Saturday, March 23, 2013
Iraq War, Immigration & UKIP - Scotsman Letter
Jack Kilpatrick's letter about foreign students of nuclear engineering (22 March) reminded me of a lateral thinking alternative to the trillion dollar invasion of Iraq.
Offer citizenship in Western countries to the few dozen leading nuclear and chemical scientists in Iraq with their immediate families.
This is the sort of limited immigration of people who would be of value to the host nation that Ukip supports, rather than that of unlimited people from the poorest countries in Europe and beyond, which we don’t.
The lack of even so few people would have made it impossible for Iraq to produce weapons of mass destruction, even had it been trying to, without all the death and destruction that actually happened.
The option was rejected, which is one of a number of reasons to think those parties pushing for war (Ukip specifically not being among them) did not actually believe their own scare story about WMDs.
UKIP Glasgow branch
Even including my UKIP membership in the signature. I was surprised because, though I thought it raised an interesting bit of history, it was so clearly UKIP supportive and I had so recently had a letter in the Scotsman that it would not be chosen. Clearly I was wrong and the Scotsman are making an effort to be balanced to UKIP. This is the sort of thing that shows UKIP are not "right wing" or "left wing". The only sense in which we can be considered consistently right is that the old parties make a policy of being consistently wrong, indeed inane.
This article gives details of the Iraqi Scientists Immigration Act.
The leading letter today is also remarkably good. It is about something I have tried to get published repeatedly - that cheap energy is the route to getting out of recession and that our political leaders should stop trying to make it more expensive or as is increasingly like - unavailable.
We are not saving the planet by coating our countryside in turbines or from introducing carbon prices or any other of the regulations that will continue to send electricity, that vital commodity for civilised life, spiralling upwards in price.
Instead it looks increasingly like the ultimate economic suicide note while others round the world take full advantage of cheap fuel and the economic activity and employment that goes with it.
Worldwide emissions have continued to burgeon and will do so for the foreseeable future.
If we had shut everything here it would have had no discernible effect for unambiguously distinguishing natural variation from mankind’s contribution.
What is needed now is politicians with the courage to admit errors and abandon policies that inflict direct damage on the people they represent.
We need cheap, reliable electricity, however it may be got, not political or green fundamentalist hubris about unrealistic targets.
(Prof) Tony Trewavas FRS FRSE
Scientific Alliance Scotland
Friday, March 22, 2013
Minimum sunspots, like during the Maunder Minimum.
Don't worry, unless the LabNatConDems & beeboids are wholly dishonest the Sun has almost no influence on weather compared to a 1 in 10,000 CO2 increase. Otherwise we wouldn't be experiencinjg catastrophic warming.
Japan making progress in extracting methane hydrates. In case we run out of shale gas in 1,500 years. More proof that the age of plentiful energy is here as soon as the parasites get out of the way.
House of Lords report demolishes the case for mass immigration. Once again news from the Daily Mail, not reported by the approved media.
On the increase in extreme weather which, if every single beeboid isn't a corrupt fascist animal, we must be experiencing.
So we aren't.
Listing the history of Lord Rennard's gropings of women, about which all 6 LIB Dem women have been silent. This is young, ignorant, loudmouthed, high flying LD MP Jo Swinson, now the party's junior Equality Minister. (I met her when I was in the LDs & she was one of a number of such)
CLAIM: Jo Swinson, who became the party’s youngest MP and is now equalities minister, allegedly tells a female colleague there have been problems with Rennard, who had ‘an issue with women’ but that ‘you have to put up with it if you want to get on in the party.
Russia calls for world meteor defence
Another Forbes piece from James Conca about radiation's LNT theory being bogus.
Estimate that electricity bills will go up from their curent £1,400 to £3,500. Note (A) that the could be between £400 & £90 & (B) that only 1/3rd of electricity is used in the home but that the cost of that used elsewhere still, ultimately, gets passed on to us.
£273 or £10,500. How do we get out of recession with that?
The EU bidget may have been marginally reduced but they still have E£200 billion to fund ecofascist groups.
