Saturday, 29 September 2007

Critical Faculty Dojo - Banned in China?

Well well. It seems the Chinese government may have banned Critical Faculty Dojo - or it could just be due to ‘technical reasons’.

At least according to this site.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility though, if they are sensitive and have been reading this, this, this, or this.

Maybe they wouldn’t want their citizens reading about Chinese net censorship. Hey the truth is out there, if you are not being censored you may even be able to read it too…

Friday, 28 September 2007

Dave Cameron Keen on return to Conservative values - Before Brown steals them all

It seems that Dave the Chameleon is now keen on re-branding himself.

Many members of the party formerly known as the Conservatives must have been wondering what on earth he was playing at, when some of his more ludicrous ideas were touted to the press and bombed with many of his natural supporters, whist simultaneously failing to convince anyone else.

It all almost seemed calculated to alienate his natural constituency whist at the same time be lukewarm at best to floating voters and the hoards of Ming the merciless.

It must have been galling watching Broon make direct appeals to Tory voters and Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, has finally been forced to fight back, to try to regain lost ground and attempt to prevent the PM looking more far more conservative than his own leader.

So, instead of the ‘heir to Blair’ he is now keen to be seen as the ‘heir to Thatcher’ - Unfortunately it looks like he was a bit too slow again. He turned up at the new busking pitch only to find that Broon got there first.

He really does desperately need to dump the comparison many see with Blair. That is a millstone round his neck.

Gordon Brown has stolen virtually all his clothes while he wasn’t looking (Dave had thought they were out of fashion). Now all he has left to protect his modesty is a dodgy suit he got from Tony that still has several payments left on it. Because of the suit, when he goes out at night people keep mistaking him for Tony and he gets into trouble over that.

Still all is not necessarily entirely lost, there is hope of some light at the end of the tunnel , Dave will probably be hoping that it is not just an oncoming train ;-)

Nu-Lab’s campaign against ‘traditional’ light bulbs gathers pace.

Son of staring eyed Left Winger Anthony Wedgwood Benn, Hilary, Nu-Lab’s Environment Secretary, informed their conference he wanted to see sales of 150-watt bulbs banned from next January.

But of course it is not just 150 watt bulbs - He wants to take the same ‘defeat in detail’ route Nu-Lab so successfully applied with HIPs, that minimises resistance to the point where it can be ignored.

He stated "our aim is for traditional 150-watt light bulbs to be phased out by January next year, 100-watt bulbs the year after, 40-watt bulbs the year after that and all high-energy light bulbs by 2011."

This might be worthwhile if it had a reasonable chance of ‘doing what it says on the tin’, as they say.

Mr Benn claims that the ban could save five million tonnes of CO2 a year. Typically he appears to fail to take several factors into account:

Firstly he appears to fail to take into account that the heat generated by incandescent bulbs, that he is counting as wasted, actually contributes to heating the premises the bulbs are used in - and this reduction in heat will actually largely have to be made up by additional heating costs and result in increased CO2 emissions required in heating that will offset the supposed saving to be gained in introducing the bulbs.

So a lot of expense in changing all the bulbs for far less gain than touted. Then there are the disparities in production costs… All this will be coming out of the consumers pockets.

Then there is the small matter of the mercury that goes into making the ‘low energy’ bulbs. Nu-Labs Euro MPs were so concerned about the threat of mercury to the environment that they banned mercury barometers, but they seem happy turn a blind eye to the threat of a metric ton of Mercury being dumped in the UK each year that these bulbs pose.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Straw to call for new laws to protect homeowners who defend themselves

In a move to be announced by the UK ‘Justice’ Secretary, Jack Straw, in his conference speech, telegraphed by ‘sources close to him’, it seems Nu-Lab are at long last apparently planning to ‘reform’ self-defence laws in a way that "better balances the system in favour of victims of crime".

