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Friday, 30 March 2007

The Irresistible Cane Toads (Conquerers of the Outback).



The Problem: The Cane Toad (Bufo Marinus) is Australia’s greatest ever threat to native fauna since man arrived.

The History: Introduced as a pest control in the sugar cane fields in the 1930’s it spread quickly and finding no predators, has now reached approx 200 million spread over Northern Australia, and because the are
  • Very poisonous (they have a toxic skin), and kill predators that eat or bite them, and
  • Voracious predators and will eat anything that they can get their mouths round e.g. Small mammals, insects, fish, Chihuahuas etc etc.
  • The breed like hell, and with no predators the young survive in massive numbers.
They are a very real threat to native species diversity. They have few predators in their native Hawaii and are controlled by illness, rather than Hawaiians species. Introducing new bacteria’s would be risky and in any case their range is too great now.

Recent projections (which currently exclude Global Warming effects) show that their range could double in the next few decades, and so far there has been no successful method devised to counteract this spread.

Nature fights back:

There is some evidence that some species are showing increased toleration of the toxin in small amounts and that natural selection is favouring predators that can’t attack the larger Toads. E.g. Smaller mouth sizes on snakes. They can survive biting smaller Cane Toads.

However this is very slow, not proven and reversing millennium of adaptation to normal conditions so may still result in the wipe out of the native species.

Possible Controls:

Poisoning: Obviously this would also kill native species of amphibian and other creatures – would only be possible if the Cane Toad has wiped out all native life anyway. This is the drastic solution.

Introducing a Predator: As this is how the problem originally started it’s not likely to be adopted, especially as there are no suitable candidates around.

Genetic Engineering: This takes two possible forms

  1. Genetically altering predator species to withstand the poisonous toxins of the Cane Toads skins – Dr Thomas Madsen believes he has found the gene that confers resistance to toad toxin, and is advocating the idea of creating toad resistant Quolls, Goannas (Small rodents and Lizards etc).
  2. Genetically altering the Cane Toads to only produce “male” toads. The hope being that over a few years they would breed themselves out of existence. Professor Peter Koopman, from The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, is developing a strain of “daughter less” cane toads - toads that can give birth only to sons.“We hope to transplant a ‘gene’ into toads that will cause any female tadpoles they produce to change course and become males,” he said. “All of the offspring of this genetically engineered toad would thus be male, and they would all be carrying the daughter less gene. "It’s probably the greenest and safest solution to manage the cane toad problem – it doesn’t involve any toxins or pathogens, so the toads cannot develop immunity against it, and there is no risk to native frog species that we want to protect.”
This “Magic Bullet” approach has its critics, in that it is not proven, and very expensive to develop, and slow to deploy. It also raises concerns about genetic diversity. If you made a Goanna that could eat toads, it would be so successful relative to all other Goanna's that its genes would be the only ones left in the population after a while. The problem with this is that then you have a population of very close relatives (inbreeding etc) which leaves the population open to later threats like disease.

These objections could maybe be tackled by;
  • Taking as wide a range of subjects for manipulation as possible from the wild population (reintroduced into the areas they were taken from), to ensure that the successful pools were still as diverse as before, but shared that one altered gene, along with the hundreds that they must already share in common (or they wouldn't be 'Quolls' in the first place if you follow my drift).
  • A limited introduction from external wild sources (after the toads have gone). They may not be entirely similar to the native versions but better than nothing and would introduce diversity.
  • A controlled release of some captive stock (I am aware that these stocks have often been manipulated by breeders, so this really would have to be controlled e.g. aggressive males are a good wild breeding trait, but have been bred out of captive stocks etc). However there are reserve wild stocks being set up that could assist in this.
Some humans are taking matters into their own hands, by organizing sweeps for Cane Toads and manually killing them. However, as the toads out number the humans by 5 to 1, and rising, this a somewhat problematic approach.

So far nothing has been deployed that has had any real effect, and until it is, the inexorable rise of the Cane Toad continues unchecked by human efforts to control them.
Movie Link:
Cane Toads eating habits.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Malthus and the Four Horsemen

All the signs are that we are heading to a depressing future.

The latest spate of predictions shows that by 2050 we could be facing:
  • Populations reaching at least 9.5 Billion by 2050.
  • By that same date, there are likely to be serious food shortages in many areas, with soil degradation on massive scales (China has lost 25% of arable land in the last 50 years in some areas).
  • Potable water shortages in large areas, often those where soil degradation is occurring.
  • Massive immigration pressures as those countries that have not curbed their population growths try to acquire land from weaker or less populated areas. E.g. Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, Siberian Russia are all under populated and have neighbours who are massively over populated even now i.e. Mexico, and Asia.
  • At least seven new Nuclear weapons powers – Turkey, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Brazil, Argentina and possibly more joining the existing “club”.

Never mind “Global Warming”, many of these pressures will come to a head well before global warming has really taken hold. The world is likely to face at least one “nuclear” war either prompted by resource issues, or the other major political factor, radical Islam. Iran’s complete disregard towards any world norms, (well non Muslim norms) on territorial issues, and the treatment of prisoners, does not augur well in this regard should they obtain a nuclear weapon.

I believe that the driver for nearly all these issues is Population growth in the third world, and until this is tackled all the other problems will just grow. The pressure on water and arable land, come from the tremendous population growth in the last 50 yrs.

When in 1798, Malthus presented his theory, that all human production whether agrarian, economic or social, would eventually be outstripped by the inexorable growth in the human population. It appeared to be a truth that could not be denied. The only limitation on human population growth appeared to be catastrophe i.e. Plague or Famine, and even then there were signs that plague (in whatever form) could be conquered.

Four Horsemen Will Be Riding Forth

In the intervening centuries the human race has learnt to overcome illness and famine, so that by the 1970’s the predictions of Malthus appeared to be invalidated. The human race appeared to have no limits on its size, with talk of Mega cities (ala Judge Dredd) just on the horizon, and most societies had populations at or beyond their agricultural limits. This was permissible because the “Green Revolution” had allowed greater food production per acre than at any time in history.

Now however we appear to have reached the end of the line on that road, and there are signs that population pressure is about to become the real world issue, whether the politicians want it or not. The world is likely to run out of Water (Egypt has threatened Ethiopia over plans to dam the upper Nile), Oil (may be extended by new methods of extraction), and Food (Arable land areas in some countries have already fallen by between 25 - 30%) in some regions by 2050. It’s easy to find the figures, many of which have been produced by UN bodies.

There have been some efforts to discuss over population as the root cause of all humanities problems e.g. Thoughts on Long-Term Energy Supplies: Scientists and the Silent Lie by Albert Bartlett, but oddly the politicians of the world have remained almost stonily silent. They will take up the banner of Global Warming but not the root cause “Over Population” …. Why?

Well it’s our old friend “Political Correctness” again. The problem with this discussion is that, the Western world (Inc Japan, Taiwan etc) is largely showing either stable or falling populations, China’s population is largely stable after 30 yrs of the one child policy but the African, Hispanic, Muslim and Asian regions are showing undiminished growth.

Sub Saharan African populations in some areas have actually fallen since the 1960’s due to war, famine, HIV and poor health care. E.g. the average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now 35 yrs, but was 60 yrs+ in 1970. Nevertheless Sub Saharan Africa has shown tremendous growth e.g. Nigeria, which per capita is one of Africa’s poorer countries, has gone from 32.8 million in 1950 to 83.6 million in 2005.

Raising this matter causes the “Racist” card to be raised by the countries that could most benefit from addressing the issue.…. so it’s not raised, and we go off on a tangent trying to fix the symptoms of over population: Environmental damage, water shortages, and food shortages. To be fair some countries (aside from China), did try and address this issue, Mrs Ghandi in India did try some schemes, but religious militants caused it to collapse, and no one in India has tried it since.

Just to illustrate my theme consider the following facts:
  • Israel's population is projected to grow from 4.7 millions in 1990 to about 8 million in 2025. By that time Palestinians in the west bank - because of their even higher birth rate, are likely to reach just under seven millions- the two peoples are to share the same water resources which they both now say are not enough.
  • Jordan's population more than doubled from 1.5 millions in 1955 to 4 millions in 1990 and is projected to double again before 2010. Their annual per capita water availability in 1990 was 327 cubic meters some 673 below the bottom line of crisis.
  • They all share the same diminishing water supplies, in particular the river Jordan.
  • Turkey has considered damming the upper Jordan … all the countries above are angry.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/755497.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2820831.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/614235.stm
  • Turkey is constantly threatening to dam the upper Tigris and this has caused Syria, Iraq and Iran to issue veiled threats.
Just from the above example we can expect conflict in the next 35 yrs, and given that by then Turkey, Iran, and Israel are likely to have nuclear weapons the consequences of conflict will be terrible. This is a life and death struggle for the participants so no quarter will be given or expected, and all rise because populations in the participant countries are rising at rapid rates.

