Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Histories Biggest Killer

If the quiz question 'Who has killed the most people in history' came up you could be excused for running through the usual suspects such as Hitler or Stalin but there is one man who is responsible for multiple more deaths than all of them put together and whose influence continues to kill millions today and will for the foreseeable future.
That man would be Thomas Midgley Jnr, who was not content with shortening the life of us all once, doubled his efforts by thinking up a second way to do it.  
Thomas Midgley Jnr was the man at General Motors who decided that what petrol needed was a large dose of atmosphere polluting lead (tetraethyllead or TEL) in it and then came up with the whizz that refrigerators would work better if they contained ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Not the brightest spark, he suffered lead poisoning on several occasions and after numerous deaths at the factory that produced TEL, he poured the TEL over his hands and inhaled the substance for 60 seconds at a press conference to demonstrate the apparent safety of TEL before suffering yet another bout of lead poisoning and having to travel to Europe for treatment.
He was then on the team that developed CFC's for air conditioning and refrigeration systems before dying aged 55 by accidentally strangling himself in the ropes of a pulley that he had invented to lift himself out of bed.
After 70 years of every car in the world using lead petrol which threw thousands of millions tonnes of lead into the atmosphere and then depleting the ozone layer with CFC's, the argument could be made that Thomas Midgely, through environmental changing actions, has been responsible for more human deaths than any other single person in history.

Monday, 26 January 2015

All Or Nothing

Although you may not believe it, i really don't like to keep knocking people of a religious persuasion because on the general, everyday level, it's fine and brings comfort to many but it keeps shooting itself in the foot and making itself look even more stupid and outdated and outright dangerous in the wrong hands.
The consecration of the Church of England's first woman bishop was met with a protester today at York Minister, the proceedings were held up by a man shouting that it was wrong because 'it's not in the Bible' and 'The lord Jesus Christ made a very deliberate choice of those who were to carry on his work'.
The word of the Bible, it seems, is the last line in what Christians can and can't do and the Bible is set in stone, not to be amended or changed and must be obeyed.
I am assuming that because this man and those who hold this view, and apparently that is a large number of Christians,  the rest of the Bible is the final word and not to be cherry picked or edited so when the Bible says: 'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads'.
So if the Bible says its fine to kill gays, and it's in the Bible, who else does the Bible say we can kill with God's blessings?
The list includes - People Who Don't Listen to Priests' (Deuteronomy 17:12), Witches (Exodus 22:17), Fortunetellers (Leviticus 20:27), anyone who hits their parents (Exodus 21:15), anyone who curses their parents (Leviticus 20:9), adulterers (Leviticus 20:10), anyone who follows another religion (Exodus 22:19), non-believers (2 Chronicles 15:12-13), Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night (Deuteronomy 22:20-21), Blasphemers (Leviticus 24:10-16), and Sunday workers (Exodus 31:12-15).
I guess as women Bishops are a no-no as it doesn't say it in the Bible, what it DOES say should be obeyed and God said it is okay to machine gun the cashiers on the tills in the supermarket next Sunday.      
Absurd you say? Well they started it and they should decide whether the Church can cherry pick and quietly drop the less socially acceptable bits or take the Bible text as the final word and defend your view that should see you spend the rest of your life removed from society as a danger.

Think I Will Skip American Sniper

I always go out of my way to avoid war films, with the exception of Full Metal Jacket which was an anti-war war film, so there was never any danger of my backside warming a cinema seat to watch American Sniper so i have managed to avoid the hype surrounding it until Michael Moore piped up with his 'snipers are cowards' comment.
I don't have much time for those sniping from roof tops, firing missiles from a ship 20 miles off the coast, dropping bombs from 35,000 feet up or controlling a drone from halfway around the world and my sympathies lie with the innocent people caught up in the willy waving of the leaders of the countries at war.
So not that i would have gone and seen it anyway, but i did start to read about the soldier whose story the film is based on, Chris Kyle.
I got a few paragraphs in and learnt that he was obsessed with guns from an early age, was deeply religious and believed that he was in Iraq doing Gods work and turned the page.
I'm not interested but as it has set a new record for films that open in January, seems the gun nuts, those who saw  the Iraq War as 'just', those duped by the rhetoric of the War On Terror and anyone with a bible in the bedside cabinet are enjoying it but it's not for me thanks.

Happy Birthday Aussies

Today is Australia Day, marking the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships chock full of convicts landed at Port Jackson, New South Wales.
We Brits do have a lot of fun at the Aussie's expense but on their National Day it should be a time to reflect on just what this proud country has contributed to the World, it's great historical figures and it's place in the World.
As i say it should be a time, but what Australia is famous for is the tradition of having its town's and cities named by 5 year old schoolboys so here is the address some Australians have to put on their envelopes.

