Friday, October 31, 2008

the economics of renewable generation


The House of Lords is conducting an inquiry into this. Someone called Bibi van de Zee reported on it in the Guardian back in August. I've been sitting on this because I've been waiting for more information to emerge but there's been little to nothing so I'm going to go ahead and give it the punkscience treatment.

Bibi's summary is bleak and depressing to an advocate of the technology. Her subtitle was:
"Renewables are not the simple solution, according to the House of Lords. In fact, they are expensive, difficult and unreliable."
To anyone who follows developments in the field this doesn't ring true at all. Numerous policies have been proposed to 'green' our generation system without undue cost or trauma to society:

So, why are the Lord's conclusions so negative? Or- why is Bibi's spin of their results so negative? A skeptic might point out that the above documents were produced by organisations inherently favourable of renewable generation, whereas the government's position on the issue- as revealed by their actions over the last decade- are actively hostile to it. So where does the middle ground lie?

"clean coal" is an oxymoron and anyone promoting it as a solution to climate change is a cockweasel


Fred Pearce. Great writer. Love his work on greenwash.

" . . . the most authoritative study, The Future of Coal, published last year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), concluded that the first commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant wouldn't come on stream until 2030 at the earliest.

Last year too, the Edison Electric Institute, which represents most US power generators, admitted to a House Select Committee in Washington DC that commercial deployment will require 25 years research costing at least $20bn.

And that was before the US administration last December canned the biggest R&D project on the technology anywhere in the world. It said it was too costly and hinted that, for all their green talk, industry wasn't prepared to back it.

Oh, and if the technology did one day work – and could demonstrate that it could keep liquefied carbon dioxide buried for the thousands of years necessary – it would take decades to build the vast infrastructure needed to deploy on a large scale. Infrastructure that could only be paid for by maintaining a vast dirty coal-burning industry for the duration."

Naomi Klein on Bush's bail out


. .. . and why it is not in the public interest but merely a massive extension of Bush's capitalist fundamentalist wet-dream.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UK government and military supports terrorists


In a revealing addendum to this post earlier the campaign group Justice For Columbia released a report (pdf) examining the assistance and training the UK is providing to the Colombian army and security forces, despite their record of systematic human rights abuses and failure to restrict drug trafficking. There is evidence from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines to suggest that the Colombian military continue to produce and deploy land mines, despite being signatories to the Ottawa Treaty, which prescribes the end of development and production of such devices and the destruction of all remaining stock within four years. Colombian military units in receipt of UK training in counter-narcotics are more frequently involved in "counter-insurgency activities" and are regularly implicated in the murder of civilians, being in the pockets of the drug barons and even being deployed against other Colombian security services carrying out counter-narcotics operations.

The most damning reports refer to the supportive activities of UK intelligence services:

According to the UN there is “suspicious coincidence between the names of the persons who appear in the intelligence reports prepared by the [Colombian] intelligence services and the victims of extrajudicial executions, threats and disappearances” and “clear parallels between the information collected by [Colombian] military intelligence regarding human rights defenders and the information that appears in public threats issued by paramilitary forces”
A 2003 investigation by The Guardian uncovered that there had been a surge in the supply of British military hardware and intelligence equipment to the Colombian military and that HMG was providing assistance in establishing a national intelligence centre in Colombia. More recently, Colombian press reports have frequently referred to military intelligence assistance provided by the UK with one report alleging that the UK intelligence services are the second most active in Colombia after US agencies.
Do you support the provision of intelligence to paramilitary organisations who will inevitably use it to identify, threaten and possibly murder people working to improve human rights and employment conditions? Maybe not, but your elected government does.

It is of note to observe that the US policy of tying assistance to independent, public certification of improvements in human rights is far superior to the UK's throwing of money at any death squad that wants it. It should also be observed that the US itself is not a signatory of the Ottawa Treaty.

quote of the day


"some political observers are claiming the crisis could be Mr Brown's 'Winston Churchill moment'.

Bill McKay, professor of politics at Reading University, said: "Yes, it would be a 'Winston Churchill moment' if Churchill had spent 10 years giving hand relief to Hitler and Goering before telling them exactly where, when and how to invade Britain.""

