Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Love thy neighbor?

Lot's of people getting agitated about Trumps latest move to block immigration/travel from certain countries for 90 days; it seems like a fairly pointless move to me but I can't get too upset about it. There are plenty of constraints and hurdles to travel already in the world, particularly if you have an Israeli or particular Arab states stamp in your passport. A precedent doesn't make what he's done right of course but I do feel that people are somewhat missing the point, the problem for me isn't so much that he's blocked entry from certain countries but that they are the WRONG countries! I would respect the decision (it's only 90 days) more if the countries were actually countries that have disproportionately large numbers of Islamists in them, like Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan, but I suspect those countries were deemed too big and too financially important to ban.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday snark..

Tee-he, another "executive order" from the Trump..

Although I must say I was watching some old YouTube videos of General James Mattis (Trumps pick for Defense Secretary) and he comes across as well read, articulate, traveled and a supporter of the enlightenment! Can't possibly have been the President's idea then.

Take a look (below), hopefully this guy has an unreasonable amount of influence, although so far it wouldn't appear that way.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday smirk

Happy Friday! here's a little something lifted from the humorous poke online magazine; I don't envy Mrs May today, I suspect her conversation will be stilted in the extreme. Trump will glory in it of course, so no matter what happens I fully expect him to triumphantly announce some kind of wonderful success, as he seems to do with everything.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

We're all doooooomed

Here's a bit of cheery news for a Thursday evening (not!), the old Doomsday clock was notched forward to it's second highest ever position, 2.5 minutes to midnight after the "Trump factor" was taken into account. Judging by how the US relationship with Mexico is shaping up, we could see the first ever nuclear war initiated on Twitter pretty soon; that'll be something to tell the grand-kids, oh, hold on..

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


The fabulous J&M clarifies things for those confused liberals who think that when you are coerced into wearing a "uniform" (sack) by an unreasonable authority (e.g. politicised Islam) via the business end of a rock, fist, boot or club that somehow this has something to do with "freedom of choice"...

Fraudulent fraud?

I'm not sure who's the bigger fraud, Trump for pretending to be a Christian or all the right-wing Christians who "say" they wouldn't vote for anything else when he so obviously isn't?

Still, I see that he's set about dismantling environmental legislation in favour of creating profits for massive oil, gas and auto corporations (and Trump owns shares in the company building a disputed pipeline he authorised) To me, if unchecked, this seems akin to burning your house down so that you don't have to re-decorate and then getting your (poor) neighbours to pay to re-build it.

In true doublespeak style, Trump both claimed to support environmental controls and at the same time said he would grant big business permits to do whatever they want. It seems increasingly like we're witnessing an Orwell novel being acted out in front of our eyes. Unfortunately the ignorant masses who voted for him probably haven't read any of Orwell's novels, and the cynical hucksters riding on his coat-tails have almost certainly been using 1984 as an instruction manuals all along!

Don't forget, war is peace, freedom is slavery and Trump is presidential.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump and religion

Oh crap, Trump said he's an atheist (who'd a guessed?). Now, when it all goes pear-shaped (as it inevitably will) every religious apologist and her uncle will be saying "see, that's what happens when you put an atheist in charge, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler bla bla". I can just see it now, they'll be insufferable!

Truth be told I reckon there have been at least a few presidents with atheistic/deistic tendencies, they just couldn't admit it in public. Jefferson was not Christian and Lincoln probably not, people like Washington, Madison, Monroe, Kennedy, Clinton and Obama were at most only notionally religious according to many close to them. In the case of Trump you can't believe a single thing he says, that's the position we should probably go with, unfortunately it's a lose - lose for all of us..

Speeding to Brexit

So, looks like the Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament needs to vote on the triggering of Article-50, an example of free and independent law making that ironically we supposedly don't have (according to Brexiters). No doubt this decision will precipitate a wave of whining by the pro-crowd that we should move on and shut-up, unfortunately they'll just have to suck it up, that's what democracy means, i.e. a plurality of views. In any case this seems to me to be mostly about procedure rather than a policy, meaning that a bunch of people for whom no one has voted, in the shape of the current rag-tag Cabinet, cannot simply implement their own parochial (and unclear) plans without first gaining authority from the sovereign body that is Parliament, sounds right and proper to me.

I do worry that this already divisive issue will in the months to come even further divide the people in this country. We haven't experienced any pain from this decision yet, and our economics seem to be inside a little "bubble" because of the devaluation of Sterling (record high FTSE etc.). However when the dust has cleared and people start losing their jobs from companies that fold or move due to inevitable European trade being lost, I fear a bitter and painful backlash will emerge that could take many years to dissipate. Fortunately my company doesn't do any serious European trade however, after years of hard-slog, if I lost my business due to this stupid decision I would feel very bitter indeed.

