Friday, 28 November 2014

Lucky Lucky Lucky

A pictures says a thousand words, or so they say .....

.....  at least this one is close to that, because would you believe that after this accident no one was seriously hurt, when the front of the car was separated from the rest of the vehicle in the crash.

The car was split in two when it crashed, but the male driver and the two children who were in the saloon when it left the Fletchamstead Highway in Coventry, all got out of the vehicle with just a couple of minor scratches, but were otherwise uninjured.

Sometimes the fates were looking kindly down upon you, and that's a fact ......

The New Mad Sultan Of Istanbul

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fast becoming my new 'Gadfather' ..... not only has he beefed up the Presidents role, so that he, and not the prime minister, effectively still runs the Turkish state, and is now building palaces suitable for his ego and status as the new 'Sultan of Turkey', but he is also making such vain glorious announcements, that even the real 'Gadfather', the late but un-missed Muammar Gaddafi, would have blushed at them.

The latest of these came, when he was heading a conference of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul, another bit of 'La Gloire' as the French would describe it ....... pointing to a diary entry in which Columbus mentioned a mosque shaped object on a hill in Cuba, he stated that this proved that 'Muslims discovered the Americas more than three centuries before Christopher Columbus'. In fact he added, the "Muslim sailors arrived in America in 1178". He offered no proof of any of this he stated that "Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th Century."

Obviously, not content with the slow conquest of Western Europe, he is staking a claim to the Western Hemisphere as well.

Apparently this based upon the theories of a Muslim historian, Youssef Mroueh, who said in 1996 that the Columbus diary entry was proof that Muslims had reached the Americas first, and that "the religion of Islam was widespread". obviously the Aztec's were not aware that they were Muslims, although maybe the human sacrifices with knives, and the general slaughter of their rule was a big clue?

Maybe There Are Similarities Between Them .... Eating Your Enemies Hearts

Genuine scholars (by that I mean non Islamic ones, or the BBC who can only suggest that not everyone agrees with this Islamic version of history), read the diary entry as a metaphorical one, describing an aspect of the mountain that resembled part of a mosque .... but as we have seen before, literalism is inherent in the way Muslims read all events surrounding their beliefs. So they believe that the Native Indians were 'Muslims' and therefore this is also 'historic' Muslim lands, much like 'Spain'.

Back to the real world .... No Islamic structures have been found in America that pre-date Columbus, or indeed the 19th century, including on the hill in Cuba that they claim had a mosque on it. But to correct that historical oversight, Mr Erdogan said he thought "a mosque would go perfectly on the hill today" and that he would like to discuss building this with Cuba.

Just to complete his week of motor mouthing ..... he has also said that women cannot be treated as equal to men, and has accused feminists of rejecting motherhood. "You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature."  ..... He also said that women cannot do all the work done by men, he added, because it was against their "delicate nature. Our religion regards motherhood very highly. Feminists don't understand that, they reject motherhood." Women need equal respect rather than equality .... In the past he has urged women to have three children, and has spoken out against abortion and birth by Caesarean section.

Oddly, if a Russian, Polish or Hungarian politician speaks out like this, he is branded as a right-wing reactionary by the media here. But for some reason (which I can't speculate on), when an Islamist does this, he is merely socially 'conservative'.     

He is as mad as a hatter .....but then so are those in the EU who turn a blind eye to his behaviour.

Any Excuse Will Do

The violent reaction of the black community of the State Grand Jury of Missouri's decision not to prosecute Police Offer Darren Wilson, over the death of black teenager Michael Brown, was as predictable as day following night.

It seems that the idea of a peaceful vigil in the black community is long gone, replaced by the urge to burn and loot at the first 'excuse' (remember the London riots were ostensibly over a similar event, but quickly became an excuse to loot all the shops and supermarkets, then burn down the buildings) .... how long ago does the peaceful of protests of Dr King seem now?

Martin Luther King - Peaceful Protest

In fact the similarities in the end events in London and Ferguson, and the reactions afterwards, suggest that there are violent tendencies inside black communities worldwide which simple 'cultural' excuses can't really explain.

There is no proven such thing as an inherited 'culture', based upon skin colour ... For example what common culture do the black peoples in Johannesburg South Africa, or Kingston Jamaica, or St Louis USA, share? None I would suggest, they just don't share the same life experiences ... they only share the same skin colour. But as we are not allowed to suggest that there is any other genetic factor such as intelligence involved, then there's no obvious cause for this propensity for violent protest.

