Thursday, 31 December 2009

CO2 dress

For God's sake, don't breathe on her or you'll be denounced as a climate criminal before you can say say "cap and trade".

Wavebox

The final blow to the self-heating meal–at least, while a 12 volt source is available.

Sir Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson cops a knighthood on this year's New Year's Honours list. Me? Not a sausage–again! I'd even settle for an OBE at this point.

Bloody favouritism, that's what I call it.

Dangerous theatre

Harry Stein at the The City Journal talks about David Mamet and the problems of conservative theatre.

I know just how he feels. I've been working in the theatre as an actor, writer, producer, dialect coach, dramaturge and whatever for more years than I care to think about and the one thing that never fails to amuse me is when someone talks about a "daring" play that "challenges" the prejudices of the audience. Since the play in question is invariably a far left diatribe performed in front of a far left audience that spends the entire evening nodding in smug agreement, the whole enterprise is about as "challenging" as bringing spare ribs to a barbecue. If they really wanted to "challenge" their audience they'd put on a play about, for example, a gay man discovering that he's been living a lie and he's really straight, but that might get the house torched.

Heck, I have an adaptation of Kipling's The Butterfly that Stamped that's been cooling in my files for the past three years because its moral that wives shouldn't torment their husbands means it can't get produced in Seattle.

Yup. Dangerous theatre.

Edwina (1987-2009)


The oldest duck in Britain has gone to that great baking tin in the sky.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Messiah watch

From an editorial in Denmark's Politiken.DK regarding Barack Hussein Obama's place in history:
Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus – if we have to play that absurd Christmas game.
How can anyone argue with that? Jesus is merely the only begotten son of God who brought the Gospel to the world, died on the cross to atone for the sins of all mankind, descended into Hell, was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty where he will judge the quick and the dead. The One, on the other hand, is much greater because he... Well... He... Yeah.

Avatar: The Making of the Bootleg


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

New Years resolution

Synthohol

Scientist claims to be on the verge of creating an alcohol substitute that tastes the same, but does not inebriate.

One question: WHY!?!?!

Avatar: Born to be bad

In 1977, a film came along that remade the entire industry. It ushered in the era of the blockbuster, introduced rafts of new technologies and marriages of old, integrated symphonic music into popcorn cinema, and demonstrated that the audience had become so familiar with the vocabulary of science fiction that they no longer had to be sold on the concept in the story. It was the most successful film up to that time, influenced the popular culture of a generation, was responsible for at least half of all content on the early Internet, and resulted in some of the best jokes on Spaced.

It was also one of the worst films ever made with a plot that was stitched together with a cleaver and dialogue so bad that one of its stars conned the director into killing his character off early so he wouldn't have to say any more of those god-awful lines.

Yes, I'm talking Star Wars. It was beautiful. I well remember back then how incredibly impressive it was sitting in the Odeon with the first chord of John Williams's score, the story so far roller, and the unforgettable opening shot of the spaceship that went on forever with all ray guns blasting.

God, it stank.

I never thought I'd relive that time of youthful innocence, but I have. I have seen Avatar.

God, it stank.

I know I said I wouldn't see it until it came out on Pay Per View, but it's the Christmas hols and I was outvoted by my wife, daughter, and the five-year old neighbour boy who went with us, so it was jumbo popcorn and 3D specs all 'round.

First, let's get the praise out of the way. The CGI is very impressive. The resolution is very high, the textures are detailed to the point where you could almost touch them, the lighting effects are excellent, and the motion capture technology is state of the art. In fact, it works too well. It's the first time I've seen the subtleties of facial expressions captured properly, allowing the actor to really come through. This is great if the subject is someone who has some real acting chops like Sigourney Weaver. For others, this is not an advantage. The tag line could have been, "You will believe that a CGI character can overact". Overall, however, the effect of all the computer animation was that I kept reaching for the game controller, which is where I suspect most of the CGI techs cut their teeth.