Mash it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

corporate sociopathy


"Figures released yesterday, however, from financial data provider Moneyfacts showed banks were failing to pass on interest rate cuts to mortgage borrowers despite making severe cuts in savings rates. It said most institutions had already passed on the last half-point base rate cut to savers while holding back on cuts in home loan interest rates.

"Some providers are using the base rate cut as a way of increasing their margin for risk, by not passing on the full cut to mortgage customers but passing the cut on in full to savings customers," it said."

Yes, the £50 billion bail out and reductions in interest rates are being used by the surviving banks to increase their own margins and not to stabilise their business models.and maintain the supply of affordable credit to the public. So, why did the government bother investing in the banks in the first place? Why didn't it leave them to collapse and simply expand its own financial service provider- the Post Office- as proposed by Jon Cruddas? It would be in charge of the entire system by now, having bought out the infrastructure of the now-insolvent banks. But no, the minority take precedent over the majority and another opportunity to work in the interests of the public is successfully dodged.

Alistair Darling gets the idea:

"So basically, you privatise something that ends up making £1200 a second and you nationalise something that loses £1200 a second.

"Swings and bastarding roundabouts."


"Ignorant politicians are elected by ignorant people."


George rules. Only someone of supreme awesomeness could come up with such cutting soundbites:

"religion - in particular fundamentalist religion - makes you stupid"

I am particularly in awe of his damning indictment of social Darwinism.

"During the first few decades after the publication of The Origin of Species, for instance, Americans had good reason to reject the theory of natural selection and to treat public intellectuals with suspicion. From the beginning, Darwin's theory was mixed up in the US with the brutal philosophy - now known as social Darwinism - of the British writer Herbert Spencer. Spencer's doctrine, promoted in the popular press with the help of funding from Andrew Carnegie, John D Rockefeller and Thomas Edison, suggested that millionaires stood at the top of a scala natura established by evolution. By preventing unfit people being weeded out, government intervention weakened the nation. Gross economic inequalities were both justifiable and necessary.

Darwinism, in other words, became indistinguishable from the most bestial form of laissez-faire economics. Many Christians responded with revulsion. It is profoundly ironic that the doctrine rejected a century ago by such prominent fundamentalists as William Jennings Bryan is now central to the economic thinking of the Christian right. Modern fundamentalists reject the science of Darwinian evolution and accept the pseudoscience of social Darwinism."

See - manifest awesomeness!


George may be manifestly awesome but Johann is supremely radical.

"If you literally follow an ancient Holy Text – whether it’s the Koran, the Bible or the Torah – you will hold disgusting views about women, and you should expect to have them criticised and mocked."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

free electricity across the globe


Its called Enhanced Geothermal Systems. Check it out. The MIT report is a big download (pdf). Table 9.8 gives the cost of electricity generated from EGS to be $0.05kWh to $0.074kWh. That's pretty fucking cheap.

Monki Punk


Punkscience is listening to a CD from this bunch.They are freakin coool as fuck!

Labour rebels try to save the world


Needless to say all here at punkscience hope they succeed.

Labour is shit . . . blah blah blah . . . . socialist policies are only option . . .blah blah blah


Everyone's bored of hearing this by now but the public still aren't listening so I'm going to keep stating the obvious: The UK government's economic policy is sociopathic.

Article from Socialist Worker, via UK Watch with some neat fag-packet calculations about how pathetic the government's policies on fighting the social impact of the economic crisis. Eg:

"On housing, the first phase of Beckett’s plan will release £13 million in London – enough to buy up just 335 unsold homes.

There are 9,000 people on the council house waiting list in the London borough of Barking & Dagenham alone.

Subsequent phases will release a further £200 million around the country. But according to town hall leaders, by then the numbers waiting for a home will have reached around 2 million.

That means the plan, if it were divided equally between all on the waiting list, will be worth just £100 each."

Just to remind you, the UK government has currently used ~$50 billion of taxpayers money to shore up the banking industry. The difference between this sum and the pathetic amounts they are directing toward projects to support real people and small businesses reveals their disdain for the majority of the electorate. Small businesses employ 15 million people in the UK- that' s half the working population. Yet they are set to receive £750 million in support- 1.5% of the financial support of the 1.1 million people employed in the financial sector. That's 0.11% of the funding per person.

Friday, October 24, 2008

is Peter Mandelson already on his way?


