Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Some old news

A couple of stories tweaked my interest this morning, firstly we have a triumph of engineering and science over stupidity and secondly the exact opposite.

First up is the salvage of the Costa Concordia, a huge cruise ship that ran aground and tipped over next to the small island of Giglio in 2012. The ship capsized due to what appears to be an act of negligence by it's Captain for which he is standing trial. Not withstanding the loss of life which is bad enough, the wreck is cluttering up what is a beautiful coastline. It could have probably been left to break up naturally but it would have taken decades to do so and caused untold environmental and economic damage in the process. The process of righting and then floating it so that it can be towed away to a scrapyard is a monumental engineering project, the forces and masses involved mind boggling, however it looks like the salvage team have been successful in the first phase which is to bring the ship back up to the vertical and to place it on a submerged platform, the time-lapse video of the process is amazing.

Next we have the anti-evidence brigade, a coven of senior politicians that include John Redwood, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Graham Stringer who seem to hell bent on ignoring or misrepresenting the mountain of scientific evidence on man-made climate change. The debate last Tuesday, proposed by MP David Davies, seemed to be awash with fables, conspiracy theories and zombie myths; at the very least Mr Davies owes the house some corrections for the woeful errors and flagrant misrepresentations he made during the debate. The motivation for such apparent feeble powers of comprehension among such expensively educated men is predictable, the politicians mentioned all have links to the oil industry and seemed to be attempting to use this debate to cement some kind of kinship in denial, as Upton Sinclair once said "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!". For me, the scene was reminiscent of a kind of Scopes monkey trial, a flavour of fundamentalism that is unhelpful and much like religious objections to progress based on rational investigation a millstone around the necks of future generations.

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