As for the much-vaunted 3D, I merely found it distracting for the first five minutes and then I forgot about it entirely. On the upside, the Polaroid glasses are much more comfortable and don't give me a headache the way the old bichromatic jobs did.

The plot? If you've seen A Man Called Horse, Dances With Wolves, Soldier Blue, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, The Last Samuri, or even Dune, the Endor scenes from Return of the Jedi, or pretty much any trendy lefty film since 1972, then you've seen this film–over and over again. Civilised man meets primitives, man is accepted by primitives as one of them, man turns traitor and slaughters his civilised brethren. If you're into written science fiction, if you've read Poul Anderson's "I am Joe", Clifford D Simak's City, Alan Dean Foster's Midworld, Harry Harrison's Deathworld Trilogy, Ursula le Guin's The Word for the World is Forest, Eric Frank Russell's "Symbiotica", or just about anything else written since 1935, you know the fantastic side of the story. I'd include Edgar Rice Burroughs and Alex Raymond as well, but the poor men have already suffered enough and our hero isn't John Carter or Flash Gordon by a long chalk.

Short version: Paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully is sent to Pandora, the tropical moon of a gas giant orbiting Alpha Centuri to pilot an "Avatar"; a genetically engineered duplicate of the Pandoran natives. Using a padded coffin strung with magic Christmas lights, Sully can connect his mind to his Pandoran body so he can move about freely in the moon's poisonous air and make contact with the natives to learn more about them and negotiate peaceful relations. He's a bit of a cipher and, given the plot, I'd have been happier if he'd been written as a 22nd century Harry Flashman (Flashman and the Blueskins!), but...

Unknown to Sully or the altruistic missionaries scientists who created the Avatars, the evil military commander and the evil corporation that apparently runs the evil military in 2154 not-so secretly plan to wipe out the natives because it's so gosh darn more fun than haggling over mineral rights. In a burst of incredible originality, Sully learns the ways of the natives and when he discovers the evil Earthmen's evil plans to evilly destroy the natives with great evilness, he turns traitor, leads the natives (who follow him out of curiosity) into battle, and slaughters thousands of his fellow humans without a touch of remorse. The human survivors are then frog marched aboard their spaceships back to Earth and the natives and Sully live happily ever after–or until Earth Command sends an orbital bomber force to wipe them all out a month later, but the film doesn't explore that detail.

James Cameron worked on getting Avatar to the screen for fifteen years, though from the plot it seems more like since 1968. Indeed, the frog march ending reads like a Vietnam War protester's wet dream. During the climactic battle I kept waiting for our hero to scream, "Damn you, Bush!" while Dick Cheney whizzed by in an attack helicopter with Tony Blair in the Gunner's seat.

The entire film is a beautifully imaged cliche fest. The military are mindless killers lead by a commander who is just itching for an excuse to take the safeties off for no readily apparent reason other than racist blood lust. Of course, he and his men a) have all the brains of a wet teabag b) make every mistake imaginable and c) have never seen the Endor bit in Return of the Jedi, so it's no wonder that a 22nd century force is taken down with bows and arrows. Any other director I could excuse this from, but James Cameron? The man who coined the phrase, "Nuke the site from orbit"? Doesn't he even see his own movies?

The natives, on the other hand, are without exception brave, noble, wise, in harmony with nature, have perfect teeth, vote Labour, recycle, buy only Fair Trade coffee, and drive Prisuses. They even react with horror if someone exhibits a knowledge of fire. Rousseau would feel his dinner coming back around this bunch. Mind you, for all their virtues, not a one can hold a bow string for toffee. And they have yet to discover anything resembling a sense of humour or the ability to speak in other than the most stilted of sentences. Though they live an idyllic existence, they do suffer, as do the Earthmen, from one pestilence of civilisation: The Action Girl cliche that was old when The Swordmaster's Daughter hit the stage in 1894. It never works unless the writer and director really think it through and here it's just embarrassing. When our native princess went into a knife-wielding crouch toward the end of the film, I literally burst out laughing. Dejah Thoris this Pandoran is not.