Punkscience is loving the furore over the collective, Corfu-based iniquities of a bunch of conservative morons. It looks like Mandelson in particular is being rightly hounded by the press. I still can't quite believe that Brown was stupid or desperate enough to seek the return of his corrupt, bileous little frame to Westminster.

Brown is a corporate slut. Mandelson is a sociopathic cockweasel. Don't get me started on Osborne et al.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

oil price plummeting


If you look at the widget embedded on this page displaying records of oil prices for the last year or so you will notice that it has dropped below $70 for the first time in a year. This is because of the economic collapse so I'm optimistic that it won't herald a wave of sudden skyrocketing oil consumption from the US. One of the welcome side-effects of this is that tar-sand extraction has become uneconomical, with a break-even point of $70 per barrel. Sweet.

Noam Chomsky rules

"The benefits, the freedom that we have now is because of popular struggle. Popular struggle in the 1930s compelled the government to create New Deal measures. In the 1960s it lead to civil rights, medicare, welfare state measures, womens rights and so on. Every single one of them was, if you look, the result of people simply not accepting the doctrine of elite rule. And its true today, just take a look at polls. A spectacular 95% of the [US] population, which is amazing for a poll, object that the government doesn't pay attention to popular [issues]."


"Markets have inherent and well-known inefficiencies. One factor is failure to calculate the costs to those who do not participate in transactions. These "externalities" can be huge. That is particularly true for financial institutions.

Their task is to take risks, calculating potential costs for themselves. But they do not take into account the consequences of their losses for the economy as a whole.

Hence the financial market "underprices risk" and is "systematically inefficient," as John Eatwell and Lance Taylor wrote a decade ago, warning of the extreme dangers of financial liberalization and reviewing the substantial costs already incurred - and also proposing solutions, which have been ignored.

The threat became more severe when the Clinton administration repealed the Glass-Steagall act of 1933, thus freeing financial institutions "to innovate in the new economy," in Clinton's words -- and also "to self-destruct, taking down with them the general economy and international confidence in the US banking system," financial analyst Nomi Prins adds.

The unprecedented intervention of the Fed may be justified or not in narrow terms, but it reveals, once again, the profoundly undemocratic character of state capitalist institutions, designed in large measure to socialise cost and risk and privatize profit, without a public voice.

That is, of course, not limited to financial markets. The advanced economy as a whole relies heavily on the dynamic state sector, with much the same consequences with regard to risk, cost, profit, and decisions, crucial features of the economy and political system."


Darling performs U-turn, bank bail -out money to be used to pay shareholders dividends


I reported last week that many of the large banks, bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars and pounds, are still accruing bonus funds to give to their staff instead of using the money to shore up their precarious capital position. Eg:

"If you think about it, the first restriction was not to pay bonuses. Well Lloyds TSB is in fact going to pay bonuses. I think our staff have done a terrific job this year. There is no reason why we shouldn't,"
-Eric Daniels, CEO of Lloyds TSB

This week we see that UK banks appear to be forcing the government into a U-turn on its policy of prohibiting dividend pay-outs in favour of paying the government back the money it had to invest to keep the banks from collapsing. So much for the return of regulation to the financial sector. The big guns seem to have engaged in a couple of month's false contrition to lull the stampede impulse of the bewildered herd before returning to business-as-usual arm twisting of the government. They really must believe that they are untouchable. And while people continue to vote for the grey parties they will be.

economic prosperity without development


Madeleine Bunting's review of Aravind Adiga's Booker Prize winning White Tiger contains this passage:
"The western model of neoliberal financialisation was driven by clear self-interest, argues the Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang. The west couldn't compete in manufacturing (its labour costs are too high), so it turned to financial markets and used the cheapest way to make money: it offered loans, not for productive investment (factories, businesses) but to consumers, using their homes as collateral. Credit cards and small loans are particularly lucrative. So the west leaned heavily on countries through the World Trade Organisation and the IMF to open up their financial sectors. The western banks and the advertising companies piled in, and the result is a credit consumer boom. This may make a few people rich, but it is not, by any definition, development."
This one's pretty damning too:
At its most stark, the analysis is that the west has had a vested interest in keeping wage levels down in developing countries while making money from offering cheap credit. All it had to do was enlist a collaborating elite in each country to implement the deal, which was clearly not in the interests of the bulk of the population. Neoliberal globalisation was a system that ensured the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
In fact, the whole review is really, really good. Well done Mad and well done Aravind for penning this stuff.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

belated Blog Action Day 2008


I totally missed this. Weak.