A few facts:
  • Mr Brown had a criminal rap sheet for violence despite his tender years.
  • On the day in question he had already robbed a shop keeper (it was filmed)
  • When challenged by the police officer there was according to the police a brief struggle between the officer and Mr Brown.
  • Officer Wilson said that before the shooting occurred, Mr Brown pushed him back into his car, hit him and briefly grabbed his drawn gun.
  • Mr Brown had been shot at 12 times and hit 6 times.
  • The State Grand Jury was randomly chosen and comprised 9 white and 3 black members, randomly chosen. 
  • The jury was very well aware of the pressures to find the officer 'guilty enough to be charged' but after weeks of sifting the evidence found that they had to separate fact from fiction, and that some witness statements had been contradicted by physical evidence. 
  • Seven or eight witnesses largely backed up Officers Wilson's account of the shooting in testimony before the grand jury. Those witnesses, like most of the people in Ferguson, are African-American.

The jury also noted that much of the evidence against the police officer turned out to be by people who had not even been at the scene, or who altered their evidence to match the facts put before them, or were simply repeating hearsay ... in other words most of the evidence from the black witnesses was lies.

And yet, still they rioted .... and looted .... lots of looting.

Ferguson Riots In Memory of .... well, who cares its just an excuse.

In fact in the reports I read, the only part of the events that I could not see fully explained, was why 12 shots and six wounds from that range? ... however I am led to understand that this can depend very much on the calibre of the hand guns the police use. If its a Dirty Harry magnum .45 then one shot and you don't get up, but smaller calibres may not stop an big guy immediately. So 12 shots (and I am assuming that the police officer didn't fire a full magazine, stop and reload, and fire another full magazine), suggests that the bullets were closer to being the Beretta 9 mm semi-automatic semi-automatic magazine which they have only just started replacing, which may not have as much stopping power, and that he missed with most of the shots.

Of course it wasn't long before the copycat rioters were out in Oakland California and the shops were soon being targeted in righteous anger .....

Righteous Anger Is Better At T-Mobile Stores

Yet lets compare and contrast with the killing of a white teen by a black police officer in Salt Lake City in similar circumstances .... no rioting, a peace vigil and a petition .. that's it. Strange isn't it? PC nonsense means that we can't really speculate why faced with a similar event, two sets of human beings from the same country, whose only difference we are told is skin deep, react so differently nearly every time.

The 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of annual crime statistics, shows that: 
  • 83 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders; 
  • 90 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders; 
  • 14 percent of white victims were killed by black offenders;
  • 7.6 percent of black victims were killed by white offenders

Racial Homicides USA

 ..... so who is persecuting blacks in the US?

Iran As You Don't Know It

Adam Michnik, a Polish historian who helped to overthrow the Communists in Poland, once said: “Revolutions have two phases: first comes a struggle for freedom, then a struggle for power. The first makes the human spirit soar and brings out the best in people. The second unleashes the worst: envy, intrigue, greed, suspicion and the urge for revenge.”  .... and Iran followed this dictum. But now, it is being argued that its past stage two and is in a post revolutionary stage ... and this could best be described as the 'cynicism cycle'.

So here's some facts about modern Iran that may surprise you: they did me.

Iran's Nuclear Timeline .... Ticking Away.

  •  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, led the revolution but seven of his 15 grandchildren have openly criticised the regime .... "Westoxification” (the title of a book by Jalal Al-e Ahmad, published in 1962), is rampant in the shopping malls that spring up despite the Western sanctions.

  • Both Facebook and Twitter are officially 'banned', but Twitter is used by officials to put out statements and Facebook is the primary medium of communication for half the country’s youth

  • Azad University, has over 100 campuses and 1.5m students as tertiary education levels boom.

Iranians The Best Educated In Region.

  • Iran’s cabinet has more members with PhDs from American universities than that of America itself .... maybe not a surprise under Bush, but under the Obama regime.

  • Iran’s scientific output has increased by 575% in the past decade.

  • Iran publishes three times more books than all Arab nations combined ... excluding Koran's I suspect.

  • Most Iranians access the Internet using virtual private networks (VPN) to bypass State censorship. So ubiquitous is this service that its made millionaires of backstreet providers. One example cited is a 21 yr old, who charges a dollar a month or $10 a year to his 80,000 clients. He pays the 'cyber-police' a few hundred dollars in bribes every few months to turn a blind eye.

  • The fastest internet speeds in Iran are achieved near seminaries, since clerics preach online to few viewers but still get priority on fibre-optic cables .... but pornography, although strictly banned, apparently blazes a trail for freedom, as its the primary usage for the older user.

  • Iranian GDP per person rose from $4,400 in 1993 to $13,200 last year (at purchasing-power parity), and they are by far and away the most prosperous of the large population countries in the region.

  • After the revolution the birth rate soared, but as Iranians became more prosperous and more importantly women became educated, it started falling and now is below pre-revolution levels ... experts now put it at between 1.6 - 1.9 children per woman, and broadly in line with European rates. By comparison, in neighbouring Iraq it is 3.5 children per woman.