Automated killer drones at 17,000 feet
. From an altitude of 17,500 feet a drone with a 1.8 gigapixel video camera can monitor half of Manhattan and they can zoom in and see a person waving or a bird flying. The interface shows the wide field of view all at once but 65 windows can be opened up showing zoom in views of different spots. They can see things as small as 6 inches like birds. They can make out people waving from the ground and what they are wearing. The software analyzes and tracks everything that is moving.
All of the images is archived from every UAV. The persistent monitoring means that any past time can be selected for a monitored area and what happened at that time can be played as if you were watching it live. The current system has 1.8 gigapixel video but DARPA has another project that will soon have 50 gigapixels of resolution and mass production will drive the cost to about $1000. 50 gigapixels would mean increasing resolution to make out 1 inch objects from 17500 feet or viewing a larger area at the 6 inch resolution. A live and historical feed of everything in Manhattan down to 1 inch resolution from one drone.
. German scientists are seriously developing a laser based system of weed control in order to be more "environmentally friendly" than using chemical poisons. Laser armed Robots and drones cheap enough weed control of large scale agriculture and they will have artificial intelligence algorithms and high resolution cameras to be able to tell plants from weeds. They would have the goal of having this on a large scale for better "organic farming". The laser system is currently being tested in a greenhouse. Drones or small robotic planes would fly over the fields.
The goal of the DARPA HELLADS (High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System) program is to develop a 150 kilowatt (kW) laser weapon system that is ten times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, enabling integration onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Martin Rees - Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow
The lecture ranged from Man's future in space, to the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe to the age, origin, size, future of the universe and to the multiverse. I was impressed not so much on what he said, which I generally agreed with, but of his willingness to say how much we simply don't know.
"Space flight exposes the difference between what could be done and what has been" - we could be settling Mars now if the political will had been there - supersonic transport is another example.
It is Saturn eclipsing the Sun.
With each advance in robotics the technical argument for human beings in space grows weaker. However the philosophical one remains overwhelming.
"It is better to read first rate science fiction than 2nd rate science"
There are arguments over the theories that life must be common or that we really are alone in the universe. We do not yet have enough information to hold a sensible view, but it could be that we are alone as intelligent life.
Perhaps the difficult step is not from non-life but to intelligence. Intelligence may be an evolutionary dead end.
We are currently about 40% of the way through the life of the Earth. Whatever exists by then may be as far removed from us as we are from microbes, perhaps moreso since we can now take charge of our own evolution.
"Not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to a distant futurity" quoting Darwin
"99.9% of the population have one thing in common - they live their lives on Earth. The rest are astronomers."
"Fred Hoyle my predecessor at Cambridge"
"We are the ashes of long dead stars" (ie carbon, oxygen and the other complex atoms were all formed in stars)
We now know that most stars have planets.
Some of these planets have been found by private citizens using data online.
We will probably send fleets of robotic fabricators ahead before we travel to other star systems.
Beyond the range of what our telescopes can see (ie more than 13 billion light years away) there will be billions of galaxies.
There may be a multiverse of other Big Bang bubbles with their own universes.
I asked a question - You mentioned that the European Extremely Large Telescope [(real name :-) ] with a 30 metre mirror will be able to see planets in nearby star systems, if only as dots. This is about the maximum that can work on Earth because of the atmosphere and more importantly because of the gravity field. Like you I believe humanity will have a spacegoing civilisation, though it may well be Chinese. Are there any limits to the possible size of telescopes we will be able to make when we have such a civilisation.
"The E-ELT uses magnetism to hold the mirror stable. Gravity much more than the atmosphere is the limiting factor. I think we will build such telescopes in orbit rather than on the Moon and I know of no limits to their potential size."
I said I looked forward to seeing the day when we would have telescopes a kilometre across and could see extrasolar planets in detail and he said we would need longevity for that. I hope he is wrong on the last, but that entirely depends on the politicians allowing us to start doing what is technologically possible. But he seemed unfazed - this guy thinks in billions of years.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
If China Is The Future Should We Be The Same?
At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they’re not far from finding them, and when they do, embryo screening will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation's intelligence by five to 15 IQ points.