Massive respect to Rossinisbird for carrying the torch for the impoverished around the world.

Really interesting stuff from RB about Credit Unions too. If I had a penny to my name instead of ~£20,000 of student debt I would be even more interested!

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Arms for Peace"


Such a sweet-sounding slogan for an arms fair. And Her Majusteez guv'ment is balls-deep in the human rights fuck-pile.

"Clearly, the arms industry has lost much of its privileged access but the business remains the same: promoting arms exports. [The UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (the DESO's replacement)] is offering to take UK arms companies ‘under its wing’ this November at IDEAS Pakistan, an arms fair operating under the slogan ‘arms for peace’, which has previously hosted delegations from North Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Zimbabwe, Iran, Sudan, China and Indonesia."

Sarah Waldron rules.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

US election hoo-ha


Big noises in the blogosphere about coordinated republican efforts to constructively disenfrachise democrat voters. Chicken Yoghurt bigged it up.

My problem is that, even though I would clearly advocate a democrat government over a republican one, its like asking me whether I would prefer a Labour or Tory government here. Clearly, I would say "Labour" but then if you asked me whether I'd like to have my arm ripped off or my balls smashed between two bricks I'd have an answer for that as well. It doesn't mean that I actually want either of those events to occur. Politics in the US, as in the UK, is so devoid of substance that I haven't heard climate change discussed once in the last 12 months of news coverage of the race for the presidency. I posted several times more than a year ago , explaining which of the presidential candidates I supported. Things haven't changed- if they had I would have said so. For all you people who see Obama as the new messiah of peace and social justice, here's a quote from nearly two years ago:

"Obama is being packaged as a peace candidate, even though he has voted for every increase in spending for the Iraq War."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

government fixed nuclear consultation with leading questions


What a fucking surprise. The government suck goat cocks.

There is always a better way:

Friday, October 17, 2008

this is what I call "art"



sorry, was that MEANT to be the destination of the $700 billion ? ?


Apparently a lot of it is . . . . . . TADA ! ! ! ! ! - going into the pockets of the top characters in the banks as bonuses.

You really couldn't make this shit up:

"In the first nine months of the year Citigroup, which employs thousands of staff in the UK, accrued $25.9bn for salaries and bonuses, an increase on the previous year of 4%. Earlier this week the bank accepted a $25bn investment by the US government as part of its bail-out plan."
Behind the scenes, one source said: "For a normal person the salaries are very high and the bonuses seem even higher. But in this world you get a top bonus for top performance, a medium bonus for mediocre performance and a much smaller bonus if you don't do so well."
Many critics of the investment banking model have questioned why firms continues to siphon off billions of dollars of bank earnings into annual bonus pools rather than using the funds to shore up the capital position of the crisis-stricken institutions. One banking source said: "That's a fair enough question - and it may well be that by the end of the year the banks start review the situation.""


Same story from The Indy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

extrapolate this to the next ten years . . .


. . . and you will rapidly see how fucked our "civilisation" is.

“ …I will describe the formation of life’s diversity as it is understood- with traversals- by most biologists. I will give evidence that humanity has initiated the sixth great extinction spasm, rushing to eternity a large fraction of our fellow species in a single generation. And finally I will argue that every scrap of biological diversity is priceless, to be learned and cherished and never to be surrendered without a struggle.”

Edward O Wilson - The Diversity of Life

“ There is as yet no answer as to what proportion of the land of a region can be developed as open farmland or forest without significantly perturbing either the local or global environment. It is like asking what proportion of the skin can be burnt without causing death.”

James Lovelock - Ages of Gaia

“So far the only way in which we humans prove our dominance is by expansion. We remain brazen, crass and recent, even as we become more numerous. Our toughness is a delusion. Have we the intelligence and discipline to resist our tendency to grow without limit? The planet will not permit our populations to continue to expand.”

Lynn Margulis - The Symbiotic Planet

The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon
[ A short book with a long title. [ 110 ] ]

Title: What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?

Only verse: Nothing.

