Sunday, May 31, 2009

why wasn't I taught at school that the British invented the concentration camp?


Johann has a harrowing article up detailing the British occupation of Kenya and their appalling treatment of its indigenous people. Its funny how I remember several years of my schooling being spent learning about the World Wars but little of it being devoted to the British Empire.

Johann rules.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

sickening hypocrisy


James Purnell. What a cunt:
"Money means power. It affects the extent to which you have control over your own life and whether others – either people or institutions – have control over you."
Justin can offer plenty more reasons to hate the guy. Punkscience came up with a couple too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

David Cameron is a cunt and so are you if you vote for him


He is a creeping little gobshite with little connection to the society in which we live. His Etonian education, inherited wealth and staggering list of plutocratic connections brand him as a man apart from you and I. His politics, or so he constantly preaches, are genuinely those of the Common Man. This is utter bollocks, as Johann observes. His pseudo-green facade has long since been blown away in the slipstream of the jumbo jets landing at Heathrow and in the smokestacks of the coal and nuclear power stations he so earnestly tells us we must consider (a sea-change from just a few years ago). He even had the gall to try and tell us that nuclear power should:
". . . be able to compete on a level playing field with other forms of energy."
And that this meant:
". . . no taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power; no compromise on our commitment to fiscal responsibility and economic stability."
If Cameron does not realise that this proposal is utterly implausible then at least that's better than being a lying little shit. I greatly doubt that this absurd proposal is anything other than a dishonest PR smokescreen for the nuclear lobby, however, who are well aware of the unfeasible economics of wholly privately funded nuclear generation.

The latest spin to emerge from the tory party office is that Cameron would "consider" pulling the plug on the Trident replacement program. Well, that's all PR bullshit too.

You cannot trust this man to act in the interests of anyone except himself and his rich cronies. Furthermore, he wields a demonstrably absurd economic ideology which will commit the country to even deeper fuckyounomic darkness than it is presently experiencing.

Do not vote for this man and his party.

Addition 04/06/09:

Rossinisbird notes that Cameron is also intimating himself into the extreme right wing of European politics, allying himself with parties whose leading figures espouse homophobia, antisemitism, climate change denial and sky-pixie fundamentalism.

Addition 30-04-09:

In the run up to the election I am glad to be getting a few hits here. May I offer this link to Johann's awesome work on Tory sociopathy. Just don't let him persuade you to vote Labour. He's bloody smart but somehow deluded enough to want to vote that way. Mental!

Craig Murray: "when are we going to get these New Labour war criminals out of The Guardian?"


Interesting stuff. I'm going to write to Ian Cobain to ask him why he failed to mention Jack Straws personal endorsement of the use of intelligence derived from torture.

the Catholic church are all cunts


You know what this is about. I will link to this and this as evidence to support my statement.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

reform the plutocracy


Peter Preston has a thread on CiF where you can propose appropriate constitutional reforms for our pseudo-democracy. I gave it some:

Ban lobbying. It is antidemocratic.
Reform the electoral system to institute the single, transferable vote.
Make registration of your political position compulsory. Citizens have responibilities to their government as well as rights.
Institue the Swiss model of direct democracy , whereby each citizen's vote is divested to their elected representative, who wields them on behalf of the community UNLESS that citizen wishes to vote differently, in which case their vote is reallocated in parliament according to their wishes. Politicians never speak for their entire electorate and we should acknowledge that.
Make the second house 100% elected.
CREATE A WRITTEN CONSTITUTION! This is what the Americans call a "no brainer".
My proposals all rely on the premise that the electorate is intelligent and rational. This is clearly not the case due to decades of educational and societal neglect by the grey parties. Therefore these reforms must be accompanied by a massive educational drive targeted across the entire population to clearly disseminate the rights and responsibilities that are expected of citizens of a democracy and why they are vital to the health of such. Lets face it: There's plenty of examples of why this is the case form the previous thirty years of incompetence, subversion and plutocratic practices in our government.

Addition 15-11-2010:

I should have specified banning professional lobbying, not just any lobbying. Broader attempts to ban lobbying are scarily antidemocratic.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

what do the police mean by eco-terrorism?