“This will be aimed at ensuring that those who seek to protect themselves, their loved ones and their homes as well as other citizens have confidence that the law is on their side,"

Where have we heard this before?

Oh yes - familiar stuff this - A 2004 review of the self-defence laws, following Conservative pressure resulted in...

...absolutely no change whatsoever, any changes being ruled out by Blair on the grounds that the existing legislation was ‘sound’. Right, almost as sound as a cracked bell.

So what has changed since then? Well we know that Gordon would like to Tar Dave the Chameleon with Tony Blair’s brush and steal some of ‘the party formerly known as the Conservatives’ clothing (and votes). So a good sound bite then.

To be fair, it could be that Mr Straw may have actually had genuine second thoughts on the matter, after reportedly being involved in four ‘there but for the grace of god…’ ‘have-a go’ incidents, including chasing and restraining muggers near his south London home.

So we know the Justice dude kicks ass then - Judge Dread eat your heart out…

It remains to be seen what actual practical difference, if any, this may make. But the sheeple may well dimly remember the sound bite, even if nothing more comes of it.

TV & Internet ‘cold turkey’

From time to time one reads of people, who as an experiment, go without TV, the internet, etc. Sometimes they appear to make heavy going of it.

I am a pretty heavy user of the internet and I usually watch at least an hour of news per day, Plus there are the papers.

I do not see myself as a news and politics junky - but I do generally take a keen interest.

In any event I have just had a two week break from TV and didn’t even rally think about it ‘till the initial idea of technology withdrawal surfaced in my mind. Ditto the internet – and I am normally a heavy user. I must confess to having read a couple of newspapers though…

I just got by with convivial conversation, reading books, sight seeing, swimming, good food, drink and relaxation.

I suppose it may have been different if I had to go without them in my normal day to day routine, but I can honestly say, that I missed them so little on holiday that I didn’t even consciously notice their absence.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Another party conference - another self serving spinning sound bite

In a speech today at NU-Lab’s Party conference their Health Fascist in chief Secretary Alan Johnson, had the nerve to criticise Dave the Bloke’s "Party formerly known as the Conservatives", claiming they were a "major risk" to the NHS.

Why? Apparently because they are calling for a moratorium in wholesale casualty department closures.

Now it seems on the face of it that more relatively small local casualty departments, able to handle the normal run-of-the-mill stuff - combined with some larger more advanced establishments could actually be beneficial.

The fact is that many in the UK, contrary to the spin pushed by Nu-Lab politicians, will have experienced an increase in the distance it is necessary to for them to travel to reach an A&E Department.

Without moving house, the distance it is necessary for me to travel to reach an A&E Dept has gone up from around 2 and a half miles to seven and a half and now sits at 12 miles. From my own practical experience the time necessary to be dealt with once you have arrived has risen over that same period.

There is no way Mr Johnson can convince me (or probably anyone else other than the Nu-Lab faithful) that this is an improvement.

Certainly not what you might see as; reshaping the NHS to become "clinically led and locally driven", treating patients close to home where possible…

Monday, 10 September 2007

We’re all going on a Summer Holiday...

Apologies to regular visitors. Postings are likely to be a little sparse on the ground for the next couple of weeks. The ‘staff’ will be taking a well-earned and overdue break.

Given the complete absence of the (was it the met office?) predicted record summer temperatures and continued drought we intend to escape and maybe find some actual summer.

Somewhere there is no need of the ‘evil’ patio heater, the new 4x4.

Somewhere the tax on alcohol is far less punitive.

We do plan to do stuff that would have the hearty disapproval of the health fascists – and possibly others.

Some ‘binge drinking’ (over 4 glasses of wine in a session), or possibly some ‘problem drinking’ (two or more glasses of wine a day), oh - and eating plenty of good food. So that’ll upset Sir Liam Donaldson, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer.

Don’t tell, the BMA, or Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Cheshire, but we will probably be doing some drinking in the street too – well sitting outside a local cafĂ© or taverna having a drink, or two, at some point.