"The Maya of Central America . . . were among the most advanced and successful people of their time. But a combination of population growth, extravagant construction projects and poor land management wiped out between 90% and 99% of the population. The Mayan collapse was accelerated by "the competition among kings and nobles that led to a chronic emphasis on war and erecting monuments rather than on solving underlying problems". (Does any of this sound familiar?)"

- George Monbiot

"Our thesis is that the idea of the self-regulating market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness."

- Karl Polanyi

"The verb "to grow" has become so overladen with positive value connotations that we have forgotten its first literal dictionary denotation, namely, "to spring up and develop to maturity." Thus the very notion of growth includes some concept of maturity or sufficiency, beyond which point physical accumulation gives way to physical maintenance; that is, growth gives way to a steady state."

banks fucked


Almighty snigger.

Its remarkable how quickly comment on the financial crisis has moved from concern to outright frustration with the continuing downward trend. Get this: People don't care that banks are going bust. Most don't have much in the way of savings and don't care if the rich business community lose everything they own. The real economy will persist in the face of this insanity if only the government stops throwing money at the banks and instead hangs onto it to use to support the real economy when the financial system's knock-on effects start to bite. Fuck the bankers. Support the farmers and engineers and scientists and postmen. The banks can be taken over for a song when they collapse and the government can run them for the public good at a fraction of the cost of shoring them up as going concerns. The management doesn't deserve to be saved. Fuck them.


This is easily the best explanation of the causes behind the credit crunch I have come across. It also contains staggering facts regarding the financial bomb that the government has put in its pocket by nationalising certain banks and buying large numbers of shares in others. Iain Macwhirter seems to rock with pleasing consistency. Why is he not occupying 11 Downing Street?

"The shadow banking system is an imponderable black hole of financial loss. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the liabilities from RBS alone could add £1.8trn on to the public debt, taking it to £2.5trn. Britain's GDP is only £1.4trn. These are terrifying numbers. Be in no doubt: if all the liabilities of the UK banks fell on the state, Britain could find itself in the same predicament as Iceland. Our economy is actually very similar, only on a much larger scale."

Of particular interest are the comments that reveal that the two main architects of Gordon Brown's bank bail-out work for Standard Chartered Bank: Peter Sands, the chief executive and Richard Meddings, the finance director. The story is laid bare int his Torygraph article. Clearly, with the extensive dithering that Brown et al were doing prior to the announcement of this plan they hadn't the faintest idea how to tackle the crisis themselves. Forgive the lapse into trite cliches but it seems that the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

Additional addition:

I just managed to track down this comment from a recent CiF article:

"PFI and an ocean of money wasted on management consultants are the symptoms, and the cause is specifically the fact that the Cabinet, the Government and the Labour Back Benches are stuffed with [Peter] Hains - people with no skills, no qualifications, no management experience, nothing of any value except a finely-honed talent for greasy-pole climbing. People who have never had a proper job in their lives, and who are entirely unfit to take charge of a complex government department.

Look at Patricia Hewitt. Prior to being feather-bedded into the House of Commons, the highlight of her career was seven years' loyal service as Neil Kinnock's lickspittle (she did spend two years working for a Charity, but I'm willing to bet a year's earnings she wasn't doing anything worthwhile like running a shop). On the basis of this towering achievement, she duly found herself in charge of the third biggest organisation in the world.

They are all basically the same, and they're all basically spivs - fourth-rate spivs at that. I can just see them all sitting blinking like stupid owls while some hapless middle-manager tries to explain something about Supply Chain Management or Finance.

No wonder they're an easy touch for the first-rate spivs from the management and IT consultancies, who've spent decades honing their sales and presentational skills on tough clients in the private sector. The guys who get their hooks into the public sector must be wearing grins like water melons."

I really, really like this because it highlights the disparity between government and industry that I feel has been the driving force behind the erosion of much of our social values over the last fifty years. When disparity between commercial and civil salaries reaches the orders it currently has there exists no incentive- nor even any potential whatsoever- for civil service to compete in a war of ideas with the resources and talent the commercial sector can bring to bear. This is essentially why the CBI runs the Labour government: Whitehall has simply been infiltrated by "sleepers" who no longer even bother to hide their joy at flitting through the revolving door to spend a handful of sleepy years prowling the corridors of power and 'leveraging their clients' before spinning back through it again to land comfortably on the directorship gravy train with a pleasantly plump list of contacts in their diaries and the inside scoop on how to squeeze ever fatter contracts out of future governments through the Old Whitehall Boys' network.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

punkscience advocates the Tobin tax



Supplementary word.

