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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Abiotic oil again...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/31/2008 10:57:00 pm

Despite the tensions caused the last time that this was mentioned at The Kitchen, it seems, via The Englishman, that some people in the media are keen to push this abiotic oil theory.
At least one of many large, lake-like features on Saturn's moon Titan studied by the international Cassini spacecraft contains liquid hydrocarbons, making it the only body in the solar system besides Earth known to have liquid on its surface, NASA said Wednesday.

Scientists positively identified the presence of ethane, according to a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which manages the Cassini mission exploring Saturn, its rings and moons.

Liquid ethane is a component of crude oil.

It has to be said, however, that ethane—with a chemical formula of C2H6 (or CH3—CH3)—is a long way from being crude oil. However, it does raise some interesting possibilities...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/31/2008 10:57:00 pm


Boris: what a difference a year makes...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/31/2008 10:42:00 pm

Looking through my extensive archives for articles about booze, I found a post citing this article by Boris Johnson.
It is the British Department of Health, in Whitehall, that wants a new label on every bottle of wine and every other alcoholic beverage, with a load of baloney about the risks to unborn children (not very great, frankly), the need to drink “responsibly”, the websites of various “drink awareness” organisations, and a load of bunkum about the piffling number of “units” the Government thinks a man and a woman can drink “responsibly” every week.

The whole project has been personally invented and pushed by Caroline Flint, a junior health minister, and you may reasonably be asking yourself why.

Why now? For well over 45 centuries the human race has been squeezing grapes and fermenting the juice into anything between seven and 15 per cent alcohol, and so producing the ecstatic drink that has been as sacred to every pagan religion as it is to Christianity.

As a great French historian has pointed out, the vineyards of France are perhaps the single greatest cultural legacy of the Roman empire, and it is now more than two millennia since people in Britain first became aware of the intoxicating powers of wine.

In all that time, no government in history has yet thought the people so moronic that they needed to be told, on the bottle, that wine could go to your head; and Flint’s proposed act of desecration is all the more shameful and baffling when you consider - in your state of agreeable post-prandial rapture - that a bottle of wine is really a thing of quiet beauty.
...

Does she really imagine that her ghastly “message” will make a fluid ounce of difference to the total quantity of alcohol consumed by the British people? Will it remove a single splash of vomit from our pavements? Will it deter a single bladdered ladette from hoisting another one away?

Of course not.
...

I say fight, fight, fight. Fight against these insulting, ugly and otiose labels.

Oblige Flint to bring her plans to Parliament, so we can fight for common sense against the tide of infantilising elf and safety madness, and when we have won we can help her to drown her sorrows in the time-honoured British way - and our potations will be equally responsible, or irresponsible, whatever it says on the label.

Of course, one might be tempted to rewrite certain aspects of that article to reflect the changed times in which we live...
Does Boris really imagine that his authoritarian “ban” will make a fluid ounce of difference to the total quantity of alcohol consumed by the British people? Will it remove a single splash of vomit from our pavements? Will it deter a single bladdered ladette from hoisting another one away?
...

I say fight, fight, fight. Fight against this insulting, authoritarian and patronising ban.

Way to stick to your principles, Boris!

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/31/2008 10:42:00 pm


Eco-Fascists Get 'Em While They're Young

Posted by QT at 7/31/2008 08:23:00 pm

Author's Note: The author of this post is not The Devil's Kitchen

Via EU Referendum, a campaign to recruit children to the cause of climate alarmism, encouraging them to look out for "climate crimes" in their home and those of friends and relatives

Who is responsible for this? Perhaps surprisingly, it's not the Government, or the BBC. The organisation behind 'Climate Cops' is the energy company nPower.

Did no-one involved at any point think to themselves, "wait a minute, there's something not right about this..."? There's no subtlety here - the idea of asking children to spy on adults, keep "Case Files" on them and demand that they change their behaviour is the whole fucking point of 'Climate Cops'. Doesn't this remind of you of something? Something from a totalitarian dystopia? Seriously, what the fuck were nPower's advertising department thinking?

Yes, it's dressed up as a cartoon, with corresponding 'yoof' language. Of course it fucking is - its aimed at children, after all; it is hardly going to be written in the language of a Monbiot article! The fact it is a cartoon doesn't make it any the less sinister - quite the opposite.

Richard North, who wrote the original post on this over at EU Referendum, wrote to the ASA about the print ad (left) connected to the campaign (website content is outside the ASA's jurisdiction). He received short shrift - a letter containing a statement that there was no breach of their codes even though North only asked for advice on framing his complaint.

The ASA's code of practice is clearly not designed for this - it is written in the expectation of underhand advertising practices, not propaganda aimed at children too young to know better. The climate alarmists have failed to convince adults, particularly the intelligent, well-educated ones, that they should all be panicking - so they're going after the children instead. Again, remind you of anything?

It gets worse. This isn't just an advertising campaign and website - they're pushing 'Climate Cops' in schools as well. Some hope of a balanced, rational education on environmental issues in these schools, eh?

A school governor went to court a year ago to try to prevent just this sort of thing. Political indoctrination disguised as education. Now said propagandising is backed by an energy company whose brand image is that of a 'greener' power supplier. It didn't take long for businesses to start to see the upside of climate alarmism!

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Posted by QT at 7/31/2008 08:23:00 pm


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Abusive article of the day

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/30/2008 08:39:00 pm

From the Daily Mash...
LABOUR MPs TO RALLY BEHIND UNBEARABLE, SCREECHING HAG

LABOUR backbenchers are preparing to ditch Gordon Brown and place their electoral fortunes in the hands of the most God-awful cow.

Harriet Harman is now convinced she can lead Labour to a recovery in the polls, despite being described as the sort of eye-gougingly dreadful harridan who makes you want to shoot yourself twice just to make sure.
...

[A senior backbencher] added: "I think Harriet would be a terrific leader and those who dismiss her as a patronising, talentless bag of vomit who would lead the Labour Party out of existence, are only half right."

Harman is now taking soundings and ignoring all those who say they will move to Iran and urge it to launch a nuclear attack on Britain if she become prime minister.

Spot on...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/30/2008 08:39:00 pm


Regulation? Go fuck yourselves

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/30/2008 07:49:00 pm

Via The Exile, I see that those fucking load of old cunts who rule us are attempting to regulate blogs again.
Internet users will be protected from abusive bloggers and malicious Facebook postings under proposals to set up an independent internet watchdog, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

The body, made up of industry representatives, would be responsible for drawing up guidelines that social networking sites, the blogosphere, website owners and search engines would be expected to follow.

The recommendation is one of several that the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee is expected to make in its long-awaited report on harmful content on the internet and in video games.

Now, I think that we have already dealt with this numerous times, but I would like to sum up my reply with this very not safe for work video that I found at PigDogFucker's place.

That's right: my response is, "go fuck yourselves, you bunch of authoritarian cunts. Go fuck yourselves and then use John Prescott's mouth as a cum-bucket. Make him swallow your sperm and then watch as he throws it up again. And then all of your can eat the foetid chimaera of cum and stomach acid. You utter bastards."

I imagine that it's language like that that these twats would like to regulate, eh?

Iain Dale points out that blogs already self-regulate.
In my view, self regulation works perfectly well. I someone makes a complaint to me about an abusive comment - or something I have writen which they believe is incorrect or offensive - I look it up and then decide whether to remove it, amend it or leave it as it is. If people don't agree with my decision they don't come back to my blog. It's a simple, free market, and it works.

Quite.
How on earth would this body seek to regulate avowed swear blogs or attack blogs like Devil's Kitchen?

Well, I would imagine that they would attempt to impose fines or sanctions of some sort. And then try to close The Kitchen down. Let's be quite clear here: this is not about legality or offensiveness, not really.

Blogs are governed by the same libel laws that newspapers are: that is a form of regulation. As for the idea that "internet users will be protected from abusive bloggers" it's a great pile of shit: internet users get protected from abusive bloggers by not reading the fucking blog. You don't like abuse? Fine, fuck off.

And if you find this blog offensive... well... that's free speech for you. You do not have the right not to be offended, OK?
The truth is that without a statutory base, any regulatory body which is voluntary will be toothless from the start. I cannot conceive that I would sign up to a regulatory code and I doubt many other blogs would. Because in the end, we would all ask: what possible benefit to us could there possibly be?