  • By law all public buildings in Iran must have prayer rooms as you might expect. Yet officials have silenced many muezzins public calls to prayer to appease citizens angered by the noise.

  • The state broadcaster used to interrupt football matches with live sermons at prayer time; now only a small prayer symbol appears in a corner of the screen. It is suggested that by forcing religion on people it has meant that they have become sick of being preached at, and have turned away. Possibly, privately the country is now 'Islamic' in much the same way that Italy is 'Catholic'.

  • Misogyny is still organised and state sanctioned, with heads having to be covered and religious 'morality' police on the streets, but female students outnumber men by 2:1 at many Iranian universities. There are even calls for male education quotas to address the imbalance. 

  • A recent survey of young adults by Iran’s parliament suggests that 80% of unmarried women have 'boyfriends' (with or without their parents knowledge).

  • In Qom, Irans religious capital face veils used to be common among women, but were banned after three men wearing them entered a local school and groped the girls. 

So there you are. There are no absolute certainties in human societies, so just as the old Soviet block was a slowly melting without us noticing, the revolutionary regime in Iran is not a stagnant regime of complete religious jihadists .... there are changes going on that we in the West don't always see.

Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Continue Despite The Sanctions

I still don't want them to get a nuclear bomb though ....  

Friday, 21 November 2014

Scooby Dooing Bad Things?

I was always vaguely suspicious of 'Shaggy' in the ScoobyDoo TV show and films. I mean he eats like a horse, and obviously likes his recreational substances to be organic, but has no job or visible means of support. He is usually too out of his tree to help when the rest of the gang perform their sleuthing ....

My suspicions were based on the fact that he wanders around with a dog, which only he can talk to and understand ..... and any trip to your local city centre will uncover a number of characters who are very similar. They usually have an upturned cup in front of them, and congregate near bank cash dispensers. The only difference is that they don't eat like horses, usually preferring their nutritional intake to come in liquid form and their other recreational substances to be less organic, and more man made.

But I could never prove my suspicions about 'Shaggy' aka Norville Rogers (yet another unlikely moniker), so imagine my surprise when I saw this artists impression of a murder trial suspect ......

Is It Shaggy?

I immediately thought of my earlier suspicions about Shaggy .......  so with a little tweak, and maybe the likeness becomes even more so.

Shaggy Is Exposed As 'The Moncton Killer!!'

I know I shouldn't make light of the murder of three policeman by Justin Bourque, but as he has admitted the charges, there will be no ordeal for the families .... and it was just one of those little moments that take you back in time to something you had almost forgotten about.

Spiders From Mars

The 27th October 1954, was a day that has survived in UFO'ology. In Tuscany, Italy, Fiorentina football club was playing against its local rival Pistoiese, with ten thousand fans in the Stadio Artemi Franchi. Just after half-time, the crowd fell eerily silent ..... all eyes looked to the sky.

Newspaper Illustration Of The Events

The players and officials, sensing something had happened allowed the ball to roll off the pitch and also scanned the clear autumn skies over the stadium, to see the same thing as the crowd. Drifting lazily across the sky was an 'an egg' shaped object, that was apparently dropping something glittery which was coming down from the sky ... it was described as like 'silver glitter' ..... and its been reported all over the world as 'angel hair'. 

Others claimed to see 'multiple objects moving very fast', and then just stopped dead in the sky ... these were described as 'being like Cuban cigars'.

The referee, possibly aware of the ridicule he risked, reported that the game was stopped 'because spectators saw something in the sky' in his referee's match report.

The Press Recorded It Wwidely

You might want to consider 'mass hysteria', especially as the descriptions differ as to what was being seen, but there were apparently numerous other UFO sightings, in many towns across Tuscany reported that day, and over the days that followed ... so whatever it was that was happening, it was seen across the region and not just in one stadium. 

Analysis of the 'angel hair' collected at the time from a local wood, where it had covered many trees, concluded that it contained the elements boron, silicon, calcium and magnesium, and that it was not radioactive ... but as the tests in those days destroyed the samples, we can't resubject it to modern tests.

Sounds like the definitive UFO event doesn't it ......

However, astronomer James McGaha (and former US Air Force pilot), working from the Grasslands Observatory in South Eastern Arizona has said the 'angel hair' and the drifting objects is almost certainly attributable to migrating spiders. These young spiders spin very, very thin webs which are carried by the wind .... "The spiders use these webs as sails and they link together and you get a big glob of this stuff in the sky and the spiders ride on this to move between locations. They just fly on the wind and these things have been recorded at 14,000 feet above the ground. So, when the sunlight glistens off this, you get all kinds of visual effects.  As some of this stuff breaks off and falls to the ground, this all seems magical of course, but I'm fairly confident that's what happened that day."