Okay, but suspension of disbelief and all that. Sorry, I'm all for it and will suspend with the best of them, but the flying mountains wrecked not only my suspension, but my shocks of tolerance and leaf springs of credulity as well. As in Titanic, Cameron imagines that imagery will cover every plot hole and excuse his dogged refusal to pick up better plot opportunities that would have improved his story immeasurably. Instead, we have a nearly three hour diatribe about Cameron's ideal Gaia-worshiping aliens who are literally connected to their world fighting off wicked Earth capitalists who deserve no better fate than to go back to face extinction on their own dying planet. It's a message that is not only offensive in its self-loathing (especially when I drop $12 for the privilege of his insult), but also because Cameron, who produced at least two excellent films back in the '80s, has prostituted his own art to share his loathing with the rest of us.

But, say other reviews I've read, don't be so negative. It's only a movie. Forget the plot and just go with what's on screen. At that point, I merely sigh and answer with two words: Star Wars.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Another honour

Having won the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr Barack Hussein Obama has been voted US President Most Likely to Have His Lunch Money Stolen by Other World Leaders.

Briton of the Year

Joanna Lumley is chosen as The Times' Briton of the Year.

I'd have given her the title back in 1975–though for entirely different reasons.

Mistletoe Madness

Mistletoe causes mating frenzy among sea horses.

Randy little buggers.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Scrooge

Our Christmas Eve treat and a story I've done many times on stage. Never as Scrooge, I fear, but my Bob Cratchit was very well received.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas lights


Why light just your house when you can do the whole street?

Avatar defined.

What I suspect will be the definitive review of Avatar.

No, I haven't seen it, because from what I've seen and heard (and having survived the horror of Titanic) I'm waiting for it to show up on Pay Per View.

Update: This one comes a pretty good second.

Coca Cola Santa

Excerpts from the man who formed our modern images of The Man.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

Cream of Tartar

In the words of P G Wodehouse, Christmas almost has us by the throat, so yesterday I decided that there was nothing else for it but to sally forth and buy what we needed for Christmas dinner. Actually, it was for Christmas Eve dinner because we're spending Christmas day driving all over the Pacific Northwest, or a fair fraction of it, visiting friends and relatives. I know that sounds a bit odd, but this is because, despite their reputation for being big eaters, Americans are positively dainty around the holidays. Even their Thanksgiving meals would be scarcely a entrée at an English Christmas. And I've never seen a crate of milk stout rolled out in America after the cheese course–maybe because they don't have one. Not for them gorging on rafts of appetisers, three meat courses, meat pies, smoked salmon, mince pies, savoury courses, desserts, nuts, and then washing the entire lot with an eclectic mix of wine, beer and spirits like Mr Creosote on a binge. Leave it at the turkey and stuffing and call it good, says your average American. The means that they are something the British are not on Christmas day: Mobile.

The upshot of all this is that Christmas dinner at Chez Szondy is put forward to the night before so we can drive up and down the Puget Sound area to watch friends and relatives not eating and drinking. It also means that a) I have to cut down on my traditional caloric and alcoholic intake at our family dinner because b) I am not going to be allowed to sleep through Boxing Day like a civilised human being and c) I have to take my seven-year old daughter to the supermarket on Sunday to pick up the viands.

Normally, I rather enjoy doing the grocery shopping. It allows me to indulge in one of my favourite activities of not spending money. Do we need butter this week? No, I bought a pallet load at the wholesale place last month. Name brand macaroni and cheese or the store brand that's a fourth of the price? The store brand's a little chewy, but you can still swallow it, so let's get that. 2006 Mouton Rothschild at $999.99 a bottle or half a dozen of the "two-buck chuck"? Don't even ask; just pass the corkscrew. This is not a normal Sunday, however. It's five days before Christmas and not only are the crowds insane, but the Salvation Army bell ringer has gone over to the Dark Side and is rolling on the floor in an eye-gouging match with a Buddhist monk over the last Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster. Since I'm staying in the food section, except for a detour to pick up some sporks out of the camping department (long story), I figure I'm relatively safe aside from the day-release patients who think the shopping trolleys are bumper cars.

