be hoped he will be recruit for the Great Britain cycle team!

The truth - for clearly the 'Bo Jo as Olympian cyclist' claim is a monstrous lie - is straight forward. Just as decadent aristocrats employ beaters to roust out the game from cover, and fox hunters form packs and use dogs, or matadors will employ lowly picadors to weaken the bull before they deliver to fatal thrusts, Johnson must have deployed a squadron of his minions - possibly at the tax payers expense - to harry and harass the young men he had selected for his quarry.

The Godzilla sized arrogance of the mayor - though Godzilla never damaged Tokyo half as much as Johnson has wrecked London! - leads him to attempt to justify his bragging, by claiming that the youths had, in fact, provoked his wrath. As, indeed, the fox provokes the fox hunters, or the bull the matador! For what could be more natural, to any Londoner, on seeing the object of so much justified hatred, the source of the great river of despair that has sept away the dreams and hopes of ten million Londoners, than to lob some litter at him?

For shame, Boris! Though you undoubtedly imagine you are king, this latest exercise of bucolic sadism can not be construed as lese majeste. Politicians are there to have things thrown at them. If some young gent about his business mistook you for a rubbish bin, perhaps it is because you are full of garbage?

We are British. We've dealt with worse than you. Remember what we do to megalomaniac tyrants. By the time we've finished with you, and you languish in obscurity on St Helena, or some other miserable rock, you'll look back fondly on the days that anyone thought enough of you to chuck some rubbish your way!
1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/11/brutal-thug-boris-johnson-harrasses.html and http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/12/will-tyranny-of-boris-johnson-never-end.html
2 - At this point, I feel I should point out that the purpose of this piece is entirely satirical, and is meant to draw attention to Mr Johnson's laudable exploits, as have been previous entries relating to him.
3 - "
I accosted the litter louts, and you should too," by Boris Johnson. Published in The Telegraph, 29th of March, 2010. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/borisjohnson/7533650/I-accosted-the-litter-louts-and-you-should-too.html)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Hurrah for Lurgee's Paradigm?

For jollies, I did a search for 'fifteen years statistical warming,' and was delighted to find the following gross violations of Lurgee's Paradigm VIII:
  • "This, despite recent grudging admissions from others in the alarmist camp that no statistically significant warming has actually occurred over the past 15 years." Courtesy of Terry O'Neill in The Province (1).
  • "Last month, for instance, Phil Jones, the British climate professor at the heart of the "Climategate" email scandal, told the BBC there had been no significant warming since 1995. He insisted the warming since then had been almost significant. And he added that the warming from 1979 to today had been statistically significant at a 95% confidence level. But the important admission in his interview was that for the past 15 years there has been only a slight warming, within the margin of statistical error." Courtesy of Lorne Gunter in the Edmonton Journal (2).
  • "... it was recently reported in the Wall Street Journal that “Mr. Jones told the BBC there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming over the past 15 years, though he considers this to be temporary.” ... These developments highlight the fact that the science being used to underpin government policy aimed at cooling the planet, or at least attempting to mitigate the effects of global warming, is much less settled than many have been led to believe." Courtesy of John Clinkard, Reed Construction Data (3).
That will do, I think. There were others.

When I did the google search, it seemed amusing. Having seen the results of it, suddenly I'm a lot less entertained. The proof that there are so many people out there either not thinking, or pretending not to think, is depressing.
1 - "Up with trees, down with humans," by Terry O'Neill. Published in the National Post, 10th of March, 2010 and reproduced in The Province. (http://www.theprovince.com/technology/with+trees+down+with+humans/2659940/story.html)
2 - "Global Warming: Gore vs Gunter," by Lorne Gunter. Published in the Edmonton Journal, 9th of March, 2010. (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Global+Warming+Gore+Gunter/2653334/story.html)
3 - "‘Climategate’ has taken much of the heat out of global warming argument," by John Clinkard. Published on the Reed Construction Data New Index, 15th of March, 2010. (http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/news/2010/03/climategate-has-taken-much-of-the-heat-out-of-global-warming-argument/)

Friday, 12 March 2010

Dark Night of the Soul

Although EMI have been holding up the release of the much anticipated Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), Danger Mouse and David Lynch collaboration 'Dark Night of the Soul,' you can hear the songs recorded for the project, completely free and legal, here (1).