Spider Balls Are Common

Sadly, this analysis is also backed up by the fact that September and October are the months when spiders in the northern hemisphere migrate - and spectacular spider migrations are commonly reported across Europe and North America.

But for those who like to retain the mystery of all these events ..... Fact: Spider silk is a protein - an organic compound containing nitrogen, calcium, hydrogen and oxygen and not normally 'boron, silicon, calcium and magnesium' ..... make of that what you will.

Too Big For His Palace

He became 'President' instead of Prime Minister this year ~ It was a ceremonial role when he was Prime Minister for a decade, but now like President / Prime Minister Putin in Russia, he just rearranges power to suit his role and keeps it in his hands.

The New Sultan And His Clients ~ Looks Like A Hotel Foyer.
He is now Turkeys new Ottoman Ruler .....  Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan I
  • The new Turkish President will cost the Turkish taxpayer about £385m ($615m) for his new Palace, plus another $135m which has been budgeted for its completion in 2015. 
  • His new palace is bigger than the White House in Washington, the Kremlin in Moscow, Buckingham palace in London and even the Palace of Versailles near Paris ... delusions of Sultanate grandeur indeed.
  • In order to build it, hundreds of trees were cut down to make space for it in what had been a forest reserve, bequeathed to the nation by modern Turkey's secular founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (this would once have been a criminal offence in Turkey ... he ignored over 30 outstanding legal challenges to the building ~ one rule for the new sultan, one for the others). 
  • Other Presidential properties will be renovated next year, notably the Huber Palace in Istanbul, and a guest house in Marmaris, on the Aegean coast. 
  • To top off his new role, $185m will be spent on a new Airbus A330-200 Presidential jet. 'Sultan I' anyone?

He even had one of his new 'subjects' fined for smoking in a spot he didn't think proper .... shades of the Sultans here.

The Presidential Palace, Ankara Turkey ~ Looks Like Stalinist Building.

Oh, and the new 'prime minister' and nominally the leader of the country?

Well Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will now be using the modest Cankaya Palace in Ankara, which Mr Erdogan has vacated as too small for his head.

Why White Van Man Doesnt Vote Labour

If any story shows you how far the 'professional politicians' of today's Labour Party are from the views of their 'traditional' core of white working class supporters, then its this.

Emily Thornberry is a white Labour MP who had risen from complete obscurity to being Ed Millibands shadow attorney general .... this in its self is something of a clue as she's a lawyer .... a barrister specialising in ... yep you guessed it 'Human Rights' law. She is the Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury since 2005 .... a non traditional Labour area, full of New Labour professionals ... many of whom are the past and future millionaire labour leadership.

Born in North Surrey, her father was a visiting professor of War Studies at King's College London, who went on to become United Nations Assistant Secretary General and to work for NATO. Her Mother became a labour councillor and mayor ... so hardly what you call a 'working class' background ... but similar to the Milliband's.

Her only claim to fame until recently was to make the statement that 'almost every child in Islington had been mugged at some stage' .... possibly by people whose ethnicity we can't discuss? Anyway as you might expect from a new Labour MP from the posh side of the tracks, in order to prove her credentials, she has voted against the detention of terrorist for 90 days, and is also anti the Trident nuclear deterrent ... both of which are policies the actual working class Labour voters wanted, but hey lets not let representative politics spoil getting 'Socialist street cred'.

She is also a member of that band of Labour MP's such as the Blair's, and Diane Abbot, who publicly oppose private or selective education for the normal person, but who send their own offspring to such establishments themselves, not trusting them to the tender mercies of the state system in their own Labour run constituencies ... in this case she sent her son to the selective Dame Alice Owen's School fourteen miles away from her home, and outside her constituency.

Chris Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools stated at the time that while "I celebrate her good sense as a parent and deplore her hypocrisy as a politician. When will those who espouse the virtues of the comprehensive education, apply the logic of their political message to their children?" .... answer, never.

She now lives on Richmond Crescent, where Tony Blair also lived until he became PM, having moved in on the same day as the Blair's. Oh just to cap it all, her husband, another lawyer became a High Court judge, and was knighted.

She is also the part owner of a number of other properties, and her husband has bought ex-social housing stock for over half a million pounds, and now receives rental income from the property. It also emerged that many of the new residents are Labour Party activists ... so a capitalist landlord, taking social housing to build a private housing empire. (no coincidence over her neighbours, her selection as an MP, nor the knighthood for husband, naturally).

So there we are, another working class warrior .... err, well a Labour MP at any rate.

Now that we are aware of this ladies back ground, its perhaps not too surprising to find that she apparently holds white Essex, Kent man (and woman), in somewhat low esteem. As a part of the by-election campaign to elect an MP in Rochester and Stroud.

Image from "Rochester"

... she tweeted a picture of a terraced house with three England flags, and a white van parked outside, under the title 'Image from #Rochester'.