For the most part, we're doing okay. We get the ham, the bread, the stuffing, and the rest without much incident. Even my daughter is relatively quiet because a few more synapses have linked up in her young brain and she's discovered that reading isn't that hard after all, so she's sitting in the child seat quietly reading a book about vampire squids. We're home free, I think. That is, until I got to the bottom of the list where lurked the Cream of Tartar that my wife wanted.

Now I'm not entirely sure what Cream of Tartar is, except that it's a fancy name for potassium bitartrate, and I have no idea as to what it's used for, but I do know that it's in the spice section and that's easy enough to find. It's where over a dozen people are milling around, hunting up and down the shelves like there's been a massive coincidence and everyone has simultaneously lost their ferrets there. I manage to squeeze myself, daughter and trolley into the throng and join them as I look for the Cream of Tartar. Pretty soon, I'm completely lost. Cream of Tartar is nowhere to be found despite there being 582,612 varieties of salt. Then I overhear the other shoppers talking to each other. I discover two things. First, there is no Cream of Tartar on the shelves and second, that every one there was also looking for the same, albeit absent, C of T.

Soon, a young shop assistant appears and in calm tones suggesting someone who is trying to take a caribou away from a hungry polar bear announces that there is no Cream of Tartar left. The crowd begins to turn ugly in that way that Eisenstein tried so hard to capture on film and the beleaguered young shop assistant keeps one eye on the nearest exit while his right hand gropes among the fish boil packets for a suitable weapon to defend himself with. Any second now., I think, something is going to set them off and there'll be a pram rolling down the steps in no time.

But before the the scalpel of Fate can reach the frisky puppy of Destiny, I jump on top of a crate of marshmallow fluff and with hands in the air shout, "Listen to me! Listen to me! You can use white vinegar! In equal proportions!"

A hush falls over the nascent mob. Then a murmuring starts as some shoppers start asking where the white vinegar is while others remain committed Cream of Tartar purists. A small, sharp-faced woman starts extolling the merits of white vinegar on teleological grounds. A large man with heavy red jowls bellows that Cream of Tartar was good enough for his father and it's good enough for him. A man in a jacket a size too large for him starts to ask if salad dressing will do, but is glared into silence. Soon the crowd starts arguing. A schism forms with the battle lines drawn between the Tartarists and the Vinegarites. Before you could say "two for one sale" a tin of Allspice strikes a man who looks remarkably like Keir Hardie clean in the face and a full-blown religious war erupts in Aisle 5. It was at this point that my daughter and I make our escape through Soft Toys.

By last reports, the violence has since spread to Produce, the Deli section has declared itself a free republic, Notions is ablaze, and the store manager has lashed himself and a Japanese friend to the lobster tank. State officials trying to restore order have not ruled out air strikes at this time.

As for the Szondy family, I think we'll do a Chinese takeaway this year.

Poor didums

A terrorist commander with blood on his hands up to his elbows and who walks free (and is a member of Parliament!) only thanks to the most craven deal ever made by a British government reveals that his daddy abused him.

Pardon me while I get out the violin.

Cyber Tortoise

Cybernetizoo explores Russia's Cyber Tortoise of 1962.

Hunts for Sarah Connor very, very slowly.

A modest proposal

Britain's armed forces are once again facing swinging budget cuts at the hands of New Labour. The new aircraft carriers, the independent nuclear deterrent, fighter aircraft, warship numbers, and bases are all in the hazard. How? How? How can Britain find the £1 billion a year to protect the realm?