Star stuff

Here's a view of the periodic table of elements but colour coded for where the elements actually come from. Interestingly all the elements that are essential to most complex life (i.e. Homo-sapiens!), like Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen etc. come from stars essentially dying, typically by exploding! So, forget Jesus, reality is that stars died so you could be here.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Watching various Trump related miscellany over the weekend, happened to catch some Trump spokesperson arguing with a TV reporter about the crowd size at his inauguration, the reporter said, "but the facts are plain to see in the TV images, the crowd was much smaller" to which the apologist said "but we disagree and have presented alternative facts". This could be a line straight out of an Orwell novel, chilling.

We were then treated to a boring, monotone lecture by the new Trump spin-doctor Sean Spicer who is clearly very skilled at saying stuff without saying anything at all. The whole briefing was one long rant with some veiled threats to the press-corps on the side. Over the course of the session it became clear that the communication strategy of this administration will consist mainly of lies, projection, petulance and a lot of shouting; much like the campaign was. I do hope the US press is up to the job they're going to have to do over the next 4 years, my sense is that the gauntlet has been thrown.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Prevention is better than cure

Love this placard from the demonstration in London yesterday against Trump and what he stands for. A totally worthwhile cause, but, my only slight niggle is that more Women (particularly in the USA) weren't more pro-active BEFORE he got elected, perhaps this disaster could have been prevented?

Friday, January 20, 2017

45th time lucky?

The English language can be devilishly illogical at times, for example, when can something be both "thick" and "thin" at the same time? When its the crowd at the inauguration of the 45th president of the USA of course!

Goop guff

Here's a funny story I noticed today.. "Goop", the online health and beauty store owed by actress Gwyneth Paltrow is selling $66 jade "eggs" that, assuming you are female, are to be inserted into your vagina for extended periods (pun?) in order to experience a number of health benefits.

The website claims that if you stick a green rock up your fanny then you will ...

-Increase orgasms (involuntarily?)
-Tighten and tone (what?)
-Prevent uterine prolapse (sounds painful)
-Increase bladder control (always a bonus)
-Clear "chi" pathways (cup of chi anyone?)
-Intensify feminine energy (God help us)
-Create kidney strength (my kidneys smell just fine?)
-Increase sexual potency (oo-er missus)
-Get better skin (fewer zits, bigger twits?)

Not an insignificant set of claims there (and there are more!) I particularly like the linking of bladder control to sexual potency, clearly some kind of deep-seated female anxiety? Is there any actual evidence for these claims, of course not, but I have no doubt that there are plenty of gullible people queuing up to grease a green goolie. So, in summary, only 70 bucks (+post and "packing") and you can look like the woman in the comic book picture above, do people actually fall for this stuff?

I do wonder why these new-age crystal hugging morons seem to have a fascination with "inserting" things into their holes? What with Prince Charles sticking coffee beans up his bum and Gwyneth with her "eggs" do they not worry about rattling like a pocket full of loose change when they run down the stairs? Not to mention what must be the constant anxiety that there may be "fall-out"..

Secular twilight?

As we all know, and history attests, the main purpose of politicised religion is to control people in the here and now (as opposed to in some imaginary after-life). Obviously there's nothing like convincing a mob that the all-powerful creator of the universe is on your side (usually based on nothing more than the fact that you have the fanciest hat in the village) and that trouble-makers better do what you say or else! Most systems are based on the most successful of mythology meme's (unsuccessful ones die out) They are intricately wired into human psychology and honed by hundreds of years of evolutionary selection forces. These meme's are extremely efficient at hooking the gullible, enabling intellectuals to rationalize the irrational and keeping the elites where they belong, i.e. telling you what to think and do at the end of a blade, barrel or ballot box while trousering all the cash. 

Often political religion is grounded in actual religion, however it often seems the case that regimes simply lacking in moral authority turn to religion to prop themselves up. Even in those regimes that were notionally atheistic (like Stalin's communist Russia) we still find all the same meme characteristics that religion thrives on, for example, tribalism, idol worship, mythology and with Lysenko's frost resistant vegetables, dogma that suppresses science. Religion has seldom been a force for good when thrust into the public square, it seems to work much better in the private sphere. if you think about it, it's a trivial matter to name historical theocratic regimes that have caused evil but much harder to pinpoint those that have advanced the causes and well-being of all mankind.