There will be no benefit, of course. Essentially, we will be blackmailed into signing up to a voluntary code of conduct through threats of a statutory body. But, as we all know, that statutory body will be set up anyway.

Look at the booze companies, who were also "encouraged" to sign up to a "voluntary code" and on which subject I wrote some time ago.
Still at least it's a voluntary code, eh? Rather than this fascist government legislating on it. [Emphasis mine.]
The measure was first proposed three years ago, but both sides have struggled to agree on a format.

It is not known how many drinks firms will sign up for the scheme, but ministers said if the industry did not comply, the government would introduce legislation.

Oh, what a fucking surprise! This government does love its legislation, doesn't it? Is it because they are a bunch of fucking authoritarian cunts with absolutely no sense of proportion and only their puritanical instincts to guide them in how to make everybody's lives that little bit more miserable. Fuck, I hate them.

And just last week, we saw this story.
Ministers have told the drinks industry to act more responsibly or face new laws governing alcohol sales.
...

Doctors said drinking levels were now a major health concern.

But public health minister for England Dawn Primarolo preferred to focus on the role of industry, saying the response to the voluntary code - parts of which were introduced in 1998 - was "disappointing".

"The evidence clearly makes this the right time to consult on a far tougher approach to the alcohol industry.

As sure as eggs is eggs, the voluntary code will cease to be voluntary and it will become statutory. And then we can start looking at that piece again...
Ministers have told blogs to act more responsibly or face new laws governing blogging.

Well, I'll still say "fuck you" even as The Kitchen is closed down. Make no mistake, this is about sparing the blushes of our government; not only that, it's about blogs doing the media's job and actually finding out facts and throwing them back in the government's face. It is about stifling dissent.

And who, I wonder will desert the ranks of the poachers in order to join the gamekeepers?
Gosh, that’s interesting, don’t you think? Looks at how they define the industry…..blogs are apparently one of the four components.

Anyone want to take the other side of a bet that one quarter of those being paid (for of course, expenses and a per diem will obviously be paid) will be bloggers?

No, I didn’t think so.

So they can bugger off then can’t they?

For this is self-regulation….which means that some of the selves being regulated need to be doing the regulation, no?

Quite. Fuck them, fuck them right in the fucking ear.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/30/2008 07:49:00 pm


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Crash!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/29/2008 10:36:00 am

Your humble Devil would like to thank the Toyota engineers today. I was bowling along the A3 to work, as usual, when some cunt in a white van pulled right into me; with no opportunity to stop, I clipped his bumber and smashed into the central reservation.

Since I was doing a good 70 mph, it took a little while to bring myself to a stop, but at least I did so without pulling across all the other lanes. As the guy who stopped and offered himself as a witness said, "good recovery!"

My little Toyota Corolla is really quite buckled on the driver's side, and the side-lights are smashed, but it still drives OK. And, fortunately, your humble Devil is unharmed, although thoroughly irritated.

I phoned my insurance company and one of the questions was "do you admit liability?" Admit liability? Do I fuck!

"No," was my actual, and more restrained, reply.

Ah well: it was, as they say, an experience. Oh, and my life did not flash before my eyes; or, if it did, my life is considerably shorter than I thought it was...

UPDATE: to be fair, the white van did stop. The van driver blames it on a big Tesco lorry which came off a slip road and then decided to cross two lanes without really looking. In an effort to save himself, the van driver swung into the fast lane and thus into me. I, however, had nowhere to go but the crash barriers...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/29/2008 10:36:00 am


Monday, July 28, 2008

Tree rings

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 11:11:00 pm

Mann et al. "hockey-stick" temperature graph.

You might remember that much of the hysteria surrounding the IPCC's assessment of global warming was based on Mann et al.'s "hockey stick" graph. This seemed to show reasonably steady temperatures followed by very rapid warming in recent years (as well as mysteriously removing the Mediaeval Warm Period).

The IPCC's initial reports, most notably that produced in 2001, were all based around this graph, and much of the IPCC's credibility was centred around it. Which was a pity. For the IPCC, I mean.

Because two interested men, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, demonstrated that the hockey-stick graph was utterly unreliable. A large part of this unreliability affects almost all AGW predictions, because all of these models require substantial amounts of data.

The trouble is that we simply don't have enough data: we have only been measuring and recording temperature since the late 1800s (and even then, mostly in the USA) and, obviously, accuracy and method have improved since that time. Unfortunately, so has urban sprawl, as surfacestations.org has been demonstrating.

As such, we are forced to rely on proxies: these include ice cores (most notably the Vostock cores) and, in the case of the hockey-stick graph, a heavy reliance on tree rings. And the trouble is that tree rings are, as Climate Skeptic explains, more than a little unreliable.
One of the issues scientists are facing with tree ring analyses is called "divergence." Basically, when tree rings are measured, they have "data" in the form of rings and ring widths going back as much as 1000 years (if you pick the right tree!) This data must be scaled -- a ring width variation of .02mm must be scaled in some way so that it translates to a temperature variation. What scientists do is take the last few decades of tree rings, for which we have simultaneous surface temperature recordings, and scale the two data sets against each other. Then they can use this scale when going backwards to convert ring widths to temperatures.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Nobel Prize ceremony. It turns out that if you go back to the same trees 10 years later and gather updated samples, the ring widths, based on the scaling factors derived previously, do not match well with what we know current temperatures to be.

The initial reaction from Mann and his peers was to try to save their analysis by arguing that there was some other modern anthropogenic effect that was throwing off the scaling for current temperatures (though no one could name what such an effect might be). Upon further reflection, though, scientists are starting to wonder whether tree rings have much predictive power at all. Even Keith Briffa, the man brought into the fourth IPCC to try to save the hockey stick after Mann was discredited, has recently expressed concerns:
There exists very large potential for over-calibration in multiple regressions and in spatial reconstructions, due to numerous chronology predictors (lag variables or networks of chronologies – even when using PC regression techniques). Frequently, the much vaunted ‘verification’ of tree-ring regression equations is of limited rigour, and tells us virtually nothing about the validity of long-timescale climate estimates or those that represent extrapolations beyond the range of calibrated variability.

Using smoothed data from multiple source regions, it is all too easy to calibrate large scale (NH) temperature trends, perhaps by chance alone.

Every single climate projection model is based on proxies—sure, most will use a mix of different proxies, but many of the original proxy studies used other proxies to attempt to verify their data.

As such, as each scientist builds on the inaccuracies of the previous ones, the proxy temperature graphs require more... er... "adjustment". And when people build climate models based on such data, then you are really in trouble. As we have seen.
But this is what really got me the other day. Steve McIntyre (who else) has a post that analyzes each of the tree ring series in the latest Mann hockey stick. Apparently, each series has a calibration period, where the scaling is set, and a verification period, an additional period for which we have measured temperature data to verify the scaling. A couple of points were obvious as he stepped through each series:
  1. Each series individually has terrible predictive ability. Each were able to be scaled, but each has so much noise in them that in many cases, standard T-tests can't even be run and when they are, confidence intervals are huge. For example, the series NOAMER PC1 (the series McIntyre showed years ago dominates the hockey stick) predicts that the mean temperature value in the verification period should be between -1C and -16C. For a mean temperature, this is an unbelievably wide range. To give one a sense of scale, that is a 27F range, which is roughly equivalent to the difference in average annual temperatures between Phoenix and Minneapolis! A temperature forecast with error bars that could encompass both Phoenix and Minneapolis is not very useful.

  2. Even with the huge confidence intervals above, the series above does not verify! (the verification value is -.19). In fact, only one out of numerous data series individually verifies, and even this one was manually fudged to make it work.

And this is why those who base their faith in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change are making a severe mistake: many of those who do so, have an absolute faith in the IPCC and take their word as Gospel.

But, if the IPCC's conclusions and models are built on false—and demonstrably falsifiable—data, then the IPCC's models and conclusions are simply not reliable. Apart from anything else, if even the IPCC thought that they were absolutely correct, they wouldn't have to keep updating their conclusions, would they?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 11:11:00 pm


Love letters

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 09:28:00 am

And here it is...
When the character Carrie Bradshaw read extracts from Love Letters of Great Men in the hit movie, booksellers were inundated with requests for a copy.