Banana QLD, Binnaway NSW, Boing Boing NT, Bong Bong NSW, Boyland QLD, Burrumbuttock NSW, Chinaman's Knob VIC, Chinkapook VIC, Cock Wash SA, Cockburn WA, Delicate Nobby NSW, Dismal Swamp TAS, Doo Town TAS, Gooloogong NSW, Grong Grong NSW, Humpty Doo NT, Humpybong QLD, Innaloo WA, Koolyanobbing WA, Mooball NSW, Mount Buggery VIC,
Pimpinbudgie QLD, Poowong VIC, Smiggin Holes NSW, Tittybong VIC, Wagga Wagga NSW, Watanobbi NSW, Wee Waa NSW, Wonglepong QLD, Woodie Woodie and Yorkeys Knob QLD.

With the obligatory mention of sheep, sticks you cant throw away and cork hats, Happy Birthday Australia.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Truth Is Out There

Although we should not condone hacking of Government Departments, it would be interesting if someone got into whatever department holds the UFO information.
The BBC has the story of John Greenewald who has spent the last two decades requesting declassified information from the US government regarding UFOs.
Although obscured with many redactions, he has amassed over 100,000 pages of documents from Project Blue Book, the files which show how the US Government investigated 12,618 UFO sightings until it was 'closed' in 1969. 
In 11,917 cases the following investigation by the Project Blue Book team were deemed caused by weather balloons, swamp gases, meteorological events, temperature inversions or hoaxes.
In 701 cases, the Unidentified Flying Object remained unidentified and could not be explained even after stringent analysis.
Of course it doesn't mean that it was little green men popping by to see what we are up to or a reconnaissance mission by creatures from Alpha Centuri sussing out whether we are ripe to be invaded but it also doesn't mean it wasn't.
Cue the X-Files theme tune.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Same King Abdullah?

John Kerry called it 'a sad day' and added 'the world has lost a revered leader' while David Cameron said 'He will be remembered for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths' so obviously they are referring to a different King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia because the one i knew was an evil son of a camel.
Whoever this other King Abdullah was, he must have been a lovely guy because even the EU’s commissioner for economic and financial affairs, described him as 'a personality of peace and strong leadership' and the French head of the IMF, went as far as praising Abdullah as a feminist, saying 'he was a strong advocate of women'.
Whoever this cross between Ghandi and Mother Theresa was, it certainly wasn't the King Abdullah who flogs bloggers, denies women even the basic human rights, beheads prisoners and bans any religion that isn't Wahhabism. 
So the evil King is dead and they have a new one, Salman bin Abdulaziz, so when all the Western leaders rush to the funeral i'm sure they will nicely ask if this new king chappie will bring in freedom of religion, female equality, less of the beheadings and lashings and generally drag his country into the 21st Century. Oh and if you can stop funding terrorists, that would be very much appreciated thank you very much.
Unfortunately, the new King has signalled 'continuity' and 'adhering to the policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment'.
The West will just have to continue looking the other way as far as human rights in Saudi Arabia are concerned then, at least until the oil runs out and the military contracts dry up anyway.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Four Minutes To Midnight

Probably the best song about the Doomsday Clock was Iron Maidens 'Two Minutes To Midnight' and at 4pm today the hands that threaten doom to kill the unborn in the womb tick another minute closer to the dreaded 12 o'clock.  
The Doomsday Clock have been fixed at 5 minutes to midnight for the past three years but The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who control the clock have decided the Doomsday Clock needs an adjustment in the wrong direction towards a potentially civilisation-ending catastrophe.
In 1953, the clock was set at 11:58 p.m., the closest it's ever been to midnight, after both the United States and the Soviet Union conducted their first tests of the hydrogen bomb. The clock's hands retreated to 11:43p.m., 17 minutes to midnight, in December 1991, after the world's nuclear superpowers signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The decision has been made with climate change and nuclear warheads the two major threats with inadequate international action to cut greenhouse gas emissions during recent U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru and a lack of progress in the United States and Russia to shrink nuclear arsenals.
Proof, if any was needed, that we ignore 1980's Heavy Metal at our peril.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Blaming Blair