In the 90s, China started to do widespread prenatal testing for birth defects with ultrasound, and more recently, they've spent a lot of money researching human genetics to figure out which genes make people smarter.
When does Geoffrey think the embryo analysis might be implemented on a large scale?
Actual use of the technology to do embryo screening might take five to ten years, but it could be just a few years. It depends on how motivated they are.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Scotsman Letter About George Square £15 Million Rip Off- Herald Censors Any Mention
On Thursday, councillors are going to “consider” the new two-stage plan for George Square in Glasgow.
The first stage is to spend £500,000 replacing the tarmac with a less hideous colour.
The second stage, of which we know nothing, will be to spend the rest of the £14.5 million allocated to the original project.
If they are “considering” what the second stage of the plan is, they know what it is.
Personally, I think they could have repainted the tarmac for a few thousand, but what do I know about spending other people’s money?
(Secretary Ukip Glasgow branch)
It went out across the Scottish media. Of note is the fact that the ever diminishing Herald, Glasgow's "quality" paper, decided £15 million wasted by the council in the centre of the city, wasn't worth publishing a letter about.
Far less important to Glasgow citizens than an ecofascist whine about a group of beekeepers refusing to support their call for banning a pesticide.
The Herald have previously decided to censor letters from me on this subject, just as they censor any reply to the numerous letters from governmenmt funded PR people attacking UKIP, and as they have even censored online comments on both.
This is the same Herald which made a grovelling apology for having reported that the Labour council leader here had become ill with euphemistic "liver disease". Others said it was cocaine and alcohol addiction and he certainly went into a detox centre, but "liver disease was not quite far enough from the truth to satisfy. The Herald could certainly have defended their report but told the PCC they were apologising to maintain good relations.
Of course a large proportion of newspaper advertising comes from state organisations, including councils and the thin pagecount of the herald is not so likely to attract readers and thus commercial advertisers.
No doubt Lord Leveson would entirely approve of the Herald as the sort of "responsible" journalists, willing to apologise, that he wants the entire press to be.
Still I don't see that it is possible for this new censorship to take the press even halfway to being a state propaganda poodle since it is clearly more than halfway there already.
UPDATE Last night I found that this same letter had been published, in box, by the Metro, slightly shortened. I'm sure the metro has a far higher circulation than the Scotsman, which in turn must be significantly more than the Scotsman. This double publication is very pleasing.
I also sent the above article to the Herald to ask if they thought any part of what I said was off the mark but clearly they didn't.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Government Spending, By Constituency, Shows Such Spending, Even If It Could Be Done For Free, Is Useless To The Economy
“Why didn’t the large expenditure of money in the poorer areas lead them to catch up with the richer areas? Why did inequalities expand rather than contract? Why did London continue to outperform the areas attracting the most public spending?”
A very good question. If government spending produces real net growth, not just more real growth than would be achieved by cutting taxes commensurately BUT ANY REAL GROWTH AT ALL there should be measurable convergence between areas getting increased government spending and those not getting it. In fact there seems to be a slight divergence, suggesting excess government spending may even have a net negative effect on growth.
This does appear to me to be serious evidence that all the "stimulus" spending is not likely to have any positive effect on growth.
This does not mean that a stimulus of reducing taxes would not work. I think that to some extent it would but whether the gain would be worth the long term extra debt repayment is open to question.
Nor does it mean that all government spending - eg X-Prizes - could not produce growth, only that the sort of spending government currently chooses to do wouldn't.
Nor, on the other hand, does it alter the undisputed evidence that money spent on regulation not only doesn't help the economy but costs the economy 20 times more than it costs the government to do. This means that the net effect of government on the economy is negative, currently reducing the economy by a minimum of 50%, probably 75% of what it could be.
Nor, on the 3rd hand, does it mean society should never spend money on welfare. The argument for welfare is that we really ought to help those who cannot help themselves. It merely means that one cannot honestly support the welfare spending argumenmt with any claim that it will help the economy. In itself is likely to have no effect and by diverting these resources from the real economy is virtually certain to have a net negative effect.