A flight or two may also be involved…

Comment moderation is on.

Please don’t get out of the habit of visiting.

Nu-Lab plan free £120 handout for getting pregnant

How stupid is this? Alan Johnson, Nu-Lab’s Health Secretary is promoting another half-baked scheme, largely, by the look of it, in persuit of a sound-bite.

They want to promote healthy eating in pregnant women so they are planning to give a £120 hand out to pregnant women, ostensibly to buy extra 'healthy' fruit and veg.

Sounds ok until you realise the cretins are just dishing out the ‘dosh’, without a care as to what it is actually spent on, no checks nothing to ensure it is spent as intended.

So what will practically happen is that those already inclined to eat a healthy diet will still do so and may well benefit from the hand out as intended.

Others may use it to buy baby items, or stock a nursery.

Unfortunately, as any one with half a brain can work out, those who most need a healthy diet boost are just as likely to spend it on booze, cigarettes, or a new pair of shoes.

The idiots might at least have issued the hand out as vouchers to be spent on certain products, though even this would then free up an equivalent amount to spend on something else it might at least get people to eat fruit and veg that might otherwise have been eating burgers and fries.

So basically it’s a hand out for getting pregnant. Have the Government been listening to the Pope’s concerns?

This waste of money is estimated to be likely to cost the long-suffering and much abused taxpayer between £70, and £80 million a year.

A sensible person wouldn’t leave someone who could come up with an idea like this in charge of a newspaper round collection, let alone public money.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

McCanns named as suspects in Madeleine’s disappearance by Portuguese Police.

I am sure few can have escaped hearing about the unfortunate McCann family and the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

Now, it seems, the Portuguese police are looking to pin the disappearance on her parents Kate and Jerry. They are apparently suggesting that Kate McCann drugged her daughter to make her sleep, giving her an overdose that killed her.

Then she, possibly in concert with her husband, concealed the body for weeks and then hired a car and disposed of the body using a hire car.

Let's look at some of what is known about the matter.

Madeleine’s parents were checking on the children regularly and returning to a meal with friends Presumably they were acting normally, eating, chatting and giving no indication to people who knew them well that there was anything amiss.

When Madeleine was found to be missing they reacted immediately and attempted to raise the alarm immediately. The Portuguese police were informed, but initially did not take the matter seriously.

This is to some extent understandable, as they must have many children who do wander off briefly. Though In the UK given the proximity to the sea and rocks the police might well have reacted with a view to the welfare of the child and the possibility of their coming to harm accidentally. That the Portuguese police do not seem to have concerned themselves over.

The search for Madeleine was driven to a greater level than might otherwise have been, largely it seems, due to the McCann’s pushing the Portuguese authorities by means of publicity. There were certainly some rumblings of disquiet from them over the publicity. Also someone possibly connected with the police had apparently been briefing against the McCanns for some time.

Up to 1974 the country was still a dictatorship. Policing in a dictatorship does not always require the same skill-sets and priorities as democracies. They will not be the same as we may be familiar with. They are working under quite different rules, conventions, laws and possibly priorities as we are used to.

Whilst the Portuguese authorities may have preferred a less high profile search, Madeleine’s parents apparently decided her best chance was for her face to be known as widely as possible and to be kept at the forefront of people’s minds as much as possible.

Unfortunately this strategy whilst probably the best for Madeleine’s chances was not so good for next year’s Portuguese tourist season.

So on the face of it. If the scenario being implied by the Portuguese Authorities has any likelihood at all it would have initially required great acting abilities and the split second timing of a criminal mastermind to have fooled their friends, or possibly some sort of compact to conceal the crime between them all.

If it was just Kate McCann then the feat would have been impossible without ice nerves like steel, the acting abilities of an Olivier, combined with the strength speed and stamina of a pentathlon athlete, etc., etc.