Tony Blair says he is not to blame for delay in publication of the Chilcot report which has taken a long, hard look at the reasons Britain went to war against Iraq in 2003.
Tony Blair has rejected suggestions that he is to blame for the decision by the enquiry to wait until after the general election before publishing its findings but as the whole thing is about Tony Blair lying to take us to war, that denial should be taken with a whole salt mine, nevermind a pinchful.
The hold up seems to be due to people criticised in the report being advised they are about to be criticised publicly and having a right to respond before the publication or to 'get their excuses ready' as everyone else calls it.
Blair has never agreed that his actions in joining George W Bush in attacking Iraq was wrong, and today he again defended his actions by saying: 'I think many people in Iraq would agree, that Saddam Hussein wasn’t exactly a force for stability, peace and prosperity for his country, and was responsible for killing many, many hundreds of thousands of people'.
All very true but not the reason he gave for going to war in 2003, his reason then was that Saddam was armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction but that turned out to be wrong and he has been scratching around for a justification ever since.
While it may be true that Blair is not to blame for the delay in the Chilcot report publication, he is entirely to blame for the need for the Chilcot report in the first place with his eagerness to join in the butchering of Iraqis on an industrial scale to please the warmongering dimwit in the White House at the time.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Voters Profiles

It is wrong to try and profile people into which way they will vote at an election depending upon which newspaper they read or what music they listen to but its fun so we can misuse the YOUGOV profile to try and find out which way that Theatre going neighbour who shops at ALDI is going to vote in May.

According to the tens of thousands in the YouGov database, the average Conservative voter is a dog owning male over 60 who like DIY and motorsports and shops at Waitrose and banks at Lloyds. He drives a Mercedes and wears clothes made by Gant and Barbour and watches Sky News and Downton Abbey, reads the Daily Mail and in the CD player he has Cliff Richards and Phil Collins. 

The average age span of the typical Labour Party voter is 40-59 and they enjoy the theatre, athletics and football. They own a cat, wear Lee Cooper clothing and drive a Ford with Bob Geldof or John Lennon the music of choice and shop at the Cooperative and read the Guardian & Private Eye.

The Lib Dems can expect the crosses on their ballot papers to come from voters aged between 18 and 24 who enjoy athletics, own a cat and drive a Volkswagen. They shop at Sainbury's, listen to Radio 4 and listen to The Strokes and read the Guardian.

UKIP voters are aged 60+, enjoy DIY, boxing and darts, a dog owner who shops at ALDI shopper. They prefer clothes from Cotton Traders, drive a Jaguar and like Dads Army, Mrs Brown's Boys and Emmerdale. They can also be found reading the Daily Mail and listening to Cliff Richards.

Members of the public who vote for the Green Party will typically be aged 18-24, enjoy writing & visiting museums and galleries. There preferred sport is cycling and probably own a cat. They shop at the Cooperative and wear American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. They drive a Fiat, watch QI and Dr Who and listen to The Specials and read the Guardian.

Of course this is not by any means a true reflection of how someone will vote but it might be wise to avoid anyone who reads the Daily Mail and listens top Cliff Richards. Not because they are a UKIP voter but just because anyone who reads the Daily Mail and listens to Cliff Richards should be given a wide berth anyway.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Brits On Benefits Abroad

Thanks to the Tories and UKIP, we are all aware that foreign nationals are pouring into our country to either take all our jobs/leech off our luxurious benefits system (delete as applicable) and the scrounging Johnny Foreigner should go back home.
The figures from the National Statistics Office reveal that there are 60,000 non-British nationals claiming benefits here and the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is campaigning to reform EU freedom of movement as part of his attempt to rewrite the terms of Britain’s EU membership before putting the issue to a referendum in 2017, if he is still in power.
The only people who could possibly be against it are the Brits who are claiming benefits in other EU countries, all 34,000 of them in places such as Ireland where 11,222 Brits claim benefits against the 2,620 Irish claiming here and Finland where 160 Finns queue up for benefits here compared to 582 Brits outside the Finnish unemployment office and 3 times more Brits outside an Austrian one than Austrians outside a British one.    
There are also 1,470 Germans claiming benefits in the UK while back home in Germany, 6,022 Brits claim unemployment benefit, 3,042 in France with 2,800 French here.
In Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Italy the figures are evenly balanced but Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have approximately 30,000 citizens here while these countries pay benefits to 260 Brits.
There are 2.7 million EU nationals in Britain and 1.3 million UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and benefits to 60,000 here while elsewhere coughs up benefits to 34,000 of our own seems to belie the right wing rantings in Britain who are demanding curbs on freedom of movement in the EU as the UK is getting a raw deal from the EU system.
The data seems to show that in many countries it could be a case of please go home you smelly Brits and stop leaching off of our benefits systems.