"It is a pity that the worst case had to materialise before sufficient political awareness could be created."

Hmmmm, what other impending disasters do we face that are going to be dealt with through the same "ostrich politics"? A few spring to mind: Climate change- obviously, peak oil, plummeting natural capital and failing ecosystem services (eg. fish stocks, fresh water, forests), shifting population dynamics, etc. etc.

Time for a more proactive approach, anyone?

poor Hubble


Hubble is down. Her systems crashed the other week. Might I suggest a moment of quiet respect for this ultimate scientific toy? Hopefully she'll be back in action later today if the reboot operation goes ok.

Super-happy addition:

It worked! Yeay!

Monday, October 13, 2008

are you considering voting Conservative at the next election?


Probably not if you're reading this blog, but you might know someone who is. If you do and you are as appalled as I am by the thought of anyone endorsing such sociopathy and inhumanity with their vote then you could do worse than bring this to their attention. A particularly fine expression of cuthroat, success-at-any-cost conservative values.

Or just quote Galbraith:

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

- John Kenneth Galbraith

where did all this money come from?


"Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence...."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt


Friday, October 10, 2008

why sustainability makes sense


I just read this article. The $2-5 trillion loss every year that they calculate for ecosystem services and functions lost to "development" dwarfs the banking crisis and continues each and every year unabated. This astounding annual loss from the planet's balance sheet is simply ignored by the neo-classical economic dogma that sees fit to pay failed business executives hundreds of millions. That this level of dystopia is the product of the prevailing dogma has been publically proclaimed by figures such as Karl Polanyi and Ernst Schumacher for decades. Its pretty much the whole reason the environmentalist movement exists. Back in the 1970s environmental economics was created as a discipline in order to put prices on the various externalities and services the ecosystem provides but this eminently sensible and egalitarian way of doing business has simply been marginalised by those in power at the behest of those who stand to gain fat bonuses and hefty dividends. This research reveals how unsustainable and unjust those practices are as they are based upon the exploitation and pillage of our collective, mutual heritage for the exclusive benefit of a small percentage of society.

So, do you want bankers to continue to earn multimillion bonuses for failing to perform or would you prefer the entire financial industry- that contributes and produces little tangible benefit for society- to continue to plunder our children's heritage.

I may sound like a tree hugging hippy but the facts to support my position are available for anyone who cares to see.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

the right to an abortion is only human


It is near impossible to obtain an abortion in Northern Ireland. In the 21st century, for fuck's sake!


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

rave reviews for punkscience


From Bishop Hill's Centre for Climate Change Denial:

"I was reading the posts and then came accross this piece of filth: etc

I do so hope that anyone offended by this ignorant piece of garbage hiding behind blogger dot com will press the "flag blog" button at the top of the site - I am sure Google's TOS has something to say about the crudity of language even if the crudity of its mental process is allowed through their filth filter.

Press the "flag blog" button often enough and this POS will have to wipe his mouth elsewhere."
- "Henry Galt"

Henry, this might be of interest to you.

Lick a dick, rat-bitch.

quote of the day


"If we had those forty million [aborted] children that were killed over the last thirty years we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today."

- Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay


Get Your War On



You are on the way to destruction. You have no chance to survive make your time.


For the information of whoever googled the title of this post, looking for its origin: I made it up. Me. No-one else. I rule. Read on and you'll see.

breaking news! - new Liberal Democrat economic policy revealed!



splendid misanthropy


Once again it must be repeated: Chicken Yoghurt rules.