How about taking Britain out the the EU? The £18 billion we'd save every year would be very welcome. Then, with economies of scale and firing a division of MOD parasites, we could replace Trident annually and throw in a new carrier group as well.

Jame Retief, call your service

As I've said before, Barack Hussein Obama's kowtow to the Chinese premier was nothing but an invitation for the Chicoms to humiliate him, but I do give The One five out of ten for pushing his way through when Wen Jiabao tried to make him cool his heels at the door. Where The Light Worker feel down was in losing his temper and shouting “Mr Premier, are you ready to see me? Are you ready?”

A better course of action would have been to have his security detail be as rough as they please with the Chinese and then for Mr Obama to politely tell Mr Wen that he has apparently been working the aide who tried to block him too hard and that the young man needs a vacation before telling Mr Wen that he can give him fifteen minutes of the president's valuable time–all of this sweetly delivered in the voice of a man confident that he can turn Bejing into a glass lake in ten minutes.

Not much hope there, though.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Seeds of Desrtuction Part 1



Saturday, 19 December 2009

Twelfth Night


This brings back memories. Last time I played Malvolio it was in an outdoor production in midsummer in the blazing sun while double costumed all in black with yellow tights underneath.

I nearly lost consciousness and I think I drank five gallons of water afterward.

Friday, 18 December 2009

President Tin Ear

Barack Hussein Obama is in Copenhagen addressing the Climate Change conference where he is scolding away as if he can save the whole farce from disaster by shooting out Obama rays.

Two days ago I thought that there was no way The One was going to go to Copenhagen in the wake of Climategate and now that the outcome is certain to be little more than a bland statement of intent, but apparently he'd determined that his stumping for the Chicago Olympics won't be a one-off.

The man has all the foresight of Julius Caesar at the Ides of March. I particularly like the way the press is talking up Mr Obama's "talking tough" and "rebuking China". Talking tough? After the way Mr Obama literally kowtowed before the Chinese Premier it's a wonder that the Celestials didn't respond to his "rebuke" by laughing in his face.

Update: The One descends from Olympus and graces mere mortals with a "meaningful agreement" that "list national actions and commitments"... and makes the Civilised World cough up $100 billion a year to backwards nations, kleptocrats, and dictators.

And here I thought the caviar and Champagne conference would end with bureaucratic doublespeak for doing nothing while gouging the Civilised World for yet another fortune to pour down a rat hole.

Philately update

Hugo Gernsback immortalised on a stamp.

If you can call that immortalised.

Organ printer

A 3D printer that can potentially create whole organs one cell at a time.

I'm not too keen on this. If you can't dig it up, stitch it together, and throw a bolt of lightning through it, I don't trust it.

Clowns against climate change

Sometimes you just have to take the seltzer bottle into your own hands.

Update: Tears of a clown.

What makes this interesting is not so much Mr McKibben's mawkishness as the near universal derision in the comments section. My favourite:
Earth to Bill – you’re not the reincarnation of Oskar Schindler.

Come fly with me


How to annoy a warmenist.

At least one chap purchased an indulgence.

Update: At least Nancy Pelosi is... Okay, no, she isn't.

Vectron


Thursday, 17 December 2009

History schmistory

So long as it gets the job done, what do the facts matter?

Heresy


For the Party thy god is a jealous god...

Cold butter

A 97-year old block of butter is found at Captain Scott's old base in Antarctica.

Big deal. I've got some in my fridge that's probably twice as old.

A remarkable recovery

In August, convicted Lockerbie Jihadist and mass murderer Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi was given compassionate leave by a Scottish government that had so thoroughly taken leave of its senses that it's a wonder that devolution was allowed to stand. Mr al-Megrahi allegedly was suffering from prostate cancer and had only three months to live, but here it is almost Christmas and the remarkable Mr al-Megrahi is not only alive, but well enough to have done a runner on his house arrest.

The age of miracles is not passed.

Dear Dear Leader

Strieb-Griebling: I believe it was shortly after World War Two. Do you remember that, the Second World War?