But there was no such book, until the British firm Macmillan spotted the gap in the market and decided to issue a new publication with the same title.

Of course, Macmillan were hardly the first to have such an idea. As the man himself points out, Master Worstall was onto the concept very quickly. You can buy his compendium of Love Letters From Great Men from Lulu.

It's actually a rather good little book: I know, for it was lovingly typeset and designed by your humble Devil...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 09:28:00 am


Weathercocking Polly

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 01:18:00 am

Only a few years ago, Polly Toynbee was quite obviously frothing at the gash for her big Norse warrior: indeed, she titled one of her pieces...
Blair's party is crying out for Gordon the Viking

Cue many vile pieces from your humble Devil which conjured up—for your delight—some scenes of sexual filth between Odin (the god who, according to Norse legend, had only one eye) and his Valkyrie.

Oh dear, oh dear: how quickly Gordon the Viking fell out of favour with our fickle commentariat.
A loyal audience gave a dutiful ovation, but it was a dismally mechanical performance. If this was Gordon does Dave, the comparison was excruciating.

He could do it without notes because it was an autopilot compilation of the dullest parts of every speech he has made, mantra after clunking mantra, pacing up and down to the same old tropes.

As young Timmy says,
That’s a nice enough description of a Brown speech, yes. Not got it for the Big Viking any more then?

... and he then goes on to point out that Polly understands neither the oil industry nor basic economics.

I find this rather heartening for, whilst Polly no longer gets wet for Gordon, she is at least consistently wrong about everything else...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 01:18:00 am


A double dose of Wat

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 12:57:00 am

The estimable Wat Tyler lays out the difference between Left and Right.
As we all understand, the fundamental divide between left and right is the issue of personal responsibility.

We on the right believe that the world is a better place if individuals - or more specifically families - take responsibility for themselves. Economics is all about how self-interest not only drives our lives, but underpins stable and mutually beneficial relationships between us (eg see this blog). From the economy, to education, to health, to welfare, the right believes when governments get involved beyond law and war, the long-term consequences are almost always dire.

The left believes the exact opposite. They believe the world is better if planned and managed by a benevolent dictator who goes by the name of "Society". For the left, the apparent randomness of markets is the law of the jungle, and individual differences in talent and interest a monstrous inequity. They believe that markets are an indulgence, or as the late John Smith put it to Tyler on a City lunch tour, "markets where possible, government where necessary". They believe "equity" trumps growth, and they believe there is no such thing as individual failure, only social failure.

Of course, to go along with the left you have to believe that government can actually deliver what it promises. And as we document on BOM every day, there is precious little evidence of that. Indeed, even if you accept markets fail from time to time (eg the current credit crunch), government failure is a whole lot worse: lack of competition, one-size-fits-all, producer capture, lack of innovation, perverse incentives... we blog it all right here.

Of course. And, equally, all but the most hopelessly naive know that we are going to continue to blog such failures, with very little variation other than the names of the major players, once the slightly-less-statist-but-not-in-any-meaningful-way Tories take over.


A few months back we looked at Moorside Road Dewsbury, the road where "kidnapped" Shannon Matthews lived. Some of the neighbours are pictured above celebrating Shannon's return. We surmise one or two of them might be suitable candidates for our moral duty.

As we discovered, the residents of Moorside Road have some serious issues: high crime, poor education, high unemployment/incapacity/lone parent welfare dependency, and family dysfunction. Looking at the pic, I'm guessing life expectancy is also low.

The left's response is more welfare and more government support. But in truth, money is not the issue. As we discovered, the average household income is getting on for £30 grand pa, and is within 20% of the national average.

The issue is the people, and how they choose to live their lives. And the 60 years of welfare state which has clearly failed them so badly (cf Glasgow East).

So what is our real moral duty?

It's surely to help them take responsibility for themselves. And for Moorside Road, that means above all else, increasing the financial incentive to work, and cutting the financial incentive to doss around drinking 22p lager and producing stacks of no-hope kids.

The point being, you see, that we should not pay over enormous amounts of money to people who will then exacerbate the problems in their society.

So, do we see the parallels between socialism's disastrous intervention in places such as Glasgow East and Dewsbury, and our intervention in Africa?
Have we all read Irish journo Kevin Myers' teeth-grinding articles on aid to Africa (HTP DTH)? If not, you really should, and you can do so here, here, and here.

In summary—and treading a non-PC path few dare to venture along—Myers argues that Western aid to Africa is condemning that tragic continent to a demographic disaster. Highlighting the case of Ethiopia, where he was a reporter during the great 1980s "Feed the World" famine, he says:
By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million: The equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.

So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country? How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed. It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates' programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating. If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts. Oh good: then what?

I know. Let them all come here. Yes, that's an idea.

It's the Heart of Darkness, made infinitely worse by hundreds of billions of guilt money poured in by Western governments. It's truly sick.

So, in Africa we hand over billions of pounds of aid, which ensures that the feckless and downright evil can continue to oppress, terrorise and exploit the productive, whilst popping out thousands of kids whom they are unable to support and who will live lives with no more meaning than their parents'...

... and in places like Dewsbury and Glasgow East we hand over billions of pounds of aid, which ensures that the feckless and downright evil can continue to oppress, terrorise and exploit the productive, whilst popping out thousands of kids whom they are unable to support and who will live lives with no more meaning than their parents'.

As Wat says, it is a sick system—though motivated by kindly ideals—and helps to condemn millions to lives of misery and both financial and intellectual poverty.

Socialism is evil. And the frustrating thing about socialists is that most of them mean well, but they refuse to look at the actual disastrous results of their creed or, if they do, they refuse to see it as evil.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/28/2008 12:57:00 am


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fucking stupid

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 11:37:00 pm

The Longrider talks about those morons at Plane Stupid.
Worrying, though, the lack of security surrounding the PM. If some half-witted little shit-for-brains like Dan Glass can smear superglue over his sleeve, just think what could happen if a really determined attacker wanted to do him real harm, eh?

Yeeeeeees, just think...

Anyway, see you all later: I'm off to buy a taser, some rope and a portable scaffold.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 11:37:00 pm


I tried, I really did

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 09:44:00 pm

Via Matt Sinclair, here's A A Gill ripping into the Beeb's latest load of crap, Burn Up. [Emphasis mine.]
Imagine writing this: “It is my belief we are standing on the very edge of history.” Having written it, what would a normal, sensitive, moderately intelligent person do? Well, 99% of us wouldpush the delete button with a faint shiver or tear up the piece of paper so that the young and impressionable couldn’t read it. We understand that it’s utter bilge, but, you see, that’s why we’re not scriptwriters. It takes a very special person to write that sentence and think: “Yes, high five, nice job, really profound! What shall I do next?”
...

Watching it was a bit like being manacled to the table at a Notting Hill dinner party, or being lectured by a vegan vitamin salesman.

The finger-wagging about global warming was relentless and unabating, all couched in the comfy velour of the edge-of-history and watershed gibberish. The goodies were witty, brilliant, sensitive, imaginative, attractive, sexy and great dancers - rather, I suspect, like the scriptwriters. The baddies were, well,they were all American. This was film-making from the Soviet school of political subtlety, a childishly black-and-white premise, delivered with a patronising blog of a script, which overwhelmed the plot, pace, anything resembling a character and, finally, the audience’s sympathy.

I tried watching it this evening; believe me, it wasn't even that good. I only got half way through the first episode and had to switch it off before I tore out my eyes and stuck knitting-needles through my ear-drums.

Here's another good review of the piece of shit, and Matt Sinclair also destroys the fantasy.
Stephen Garrett, a spokesman for Kudos Film and Television who made Burn Up, was quoted in the BBC press release for the show describing it as "a potent cocktail of fiction and fact that we hope will enlighten as much as it will entertain". This programme can't be assessed just as harmless fiction. It is political propaganda and should be understood as such.

Indeed it is: and, like most propaganda, it was absolute bullshit, lies dressed up as pretty actors peddling plausibility.

Burn Up was unmitigated shite of the very first oil water...

UPDATE: Another good quote from Matt...
Burn Up isn't really trying to enlighten people but, like Al Gore's film, to create an emotional reaction. To scare people so that rational and measured debate over policy can safely be avoided, so that proper scrutiny of policy can be written off as irresponsible and immoral.