As to the crime it’s self? If ever did administer any sort of sedative the surely being medically trained they would have known what they were doing and rather unlikely to have done so by mistake.

Moving on: So having concealed the body somewhere sufficiently cunning that it could not be discovered - and would not go off in the heat, all without their friends becoming aware. Whilst at the same time organising a fake hunt for their missing daughter – and having had an out suggested by the police who thought she might have gone wandering. The parents failed to take advantage of the chance to drop her in the sea in the dark.

Continuing on further: Rather than make enough fuss to be convincing and let the matter die down without the police suspecting them at all, at this point, if you follow tthis line of 'reasoning', they chose to push the matter - and keep pushing it, to ensure it came to the attention of the world. Clearly causing some irritation on the part of the Authorities and ensuring that they couldn’t wipe their noses without it being splashed across the pages and screens of the world’s media.

'Cunningly' they do this until they can't move without a camera pointed at them and then, at this point, they hire a vehicle and use it to take the body away for disposal and then successfully dispose of it, all without being filmed doing it, by a small international media army, following their every move.

Oh and there is the matter of Kate McCann’s religious faith. If she did have a hand in the child’s demise, she successfully managed to front out the spiritual head on earth of her faith, with no more sign of distress than a mother desperately hunting for her child might display.

Now that would be true and chilling cunning for you.

Personally I’ll need a teensy bit more convincing…

The McCann’s behaviour appears to have been consistent in every way with parents doing literally everything they can possibly think of to maximise the chances of recovering their daughter, having subordinated their lives for months to that end. A daughter they believe to be alive somewhere.

It does not appear consistent with someone, who had killed his, or her, child and was trying to conceal it.

The fact that Madeline disappeared in Praia da Luz should not put people off visiting there, such things regrettably happen in other places. The police response on the other hand and how the McCanns have fared there lately - That ought to make anyone thinking of visiting Portugal next year think twice.

Maybe someone gets just a little too irritating…

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Creeping overtake of UK Mosques by fanatics

Worryingly, according to the Times over 600 of the mosques in the UK are now run by a Moslem sect known as the Deobandi. That is around half of them.

The Deobandi sect is an ‘ultra-conservative’ movement. The Taleban in Afghanistan originated from it - So they are not known for being ‘moderate’ then.

The sect, has managed to gain a significant foothold on the Muslim Council of Britain.

Now it seems a chap who goes by the name of Riyadh ul Haq is poised to become it’s leader in the UK. He makes the BNP look like a bunch of particularly wet Polly Toynbee wannabes, by comparison.

He is fanatically against what he sees as ‘western’ values and has openly called upon Muslims to “shed blood” for Allah.

He loathes any Muslims who admit to any commitment to being British, believing that any friendship with a Jew, or a Christian, is “a mockery of Allah’s religion”.

Clearly pretty ‘moderate’ then ;-)

By all reports he is not someone you would want to see in charge of rounding up shopping trolleys, let alone armed with ‘spiritual’ authority, pouring his hatred into the unwary and volatile.

It seems he was programmed educated and trained at an Islamic seminary in the UK. So the Governments talk of wanting ‘home grown’ imams does not look, on reflection, like such a good idea after all, as things are.

Mr ul Haq is part of a whole new generation of UK Imams who share similar views and agendas.

It seems the Deobandis run Seventeen of Britain’s twenty six Islamic seminaries and are quiely churning out four, out of every five, of all UK trained Muslim clerics. In many cases blithely funded by local education authority grants.

Should we be concerned?

Just because they cloak their evil in religion does not make them any less sinister, any less dangerous or any less to be resisted than the black-shirts of the 20th century.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Support on the Left for Compulsory DNA Registration

In the Guardian's 'Comment is free', Conor Gearty, makes it clear that he thinks Judge Dread’s Sedley’s plans to force compulsory DNA collection and registration on every man woman and child who lives, or sets foot, however briefly, in the UK "deserve to be debated and not dismissed out of hand as heretical.".