This scenario is only one of several around the world, including India and Pakistan, Egypt and Ethiopia and a myriad others where water shortages exist already.
A Lecture by Adel Darwish – “Geneva conference on Environment and Quality of Life June 1994”.

Oil has always been thought of as the traditional cause of conflict in the Middle East past and present. Since the first Gulf oil well gushed in Bahrain in 1932, countries have squabbled over borders in the hope that ownership of a patch of desert or a sand bank might give them access to new riches. No longer. Now, most borders have been set, oil fields mapped and reserves accurately estimated - unlike the water resources, which are still often unknown. WATER is taking over from oil as the likeliest cause of conflict in the Middle East.

When President Anwar Sadat signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, he said Egypt will never go to war again, except to protect its water resources. King Hussein of Jordan has said he will never go to war with Israel again except over water and the Untied Nation Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has warned bluntly that the next war in the area will be over water.

From Turkey, the southern bastion of NATO, down to Oman, looking out over the Indian Ocean, the countries of the Middle East are worrying today about how they will satisfy the needs of their burgeoning industries, or find drinking water for the extra millions born each year, not to mention agriculture, the main cause of depleting water resources in the region.

All these nations depend on three great river systems, or vast underground aquifers, some of which are of `fossil water' that cannot be renewed.

Take the greatest source of water in the region, the Nile. Its basin nations have one of the highest rates of population growth, and which are likely to double in less than thirty years, yet the amount of water the Nile brings is no more than it was when Moses was found in the bulrushes”.


The other points raised, Land and Food are self evident, and will simply depend on the willingness of one country to defend its borders against mass migration from another.
  • Would for example the US shoot thousands of Hispanics crossing the border to get to a richer land? If not then the thousands may become millions in 35 yrs time.
  • Could Russia prevent Siberia being colonised by hungry Koreans?
In the past, high birth rates were compensated for by high mortality rates from Disease, Death, Famine and War. The population therefore remained fairly stable in pressure areas such as the Nile, India or Ethiopia. When the land could not support a population any more, a famine took hold, and the survivors found themselves with enough land to support the reduced population.

We in the West have stopped the wars that kill large populations, cured the diseases that took millions, and offer aid to prevent famines taking millions.

We are now looking at the result of this: Populations are stressing the resources available in traditionally large population areas, and these systems are collapsing. We may have to look at the world in an entirely new way in the future, and allow the Four Horsemen to ride again in order to curb the population growth that is strangling the world, and giving rise to the pressures on environment, food, water and resources.
In fact we may not be in a position to stop it, because we will not be immune from the affects ourselves. A depressing thought, but let us face some facts, the higher survival rates of populations around the world, has not been matched by the expected falling birth rates that the altruistic thought would occur, and that accompanied the introduction of medicine, clean water etc in the West.
The world’s future doesn’t look a rosy thing when viewed through my glasses, but at least they are not rose tinted.

Links:
China loses 10% of arable land

Monday, 26 March 2007

The End of History or a New World Order?

When Soviet style “Communism” collapsed in the early 1990’s, a historian (Francis Fukuyama), made a few bucks with a statement (pamphlet and later a book) claiming that history had ended, and that Liberal Democratic Capitalism had won. He further stated that from then on Democracy and Free trader would spread round the globe, and all our problems would be over.

His theory is summed up in this paragraph: "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western Liberal Democracy as the final form of human government." (Quoted from "The End of History?".

Well, we are all now aware that what this historian had forgotten was, that the polar caps of the cold war had buried, but not suppressed, earlier historical ethnic, religious and cultural struggles, and that these would surely re-emerge now that the dead hands of the two main ideologies had been lifted.

First we had the emergence of small nationalist wars, where minorities that had been first subjugated under the old empires, and then by the Soviets or Western supported regimes, now claimed a chance at freedom. I am not referring to the end of the Eastern block per se, but rather the forgotten states of history, those that had been suppressed because they were troublesome or just not viable.

Just to list a few: The Georgians, The Armenians, the Turcoman, the Serbs, The Croats, The Slovaks, Azerbaijanis, The Kurds, The Moldavians, The Bosnians, etc. The list is huge, and for everyone I could list there are sub groups, such as the Assyrians who have barely a modern history, but who have all now aspired to independence.

These groups can largely be classed as either “European” or “Islamic” and therein lie’s the point that Mr Fukuyama missed. Those coming from a homogeneous culture such as Japan, would find it easy to miss the fact that this involves groups and forces under the surface who have to be accounted for, in any assessment of history. E.g. The hatred between the Sunni & the Shia’s which is only slightly less than their dislike of the West.

The “European” states from this list, re-fought the “Balkan wars” of an earlier century, but thanks to US intervention, have at least stopped fighting, even if the causes are still there. The Europeans showed why they can never fight external wars, when the pacifists such as the Germans, or the opportunists like the French (who had a foot in the Serb camp), stalled any military intervention to stop the fighting early on. The fact that all these mostly mini European states, aspire to subsidy heaven in the European Union, means that they have not resumed armed hostilities, so that phase of the “End of History” could be said to be over (for now).

There were also a couple of Christian v Islam wars e.g. Armenia v Azerbaijan and part of the Balkan conflicts involved Muslim Bosnians or Albanians (in Kosovo) but not as many as might have been predicted.

The Muslim majority ‘new’ states in soviet Asia, went to independence rather more peacefully, mainly because they retained the same communist leaders as before, and have not had a bout of Islamic extremism, because radical Islam has remained suppressed. It’s a certainty that some of these will end up with Islamic governments in the future, hence the fact that “western” governments are hardly pressing democracy on any of them.

This brings us to the formation of a “New World Order” that many ‘Neo Cons’ proposed when President Bush took office. The basic idea was an extension of Mr Fukujama’s ideas and those of Positive and Negative freedoms that Isaiah Berlin expounded. They looked around, and determined that a form of “democracy” should be exported to various areas of the world, by force if necessary via interventions. From their point of view, communism was dead or abandoned by its adherents, and Islam was just another religion.

So they also made the same mistake that Mr Fukujama had made, in that they didn’t realise that Islam is not merely a religion, but also a ‘political’ ideal, that to misquote Churchill (who was talking about the ‘Hun’) was either “…at your feet, or at your throat”.

The current problems stem from the US’s responses to Communism, and its spread, or more accurately the fear of its spread in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The “Realpolitik” of Kissenger, and which subsequent administrations followed, was that of the Army Junta, death squads or sponsored tyrants. He believed, and I think wrongly, that the “Ends always justified the means” when it came to fighting communism.

Don't get me wrong, I am pro US in the main, but in this instance I think the "Better dead than Red" theory was always a shaky response to Communism, as it embraced so many terrible regimes, that were, in all practical terms on the ground at least as damaging to their own countries, as any left wing regime they prevented.

I also believe that supporting every regime that claimed it was a "bulwark against communism", caused long term and incalculable damage to the very values they were promoting, Liberal Democracy, and are still affecting the world today. Ironically the "War against terror" has some strange bedfellows as well with Russia, China and various post communist Asian regimes invoking this mantra as they crack down on local dissidents.... History repeats itself?

In the 1960's until the 1990's the US supported this type of right wing regime across the globe, from South America to the Middle East and beyond, in an attempt to “Stem” communism, and these regimes are associated solely with the US. The mothers of boys killed or disappeared by death squads, don’t equate their loss with ‘communism’ but with the US and ‘democracy’, or rather the hypocritical democracy that says this is OK for us, but you get Generalissimo mustachio instead. Across the globe from Egypt to the Philippines, US support for ‘democracy’ had the taint of dictatorship.

If the US had adopted a policy of only supporting pluralistic democracies, of whatever political hue, from 1945 onwards, they might have got some bad regimes (including some democratic communists), but more importantly they would have established the ideas of “good” democracy in people’s minds, and the ‘bad’ regimes would have failed by now. President Eisenhower is said to have said that “the worse decision I ever made, was to back Nasser over the Suez crisis”, as it ushered in a set of nasty regimes across the Middle East and effectively set the pattern for 40 years.

I accept that resisting communism had to be done, and that after WWII only the US had the funds to do so, the British and French were flat broke, and I even accept the argument that in supporting some bad regimes, they allowed some slightly better ones to be safe. However it seems a bit hard on those being sacrificed with no certainty that their sacrifice made the world a better place.

Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore, argued that, although the US lost Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, the fact that it was in the region for a long period meant that the other SouthEast Asian countries had time to build up their economies to relieve the poverty of their populations, and thus resist communist infiltration, which they may not have been able to do had IndoChina gone communist.