That pretty much sums up the entirety of the pro-catastrophic climate change lobby.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 09:44:00 pm


Turn, turn again, Batshit...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 08:49:00 pm

Sam Tarran is not a fan of Batshit Miliband...
I would love for Miliband to become Labour leader. I would adore it. I would toast it. I would dance to it and consume my girlfriend’s lips over it. For although I feel a (very, very) slight degree of sympathy for Brown’s predicament, there would be no greater pleasure for me than seeing the MSM rip the innards out of Miliband and dangle them jeeringly before him as he screams and begs for the electorate to put him out of his misery.

Does anyone like Miliband? Other than his mother, of course.

At least, I assume that his mother loves him...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 08:49:00 pm


Warming brought to Booker

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 08:32:00 pm

A few days ago, I quoted a post that noted that the James Hansen-run NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) was out of line with the other temperature agencies in maintaining that the world is still warming.
GISS are James Hansen's lot, and my last post (and many posts passim ad nauseam) show how accurate, truthful and unbiased they are.

And, entirely coincidentally and via The Englishman, here's Christopher Booker in today's Telegraph.
Considering that the measures recommended by the world's politicians to combat global warming will cost tens of trillions of dollars and involve very drastic changes to our way of life, it might be thought wise to check the reliability of the evidence on which they base their belief that our planet is actually getting hotter.

Yes, it might be, eh?
There are four internationally recognised sources of data on world temperatures, but the one most often cited by supporters of global warming is that run by James Hansen of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

Hansen has been for 20 years the world's leading scientific advocate of global warming (and Al Gore's closest ally). But in the past year a number of expert US scientists have been conducting a public investigation, through scientific blogs, which raises large question marks over the methods used to arrive at his figures.

First they noted the increasingly glaring discrepancy between the figures given by GISS, which show temperatures continuing to race upwards, and those given by the other three main data sources, which all show temperatures having fallen since 1998, dropping dramatically in the past year to levels around the average of the past 30 years.

Two sets of data, from satellites, go back to 1979: one produced by Dr Roy Spencer, formerly of Nasa, now at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, the other by Remote Sensing Systems. Their figures correspond closely with those produced by the Hadley Centre for Climate Studies of our own Met Office, based on global surface temperature readings.

Right out on their own, however, are the quite different figures produced by GISS which, strangely for a body sponsored by Nasa, rely not on satellites but also on surface readings.

Very strange, isn't it? Could it be because the satellites do not show what Hansen wants them to show?

Do you know? I think it might be...

UPDATE: thanks to Tomrat who points me to this article, via Moonbattery.
On July 9, 1971, the Post published a story headlined "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming." It told of a prediction by NASA and Columbia University scientist S.I. Rasool. The culprit: man's use of fossil fuels.

The Post reported that Rasool, writing in Science, argued that in "the next 50 years" fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun's rays that the Earth's average temperature could fall by six degrees.

Sustained emissions over five to 10 years, Rasool claimed, "could be sufficient to trigger an ice age."

Aiding Rasool's research, the Post reported, was a "computer program developed by Dr. James Hansen," who was, according to his resume, a Columbia University research associate at the time.

So what about those greenhouse gases that man pumps into the skies? Weren't they worried about them causing a greenhouse effect that would heat the planet, as Hansen, Al Gore and a host of others so fervently believe today?

"They found no need to worry about the carbon dioxide fuel-burning puts in the atmosphere," the Post said in the story, which was spotted last week by Washington resident John Lockwood, who was doing research at the Library of Congress and alerted the Washington Times to his finding.

Hansen has some explaining to do.

No shit.

Oh, and this also rather gives the lie to those who have been popping up in the comments at The Kitchen, maintaining that it was always about "climate change" and definitely, absolutely, emphatically not ever about "global cooling".

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 08:32:00 pm


Fame at last!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 08:21:00 pm

Thanks to the correspondent who not only pointed out that this post on the economy got a cursory mention on Sky News a few days ago (shortly before the presenter went on to dwell lovingly on Mr Dale's entry) but who also captured it for me.


Surely fame and fortune can only be a few short decades away...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 08:21:00 pm


Do as you're told!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 06:06:00 pm

I have commented on the propensity of doctors to interfere with things that simply don't concern them many times; I have pleaded, ordered and cajoled and yet, still, these evil fuckers simply refuse to shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Given my cardiologist's repeated warnings, I can't really thank the correspondent who pointed me to this egregious piece of medico waffling.
A pair of doctors have said that British parents should have fewer children, because kids cause carbon emissions and climate change. The two medics suggest that choosing to have a third child is the same as buying a patio heater or driving a gas-guzzling car, and that GPs should advise their patients against it.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, John Guillebaud (emeritus professor of of family planning at UCL) and Pip Hayes (a GP) raise the spectre of global population explosion, and suggest that the children of the developed world are a particularly severe carbon burden.

I don't have children (that I know of) and I have yet to find anyone who could tolerate me for nine months at a stretch, let alone the rest of it; and yet, nonetheless, I have no hesitation in advising any GP who takes this line with me in the future, to fuck off and drown themselves, the interfering cunts.

As for these two, well, I heartily recommend that they go and lose themselves in the countryside and hang themselves from a stout oak tree in the middle of nowhere, in a place so remote from anywhere that the crows and rooks will strip the flesh from their bones and they will never bother anyone ever again.

One can imagine the situation.
GP: "Well, Mrs Smith, I can report that you are, indeed, pregnant."

Mrs Smith: "Gosh! That is good news! Now little Tom and Yeoman* will have a playmate."

GP: "Your third? Ah, well, would you like to contact Marie Stopes or would you like me to arrange the appointment for you?"

Mrs Smith: "What?"

GP: "Well, Mrs Smith, your child is going to produce a lot of carbon. In fact, according to a recent paper written by two very learned cunts, "choosing to have a third child is the same as buying a patio heater or driving a gas-guzzling car."

Mrs Smith: "But..."

GP: "It's a simple choice, Mrs Smith. Do you want to murder your child, or do you want to murder the planet?"

Mrs Smith: "I..."

GP: "Because if you murder the planet, Mrs Smith, then you murder the six billion people on it. You will, in fact, be the biggest mass-murderer in history."

[GP stands, towering over Mrs Smith and points his finger at her accusingly.]

"You are a murderer! YOU! MURDERER! WAR CRIMINAL!"

Mrs Smith [sotto voce]: "Very well, doctor. I'll go and have the wee one scraped out of me."

GP [now calm and smug in his sense of duty]: "Very good, Mrs Smith. You'll organise it? Excellent—you've made the right choice. Not only have you helped to save the planet, but you've also saved yourself a lot of money. Especially if it was disabled."

Mrs Smith: "Is it disabled?"

GP: "Not as far as I know. But if it had been disabled, the abortion will save you—and, let's not forget, the NHS—a lot of money. The procedure will cost you a bit of cash, but you know what they say—you have to speculate to accumulate. Eh? OK.

"You have a good day, now. Goodbye."

[Mrs Smith leaves, sobbing quietly. GP sits back, hand over his bulging stomach, smiling at the thought of the carbon saved.

Strangely, he doesn't think about how he's going to dquare this attitude with the principle of "do no harm" but what the hey...]

Naturally, the two prize shitheads who wrote the report do, in fact, have a further agenda. [Emphasis mine.]
The Optimum Population Trust calculates that “each new UK birth will be responsible for 160 times more greenhouse gas emissions ... than a new birth in Ethiopia." Should UK doctors break a deafening silence here? “Population” and “family planning” seem taboo words ... isn’t contraception the medical profession’s prime contribution for all countries?

Unplanned pregnancy, especially in teenagers, is a problem for the planet, as well as the individual concerned. But what about planned pregnancies? Should we now explain to UK couples who plan a family that stopping at two children, or at least having one less child than first intended, is the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren? We must not put pressure on people, but by providing information on the population and the environment, and appropriate contraception for everyone (and by their own example), doctors should help to bring family size into the arena of environmental ethics, analogous to avoiding patio heaters and high carbon cars.

In quoting the Optimum Population Trust—a population-reduction pressure group—the two docs are quoting themselves: both are involved in the running of the Trust. The Trust's position on UK population is clear:
In the UK, that population should be allowed to stabilise and decrease by not less than 0.25% a year to an environmentally sustainable level, by bringing immigration into numerical balance with emigration, by making greater efforts to reduce teenage pregnancies, and by encouraging couples voluntarily to "Stop at Two" children.