"It appears to refer to any environmental action more radical than writing letters to your MP."
--George Monbiot

I might have mentioned previously that George rules.

English libel tourism sucks goat dicks


I ranted about this recently. Now New Scientist have taken up the flag over scientists whose professional and even peer-reviewed opinions are deemed libellous by the English Courts.

e-petitions: Engagement or propaganda?


Punkscience signs quite a few e-petitions on the Downing Street website. He has rarely received satisfactory responses to the petitions. The latest is this one, reading:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to end custodial sentences for youth graffiti offences.”

Details of Petition:

“Whilst we do not condone the defacing of private property, we feel that sending a teenager into prison, bearing in mind the damaging long-term effect of such a sentence, is outrageously excessive. Besides being a scandalous waste of taxpayer’s money and taking up valuable prison space, it is morally irresponsible and socially destructive to alienate any young person from society in such a way for a non-violent crime. In addition, the message sent out to other teenagers by imposing a high sentence not only alienates youth from society, it actually encourages what it seeks to prevent by promoting a lack of faith in the justice system and a lack of respect for authority. The government must accept that the current approach of custodial sentencing for graffiti artists, where no violence is indicated, is not legally equitable, is counter-productive and harmful to society as a whole. The issue must be approached in a more constructive manner and punishments restricted to non-custodial sentences, in service to the community rather than a burden upon it.”

And the government's response:

Custody for under-18s is a last resort: the Youth Justice Board’s annual statistics for 2006 - 07 show that only 3 per cent of those who admitted or were found guilty of an offence received a custodial sentence. Custody is used only for the most persistent and serious offenders. However the courts must have the sentencing options that they need to tackle youth crime. Some young people offend so seriously or persistently that custody is the only way to prevent offending in the community and to protect the public.

The Government has greatly strengthened and expanded the range of non-custodial sentencing options available to the courts for under-18s. We recognise the value of restorative justice approaches, including practical reparation, in tackling youth offending. We also recognise the positive outcomes that can result from making young offenders face up to the consequences of their criminal behaviour.

The Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) caters for serious and persistent offenders who might otherwise be sent to custody. The programme combines a high level of community-based surveillance with intensive supervision aimed at tackling the factors that lead to offending. For those whose offending is not considered so serious as to require custody, Referral Orders are now the main intervention for young offenders who plead guilty on their first court appearance. The offender is referred to a community-led panel attended by parents, victims if they wish, and others. The panel draws up a contract covering reparation and steps to tackle the offending behaviour.

The action plan order is a focused three-month community sentence, which involves the young offender in an intensively supervised programme of education and other activities and ensures that the parents are fully involved. Courts can also make a reparation order, which requires the young person to make specific reparation either to the individual victim of the crime (where the victim desires this) or to the community. The reparation order aims to confront young offenders with the consequences of their behaviour and its impact upon victims and the community.

Reparation activities currently being undertaken by young offenders on community sentences include graffiti scrubbing, clearing of parkland and repairing bicycles which are then donated to the local community. Under the Youth Crime Action Plan, published in July 2008, the Government has committed to almost £100 million of new activities to combat youth crime, and one of the eight key strands of work is to increase the amount of reparation activity done by young offenders.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 will establish a sentencing structure firmly based on reparation. This will provide a clear steer to the courts and Youth Offending Teams that reparation should be a fundamental part of any community sentence for a young offender. The Act established the Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO), which will be the new generic community sentence for young offenders from the end of 2009. The YRO will enable greater choice for sentencing from a ‘menu’ of requirements, allowing the courts to tailor sentences to meet the needs of the individual and the seriousness of the offence.

So, that's cleared that up, then. Yeah. A bucket load of rants about how great the government is and how much money its putting into combatting youth crime. No attempt to engage with the point of the petition, i.e. that graffiti artists are non-violent and undeserving of any sort of custodial sentence. No attempt to justify the custodial sentences handed out to such offenders. No attempt to challenge the main accusation of the petition: That custodial sentences are sociopathic and ruin the lives of young people, perpetuating the cycle of criminality.