He suggests, setting up a straw man, that supporters of civil liberties and the right not to be interfered with by the state are the sort that ” regularly break CCTV cameras and are affronted by being asked to stop smoking in public places.”

He goes onto say that this kind of libertarianism is “often quite reactionary and in its absolute form it is always being overridden - and rightly overridden - by government in the name of the public good.

So he sets up his ‘Straw’ Libertarians as ‘bad’.

Bad because ‘reactionary’ is ‘bad’, in his and many of his readers lexicon. Bad, because those libertarian civil liberties freaks - all, every one of them, smoke.
Bad because they are rude and anti social (because they smoke & won’t put their cigarettes out) and antisocial criminals (because they regularly destroy CCTV cameras put there by a beneficent Nu-Lab state for your protection).

So because they are so very very nasty, they and their antisocial so-called rights need to be stamped on by the (by comparison) ‘good’ state. It is virtually the state's duty to protect the populous from them.

Conor, seems to feel “that the exact extent of the damage we do to personal freedom has to be warranted by the goal we are seeking to achieve. Advances in technology are always throwing up fresh opportunities for public good via new invasions of this kind of liberty. Sedley's proposals fit within this tradition”

Public Good?

So, to roughly translate: The end justifies the means then. This guy is possibly even more scary than Sedley.

UK Police Chief demands Government Targets be scrapped

Chief Supt Ian Johnston of the Superintendents Association is to attack the whole concept of Government crime fighting targets and demand they be scrapped.

He has a point. Government and Nu-Lab in particular seems to have a sort of 'Midas touch' in reverse, where every thing it touches turns to crap – but without the redeeming possibility of it being composted and therefore of some use.

Government crime fighting targets are yet another example of where in the galloping pursuit of yet another sound-bite, or unexamined quick-fix policy, the full ramifications are not properly thought through and the law of unintended consequences bites NU-Lab on the backside yet again.

What actually happens is that the limited targets are concentrated on, often to the exclusion of actually doing the job properly.

In the case of the police that can mean, instead of responding to the needs of their local population, in a given area, they can end up arresting victims, as well as perpetrators to get extra ‘detections’.

End up arresting, or reporting people, that would be more effectively dealt with differently, or do not actually need dealing with in the first place.

Thus producing the ‘right’ figures becomes a ghastly parody of what the public actually wants and the police begin to loose the general support of the public.

Government needs to consider much of it’s policies and legislation very much more carefully than it does.

It is in far too much of a hurry to legislate and ‘reform’ to bother to make sure what it does is not seriously flawed. It has weakened scrutiny further by weakening/pulling the teeth of the House of Lords. Consequently much of what Nu-Lab have done since they came to power is flawed.

Some of the chickens are taking longer than others to come home to roost, but come home they inevitably will, sooner or later. As they do Nu-Lab tries to cover it with spin where they can.

There is of course little they, or any of us, can do about the increasingly large proportion of legislation and directives imposed on us by Europe and it’s court.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

BBC pulls plug on ‘Planet Relief’ climate change TV special

The BBC have thankfully decided to abandon plans for a ‘Planet Relief’ climate change TV special. It was supposed to be an environmental equivalent to Live8.

The most likely reason it has been pulled is that viewers, both in the UK and abroad, seem to be taking a sharp dislike being lectured to and preached at by holier than though TV personalities. That is now thought to be the primary reason that July's Live Earth concert ratings ‘bombed’.

Climate activists such as Mark Lynas predictably attacked the decision. He said, "This decision shows a real poverty of understanding among senior BBC executives about the gravity of the situation we face,", thus demonstrating a certain puritanical poverty of understanding on his own part about viewing figures.

Audiences are not keen on being preached at by ‘believers’. They apparently prefer a documentary format, that at least pays lip service to the idea of scientific accuracy and objectivity.