This view is good news for Singapore, and Thailand, but for the losers in this world view, it was decades of poverty and needless terror from firstly the US backed regimes, and then from the Communists who replaced them. Also, even if you can square the morals of this argument, I am not convinced that it can be applied in every instance. Are the peoples of Central America or Columbia better off now because of the endless wars against "communists" was fought by US proxies for 30 yrs in their countries?

You would have thought that these bright young things from preppy universities in the Bush administration, would have been aware that this negative association to nasty, brutish dictators across the world, and especially in the Middle East, meant that US sponsored democracy was now too tainted for export, especially at the end of a gun, and that the driving force against the US supported dictators was radical Islam.

The Mullahs of Iran had set the example of the forces at work in the Muslim world, as plainly and obviously as it could be, when they toppled a US backed Shah, but still they, the Neo Cons did not see it, and decided after 9/11 that first Afghanistan (the least likely democracy on earth), and then Iraq (a country with all the components of a civil war – Sunni’s - Shia’s – Kurds and a myriad of minorities from Christians, Assyrians through to Armenians) would be the best places to start.

Frankly, any fool could see that the most promising area would have been Sub Saharan Africa, with its nasty regimes, but importantly, its living memory of true democracy in most states. With the USSR out of the way, and China not yet on the scene, the US could have had a free hand in forcing transparent judicial democracy onto an aid dependent continent. A side benefit would have been a bulwark against Islam.

There is a “they only do it where there’s Oil” argument, that has wide support in some quarters, and that’s why Africa got no real US interest. Africa has no oil apart from a few places such as Nigeria (too big and messy to get involved in) and Equatorial Guinea (a real hell hole), but because of oil they involve themselves in the Middle East in the worst two places they could find. New Oil deposits are now being found in Africa, and it will be interesting to see if that sparks a new resource grab in the area from the various power groups. Admittedly Afghanistan has no oil, but was the source of the 9/11 attack, otherwise it would have been Iran and Iraq.

This argument has some validity, but I suspect that the simple reason is that most US citizens dislike Muslims (for obvious reasons), and attacking Black states has political difficulties at home (despite the good it would do), so it had to be Muslim areas, and as discussed the Neo Cons had not learnt the lessons of the last three decades.

I suspect that the West will have to live through 30 yrs of Islamic upheaval and threats, before there is a chance of taking democracy to the Muslim world, but that oddly it may well be Iran where that chance comes. There are some signs that younger Iranians (mainly the middle class) are fed up of old men with beards ruling their lives. It’s possible that a coup may come about because they bring down the regime of their own accord, but not at the point of a US gun.

The US and the West in general, could take the opportunity, which the likely retreat from Baghdad will afford them, to revue its support for any kind of despots and theocratic states, and change the future course of history, or just end up repeating the cycle of failures that turn chances into dust.

"The past is always a rebuke to the present". Robert Penn Warren

"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results." Machiavelli.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown, the UK’s self styled “Iron Chancellor”, has been accused of acting with a "Stalinist ruthlessness" as well as going awol whenever a hard decision has to be made, or one of his policies hits the fan. E.g. His Pension raids have brought a personal pension disaster to the UK but he refuses to talk about it. Also it has just been announced that Mr Brown won't need an election to become the next Prime Minister, if no one challenges him for leadership of the New Labour party, something Stalin would surely have approved of :-)

Mr Brown is allegedly not really put out by this comparison, and in fact Charlie Whelan, his old spin doctor, thought it could be taken as a form of praise for a “strong .. ruthless .. and determined" leader. Interestingly the US Ambassador to the USSR in 1941 described Germany and the USSR with the terms “Both are strong and ruthless in their methods” (Joseph Davies - Journal entry, July 7, 1941).

This got me thinking as to why being likened to a Communist mass murderer was OK, but being labelled a “Fascist” wasn’t.

So why is being likened to "Stalin", OK, and not considered pejorative? I mean, Stalin murdered more people than Hitler, and ruined large sections of his countries economy and environment. Margaret Thatcher was often called a ‘fascist’ by socialists in the 80’s, and that was an insult. Gordon Brown is likened to Stalin and is able to joke about it. From a historical perspective, the genocide of ethnic groups inside Russia is not much different in end result, to the genocide of groups under the Nazi's, so the insult should be the same.

All very strange, and a distinctly UK phenomenon of political insult and praise.

Oddly, when I knew people on the left splinter groups in the 1980’s, they reserved the term “Maoists” as an insult for all their opponents on the left, I never could fathom the arcane mystery of why a Maoist was an insult, I have come to think that anyone not following the mainstream Marxism was a "Splitter", as they would have called them in the "Life of Brian".

Before anyone thinks I am not aware of the difference between National Socialism and Communism, I realise that Hitler advocated open genocide against certain groups, from the Jews, Handicapped, and Slavs, to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ostensibly Communism said that all men were of equal worth, irrespective of colour or previous creed. The key is the word ‘previous’, they weren’t keen on any creed except communism after they got into power.

In practise, the policies used in order to achieve either National Socialism, or Communism, were identical. Genocides, forced movements of all suspected groups to resettlement areas, Slave labour camps and arbitrary executions without the rule of law.

Incidentally, whether being likened to a Stalinist, or a Maoist, it should still be a term of insult for anyone, because using almost any scholarly tabulations (and even official Communist pronouncements), the governments of the USSR and China murdered more non-combatants than any other in the 20th-century.

Out of the top *ten most murderous regimes in the last century, five were Communist, according to the ranking provided by R.J. Rummel in his Death By Government (Communist regimes indicated in bold):
  1. Soviet Union
  2. Communist China
  3. Nazi Germany (**National Socialist)
  4. Nationalist China
  5. Imperial Japan
  6. Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge
  7. Turkey under the Young Turks
  8. Communist Vietnam
  9. Communist Poland
  10. Pakistan under Yahya Khan
Why any democratic politician would wish to be associated with any of these regimes is a mystery to me, the fact that they can laugh and revel in it is shameful.

*Some have taken issue with some of Rummel's calculations, but not with his basic conclusions. For a reproduction of Rummel's tabulations, go to Freedom's Nest).
** It’s often forgotten that both the fascists and communists, considered themselves to be “Socialists” e.g. Until 1914, Benito Mussolini was the leader of the Socialist Party of Italy and Hitler said “There is more that binds us to Bolshevism than separates us from it”, he allowed converts from Communist parties to join the Nazi party because they could do so with little mental effort.

Oddly, like my left wing friends of the 1980’s, they reserved their worst vitriol and hatred for those who were closest to them …. An important factor, that many overlook when considering the 2nd World War, and the political relationship between Nazi Germany, and Communist Russia. This is something the Left prefers not to discuss much, for obvious reasons. 


Monday, 19 March 2007

Real Black Heroes

This month is “Black History Month” in the UK, and as I feared, it’s become a chance for the Afro-centric” mythologists to get plenty of air time on radio and TV, in which to spout arrant nonsense as “historical fact”.

This morning a man who “intervenes in schools to promote black historical awareness” said on BBC Radio 5 that “I ask kids to name one thing that Black Africa has given to world civilisation and I get nothing” …. “Then I tell them that it’s 'undisputed fact' that ‘Africans’ taught the Greeks everything they knew”. He then went onto other areas of dubious fact that Afro-centric’s use to make themselves feel good. The problems with this is that:
  • It’s largely rubbish, and any professor of ancient history would tell you this if they weren’t so scared of being deemed “racists” or “white imperialist”.
  • The “Africans” in this case were Egyptians, not Black Africans.
  • The speaker kept swapping between ‘Black’ and ‘African’, after a while it was apparent that he was nearly always talking about Egypt, and not Black Africa when he was talking about the past.
  • There was no challenge to this nonsense from the presenter, nor was there any counter view from a proper historian. The guy spouting off was some sort of “teacher in Afro studies” and appeared to be basing much of what he said on the book “Black Athena” by Martin Bernal.
  • Most frightening of all was that he is visiting our schools and teaching “Myth” and “wishful thinking” as fact. If we taught that “King Arthur” was real and that the story proved something, it would be about the same.

As I posted on http://nopcthoughtshere.blogspot.com/2007/03/revisionist-history.html this black revisionist history is gaining ground because no one dares point out that it fits no facts, and has been developed in the US where it’s allowed to go unchallenged because everyone fears to say anything to refute the nonsense for fear of being sacked.