In America today we see a resurgence of religion in the public square. It's not a loud or overt campaign, even though it is lead by a loud-mouth Napoleon (on Twitter at least) But it's quiet, covert and (I fear) designed to subvert the protections that the founding fathers of that secular democracy put in place over 240 years ago. In Trump's new Cabinet we have all the ingredients. For example vice-president Mike "Snowball" Pence just biding his time, waiting for the dear leader to slip-up. Then we have our "Squealer 1" in Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and creationist, spreading lies and dogma designed to usurp good science and our "Squealer 2" in Betsy DeVos who says she is committed to "advancing God's kingdom" by putting "God" back into American schools (thereby breaking the First Amendment) No doubt DeVos will be keen to introduce those same lies regarding evolution that Carson regurgitates into the Biology curriculum? We have the "attack-dogs" of "fire-hose" Flynn and NRA supporter Perry; good'ol boys, not too clever but good in a scrap, examples of the wild-west "kick-ass" tradition, shoot first ask questions later. Time will tell whether Pompeo turns out to be the "cat" of the group or Purdue possibly "Boxer". Pruitt and Sessions will jockey to be "Moses" both dabble in dogma over science.

Depressingly these analogies to Animal Farm could go on and on; not that I think Trump is another Stalin-like figure but because, I fear his regime will be more "meme" than reality and that the people he's bringing in have a religious agenda that will dangerously diminish one of the few properly secular systems remaining on our planet. It feels like the world is stuck in reverse, and when you're driving backwards at speed, it's difficult to see what's coming, is that the safety barrier or a ravine?

Friday smirk

For all those Americans who feel like fleeing to the more rationally governed parts of the World today, somewhere that speaks the same language as you, such as the UK then forget it, we're no smarter and apparently hate immigrants even more than you. But seriously, just in case, I thought I would publish a little guide to some frequently used English phrases and the American equivalents,

In the UK we say,

Mum, not Mom
Crisps, not Chips
Chips, not Fries
Football, not Soccer
Rugby, not Football
School, not Firing range...


So the loonies officially take over the asylum later today and in my opinion, it's a sad occasion for all reasonable and liberal people the whole world over. I thought it fitting that I learn a new world to usher in this new regime and that word is "Kakistocracy", it's derived from the Greek word "kakistos" meaning "the worst" and hence means "government by the worst and least qualified people". 

Many are trying to put a positive face on things, the eternal optimists among us are saying things like "perhaps it won't be that bad" etc. However, I prefer to go on the evidence and the evidence suggests we're in for an embarrassing and fraught few years from a "pussy grabbing" pillock. Unlike some, I don't hope that Trump succeeds. He's a bully and  I detest him, and hope he crashes and burns, ideally as quickly as possible so that the American people can start to move forward again by electing the kind of leader they deserve, and the world needs.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


I hate it when a complete narcissistic moron's plan comes together

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


New J&M up today; sometime you can take a "bromance" too far.. (love the Daily Mail reference)

Wi-Fi chuckle..

Someone had a sense of humour on the train this morning..

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hold on lads..

Just listening to Theresa May's Brexit speech, found a really suitable image to go with it...


Wise words from a fallen "Moon walker".

Monday, January 16, 2017


I see that the 2016 data on sea ice is in and guess what... it's the lowest ever recorded. BTW the gold/yellow line isn't the maximum extent, it's just the average over the last few decades. We have to assume that the poorer nations of this world will not be able to afford the defences and mitigation projects that will be necessary to stop people and property slipping into the sea, and unfortunately, people in the first world seem to care more about cats in wheelie bins and who won the latest TV talent contest. Of course we're kidding ourselves if we think we won't be affected, it's not a question of "if" anymore it's "when" and as we've seen from Brexit, many here think that human migration is intolerable already; just wait until the crops in third-world countries start failing on an industrial scale.

Nothing substantive about the science is contested any longer by honest scientists, but shockingly there persists a layer of scum in our society, grubby hands outstretched, that are paid by vested interests and lunatic fringes to spread lies and misinformation around this subject in the hope of muddying the water and maintaining the economic status-quo for as long as possible. How these people sleep at night is a mystery to me, but I'm pretty certain that history will expose them for what they are. I'm talking about people like ex-politicians Nigel Lawson and Christopher Monckton and journalists like James Delingpole and Christopher Booker along with many others from around the world, like James Inhofe in the USA and Ian Plimer in Australia. People with far too much influence and precious little moral or scientific authority, people who are happy to make a short term gain safe and secure in the knowledge that the collective memory is short.