Rosamund McDougall, policy director at the Trust, told us an environmentally sustainable population for the UK is in the 17-27 million range—on an "equal shares basis" applied to world resources. The only way any more people should be allowed would be in the event of a "major breakthrough in renewable energy or food production".

For fuck's sake, can we not leave these Malthusian fantasies alone yet? I think that the writers at The Register make their contempt pretty fucking clear.
What do we think? Is it a GP's job to teach us how to save the planet? Are babies really the same as patio heaters?

Or should the crusading medicoes maybe focus in a bit more on their core business? How would the doctors like it if barristers started handing out prescriptions, or accountants took to offering minor surgical operations? Maybe the docs should leave the eco advice to climate scientists or someone like that.

Meanwhile the plainly necessary task of mouthing off about things one doesn't really know anything about could be left to, oh, journalists, politicians—you know, scum.

Quite. I do wish doctors would shut their fucking mouths and get back to concentrating on what they are supposed to be doing—patching people up. Who elected these sanctimonious cunts to a place wherein we should listen to them? Oh, yes: no one.

It's bad enough that the evil, corrupt, venal bastards that we do elect want to micromanage every aspect of our lives (whilst illegally filling their boots at our expense), without these unelected medico fuckers trying to control how many times a day we can go for a shit.

People like the good Doctor Crippen and Team Rant complain (with no little justification) that the government is briefing against them—that it is deliberately spinning stories and portraying GPs as evil, money-grubbing scum. These fine bloggers maintain that the state is blackening the name of General Practice.

In which case, the government should be delighted: these Optimum Population Trust arseholes are doing the job very nicely instead. Fuck them all.

In the meantime, as I said, I have no children at all and thus I feel all virtuous. So I'm off to buy a patio-heater for my balcony...

* I knew a guy who worked in an Apple reseller in Edinburgh who was called Yeoman Smith. I thought that it was a great name: he was, understandably, a little more dubious.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 06:06:00 pm


Balls

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 05:49:00 pm

Now, it seems, there are not only LOLcats but LOLdogs too.


This is a Clumber Spaniel, and our family had two of them in succession. And Clumbers do, indeed, enjoy collecting tennis balls in their mouths—don't ask me why. If I recall correctly, our first Clumber, Backhouse (pronounced like Bacchus), reached a record total of seven tennis balls in his mouth at the one time.

As Queen Victoria noted in her diary, "They are such dear, nice dogs" but they do tend to have some health problems—hip dysplasia, in particular—caused by inbreeding, a situation exacerbated by their relative rarity.

They are lovely animals though and, as pater Devil once said, they are "such noble-looking dogs". Mind you, pater Devil also noted that the pet insurance was the only policy he'd ever had that paid out more than he'd paid in...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 05:49:00 pm


Truism of the day

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 03:56:00 pm

Via Timmy, this is a neat little essay. Here are a few highlights...
This is the situation as it stands on February 1, 2003: after nearly a hundred years of trying out the experiment called socialism/Communism/leftism, the verdict is in. It was a terrible idea. Every society that tried to implement it was the poorer for it. None developed a healthy economy able to lift its majority to that standard of living routinely enjoyed in the non-Communist industrial states. What's more, when it came to protecting individual rights and civil liberties, socialist societies shat dead rats.
...

These songs came almost to an end because they were so flamingly, obviously untrue. The Communist states did not surpass us in efficiency. The "ideal" they gave people to live up to appeared to be treachery, betrayal and oppression. Anybody with compassion for suffering humanity would definitely want to start alleviating that suffering by emptying the gulags.

Still, the music came only almost to an end. There remained pockets of true believers, and all throughout the industrialized and developing world, those true believers were to be found principally in two places: academia, and the media.

...
The anti-American left can go on screaming all it wants that it's for social justice, sustainable development, and the end of poverty--but it doesn't really care about any of them, and it is comprised of individuals who almost always truly hate and fear both the working class and the poor. If they didn't, they'd be more careful to get their facts straight about "globalization."

Yup, that's pretty much true, especially the bit about Lefties hating and fearing the working class. It's why they love the state, you see.

Because, if the state is there to sweep the human detritus off the streets, the Left don't have to be worried about being accosted in the street by poor, homeless people and being made to feel guilty because they are too fucking mean to give money voluntarily. They like the state's compulsory confiscation of money because it assuages their guilt about their lack of human charity and allows them to rest easy, knowing that everyone else is also being forced to hand over their hard-earned money to the Lefties' causes.

When people walk along the street these days, they see a homeless person and think, "why doesn't the state do something about homeless people/the mentally ill/the chiiiiiiiiiiilllldren?"

What they should be thinking is, "what can I do to help that person?"

The state dehumanises people: it separates them from their fellow human beings. And that is why the socialists like it.

I am so sick of ignorant people banging on about "the atomisation of society" and how it's all because of "capitalism" and our "materialistic society".

Bollocks. Absolute stinking horseshit. Ravening piss-weasels.

Have we evolved into more materialistic people at a genetic level? We have not. "Materialism" has been around for as long as humans have traded goods: we have always been acquisitive.

It is not capitalism or materialism that has caused our atomised society: it is statism. It is the "the state do something about that" attitude. And as society has become atomised, as people care less about and feel disconnected from other human beings, there are inevitable consequences.

Source [PDF]

Perhaps you don't think that that shows an accurate picture? The definition of what is and what is not a crime does change all the time so you would have point. Literally thousands of things that where not crimes before now are, for example there has been one new crime a day since Labour came to power in 1997. So perhaps homicide rates would be better? There are fewer data, but the trend is identical.


So we are looking for something that had an impact on everybody in the country, but that affected the poor a lot more than the rich. something that happened just after World War 2 (the Home Office paper I linked to above dates it as 1954). Something big enough to change the very foundations of society.

I wonder what the fuck that could be...

It is one of the reasons why I am a libertarian: because I actually do care about the poor. I would like to be able to give money and know that it helps the genuinely disadvantaged, not keep some fat-arsed civil servant in a pen-pushing job or ensuring that some ignorant, corrupt cunt and his ugly wife don't run out of cream buns.

I am a libertarian because libertarianism lets people live life as they see fit (and, fundamentally, I am optimistic about human beings). You want to form a socialist enclave? Fine, no problem. As long as everyone does so voluntarily, then there's no problem.

You will still be poorer, more morally impoverished, more crime-ridden and more hag-ridden than the rest of us who want no part of your disgustingly immoral quasi-society. Libertarianism allows people to do as they see fit (as long as they harm no one else) and, as such, is the only truly moral political system.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 03:56:00 pm


Mr Speaker

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 12:56:00 pm

Two of the most corrupt people in the House of Commons—and that's fucking saying something, frankly.

Via Guido, this Times article very quietly (and, it must be said, with liberal use of hearsay) absolutely destroys Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Weasels Commons.

The man comes across as an absolute shit of the very first water, and as a man who has a massive chip on each shoulder—that of being Scottish on one, and that of being poor and uneducated on the other.
Martin is temperamentally ill-suited to dealing with the tempest caused by MPs’ expenses because he is stubborn and old-fashioned in his view of Commons procedure.

No.

Martin is "ill-suited to dealing with the tempest caused by MPs’ expenses" because he is also mired in the scandal himself: Michael Martin is absolutely corrupt. He is, in fact, possibly the single most corrupt man in Parliament, not only because he has fraudulently enriched himself at taxpayers' expense (because all of them have been doing that for years) but because he has denigrated the office that he represents—he, rather more than anyone else (except, perhaps, Tony Blair), has contributed to the contempt in which the vast majority of interested observers hold the House.

It is entirely obvious from this article that the man has utter contempt for the traditions of the House and for the responsibilities and status of his job.
Yet Martin has seemed incapable of enjoying his prize. From the start he appeared convinced that colleagues and the media were doing him down. He annoyed traditionalists by abandoning the Speaker’s wig and tights. He struggled with procedures, and did not always appear to know members’ names when calling them to speak. He was surprised to be told he had to resign from the Labour party to preserve the Speaker’s historic neutrality, and did so only reluctantly. One former official suggests that the Speaker was not exactly a workaholic. Where previous Speakers had spare time to prepare for official receptions by reading up on the guests, Martin, the former official recalls, tended to disappear to his private suite to watch television.