GW Carver ... Celebrated in a stamp

The worst of it is that there are Real Black Heroes who could be promoted without trying to “steal from the European culture”. Here’s a list of people and empires that could be promoted in Black History Month without having to take credit for anyone else’s culture.
  1. The Queen of Sheba (circa 700 BC) – she worshipped the Sun but was also a believer in one god and had a child by Solomon (Old testament). She ruled over “Punt” (or Melkat Sabaa as the Muslims call it in the Quran ‘Sura 27’) which covered parts of the modern Yemen and Ethiopia when incense was the most precious thing on Earth.
  2. Mary Seacole (1805-1881) – a Victorian heroine of nursing in the Crimea and whose funeral was a time of national mourning attended by thousands.
  3. Benin Empire or Edo Empire (1470-1897) which ruled a glittering empire in West Africa for centuries.
  4. Great Zimbabwe – A southern African Empire founded around 1000AD. The history of this empire is only now being uncovered.
  5. The Kush or Nubian Kingdom – circa 1100 BC – 300 AD (?) Which for periods of time controlled upper Egypt and had Black Pharaohs (sometimes it was in turn controlled by Egypt). Mostly they never controlled lower Egypt, so in effect there were two Pharaohs at the same time for a hundred years, but under King Piye they briefly (752 – 695 BC) controlled all Egypt. Eventually they were driven out of Egypt but the Romans had diplomatic relations (Pliny the Elder,) with Kush (now called Meroe) under Emperor Nero.
  6. Lewis Howard Latimer - In 1881, he supervised installation of electric light in New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. Latimer was the original draftsman for Thomas Edison. He had many interests. He was a draftsman, engineer, author, poet, musician, and, at the same time, a devoted family man and philanthropist.
  7. Granville T. Woods – the “Black Edison” invented more than a dozen devices to improve electric railway cars and many more for controlling the flow of electricity. His most noted invention was systems for letting the engineer of a train know how close his train was to others.
  8. Dr. Meridith Groudine - built a multi-million dollar corporation that is based on his ideas in the field of electrogasdynamics (EGD). Using the principles of EGD, Gourdine successfully converted natural gas to electricity for everyday use. Applications of EGD include refrigeration, desalination of sea water, and reducing the pollutants in smoke. He holds more than 40 patents for various inventions. In 1964, he served on the President’s Panel on Energy.
  9. George Washington Carver - Born into slavery, freed as a child, curious throughout life, Carver profoundly affected the lives of people throughout the nation. He successfully shifted Southern farming away from risky cotton, which depletes soil of its nutrients, to nitrate-producing crops such as peanuts, peas, sweet potatoes, pecans, and soybeans. Farmers began rotating crops of cotton one year with peanuts the next. Other Carver innovations include synthetic marble from sawdust, plastics from wood shavings, and writing paper from wisteria vines.
  10. Madame Walker - revolutionized the hair care and cosmetics industry early in the 20th century and became a Multi Millionairess.
  11. Finally, although this list is not exhaustive, Elijah McCoy – “The real McCoy” - He earned more than 50 patents. The most famous was for a metal or glass cup that fed oil to bearings through a small bore tube. Machinists and engineers who wanted genuine McCoy lubricators may well have originated the term, "the real McCoy."
Mary Seacole - Heroine To All Races.

I found these real people and large "Black" kingdoms, with only five minutes searching. So why do our educationalists find it so hard to run a course that is not revisionist claptrap, and that praises real Black achievements?

I can only assume, that once again it's because the PC fascism that appears to have infected the western culture, means that only Black "educators" can put forward an agenda for students, and this means that we end up with "Black Socrates, or Egypt was a black state" etc etc because there is a hidden "agenda" to this nonsense, rather than praising real black role models, most of whom would likely have nothing to do with that "agenda" if they were around to be asked.

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Friday, 16 March 2007

Zimbabwe

There is a Zimbabwe exiles blog that calls on Britain to invade Zimbabwe. Its actually rather a sad blog because its largely exiles planning for a day that’s maybe never going to come, but this blog reminded me that some many years ago I met a Ugandan who was driving an illegal taxi in Manchester (UK). We got chatting about African politics and Uganda as he drove me home, and he suddenly said something that has stuck with me over the years. He said that “It was wrong of the whites to leave so early, we weren’t ready”.

When I asked what he meant, he said that there should have been “A longer run up to independence in Uganda, with more skilled Africans trained into the Judiciary, Civil Service, Police and Military”. He went on to expand on this, he was obviously keen to get things off his chest, and said that “The interim government should have been five years or more, with the first two elections, supervised whilst still under British overall control, to ensure the rules were stuck to”.

He then added “But most of all, the police should have remained under British control, and we should have been told we didn’t need an army as the British Army was staying to ”protect” Uganda, not that we needed an army, or protecting from any one except our own army”.

I forget which “African strong man” was in charge of Uganda at the time, it could have been Idi Amin, or Milton Obotoe, or one of the others, but his charge was that they had all squandered and stolen the resources that had been there upon independence, and let down the hopes of a nation.

His basic argument was that with no native Military, and the Police and Judiciary supervised by the UK, democracy would have stuck from the start, and the constitution obeyed by all parties. And, that by not wasting money on unneeded armies; money would have been spent on education, medicine and infrastructure.

In reality this wasn’t practicable, especially given the “anti-colonial” sentiments in both Africa and the West at the time. But when you look at the mess that the vast majority of African nations got into after independence, maybe he had a point for all of the new states and not just Uganda.

I haven’t thought about this conversation for some years, and I am afraid that like many I have just written the whole continent off as a “basket case”, with Zimbabwe just being the latest example, but I wonder how it would have all turned out “if only..” Britain and France had come up with a joint “plan” for correcting inappropriate borders (those that split tribes), and insisting on acting as military guarantors of the constitution for each newly independent states?

It’s too late now, and asking for any white military force to go in and correct an abhorrent African regime is just whistling into the wind. There is still an “Anti colonial” lobby on the left wing of the UK, who would bring down the New Labour regime if Blair tried to use military force, so even if he has thought about it, he has not dared risk it.

I am afraid that the Zimbabweans are stuck with the ‘old dictators club’ aka the “African Union” or the “UN”, aka the ‘Chinese oil exploration authority’, for any hope in Zimbabwe. In reality this means that nothing will happen, and until and unless South Africa feels threatened, nothing will be allowed to happen. With the news that Mugabe intends to run for election until he dies, that is the only hope they have, that he dies of old age.

It will be a very long time, if ever, before Zimbabwe fully recovers from the damage. All the farm infrastructure has been destroyed, the farmers dispersed, and capital goods (tractors etc) gone, and livestock diseased or eaten. Even just repairing the broken fences will cost millions.

Their country has effectively been destroyed, and will never regain the chances lost, because even if Mugabe’s regime collapses, all the squatters, veterans, activists etc will still be there, and no one will be able to control them. It would need a military government just to protect people, let alone enforce the courts orders.

I guess I am being ultra pessimistic, but I suspect that when Mugabe’s party lose power, they will revert back to guerrilla violence to get it back, and this brings us back to “if only ….”

Update: TuTu calls for action on Zimbabwe - yep its got worse and guess who got a hero's welcome at the latest meeting of the African Union? Yes our 'hero' and yours Robert Mugabe!

The 300 and Iranian Censorship

There have been calls in Iran and amongst Iranian exiles (or diaspora) to ban screenings of the film “300” which is currently raking in money in the US. Their complaint, it’s not historically accurate, and portrays Persians in a bad light…. Hmm.

As usual the peoples of the Iran (and the Middle East as a whole) miss the point about Freedom of Speech and Expression. It allows the good as well as the bad. It doesn't recognise the "special interests" of groups such as Muslims or Iranians to be "protected" from being portrayed unfavourably in a film or book. Once you start doing that, it's no longer freedom of speech but state controlled "New Speak".

I find it particularly ironic, that a part of the world where "Death to the US, Death to Zionists" is regularly used to close state broadcasts, and where the state president is pursuing inter continental missiles and nuclear warheads, after declaring that it would be better if Israel was ‘wiped from the map’, should have the nerve to complain about a cartoon style action movie based upon a comic book.

A lot of the calls for censorship have come from Iranians who live in the West (presumably because they are freer to speak their minds), and do so because the West is tolerant of cultural minorities in a way that many cultures, including the Iranian culture, are not, but that tolerance is supposed to work both ways. Only the extremely sensitive, or irony challenged, would get upset about this movie with its cartoon style violence, and no one in their right mind would associate it with the truth.

I do accept that it is playing to an audience who also thought that the "Da Vinci Code" was factual, so in that regard they may have something to concern them vis-a-vis the US audiences, but remember that the MTV generation have come through the US Public schooling system, so I doubt if most of them will

A) Know where Persia is/was ... most will think it’s got something to do with Aladdin or the Prince of Persia the game.

B) Make any association between Persia and Iran

Hollywood has a long and inglorious record of distorting history to suit a story, from "The Green Beret", in which John Wayne 'won the Vietnam war', with its shades of Errol Flynn winning the war in Burma; "The Patriot", with its one man American Revolution; "Brave Heart" which included characters who lived over a 100 yrs apart from each other, and distorted the whole history of Scotland to "make a better movie", right through to this latest "300", which only Iranians with a real confidence problem could think is based upon fact.