Monday, May 18, 2009

vote Green


Caroline will tell you why:

"The one thing we have that the other parties do not have is a political integrity. No one thinks you join the Green party because you're politically ambitious, or have your own agenda."

I'm eternally frustrated to hear people brand the Greens as "ideologues" and unrealistic. If any model of government is unrealistic, its that of the grey parties. Government' are meant to look after the short AND the long-term interests of the nation. How is presiding over increases in equality, an economic collapse and an abject failure to seriously address climate change sustainable? Funny how the Chairman of the government's Sustainable Development Commission is a member of the Green Party. That should tell people something.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Science: It works, bitches.



Addition 27/05/09:

My apologies to PZ Myers, whom I inadvertently appear to have copied. See Pharyngula for the explanation.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

quote of the week


"Our politics is reviled. [sic] Our parliament is held in scorn. Our people have had enough."

-- David Cameron

Yeah, no thanks to you, you spoilt, little, cunty gobshite.

Friday, May 15, 2009

about those photos that Obama won't let you see . . . .


Well, thanks to this dude, here they are.

This guy will succintly textualise your rage into a concise argument that is easy to share with others. Via Back Towards The Locus.

petition the queen to dissolve parliament


A petition has been started by Craig Murray. Sign it!

petition the queen not to give Margaret Thatcher a state funeral


Mark Thomas. He rules.

Do it!

Sir David Attenborough: "Our planet is overcrowded".


Dave rules.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Craig Murray: "Just how stupid do they think we are?"


Very, apparently.

This really is just laughable.

do you want a vagina full of AIDS?


Because apparently, if you use a condom as a precaution against STDs, that's what you'll get:

This video is funny but only because the guy is such a distressingly ignorant fucktard.

This next video is the funny junglist mash-up version. Oh yes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

one bloody good film


I don't know how I missed this when it was released a couple of years ago as its right up my ally. The film is remarkably good with a credible plot, good, hard science fiction and excellent character development. The special effects are stunning. I was awestruck by the sequence of mercury passing in front of the sun and wish I'd seen it on a 'big' screen (that YouTube clip doesn't even begin to do it justice). The soundtrack is really good: Very, very atmospheric and created from a collaboration between Underworld and John Murphy, the guy who did much of the music for Danny Boyle's previous work of sci-fi genius: 28 Days Later.

When the plot started to twist I was completely immersed in the film and couldn't tear my attention from it. My only gripe is the break down in physics at the end as, in the final scenes, the vessel the action is taking place on is shown twisting and turning as it flies whilst the characters are running about inside as if they were on the firm surface of a planet. Oh, well. You can't have everything, can you.

Watch Sunshine. Its as brilliant as the sun.

why is the new chairman of the Natural Environmental Research Council a Chartered Engineer?


The CEO of NERC, the distinguished meteorologist Prof Alan Thorpe, commented that:
"I am sure that Ed Wallis will continue the excellent leadership provided over the past five years by our outgoing Chairman, Rob Margetts. Ed's business acumen and extensive experience will be a great asset to NERC."
Really, Alan? Will it really? Because, as an environmental scientist, I'm fucking irate to see the government appointing some corporate whore, with no environmental research experience- or any research experience whatsoever- to "lead" the allocation of funding to environmental research. The same field of research which frequently reveals how utterly unsustainable and damaging much of the government's policy on the environment and on energy actually is. The same research, in effect, which is a direct threat to the profitability and state subsidy of the industry within which he has developed an entire career. How, exactly, is this little gobshite's business acumen going to be of value to environmental research. Can someone please tell me? I can't quite see it myself.