One of the gimmicks the Planet Relief promoters were planning was to try to organise viewers to take part in a short mass ‘switch-off’ of electrical equipment, so they could say how much carbon had been saved.

It seems, if they had, then the item of electrical equipment most likely to have been switched off would have been the TV…

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Senior UK appeal court judge advocates compulsory national DNA Database

According to the BBC a senior appeal court judge Lord Justice Stephen Sedley is advocating compulsory registration for all on Nu-Labs police DNA database. This would even include visitors to the country.

He conceded it was an authoritarian measure, but said he felt that the only way to go was to expand the database to cover the whole population and all visitors to the UK.

"Going forwards has very serious but manageable implications. It means that everybody, guilty or innocent, should expect their DNA to be on file for the absolutely rigorously restricted purpose of crime detection and prevention."

Good of him to acknowledge that it was authoritarian.

Frankly the question that now needs answering is that of his fitness to be a judge.

He went on to try to justify such a totalitarian move, because as things are: "It means where there is ethnic profiling going on disproportionate numbers of ethnic minorities get onto the database.”

So his solution is that everyone should have to be on it.

How are disproportionate numbers of ethnic minorities getting onto the database? Because they are being arrested in disproportionate numbers. What's more, if the whole population were forced to give samples, they would still be being arrested in disproportionate numbers - it would just be less visible. Very Nu-Lab.

This can surely not have been lost on the Judge and leads one to wonder why he felt it would be a good idea to disingenuously raise the issue of race to attempt to justify his authoritarianism.

He went on to complain "It also means that a great many people who are walking the streets and whose DNA would show them guilty of crimes, go free.".

The enlightened view would be “So what?” Some prices are too heavy to pay.

Good old Judge Sedley is clearly not a close follower of the English Jurist William Blackstone, who said; “Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer”. Judge Sedley is apparently perfectly happy for the whole population to suffer the loss of one more liberty to ensure one or two less guilty persons escape.

The same arguments could probably have been used to attempt to attempt to justify compulsory fingerprinting of the entire population - but wasn’t was it?

Budding Stalins didn’t particularly complain about that. If system worked acceptably with finger prints, why can the same system with the same checks and balances not be used with DNA – including the removal from the system of innocent parties and those mistakenly, or wrongfully arrested.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Kids avoiding healthy School meals

The Fib Lib-Dems are saying the number of pupils eating school meals has dropped by 428,000 in the last two years and they are concerned.

They are complaining that that the healthy eating campaign has put kids off eating school dinners and are demanding Nu-Lab take fresh action to stop pupils stuffing themselves on fatty food until they explode.

When I was at school many of us would have happily gone hungry, rather than eat the school meals on offer, ‘School Dinners’, as they were known.

Unfortunately we did not have that option. We had little old ladies who had apparently been unable to secure posts as women prison guards, on the grounds that they were just too scary.

They had a gimlet eye and the infallible ability to detect untruth. They would not let us out of the dining hall until they were satisfied that we had eaten ‘enough’.

Perhaps David Laws, their schools spokesman, should suggest recruiting some scary old ladies, (preferably the kids own grannies) instead of complaining about ‘meltdowns’ and 'balls ups’. This lot would probably need ninja training first, as they did not go through ‘the war’.

Still he probably does have a point. Anything the Government has a hand in these days is bound to be a cock up of some sort, even something simple. As he said: “This is a classic example of a Government policy”

Trying to persuade a bunch of finicky kids to eat something decent, who have never seen ‘real’ food and whose parents’ culinary skills are limited to microwaving the virtually unidentifiable contents of a ‘value pack’ was never going to be easy.

Fifth series of Dr Who to be postponed 'til 2010

Shock Horror! It seems the fifth of the new series of DR Who is to be postponed until 2010.

The BBC were no doubt cunningly hoping to bury this nugget of appalling news amongst less important stuff like Gordon Brown reneging on NU-Lab’s commitment for a referendum on the EU Treaty. New Russian sabre rattling. Troop withdrawals in Basra, etc. etc.