Denounced as 'snob' and 'out of touch' she later withdrew the tweet, and stood down from her Shadow role ... but too late. The cats is well and truly out the bag with this breed of labour MP's.

Ex Tory MP Mark Reckless won the seat for UKIP .... with Labour's Naushabah Khan a poor third on 6,713 votes .... even the BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said on Friday that the tweet "plays to a very, very dangerous theme" for Labour, namely the concern "that they are somehow dismissive, patronising, contemptuous of their own core voters".

On a personal note ... I have only voted once for Labour since the late 1970's, and part of the reason was the removal of real Labour MP's by 'New Labour' spin doctors since the late 1980's ... the new breed of hypocrites and snobs, typified by the Blair's, Ms Thornbury, the Milliband's, Ms Harmon, and Balls are a major reason why.

So coming just six months before the general election this has the same ring as Gordon Browns attack on an old lady whose views on immigration he despised (coming from an all white seat in Scotland), calling her a bigot .... they never learn because they come from an elite that shares neither our concerns nor our education system.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Philatelic Perversities

Philately is not normally that interesting (well to me) .... but I stumbled across something that momentarily flickered my interest for a minute or two (to be precise long enough to write this post) ... the phenomena of film stars on stamps in unexpected countries. i.e. On countries you wouldn't expect.

Cuba Loved Marilyn

Sierra Leone Loved Lombard

But perhaps the strangest of these are the Jaqueline Bisset stamps from around the world .....

Senegal Loves Bisset

Ivory Coast Loved Bisset

But, Somalia Loved Bisset?

When was Somalia ever liberal enough to have a picture of Jaqueline Bisset, in a bikini no less, on its stamps? I really must have missed the Muslim spring that was Somalia in the 1960's!

Obviously, they never were liberal .... their stamps were printed elsewhere by a contract company .... but you would have thought that they would make some effort to match the pictures to the culture. This stamp may well have been the most inappropriate or incongruous ever issued .... well so I thought until I saw the "Tom Of Finland Stamps" .....

Tom Of Finland Stamps - From Finland

Skeletons In The Cockpit

Ever since the first tales of adventure were written, and right through to the rise of the movies, writers have loved to thrill and frighten both readers and viewers alike, with tales of skeleton crews, manning doomed ships of the seas and the skies. The most famous of these are perhaps the Flying Dutchman and Davy Jones (aka 'the sailor's devil') legends, both of which are several hundreds of years old .... but there are always new versions of these stories of skeletons or dead men manning the controls being circulated.

Flying Dutchman Manned By Skeleton Crew

In Bram Stokers 'Dracula' for example .... the ship bringing eponymous Dracula to England, was spotted entering Whitby harbour, with a "dead sailor lashed to the wheel, with a rosary in his hands - and not a soul else on board! Her cargo was apparently no more than a number of wooden boxes filled with dirt". But the idea of the ships of the dead, continues to reappear in popular culture .... pulp horror comics for example.

Pulp Comics Took Up The Myth ...

These tales are usually accompanied by pictures meant to thrill, and illuminate, the lurid copy .... such as this 'newspaper' story.

I believe that this is the 'National Enquirer', but it could be another US supermarket tabloid ....

..... and this has carried on into the modern day cinema ..... lost jungles are a favourite location.

Cheetah Was Surprised They Had Landed At All .....

... where the cinema, moved the legend into deep space ......

Complaints To The Captain Got A Stony Response ....

and finally the 'He Man' TV show, and the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series of films, took the idea from the horror genre, and into mainstream children's toys ..... where it was adapted into many formats.

Skeleton Crews Took On A New Meaning In Lego-land.

So why am I prattling on about this?

Well, when something made me think about it (probably another repeat of Pirates of the Caribbean), it occurred to me that there was in fact very little evidence of anything like this being discovered (to my knowledge that was). To clarify, what I am talking about is bodies found, months or years after the their disappearance, in a 'ghost ship or plane' type scenario. I don't mean human remains recovered in the immediate aftermath of organised rescue searches, where bodies would be expected to be in the cockpit etc .... I mean lost planes or ships, turning up years, or decades or more later.

There have been a few skeletons or scattered bones found in deserts since the second world war, but usually away from any crash sites as crew have died trying to walk to safety through the deserts .... and only one 'ghost ship' (although not with the sailors lashed to the rigging etc that I am aware of). But I did manage to dig up a couple of real stories:

In 1993 Joe Van E's, a logger from British Columbia in Canada flew over to Gilford Island, and while there was told that there was 'old' aircraft wreckage in the forest. It was partially buried, and it had been spotted from the air but never investigated. Driven by curiosity, Mr E's and some of the other loggers trekked over to the location, and after digging back the undergrowth and gravel, found an American registered Fairchild 24W46 light aircraft .... with the pilot's skeleton still strapped into the pilots seat. It was traced and found to have gone missing from a flight to Alaska on the 24th June 1959.