Confident cultures can stand being portrayed in many lights, those that are uncomfortable with their history, can not. The Brits are always the villains in US "historical" films, but we just laugh it off, so why don't the Iranians calling for censorship get a grip and just enjoy the movie as a piece of hokum.

The whole world may not see Iranian culture in the light in which they may wish to be portrayed, why? Because actions speak louder than words, and all the 'culture' of Iran appears to bring to today’s world is a Theocracy straight out of the Middle Ages, suppression of minorities, backing for Shia militias in Iraq, and legal subjugation of women, with the added bonus that they threaten the existence of a smaller neighbour. It appears that somethings don't change in 3,000 yrs.

Those who call for censorship remember this, if you suppress one person’s freedom of speech, then who will protect yours?

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Revisionist History

Posthumous Knighthoods were being demanded by web poll for two dead football managers, by supporters of Liverpool, and Glasgow Celtic, football clubs. Obviously the supporters of Everton and Glasgow Rangers, will now demand knighthoods for one of their ex managers in order to keep the tribal balance. Will supporters of other football clubs demand the same, Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur), Brian Clough (Nottingham Forest), and Herbert Chapman (Arsenal) spring to mind, and others no doubt are lurking in the past. (The requests were declined by No 10 by the way, because there was no precedent for non living knighthoods).

On a Historical note, why stop at footballers? How about stripping knighthoods posthumously for anyone the "PC Left" don't like e.g. All those Victorian generals who the "Left" consider as "Colonialists." Or, awarding honours to anyone that 21st century PC revisionism now decrees is a hero?… maybe every African who raised a gun against whites in the “anti colonial” struggles … Arise “Sir” Chaka Zulu?

So what is going on with this revisionist trend, do the so called historians not see the dangers?

All this made me think about other attempts to rewrite history. The recent campaign to declare that, all soldiers shot for cowardice by the British Army in WW1, were not cowards, has succeeded, so they are all heroes (or victims) now, .... apparently.

The most recent international attempts in Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, or Turkmenistan under President Turkmenbashi, were really rather small beer personality cults, and didn’t really change the past, except for the personal histories of the participants e.g. That Saddam took a major role in an earlier failed coup, when in reality he ran away. Some similarities with "Uncle Joes" dubious past as a Tsarist informer.

However, we have had some real and serious efforts to rewrite history in the recent past, that deserve the PC award for historical revisionism. One must remember that “History is written by the victors” … well until the PC left wing get their hands on it, in which case its up for grabs.

So in my order of merit for serious PC history rewrites:

  1. Stalin: Many a loyal party member was air brushed, literally, out of history by Stalin. His forced famines in the Ukraine, became a class war, and as he once said “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is merely a statistic”, so a mere 6 million statistics died in that purge alone. With that kind of mindset, you are up and running on rewriting history to suit your needs.
  2. Pol Pot: In second place, for the sheer nerve required to declare history as "stopped", and that it would start again from “Year Zero” … he also shared Stalin’s view on statistics, so was obviously willing to learn from the master.
  3. Adolf Hitler: He was a bit more subtle about history, in that he wanted to set the future (well, at least a good "1000 yrs" of it), however under his stewardship, the Germans found that instead of a being a bunch of uncivilised savages, who destroyed the Western Roman Empire, and set us up with the "Dark Ages", they were really descended from “Mythical” Aryan heroes, who had defended the “Volk” (From those bathing Romans?), and kept Aryan “civilisation” alive. Hitler too, had a statistical turn of mind, and the Germans showed how "civilised Aryans" could be, by killing millions.
  4. Mao Tse Tung: In sheer "statistical" terms he should be “Numero Uno”, but as this is still a "Non Subject" in China, the full scale of his efforts is only estimated at between 40 and 60 million “statistics”. He made some attempt at rewriting the past, but largely as an excuse for "Statistical" pogroms. E.g. The "Landlords" etc were class enemies. There was also some serious personality cult revisionism about Mao’s past. But a slight practical nationalist streak meant that Confucius survived as a socialist “hero” in some odd way.
  5. Honourable mentions:
  • Japan’s ongoing historical revisionism, that ensures that the 2nd world war, and Japan’s part in it, was really an accident best forgotten by everyone, especially the Chinese and Koreans. The accident, was apparently that they lost.
  • Hollywood: For whom the maxim “Why let facts get in the way of a good story”, is alive and well. John Wayne certainly never let facts ruin the “Green Berets” (he let the acting do it): "Brave Heart" was not too hot on facts, with its nice blend of characters separated by a century or so: Errol Flynn’s conquest of Burma on behalf of the US was an especially notable re-write of history.
  • The Arabs, for claiming that it was their science that kept the world moving in the 10th century. Actually most of it was taken from Greek, Roman, and Indian books that they had “conquered”…. But hey, Arab culture and the truth, are not necessarily tied together, as we see even now. Fairs fair, they did have some scientists back then, but have not had any since, because now everything has to tie in with the Quran, or it’s a mob with a burning effigy for you mate ... unless its making Nuclear Weapons, which are Islamic somehow!
  • Turkeys claims that they are fully “European”, whilst denying the Armenian massacres, or that the state sponsored attacks on the Greeks of Constantinople in the late 1950’s, ever happened. They happily revise their history, but say that they will comply with Northern European norms in education … get over it lads, we all have a few dodgy bits in our past, and its just easier to acknowledge them e.g. US and the Native American treaties, France and Algeria, Britain and the Indian mutiny, Australia and the Aborigines to name but a few.
  • The Left Wing Historians: This group deserves a special mention, because in an effort to get a book published (See the history man for the red brick type of lecturer), they will happily take the knife to historical facts, and remove anything that disagrees with trendy Marxist / PC thoughts. They can be spotted by the way that they often “promote” women, or ethnic minorities to a historical prominence they didn’t in fact hold, in order to make book more publishable. This "promotion" usually means the real protagonists, such as white males disappear.
  • And finally the *Black Revisionist Historians: These are a special sub genre all of their own, led by Martin Bernal's "Black Athena" and its leading of the Afrocentrist movement. This book claimed that the Greeks civilisation was largely stolen from the "Africans" (assuming Egypt is the sort of African that most of them want i.e. Black African ... and based upon one dodgy quote from Herodotus and a fanciful misunderstanding of Egyptian culture by the early church until hieroglyphics were translated). There are also claims that Cleopatra was Black (despite that she was an inbred Macedonian Greek); Of course the Pharaohs were all black as well (again a half truth turned into a fact, Upper Egypt was conquered by the Nubian's and held for a hundred yrs or so, and for 50 yrs they ruled all Egypt, the rulers called themselves Pharaoh); Socrates it is claimed was black or "African" by some American Afro studies (mainly because we can't prove he never had black parents .. a particularly stupid argument, I can't prove my great grandparent weren't black either): Beethoven was Black (because he had been described as "Dark", much like some Irish are described as "Black Irish"); I once came across a web site that insisted that Greater Zimbabwe in the first century AD, had aeroplanes as well as the standard, "such and such was black" claims (unfortunately this wonderful site has gone, such is the ephemeral nature of the web); and of course the old favourite "Slavery" was purely a "racist act".
The slavery issue prompts more revisionism than any other part of history, mainly because the "facts" keep getting in the way of the Myth. Inconveniently it's a fact that the earliest written records such as the Code of Hammurabi (circa 1760 BC) show slavery was well established without a black person in sight, the Romans had far more White European and Asiatic slaves, than they ever had Black. The Anglo Saxons had white British slaves (recorded in the Doomsday property records). There were Black tribes with Black slaves, long before the whites ever got there. It was Black slavers who provided most of the Black slaves sold to the Europeans, and Arabs who slaved for the Arabian slave markets.

Black Moors (The "BlackaMoors" of Shakesperean terminology) from North Africa regularly slave raided Europe as far as Cornwall (England) as late as the **17th century. In 1627 AD Moors kidnapped 400 men and women from Iceland. Dorset historian David Burnett reports that in 1638 AD, the corsairs even pillaged Poole and the last raid was 1720 AD. Today there are still slaves in the Muslim black states of Northern Africa e.g. Mali.

Making this a purely Afro-American and White slavers affair is difficult (and an insult to all those around the world who suffered slavery), when faced with these "Facts", but it won't stop the PC revisionist from trying. Eventually they will succeed because popular TV presenters will continue to be too lazy, ignorant, or PC driven, to dispute this as being "Fact".

Those who want history amended by "popular vote", should remember that anything given by popular vote can just as easily be stripped by the same method. See reality TV votes for how crass public polls can be.

All of this revisionism is the direct result of PC "Fascism" (to borrow one of their insults to disbelievers), running out of control. And where does this all end? Once you start re-writing history, you have entered the land of Orwell’s Oceania and “Big Brother”, and from then on every historical truth is at the diktat of the ruling pressure group, whether from the left or the right.