All is not completely lost though. There will be a Christmas special this year starring David Tennant and (We should be so lucky) Kylie Minogue. There is the 4th series (still in production) to be screened in 2008.

The controller of BBC Fiction, Jane Tranter, indicates they are also planning three specials in 2009.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Taxes on effort and risk taking

This is a Samizdata quote of the day. I felt it needed repeating:

I believe taxes - of all kinds - should be kept as low as possible and that the pressure to get them down should be relentless... Taxes on income are taxes on effort, work and entrepreneurship. Taxes on capital are taxes on investment and risk taking. But it is effort, work, entrepreneurship, investment and risk taking that we need to continue to grow our economic base.

Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner.

Hat Tip to

Sunday, 2 September 2007

What is the point of Eurovision?

Saturday evening saw the inception of a new Eurovision contest. The bastard offspring of The Eurovision Song Contest and Strictly Ballroom.

The ruthless all pervading publicity machine for the ‘event’ ensured I discovered it was on by chance on Saturday evening.

Given that there was little else on that was worth bothering with the CFD household watched out of curiosity.

As it turned out Finland won in the end, with quite a reasonable effort. Though one suspects, given the overall voting patterns, that the results would not have been much different if Finland had entered Rolf Harris doing a three legged tap dance.

Yes it was clearly infected with the same old inherently dodgy Eurovision voting.

I expect it would be possible to devise a formula to calculate the likely votes:
  • A large percentage seems to be based on good old-fashioned ‘national’ prejudices, both for and against.

  • Then there is the matter of how close a neighbour it is.

  • Then there is the political factor the “who do they need to suck up to right now” - and "who do they need to trash" factor.

  • Then finally there is the “was the act actually any good?” factor. This can have some impact but only seems to come into effect after the other influences.

  • The questions that really need answering are why we bother at all, given proven experience and the inherently corrupt voting system? Also why we contribute so much towards bankrolling such a farce?

    One Eurovision contest is getting a bit too much these days, let alone two.

    Saturday, 1 September 2007

    EU Conflicted over Low energy light ‘bulbs’

    The EU is mandating Low energy light bulbs.

    The EU also has an import tariff of up to 60% on Chinese manufactured Low energy light bulbs. Over 80% of these bulbs sold in the EU are not made in the EU. The Commission have just voted to extend that tariff for another 12 months.

    Clearly free trade enthusiasts then…

    So the EU it is not really keen on all low energy light bulbs then – just those manufactured within the EU.

    Environmental group Worldwide Fund for Nature don’t like the tariff and would like to see sales of the bulbs increase despite the serious environmental threat from the mercury in them.

    Curious that the EU bans the sale and repair of mercury barometers on the grounds that they contain mercury, not exactly known for their environmental impact - whilst at the same time promotes these bulbs, that if taken up in huge numbers will likely prove to be a dangerous source of mercury pollution when disposed of.

    Researchers claim Sheffield's citizens are the luckiest in UK

    Now I have nothing against Sheffield, but it seems a team of psychologists from Peterborough recon it’s occupants are the luckiest in the UK.

    How do they come up with this amazing statistic?

    Apparently the researches asked people how often they experienced ‘good luck’, like finding a £10 note and how often they experienced bad luck, like having a bird bomb them with droppings.

    By the same criteria they judged those living in Plymouth to be the unluckiest in the UK.

    Now is it just me? Or does it occur to anyone else that Plymouth must have a plentiful supply of seagulls, known for their tendency towards loose stools, whereas Sheffield is probably less well endowed in that respect.

    Also maybe the inhabitants of Plymouth are less careless with their tenners, than the inhabitants of Sheffield must be, based on the survey evidence - there must presumably also be a looser for every tenner found in Sheffield.

    So these researchers – They got paid to do this? That's more than lucky...