In New Zealand in August 2014, a fishing crew pulled in their nets only to find that they had caught a light aircraft .... with the skeleton of the pilot still strapped to his seat in the cockpit. t was later determined to be the remains an aerobatic pilot from New Zealand, Daroish Kraidy, had gone missing with his plane in March 2014, and police believed he had crashed on purpose as he was suffering from depression.

The ship sailed by corpses story is probably more indicative of modern times and the tidal wave of humanity trying to get to Europe from poverty hotspots than anything else ....

For example in May 2006 in Barbados, 70 nautical miles off Ragged Point, an unmarked white ghost ship rolled in the Atlantic swell as the rescue boats approached it. When the coastguard officers boarded it, they made a gruesome find. The boat's phantom crew was made up of the desiccated corpses of 11 young men, huddled in two separate piles in the small cabin. Investigations suggested that the yacht had floated for at least 4 months before crossing the Atlantic. The erstwhile 'crew' were Senegalese 'migrants' trying to get to France, but who had been cut adrift by traffickers and had died of dehydration on the open seas ..... a modern horror story without doubt, but not quite like the older ghost vessels.

In fact, the fact is that its a horror that we have talked about, told stories about and depicted in endless ways, but is in fact very rare. Perhaps this proves that its the terrors that are virtually unknown, or incredibly rare, and that are from our own imaginations that make up our real horrors, and that the mundane, no matter how gruesome, can't compete with these images created in our minds.

China's Dark Satanic Mills

We have lost the battle and will lose the war .... that's the only conclusion I can draw from the new data on carbon emissions that shows that China's emissions per head of population have surpassed the EU for the first time and that India is also forecast to beat Europe's CO2 output in 2019.

We Are Heading To Apocalypse 2050

Man made production of CO2 is reaching record levels, and the pathetic attempts to stop human greed and invoke long term altruistic self interest have utterly failed. If global warming is going to be pushed to critical levels by human activities then there is I believe no stopping it now ....

China's Dark Satanic Mills Produce The Most CO2

China and India will do nothing until they are suffering the consequences for their rich as well their poor - so we may as well start planning for the worst now ... China for example, not withstanding its international agreements, is in fact busily destroying their own environment at a record rates, with soil loss, pollution and now heat-waves .... in China agreements by the central government are often ignored in the distant provinces.

While the per capita average for the world as a whole is 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, China is now producing 7.2 tonnes per person, to the EU's 6.8 tonnes. The US is still far ahead on 16.5 tonnes per person (with Australia a very close second). For 2014, the carbon record is likely to be broken again as emissions are predicted to hit 40bn tonnes, 65% above the 1990 levels.

India and China both started later, but are both on target for environmental degradation well before the US ....and as scientists have calculated that to have a good chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C, total world emissions of carbon will have stay under 3,200 billion tonnes per annum. This means the world has about 1,200 billion tonnes left before breaching that figure, but the latest data shows that there is a now a declining chance of staying below the 2 degree target.

The Countdown To The Apocalypse

At present rates, in about 30 years we will have used up the remaining 'quota', and even if we stabilise at that figure, it would only give us a 66% chance of remaining below the 2 degrees figure .... which takes us to the 2050 AD prediction of the Apocalypse that this blog now favours for our civilisations watershed moment, one way or another.

Graduated Success

India and China both face a common problem ..... they have expanded their education systems to produce 'graduates' .... numbers have risen from a few hundred thousand a year, to many, many millions. All terribly exciting, but there is one massive problem ... No Jobs.

No labour markets (no matter how buoyant), can create enough high quality 'graduate jobs' to soak up the numbers pouring out of their educational establishments. India for example churns out five million new university graduates per annum, and China a further 7.26 million, both of which are more than the total work force of entire European countries every year.

So what do you do with millions of extra graduates?

Well some get exported to the Western economies, but increasing resistance to this, and the fact that its usually only I.T. workers (with passable English skills), means that for example in India, one in three graduates up to the age of 29 is now unemployed, while 'officially', in China graduate unemployment is around 15% (meaning over a million new Chinese graduates each year will be jobless), but 'unofficially', the real Chinese graduate unemployment rate could be closer to 30% (meaning 2.3 million unemployed graduates per annum) ... with millions more entering the employment market in the following year.

Handing In Your CV Could Be A Struggle In China .....

This has led to fears that the 'Red Emperors' very economic success, could lead to 'counter-revolutionary' tendencies amongst the growing ranks of the educated unemployed .... all while the rich just get richer. They are beginning to fear having to perform another 'Tienanmen' like crackdown, sooner rather than later and this has led to plans to turn 600 universities into polytechnics, to provide more technical and employment-related courses, rather than academic and theoretical subjects, because many factory jobs are now paying more than entry-level office positions.