This is cool; looks like a circle made of dots moving around a larger circle; but like with many illusions in this life our senses are easily fooled. It's really a bunch of dots moving in perfectly straight lines back and forth, to prove this to yourself just keep your eye on one single dot you will see it follow a simple trajectory, never deviating from a straight line.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Blue Monday

So it's "blue Monday" tomorrow, the most depressing day of the year, I can't wait... This year it's extra depressing, what with Brexit, Trump, Bowie, Syria, Putin and ISIS we have a ton of uncertainty and regressive instability to cope with as well. Might just go down the pub at lunch time and not come back until I'm feeling better, how about you?


I noticed a little story on the BBC site today about a church in Glasgow, Scotland that held a service earlier in the month and invited some local Muslims. In order to be inclusive the service included a reading from the Koran, so far all sounds perfectly reasonable. Since then the church has received numerous complaints as well as abusive messages via social media, it seems that the move upset many "Christians" involved in that particular religious sect (Scottish Episcopal). 

It's difficult not to read a story like this without a smidgen of schadenfreude; as an atheist one has to quickly learn to turn the other cheek when it comes to being preached too. Hardly a day goes by when I don't hear one form of Christian preachment or other, on TV, radio or simply in conversation; especially when visiting other more religiously soaked countries such as the USA or the Middle East etc. At the end of the day you can read Harry Potter and enjoy it without believing in wizards and there are much worse things in this world than hearing ideas you disagree with (ask people in Aleppo). Perhaps the Christians involved in this dispute should think about showing some tolerance and imagination, perhaps even imagine travelling a mile in someone else's shoes before they play the "offended" card so readily and over such a trivial matter, sticks and stones etc.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


HGV crash spills paint all over the M606 - I hope authorities won't gloss over this incident..

No contest

Natural selection vs. artificial selection, no contest..

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hammers and nails

The excellent J&M illustrating how, if you think you're a hammer, you tend to see everything in the world like it's a nail, and that's ignorant, unconvincing and invariably wrong. BTW if you end up actually hitting a nail then it's by coincidence, not design.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


What an excellent use of space...

Monday, January 09, 2017


A question for a dark, dank January evening, if the best sex you can get is by slapping stone statues, have you reached rock bottom?

Showbiz politics

I agree with Trump here, overrated, narcissistic showbiz celebrities should stay the hell out of politics...

Oh, wait...

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Tired old point

Image result for afghan women 70s

I noticed this little story popping up on the feeds today; it hasn't been syndicated much as I suspect stories like this are such a tired old (boring) well trodden path these days. A Woman in Afghanistan was beheaded last month for the heinous crime of... wait for it, going shopping without her husband! I mentioned this to my wife and her comment was that someone should be beheaded for insisting that husbands go shopping WITH their wives, who invariably spoil the experience by constantly pointing out the outrageous prices for items such as handbags, make-up and shoes.

So this is theocracy in 2017; a barbaric, primitive and misogynistic system run by ignorant and uneducated thugs. The picture above is of some Women in Afghanistan back in the 70s, studying at a University in that country, fat chance of the same basic human rights being afforded to the daughters and granddaughters of these people today. Such is the stultifying and regressive effect of religion (or any totalitarian system) when it achieves unopposed worldly power.

Craft Beer

Amusing and sort of true, particularly the one about sour beer.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Shared feelings

Human beings are funny old animals, it's what comes of having complex brains I suppose; I came across this list the other day, it's a bunch of complex emotions that we all feel and yet would struggle to explain. I could identify with every single one of these feelings (i.e. have felt them or could imagine feeling them) although hadn't specifically thought about many of them in terms of an established and known "thing".

Interestingly you will also notice that quite a few of these feelings form the basis of many myths and stories also common dreams. Ultimately though it's all just chemistry going on in our brains; how do we know this? Well, change the chemistry and the emotions change (i.e. using drugs), also when the brain (or parts of it) is damaged then the feelings change or disappear. Many people would rather bypass the effort required to understand the science and leap straight to more fuzzy concepts and ideas like "spirits" or "souls", no evidence for that here though.

I'm working on some AI (artificial intelligence) projects at the moment (only simple stuff) but it's interesting to ponder whether these (or similar) conditions will emerge naturally from an AI that is sufficiently complex and experienced or if they will need to be "programmed in" so that the AI mechanism appears more Human, interesting times.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


New J&M up today; the old "chestnut" of hypocrisy, behead those that insult the religion of peace I say..

Monday, January 02, 2017


Saw this cartoon, thought it a perfect metaphor for (US/UK) politics these days. Democracy at work, and if you don't like it you should shut up and stop complaining.... Who needs experts anyway!

Happy new year

I guess if all reason and logic fails then superstition will fill the gap. For me there's a way to go yet though, let's see what 2017 throws up, bring it on.