Let's go over Ed's resume, shall we? (A synopsis of which is generously provided on the NERC website).
Ed Wallis is a chartered engineer. He is currently Chairman of WS Atkins, Consulting Engineers. He was the founding Chief Executive of Powergen plc, following the privatisation of the electricity supply industry, and remained with the organisation for 15 years until retiring as Chairman in 2003. Prior to this he had more than 30 years of experience working for the Central Electricity Generating Board. He has gained a wide range of other Board level experience including the Chairmanship of Lucas Varity and London Underground. He was a member of both the Aston University Council and the Henley Management College Court of Governors from 1992 to 1998. In 1997 he became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Now, whilst I see the need for appointees to High Office to exhibit some management experience, I also see it is being infinitely more important that they have experience of the subject area they will be working within. Ed Wallis is not experienced in environmental research and is a disastrous character to be placed in charge of directing environmental research in this country and in any country. Even more important, I think it is utterly essential that a political appointee (that's what this is, yes?) does not have a vested interest in an industry that might be influenced by the results of the research they are also meant to oversee the funding of. In case you think that that accusation is hyperbole, let me just reaffirm that Ed Wallis is currently the chairman of WS Atkins:
"Atkins is the largest engineering consultancy in the UK,­ the largest multi-disciplinary consultancy in Europe, the largest UK engineering consultancy in the Middle East and the world's eighth largest global design firm. Atkins is also the highest fee earner in the league of UK engineering consultancies for the past nine years."
So, Ed Wallis, can you explain how your position as Chairman of NERC does not, in any way represent a conflict of interest with your chair of Atkins? Because it looks to me that a company that is "the UK's largest provider of highway and transport solutions" should have some sort of interest in obstructing research that will produce evidence showing that those "solutions" are in fact a threat to our way of life. Oh- and while you're struggling to answer that one, can you observe how your responsibilities as a director under corporate benefit legislation do not require you to act to obstruct the funding of any research which might threaten the profitability of Atkins' business model?

Subject material derived from George's latest article. George rules.

UK democracy is dead


From the synopsis of The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby:
"[T]he author argues that anti-rational government is not the product of a Machiavellian plot by “Washington” but is the inevitable result of “an overarching crisis of memory and knowledge” that has left many ordinary citizens and their elected representatives without the intellectual tools needed for sound public decision-making."

This applies equally well to the UK. If the electorate cannot make sound public decisions then democratic elections become dysfunctional. Elected governments become plutocracies, which then entrench themselves and install policies that suppress any attempt to enact reform and reinforce the antidemocratic cycle; typically through demagoguery and assaults upon the professional classes, who are the only people with the intellect to perceive the threat and challenge it.

Sound familiar? It ought to.

Monday, May 11, 2009

churnalism 101


Always reproduce claims from corporate press releases without any allegatory clauses:

"The utilities are warning that without firm guarantees, they will not invest in a new generation of cleaner coal plants which are crucial to keeping the lights on in Britain over the next decade."

"The utilities are claiming that without firm guarantees, they will not invest in a new generation of cleaner coal plants which they say will be crucial to keeping the lights on in Britain over the next decade."
Fucking RENs.

"I can now safely say that the policing of the G20 protests was politicised with the intent to incite rioting"


A stunning piece of review and analysis. I am gobsmacked. I too, always swerve away from claims of police conspiracy and agents provocateurs at demonstrations. Hard evidence so rarely emerges of such action that I generally consider such claims to be pushing outrage and incense that little bit too far. Here though, as Monsieur Publican reveals, we have not just the usual, lone eyewitness report but the corroboratory account of a Member of Parliament who was in the midst of the protest at the time. Predictably, a Met spokesperson said:
"We would never deploy officers in this way or condone such behaviour."
To which the obviously reply is: "Ian Tomlinson".

This affair throws new light on the depths the UK police are prepared to plumb in pursuit of political goals: Either those of straightforward agitation and provocation to produce reasons to continue funding and expansion of intelligence and anti terrorist units, or more subversive, authoritarian and antidemocratic goals demonisation and criminalisation of public dissent. Either way, this is seriously Fucked Up.

Hazel Blears is a fraudulent cunt.


As Craig would like to observe. (I paraphrase).

I fucking hate Hazel Blears.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

free music ! ! !


Mind-poppingly wonderful work from this dude. And its science-related!


Or, if you prefer your beats with a hip-hop vibe, you can enjoy the regulatin' genes rap:

nuanced vitriol


Marina Hyde: Great article. Punkscience approves of her scorn for the government of the UK.

cultural differences


"Speaking in the parents' defense, Tom Molomby, SC, said that, as the parents came from India, where homeopathy is in common use, they should be declared not guilty due to cultural differences."