China's export competitiveness has been impacted by this phenomena, as its goods have become more expensive as wage inflation impacts production costs. As for India, failure to convert its educated unemployed youth bulge in to employed assets, means the country will remain a low-income per capita economy, with pockets of prosperity rather than even growth across all sectors of society.

Ah ..... I can remember the days of the 'BA Calcutta Failed' .... no problems getting them jobs then.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

For The Fallen

A staggering 888,246 poppies, representing all the British Empire and Commonwealth troops killed in the First World War surround Windsor Castle ...... At the going down of the sun,
A Sobering Sight As It Developed ....

and in the morning .... 

But A Magnificent Memorial When Completed ....
We will remember them.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Treasure Of The Neibelung

When I developed an interest in classical music, I naturally came across the The Song of the Nibelungs aka 'Nibelungenlied', which is a high German epic poem about a dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, and the tale of how he was murdered and of his wife Kriemhild's terrible revenge. As a part of the tale, a golden hoard is stolen from Kriemhild, and it is thrown into the Rhine where its known as the 'Rheingold'. 

This knowledge, scant though it is, was because it was part of the source materials for Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (English: The Ring of the Nibelung), a series of four musical operatic dramas, popularly known as the Ring Cycle. What I didn't realise in those pre-Wiki days, was that the whole story had a bit of truth as its basis . 

The Legend Of The Rheingold

The German Nibelungen or Norse Niflung is the name of the royal family or lineage of the Burgundians who settled in the early 5th century at Worms on the Rhine river in Modern Germany. The city was originaily a Celtic settlement which was captured and fortified by the Romans, under Drusus in 14 BC. From that time, a small troop of infantry and cavalry were garrisoned in what they called Augusta Vangionum; this Roman presence gave the civilian settlement its Romanised version of its original Celtic name Borbetomagus. It was in this town that a Roman usurper, Emperor Jovinus, established himself as a puppet-emperor in the West during the disorders of 411–413 AD. He did this with the help of King Gundicar (aka Gunther), of the Burgundians. Needless to say it didn't go well for Jovinus, and this Roman city became the capital of the Burgundian kingdom.

In 436 AD, the Burgundian kingdom was all but destroyed by a combined army of Romans (led by the 'last of the Romans', General Aëtius) and Huns (led by Attila), after the Burgundians had been raiding Roman settlements. The decisive moment was the 'Battle of Worms', when the Burgundian army and its King were wiped out, with as many as 20,000 Burgundians killed, with the rest taken into slavery. The story of this war was part of the inspiration for the tale of the Nibelungenlied.

I was reminded of all this, when early in 2014, a hobby archaeologist with a metal detector was reported to have discovered a trove of gold and silver in a German forest, dating back to late Roman times - this was immediately linked in the press to the treasures of the Burgundian princes in the 5th century. The haul was found in the western state of Rhineland Palatinate, and what's been found to-date (suspicions abound that much has been sold off on the black market), is worth about €1m, and includes silver bowls, brooches and other jewellery from ceremonial robes, as well as small statues that would have adorned a grand chair ..... the  river has shifted course substantially over the centuries, and this hoard may well have been under water when it was buried (a popular trick was to divert rivers, bury items, then reinstate the river course).

Part Of The Treasure Of The Neibelung?

Whether the treasure is the famous Rhinegold or not, is open to some debate, but it seems to have been buried in haste by its owner, or by robbers, in around 406-407 AD, which ties in very nicely.

River Deep, Mountain High?

The Chinese, and to a lesser extent the US have embarked on a series of civil engineering projects, the like of which the world has never seen before .... levelling mountains, using the rubble to fill up the valleys, and thus create new level land for building on.

The example below, shows what's happened to mountains in western Shiyan province, between the first picture taken in 2010, and second from 2013 ... with work still ongoing.

Western Shiyan Province Mountain Flattening

... but this is just one of many such developments in China.

Now putting aside all the obvious ecological concerns (water and air pollution, landslides, subsidence and environmental degradation ... all of which the Americans, if not the Chinese, believe that they will overcome if they happen), the sheer bravado of these ventures, especially in China, shows that while Europe subsides ever further in to a Health and Safety led quagmire, with a 100 'risk assessments' required for every development. The Chinese new world order, and to a less extent the old 'new' world of the USA, are unhindered in their civil engineering and development plans, and are forging ahead ... The sweep of human progress, if such it is, apparently continues without us ....

.... leaving the real 'old world' of Europe behind, like a sclerotic, retired old incontinent.

The Doomsday Vaults

When I came across a story, ostensibly about 'Crop Banks', I'm afraid that I almost skipped by it, as I assumed for a second or two that it was another of those tales that welfare benefits claimants in the UK are so poor, because of the £26k total benefits cap is too low and that they were going to free food banks in vast numbers ..... but at the last minute I dipped into the story, and found something interesting instead.