Interviewer: Certainly, yes.

Strieb-Griebling: Ghastly business. Absolutely ghastly business.

Interviewer: Yes, indeed…

Strieb-Griebling: I was completely against it.

Interviewer: Well, I think we all were.

Strieb-Griebling: Ah yes, but I wrote a letter.

Interviewer: Oh?

Strieb-Griebling: I wrote "Dear Hitler. Stop it."
Peter Cooke & Dudley Moore. The Frog and Peach sketch.

In keeping with his policy of hard-hitting action to deal with insane dictators hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons that they can use to blackmail the world or pass on to Jiihadists, Barack Hussein Obama opts for the Strieb-Griebling gambit.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Salami battle with Parmesan daggers

This is one of those times I suspect that the police just stood back and waited to see what happened next.

Big Brother on the high seas


The Ministry of Plenty EU "encourages" fishermen to install surveillance cameras on their ships.

What's the price of freedom? A five percent increase in the fish quota, apparently.

Hellfire Holiday

I've often contended that the problem with modern Western society isn't so much the collapse of morality as the rot migrating from the aristocracy downwards as rich men's vices become those of poor men as well.

Unfortunately, only the rich and powerful can afford to be decadent–and even then it catches up with them in the end.

Update: Decadence is a two-way street and when it flows up, the results can be worse than when it flows down.

Copenhagen roulette

Over at the New York Times, John Tierney tells climate "sceptics" to put their money where their mouth is and sign on to a carbon tax system where the rate is linked to temperature. If the "sceptics" are right, the rate goes down (actually, it doesn't go up as fast) and if the worshipers of Blessed Gaia are right, the rate goes up (a lot more).

Leaving aside the injustice of such a tax existing at all, I'll take up Mr Tierney's offer, but with a couple of slight modifications. Since Climategate, the Warmenist position is back to square one. Where I would contend that what we are seeing is natural variation until proven otherwise, the worshipers of Blessed Gaia claim something very specific: That computer models have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that
  • The Earth is undergoing an unprecedented episode of heating
  • That this is due entirely to increases in manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
  • That if this heating is left unchecked, it will result in catastrophic changes in the climate
  • That the only way to do prevent this, with no possible alternatives, is to curtail manmade carbon dioxide emissions through a very specific political programme of global control, artificial shortages, punitive taxes, wealth redistribution, and an overwhelmingly powerful bureaucracy answerable only to an unelected elite
  • And that the only authority to question this is through peer reviewed science controlled by warmenist advocates who decide what is peer reviewed.
That being said, the onus of this wager must surely be on those who advocate such a draconian regime, not those who oppose it. So, here is my alternative. First, instead of basing it on equatorial temperatures, it will be global mean temperatures because that is all that matters. Needless to say, this will be determined by means that I regard as reliable, not the likes of the CRU and their ilk. Second, the payoffs will be as follows:
  • If the rise in temperature matches the accepted global warming model (there isn't one, by the way), then the carbon tax for that year will be paid in full.
  • If the temperature does not change, then the tax will be refunded.
  • If the temperature drops, the tax will be refunded ten fold.
  • If the temperature rises, but not according to what the model predicts (whether falling short or exceeding it), then the tax will be refunded one hundred fold.
  • All refunds will come solely from funds from past carbon tax collections. No other sources are allowed, nor can collected funds be spent for a period of ten years. If the refunded amounts ever exceeds those collected, the tax will be repealed.
Money where your mouth is, old boy. I mean, the science is settled. Isn't it?

Update: What causes climate scepticism? According to Richard Black: Men.

Update: Meanwhile, that red-blooded hero George Monbiot finds his mind crushed.

Update: From Russia with fraud.

Roboshopper

Helps old people buy groceries; hunts for Sarah Connor in the produce aisle.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Black armband day


I remember my Dad taking me to watch this at Earls Court back in the '60s. It probably put me off team sports for life because all the others seemed far too tame.