It's fantastic. It's a grotesque cliche to say that someone's music will live on or will be their monument. Nothing makes up for the loss of a human life, even one not as blessed with talent as Mark's was. It's a tragic signal of what he could have gone on to achieve.
1 - "Hear The Album: Danger Mouse And Sparklehorse Team Up With David Lynch," by Robin Hilton. Published by NPR Music, 14th of June, 2009. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104129585)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Respect is due: Mark Linkous

I'm absolutely stunned to hear that Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, killed himself yesterday.

It is shaping up to be a very bad year for musicians I like. Vic Chesnutt killed himself at Christmas. Now Mark is also dead.

At least with Vic, he was always a bit dotty and his death didn't come as a massive surprise; but Mark seemed much more reconciled to the whole being a live thing. So it is a shock.



I'd thought that Mark had beaten his demons by the time the album It's A Wonderful Life was released - I didn't think there was anything ironic about the title. In fact, I felt it was less edgy and arresting than its predecessor, Good Morning, Spider, simply because Mark seemed more at ease and happy. Obviously, he hadn't shaken them as thoroughly as I'd thought.
1 - Video for 'Comfort Me,' a song by Sparklehorse/mark Linkous, from the album, It's A Wonderful Life. Posted on You tube by Ortelevision, 3rd of April, 2007.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

SHOCK! HORROR! AGW deniers in lies and smears fiasco!

One reason given for the Climate Research Unit not meeting requests for its data set, made under the Freedom of Information Act, was that it did not actually own the data, as it doesn't actually own the weather stations that contribute data. While some of the institutions that compiled the raw data were happy for it to be reproduced by CRU, some were not, as per the New York Times:
But CRU has struggled to respond to numerous requests filed under Britain's Freedom of Information Act that seek raw temperature data from weather stations, including observations obtained from other countries under promise of confidentiality.

Jones said yesterday that CRU withheld raw data in part because "most scientists don't want to deal with raw station data, they want to deal with the derived product."

Some nations reluctant to release climate data

The University of East Anglia, with the assistance of the U.K. Met Office, is now trying to get countries that had provided weather station data under confidential agreements to release the information to the public.

So far, 58 of 170 meteorological services worldwide have given permission to do so, said Julia Slingo, the Met Office's chief scientist. Seven countries have said "no," including Canada, Russia, Poland and Sweden.

In some cases, Slingo said, "governments see this data as having commercial value" that may make them reluctant to make it available to the general public. (1)
In a (supposed) fresh twist, however, a institution calling itself the Stockholm Initiative For A Rational Climate Policy has called Jones a liar, claiming that no such restriction existed for the Swedish data. The english version is reproduced on wattsupwiththat.com:
Climate scientist delivers false statement in parliament enquiry

It has come to our attention, that last Monday (March 1), Dr. Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU), in a hearing with the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee made a statement in regards to the alleged non-availability for disclosure of Swedish climate data.

Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released, to explain his reluctance to comply with Freedom of Information requests.

This statement is false and misleading in regards to the Swedish data.

All Swedish climate data are available in the public domain. As is demonstrated in the attached correspondence between SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute), the UK Met Office and Dr. Jones (the last correspondence dated yesterday March 4), this has been clearly explained to Dr. Jones. What is also clear is that SMHI is reluctant to be connected to data that has undergone “processing” by the East Anglia research unit. (2)
Linked is a correspondence between Jones, the Met Office and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Astonishingly Predictably, it completely contradicts the claims made for it by the Stockholm Initiative For A Rational Climate Policy.

('Rational' in the name of organisations dealing in climate change matters should be viewed with the same doubt as the term 'democratic' in the name of a country)

The first cache are straight forward requests from the Jones and the Met Office for permission to publish the data obtained from SMHI (3). The response to this is a rejection:
SMHI has in a letter, dated November 30, from UK MetOffice, received your request regarding the release of data from the HadCRUT dataset.