In other words, Michael Martin is not only corrupt, venal, insecure and stupid, he is also absolutely fucking bone-idle. The man is, in other words, utterly unfit to hold the office of Speaker and, as this article makes clear, at heart a deeply, deeply unpleasant man.

In short, Michael Martin is a total cunt, unfit to hold a paid public office—something that he has amply demonstrated through his ruthless and greedy pillaging of the public purse.
Douglas Carswell is highly unusual, as an MP who has publicly challenged Martin’s suitability for the job and demanded he set a date to step down.

Good. As I have mentioned before, I like Carswell (despite his weirdly wonky face) and he has some radical (and very sensible) ideas, especially concerning local taxation. Further, the man has balls.

Michael Martin also has balls—balls of fucking steel. For who else, being in charge of the operation of the House of Commons, would have the sheer brass neck to illegitimately enrich themselves at the taxpayers expense knowing that they were in charge of ensuring that MPs did not do the same?

Michael Martin is, as I have stated before, a lazy, venal, corrupt and stupid cunt, and is married to someone who is quite possibly more so. The pair of them are a disgusting example of how our Parliamentary system facilitates the enrichment of those who deserve it least—that we pay these cunts one single penny (let alone a few hundred thousand, plus what they have scammed) says everything that needs to be said about the unsuitability of our democratic system.

In this situation, there is little that I can say that Cromwell did not say in 1653.
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

"Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

"Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone!

"So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"

In the name of god, go! Let us raze the Parliament to the ground, hang every fucker in there, and start afresh. The whole institution is mired in corruption and it fails to serve the purpose for which it was instigated. Like the UN, it gives a disproportionately loud voice to the ignorant, the stupid and the corrupt—it must be ripped out and the whole edifice destroyed.

Our Parliament has failed to defend the people of this country—a function which, in an ideal world, would be its primary and, indeed, sole function. Instead it encourages authoritarian corruption—MPs are essentially elected depending upon who can most convincingly bribe the electorate (just one reason why those who do not pay tax should not be allowed to vote—and yes, I include off-shore millionaires in that prohibition).

As such, Martin is perhaps a suitably corrupt icon for such an unutterly corrupt institution. That does not alter the fact that he is a screaming cunt and should be removed from office. Or, of course, locked in his office whilst we burn the building around him.


Do you hear how joyous that music is? The only thing that V couldn't do was to ensure that 646 thieving, lying bastards were blown to smithereens along with the building.*


Jeeves, sharpen the cockroaches, excite the candiru fish and annoy the hornets! We have a Speaker and his wife to torture to death...

* I rather like this montage of V For Vendetta choreographed to a remix of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/27/2008 12:56:00 pm


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sometimes temping is all I have...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/26/2008 08:31:00 pm

Since I am feeling disinclined to write at present, I shall point you to another lovely bit of writing from Leonie...
My temp job is kitten-flayingly dull. There is a button to my right. When the button emits a buzz I must press it. I am not, as you might well immediately assume, taking part in some elaborate Pavlovian experiment. I know this because even though I do press the buzzer-button when it button-buzzes, nobody ever gives me food as a reward. Instead a door opens, and through that door some faceless worker strides, shuffles, meanders, creeps. Sometimes they say hello, sometimes not. Mostly they stare importantly over my head as I look at them with powers of judgement reserved only for those who have little else to do but make assumptions about people purely based on the pattern of their tie. In the kitchen the coffee tastes like it has already been drunk. The lights over my head hum relentlessly, every so often winking laciviously like parodical whores. I turn my head to the right and stare at a broken tile of sky that glints between the identi-kit grey monoliths littering the surrounding streets.

Do go and read the whole thing*...

* For the smartarses out there who keep on implying that I am ordering you to go and read it, please don't bother. "Do go and read..." is effective shorthand for "do feel free to go and read..." or "I invite you to go and read..." in the manner of a hostess saying, "do go and have some smoked salmon sandwiches."

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/26/2008 08:31:00 pm


Carnival of Souls release new demos...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/26/2008 06:47:00 pm

Having found a nice and easy to use Flash player, I have now added two new demosDream On and The Solomon Clock—to the Carnival of Souls site.

They are both good tracks (although not yet finished—the vocals, in particular, need to be redone), so wander along, have a listen and leave a comment (if you like).

Both Dream On and The Solomon Clock will feature on the forthcoming The Evermore Clock EP, which will be available to buy through the site, in the same way as Burnt Embers (thanks to those of you who bought that! We hope you enjoyed 'em).

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/26/2008 06:47:00 pm


Boyling over

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/26/2008 05:30:00 pm

Yes, I do get obsessive about things (as you'll know if you've noted my correct use of em-dashes and en-dashes), so here's another Frankie Boyle classic...


Heh.

I'll write a bit more later. Or, probably, tomorrow...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/26/2008 05:30:00 pm


Campaign for medicopolitical accountability

Posted by Dr De'Ath at 7/26/2008 09:52:00 am

Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) and MTAS (Medical Training Application Service) hit the news last year as many doctors in training were maltreated by a new ultra Stalinist system; however the problems thrown up have drifted off the news radar this year. This does not mean that the problems created by MMC and MTAS have gone away, far from it, already hospitals are finding it impossible to get hold of locum cover, while numerous jobs are still unfilled for this year with the August changeover ominously looming. The cost of the gross management failures that resulted in this situation will be counted for many years to come.

Remedy UK, a group of doctors in training, took the government to court and narrowly lost at judicial review, largely down to the BMA's siding with the dark side against the interests of its members. Remedy have not given up their attempts to hold those responsible for this scandal to account; to this day not a single person has been held to account for the catastrophic incompetence that was proven to have taken place in MMC and MTAS.

Remedy have published a letter in the Lancet and have launched an online petition calling for the establishment to restore a semblance of accountability to proceedings. The political stooges in charge like Lord Darzi and the CMO, Liam Donaldson, routinely hide from the after effects of their dangerous top down reforms; they are happy to sit in their ivory towers and cast judgement upon everyone but themselves, it is about time that they were forced to be accountable for their negligent errors. I, for one, will be signing the Remedy petition, and I would urge you to do the same if you want to force the dictators that order us around to be held to account for their dangerous and stupid actions.

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Posted by Dr De'Ath at 7/26/2008 09:52:00 am


Friday, July 25, 2008

Shocking quote of the day...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 08:21:00 pm

Well, it is not the quote that is shocking, but the source; yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am about to quote, approvingly, everyone's favourite loony, socialist Councillor. Because, barking mad and possibly evil though Terry Kelly may be, there is one person who is lower than he...
Toynbee is an embarrassment to the Guardian’s great traditions.

She would chop down a tree and stand on the stump to make a speech about conservation.

Now, what is the poem that this reminds me of? Oh yes...
"So nat'ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum."

Thank you, Jonathan Swift...

UPDATE: although it may have been overtaken by Frankie Boyle on this week's Mock The Week, talking about Gordon Brown.
Because... every other time that I've seen Gordon Brown smiling it looks like he's trying to shit a sea-urchin."

Class...

UPDATE 2: once again, Frankie Boyle in response to the suggestion "things you won't hear in a superhero movie".
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, whatever it is, it's headed right for the World Trade Centre.

Bad taste but...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 08:21:00 pm


"An earthquake..."

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 01:51:00 am

A recount of the votes in the Glasgow East by-election has been required, apparently.
The result of the Glasgow East Westminster by-election has been delayed after a re-count was ordered, following a request from Labour.

It is believed the initial count gave the SNP a lead of less than 500.

Labour had a majority of 13,507 in Glasgow East over the SNP in the seat in the 2005 general election.

Voter turnout was confirmed as 42.25%, only slightly down on the 48% figure at the last election, with 26,219 votes cast.

That's pretty fucking impressive and especially if, as the Herald is claiming, Labour have conceded defeat.
Labour was last night conceding defeat in the Glasgow East by-election.

The official line from the SNP and Labour, the main rivals for the former Labour stronghold, was that the vote was too close to call but with all the ballot boxes in and officials confirming the turn out at 42.25%, Labour politicians looked grim-faced as the votes were counted in the Tollcross Leisure centre.
...