OCD


Harmonica kazoo

The harmonica kazoo: Two musical annoyances in one!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Reprieve

The Copenhagen Climate Conference decides to give the Earth six more years before sacrificing the global economy and human liberty at the altar of Blessed Gaia.

Lord Summerisle was unavailable for comment.

Update: And if you're still worried about the effects of heightened CO2 levels, remember that every cloud has a silver lining.

Update: Here's hoping the warmeningists get the memo.

Speaking science to credulity


Lord Monckton showing remarkable patience with a Greenpeace supporter showing commendable politeness.

Update: A rundown on Climategate so far.

Climate perspective

Non-soft diplomacy


Now this is how diplomacy should be conducted with one's enemies.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Hy Wire


As the owner of a perfectly good SUV with a duff engine in need of replacement, the idea of a modular car looks bloody brilliant.

Paintball 'bot

Sarah Connor uses one of these to keep in training.

Later day Lysenkos

When truth becomes "relative", then truth no longer exists.

Update: The good old days are back.

Update: And while we're at it, let's throw in a bit of democide.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen


I've been trying to write about the Copenhagen Climate Conference since before it began, but something always seems to get in the way before I get through the first sentence. The latest was ten minutes ago when a neglected frying pan was left on a hot burner. This resulted in smoke, which in turn set off the smoke alarm, which sent Little Ann the Australian Shepherd heading out the doggie door while Carl the Cattle Dog tried to climb into my lap. Since he's now hysterical, weighs three stone eight pounds and has unclipped claws, this is not as pleasant as it sounds.

Excuse me.

That's better.

Part of the problem with trying to write about Copenhagen is that just about everyone on the planet down to the prostitutes handing out free sex to attendees has posted an article about the conference. The other problem is that it is so filled with targets that if they were ships they'd make a German U-boat captain burst into tears because he ran out of torpedoes in the first five minutes. Trying to write about this Holy See of Blessed Gaia is an exercise in pure frustration that I haven't felt since I walked into a free house in Wolverton that had 27 brands of real ale hand pumped off the wood.

Take the conference itself. Over one hundred nations have sent delegates on a mission to Save the PlanetTM by reducing "carbon" emissions despite the fact that it was openly acknowledged that the conference was doomed to failure before Ban Ki Moon threw out the first Canape. Instead, the goal of the conference (aside from washing down the caviar with a couple of buckets of Dom Perignon 1990 in between bouts of free nookie) is to draught a statement of intent to discuss the rescheduling or an interim debate to determine the feasibility of reconvening the focus group to revise the invitations to Copenhagen II: Revenge of the Taxpayers. That's if the civilised countries can stop yelling at the backward ones for trying to stop being backwards while the kelptocrats scream back that they need the aid cheque now because the next payment on the Mercedes is due. It makes me almost feel sorry for the Prime Minister of Australia who kept changing his plane tickets so he could meet Barack Hussein Obama and has to go back to Canberra with an "I went to Copenhagen to Save the PlanetTM and all I got was this lousy tee shirt".

At least the delegates are doing their bit to lower CO2 emissions by hiring every limo and private jet in the northern hemisphere so only the deserving disciples of Lord Summerisle will be doing the emitting in a good cause–like seeing what's shakin' down in Christianshaven. It isn't that I'm surprised at the Political Class acting like 18th century French aristocrats teleported into Weimar Germany with a sack of cocaine. The idea that they can live the chock full o' carbon high life while telling the peasants to use Google Street View to take their next holiday is to be expected. What I find suspicious is how their poker-faced prophecies of doom aren't matched by their proposals, which seem to boil down to making the free world less free and prosperous while enriching a load of dictators, bureaucrats, and social engineers who regard Brave New World and 1984 as instruction manuals. Look, if the world really was facing a global catastrophe, don't you think the Elite would take it a bit more seriously a do something more than trying to save the polar bears from drowning?