It's fascinating how like urban myths, these revisions seem to come and go. The dangerous thing is that when they finally stick, they become immovable "fact", like the myth of the black Cleopatra. In fact one can see a time when academics who teach contrary to this new truth will be sacked.

As Bowie sang, “Beware the eyes above, in 1984



Rewriting history "Uncle Joe" style, 'The Commissar' was shot at "Joe's" orders 1940

 A couple links:

http://www.historyplace.com/pointsofview/not-out.htm

This lady found how resistant to facts, the PC revisionist cult beliefs really are.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/050527.html

This site covers a number of the "Were they Black" type of myths

http://www.originaldissent.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-523.html

(A brief History of Moorish slave raids in Europe)

Google searches will find the other well documented history re-writes.

*Not all black historians or commentators have fallen into this dead end intellectual trap. "Blacks were not enslaved because they were black but because they were available. Slavery has existed in the world for thousands of years. Whites enslaved other whites in Europe for centuries before the first black was brought to the Western hemisphere. Asians enslaved Europeans. Asians enslaved other Asians. Africans enslaved other Africans, and indeed even today in North Africa, blacks continue to enslave blacks".- Thomas Sowell, a black sociologist, author and columnist

** White Slaves were imported from Western Europe to North Africa in the 15th and 16th Centuries. In all about 1.5 million Europeans were transported to the Barbary Coast. It was a period when Europe was preoccupied by sectarian wars and north-western European navies were depleted. The trade was run by the Moors and the expeditions were captained by Europeans (Converted to Islam to escape being slaves themselves) with North African crews. They would raid coastal areas and carry away sometimes whole villages to the Moorish slave markets. It appears that women often fared better, as brides, than men. The true record of this history has not yet been fully researched.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Man Made Global Warming Myth

Global Warming Myths:

Fact: there is Global Warming.

Myth: It's caused mainly by human CO2 emissions.

There is a whole band wagon of "Global Environmentalists" (not scientists) who only get funding by banging on about human CO2 emissions, and so they do, but there is no real evidence that the current temperature rises are anything except natural, and within the ranges of the geological past. It's sheer human arrogance to assume that the last 5,000 yrs (which the global warming brigade use) is the defining period in a geological timescale of 4.6 billion years.

Over that period we have had periods up to 10 degrees warmer than now, and the "little ice age" of the 14th century is what we are currently coming out of, hence the rise back to the normal i.e. The medieval warm period, when according to Chaucer there were "vineyards in the north of England". The "Holocene maximum" of 8,000 yrs ago was warmer than even the medieval warm period ... incidentally Polar Bears survived that period when the Artic ice sheet must have been a lot less than now.
Human CO2 emissions only started becoming recordable in the atmosphers in the last 50 - 60 years. If that was the main driver of global warming, then the temperatures should have been more stable in the past, but they weren't, so some other mechanisms must be the main temperature drivers. It could be volcanic (creating cloud cover) or Sun temperature variance (creating cloud cover .. see below) or maybe a combination of causes ... but not solely by human CO2 emissions as we are daily led to believe.

Global Warming Gases:

Water vapour is the largest green house gas, CO2 only makes up a small percent of the atmosphere, and the proportion of CO2 that humans are responsible for is even smaller. While the atmospheric parts per million of CO2 have continually increased during recent decades, atmospheric temperatures have risen, and fallen, uninfluenced by any notions that some people may have about the powers of CO2. 'Atmospheric temperatures respond to realities, not myths'. As for the amount of the increase of atmospheric CO2 from 2002 to 2003, it was approximately two and one half parts per million, 2.54/1000000.00 to be precise.
The major natural greenhouse gases are:
Water vapor H2O, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds);
Carbondioxide CO2, which causes 9-26%;
Methane, which causes 4-9%, and
Ozone,which causes 3-7%.
No one is yet able to state for certain which gas causes what percentage of the greenhouse effect, because the influences of the various gases are not additive. It's also not clear whether these gases are the causes of, or functions of Global Warming.
Two of these other main greenhouse gases are methane and nitrous oxide. Both gases have a much smaller presence in the atmosphere than CO2 but are much stronger greenhouse gases; methane has over 20 times the effect of C02, while nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times stronger. These are also rising in volumes.

Temperature Records:

The last 120 yrs temperature record shows that there were big rises in temperature before 1940, and that it actually fell when the post war industrial boom was taking place between 1945 and 1970... in fact in the early 1970's there were predictions that we were heading back to the ice age again (we are in fact in an inter glacial period). It started rising again during the world depression on the 1970's, when economic activity fell, which goes against the logic of the currently popular theories, but since when have activists allowed facts to interfere with a pet theory.

Warming Mechanism:

Ice cores show that first there is a temperature rise (driven by solar activity), and then up to 800 yrs later the CO2 levels rise. In other words it's the temperature rising that produces CO2, and not the other way round as proposed by Al Gore. The mechanism for this is, that as sea temperatures rise, the the seas gives off more CO2 as they warm up, and that as the oceans are so huge, it takes hundreds of years for the seas to warm up in response to those land temperature rises.

This is time response lag is known as "ocean memory", and means that the current sea temperature rises, and the consequent CO2 emissions, are a response to events hundreds, and possibly thousands of years ago. So for instance the warming that occurred after the end of the last ice age (or possibly the little ice age), are the causes of the current sea temperature rises and it's this that drives the current CO2 rises.

Solar Activity (Sun Spots) and Global Temperatures:


There is very strong evidence that the earths temperature is much more influenced by the Suns activity and sunspots.
Known as the 'Maunder Minimum', the lowest amount of sunspots recorded was during the mini ice age in the 14th century (when it was cold and temperatures fell), and the most solar activity recorded has been in the last 100 years when temperatures have risen. Dr Henrik Svensmark has demonstrated the very exact correlation between cosmic rays, cloud cover and warming on Earth.
The theory is that when ever a star goes supernova, it blasts trillions of charged particles into space, and it's those particles that are constantly hitting the earths atmosphere. Because these particles are positively charged, they attract water molecules and create a large proportion of the earths clouds. When the sun is active, the stronger solar wind prevents the particles hitting the earth, and less clouds are produced, and the temperature rises. When the sun is inactive, more particles hit the earth and the cloud cover rises and the temperature drops.

This strong evidence that this is the biggest cause of temperature rises, but the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ignored it, and published unproven Human CO2 emissions as the most "likely" causes of temperature rises, because it fits the current popular thinking.

In this graph, please note the correlation to temperature graphs on this page.
During the periods 1350 - 1500AD, the drop in sunpsots which correlate to a global cooling period called the little ice age.

The other dips correspond to cold periods e.g. 1850 AD .. Charles Dickens recorded ice skating on the Thames river around then.



This is the commonly accepted temperature map for last 1000 odd
years. There is some dispute about the "hockey stick" spike at the end, with some people claiming that it was modelled in correctly. Other web sites detail this dispute.

However it is still used by the press so its produced here.



The mapping of solar events (inversed to relate to temperature) on to a temperature map, shows an exact correlation between the two.


Political Aspect:
Much though it makes most climate scientists uncomfortable, they are in bed with some strange and woolly bedfellows, from the bare chested anarchists who use any cause as an excuse to attack the police on rallies, to the Anti Nuclear, Anti Global trade, Anti Everything "western" brigade. This makes some of their arguments dangerous at worst and suspect at best because underlying their demands is a political agenda.
It's no coincidence that the rise in the "Green" movement is in direct correlation to the fall of the old style Socialist & Marxist movements, and many of this creeds former adherents in the West, are now leading the marches advocating anti capitalist ideology, under the guise of anti "global warming". They are often Anti American, Anti Science and Anti Business, which is a bit of a clue as to where they are coming from. In the pursuit of their political goals, they will act against the needs of the Industrialised world as well as Third World countries who are rich in Oil and Coal, by insisting that they don't go for the rapid industrial growth that would take them out of poverty.

Ask Dr Patrick Moore, the co founder of green peace, who has turned against the current policies of this organisation. Moore said. "They (political green activists) are anti-science, anti-technology, anti-trade, anti-globalization - not just free trade, but all trade". He said people who embrace extremist views and philosophies believe all large machines are inherently evil, and - worse - science is used to justify positions "that actually have nothing to do with science." Moore believes these viewpoints are naive, including the oft-stated wish to return to a "Garden of Eden." How ironic, he said, that these same people use cell phones, laptops and jet planes as the main tools of their trade.