Yes, sure. Because killing your nine month old daughter by neglect is an intrinsic part of Indian day-to-day culture. And we should respect that.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Robbie Sabel is a lying piece of shit


This offence to humanity has a CiF piece up trying to defend Israel's brutality in Gaza at the start of the year with lies, misrepresentation and dissemblement. I did my best to reveal this but I just lost heart at the end. You just know this sort of scum can't be convinced with rationale arguments.

Robbie Sabel dissembles, misrepresents and outright lies to defend Israel's war crimes. Let me tell you how:

>> "Hamas knowingly and deliberately targeted civilians and civilian targets in Israel and based itself in civilian areas, but this does not exempt Israel from having to apply the rules of war to its hostilities with Hamas."

The argument of "two wrongs don't make a right" is easy to apply here. Irrelevant of Hamas's conduct, the rules of war still apply to both the IDF and Hamas. You can condemn Hamas all you want but that doesn't excuse your own war crimes.

>>"the report should surely have explored why a military force needed to take action against an enemy in a built-up area at all."

No, it shouldn't . That is completely outside of the report's remit, as Sabel should know.

>>"The undisputed fact – that Hamas was deliberately operating from such areas to launch attacks on Israeli civilian targets – is simply ignored."

Another classic old chestnut. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. Its an enormous challenge NOT to operate from civilian areas. Doing so makes you easily visible and vulnerable to attack from Israel's drones flying overhead. The Hamas fighters aren't stupid.

>> "It might also have been instructive for investigators to examine how far the staff of Unwra, which is composed mainly of local Palestinians from Gaza, was working with Hamas, whether out of fear or ideological belief."

Why would this have been instructive? Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gaza. Why would UNWRA not have been working with them? Sabel is trying to imply that the Gazan staff of UNWRA were conspiring to use UN facilities to aid Hamas' military operations. A lie the Israelis repeat ad nauseum despite the admissions of their own officers that the alleged gunfire they were retaliating against when the IDFshelled UN buildings in Gaza was fabricated.

>> "The Israeli army took unprecedented steps to avoid civilian casualties. "

This is such a breath-taking lie that I can hardly bring myself to continue. As reported by Media Lens and the LA Times many IDF soldiers have reported being given orders that explicitly advocate ethnic cleansing of occupied Palestinian territory, including the use of lethal force.

>> "The ICRC has confirmed that there was no evidence that these [white phosphorus] shells had been used in an illegal way."

This is another breathtaking piece of dissemblement. The ICRC did not make the statement that Sabel quotes. Peter Herby, head of the Arms Unit at the ICRC, made the observation that white phosphorus was not illegal IF IT WAS USED "to create a smokescreen or illuminate a target". The IDF seized upon this statement and repeatdly quoted it in defence of their use of white phosphorus as an antipersonnel weapon and in civilian areas, which is clearly prohibited under international law. Even after the ICRC clarified their position in subsequent press releases the IDF spokescum, Mark Regev, continued to lie to the press.

I'm sorry, I can't bring myself to go any further with this. Sabel's chutzpah is simply overpowering. I hope I have opened a few people's eyes to the nature of Israeli propaganda and the inhumanity of monsters like Sabel.




The fucking moderators have deleted it! WTF?

I have emailed the following to Georgina Henry:

Dear Georgina,

I posted a comment at 10:32am on to Robbie Sabel's Cif article of 7th May with the text in italics below. A moderator deleted this post and I would be grateful if you could share the reason for this with me as I felt that the comment was neither offensive nor irrelevant? I took some time and went to considerable lengths to research the evidence contained within the post and was disappointed to see it deleted, particularly as it garnered six recommendations in the short period of time that it was 'up'.

Grateful thanks,

Addition - 10/05/09:

Reply from CiF moderator:

Dear - - --,

Your message was forwarded to me by Georgina.

As our community standards state, we do not permit any abuse of community members, either above the line authors or below the line commenters.

Although you say you felt your comment was not offensive, you did describe the author as a "monster."