This is pertinent.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

cities are good for the planet


". . . blaming cities for greenhouse gas emissions misses the point that well-planned and governed cities are central to delinking high living standards/quality of life from high consumption/ greenhouse gas emissions. This can be seen in part in the very large differentials between wealthy cities in gasoline use per person;(20) most US cities have three to five times the gasoline use per person of most European cities – and it is difficult to see that Detroit has five times the quality of life of Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Singapore has one-fifth of the automobile ownership per person of most cities in other high-income nations, yet also has a higher income per person.(21) It is also evident in the fact that many cities in high-income nations have greenhouse gas emissions per person that are far below their national averages.(22)

Many of the most desirable (and expensive) residential areas in the world’s wealthiest cities have high densities and building forms that can minimize the need for space heating and cooling – much more so than housing in suburban or rural areas. Most European cities have high density centres where walking and bicycling are preferred by much of the population, especially where good provision is made for pedestrians and bicyclists. Many European cities also have high-quality public transport that keeps down private automobile ownership and use. Cities also concentrate so much of what contributes to a very high quality of life that need not imply high material consumption levels (and thus high greenhouse gas emissions) – theatre, music, museums, libraries, the visual arts, dance and the enjoyment of historic buildings and districts. Cities have also long been places of social, economic and political innovation; indeed, in high-income nations, city politicians often demonstrate a greater commitment to greenhouse gas emissions reduction than do national politicians. Achieving the needed reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions depends on seeing this potential of cities to combine high quality of life with low greenhouse gas emissions and acting on it."
- Satterthwaite (2008). Cities' contribution to global warming: notes on the allocation of greenhouse gas emissions. Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 20, No. 2, 539-549 (2008)

more insights into fuckyounomics



Monday, October 06, 2008



Get Your War On


more sniggering

my new fighting technique is unstoppable

Chicken Yoghurt . . . .


. . . rules.

not-quite-weekly bible quote


A spicy little passage today- mmmmMMMmmmmmm . . .

"Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled."

Ezekiel 23:11-21

Madeleine Bunting - closing the cage door after the lion has fled


My comment on her drivel:

"This is so much old hat, Madeleine. Progressive commentators have been saying this for years and have been right about it too, as the Scandinavian model demonstrates conclusively. The problem our society has faced is one of political misrepresentation, misgovernment and pseudo-democracy, combined with a populace so ignorant of reality that they were prepared to accept the word of the neoliberals at face value for the simple reason that they promised to maximise personal gain. Greed and ignorance, that's what got us here.

Greed. And ignorance."

I find it highly amusing that one the books she recommends reading to learn about how our economic system became so self-destructive is over sixty years old.


socialistMike's comment struck me as being particularly insightful.

And did Madeleine- a fundamentalist sky-pixie fan- really condemn the unfounded superstition and mysticism of neoliberal capitalist fundamentalism? Pot. Kettle. Black.


More News, Less Views


Written by Greg Philo, Glasgow Media Group, via the boys at Media Lens:

News is a procession of the powerful. Watch it on TV, listen to the Today programme and marvel at the orthodoxy of views and the lack of critical voices. When the credit crunch hit, we were given a succession of bankers, stockbrokers and even hedge-fund managers to explain and say what should be done. But these were the people who had caused the problem, thinking nothing of taking £20 billion a year in city bonuses. The solution these free market wizards agreed to, was that tax payers should stump up £50 billion (and rising) to fill up the black holes in the banking system. Where were the critical voices to say it would be a better idea to take the bonuses back? Mainstream news has sometimes a social-democratic edge. There are complaints aired about fuel poverty and the state of inner cities. But there are precious few voices making the point that the reason why there are so many poor people is because the rich have taken the bulk of the disposable wealth. The notion that the people should own the nation’s resources is close to derided on orthodox news.

When Northern Rock was nationalised, TV news showed us pictures of British Leyland and the old problem ridden car industry. Never mind that it was actually privately owned when most of the problems occurred and that company policy had been to distribute 95% of profits as dividends to shareholders, rather than to invest in new plant and machinery. This is all lost in the mists of history and what is conveyed is the vague sense that nationalisation is a “bad thing”.

We showed how this affects public understanding by asking a sample of 244 young people in higher education (aged 18 –23) about the great spate of privatizations which had taken place in the 1980s. We asked whether the industries involved had in general been profitable or unprofitable. Actually, the major ones of gas, electricity, oil and telecommunications were both profitable and major sources of revenue to the state, but nearly 60% of the sample thought that the industries had been losing money.

This is especially poignant now that energy prices are being jacked up and the foreign owners of many of these companies are not interested in passing on their windfall profits to the British people. Countries such as China, Venezuala and even Russia keep key industries very firmly in state hands, but where are the critical voices in broadcasting here, who are given space to raise these arguments? They can be heard in the outer reaches, occasionally on Question Time, Channel 4 News or Newsnight.