SNP candidate John Mason was one of the first to cast a vote, a little after 7.30am. The serving Glasgow councillor echoed his party leader's earlier warning shot to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, saying: "If we win this seat, it's an earthquake."

I am going to retire to bed the now, but I sincerely hope that Labour have been beaten. Part of any satisfaction would derive from the fact that the voters of Glasgow East might actually have taken on board my comment...
Far be it for me to point out that if you live in shit and continue to elect the people who keep you in shit simply because, historically, your family has always voted for shit, then possibly all you are going to get is... well... shit.

... and thus have, for the first time in many years, rejected the red-rosed cunts.* I think that this shows that there is, in fact, hope for humanity, even those in Glasgow East. After all, if they can change their MP, who cannot?

However, by far the greater part of my jubilation would derive from seeing Gordon Brown's face; wouldn't it be wonderful if someone ousted the fat monocular cunt in the most ignominious way possible?

UPDATE: well, fuck me ragged! Labour lost. Aaaaaaahahahahahahaha!

* Not that the SNP are an awful lot less socialist than Labour, mind...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 01:51:00 am


Music DRM: still fucking you up the arse

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 01:19:00 am

Digital Rights Management on music has been—I think that it is fair to say—a miserable fucking failure. It hasn't halted piracy—to the extent that the music industry is attempting to force ISPs and national (and supranational) governments to police the system, a measure that is not only horribly intrusive but will also cost us deep in the pocket—and it has screwed over a lot of people.

So, via Daring Fireball, here's another lot of people who are about to get right royally butt-fucked without any lube.
Yahoo is shutting off support for Yahoo Music after September 30, which means starting October 1, if users want to move music to new hard drives or computers, they will be out of luck.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Yahoo Music alerted customers in an e-mail that it will no longer release keys to unlock digital rights management on its music. Sound familiar?

I've just spoken with a Yahoo spokeswoman who said that the move was announced earlier this year as part of Yahoo Music's partnership with RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service. Yahoo Music users will be allowed to transfer their music libraries to the new service.

That's fine for people who just used Yahoo's subscription service. If they choose not to make the jump to Rhapsody, well, they knew going in that when they stopped paying they would lose their libraries. But what about the people who purchased songs from Yahoo Music? That music was also wrapped in DRM.

Yep, these people will be prevented from transferring songs after the deadline.

Ain't that excellent? And yes, I do back up all of my iTunes songs to CD, although I sincerely hope that all record labels with have joined EMI in selling unrestricted MP3s long before Apple goes bust.

Still, does this sound familiar? Yep...
Microsoft stirred some controversy last week by announcing that it would no longer issue DRM keys for defunct MSN Music after August 31. This effectively will prevent former customers from transferring their songs to new devices after the deadline. Customers could potentially lose their music if they get a new computer or if the hard drive crashes on their current one.

EFF, an advocacy group for Internet users, said in a statement that it sent a letter to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer on Tuesday outlining steps the company should take, such as issuing refunds and launching a publicity campaign to educate former MSN Music customers about their options.

"MSN Music customers trusted Microsoft when it said that this was a safe way to buy music, and that trust has been betrayed," Corynne McSherry, an EFF attorney, said in a statement. "If Microsoft is prepared to treat MSN Music customers like this, is there any reason to suppose that future customers won't get the same treatment?"

No, there is no reason not to think that, and I am sure that those same people will get utterly bum-raped when the next Microsoft service goes tits-up too. There's really no warning some people...

DRM: what a piece of shit.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 01:19:00 am


A swift thought

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 12:45:00 am

I do apologise for the continued silence; I am incredibly busy with work at present—oh, the deadlines, the deadlines! And as my design colleague is away (again) for another two weeks, I am unlikely to see much let up until the middle of August; however, I shall try to write more at the weekend (in between working) as I have a whole load of stories stacked in my Dock.

However, just to keep you all entertained whilst I create pretty things, here is something that I have been mulling for a while. NuLabour have been prolific (shitty) law-makers, averaging one a day and creating over 3,000 new offences or somesuch.

The question is, why do we need so many laws? Surely all that we need are some competent judges and one, single law; and that law is as follows:
No person shall initiate force or fraud against another person's life, liberty or property.

This should encompass pretty much everything that we should be punishing for, to borrow from the philosophy of liberty...
At times, some people make use of force or fraud to take from others without voluntary consent.
  • The initiation of force or fraud to take life is murder.

  • The initiation of force or fraud to take liberty is slavery.

  • The initiation of force or fraud to take property is theft.

In fact, fraud is itself a form of theft, since you are deliberately deceiving someone as to the nature of what they are buying. Through its simplicity, this single law seems to catch any criminal behaviour that I can think of.

Further, restricting criminal law to this one principle allows no scope for the state to attempt to control its citizens' drinking or smoking or whatever, for to do so would be to break that law.

And a government much be bound by the law of the land (except when they exempt themselves, of course) or else we are living in a dictatorship.

And we should really start to define what this libertarian ideal actually means for as Patrick Vessey points out over at the LPUK blog, having corrupted and debased the word "liberal", certain mainstream parties are now attempting to do the same with "libertarian".
'Libertarian paternalism' is a phrase that you will be hearing a lot more of in the coming months and years. Both the Conservative leader, David Cameron, and the US Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, have expressed interest in what is being dubbed 'the new third way'. You might also recall the phrase being used by Julian Le Grand, the chairman of Health England, when he proposed earlier this year that smokers should have to purchase a licence in order to be allowed to indulge their habit.

As regular readers might recall, I am not a fan of that fucking cuntstick Le Grand, and I really didn't hold back on that proposition...
Recently popularised by Sunstein and Thaler's Nudge, this political philosophy argues that totally free markets can lead to disaster because human individuals are not actually very good decision-makers, but also that rigidly controlled markets (with lots of rules, regulations, and state intervention) are similarly not the most effective. Their thesis is that a government should use its powers to 'nudge' people to make better decisions in their lives, without explicitly forcing them to. How the government decides what those 'better decisions' might be, is another question altogether...

If you search the web, you will find numerous articles about 'libertarian paternalism', most of which are fairly complementary. However, a moment's pause for thought should persuade you that the term is actually a contradiction in terms, and, for libertarians everywhere, a fresh threat to the true meaning of the word 'libertarian'.
...

Mises.org published a review of Nudge back in May, which deals with some of the issues raised in an eloquent manner, and I would urge you to read it, so that you might get a better feel for the onslaught against genuine libertarian values that is to come.

Quite so. Anyway, your humble Devil will be back soon with something a little more substantial. And sweary...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/25/2008 12:45:00 am


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/23/2008 09:19:00 am

Sorry guys, it's spam city around here: I'm going to have to close down Anonymous comments again for a while.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/23/2008 09:19:00 am


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How incredibly impressive

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/22/2008 07:55:00 am

Right, that's it then: it seems that Thabo Mbeki has waved his magic wand and now Zimbabwe is sorted.
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have signed a deal outlining a framework for talks on Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Much like Bag, my reaction to this is... well... much like's Bag's.
A deal on a framework. Wow! What a concession. It must have taken hundreds of man hours of tough negotiations for that.

Or, to put it more succinctly, well whoopee-fucking-do.

Now, we in the West can sit back and watch the death toll rise with the inflation figures and claim that it nothing to do with us because the Africans are going to sort it all out.

Oh, wait, I forgot: that's precisely what we've been doing for the last few years, isn't it?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/22/2008 07:55:00 am


Apple Q3 results

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/22/2008 12:35:00 am

Via Daring Fireball, Apple have released their Q3 results, and they are pretty good.
Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2008 third quarter ended June 28, 2008. The Company posted revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million, or $.92 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.8 percent, down from 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 42 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple shipped 2,496,000 Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing 41 percent unit growth and 43 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 11,011,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 12 percent unit growth and seven percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone units sold were 717,000 compared to 270,000 in the year-ago-quarter.

FORTY ONE PERCENT UNIT GROWTH for Macs? Fucking hell! 41% growth! That's... well... pretty fucking good.

What bugs me though, is that Apple's share price has been tumbling. Despite the astonishing uptake of the iPhone 3G (still quite difficult to get hold of) and years of unprecedented growth in both unit sales and profit margins, the shares were down below $165 dollars today (lower than they were in November last year). And this is despite the fact that Apple has more cash in the bank than Microsoft and are thus unlikely to be hit by the credit crunch.