Best wishes,


Community Moderator

I think this is pretty fair, actually. I stated that I felt my post wasn't offensive. What I should have said is that my post wasn't overly offensive. Calling Robbie Sabel a monster is like calling the sea wet. That is what it unequivocally is; as Sabel- with his lies and misrepresentation of the murder of civilians- unequivocally is a monster.

Anyway, I'm sure he relishes having such epithets directed at him so more fool me for lacking the restraint to refrain from tacking that on to the end of my post.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

libel tourism in the UK and Obama's dodgy Syrian friend


Cool article from Wikileaks that points out- surprise, surprise- that UK libel law is shit and a threat to freedom of speech, good investigative journalism and democracy, generally.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

do you really want this sort of person in power?


To her credit, Arch-Cockweasel Blears faced up to George Monbiot, even if she wriggled and squirmed like an epipleptic eel when asked whether she endorsed the UK government's support for Islam Karimov, the brutal dictator of Uzbekistan, who had two dissidents boiled alive. Its telling that even in this case of gross inhumanity she still refused to condemn her goverment's position. As Wikipedia observes:
"Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause . . . "
The important words are excessive and uncritical. Blears is unable to offer a logical justification of her position but does not see this as a failing. Take the example of the government's professed reasons for invading Iraq and the "45 minutes" claim; when George displays incredulity at her support for those reasons she continues to express conviction that Blair et al were acting in good faith. As George wonders in the text:
"What effort of will and intellectual contortion is needed to squeeze your mind into such boxes?"
More to the point, how is it that someone who is clearly bereft of any fundamental morals can continue to occupy a position of such authority without being challenged?


Craig Murray has now presented testimony that shows that Hazel's squirming when challenged with her approval for Karimov was nothing more than an act. She is an awful, awful person who needs to be locked away. To call her a sociopath or a psychopath is to dignify her malevolence with a legitimate excuse when she has none. She is the new face of terror. One that smiles and pretends to consider your arguments before blithely burying them in a torrent of misrepresentation and dissemblement.

Saturday, May 02, 2009



Holy crap, this made me laugh like a donkey. Sadly I can't embed it.

no further explanation required


What a bunch of fucking cunts.

punkscience: helping to understand swine flu


I read this article on swine flu and was surprised to come across the demographic parameter R0. This is something that I have regularly encountered in my work on demographics and I revel in the opportunity to explain a little straightforward maths to the pubelic: R0 is the net reproductive rate of an individual or a population.

From my thesis' scrap file:
R0 can be calculated from the equation:

R0 = V(α) . b . E(α)

Where: V(α) = Survival rate to the age of first reproduction.
b = is the product of the lifetime average rate of offspring production.
E = is the average adult life span of an individual at the age of first reproduction.

For semelparous organisms this equation can be further simplified to:

R0 = V(α) . S(α)
after Charnov (1997)

Where: V(α) = the reproductive value of an individual at the age of reproduction (b multiplied by E)

It is possible to determine several factors which influence either V(α) or S(α) and these factors have often been quantified as surrogates for fitness (eg. McDowell et al. 1999; Kashian 2004). Bearing in mind that fitness is a product of both genes and the environment in which they operate any assessment of fitness will be specific to the environment in which it is assessed (Stearns 1992).

The only problem, of course, is that a flu virus is not semelparous. In which case all of the above isn't relevant. So that's a lot clearer then. Yes.

Friday, May 01, 2009

war crimes


Punkscience hasn't commented on the civil war in Sri Lanka so far. Its about time he did. Fuckers.

Good Science: Why fertilisers reduce biodiversity


'Nuff said.

punkscience does not support the death penalty


But if he did, these two cunts would be third and fourth. After these two.

Flippant, I know. But then, fuck you.

NMR results


WARNING: This post contains ecotoxicology: Non-biologists may be incredibly bored!
This is the result of Principle Component Analysis on the non-polar spectra from my methanol-chloroform extracts. The different symbols represent three different populations of animals. As you can see they are completely separated by PCs 2, 3 & 4. This is quite a weak differentiation as these three PCs account for 15.29, 9.74 and 7.95% of the variability in the data, respectively. However, differentiated they are, demonstrating that significant differences in fundamental metabolism exist between the three populations. Now I've just got to work out what those differences are. Which is a lot harder.