But is this what the population want? At the start of the Iraq war we had the normal parade of generals and military experts, but in fact, a consistent body of opinion then and since has been completely opposed to it. We asked our sample whether people such as Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Naomi Klein and Michael Moore should be featured routinely on the news as part of a normal range of opinion. Seventy three per cent opted for this rather than wanting them on just occasionally, as at present.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is another area of great imbalance in the views that are heard. Our study of the main TV news output showed that pro-Israeli speakers were featured about twice as much as Palestinians. This year BBC News covered Israel’s ‘birthday’ of 60 years since the setting up of the state. This was of course also the anniversary of what, from the Palestinian perspective, was the great disaster when they were forced from their homes and land. Israel’s superior public relations machine meant that they set the agenda on broadcast news. The Palestinians were featured, but rather less and as a sort of afterthought. As a presenter on BBC’s Today programme put it, “Today Israel is 60 years old, and all this week we have been hearing from Israelis about what it means to them”. Quite so.

We commissioned YouGov to ask a sample of 2086 UK adults whether they thought that more coverage should be given to the Israeli point of view, or more to the Palestinians, or equal for both. Nearly twice as many people thought that the Palestinians should have the most as compared with the Israelis, but the bulk of the replies (72%) were that both should have the same. Only 5% of the population supported what the broadcasters have actually been doing in the main news output.

Politicians and broadcasters say they are worried about a growing lack of interest in politics especially amongst the young. Our work shows there is no lack of interest in lively critical debate. The problem is that a news which largely features the views of two political parties with very similar free market policies at home, and an international agenda which follows America, does not provide this.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

nuclear power stations are shit


More evidence to add to the mountain.


I love this website.

  • Teenagers who have pledged themselves to an abstinence program are 28 percent more likely to try drugs.

  • Among American adults who believe in Creationism or Intelligent Design, 14.6 percent believe the Bible was originally written in english.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mandelson's return


The return of this corporate-cock-sucking, capitalist-fundamentalist genocidaire to the cabinet is the worst possible news for the people of the UK. That he has been stuffed in as Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform almost defies belief - being one of the architects of EU neocolonialism and a massive fan of the deregulatory, fuckyounomic climate that has precipitated the credit crunch.
"the appointment of Peter Mandelson to head up BERR [Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform] . . . is not just a political throwback, but a presumption that the old agenda of globalised deregulation still makes sense in a world rocked by the crises it has brought about. Internationally, the developing world will probably breathe a sigh of relief that he is no longer the EU Commissioner forcing them to accept free trade agreements that would loot their economies. But the transfer of this thinking from a European level to a domestic one has to be of questionable gain. The best that can probably be said is that Europe's loss is also our loss. "

From here.

I agree with what this guy says.

Friday, October 03, 2008



Why is it that when I am typing an email or a blog entry or a comment and I use ctrl+z to undo something it sometimes cuts a massive block out of my text that I then cannot retrieve?



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

algal biofuels


I had dinner tonight with a researcher visiting our lab, who works in the field of algal biofuels. He told me that they are far from commercial reality. The numbers you see in the press are extrapolations from lab studies and attempts to scale them up to commercial scales suffer huge losses in efficiency, producing ~20% of the frequently quoted figures, probably due to the need to keep the cultures on a knife edge balance between lethal stress and rapidly reproducing.


"diatom algae needs silicon in the water to grow, whereas green algae requires nitrogen to grow. Under nutrient deficiency the algae produced more oils per weight of algae, however the algae growths also were significantly less."

From here.

I can't help but be disappointed as I had fallen under the spell of the PR and was poising myself to spring into this line of research and save the world. I haven't abandoned that idea, I'm just going to have to work a bit harder for it. But then a slightly demented man once said "nothing that's worth having in this world comes easy".

Stiglitz invokes the "polluter pays principle"


The principle is self-explanatory. Stiglitz thinks it should be applied to Wall Street. I think he should go the whole hog and advocate replacing the flawed neo-classical economic thinking which has despoiled nations, started wars and sent millions into starvation with true-cost eco-economics. Wikipedia provides a good overview, as ever.