The lesson is simple, I guess: never trust an analyst.

DISCLAIMER: I own Apple shares.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/22/2008 12:35:00 am


Monday, July 21, 2008

You see? I told you...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/21/2008 08:13:00 pm

When I hyped Iain Dale's blog list yesterday, I also mentioned the Left's attitude to the whole exercise.
Of course, last year all the Lefty blogs resolutely refused to endorse Iain's voting drive, and then complained when they weren't anywhere near the top. "It's the Top 500 as voted for by Iain's readers," they complained.

Oh look! That didn't take long, did it?
However, I won't be participating in the exercise this year, and I would quite understand it if other left blogs did the same. Over the last year there have been a few occasions when Iain Dale has been rude and derogatory about the standard of 'left' blogs. Whilst I recognise the top right wing bloggers currently have more traffic, that doesn't mean they are better quality. The Sun sells 6 times more daily newspapers than The Financial Times, but that doesn't make it quality. I think it is well out of order to describe left wing blogs as comics, and then ask people to help you to compile a list of the best of them.

Of course, if Bob Piper had any balls, he might think, "do you know what? I might prove Iain wrong by compiling a list of really good Lefty blogs" (because there actually are some around. Not many, but a few).

But unfortunately, Bob Piper is a Labour Councillor and, as such, his balls have been removed and are now stored in Harriet Harman's office cupboard. Every time that poor Bob votes with his conscience rather than the party, Harriet takes them out and boots them around her office.

And it is, of course, no surprise that the tedious Sunny Hundal is also not taking part.
For a start there is the obvious bias—most of the participants will be his own readers and they will inevitably skew the results. As Chris Dillow said last year, “people who like blogs like Iain Dale’s like blogs like Iain’s - whoda thunk?”

Except that Iain is deliberately trying to get a better balance, Sunny. You said, earlier in your article, that Iain has "asked us to link to [the article calling for submissions] naturally". By which I mean that I assume that Sunny received the same email that I did, outlining the rules and asking people to invite submissions on their own blog.

Now, I know that logic and coherence are not exactly Sunny's strong point, but I do believe that when Iain asks Lefty blogs to invite their readers to submit their favourite blogs, he just might be trying to even out any bias as best he can.
And this feeds into the narrative that left-liberal blogs are non-existent and boring and there’s nothing going on there.

And the Left's refusal to take part in the only fucking book that is going to get published on this subject simply reinforces that narrative, you thick bastard. What you should be doing is encouraging your readers to vote so that those who read said books do realise that the Lefties have a blog presence.

Unless, of course, you are going to release your own book—Socialist Blogs Are Good; No, Really, They Are: Honest, perhaps?
The Tories are always desperate to push this idea that they dominate the British blogosphere...

Hold it right there, Sunny. The Right does dominate the blogosphere at present. However, please do not confuse "the Right" with "the Tories". Some of us have no more love for the Tories than we do for Labour—most of the libertarians and classical liberals for a start—and there are a lot of us about.
... and no one else is worth listening to.

And your lack of participation simply reinforces that image. As I have said before, there are good Lefty bloggers around (although I tend towards liking those who describe themselves as Left Libertarians) but your refusal to participate puts you out of the game.
The lazy journalists who can’t be arsed to do any original research buy into this.

Quite right; the media are piss-poor. And here isIain, really is interested in upping the profile of blogging generally, and your message is "Lefties: don't vote for any blogs because that way we'll show the lazy journos that there are no good Left blogs out there. Oh, hang on..."

Sunny Hundal is an absolute tosser, but he has made efforts to bring the "Liberal" Left together and so he should be represented. If Lefties don't vote, he won't be. And everyone, including the media, will continue to ignore the Left blogosphere.

And so the narrative that there are no good Lefty blogs will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nice one, Bob! Nice one, Sunny!

Either that, or the Left realise that no one actually reads them and are eschewing participation on the grounds of embarrassment. If the Left is thrashed, again, the Lefty blogs can all, like last year, stand around and say, "uh, well, obviously we didn't... like... vote and that's why there's so few rated, yeah. 'Cos like, it's just working for The Man, an' that." So, let's see how many other Lefties refuse to participate; and do remember to watch out for the post-publication moaning.

Fucking hellski, what a bunch of fuckwits...

UPDATE: just to expand slightly, I feel rather closer to this loose community of bloggers than I do to many people that I know somewhat better. We are all engaged in a similar aim: that is, we all attempt to tell the truth (no matter how we might see it).

Further, there is a certain symbiosis amongst the different types of blogs. Your humble Devil fully admits, for instance, that he is a polemicist—a rabble-rouser. But my rants would be largely ineffective were I not able to link to decent data: I would simply be another ill-informed pub bore (shut iiiiiit!).

I rely heavily on what I call "Resource Blogs"; those bloggers that get deep into the nitty-gritty of the data. For instance, a while back, I featured on the front page of The Telegraph, talking about the EU Xenophobia framework.

However, it is unlikely that I would have been able to write in an informed manner about that had Unity not given it the once over and flagged up a few crucial clauses.

Now, no journo (hard-pressed or, let's face it, fucking lazy, as many of these journos are) is going to read through one of Unity's immensely long and, occasionally, interminable posts. It just isn't going to happen. Ordinary audiences are unlikely to do so either.

They will however, read someone like myself. Although I, too, tend towards the prolix, my posts are also usually punchy, easy to read and, frankly, a wee bit fluffy. But, I couldn't write the posts that I do without those who, like Unity, are prepared to trawl through massively tedious documents or arcane web archives to find the relevant information.

Thus we have an unofficial symbiosis. Unity trawls the documents, I spread the word (and, surprisingly, since he is a horrible Labour Party member, we disagree relatively infrequently).

It is this collective way of working that makes bloggers so powerful; much like Iain, I think that we should push for greater recognition of the work that we all do. After all, one thing that is abundantly clear to most of us is that, as Tom Paine points out with no small amount of anger, the MSM has utterly failed us over the last few... well... decades.

Of course, after we have become more well-known and generally powerful, we can start squabbling in public rather than simply amongst ourselves...

UPDATE 2: Sunny takes me to task in the comments for, amongst other things, not representing the second part of his argument which is that Iain doesn't link to his sources properly.
For example, in this post where Iain Dale props up his mate Guido Fawkes’ lame-duck vendetta against the Smith Institute, he says:
Incredibly left wing blogs are trying to claim that the Smith Institute has been totally vindicated by the Charity Commission report. Delusional.

But why not link to what those blogs are really saying so you could let them speak for themselves? This is just bad etiquette isn’t it?

Actually, yes it is. It's also fucking annoying. I've seen it happening quite a bit recently (especially at Iain's)—and have taken at least one Tory blogger to task for it. Link to your sources because I want to know whether that blog or media report actually says what you say that it says and I don't want to have to waste my time trawling for it.
When Iain wants to rubbish left-wing blogs and misrepresent them for a particular issue, then he has a habit of not linking to what they’re actually saying. But at other times he wants their support to make a representative ‘top blogs’ list.

It’s this sort of partisan behaviour that makes me think Iain is probably not the right person to position himself as the grand-daddy of British blogs.

Which is fair enough. However, I would argue that, in terms of pushing the influence of blogs outwith the blogosphere, Iain is the only game in town at present. Sunny says that he's not interested in that audience... well... fine and fair enough.

I still think it's a silly attitude but, as the old saying goes, each to their own.

UPDATE 3: 'orrible pro-EU, Lefty blogger Jon Worth gets it.
The reason I will be voting (and indeed will even contribute an article to Dale’s book) is that he has, more than anyone else, helped political blogging entering the mainstream of British political discourse. He’s also done that in a way that has broadly as part of the system, rather than as a dissident poking fun at the system, and I have respect for him for that. While I disagree with him on all kinds of political questions, his energy for making politics and politicians use the power of the internet is infectious.

This entry from Tom Harris MP really sums it up—his blog, one of the very best to emerge this year, is motivated in part thanks to Dale’s guide from last year.

Quite. My attitude is precisely the same as Jon's (and I didn't think that I'd write that sentence—mind you, he is a Mac fan: there may be hope for him yet) and I still think that it is the right one to take if you wish to increase participation in blogging—and I do.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 7/21/2008 08:13:00 pm


Testimonials

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