It seems to me that if things were really that bad and we only had 30, 20, 10, one year (or is it a week and a half now? I forget) to save the world, there'd be some major reprioritising. Instead, cap and trade, travel rationing et al are tacked on to every other bit of green nonsense we've had to endure for the past forty years. I'll believe that the warming alarmists are sincere when Obama, Brown, and the rest make a joint statement declaring that the nations of the world are instituting a crash programme of nuclear power construction across the globe that includes everything from nuclear batteries to fast breeders to thorium pebble reactors for dodgy nations with proliferation issues, that welfare benefits would be slashed and the money given to fusion research, that China stops building coal plants or face an all-out attack by the other nuclear powers, that all fossil fuel reserves be thrown wide open to provide the energy needed to power the transfer to a non-fossil fuel economy, that all other environmental protections become subservient to these goals, and that this will be funded by opening fast food franchises serving Kentucky Fried Polar Bear cooked in Atlantic right whale oil. First one hundred customers get a free giant panda fur coat with buttons carved out of genuine elephant ivory.

Of course, the real elephant here goes by the name of Climategate. You can tell when anyone brings up the subject in Copenhagen because you're immediately treated to the spectacle of 1500 guys in black tie stuffing their fingers in their ears and going "La la la la la! I can't hear you!" Small wonder when the settled science of global warming that two months ago was as impervious as Newton's Laws suddenly looks more and more like Piltdown Man. It also doesn't help when the investigators come off less like Einstein and more like Bernie Madoff as they shove another box full of primary data into the paper shredder. Not only does the scandal refuse to die as "hide the decline" enters into everyday usage, but warmists are discovering the yelling "shut up!" isn't that great a defence.

All this would be funny as hell if it weren't for the fact that what's at stake is more than the reputation of a few scientists and freeloading politicians. It's trillions of dollars and the freedom of a human being to literally fart without a bureaucrat's permission. Is global warming a hoax or is the warmpocalypse truly in our future? There are arguments for both sides and everything in between, but I think that between something rotten going on in the state of Denmark and something in the peer-reviewed climate science journals that smells equally of week-old fish, I think the one thing that is certain is that the "We only have (insert number here) years to Save the PlanetTM, so we have to act NOW!" is the real hoax and a dead one. We have the time. Let's get someone honest to do some real research under full public scrutiny to find out what's really going on with Earth's climate. Then the free, democratic, civilised people of the world will decide what to do. Not the UN. Not Al Gore. Not Gordon Brown, Not Barack Hussein Obama. Not the tyrants or the Third World kleptrocrats. But free men who choose for themselves after due deliberation, argument, and persuasion.

It's too important to have it otherwise.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Capricorn One


From the CRU guide on how to handle those little glitches in the research.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Rotating house

Been there. Done that. Lost the keys.

Project Cybersyn

Salvador Allende, a Castroite Socialist who was briefly president of Chile was far luckier than other Marxist messiahs in that he had the good fortune to be overthrown before he could do much damage to his country or neighbours. Since his administration was therefore a largely theoretical one, he's become a favourite of leftists who sigh over Allende's bright dawn of hope before the dark night of Pinochet.

Still, Allende did leave us something to remember him by, like his plan to turn Chile into a Socialist technocracy run from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. A pity all the super cool monitors are just back projection slide projectors and there was no way to actually control anything or even make a phone call from the "control room".

Swings and roundabouts, I suppose

Monday, 7 December 2009

Ministry of Truth


This from The Guardian:
Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.
One voice? One voice? I don't give a tinker's damn whether this is because the "profound emergency" is global warming, an affront to Blessed Gaia, or rampant Goldsteinism. This sort of openly proclaimed conspiracy to manage the news in the name of a political agenda, and in the wake of Climategate it can't be anything else, is a slap in the face of free men everywhere.

Dear God, how far we have fallen!

Update: the only decent response to this travesty:
This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell.

Secondhand carbon dixoide

Going Dutch

This could take dodging the bill to a whole new level.