It's sad that governments, who could afford to check the science, have, led by left leaning governments such as the UK, jumped on the "Human made Global Warming" band waggon, and now advocate restricting peoples activities to suit, what is basically a political creed, rather than totally proven science. Language such as "catastrophic", "irreversible", and "accelerating" are not the words of rational debate.
If you are a UK sceptic about human CO2 as the driver of temperature rises on Earth then you can go here, and sign a petition.
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/StopClimateTax/#detail

Addendums:
  • A Russian scientist (Habibullo Abdussamatov, Head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory) has just reported that Mars, with no humans in sight, has been showing signs of warming up over recent years. "The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said. This conclusion is disputed, however it does add to the general theory that the sun is the driver of temperature on Earth & Mars.
If correct, then this cannot be because of human intervention, so it must be because of irradiance from the Sun, which has been warming up for the last few decades. No doubt this will fall on deaf ears in the "Green" community, but never the less is another possible indication that human CO2 plays little part in the current warming of the Earth.
  • Two leading UK scientists, both advocates of the bad affects of human CO2, have warned that some environmentalists are jumping ahead of the science when making claims about the affects of Global Warming. It appears that some scientists, are just realising that they may have over egged their case in order to get funds, and that they have created a monster that they can no longer control, one which could end up consuming them as well. A bit late but maybe there's hope for a rational debate even now.... but I doubt it, the genie is out of the bottle now.
One of these Human CO2 scientists called alternative global warming theories "Junk Science" on the BBC, and said he would welcome taking on those who say the human CO2 theory is not proven .... well I would like that as well, because then we might get a real answer, rather than a politicised argument we are currently being fed.
The BBC science website have promised to show more on the alternative solar variance theories, after I asked that they not act as though it's a closed debate on anything except "Human CO2" as the main cause.
"Feedback [NewsWatch] : Thanks for your email. I will have a look at the graphics page (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6322083.stm) and see whether we can come up with a form of words stating clearly that H2O is the main gas in the 'natural' greenhouse effect, and CO2 the main anthropogenic contributor. More on solar variance within a couple of months, I promise you."
Mainstream fightback:
In a spirit of fairness I am editing this old blog because the BBC, true to its word, has published a new article on the solar influence on climate. Of course its an article purporting to prove that this influence is negligible or non existent.
Frankly I found it unconvincing because although the last 20 yrs data shows a divergence from trend for 13 of those years, but in reality it has the same weakness as all the pro CO2 (as main driver of global warming) brigade. That is that it relys on data from a very small time scale of the last 50 or even 20 yrs upon which to base an assumption of trend for the next 300 years.
This is just not sustainable in any other scientific context, where a 20 year blip in a trend taken out of 5,000 yrs would not be considered significant, and certainly not enough to refute a long term set of data.
In fact this is rather a good illustration of how we are being driven by an unscientific agenda on what should be a wholly evidence drven discussion.
NB: Recent studies have found that the ice never completely melted when the last warm period occurred and that some parts of the solar ice caps got thicker (hence the survival of Polar Bears?) ... there is evidence that this is occurring even now. The jury is still out in my world.
Some interesting links for the sceptics:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/influence-of-cosmic-rays-on-the-earth.pdf

http://www.basinelectric.com/NewsCenter/News/FeaturedArticles/Greenpeace_founder_d.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece

http://www.john-daly.com/

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1245729/posts

http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070211-16012900-bc-britain-globalwarming.xml

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/18/wsun18.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/18/ixnewstop.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3869753.stm

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Google fame:

“Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me” .. Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in “Carry on Cleo” … So who is the most Famous or Infamous character or person who has ever lived?

Until now there was no way of knowing, but thanks to Google we can have a stab at it.

So in the interests of science, and because I was bored, I have “Googled” a few names, and placed them in order of possible hits on a Google search.

First some ground rules …..
  • If you want to play this game you have to use full names (to exclude companies who capitalise on a famous surname) e.g. “William Shakespeare” not “Shakespeare”, and put names in “quotes” to exclude casual reference hits.. Exception is for single named religious leaders, and some dictators such as Stalin, Hitler etc, as it’s safe to assume that these names are not used by companies etc.
  • I have used English spelling and language fonts, so for instance Mustapha Ataturk (founder of modern Turkey) gets 2,270,000 hits. But using Turkish spellings e.g. Atatürk: gets 18,100,000 hits. However this applies to everyone in one way or another, so you must use a consistent lettering / language fonts and spelling to get relative values.
  • Misspelling names will find extra hits, but these don’t count as there are no ways of predicting all the ways a name can be incorrectly spelt.
  • Obviously I have used Anglo fame for my list, but any one counts e.g. Spanish or Chinese or Turkish people.
  • I have excluded all recent politicians i.e. within last 30 yrs (after web media developed), because their hits would be based upon recent media coverage on the web, rather than any true fame… so no Nelson Mandela.
  • I am not familiar with US sports stars, so there may be many who would rank highly on a hits list, but not outside the US & Canada.
  • Some results include people of same name e.g. Jesus & Mohammed are popular first names around the world, so non religious site references will be included in their scores.
    Finally, I split the results into Fictional and Non Fictional because “Batman” scored so high

    Non Fictional
    1. Jesus: 140,000,000 for Jesus
    2. Hitler: 37,000,000 for "Hitler"
    3. Mao: 25,500,000 for "Mao"
    4. Napoleon: 24,800,000 for "Napoleon"
    5. Mohammed: 24,000,000 for Mohammed
    6. The Buddha: 22,600,000 for Buddha (He has several name spellings which confuse search)
    7. Stalin: 13,300,000 for "Stalin"
    8. George Washington: 13,300,000 for "George Washington"
    9. Lenin: 12,100,000 for Lenin
    10. Mussolini: 6,690,000 for "Mussolini"
    11. Elvis Presley: 4,150,000 for "Elvis Presley"
    12. Brad Pitt: 3,550,000 for "Brad Pitt"
    13. Tiger Woods: 3,390,000 for “Tiger Woods”
    14. David Beckham: 3,200,000 for "David Beckham"
    15. Jimi Hendrix: 3,160,000 for "Jimi Hendrix"
    16. Marilyn Monroe: 3,150,000 for "Marilyn Monroe"
    17. John Lennon: 3,140,000 for "John Lennon"
    18. Harrison Ford: 2,750,000 for "Harrison Ford"
    19. Caligula: 2,680,000 for "Caligula"
    20. Ghandi: 2,650,000 for "Ghandi”
    21. John Wayne: 2,590,000 for "John Wayne"
    22. Karl Marx: 2,410,000 for "Karl Marx"
    23. William Shakespeare: 2,370,000 for "William Shakespeare"
    24. Abraham Lincoln: 2,340,000 for "Abraham Lincoln"
    25. Ataturk: 2,270,000 for "Ataturk"
    26. Ludwig van Beethoven: 2,180,000 for "Ludwig van Beethoven" (Beethoven gets 22,000,000 hits)
    27. Charlie Chaplin: 2,100,000 for "Charlie Chaplin"
    28. Winston Churchill: 2,040,000 for "Winston Churchill"
    29. Julius Caesar: 1,850,000 for "Julius Caesar"
    30. Saladin: 1,740,000 for "Saladin"
    31. Paul McCartney: 1,690,000 for "Paul McCartney"
    32. Babe Ruth: 1,600,000 for "Babe Ruth"
    33. El Cid: 1,500,000 for "El Cid"
    34. Queen Victoria: 1,380,000 for "Queen Victoria"
    35. Marie Curie: 1,370,000 for "Marie Curie"
    36. Pope John Paul II: 1,350,000 for "Pope John Paul II"
    37. Simon Bolivar: 1,320,000 for "Simon Bolivar"
    38. Franklin Roosevelt: 1,300,000 for "Franklin Roosevelt".
    39. Jack Nicklaus: 1,310,000 for "Jack Nicklaus"
    40. Clark Gable: 1,230,000 for "Clark Gable"
    41. Florence Nightingale: 1,080,000 for "Florence Nightingale"
    42. Spencer Tracy: 1,010,000 for "Spencer Tracy"
    43. George Best: 1,060,000 for “George Best”
    44. Lord Nelson: 970,000 for “Lord Nelson”
    45. Peter the Great: 947,000 for "Peter the Great"
    46. Mohammed Ali: 892,000 for "Mohammed Ali"
    47. Pele: 841,000 for "Pele" (+ “Football” to exclude a goddess called Pele)
    48. Leon Trotsky: 771,000 for "Leon Trotsky"
    49. Haile Selassie: 706,000 for "Haile Selassie"
    50. Laurel & Hardy: 690,000 for "Laurel & Hardy"
    51. Duke of Wellington: 649,000 for "Duke of Wellington
    52. Anton Chekhov: 622,000 for "Anton Chekhov"
    53. General Franco: 594,000 for "General Franco"
    54. Catherine the Great: 593,000 for "Catherine the Great"
    55. Giuseppe Garibaldi: 538,000 for "Giuseppe Garibaldi"
    56. George Patton: 411,000 for "George Patton".
    57. Alfred the Great: 336,000 for "Alfred the Great"
    58. Kubla Khan: 241,000 for "Kubla Khan"
    59. Ghengis Khan: 143,000 for "Ghengis Khan
    60. Wolfgang Mozart: 119,000 for "Wolfgang Mozart" (Mozart gets 39,000,000 hits but not all the famous one)

    Fictional
    1. Batman: 40,700,000 for "Batman"
    2. Superman: 32,200,000 for "Superman"
    3. Spiderman: 17,100,000 for "Spiderman"
    4. Dracula: 13,500,000 for Dracula
    5. Aladdin: 13,500,000 for "Aladdin"
    6. Frankenstein: 11,900,000 for "Frankenstein"
    7. TinTin: 5,480,000 for "TinTin"
    8. Robin Hood: 2,930,000 for "Robin Hood"
    9. Sinbad: 2,710,000 for "Sinbad"
    10. Sherlock Holmes: 1,720,000 for “Sherlock Holmes”
    11. Homer Simpson: 1,500,000 for "Homer Simpson”

    A few interesting facts emerge from this list, and I admit it’s not extensive, or by any means definitive:
  • I found it very hard to think of many famous (as opposed to celebrity) women.
  • How being infamous gets you more fame as a rule than being good.
  • How this list can just keep growing as you think of someone else….. 