Given the information that the version of the data from the SMHI stations that you hold are likely to differ from the data we hold, SMHI do not want the data to be released on your web site. (4)
The third letter in the correspondence is a revision of SHMI's position, where they give provisional permission for CRU to publish the 'homogenised' data:
Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained. (5)
Now, before anyone gets to excited about the 'homogenisation' appears to refer to Jones's statement in his letter that the data set would be combined with other data from other sources.

So until that letter was written, CRU had NO PERMISSION to publish the data received from SHMI - whether in the raw or 'homogenised' form. This letter gives permission for the publication of the 'homogenised' data, with attribution and a link to the original dataset at SHMI.

But - repeat - prior to that, there was no such permission for either raw or 'homogenised' data existed.

The date on the letter? 4th of March, 2010.
1 - "'Climategate' Scientist Admits 'Awful E-Mails,' but Peers Say IPCC Conclusions Remain Sound," by Lauren Morello. Published in The New York Times, 2nd of March, 2010. (http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/03/02/02climatewire-climategate-scientist-admits-awful-e-mails-b-66224.html?pagewanted=all)
2 - "Climate scientist delivers false statement in parliament enquiry," unattributed press release by the Stockholm Initiative For A Rational Climate Policy. Reproduced on wattsupwiththat.com, 5th of March, 2010.(http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/05/swedes-call-out-jones-on-data-availability/#more-17014)
3 - The link is to a pdf copy of the letters from the Met Office, dated the 30th of November, 2009, and from Phil Jones of CRU, undated, to the Swedish Metrological & Hydrological Institute. Reproduced on wattsupwiththat.com, 5th of March, 2010. (http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/doc111209.pdf)
4 - The link is to a pdf copy of a letter from Marcus Flarup of the Swedish Metrological and Hydrological Institute to Phil Jones, dated the 21st of December, 2009. (http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/request_from_professor_phil_jones_regarding_the_release_of_data_from_the_hadcrut_dataset__dnr_smhi_.pdf)
5 - The link is to a pdf copy of a letter from Marcus Flarup of the Swedish Metrological and Hydrological Institute to Phil Jones, dated the 4th of March, 2010. Reproduced on wattsupwiththat.com, 5th of March, 2010. (http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/data_from_the_hadcrut_dataset_100304.pdf)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Respect is due: Michael Foot

A former leader of the British Labour party has died (1). He was 96, so not exactly unexpected. Still, always a shame to see those legendary figures shuffle off. Best remembered for overseeing Labour's route by Thatcher in 1983, post-Falklands. Pity that that disaster over shadows his other achievements. Until a few hours ago, a living anachronism - a figure from another era, when there were things like principles and values in the British Labour Party. Some might now need explanations as to what these words mean.
1 - "Former Labour leader Michael Foot dies," unattributed BBC article, published 3rd of March, 2010. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/8547366.stm)

Monday, 1 March 2010

Just a thought

Official figures reveal that overall crime in England & Wales fell 8% in the last quarter of 2009, compared to the same quarter in 2008:

Crime in England and Wales fell 8% in the third quarter of 2009 compared with the year before, the Home Office says.

The latest figures on recorded offences show there was an 8% drop in burglaries.

Car crime fell by a fifth and the number of robberies showed a reduction of 9%.

Ministers say the British Crime Survey's separate study reveals that the risk of being a victim of crime has reached its lowest recorded level.

According to the quarterly crime figures covering July to September 2009, there were falls in all categories of recorded crime over the period, with the exception of sexual offences which rose 5%.

Home Office experts say they do not know why sexual offences rose although police chiefs have been encouraging more women to come forward to report complaints. (1)

Which is great, of course, because less crime is always a good thing. But the 'expert' opinion on why sexual offences rose did prompt me to wonder - as I am sure many have before - why is it that a drop in crime rates is always attributed to better policing, but a rise is explained by better reporting?
1 - "Crime figures show 8% fall in England and Wales," by Dominic Casciani. Published by the BBC, 21st of January, 2010. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8472007.stm)

Prediction

There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going...