You learn something new everyday ... or should try to.

There are apparently 'crop banks' set up in many countries (over 100 in fact), the purpose of these 'banks' being to preserve the genes of as many species as possible. This to preserve the plants against some species threatening epidemic, or even over reliance on GM Crops (which Europe can only resist the arrival of for another decade or so at most), or possibly just extinction caused be human influence such as global warming.

Anyway, apparently in order to insure against any of the stored seeds getting corrupted, the Norwegians have created one such bank, deep inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, which is located halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole - the vault, which cost £5m (US $7m), and took 12 months to build, offers permanent protection for the world's food crops, say its operators.

The main purpose of this depository, which is owned by the Norwegian government and maintained by the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resources Centre, is to store duplicates of all seed samples from crop collections around the world .... many countries such as Japan have opted to send seeds to the bank, and now many of the national seed collections from around the world, have provided the samples being stored in the vault.

The Doomsday Vault

The innocuous looking doorway leads to a massive complex ..... who knows, one day our very future, or rather the future of generations to come, may rely on these isolated banks.

Superior Than Thou Art We

I noticed that one of the UK's seemingly never ending stream of Islamist, Jihadi loving 'preachers', Anjem Choudary, was endearing himself to the rest of us again, by posting an image on social media of Buckingham Palace converted into a Mosque, with the message 'someday god willing' ... this while he's on bail for yet another alleged offence.

Buckingham Mosque As It Will Be Insha'Allah As Our Prospective Overlords Like To Say.

This got me thinking about several things, but as we as a country, are apparently incapable of deporting those who wish us harm, I turned myself with a sigh to other thoughts, and started to ponder why, with all that's going on in the world: Islamist's fighting with other Muslims, or killing, raping and committing a genocide on non-muslims in almost every continent I could think of:

  •   North Africa - Algeria, Libya, and Egypt.
  •   Black Africa - Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya (and probably more places as well).
  •   Middle East - Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
  •   Asia - Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Kashmir (and many of the other 'stans').
  •   Central Asia - Uigherstan in China and terrorist attacks.
  •   Southern Asia - Thailand, Burma and Indonesia.
  •   North America - terrorist attacks USA and Canada.
  •   Europe - terrorist attacks UK, Spain, and Belgium.
  •   Russian Federation - Chechnia and terrorist attacks in Russia.

.... why Muslims (and every opinion poll of Muslims backs this up), still say 'we are superior to you'.

Even if you ignore the last 30 years of violence and mayhem, and look back in time, then most of the historical evidence of the last few hundred years show that contrary to Muslims beliefs, Muslim societies rarely produce anything that isn't inferior to the Western model in every way. Which makes the mass delusion that even the most educated of their societies share, despite the fact that they flee here by the plane and boat loads, that they are the superior society or civilisation in all things, such a baffling thing.

It would be funny really, if it wasn't a belief that's accompanied by such terrible violence and backwardness .... oil, is the only thing that has brought the Arab region marginally into the modern world, and when its gone, they and the societies they support will slump back again in to the backwaters.

But in the mean time, strangely, no matter how much better they claim the Muslim world is too ours, they will, in vast numbers, still try anything to get here. Apparently to escape those so superior Muslim lands, and to live in the lands of Kaffirs, subsisting on welfare benefit handouts, and bringing up their children up to believe that they are also superior.

Not content with escaping the privileges of living in superior lands, they also want to bring their religion and their regressive attitudes with them, and then try to recreate the same social issues that they fled from, here. Intellectually they are just incapable of making the connection to between the backward lawless, nasty and brutish states that they come from, to the religion and attitudes that they are so desperate to force on our states.

They have forced Christianity, or even Secular Muslim governments out of their own lands, by voting for or supporting 'Islamic' parties, but then when those lands become a bad place to live (Egypt or Iraq for example), they then simply flee here (claiming asylum from the results of their own actions), and try to do the same thing again. What is the 'Respect' party in the UK if not a Pakistani/Bangladeshi one religion party?

I have even heard one Jihadi mother, going on BBC Radio 4 to ask us to sympathise with her radical son coming back after just 8 months, because he was traumatised by the fighting in Syria. She made no mention of what horrors he must have participated in, before he became 'traumatised' by the rounds of violence and rapes and wanted a rest ... another family wanted our support after one of their sons and two of their daughters went off to join in the carnage in Syria. Yet another has lost two of three sons fighting etc etc, but wants us to feel sorry for them.

I guess its that ability to hypocritically try to murder our soldiers, or destroy our society, and then use our tolerance to claim we should sympathise with them, which is what makes them be able to claim 'Superior Than Thou Are We'.


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