Jesus Tomb

Amazing, Astounding, Incredible! …. A film maker, James Cameron (Titanic, Alien, and Terminator) claims to have found the tomb (well the ossuary … bone box to you and I) of Jesus of Nazareth. On top of this, evidence that he was married to Miriam (Mary) Magdalene, and that they had a son called Judah! …

Hmm, I seem to have heard this story before .. err yes, I have heard the story before, but it was different then. In fact it made barely a ripple when it came out, because it was speculative archaeology at best and irresponsible tripe at worst. It disappeared for five years and re-emerges as a “new” story with a multimillion pound film budget!

Ah ha, I hear the cynics say, another “Da Vinci Code” or maybe the Santilli/Shoefield “Alien Autopsy” film, or just an amalgam of both … still it’s shameful that a well known film maker would associate himself with this sort of money making. There are enough conspiracy theorists, Muslim fundamentalists, and complete idiots out there, without adding to the numbers.

So here are the facts that you won’t get on the idiot sites around the world.

1. There have always been stories that “Jesus” didn’t die, but went elsewhere … common locations for these other places include India, Japan, Britain and France.

2. Some of these stories are quite old, (Middle Ages, but still over a thousand years after the events), but most of these stories only emerge in the 19th & 20th Century, and are based upon wishful thinking e.g. “And did those feet, in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green” from the Poem by William Blake (1804), and which was based upon an older apocryphal story, which narrated that Jesus, while still a young man, accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to the English town of Glastonbury.

3. Many of these Stories, especially about Jesus in India, come from Islamic sources (based largely on the Quran, written 650 yrs after the New Testament), and obviously have a reason to “prove” that Jesus was not the “Son of God”. Mainly because it enhances their prophet, and also does a number on the Buddhists as well, by "showing" that their later teachings were influenced by Jesus. If Jesus was the Son of God, then there would be no reason to send the Muslim prophet, so they wanted to prove Jesus to be a lesser being … you get the picture. Incidentally, the Rector of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo issued a Fatwa (verdict) that according to the Holy Quran, Jesus had died a natural death…. (This is the same University that had the blogger Kareem arrested) … how “natural” a death by crucifixion is, is a matter of religion.

4. One of the main Islamic sources is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), a man who had previously been declared as a “Reformer of Islam”, a title only 13 men had held before, for a very big book “proving” that all the other world religions were ‘pants’. He later went on to declare himself Mahdi, and declared a madman, but that’s never been a handicap in Islam. He still has followers now.

5. The current crop of books about Jesus and bloodlines come from the late 20th century and later, and carefully infer to be based on 'facts', but are largely made up of speculation built upon half facts, or just plain rubbish, are written almost entirely with a quick buck and a possible film deal in mind.

6. This latest story comes from a discovery in 1980 in Talpoit (Israel) … Yes this has been around for that long, before Mr Cameron “discovered” the story of some bone boxes (they used to intern the bones, not the bodies in those days) that were inscribed with names Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus' brother); and Judah son of Jesua, and were featured on the BBC in 1996.

7. So far so good for the gullible, but here’s the bits Mr Cameron won’t have in his film.

8. At the time that Jesus was alive there were at least 351 other men with a first name of Jesus with their fathers name as Joseph i.e. about 5% of the male population of Jerusalem.

9. Miriam was the first name of at least a quarter of all Jewish women in the 1st century AD

10. The ossuaries were not found in Galilee, where the “Jesus” family would have lived and buried their dead, but in the centre of Jerusalem. A very strong indication that it’s another family, if not an outright fraud (see “Hitler diaries”, for this type of fraud).

11. The people who wrote the New Testament, are not likely to have ‘forgotten’ where his body was interred for three days, so when they said “The tomb of Joseph of Arimathea” as where Jesus’s body was interred after the crucifixion, then they knew, as they were there.

12. Why would they put his bones in an ossuary in any event, when they were telling everyone that he had ascended to heaven? It is not a secret you could keep for very long in a city where a lot of people were related to, or knew, the "disciples". Especially as Mr Cameron is saying that he not only lived, but married and had a child, who presumably lived in Jersualem long after his death. Presumably, everyone just "forgot" about his wife and child after Jesus was crucified? Duh, just how many fools does Mr Cameron think there are in the world?

13. If his bones were in a box, then all his disciples would have been tortured and martyred for a lie, and would have known this as they were being tortured …. Not very likely. People will endure a lot for something they believe in, but not for something they know to be a lie.

14. As for his enemies, do you think that the Pharisees/Sanhedrin wouldn’t have done anything to break this splinter Jewish cult? They even went to considerable lengths to ensure that his body would not be disturbed for three days by sealing the tomb it lay in. “We remember what while he was still alive, that deceiver said ‘That after three days I will rise again’. So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise the disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead” .. So if his bones had been put in the family vault in “Jerusalem” (or more likely Galilee) they would have exposed this fact immediately.

15. Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner, who was among the first to examine the tomb when it was first discovered, said the names marked on the coffins were very common at the time. "I don't accept the news that it was used by Jesus or his family," he told the BBC News website. "The documentary filmmakers are using it to sell their film." "It's very interesting," he said of all of the names of Jesus' family being found on ossuaries in the same cave, "but it's not a convincing proof that it's the family of Jesus." He knows of at least two other ossuaries that bear the name of Jesus, son of Joseph.

16. And finally, what a coincidence that this historical bombshell should await 2,000 years to turn up, just in time for a film maker to be able make a considerable amount of money from it. As mentioned earlier, when they were first found, these bone boxes raised no more than minor academic interest as a curious coincidence, but following the Da Vinci code, these types of films will make money, so it is dusted off with some spurious *DNA tests (inconclusive), and rediscovered for TV.

According to Mr Cameron's theory the story of Jesus goes something like this.
  • I am born the Son of God.
  • I preach tolerance and love, and do amazing stuff.
  • I am celibate, apart from Mary, who doesn't count somehow.
  • I have lots of friends and enemies who are strangely blind to me dating Mary.
  • I have lots of friends and enemies who are strangely blind to me marrying Mary, they missed the party and everything ... we didn't have a temple wedding, we just wanted a quiet affair, just friends and family .. a dozen or so you know.
  • Young Judah was born, couldn't christen him cos we haven't got to that bit yet.
  • I am the Son of God and I die for your Sins.
  • I am hated by certain very powerful religious groups who are strangely blind to my family living in Jerusalem.
  • My wife and Son all live with my earth Mum & Dad in Jerusalem despite the dangers, they preferred the big city life to Galilee.
  • My son never married, and they were all buried with my brother in the same tomb ... my brother had no children or wife, so when he died they sealed the whole thing up for Mr Cameron to make a film and show disrespect to the beliefs of 1.8 billion people.
It sort of looks stupid when its put like that doesn't it? But there are going to be a lot of people who will want to believe every word of this version, especially when its on TV.

Now that really is Amazing, Astounding, Incredible!

* How would we know what Jesus's DNA was?

For more on this story … including arrests for antique fraud and an attempt to swindle monies from a collector of antiquities:

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070226/jesus_tomb_060226/20070226?hub=TopStories
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ossuary `
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2393209.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2349325.stm

For Jesus in the East, you don’t get a better review of the stories than this from the Fortean Times (unfortunately you have to subscribe for full article but I recommend it) .. get the postal version its more fun!
http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/183_jesuseast1.shtml

For other versions just Google “Jesus in India”, “Jesus in Japan” etc … you can even try “Jesus in Afghanistan” and get hits.

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